Rays Of The Absolute
March 26, 2015

The Legacy of Nisargadatta Maharaj:






Visit the work of Stephan Wolinsky

After Thought #29
May 13, 2010



 What’s happening?

Things are happening or not happening all the time.  The problem is the way things happen or do not happen is very different than the way we imagine things happen or do not happen. 

Things happen in a way we don’t understand; they happen in different ways than we think or imagine.  They happen in ways that we can never comprehend.

Human beings think they are so smart because they come up with ideas about how things happen or do not happen all the time.  And when they can’t find a good enough reason to explain why something happened or did not happen they create speculative stories to fill in the gaps of the “why”.  We love to create and indulge in our explanations, reasons and justifications as to why something happened or did not happen and we will go to extreme lengths to convince ourselves and others of those explanations.

Everything that is going to happen will happen and anything that is not going to happen will not happen; we cannot do anything about what’s happening or not going to happen.  We cannot prevent what is going to happen, and we cannot create what is not going to happen either.

There is no “you” that can play a role in making something happen or not happen.  Things happen or they don’t happen; period.

The you that you imagine yourself to be, arrives long after what’s happening, has occurred.  You are constantly arriving late to your so called present moment; the moment that appears to be happening.  What happens or does not happen in the present moment occurs before you arrive; you’re not really ever present for the moment or for what is happening or not happening, even though you might think that you are, or have been told so.  When you do finally arrive, the you that you imagine yourself to be spins a story of why, in a desperate attempt to organize what is un-organizable; to control what is uncontrollable.

Even though we constantly make up stories [philosophies, teachings and religions] to explain why something happens or does not happen, they are at best, sanitized speculations; they are at best words only, which exist in language only.  The explanation lives in language only.  At worst, they are conspiracies of denial.  They are personal editorializations; filtered versions of a selective viewpoint and understanding of reality, based on ideas about how things happen or do not happen. 

They may be our subjective experience of reality, but they are not reality itself.

If we really understood the depth of what’s happening or not happening, we could finally let go of pretending that we have any control over anything.  We could finally let go of imagining that we have some ability to affect what is happening or not happening.  We could dive deeply in the chaos of the Universe, prior to the appearance of creation.  Prior to the “I” that imagines it knows.

The more we can drop the narcissistic delusion of the “I”, especially the “I” that shows up in “I” spirituality, the more we could recognize that life happens or it does not happen independently of what we think, say or believe.  The more we would see that things happen or don’t happen in much grander ways than we could ever, possibly imagine. 

With awareness, we could focus more on letting go of our ideas about what we imagine needs to happen and let what’s going to happen, happen, while also ignoring what we imagine or fear might happen that will actually not happen; we could sit back and let things happen or not. 

We could let life Be.

Now, before your “I” mind runs away on some tangent about being reckless or irresponsible, or thinks that I’m encouraging us all to become radical victims of anarchy; I want to let you in on a very big secret.  It’s not some imaginary or delusionary secret about how to create or co-create your reality or get more money; to be more, do more or have more. It’s not about some short cut to enlightenment.  It’s certainly not some nonsense teaching based on mind made ideas of some “law of attraction” that will lead you to the perfect little life, that every “I” in us all, wants, needs and desires.  “I” won’t delude you.  “I” won’t lead you down that dead end path of your perceived psychology.  This is a simple secret that may or may not change how you see your life forever: 

What’s going to happen will happen.  What’s not going to happen will not happen.   How things happen or do not happen, have nothing to do with “you”.  They have nothing to do with the “I” that you think you are, because the “I” perceiver does not show up until after the event or action takes place.

The “I” has no power. 

There is no “I” that can claim doership; that has separate will or volition.  It is the one substance alone that is contracting or expanding that “produces” the appearance of an event, circumstance or situation that arises or does not arise in your so called life. 

Radical Spirituality is the realization that there is no “I” in the world that can take authorship or ownership, to what happens or does not happen in life.  Radical Spirituality is the realization that there is no world and there is no “I”. 

If something happens or does not happen, it’s because it was going to happen or it was not going to happen; regardless of what you might think or believe to be true. 

Radical Spirituality does not seek to understand mind made ideas of cause or effect to justify reality or outcome; to control perceived reality or outcome for its own means. 

