Leo's Blog: Infinite Insights
Miscellaneous bits of wisdom about personal development, philosophy, epistemology, nonduality, life purpose, psychedelics, etc. Published randomly throughout the week.
Insights here are meant to be quick and half-baked. Consider these food for thought.
I've deliberately disabled comments to keep the blog streamlined. If you want to discuss any of the blog posts, you can do so here: Actualized.org Forum
One of the most disgusting crimes perpetrated by the U.S. government:
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
The above is a direct confession of Nixon administration and Watergate co-conspirator John Ehrlichman.
That psychedelics are illegal and so demonized by the state is a crime against human rights. What they taught you in school about psychedelics — and what has now become the general population's default position on psychedelics — was a propagandistic, scientifically invalid load of horseshit. A political smear campaign which will take us more than a century to correct.
Make no mistake, we are still in the Dark Ages. If only people knew to what extent... Of course the very tools that can quickly and easily show the extent are demonized and outlawed. The ego's devilry knows no bounds. It simultaneously does its dirty work at the private and collective levels, without qualms.
For the same reasons, The War on Terrorism will prove a far greater failure than The War on Drugs.
A few months ago I heard doctor Jeffery Martin of the Finder's Course — who's doing great research on enlightenment in an academic setting — referring to enlightenment as "persistent non-symbolic experience".
At first I thought: what an awkward way to phrase it.
But the more I meditate and self-inquire, the more I see the power of this phrasing. Because it captures the essence of what we're aiming for.
What are we REALLY trying to do when we meditate or self-inquire?
We're trying to escape symbolic experience! Monkey mind is symbolic experience. Rationalization is symbolic experience. Traditional learning is symbolic experience. Talking is symbolic experience. Western philosophy is symbolic experience. Science is symbolic experience.
To escape all that and to see reality AS-IT-IS you have to drop symbolizing. Because symbols, by definition, are NOT the things they represent. People really overlook this simple point: to symbolize a thing is to immediately misrepresent it. Because you have to substitute the thing itself with a second thing, while forgetting the second thing's being! This is the core of how illusion happens. Symbols cannot get at the BEING-level of anything. All symbols are metaphorical, which means they aren't the bottom-most level.
Mindfulness = the opposite of symbolism. Mindfulness is the untying of the knot of being wrapped up in language, to return back to a non-linguistic, non-symbolic mode of being.
First-order reality is non-symbolic. Second-order reality is symbolic, but this entire second order is by virtue of the first. It's eye opening to pause throughout the day and realize, "Oh, hey! I've been lost in symbolic reality all day. That's not primary! Let me get back to what's primary by letting go of all this symbolizing."
Symbols are a very powerful tool. Just think of how much it has allowed mankind to achieve. But like all powerful tools, when used unconsciously, it's a source of great suffering and danger. Symbols creates the possibility for delusion.
This insight is MASSIVE in it's scope and significance. It will take you years of mindfulness practice to grasp what I'm saying. But that's okay, it will be worth it.
Anal-Haq (pronounced: an'aaal h'aaak) is an Arabic phrase which translates as, "I am Truth".
This phrase was famously uttered by the great Sufi mystic Mansur Al-Hallaj, who was executed in Baghdad in the year 922 A.D. for proclaiming: "Anal-Haq! Anal-Haq!"
"I am God! I am God!"
Of course he was dead-on. So much so it got him hung. A tragic example of how organized religion backfires, killing the very truth its meant to promote.
I wanted to bring this phrase to your attention so you could add it to your nonduality lexicon. I love collecting and studying the many different phrases for enlightenment found around the world. Hopefully this expands your appreciation of mystical traditions around the world and makes your pursuit of nonduality more cosmopolitan.
Be diligent with your self-inquiry work, and one day you will exclaim "Anal-Haq!!!" with a shit-eating grin.
I saw my Lord with the eye of the heart
I asked, "Who are You?"
He replied, "You".
"Rational" people tend to dismiss too-easily various religious, spiritual, mystical, and folkloric traditions from around the world, and from the past. The reality is that even though many of these traditions contain much dogma and nonsense, they also contain hidden truths grounded in hard empirical facts. It's just that often these are edge-case, non-mainstream phenomena.
Here's an illustrative example:
Did you know that Will-o-the-wisps actually exist?
Yeah, I'm not kidding. Check this out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will-o'-the-wisp
Apparently it's a real phenomena found in swamps and marshes. As various gases escape the marsh, they create a spooky display of glowing light. Pretty cool stuff!
