For the past few weeks, maybe longer, resentment has burned in my belly as I’ve seethed at the circumstances of my life. Where are all the things I was promised? The riches, the partner, the good health? The refrain in my head is, “I’m 33! I’m not supposed to feel this way! I’m supposed to have more energy than this!” And then I ask myself, “Says who?”

It’s a good question. Who told me life is supposed to be one way or another? Who said we’re all promised wealth, health, and partnership if we desire partnership? When I think about it, I likely picked up that story from the media, which praises a life of luxury, or from someone trying to sell me something. Someone who promised me all my dreams would come true if I purchased their course or their book.

What are my life’s promises? I’d like to read the contract again. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.

When I look at my spiritual philosophy, my teacher never said life would be easy, filled with sunshine and roses. In fact, he praised difficulties as they become the fodder for spiritual development. He said, “Human beings have been drifting along through constant clash and cohesion amidst endless waves of physical and psychic diversities.” That means at times we’ll encounter strife and at others we’ll encounter harmony. It’s unrealistic to think life will be easy all the time, because it won’t. That’s the nature of being alive.

I also think about what was actually promised to me, which is that I’ll move closer to the divine. That’s it. My teacher said, “Knowingly or unknowingly everyone is moving around [the Supreme entity]. Everyone is bound to move … This movement is a natural propensity born out of love for [the Cosmic Consciousness].” We keep moving closer and closer until eventually we unify with that Cosmic entity, according to my spiritual tradition. But nowhere is it written I’ll be thin, rich, pretty, and happily married.

When I take that perspective, I feel more at ease. It also makes all of my positive experiences even more precious. Nothing is promised to me, which gives me reason to cherish laughing with a friend or enjoying good food. Nothing is owed to me so it’s a privilege I’m able breathe freely or walk unaided. I can’t even count on the earth beneath my feet remaining solid, as a 3.5-magnitude earthquake reminded me the other day. Any thing can happen at any time, both good and bad. There are no guarantees in life other than once born we will die. For the time in between I’d like to see the good things in my life as gifts, to not take them for granted because they are not foregone conclusions.

I dream of a world where we realize there is no contract that stipulates we’ll all have health and wealth. A world where we realize there aren’t “supposed to’s” or how we “should” be as people or what we “should” experience. A world where we remember life didn’t promise us anything and that means what we go through is all the more precious.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I think it’s pretty clear I want to be famous. Not “get my picture taken while eating a hamburger in a car” famous, but “win awards and have people share my content” famous. I know fame doesn’t make anyone happy, I know the goal of my life is not fame, I know aiming for fame goes against all of my spiritual beliefs, and yet it’s still here.

I’ve wrestled with this aspect of myself for decades trying to reason with it, spin it, battle it, push it away. But it’s still here. On Wednesday, I listened to a radio show loosely about surrender and I burst into tears because I finally accepted this part of me. To surrender means to stop fighting and I stopped fighting this aspect of myself. I also started journaling about it, asking why I care so much.

This picture is perfect. Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash.

I seek fame because I want to prove myself, I want to showcase my “enough-ness.” I spoke with a friend about this and he suggested I make a list of all the ways I’ll finally be enough. I’ll be enough when _____. I made my list: “I’ll be enough when I’m a bestselling author. I’ll be enough when I go on Oprah. I’ll be enough when a celebrity retweets me.” I kept going until I reached the point when I wrote, “I’ll be enough when I feel worthy.”

As if to hammer the point home, I listened to another radio show by Nancy Levin, who used to be the events coordinator at Hay House before she transitioned into writing and coaching. To paraphrase, she said nothing on the outside will make you feel worthy if you don’t feel worthy on the inside. I know this. In fact, I’ve written this. But when I look back at my post on self-worth from nearly nine years, I hear a lot of judgment. A lot of dismissing. I didn’t honor my desire then or now.

When I look at the basic philosophy of my spiritual tradition, I have more perspective. The philosophy states we take everything and channel it toward the divine. It sounds like a lovely sentiment, but what does that actually mean? I’m not sure I know, but what I’m starting to understand is I can’t run from anything, including my desire for fame. I can’t escape anything. Maybe to use everything as a vehicle toward my unification with a power greater than myself means first that I have to accept what is here in a loving, compassionate way.

