Archive for November, 2009

Insight #64 ~ ZEN Shredding…
November 27, 2009


There will always be someone ‘better’ than you. 

If you continue to compare, assess and evaluate yourself according to some external person or ideal, you’ll never create the space for your own success to be revealed through the value of Self-expression and Self-appreciation.  Your success is based on your ability to express your authentic Self without judgment.

Extended commentary:

Radical transformation is the ability and willingness to examine who you think you are in a “critical”, investigative way; with a dispassionate intention that in that examination and enquiry process “you’ll” become “clearer” if that thought, feeling, emotion, perception, association or memory is congruent with Who You Are. 

Ultimately there comes a time when every thought, feeling, emotion, perception, association and memory is recognized to be part of the illusion of “me”; the “me” and “you” that “we” imagine ourselves to be; for with that erroneous identification comes suffering.  The realization that there is no self that can be defined or based on thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, associations, memories or body/mind, provides the space and possibility for subjective freedom to occur.

Radical transformation is not about adding anything more to what you already are; if anything, it is the dismantling of who you thought you were, which creates the space for the “bigger” “you” to appear.  Stephen Wolinsky on speaking of “our perceived work” once said about the “work”:

“…is to destabilize the illusion of boundaries that produce the “experience” of a separate, individual self”

Walden III

The illusion of competitive “me” is a boundary and obstacle; both on an individual and collective level and is a survival based way of being.  All thinking, being, doing and having are based on an attempt to game ones life experience; to survive in better or more sophisticated ways.  The mechanics are straightforward in their stratagy: if I think particular thoughts “I” will be able to survive in a better way; if “I” be a certain way “I” will improve the quality of my experience; if “I” do a particular thing, I will achieve a particular outcome, and if “I” have this or that, “I” will be more happy.

While the mechanics of this approach may appear to work on the level of the mind and out there in the world of form and phenomena, there can be no causal connection with this approach when it comes to finding out Who We Are. This competitive, tribal based way of being will simply contribute to the experience and expression of greater, unmatched levels of individual and collective suffering.     

What benefit do you receive by assessing, evaluating or comparing yourself to others?


To order a copy of ZEN Shredding please visit:


Check out “Living The Dream”, the gift book version of the slideshow/movie that is available to view free on You tube or the ZEN Shredding website; an inspiring read with full color photo’s of Whistler/Blackcomb Alpine…


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The Essentials of a Good Life…


(c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.




After thought #8
November 26, 2009

Trapped in the fiction of “me”.

Life is a story.  An abstracted [biological edited], self engendered [psychological adoption] and interpretation of reality, loosely based on belief, experience, perception, understanding and knowledge.  Ours is the greatest story that will ever be told; it is the only story that will ever be told.  “Each” an every human being is a perceivable universe unto themselves with its own set of beliefs, experiences, understandings and knowledge that make up the ingredients of that grand narrative.

This story of “me” is a personalized, Cole’s note version of reality.  While it might appear to feel like and be reality from a subjective point of view; at best it is only a personalized, conventional, filtered interpretation of our “own” experience and understanding. 

“I” suffer, because “I” think “I” exist.  Held within every thought, feeling, emotion, perception, memory and association of this body and mind, is the “DNA” of who “I” imagine “my”self to be; the words, the sentences, and the paragraphs that contribute to “my” narration of a fictional “me”. 

As long as “I” continue to identify myself with and as the story of “me”, I will suffer. When “my story” is left unattended, un-questioned, and un-confronted, I will continue to be the innocent victim to an unauthorized narrative called the mind, that needs to be investigated and then discarded at all costs.

 Essential “spirituality” or the discovery of Who We Are, is not the addition of new plotlines or explanations to the story of “me”, however “meaningful” or “purposeful” those adventures and stories may be.  Essential “spirituality” is not the revision of a story line from failure to success, sickness to health, poverty to prosperity, or sadness to joy, although the story line will inherently include many of these plotlines that are flavored by these experiences.  A change in the storyline regarding success, achievement, understanding or tenure, “should” not be prematurely confused with the realization of self. 

Understanding the story of “me” is also not the realization of “me”, or “I”.  How can insight on the story of a fictional “me” (pseudo self) bring freedom?  Only the “I” wants to know why.  If bondage is created by that fictional “me”, then the opposite ~ freedom, is part of the illusion; where is the question of freedom?