Radical Spirituality does not seek reason or even understanding in a story of what is, was or will be that is spun by a delusional “I” mind; wrapped up as some pseudo, spiritual philosophy called Karma.

What is, is; or it’s not.  Radical Spirituality recognizes no relationships, other than the “One” substance that constantly arises and subsides.

What happens or does not happen, can only be perceived by an “I” that imagines it is separate from the One substance.  In the awareness of separation, in awareness of self consciousness, there will be an appearance of choice, will, volition, cause, effect or reason. 

When you slip into the gap there is no “I” and there is no happening or not happening.  Prior to happening or not happening, there is no “I”; stay there.  Prior to the explanation, justification or reason; just stay their.  To stay there, forget this attempt at explaining why something happens or does not happen; because it’s just another story and explanation. 

Prior to the “I”, and prior to the story, just stay there…


… inpspired by the work of Stephen H Wolinsky


the teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

After thought # 18
February 19, 2010

 Radical Spirituality demands a radical honesty; to have an authentic relationship with Self requires the absence of distraction.  No other “idols” can be worshiped, consciously or unconsciously.  Ideas can be just as dangerous as physical or imaginary idols.  Concepts can more dangerous than idols, when it comes down to knowing Self.

You might consider the worship of physical or imaginary deities to be primitive, but it is no less primitive to lose yourself in the conscious and unconscious worshiping of the ideas, notions and concepts you entertain and engage on a daily basis about who and what you are.  Seduction, temptation and suffering, lie in the plethora of philosophies, offerings and beliefs that innocently and erroneously market themselves as so called spirituality. 

In The Way of The Human Volume 3 ; Stephen Wolinsky writes a profoundly transparent dedication to his teacher Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj:

 “… To the memory of my teacher, Guru and Guiding Light, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, the grandfather of Quantum Psychology, the ultimate deprogrammer, and the most confrontive teacher I have ever encountered. 

 To the memory of that confrontation which forced me to look at what I had not looked at, confront what I did not know I needed to confront,

question what I did not know I needed to question,

and let go of that which I did not know I was holding on to.

with love and gratitude for facing-off with me, infecting me with the virus of enquiry which destroys everything in its path including the enquirer. 

For showing the ultimate irreverence for identities and concepts which I thought were me and mine, and the ultimate reverence for THAT ONE SUBSTANCE and BEYOND…

The mother of all concepts, the one concept that spawns one hundred thousand and more, is the concept “I”.  With the appearance of the concept “I”, a hundred thousand other concepts arise including the concept of so called spirituality.  Prior to the concept of Spirituality and prior to the “I”, you are.

When successful, meditation can be a radical practice; a prepatory step in becoming aware of the witness or observer within.  As those thoughts arise and subside; as those feelings arise and subside; as those beliefs and philosophies arise and subside, a space can be created. 

If enough space is created, we might glimpse or notice with attention, the one who is there, the one who is witness to those thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions and associations as they arise and subside. 

In awareness we might notice that there is always a presence back of those thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions and associations.  In awareness we might realize the presence “back there” is the presence that always was, is, and will be. 

In the prepatory experience of meditation, we might become aware of the one who is meditating, and in that awareness, we might ask the mother of all questions:

Who is there? 

Who is meditating? 

Who is feeling? 

Who is thinking? 

Who is vulnerable… hurt… happy or sad?

If we were to anchor awareness to itself, we might glimpse, if only for a moment, the irrelevance of it all; the irrelevance of those thoughts and feelings as they come and go.  The irrelevance of those beliefs and philosophies as they come and go.  The irrelevance of those perceptions, associations and memories as they come and go; but most of all we might realize the irrelevance of Spirituality as related to the finding out of Who You Are; and more importantly, the irrelevance of “I”and all that you imagine it to be …

For more information of the work of Stephen Wolinsky please visit:


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 #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:



Insight #63 ~ ZEN Shredding…
October 30, 2009


WB 131 

Improve your ride.

While knowledge can often serve as a pillar of strength to specific areas of your life, the regular, consistent experience of inner silence becomes a foundation to nurture all of your life.

Extended commentary:

In snowboarding as in most sports or learned activities in life, it’s often easy to hit a plateau of learning in that given area.  Usually when we hit a plateau we simply adjust or change how we learn by introducing new knowledge, skills or understanding to what we are learning with the hope that a new level of improvement will be realized. 