It's important that we learn the epistemic lesson here: just because something sounds spooky or mystical doesn't mean there isn't something real behind it. Reality can be stranger than fiction.
In my own research and experience, I'm finding enormous value in studying and trying to understand the esoteric traditions of the past. Humans were A LOT wiser in the past than we were taught in school. This is easy to overlook because we basically live in a modern culture of idiocracy. Our culture places way too much emphasis on the mainstream, the low-brow, and technology.
If science was clever, it would re-visit all the ancient myths from all the world's cultures with the aim of validating them, so that we may discover all their possible empirical origins. This could be a research project worthy of a Nobel prize. My hunch is, it would yield some fruit.
Following up on my video The Role Of Balance In Personal Development, I wanted to clarify what real balance looks like.
So I drew this little diagram:
So in this case what the diagram represents are the possible ways to balance the issue of science vs mysticism. This is just one facet — out of dozens — that you'll have to balance in your life. Look at this like a spectrum. On the far left you've got the hard-nosed science position. On the far right you've got the very religious/mystical position.
Most people have a naive notion of balance. They think of balance as depicted by the green dotted lines above. Balance to them either means going straight down the middle on an issue, or down one of the sides.
But real balance looks more like the purple line above. It's jagged and nuanced. Drawing that jagged line requires a real exploration of the issue. It takes work. How much easier to be an ideologue and draw one of the dotted lines.
Of course this applies to all the other facets of life:
- Career vs family
- Personal development vs pursuit of enlightenment
- Being an asshole vs being too nice
- Theory vs practice
- Pragmatism vs idealism
- Art vs marketing
- Chasing money vs neglecting money
- Doing vs being
- Expressing emotions vs suppressing emotions
- Capitalism vs communism
- Privacy rights vs defending against terrorism
Amazing video for serious consciousness explorers. Kilindi is a badass.
Do you have the balls to do a 30g mushroom trip?
I see many rationalist, pragmatic, skeptic, and scientifically-minded people misunderstanding the origin of the phenomena of worship. They tend to see it as a hoax or a con perpetrated by shysters and demagogues on small-minded folk who haven't learned enough critical thinking skills. But that's not true worship.
Yes, there is that silly form of worship, such as maybe worshiping the Pope. People worship the Pope without even knowing what the guy did or why he's Pope. He could be an elitist asshole and people would still bow to him. This is false worship. Needless to say it's neurotic, dangerous, and small-minded. This kind of worship is easy to denounce for scientifically-minded people.
But if you're really curious about reality, you gotta wonder, "Where did the idea for worshiping the Pope come from? Is it just a complete fabrication? Or could it be an imitation? And if so, an imitation of what? Why would any commonsense person worship another? Is it really just because they are simple-minded?"
Turns out there is such a thing as TRUE worship — it just gets conveniently ignored because it requires a certain rare kind of experience in order to appreciate. True worship happens when you are in the presence of a truly masterful human being, and you have the requisite awareness and knowledge base to actually fathom the depth of his mastery. So advanced is his mastery that from your point of view, it is inhuman. It is incredible. It is impossible. So advanced is his mastery, it strikes you with awe like a sledgehammer. It's a physical experience of awe. This is real worship, and you can experience it if you go deep enough in this work.
The deepest field of human mastery — by a long shot — is not business, or military, or art, or science, or sports. It's self-mastery and consciousness-mastery. How can I make such a bold claim? Because mastery of the self is the most emotionally laborious and trickiest endeavor possible for a human being. Just try it! Everything else is easy by comparison. A human being who has thoroughly mastered himself cannot help but evoke awe (or anger) in those who come in contact with him. Because he's like a totally different class of human being (while at the same time not really above anyone). Here is a guy who has accomplished something that you never imagined possible. Here is a guy who has accomplished something that you personally KNOW is amazing, because deep down inside you know how little control you have over yourself.
And that's the true origin of religious worship. Mystics — the guys who were the seeds of every serious religion — were such people. They mastered themselves so thoroughly that even 3000 years ago, before books, newspapers, radio, TV, advertising, and social media, they were able to amass huge followings — not through false promises and gimmickry as "skeptics" like to believe — but by evoking genuine awe. An awe which was deserved.
Mystics were the original Purple Cows!
This is a phenomena that you can still experience for yourself today. There are people alive right now whose self-mastery is so deep that should you meet them face-to-face, you will be genuinely awed and humbled.
Sound far-fetched? I dare you to put your own skepticism to the test!