Please enjoy a short videos, by author and teacher Stephen Wolinsky; one of only a few direct, living, western students of Sri Nirsargadatta Maharaj

To learn more about Stephen Wolinsky and his work please visit:

After thought #7
November 12, 2009


For most of my life I thought and believed that what was important was to think something, be something, do something and have something.  I mean isn’t that what life is about?  We’re born and our reason for being is to think certain things, be a certain way, do certain things and hopefully accumulate certain results that allow us to say we have lived a fulfilled life and we know who we are.

I’m not so sure any more, especially in the context of finding out Who We Are.  I’m not so sure, and I’m not so confident that at the deepest level, from a so-called “spiritual perspective”, that the mechanics of this assumption and process is valid.  If we look at the mechanics innocently, most spiritual philosophies follow a similar “my” theology.  In order to be “spiritual”, we need to think spiritual thoughts, do spiritual things, have spiritual experiences that will hopefully allow us to be who we are spiritually.  

I’m starting to realize inherently there is no difference to the mechanics or approach of this perceived new way of being.  It is not a new way of Being, and it certainly does not necessarily lead us to be any more “closer” to finding out Who We Are.  The same, exact mechanics are in operation here.  It’s the same way of being, with a different content; it just looks more exciting, sometimes feels more exciting, and on one level appears to be a more sociably acceptable form, or new way of living that will reduce or eliminate our suffering.  In the best case scenario, it may provide more happiness and fulfillment, but it still entails thinking, being, doing and having, and if “our” “intention” is to find out Who We Are, if our “intention” is for radical transformation, it is a very seductive distraction and illusion. 

If “our intention” is for “transformation”, to redefine “our sense of self” so that we can move beyond suffering and ways of being that do not serve, one that is not based on thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, associations or memories, then the inherent mechanics of our approach; changing the content of our thinking, being, having and doing, is flawed. 

It is the mechanics of our thinking, being, doing and having itself, that are flawed.  Changing the content of our thinking, being, having and doing, will not eliminate the suffering and it will not lead to Self, it will only serve to create yet another, potential, obstacle, towards the inherent discovery and allowing of Who We Are.  Prior to thinking something, being something, doing something and having something, you are…


After thought #6
November 5, 2009

Most human beings do not worship “God” per say; they worship their ideas about “God”, or someone else’s ideas of what “God”, “the creator”, or the Universe” is.  For most of us contemporary spirituality (unlike most religions although it is still possible to pull the same trip) is like going to a smorgasbord at a restaurant; we look around, pick at this and that, try to find something that tastes good; something that “works” or “fits”; something that “feels right” for us, and when it does, we go on a binge, gorging ourselves until we can eat no more. 

We spend our lives caught up in finding a system, trying to learn that system, trying to understand and adapt to that system and the knowledge that goes along with that system; even though, it may have little to nothing to do with the actual process of finding out Who We Are. 

Part of this approach, is motivated on the misconception that we have been conditioned to believe that what we “seek”, is “out there”; that we will find “it”, “out there”.  The realization that “we” are already “it” never occurs to us; better said, that there actually is no “it”, beyond the idea of “it”, is too great of a leap for the average seeker to comprehend. 

The average seeker is not really interested in discovering Who they are.  The average seeker is interested in shopping around for a philosophy or belief system that creates the most comfort for their existing, conditioned mind.  Finding out who you are for most, causes to much discomfort; discomfort in the realization that you are NOT what you think, feel, assume, or imagine yourself to be.  You are NOT what you are told you are. 

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj once said:

“Everything you learned about yourself, you learned from outside yourself; therefore, discard it…”

When you shop around for a practice, philosophy, technique, or tool, it won’t necessarily enable you to be successful in the discovery of Who You Are.  It might provide an opportunity to learn knowledge, have experiences, and a potential for some level of mastery within that system, but in most cases, it will potentially serve as distraction from noticing what is most important; that inherently “within you” there is a natural, unconditional accesability to THAT state or THAT presence, which was always there in the background of your awareness waiting to be discovered.

To paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche, “how can you become what you already are?”

You are not an average seeker!