This blogpost deals with my desire for fame, but the concept is applicable to anything. It could be the part of ourselves that’s scared of others, or is greedy, or ashamed, or whatever. We can’t pretend that side doesn’t exist as much as we’d like that to be the case. We have to work with what’s here in order to have any power over it. I’ve likely used this quote before, but Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you’ll call it fate.” I’d rather be an active participant in my fate and the only way to do that it seems is to stop running from the things I don’t like.

I dream of a world where we accept all parts of ourselves with compassion. A world where we realize just because we don’t like something doesn’t mean it goes away. A world where we embrace our inherent tendencies and still work to transform them into something else. A world where we channelize them toward something greater than ourselves.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

This week I’ve contemplated the internalization of “-isms” such as racism, sexism, and classism. These are the ways that we’ve accepted our inferior or superior status. For me, I’ve realized how much the way I view writing and reading is tied to patriarchy. And maybe intellectualism. I like women’s fiction, also called chick lit. Think Bridget Jones’s Diary or Confessions of a Shopaholic. Those aren’t my favorite books, but I mention them because Hollywood turned them into movies so they’re more well-known.

I feel a sense of shame mentioning chick lit is my favorite genre because it’s looked down upon. It’s not serious or somehow “worthy.” In Joanna Russ’ book How to Suppress Women’s Writing, she mentions the various ways women are discouraged from writing. It’s assumed women didn’t write the things they did, or they channeled something outside of themselves, or they are judged more harshly for writing about the same things as men. In other cases, women are told they shouldn’t have written the things they wrote. There’s a notion certain subjects are more acceptable and worthy of acclaim than others, and wouldn’t you know it, those topics are most often addressed by men.

Maybe my taste is influenced by an “ism.” Photo by Rey Seven on Unsplash.

Love stories by women and for women are disparaged. I’ve internalized that viewpoint so much that a part of me doesn’t want to tell you I’m writing a love story because it’s not serious enough. It’s no Moby Dick, it’s not the next Great American Novel, and a part of me worries what other people will think of me. I’m not looking for reassurance here, I mention all this to demonstrate how subtle “-isms” are. Until I read Russ’ book, it didn’t occur to me that perhaps my perspective on women’s writing, including my own, was skewed by patriarchy and sexism. I didn’t question why working on my book felt a bit like a furtive teenager stealing liquor from her parents’ stash.

My spiritual teacher says, “In the existential sphere there cannot be any sort of complex, and our social order should be such that there remains no room for any complex. We have to make such a social order and we have to make it immediately without any loss of time.”

By complex he means inferiority complex, superiority complex, or fear complex. To paraphrase, he says we are all divine children of God, no one lesser, and no one greater. I’m not doing myself any favors by thinking the things I’m writing about are drivel because they primarily interest women. It’s more helpful for me to address not only the obvious forms of “-isms,” but also the subtler, concealed ones as well. Only then can we create a world we wish to see.

I dream of a world where we examine the ways we’re contributing to “-isms” internally. A world where we question why we think certain things are true. A world where we recognize and work toward the notion no one is better or worse than any one else.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I attended a friend’s wedding this weekend and so marriage is on my mind. Here is a post from nearly three years ago on the subject.

Marriage has been on my mind a lot because everyone and their mother (including mine) is trying to set me up. “He’s single, you’re single: It’s a match!” No one has actually said that to me, but that’s the impression I get based on who people are trying to set me up with. Now, I realize a single person writing about marriage is like a virgin writing about sex, but here I am anyway, fumbling about.

An aspect that I don’t hear discussed often about marriage is its ability to enhance spiritual growth. Usually, marriage is couched in terms of companionship, of having someone to start a family with, and just generally a partner in life that you love. Something else that seems to creep in from my outside perspective is this idea that someone else is responsible for a person’s feelings. That someone else is responsible for our happiness.

I take a different view of marriage than some I think.

I take a different view of marriage than some I think.

I have a big problem with that way of thinking, because as was so aptly pointed out in a New York Times piece called “The Wedding Toast I’ll Never Give,” there will be times where a person will look at his or her spouse and feel only rage. Nobody else is responsible for my happiness and putting them in charge of it is only asking for trouble. I can speak from experience here because I used to make certain people my cocaine and that resulted in some of the most painful experiences of my life.