Breaking through that ceiling sometimes appears as a result of shifting strategies and we gain, achieve or realize a new level of understanding, experience, or skill. It is also possible that we accept conditionally or unconditionally where we are in that learning and for a “list” of reasons, forego any further pursuit.  We stop our learning and therefore stop our progression. 

In my own life I have become acutely aware of a subtle distinction, a cut that has needed to occur in this approach when it applies to the idea of finding out Who We Are.  When it comes to the body, mind, life, and in the case of something specific like snowboarding, there will always be some sort of potential to “improve your ride” by doing things differently.  When it comes to the Self however, no improvement is needed.

To be clear; if you think of yourself as your body or your mind, (which you are not) and you look at your life through the lens of the body/mind, you will always be able to “improve” most everything by nature of the lens (in this case the body/mind) through which you are looking.  There is always the potential for more knowledge, more understanding and more skill at the level of the body/mind and with regards to matters that relate to the body/mind.  The lens of the body/mind will by its nature always see reality as a duality; it will only be able to see “imperfect” or “perfect”, “I know” or “I don’t know”, “I’m good” or “I’m not good” AND, “I could be better” or “never be better”.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharajah once said:

“give up the tendency to improve yourself…”

The cut in this case, lies in the perceptual and cognitive process of the body/mind. The essence of Nisargadattas statement suggests that if we want to find out Who We Are, it will not necessarily occur or be achieved with any conventional approach that might work when speaking about living and doing life, based on an agenda of changing, fixing, transforming, healing, improving, purifying, gaining or achieving.  While this may work conveniently for the body/mind, it has little to no effect when it comes down to knowing Who You Are.  There can be no gaming when it comes to the “realization” of Self.

There are some amazing skills and technologies “out there” to improve the quality of your life and how you experience subjectively you’re every day life.  In the world of spirituality we mistakenly confuse and complicate things by projecting the misunderstanding of this one small fact: you can presumably improve your body and your mind by what you do and don’t do; you can improve to a certain degree, the quality of your life and the level of so-called “successes” you experience or achieve in that life, but the Self that you are, does not need improvement.  It is  always available in its “perfected” state, now.  Nothing needs to be added or subtracted when it comes to the Self which is your true nature.  It is already “pure”, “undivided”, and “complete”, now. 

You can go to school to learn something new or you can take remedial classes to refine a skill you may presently have, but the Self which you are, lies beyond the boundaries of change and the polarity of improvement or failure.  It is timeless and eternal, it is changeless now, and at the heart of your true Being, beyond the awareness of your body/mind, you are also timeless, eternal and changeless now.

All strategies for successful living, however meaningful, important or effective come from the mind and therefore appear to apply to the dimensions of the body/mind and the world that they exist in only.   Strategies for living a successful life often called personal growth, transformation or even so-called spirituality, have nothing to do with finding out Who You Are; which will happen or won’t happen by any effort or merit on your part.


Can you be still and quiet in your mind and body? 


I’m honored to share with you a short video clip by Stephen Wolinsky; a brilliant teacher, guide and direct student of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, with the hope that it may serve you on the “road” of awareness…



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



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.

The Spell of Practice…
October 16, 2008


“ You are always there.  The you that is always there, is the one that always goes unnoticed…” 


Stephen H. Wolinsky



There comes a time in a practice where one often, simply by tenure of experience, realizes certain things about ones practice; ones motivation within the practice, ones limitations, and ones understanding and misunderstanding within the practice.  Often the purpose of the practice may be questioned, and once in a great while the direction of the path itself will be investigated.


I think it is safe to say that most of us begin the journey of seeking Who We Are by listening too and learning from others.  There can be great benefits in spending quality time with teachers, mentors and friends who are also pursuing with courage, risk and passion the discovery of Who They Are.


Personal tenure of practice often provides a certain comfort and spontaneous levels of detachment as a result of multiple exposures to situations and circumstances within that practice lending to us the wisdom of experience. 


Within any practice there can also be many traps.  Significant, hidden, distractions that take the form of assumptions that serve as obstacles in the finding out of Who We Are.  When the pursuit of the practice itself is substituted for, and overshadows the deeper quest in the finding out of Who We Are, we lose ourselves not only to the story of the practice, but also Who We Are. 


