Archive for March, 2010

After Thought #23
March 30, 2010

Tired of being me; The role of identity.

There appear to be times in life when we bump head on into self engendered thinking; definitions of self and world that no longer serve the goal of Being Who We Are.  The judgments, the comparisons, the assumptions and beliefs; the measurements of understanding that were and are, consciously and unconsciously engrained and adopted; used as prescription to guide and inform and more often or not, determine us in the understanding of who we imagine our self to be.

The wisdom of awareness is the process of waking up from outdated ways, the common thinking with which we define and limit Self and others.  The labels, the beliefs and the assumptions; the imagined clarity and delusion of “preference” that shapes and influences who we think we are as an “I” that lives and breathes in the world of form an phenomena.

Radical Spirituality requires a radical awakening; an awakening of awareness that undermines our present cognitive process.  It’s the intentionally or unintentional breaking down of accumulated ideas and beliefs of self that we have: that we gave ourselves, that we were given, and that we will inevitable give.  The same ideas that so often easily diminish Self and others, in a hundred, thousand, different ways.

This is the heart and inherent success of any “authentic” Spiritual Path; a “path” that demands its own investigation, enquiry and validity.  Where we challenge and thwart the very integrity of an idea we imagined and believed to be true. To reveal a process, a potential demise of the very ‘path” we have trodden.

We are not speaking of accumulation here; this is not the true path of transformation.  We are not looking to add more understanding, new ideas, or more innuendo to a perception of reality that is already overwhelmed and deluded; burdened by a life of seduction into endless knowledge and the pursuit of achievement; the avoidance of loss; the clarity or confusion; the merit of doing.  We are not talking of tenure or so called mastery of this or that.

Most of us spend our lives in the pursuit of defining ourselves.  We could say that it is hardwired into our nervous system as a way to learn to survive in more and more sophisticated ways.  It’s a biologically driven mandate: “I’ve got to define myself”; “I’ve got to define myself”. “The more “I” can define myself, the more “I” can survive in better, more successful ways”. “If “I” try to define myself as a man or woman, brother or sister, student or teacher; as a seeker or “finder”, then, “I” will survive in better ways.  Then, “I” will survive in more successful ways.  Then, “I” will survive in more powerful, safer, attractive ways.  Then and only then, “I” will be happier!”

The purpose of life appears to be the journey of defining one self in more and more sophisticated and meaningful ways; but what if it is not?  What if we did not place such a high importance on defining ourselves: as a boy or girl, gay or straight, black or white, Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Jew?

What if our definition of Self lay not so much in the foundation of our conditioning, our family or our community?

What if we did not define ourselves by what we did or do?

What if we did not define ourselves with regard to our political systems, culture or country?  What if we did not define or think of ourselves so much in terms of the content of our past and future, our fears or dreams, our joys or sadness; all those ideas that arise from our sanitized, narrowly defined meaning of success and failure?

What if we deliberately and intentionally decided to NOT define our selves any more?

What if we decided to un-define the defined?

What if we decided to examine and question the validity of all our past and present defining?

Where would it take us?

How would it affect us?

How would it shape and influence the way we think, feel, see and “do” life?

It’s not going to feel comfortable you know!  It’s going to slam you head first into the grain of your modus operandi in life; the ways in which you live your life in order to survive.  It’s going to slap you in the face with some of your most hard core defining, and the “you” that you imagined yourself to be.

“This is how “I” defined myself”, “This is how “I” am defining myself”.  “This is how “I” will define myself…”

Most of us think of ourselves as separate individual entities; distinctly removed from nature, each other, and everything.   But what if it’s not true?  What if we’re not so separate?

What if the distinction that appears to occur is a side effect of our defining; a ramification of our thinking and the very language that it’s anchored to?

What if the ideas, notions, perceptions, associations, memories and feelings that we have used to define ourselves in more concrete ways, have actually removed us from the truth of who we were, Who We Are and who we can Be?

What if it has isolated us from the roots of our humanity and the humanity of others?

What if, as a result of our obsessive, compulsive defining, we have instead created barriers in the use of language and thinking; in our philosophies of doing and being that temporarily prevent us from experiencing the inherent truth of Who We Are, and the potential freedom we could actually have, living from that level of Being?

What if we no longer defined our self through the hurt, the pain and the rejection we all experience?   What if we no longer defined our self according to the conditions that exist within our mind, body and world?

How would this impact “you”?