I often quote Marianne Williamson who says, “Romantic relationships are like getting a PhD in spirituality.” What does that mean exactly? It means other people don’t exist to make me feel good; it means every person and every relationship is a teacher. All of them provide opportunities to bring me closer to the divine. Marriage then becomes about living my life in a “new way with a special type of responsibility,” as my spiritual teacher would say.

In fact, the marriage oaths of my spiritual practices are that the person takes upon themselves the responsibility for their spouse’s food, clothes, education, medical care, etc. That the spouse will be vigilant to safeguard the other’s mental peace and ensure their mental progress, as well safeguarding the other’s spiritual progress. These oaths to me mean sincerely taking care of another person’s all-around welfare and growth. That marriage is about taking into account not only another person’s needs, but trying to help them along the spiritual path. The emphasis is not on the self, but on another.

Does that sound dry and kind of clinical? It’s not meant to be – there’s something special about romantic love, something almost magical, and mystical and that, too, is an important part of marriage. I’m not discounting pleasure or love here, I’m just saying there’s more to marriage than just love, at least from a spiritual perspective.

I guess what I’m doing here is trying to assuage my single self, to provide some comfort because it’s clear there’s no way I could be satisfied with any single guy who walked through my door, because whoever I marry needs to be someone that encourages me to grow mentally and spiritually. That marriage for me is not about having someone warm my bed or keep me from feeling lonely on a permanent basis. Love is important, but I’m looking for love plus something else.

I dream of a world where we all take a different view of marriage. A world where we revere love, but we also add something more to the mix. A world where we think about marriage in terms of aiding another in the form of the divine.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I watched a chilling Walmart commercial the other day. The premise: A child keeps spitting out a pacifier, which the family’s dog then slobbers all over. The kid also drops a sippy cup in the mud. The mother decides to reorder pacifier after pacifier and cup after cup instead of sterilizing the originals. The commercial ends with the dog surrounded by pacifiers and the mom patting the dog with a “What can you do?” sort of smile on her face. In the background, singers croon, “I just can’t get enough, I just can’t get enough.”

The commercial, and the message behind it, horrifies me. Particularly in the light of all our environmental problems. A friend shared a post on facebook recently depicting the state of our world’s beaches in Bali, the Philippines, Hawaii. Gone are pristine sandy shores. In their place we have cups and cutlery, we have bottles and bags. In the comments many people said, “Pick up after yourselves! Throw stuff away!” I agree, throw stuff away, but that doesn’t address the whole problem.

It’s not a beach, but it is a site in Nicaragua. Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash.

According to Greenpeace, even when plastic waste is collected, it can blow away and end up in rivers or oceans. Major rivers around the world carry an estimated 1.15 million to 2.41 million tons of plastic into the sea every year – the equivalent of 100,000 garbage trucks. Not all of that comes from plastic blowing away, obviously it also comes from littering, but I’d like to point out the trash still goes somewhere. We think once the garbage truck picks it up the problem is solved, but it’s not. Commercials like Walmart’s divorce us from the consequences of our actions. Reordering one pacifier after another because the dog drooled all over it and throwing perfectly good pacifiers away contributes to waste. I read somewhere that the most important part of the mantra “reduce, reuse, and recycle” is “reduce,” but that doesn’t contribute to economic growth so we don’t focus on it as much.

In yogic philosophy there is a tenet called aparigraha. It means non-indulgence. Specifically, not indulging in the amenities and comforts of life that are superfluous for the preservation of physical existence. Usually people have a hard time with that one. “Does that mean I can’t buy the latest iphone? What about a new computer? Am I supposed to live in the woods off of rainwater and tree bark?” Yes! Just kidding. We can’t all live in the woods. Also, what is essential for our survival changes with time, place, and person. Perhaps 10 years ago it wasn’t crucial for everyone to have internet, but these days in my community it’s another utility like gas and electricity.

What I never grasped until watching the Walmart commercial is aparigraha isn’t about deprivation. It’s not being a martyr, living off of less so that everyone gets their fair share. Non-indulgence at least from my perspective is about Earth. It’s about paying respect to Mother Nature and realizing that my actions contribute to the destruction of the environment, and destroying the environment means more pollutants and poorer health. It means wiping out certain species. It means natural disasters like the ones we’re currently experiencing. If the environment we reside in becomes a toxic wasteland, where are we supposed to go?