The practice is a practice.  In itself the practice has nothing to do with Who We Are.  The practice is a tool, to be used to help navigate the personal, self engendered challenges we have and face that prevent us from being Who We Are.  The practice is a temporary resource, a tool to yoke our attention and senses, from “out there”, to “in here”.    


We are Who We Are, regardless of the practice.  The practice does not change, influence or impact at any level Who We Are, Who We Were and Who We always will be.      


The longer I meditate, the more I realize the distinctions and the unrealistic expectations, placed on the practice; any practice.  As a long term meditator of 19 years, I have for instance given up the notion and necessity that “I have or had to stop my thoughts”.  After a few years of meditation, it became very clear through experience, that thoughts will always come and go ~ or not; that successful meditation has nothing to do with stopping, changing, fixing or even dare I say it, improving ones thoughts. 


More importantly said the practice, in this case meditation, allows the field of attention to notice for the first time not “this” or “that”, but the ever present silence that surrounds the “this” and “that”; in this case “this” being the thought.  To notice first hand the silence that was there before the thought, the silence that was there during the thought and the silence that will be there after the thought has long gone.


But the cut does not stop there when it comes to investigation of the assumptions we place on the practice ~ any practice.  The cut must be deep and precise.  It must penetrate and sever all assumptions, all ideas, all notions, all understandings within the practice. 

As we dig deeply, the enquiry must uncover the heart of the concept ~ every concept; concepts that entangle and concepts that mislead.


My study of the work of Stephen Wolinsky and one of his most significant teachers, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, has provided much new fodder to revisit, revise and refine some of the assumptions and learning’s of the concepts, I have gathered so easily over the last 20 years or so of my “spiritual journey”. 


To be clearer, I have been blessed (?) with “the choice” to challenge and examine every frame of reference the intellect can provide; to distinguish between the witness and the intellect, to discern between what is real, and the abundance of numerous, nonsense teachings that are continually regurgitated from teacher to student to teacher.  To question the very validity and basis the dogmas that most religions and for that matter, Spirituality hide behind or within.


In the West we frequently get caught up in “the doing”.  The emphasis on doing becomes so relevant in conventional reality that we wrongly assume that Being itself, can be influenced by doing.  The practice is doing.  Any attempt by the subject “I” to influence, gain, attain, remove or harness Being, is redundant.  Doing is not the basis of Being; Being is the basis of doing.  To imagine that any doing will in some way influence or impact the nature of Being is, well… ludicrous!


When spirituality becomes organized with a dogma or path, we embrace and then emphasize doing over Being.  What was at once innocent becomes systemized, regulated and controlled.  Spirituality is Not University.  There are no perquisites for realization.  No certifications or tenures, no achievements are needed to qualify in order to Be.   When the practice is codified there is a danger that we can lose touch with the intention behind the practice as we shift our focus to attainment and gain.  Our attention is caught up in the doing. 


It does not matter which level of attainment you imagine you have reached within your practice.  It does not matter if you have practiced meditation for one year or twenty, or whether you’ve mastered your first or sixth level Ashtanga, or that you or someone else calls you a Grand Master.  While this may be of importance to the “I” mind, while this may have some validity and relevance in the world of form and phenomena, within the very system of origin that created it; it has no relevance, no stature, no bearing on the finding out of Who You Are. It is still, only, ever, about doing.


You are Who You Are.  The you that you are, was always there, you just did not notice it.  Your attention was rapped up, out there, focused on the doing rather than the Being.  The practice was a way to break the spell of achievement, to abandon the doing, while noticing the Being.  The practice was not the goal.  There never was a goal or target to be reached, controlled or mastered.  Realization is not the goal, for the self cannot master the Self; the self has no mastery over the Self. 


You are the goal.  You were the goal before you started seeking, you were the goal while you are seeking, and you will be the goal after you give up seeking.  Freedom lies in the Being, not in the doing.  It’s ok to have a practice.  It’s ok to have a good life, to be more peaceful, to enjoy life more fully in the Being rather than the doing.  When we take care of Being, the doing will spontaneously be expressed.  When we take care of Being, effortless doing will naturally be experienced, Being and doing become one.  Then we realize there was no Being and there is no doing…



“ You are always there.  The you that is always there, is the one that always goes unnoticed…” 


Stephen H. Wolinsky





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