How would it change “you”?

How would it transform the way “you” think, feel and “do” life?

How exactly do we define ourselves then?

Simple answer: we don’t!

We stop defining ourselves and we begin to examine, question and investigate the impact of that defining and the meaning we give our experience.  We begin to notice; we become aware of how all struggle, confusion and suffering: both personal and universal, is based on ones attempt to define oneself; to protect oneself in that imagined definition, meaning, and story we give to all life experience.

Every time we define ourselves, we limit ourselves.  Every time we define ourselves, we create a distinction where there is none.  Every time we define ourselves we bound the unbound.  We trap ourselves in a box of words and ideas, notions and philosophies that can only, inevitably, limit the true expression of Who We Are.

After Thought #22
March 23, 2010


Who Are You?


One of the most important questions we can ask our Self on the path of awareness, is Who am I?  When navigated successfully, it is the beginning of the end.  It’s the beginning of freedom and the ending of the “I” that we imagined ourselves to be. It is a fresh new start in living and perceiving life in more unbounded ways; free from the baggage of self engendered, conceptual encumbrances; free from the hypnosis of cultural conditioning.

If you walk up to an “average” person, on an “average” street corner, and simply asked them the question Who are you?  They would likely come up with a number of varied but predictable responses.  They would probably tell you their name and ethnic background; perhaps their occupation in life.  They might describe themselves as a man or woman, a teenager or old man, they might say I’m a student or teacher, or describe in some detailed way, a passion or role they engage in their life: “I’m a writer”, “snowboarder” or “photographer”.  “I’m a “father”, “husband” or “basket ball coach”.   While all of these responses seem reasonable in any conventional way of thinking, we need to acknowledge that they are not Who You Are. 

If we are honest; brutally honest, everything that has been said so far, is really a label or description of something you do, a condition of your body, or a circumstance that may exist in your life; which is not Who You Are.  All these ideas and notions; all these labels come from the mind; a mind that grasps and clings, a mind that shifts and changes in its assumed identification, from moment to moment and thing to thing.

You are not your labels, nor are you any of the things you call ideas, notions, perceptions, associations, memories, feelings, and emotions that appear to happen; that come and go.  They are impulses of the mind.  They exist or did exist.  They will come and they will eventually go.  These are conditions of the mind; they are states of the mind. 

The wisdom of awareness can tell us that we are not the mind, nor are we the thoughts contained within that mind.  The wisdom of experience can also inform us that we are not the body, nor are we the conditions and circumstances that happen to that body.

Who you are is present in all these circumstances, all these conditions, and all these states as the silent, still “background”.  Even if you are not aware of it, the real “you” lies beyond these circumstances; circumstances that can only, ever, happen in the foreground of life.  The real “you” happens as background.

Most of us marginalize Who We Are because our attention is focused and obsessed only on the foreground of life.  Our attention is fixated on the foreground and we have lost touched with the background, which is reality.  We have a sense of self that is based on our identification to things. 

We identify ourselves as those things; things that can be labeled that become the content of our life; of what has occurred, of what is occurring and what might occur.  We also, easily identify ourselves with what we wanted to occur, what is not occurring, and what we fear might occur in our day to day experience.  We identify ourselves to the stories that arise out of those occurrences and none occurrences; we imagine we are the stories we tell ourselves, the stories we tell others and the stories that they tell us and others about ourselves.  We label those stories “my” past, “my” present and “my” future.

We think we are how much money we have, or don’t have. We think that we are the type of car we drive or the car that we are going to drive.  We think that we are what we have achieved or not achieved; what we did, what we’re doing, or what we’re going to do.  We think we are happy or sad, white, black or other.  We think we are a man or woman, gay or straight or a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim or Jew.

We think and identify ourselves to allot of things: the thoughts we have, the feelings that inspire, the emotions that come and go.  We think we are the perceptions, associations and memories we have or don’t have.  We think we are what we are thinking, being, having and doing. 

Because we identify ourselves as these things, and to these stories, there is immense suffering as a result of our labeling and identification, as a result of our obsession to define ourselves.  Our conditioning is thick; we lose ourselves in that conditioning.  We lose ourselves in the content of our experience; the “good” and the “bad”, the “up” and the “down”, the “clarity” and the “confusion”. 