I could end this post here and proclaim the planet is doomed and we’re all screwed, but I won’t. I want to again go back to one of my favorite quotes from my spiritual teacher who said, “Difficulties can never be greater than your capacity to solve them.” Did you know scientists recently created an enzyme that eats plastic? It turns plastic back into a more usable form. I’m confident more things like that will happen, but more mindfulness is required on our part. Breaking our addiction to consumerism and thoughtlessness will go a long way in creating a world in which we all want to live.

I dream of a world where we reduce our consumption. A world where we think twice before casually throwing something away. A world where we understand non-indulgence helps the environment and ultimately helps us. A world where we treat nature with the care and reverence it deserves.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I am seriously sleep deprived and when that happens, my logical brain shuts off. I drop into pessimism and can’t see how anything will ever be different. The post that keeps coming to mind is this one from October 2014 so I’m sharing it again.

My recovery mentor often says to me, “Change happens on higher power’s timeline, and when it happens, it happens fast, so be ready.” Today I’m marveling at how true that is, particularly because I’m in a place that has seasons. In the Bay Area, there are two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. In Missouri, there is a proper spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Last Wednesday, I was in shorts and a t-shirt, dipping my legs in the lake. The very next day we had a thunderstorm replete with rain and lightning and then it was cold. Like, pull-out-my-fall-jacket cold. Like, turn-the-heat-on cold. It went from summer to fall in the course of a day. I realize comparing change to the seasons is not so valid anymore, considering that today the temperature is back up to the 70s, but change happens quickly in life too.

One day it’s summer and the next it’s fall. Photo by Lex Sirikiat on Unsplash.

I read an interview about the recently departed Joan Rivers who I’d always unfairly dismissed as a mean-spirited comedian. There was a point in her life when she was blacklisted from The Tonight Show, her husband Edgar had killed himself, and her career was floundering. She seriously contemplated suicide. She said, “What saved me was my dog jumped into my lap. I thought, ‘No one will take care of him.’… I had the gun in my lap, and the dog sat on the gun. I lecture on suicide because things turn around. I tell people this is a horrible, awful, dark moment, but it will change and you must know it’s going to change and you push forward. I look back and think, ‘Life is great, life goes on. It changes.’”

As we all know, Joan went on to have a successful career and a rich life, but there was a point when she was thinking about ending it all. I also reflect on the turn of events for friends of mine. They’re getting married this winter and they didn’t even know each other a year ago! They met in the winter of 2013, got engaged in June 2014, and now they’re getting married.

Even in my own life I’ve seen how change happens quickly. One day I was settling into my new abode and within an hour a sweet situation turned sour and I started making plans to live elsewhere.

I often think change happens painfully slowly, that it’s gradual – and that is certainly true – but sometimes it also happens quickly, and we have no idea it’s coming even 10 minutes prior. At this point in my life when things are so up in the air, when I have no idea where I’ll be next, what will happen next, what lies before me, it’s heartening to remember my life won’t always look this way. That change happens on the universe’s timeline, and when it happens it can happen fast so I need to be ready.

I dream of a world where we remember the only constant is change. A world where we realize the way things are now is not how they’ll always be. A world where we understand our troubles pass sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, and sometimes it’s a matter of waiting.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I’m scared of making the “wrong” choice. What’s funny is when someone else says the same thing, I usually respond with, “There are no ‘wrong’ choices. Only choices. If you don’t like the choice you made, choose something else.” I know that to be true, and yet obviously a part of me doesn’t believe there are no wrong choices, otherwise the idea of choosing something wouldn’t feel so threatening.

When I ask myself why, it all comes down to progress. I value forward movement, particularly the kind that leads to betterment. In other words, I want my life to improve and I worry that certain choices will lead me away from improvement and toward deterioration. I can feel my stomach tightening even as I write that. In my mind, progress is a steady line with no deviations and that means each decision I make is crucial.

Does progress always have to be a straight line? Photo by N. on Unsplash

I brought this concern into my meditation the other day and what came back is the notion that backward can be forward. That sometimes a person has to take a few steps back before they can move forward. Like living with a person’s parents to pay off student loans. At first, the choice seems regressive – when a person hits a certain age they should be independent and out of the house! – but paying off student loans gives the person more freedom to be independent in the future so ultimately it’s a choice that leads to a better life. I think progress is a straight line, but maybe progress is a tangled yarn ball.