Please enjoy these two short videos, by author and teacher Stephen Wolinsky; one of only a few direct, living, western students of Sri Nirsargadatta Maharaj

 To learn more about Stephen Wolinsky and his work please visit:


After thought #5
November 3, 2009

How do you define yourself?

I think this has to be one of the most powerful questions we could ask ourselves to find out where you are “standing” in the moment.  How you defined yourself when you were ten years old is very different than how you may define yourself in this present moment now; likewise, it will likely be very different ten years from now.  In each and every moment we can in fact, vacillate dramatically, in who we imagine we are, by the way in which we define ourselves in that moment.

The “problem” with humanity is that we are constantly trying to define ourselves.  We are conditioned from birth to define ourselves and we spend our lives in the constant pursuit of more and more refined definitions that are shaped by the choices, decisions, beliefs and experiences that occur. 

Consciously and unconsciously we are taught and told who we are by others: our society, our peers, our culture or another’s, religion and even politics can mold the paradigm in which you see, experience and express the concept of self, or “I”. 

As if that wasn’t enough, some of the most dangerous definitions of self, were, and are, self engendered.  We observe, we absorb, and we masturbate those ideas, thoughts, notions, perceptions, associations, feelings and memories, like some sick variation of a Pavlovian experiment.  In our innocent naïveté, we actually believe we truly know and understand who we are in the sense of how we see our self, the world, and how others see us.

The moment you define yourself is the moment you limit yourself.  Those ideas, thoughts, notions, perceptions, associations, feelings and memories that we have wedded ourselves to ultimately serve as a filter and lens that limit the limitless.  As long as we continue to identify ourselves as and by our body/mind only, we will continue to limit the unbounded nature that we are, we will prevent our ability to stabilize awareness in our essential core.  As long as our awareness continues to be scattered into this and that, we will continue to suffer under the erroneous, neurosis of our very own personalized, narrative, which defines and determines who we imagine ourselves to be.

Are you really Black or White, Canadian or American, gay or straight, man or woman, poor or rich? 

Do you really think that Who You Are is defined by what you do or don’t do, have, or feel?  That Who You Are is based on the level of your I.Q., how much money you make, where you work, or whether you have positive or negative thoughts?  Perhaps your trip is locked in the shrine of who you thought you were in the past, or who you think you are now; and what about the future “you” that you continually invest in? 

Have you lost the value of your essential nature in the projection of that imagined future definition?

Do you think the vastness of Who You Are can be corralled by the level of your education, religion, sexual preference, or ethnicity?  

Does your personal suffering presently overwhelm and determine, shape and thwart, what is, what was, and what will always be?

Can we let go of the need to define a sense of self that is based only on the dogma of conventional thinking and understanding, or are we able and willing to quietly begin the dismantling process, finally breaking the chains that have bound the unbound? 

Through the enquiry of unconventional thinking ~ through “expansion” of awareness, is it possible to unlock the vast, untapped potential of what is, what was, and what will always be?  

How do you define yourself?

How do “I” define myself?

After writing this, preferably not thank you.

“I” think it’s time to erase my bio/profile…



Please enjoy a short video commentary by an amazing teacher, author and guide; Stephen Wolinsky, on the role of identification.

 To learn more about Stephen Wolinsky and his work please visit:

After thought #4
November 1, 2009

Conventional Spirituality would have you believe that the realization of Who You Are is somehow dependent upon what you are thinking, being, having and doing in life.  That somehow through gain, achievement, or merit, you reach a point of knowing Who You Are.  

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Spirituality is not math.  It has nothing to do with addition of “good” things such as philosophy, vegetarianism, practice, or prayer.  Likewise, it has nothing to do with subtraction of  percieved “bad” things, such as your “shadow”, a disease, or you’re so-called negative thoughts.

There comes a time when you realize that Who You Are cannot be gamed; when its time to strip yourself naked of erroneous, conceptual beliefs and understanding; by blatantly examining, questioning and investigating all ideas, judgments and assumptions you ever had about yourself, your life and your so-called spirituality.

With that occurrence, you might be lucky enough to create the space for something even grander to appear; something you could never have imagined or hoped for. 

It’s really only in the light of awareness that “truth” can really be seen, not for the appearance it may or may not take on as form or phenomena, but in the clarifying value of absolute stillness; in the deepest silence where there is no this and that, “you” are the truth…

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