We cannot find Self in things, nor can we find IT, in past or future.  The wisdom of awareness asks us to consider that Who We Are can only, ever be found in the present moment.  It suggests that we can only ever really know Who We Are by first identifying what we are not, because Who We Are is so indefinable, so unimaginable, and so natural, that we can only ever Be it.  We can only ever Be it now…

After thought #21
March 19, 2010


Radical Spirituality is the recognition that there is but “one” substance.  Projections of the mind suggest to us that there is more than “one” substance; that there are in fact an infinite number of substances that take the form of things; things which we call “this” and “that”.

The mind made fields of Psychology and Spirituality often suggest that nothing becomes something and in becoming that something it is now separate from the nothing; somehow different from the nothing; somehow isolated from nothing that became something.

In that mind made distinction the nothing that became something is then labeled; it is categorized, judged, evaluated and compared.  In the innocence of that nothing that is simultaneously always something, there is a perception of loss and degradation, spiritualization or demonization by the mind then occurs; all philosophies, religions and conceptual understandings then flow from those mind based ideas of this and that, anchored to the concept of separation, distinction, isolation.   

With the acceptance and belief that there is something, all manner of stories are created to then justify and explain not only the reasons for the separation and something, but also what is then needed to reconcile the perceived separation; where there is in fact none.  We get caught up in the story of an imagined something and its separation and then we spend our lives trying to fix, change or repair the illusion of that something and its separation into this and that.

It’s seductive to get caught up in this and that.  The more our attention is captured, fixated and obsessed on the potential gain and accomplishment, the pain and pleasure that appears to be had or avoided in this and that, the more we lose touch with an awareness of presence.  The more it feels like there is separation, the more we lose touch with the possibility of experiencing the bliss of the moment as it is, that can be found in the simplicity of Being; that is inherently part of our essence; without being attached, dependent upon, or identified to the this and that of something.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this and that, its part of being human; it’s part of our humanity.  When we lose ourselves in the process of seeking this and that; as our attention becomes scattered into something like this and that, we become obsessed and fixated on getting more, being more and doing more; we further estrange ourselves from the Self.  The root of all fear is the perceived estrangement we have to Self.  The motivation for all desire is the compensatory feeling of wanting to reunite or repair the perceived estrangement we experience to Self.

To handle this fear and to respond to this desire, we fixate on this and that; we rely on the mind to come up with an infinite number of stories to explain the fear and explain the desire of this and that; including this one! We spend the rest of our lives running away from the “this” of our fears, while also running after the “that” of our desires.

If we would only sit with fear and sit with desire, without imagining it as something like the “this” of difference or the “that” of separation, we might glimpse the familiarity of its nature.  We might finally recognize it also as a reflection of the one substance, appearing as though it were this and that, appearing as though it were two or more substances…

ZEN Shredding ~ Insight #73
March 12, 2010

There is only perfection. 

 Life will become effortless to the degree you are aware of your own inner perfection.  As you learn to cultivate this inner perfection by becoming aware of it, you will open the doorway to see an outer perfection that has always been present.


Extended commentary:

Perfection cannot be found by the mind.  By its nature the mind can only see duality; the mind thrives in the field of polarity.  In the binary of up and down, in and out, right and wrong, good and bad, happy and not happy, the mind can only ever fixate its perception of reality through the filters of patterns, judgments, assumptions, associations and memories; perceptions of reality that might appear to be true to at the level of the filter and a mind that is bound by its self engendered thinking.

A mind that is bound by its own content can never be free from its content.  A mind that thinks from its own conceptual level cannot escape from its conceptual level.  As long as “you” are standing only at the level of the mind there will be no perfection.  If you stand only in the mind, chances are you will think and identify yourself only as the mind. Likewise, if you are standing only in your emotions, chances are you will think and identify yourself only as your emotions.  You are not your mind and you are not your emotions, and you are certainly not the thoughts that appear “in” what you call the mind, which appear to create various states of the mind and emotions.

This confusion is clearly illustrated in many contemporary spiritual belief and psychological systems that spiritualize or demonize the thinking level.  All the “YOU CREATE YOUR REALITY TEACHINGS” are based on a number of erroneous precepts or assumptions, systems of thinking that try to create perfection at the level of the mind where there can be none.

You might think or have been told that thoughts create your reality, when in fact if you take the time to notice deeply the process of thinking you will begin to realize that first, something happens, and then the thought arises, first you appear, and then the thought arises.