What’s interesting for me to consider is true progress requires obstacles. When I think about it, it makes sense. We know that in order to build muscle we must lift weights. Perhaps the same is true in other arenas? My spiritual teacher says, “It is through psychic clash that the psychic field gets properly tilled, thereby increasing its fertility.” In this instance he’s referring to reading discourses and engaging in analysis, but I’d like to believe all the angst I’m going through is a kind of progress in itself. That in the mental sphere I’m expanding my capacities as I contemplate new ideas and new directions. However, I’m also clear that for me, spiritual practice is a must.

“Through physical or psychic clash absolute self expansion is not possible,” my teacher says. “Of course physical clash can take a person a certain distance, but not to the final destination …. you will have to continue your spiritual pursuit, you will have to surrender yourself to the force of attraction of the Great.”

Perhaps that seems off topic but I’m including it in this post because I’m reminded I make choices and then I surrender to something greater than myself. I take action and then let go as I keep aligning myself with my higher power. I find peace and serenity when I invite in divine guidance and that requires me to engage in spiritual practice. It also requires that I maintain perspective. Looking at the big picture means recognizing I can move left or right, backward or forward. I can stand still. I can move in circles, and with all that, still I can progress.

I dream of a world where we recognize progress doesn’t always mean forward motion. A world where we know just because we can’t draw a straight line from point A to point B doesn’t mean we aren’t progressing. A world where we remember often the big picture doesn’t become clear until later. A world where we realize the best we can do is keep inviting divine guidance and putting one foot in front of the other.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Jewish holidays affect me – my life seems to sync up with them even if I’m not paying too much attention to the calendar. Right now people are celebrating Passover as well as Easter all over the world. What does that mean for me personally, and why would anyone other than me care? Bear with me – I believe my experience is a universal one so I’m hoping others will benefit from hearing what I’m going through.

As we know, Passover celebrates the Jews’ escape from Egypt. The Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, also means narrow spaces. That means on a metaphorical level, Passover can also represent the liberation from narrow spaces. In addition to a past event, Passover can also be deeply personal and individual. For many years, that’s precisely how I experienced Passover. The regular occurrence is interesting. Like clockwork, at this time of year, life feels narrow. Not only feels narrow, but is narrow. There are many things I choose not to do because the consequence of doing them is too great. There are many foods I choose not to eat because eating them causes my body to hurt. I’m not throwing myself a pity party, I’m merely stating facts.

We can escape narrow spaces. Photo by Andrew Trius on Unsplash.

Always at Passover I fall into a bit of a funk and chafe against restriction. Life is not pleasant during Passover. It’s often trying and painful and dark. I’m not saying it’s as bad as a refugee fleeing for her life, but everything is relative. Everything is in degrees. I experience a small taste of what my ancestors went through and what many people still go through. However, Passover is not all bad. It’s not all plagues and sorrow. It’s also joy. It’s recognizing the deep, the dark, the painful, the narrow, and the relief that comes from no longer being in that space. It’s the thrill of leaving it all behind and being able to roam free. It’s not only Passover that celebrates renewal, but obviously Easter too. Christians also celebrate new life and resurrection at this time of year.

Passover and Easter are reminders of all the horrible things people have been through and their transition out of those things. Passover and Easter are holidays that celebrate hope and courage without omitting the pain. I’m not on the other side of my personal Mitzrayim yet, but I know I will reach the promised land, so to speak. I also take heart in a quote from my spiritual teacher who said, “Difficulties can never be greater than your capacity to solve them.” I truly believe that. Right now my difficulties feel insurmountable, but the holidays many of us are celebrating remind me that’s not true. The holidays remind me it can take a while, a long, long while, but eventually liberation happens.

I dream of a world where we remember no matter what we’re going through, eventually it will pass. A world where we remember we, too, will be liberated from our narrow spaces. A world where we take heart in stories from the past and use them as fuel for the future.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

It’s been an exhausting week so I’m recycling this post from April 2014.

On Thursday, I walked through the intersection where I was hit by a car for the very first time since the accident. Up until Thursday I walked by the site (as in, on the other side of the street), but never through the site. As I approached the exact intersection, I felt a whisper of anxiety and that was it. No panic, no becoming paralyzed. I faced my fear head on and I walked through it. In addition to feeling proud of myself, I was reminded how the things that bugged me months ago no longer bug me. How my problems of yesterday (so to speak) are no longer problems today, and this gives me hope for the future.

