Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

What Can Enlightenment Do for You?

In Southern California, our idea of spirituality is "it is ALL ABOUT ME!"

In Southern California, our idea of spirituality is “it is ALL ABOUT ME!”

A friend came to visit. He excitedly told me how the universe gave him everything he wanted from meeting celebrities to being on TV without the chance to allow himself to take a full breath. “I must be in such high vibration that everything’s working out for ME!”

Smiling, without a word, I served him a cold iced-tea with a piece of freshly cut white peach on the side. He pushed it aside and went on to tell me about how people everywhere are stopping with envious stares since he got his amazing six-pack…

In Southern California, there’s a culture of speaking of such things as “cleanse”, “mindfulness”, “detox”, “healing”, “meditation”, “organic”, “yoga”, “reiki”, “zen”, “juicing”, “being in alignment”, “high vibration”,  “unity”, “love”, “enlightenment”… The list goes on and on. Lots of us here eat organic to be in a higher vibration – not as an aware expression but as a concept – for the purpose of becoming better.

In more ways than one, we use yoga, meditation or anything “spiritual” for our own personal gain. When I do an “OM” chanting practice, I can do it in several different ways – 1. I can use it to show those around me how peaceful and spiritual I am, 2. I can use it to open up my energy so my life can run more smoothly; or 3. I can do it with subtle awareness and witness the interconnections and changes as each “OM” progressively expresses through my body. For these three ways, these actions are exactly the same, yet the essence of each are completely different.

Consciously or unconsciously we are always asking “what can Enlightenment do for ME?”

Our collective ego structure is always interested in how to feel better. We find shortcuts in life and indulge ourselves in momentary pleasures often resulting in long drawn-out pain. We use alcohol, television, sports, sex, fashion, games, relationships, politics as ways to escape reality, as ways to turn away from looking within ourselves. As a result, we put on a false mask along with lavishly decorated armors to show the world who we pretend to be.

smart sexy personality purchase

Now this smart sexy personality can be purchased on ebay!

A young lady posts her intellectual achievements, re-shares the latest scientific discoveries, and shows-off how charismatically smart she is so she can gain the approval of her friends – only to find no matter how hard she tries to impress, she still felt like a black hole inside.

La Vérité - Truth (1870), Jules Joseph Lefebvre, oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

La Vérité – Truth (1870), Jules Joseph Lefebvre, oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.

An older man got married to a glamorous “trophy” – only to discover 15 years later that he’s trapped in a marriage without ever experiencing true love.

Amy’s Baking Company asked Chef Ramsey to help improve their business, only to not take any feedback and decide that everyone else is wrong. The owners blamed the internet haters and never for a second quietly took a look to see if they themselves are to blame.

Like Chef Ramsey, Enlightenment is not shy to serve you a plate of truth. You might overlook and ignore it for a while, but eventually it will slap you in the face until you wake up to the reality you’ve been avoiding for years.

Yup, I’ve been there. I’ve experienced the personal ego structure to the most delusional level and felt the collective ego structure on the most fundamental level within my own being. Our ego structure cares feverishly about the outer appearances of things while pushing aside the gut feelings, and ignoring the simplest truth.

The last time I witnessed myself asking “what can Enlightenment do for me?” I didn’t expect the honest truth it served me in such a timely manner. I got to look within myself and saw how egotistical my whole life was. All aspects of my life had been contaminated by a self-importance, self-consciousness, fear of failure, fear of looking bad, fear of rejection, a need to be accepted, a need to show-off, and the list goes on and on. I was that young lady, I was that older man, I was the owners of Amy’s Baking Company, and I too once played all parts in these roles. When I looked for what Enlightenment can do for me, I had hoped for a chance to win a million dollars, a top of the line sports car, or a way to look young and beautiful forever. Instead, Enlightenment has a different sense of humor.

For me, Enlightenment was holding up a mirror to reflect where my life was lived as a way to put on a show. It unveiled the naked truth that I avoided for so long – in every area and every moment of my life. I could not run away any longer. This time, I was stripped naked by Enlightenment, with a magnifying glass to examine each and every part of my self, my belief structure, and my hardened delusions. Then it took a scalpel, and surgically removed each and every untruth as they are being revealed – sometimes with insurmountable pain, other times with gentle awareness. The surgery is not complete. It has to be done over time. A time reveals more truth when each moment presents itself.