The extreme delusion of this can be seen in the fixation and obsession that now occurs in the attempt to “BE POSATIVE”; because being “positive” is presumably better or more perfect than being negative.  This construct then spirals into the erroneous idea that if you’re positive you will create positive experiences or perfection in your life, as opposed to, if you’re negative, you will create negative experiences or imperfection in your life.

All of this is false.  Any interpretation of reality by the mind can only be an illusion, a story created to control the chaos that exists prior to creation.  Let me say it again; being positive or having positive or negative thoughts, has nothing to do with spirituality or finding out Who You Are.  And it certainly has no causal effect on the nature of reality as it expresses itself in the external worldly, dimension. 

At best, we could get away with saying that “being posative” or having a posative attitude may have a small influence on your inner subjective experience, which then appears to shape the perception and experience you have of your perceived, outer world.

If we look closely enough though, “we” will see that it is only because our attention is fixated on the foreground of life that all of these things appear to be true; when we withdraw our attention prior to the expression of this foreground, there is no foreground. 

Prior to the labeling of a thought, there is only an impulse that will eventually be labeled a thought.  Prior to the thought, there is no thought.  When there is an absence of thought and thinking, attention will reveal that even the thinker itself is an illusion.  If there is no thinker, how can a thought have any legitimate power?  How can an imagined thinker have any control over something that arises and something that will subside?

There is no causal relationship between thinking, having, being and doing, because thoughts are not things, they exist in language only, which appears to exists at the level of a so called mind.

The validity of your divinity has nothing to do with the kind of thoughts you have which occur at the level of the mind.  Any thought, good or bad, arises from the same place that ALL reality appears to “emerge” from.  At the level of the mind and later in the external world, there may be a labeling and judgment of whether a thought is good or bad; however, at the level of consciousness, they are equal. 

There is only “one” substance. 

Prior to the label or judgment of a thought as good or bad, it is just a thought or impulse, and prior to the thought or impulse, or after the thought or impulse subsides; you are.  So ignore the thought; your thoughts are irrelevant.  Place your attention not on the thought, but the thinker of that thought itself.  Notice the thinker. 

Don’t get lost in thought.  You cannot be “free” from thought if you do not notice the thinker that lies before, during, and after the thought.  Don’t try to change, fix or transform your thoughts; they have nothing to do with anything, especially Who You Are.  Prior to the idea of imperfection or even perfection, you are.  Stay there.    

Can you find the perfection in your life?

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…


When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:


The Essentials of a Good Life…


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


Insight #72 ~ ZEN Shredding…
March 4, 2010


Spend more time in Nature.  


There is a rhythm, flow (and chairlift) in Nature that connects us to Harmony. Spending time in the rhythm and flow of Nature allows our minds, bodies and Spirit to recalibrate to the very same power that creates a baby and orchestrates a Universe. 

You can have moments in Nature, when everything dissolves into everything else, where there is no “I”, “me”, or “mine”.  Being in nature can often lead to spontaneous meditative states that can fulfill you on the deepest, most natural levels of your Being. 

Extended commentary:

Everything is always dissolving into everything else, because it’s all really nothing disguised as something.  Without “nothing” you could not have or appreciate something.  Everything is nothing and that nothing sometimes becomes something; eventually it will subside into back into nothing.

There’s more to the experience and beauty of nature than the infinite visual expressions of diversity that dance before our eyes.  The essence of nature’s beauty lies in its naked, direct, unbridled expression; nothing masquerades as something.  A few hours in nature is equivalent to one thousand sessions of therapy; without the necessary understanding or expense.  A few hours spent in nature allows you slip into the rhythm, flow and movement of your own Being; the same Being that is the life throb of divinity itself. 

In the stillness of nature that appears to be something; the impulse of nothing begins to dissolve mind made barriers; distinctions that would normally elevate our personal suffering subside, and the mind that once thought it was something, becomes nothing.  Gently, quietly, we are seduced and intoxicated by nature’s sweetness.  Form becomes Being, Being becomes form.  In these sacred, immersed moments in nature, we are reminded at the deepest level that form is Being and Being is form.  When form is experienced as Being, and Being is experienced as form, we realize there is no form and there is no Being; the personal becomes impersonal. 

Notice with the appreciation of your attention the gift of  nothing as it becomes the something we call nature; notice by spending time in nature that in that something we call nature there is actually nothing, and in that moment of nothing, you will find everything…           



When was the last time you went for a walk in the park or looked for a shooting star in the night sky?


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…


When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:


The Essentials of a Good Life…


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

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