Thursday, November 07, 2019

For the Love of Traffic

[The following words were dictated into my phone while sitting in traffic and later revised while sitting in a café.]

As I was on my way to volunteer at my daughter's school, I ran into a traffic jam on the interstate. Traffic was stop and go. It meant I was going to be late for the field trip and they were going to be left in a challenging situation since I was one of the drivers. I experienced the tension that comes with feeling trapped and unable to make a commitment. Instead of letting those stories take hold and run loose, I surrendered to the situation with a knowing that all of this is out of my control. When a thought arose that was steeped in resistance (i.e. I should have taken that last exit), it dissipated with the recognition that this was where I was meant to be.

Then, out of the blue, I was then given a very pleasant reminder about why I was in the situation I was in. As a car passed me slowly in the other lane, the woman driving waved and said, “I love your bumper stickers!” I smiled and thanked her as she moved on up in the line of traffic. I had forgotten that I just put two new bumper stickers on my car. One says, “Who would you be without your story?” (one of Byron Katie’s gems). The other says, “You are Perfect” (inspired by Benjamin Smythe). It became instantly clear that one of the reasons I was stuck in traffic at that moment was to display those statements to a large number of people, at least one of which resonated with the message and expressed gratitude. Thanks to stop and go traffic, dozens more people in nearby cars were given the opportunity to read those words, whether they resonated with them or not. I was deeply humbled and grateful to be serving Life’s purpose while stuck in traffic. At that point I got a little teary-eyed and said to Life, “Thank you, thank you, I love you.”

At that moment, traffic opened up and I hurried on to school, but I wasn’t stressed about being late and everyone having to wait on me. I knew everything, like always, was as it should be. In the end, we got to go on the field trip and had a nice time.

Later that day, I got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic once again. There were some initial thoughts about the potential for being late for my group meeting, but those thoughts quickly gave way and were replaced with a space of acceptance. Then, it occurred to me that the reason I was stuck in traffic again was so that I could finish writing what I started earlier. Here goes...

In my experience, Life will usually show me why I am going through challenging times, if/when I am open to receive the message. It might not happen immediately, but it usually doesn't take long for Life to show me how what is, is for a greater good. However, you don't have to know why things are the way they are in order to find peace in the midst of challenging situations. The answer will either be made known, or become unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Ultimately, the answer to the question, “Why?” is, “Just for the pure sake of having this present experience.” The end goal, if there is one, would be so that we would all recognize that we are not actually the ones in control here and to accept that. To realize that our body/minds are being animated by a force far greater than the human mind, and that force is our True Nature. That realization can be the ultimate outcome of every moment when we fully embrace the isness of everything.

Here is a simple practice that might be helpful as you navigate minor challenges. As I go about my day, sometimes I find myself saying, “So, this is what Life wants for me,” with a smile of acceptance, curiosity and wonder, along with a deep trust that Life is always giving me what I need. Like it or not, this is exactly where you're supposed to be. Always.


[In reality, the benefits of my character being stuck in traffic twice in one day will continue to reverberate for eternity, like a ripple in a pond started from a raindrop returning from its visit to the sky. The insights that turned into words will take on a life of their own and possibly touch lives in faraway lands. The simple message, which has been spreading like wildfire in recent years, will spark more fires. Some people may even begin to question their view of reality, and possibly even wake up out of the dream of identification with mind and body. That’s why you are reading these words right now, whether you realize it now or later. But I’m not taking credit for these words. They are not mine. This body/mind named Trey just happened to be in the right place at the right time to record them. If they have touched you in a positive way, don’t thank Trey. Thank Awareness, Consciousness, Life, God or whatever word suits your character best.]

Monday, August 19, 2019

You Are The Embodiment of God's Will

FYI - I use the term God synonymously with Consciousness or Awareness.

There is nothing here that is not the will of God.
You are witnessing the will of God play itself out all these various forms.
When you accept that you are the will of God, then God's will becomes your will, and all is well.
All is well because all is God.
There is nothing not God.
We have lost ourselves in the play of God, and forgotten that we are God.
Remember that You Are The Embodiment of God's Will and Allow the Will of God to Move Through You.

Friday, July 05, 2019

What is Spiritual Awakening?

I have been on a “spiritual path” as it is sometimes called, for a dozen years or so. I didn’t choose to be on one. It chose me. When I became what is sometimes called a “seeker” it was not a conscious choice, but something I had to do. I was overcome with the desire to know the ultimate Truth of what we are and why we’re here. The circumstances that led to the birth of the seeker are discussed in another post (LINK) and not relevant to this discussion. Suffice it to say that I received a “wake up call” which could also be called a “call to awaken.” I got the call and I had to answer. At that point, Life began setting things in place that would serve me on this journey. Trey the “Seeker” eventually turned into an “Awakener” (the way I use the terms, a Seeker is one who is looking for fulfillment through a number of spiritual outlets or techniques, while an Awakener has had a glimpse(s) of the Truth and has a more narrowed focus on waking up).

A recent conversation prompted me to answer the question, “What does spiritual awakening mean to you?” In a nutshell, this person I call Trey is not who I really am. What I truly am, is Awareness (aka Consciousness). Some people have heard variations of this sentiment hundreds of times from a wide variety of sages and teachers from around the world. To those who have not heard it before, it may sound rather silly. But the realization that one is actually just Awareness and not a person is what Awakening is all about. Self-realization (aka enlightenment) is the recognition of one’s self as Awareness.

“Why would a person want to realize such a thing?” one might ask. Well, the answer lies in how Life is experienced from the perspective of Awareness. When one stops identifying themselves as a person and begins to identify as Awareness, the limiting beliefs about the individual (and others) fall away, leaving the unclouded essential nature of this moment. From what I’ve seen in spending time with awakened people, the awakened character is loving, compassionate, accepting, non-judgmental, supportive, kind, authentic, empathetic, courageous, and unaffected by negativity. Though it may seem odd on the surface, when we no longer feel identified with the character we’re playing, we become beacons of light and love in the world.