So often I get stuck in “forever” thinking. As in, if things are like this now, they’ll be like this forevaaaa. Especially in the moments where I have anxiety or depression or fear, it’s a challenge to remind myself, “This too shall pass,” because to me, it seems like the situation or feeling is interminable. I’m starting to disengage from this as I remember the only truth about a thought is it’s a thought, and now I think I’m taking it a step further by having hope life will get better.

Looks like there’s a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash.

I am still planning for joy, and a part of that is employing some perspective because things change all the time. Problems get solved, new circumstances arise, and life goes on.

I want things to get better now, but as a friend keeps reminding me, “We look at our watches and God looks at the calendar,” as in things do change, but not necessarily on my timeline. That’s true. I’ve seen lots of changes in myself and my friends, but it has taken time. I have a friend who in her 20s barely made enough money to support herself, and now in her 30s she’s an entrepreneur and recently returned from a trip to Bali. Jeremy Renner was a makeup artist before he became a movie star.

Things change and they often change for the better. I need to keep reminding myself of that, to keep holding onto hope for the future, because otherwise I’ll dissolve into a tear-stricken, soppy mess. A friend posted a picture on facebook about a month ago (that I can no longer find) that said something like suicide may keep things from getting worse, but it also prevents them from getting better. I’m not suicidal, but I appreciated the statement because, yeah, there’s always hope things will get better and I’m seeing more and more evidence that they do.

I dream of a world where we all hold onto our hope for the future. A world where we remember the things that troubled us in the past no longer trouble us now, and it’s likely the trend will continue. A world where we look on the bright side of life.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

The Real Me

This time last week I sat on the cold steps of an imposing New York building, shivering in the brisk March sunshine, talking on the phone to kill time while waiting for a friend. It feels like it happened to someone else. Right now all the things I’ve done feel unreal, which is likely due to the fact I’m on day 13 of the flu, and last night I dreamed of disturbing things.

In my sickened state, I’m asking questions like, “How do I know I exist?” Some people would say I know I exist because my sense organs tell me so: I can hear, feel, touch, see, and taste, and thus that proves I exist. But is that really the case? What about people who are in a coma and not doing any of those things? Or aware they are doing those things? They still exist, so that to me points toward the knowledge of existence coming not from the body, but from the mind.

Who am I? Who are you? Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash.

I think it also makes sense then why I’m asking these questions right now because my mind is affected by the flu – I’m not thinking clearly and thus my grip on reality, and therefore existence, feels tenuous. I’m a balloon floating higher in the sky, untethered to the Earth. Am I even here right now? I’m not sure. One thing I do know for sure: There is an “I” here.

My spiritual teacher says, “The statement ‘I know I exist’ proves the existence of a knowing ‘I.’” In Sanskrit, that knowing “I” is called átman or unit consciousness. I want to break that down a little more. “Unit” meaning a single thing and “consciousness,” well, that’s more complicated, but let’s say for simplicity’s sake consciousness means awareness. In other words, átman is my personal awareness in its purest form. It’s not the part of me that says, “I visited New York last week;” it’s the pure, undifferentiated “I” with nothing attached. It’s the me without all the trappings.

My spiritual teacher also says through introspection and concentrated thinking, one observes that átman and the mind, that is, unit consciousness and the mind, are two separate entities. That makes sense to me because when I concentrate, when I meditate deeply, I’m aware of an unaffected part of myself. An observer who sees all but remains calm regardless of circumstances. I’m aware of the observer as much as I’m aware of simultaneously feeling angry or sad or happy.

The point of my meditation practice is to continue communing with that pure “I.” The me that is beyond time and space. The point of my meditation practice is to continue to know the real me that belongs to both me and to you. Also within the spiritual philosophy of my tradition is the idea there exists not only the unit consciousness, but also a collective consciousness, called Paramátman. I am a singular entity, but I am also a plural entity. There is me, but there is also more than me.

Who am I really? I am everything and I am nothing, all at the same time. The real me is an “I” that I can’t describe, only feel, and that’s true for everyone.

I dream of a world where we recognize who we really are is beyond words. A world where we realize an “I” exists in a pure, unqualified form and that’s true for all of us, not only some of us. A world where we remember the real us is greater than the sum of our parts.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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