But be warned, a true worship experience will not reveal itself to "skeptics", cynics, dabblers, and smart-asses. This isn't college philosophy or debate class. You must first put some skin in the game. Only after years of your own pitiful meditation or self-help efforts will you be in a position to fully appreciate the achievements of a master. You don't even have enough experience yet to realize just how deep this deepest field of human mastery goes. It would make you dizzy and ill to your stomach to find out all at once. Which is why it's so easy for people to play the skeptic.
Only when the student is serious, will the master be revealed.
The song that I originally wanted to use for the Gallery of Absolute Infinity, but couldn't due to copyright:
People sometimes comment, "But Leo! What more is there beyond enlightenment?"
Ecology is a big theme I will push in the future. You cannot keep living as though you are the only consciousness on this planet. There is a much bigger game to be played. Every decent human being will be required to think and act ecologically in the future. Ego is inversely proportional to ecology.
If you cannot be ecological, there is no kensho.
I love thinking about the science vs religion debate, because it's so absurd. As it turns out, No-God is the exact same thing as God! But good luck convincing a dogmatic atheist or theist of that.
Atheists like to think they are epistemicly superior to theists, but this is just ignorance. Atheism is just another flavor of theism.
I drew a little diagram of how atheism and theism go full-circle. Here's how the whole game works:
Imagine you as a point located somewhere on the perimeter of this circle, free to move around clockwise or counter-clockwise.
Think of the atheist position (No God) as one pole of a circle whose other pole is the theist position (God).
Of course, both poles think they're right, both poles think they're fundamentally distinct, and both poles think they know what they're talking about. But in reality neither one does. Atheists don't understand nothingness or God, and neither do theists. So what they do is move upward into ego, which leads to firm position-taking and ultimately a clash. This is the lazy default position of the mind. This is what happens when one doesn't understand epistemology or psychology. Both sides are equally wrong because both sides aren't aware of the game they're playing. They actually believe they've got it right!!! But as they engage in this behavior, they move ever further away from the truth that God is Nothingness.
Now, if the mind happens to turn inward, that's where we get real progress. As ego is shed, the gap between No God and God becomes ever smaller, until finally God becomes Nothingness. Nothingness IS God! Quite literally. And once you grasp that, the entire dynamic is suddenly revealed for the illusory ego-game that it was.
This is what every great mystic and enlightenment being has discovered.
Do you have the wisdom to turn inward? Or will you continue being a child, insisting that peanut butter is better than jelly?
Note: it's would be a big mistake to interpret what I'm saying as mere relativism, or splitting-the-difference, or averaging the two perspectives out of political correctness or desire for common ground. NO! I'm talking about ACTUALLY discovering that God is Nothingness!
Like... For REAL!
The best way to hide a thing, is in plain sight.
I love examples of how something can be hidden in plain sight. A sleight of hand so obvious, you smile when you see it. Nowhere does this apply more than with spirituality.
When people first start to learn about spirituality they tend to fall into one of two traps:
- Spirituality is just a bunch of fairy tale wishful thinking
- Spirituality is some exotic set of otherworldly experiences
In both cases, nothing could be further from the case. Spirituality is about becoming conscious of reality exactly as it is, but at a deeper dimension. In Zen, they like to say: Nothing is hidden.
What rationalists and "skeptics" who poo-poo spirituality don't understand is just how significant a simple shift in perspective can be. Nothing has to change about the facts on the ground, so to speak. All that needs to change is your perspective and your entire world flips upside down. But this is the pity of materialistic thinking. It's mesmerized by the gross, superficial dimension of reality. People who are used to thinking in materialistic ways expect spirituality to be a gross, materialistic sort of thing. As though if the facts on the ground don't change, it doesn't matter. That's the huge oversight! Spirituality is SUBTLE! It's seamlessly interleaved into the gross. Like a beautiful chameleon in the rainforest, lost on the tourist.
To illustrate this point, take a look at these stereograms. Cross your eyes as you stare at them to spot the hidden object inside.
Did you see it?
Notice that none of the facts changed, but the shift in perspective you experienced was very significant and real. It's like you discovered a new dimension to reality. And it was right there the whole time! Hidden, but not really hidden.
What if — right now — there was something equally obvious about your perception of reality that's been hidden in plain sight your whole life? What if people have been pointing to it for 2,000 years, but you've kept saying, "You must be crazy! There's nothing there to see."
Enlightenment is like that. It's a shift in perspective, not a change in personality or behavior, as people often confuse. The lesson here is never to underestimate just how significant a "mere" shift in perspective can be. Perspective is everything.