About My Character’s Path
Trey’s path has been one of presence, acceptance and surrender. Some of my greatest early influences were Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie. Despite resonating deeply with their teachings, I did not blindly adopt that path overnight. It feels as though I (the character) has been in a gradual trust building exercise with Life. I read the works of teachers then applied them to different areas of my life. The outcome was one of reassurance time and time again. I have gone through a number of challenging circumstances, and when applied correctly, this path of accepting all that comes transformed challenges into gifts. I started seeing the silver lining in all the clouds. In fact, challenging situations turned into opportunities to awaken more deeply.

A couple of years ago, Self-inquiry came alive in me. Self-inquiry is simply the act of becoming aware of Awareness. Ramana Maharshi, considered by most to be father of Self-inquiry, told his students to ask, “Who am I?” and then direct attention toward the source to which that question points (Rupert Spira does a great job of explaining it in this short video  This seemingly simple practice led numerous people to wake up, and many of those who woke up became teachers and began spreading the same Truth they found. Though each teacher has their own personal style, what they are saying is ultimately the same thing: We are all Awareness.

As I practiced Self-inquiry, or redirecting Awareness toward Awareness, it led to the ability to rest in Awareness for short periods, which often times is accompanied by blissful states and feelings of oneness. However, it can also bring up a number of challenging issues that need to be acknowledged. Some say “spiritual bypassing” occurs when someone uses a spiritual path to avoid dealing with negativity, but that’s just like hitting the snooze button on an alarm clock. Whatever it is that needs to be addressed will arise again until it is effectively met. For me, acceptance and surrender have been the tools used to deal with all that arises. Through this process, Life has become my teacher and I trust it completely to show me what I need to see.

As an aside, Ramana has said that the only two paths to Self-realization are Self-inquiry and surrender, and that all other paths eventually lead to one of those two entry points. Self-inquiry is considered the direct path. The complete surrender Ramana spoke about is not easy for most people. The people capable of total surrender are often those who have hit rock bottom and have lost the will to live (as was the case with Eckhart and Katie). One could say that complete surrender, as described by Ramana, leads to awakening, and situational surrender (more like I have been practicing) leads to being at peace with the situation at hand.

In the group sessions I’ve been facilitating for many years now, I see a lot of is people who have learned these various practices and techniques and have used them to lead a more peaceful life. Most of them have had a glimpse of the truth to which spiritual teachers point, which fuels their quest for enlightenment. It can also lead to the creation of what some call the “spiritual ego,” which is the belief that they are a person who is connected to Awareness, rather than just Awareness. I have seen this in myself and others, and it can be a confusing period where we continue to act out our egoic conditioning in our personal relationships while being able to experience blissful states in other areas of our lives. In short, the awakening process is not complete. So what to do?

There’s an old saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I have seen that proved true many times in my life. The most recent example was a few months ago, when Dan Kelso appeared with what he calls Deep Self Investigation (DSI). After talking with Dan at great length, it became clear that DSI is the antidote for those of us still identified with the character, despite having numerous awakening experiencing confirming that we are in fact Awareness.

DSI is a more fine-tuned version of Self-inquiry designed to root out all of the beliefs we have to support identification with the character. I sometimes call it Self-inquiry 2.0 because it goes deeper than just becoming aware of Awareness. One can merge with Awareness in doing Self-inquiry, but still be identified as the character who is merging with Awareness. When DSI is used, more focused attention is directed toward those beliefs that make us feel limited in any way. We question those beliefs, relying only on our direct experience to verify the answers (not what we have learned or been told by others).

I have had some profound realizations in working with Dan and DSI. In the last session I realized what I have heard numerous teachers say on countless occasions – You are already awake, you just don’t realize it yet. Yes, we have always been aware throughout every moment of our lives. Whether the character was (is) experiencing sorrow or bliss, Awareness was (is) present and noticing. Awareness is always just aware. And I am Awareness. In effect, Awareness has never been lost in identification with Trey, it has just been seeing Trey and Trey has been believing that Trey is only awake during certain states of expansiveness. This is an example of how beliefs about spiritual awakening mask the ever-present Awareness that we already are, and always have been. One must be willing to surrender ALL beliefs, whether they have to do with spiritual awakening or being a person, in order to see what we truly are.

In gratitude,

* Belief – I like to think that the inventors of the English language deliberately inserted the word “lie” in the middle of the word belief so that we would remember that beliefs are not true. Whether that’s true or not, it has been made clear to me that there are no such things as true beliefs. How do we know if what we think is a belief or fact? According to one teacher I sat with, if anyone on the planet would disagree with the thought, it’s a belief. There is nothing wrong with beliefs. We use them to navigate in this world. However, what we believe shapes how we see the world, so it’s important to question them to make sure they are in fact true in order to ensure we are living in alignment with what is. The Work of Byron Katie is all about questioning beliefs and has helped tens of thousands of people see how their thoughts limit their experience of life -

Note about Dan Kelso:
One of the great things about Dan is that he is wide awake and is a shining example of what Awakened Living looks like. He radiates happiness, compassion and love, all while being an ordinary, down-to-earth guy who doesn’t want to be looked up to as a teacher. Instead he is just a good friend suggesting that one look deeper. One of the things he likes to point out is that we already are Awareness. We are already the fully awakened consciousness we’re seeking. He just wants to help people see it for themselves, which is where DSI comes in. Each DSI session I have with Dan brings more insight and less identification with the character. You can find out more about DSI at