So if you found yourself asking “what can Enlightenment do for me?” If you are not ready for the truth, run the other way as fast as you can. Because Truth has a way of catching up to you if you are not careful. For some people, they can run and hide until Death comes to claim them. If you happen to slip and fall, know that Truth in her naked form will come with her bright mirror held up high and show you the truth regardless if you want it or not. Usually after putting up a fight, most of us can no longer keep up turning the other way in denials. There is a point that Truth will bring the arrival of Judgment Day when you are least expecting – and blows your masks and armors away without an apology. Truth is not nice. She is Truth. And Truth always wins.

What can Enlightenment do for you?

Enlightenment will strip you clean layer by layer until you recognize the naked truth of who you really are – Empty, Rich, Simple, Love, and Beautiful.

(A special Thanks to this simple and yet honest blog from Dragon Rider One.) 

September 2, 2013 Posted by | Choices, Enlightenment, Inner Growth, Self Realization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Being Naked

innocence of a child

What was your true face before you were born? How far can you strip away the layers of personas, protections and beliefs? And what will you find at the core of who you are?

When was the last time you felt naked? Totally unprotected and exposed? I don’t suppose it was very pleasant for most of us. However “being naked” is exactly the doorway leading to the most profound spiritual transformations.

So much of our lives we dress ourselves up in a persona. “I’m the thriller-seeking skydiver triathlete doctor.” or “I’m the successful microbiologist who published twice in Science magazine.” or even “I’m the  geeky shy guy who is awkward at parties.” These are the beliefs of who we are – that is who we are to the external world. We often live our lives according to a defined persona by choosing what to say, eat or act. Other people see us as this persona and they tend to categorize us into various boxes to know our likes and dislikes. There’s an invisible line that we never speak of or cross. We are careful maintaining a safe distance with each other. As long as we see each other as their persona they we can all be safe.

Sometime ago a friend learned that I practice Isha yoga and meditate everyday for at least two hours, I visit temples and ashrams,  and I’m an animal lover. So he assumed that I am either a vegan or a vegetarian and do not drink a drop of alcohol. When I told him that I was craving steak tartare with a healthy glass of red wine he looked at me with shocking eyes and a hint of disgust. Just to pierce through his illusions further I told him that I was once addicted to video games and didn’t sleep for three nights and I love playing jokes on people I love. I think he had a heart attack weeks after our conversation.

Psychologically we feel a need to protect ourselves from the opinions and judgment of others around us in order to feel safe and accepted. We think we must maintain a self-image at all times. Earlier in our childhood we need the physical protection of our care-takers in order to survive. If we behave the way they approve then we get food, shelter, and love. Bit by bit we learn that it is not okay to be who we are but we must present the correct self-image to the world in order to survive. We must be a certain way to obtain love. It is well documented from the works of Sigmund Freud that we struggle with life instincts he called the libido or sexual desires. In my view the expression of sexual desires is a life desire for love and intimacy. We instinctually desire to love and be loved. Yet our personas and layers of protection meant to keep us feeling safe become exactly the barriers that keep love at bay. Then instead of uncovering our unconscious tendencies that push people away we blame others for their “inadequacies”. Anna Freud popularized the ego defense mechanisms through her research and identified various unconscious psychological strategies we use to shield ourselves from perceived danger. It is said that we all carry a self-image like a shield over our chest. And an ego defense mechanism only becomes pathological is when its use leads to behaviors adversely affect the physical or mental health of an individual. From what I’ve seen, most people are in denial about how their ego defense mechanism is taking control of their lives. If you watch yourself closely and be very honest, you will begin to notice how you make your everyday choices is controlled by a perceived danger from your external environment. In short, our shield’s function was meant to keep our mind feeling safe but the side effect is pushing love away.

I know a lot of people but only a few individuals can truly open themselves up to True Love and intimacy. Sexuality is easy, True Love is intimidating. It requires one to be completely naked. Only through our nakedness can we truly experience who we really are. Only through our nakedness can we truly connect with another on the most fundamental level. And only through our nakedness can we know life as it really is. Lately I’m getting tired of being superficial in some of my friendships. I’m a person who needs depth and substance. I want to see you, I want to feel the depth of your being, and I want to dance with the mystery within the core of who you are. My desire is to be naked and see you naked. It doesn’t matter to me if I don’t fit into your box of proper personas. What’s important to me is to be true – to you and to me. I am not here to indulge your neediness or to help to inflate your ego. I am here to wake you up – to your own nakedness – to your own mystery – and the ultimate adventure of being completely intimate with Love and all that is.

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, Inner Growth, Self Realization | , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Let the Tears Flow

Me, exposed

"Tears sometimes cleanse the heart and ready it for deeper love." - Bob Luckin (Artist, Co-Director at Spiritual Enrichment Center, Sr. Minister at International Centers for Spiritual Living)

“Crying is for Wimps.” So I was told. But they didn’t tell me where to put my anger, my sadness and my sorrow…  I hurt. My body, my mind, my emotions… Sometimes I felt as if my chest was caving in and I must run away before my heart explodes. Other times I wish I had a strong man to hold me in his arms and tell me everything will be alright. This time I could not run nor use a man to rescue me. This time I am alone.

So I cried. Loud. I screamed out my sorrows from the depth of me. I saw my tortured soul burning in the sea of agony. Her pain ran into the dark abyss. I wanted to pull her out but didn’t know how. So I cried… The waves of hailing tears went on and on… And the end was nowhere near.

I cried for my heartbreak, I cried for not being good enough, I cried for my fears, I cried for my neediness, I cried for my physical pain, I cried for my inability to love freely, I cried for my suppressed feelings, I cried for my failures, I cried for my longings, I cried for my disappointments, I cried for stepping into potholes, I cried for being unkind, I cried for always getting myself into storms of emotions, I cried for my loneliness, I cried for misunderstandings, I cried for hurting the ones I love, I cried for my confusion, I cried for my desires, I cried…

I asked myself if feelings were wrong. Yet how could something so natural and so raw be wrong? If it weren’t wrong then why can’t I show it freely? If I can feel so much hard twisted suppressed pain within me then do you feel the same pain? If I have spent so many years suppressing my true feelings then do you suppress them too? If I only smile to the world and secretly lock away my truth do you do the same? If we all suffer then who is going to rescue us from descending deeper into the abyss? Why do we have such violent feelings? Why can’t I stop crying? … Analyzing my pain only brought up more self-inflected misery. So I discarded my intellect, peeled off my cloth, laid on my back and watched the tears flow.

Naked. Exposed. Raw. This is me. The uncut version.

I feel deeply. I love passionately. I sense intensely. This is me. The truthful version.

I pretended I didn’t care. I acted I didn’t bleed. I toughed it out to demonstrate I am doing just fine. But I am not. That is not me. You only saw the mask and thought that was the real me.

I cried for all the untruth I showed to you, I cried for all the rejected feelings within me, I cried for all the masks I wore, I cried for all the egoic games I played, I cried for alienating you, I cried for the old wounds that still hunt me, I cried for the hope that someday I can show you how deeply I love, I cried for the longing to express my truth, I cried for us and the freedom within reach…

Two days of tears. Two days of storms. Wind. Thunder. Hail. I am still here, somehow standing calmly within the storm. No need to run. No need to hide. The ice melting. A smile softening into the tears. My heart is beating. Regardless of the storm, I am calm. I am here. I am free.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, Self Realization, Tears | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Hospital

My True Color

My True Color

The helicopter came to pick me up…  A short ride later, I was greeted by a group of ER workers asking me to stay awake…  They thought that I might be broken…  They apologized for the pain any movements might be causing me…  By the look on their faces, I realized that I should be in massive pain and yet I wasn’t…

Somehow I was in bliss…

One of the nurses cut off my expensive tri-suit.  I was completely exposed to a dozen strangers…   Stretched out naked on the gurney, I was completely naked and yet completely peaceful…

What other choices do I have?  I can not move and I can not speak…  This is how I am – right here, right now…  This is how I must be at this moment.  I have no other choice…  Not able to pretend, I can only be me, in the rawest form…

At this moment, I no longer cared how I appeared to the outside world.  Knowing that I am able to breath, I felt a tremendous sense of freedom…

I feel lighter now…  So glad that I can breath…

May 6, 2006 Posted by | Death & Rebirth | , , | Leave a comment