An interview with Stephen Wolinsky:
October 17, 2010

“there is no such thing as duality and non duality.  Non duality and duality only exist in language…”

read more…


more on Stephen…   


2010 Science and Non Duality Conference…  



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:


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:

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.

You Are…
March 4, 2009



You are always there.


That which you are is so obvious, it will go unnoticed.


That you are, goes unnoticed because your attention is placed on the foreground of your life and personality; Who You Are becomes overshadowed by what you are not.


Placed on the foreground of your experience, on your thoughts, your emotions, your perceptions, your associations, your desires, your fears, your memories and insecurities, your attention becomes fixated to the story of what you are not. 


You lose yourself in a story of what you have been told; you become a slave to the stories you tell yourself.


As long as you are in your story you can never get out of your story. 


If you don’t know that you are in your story, how can you get out of your story?


Acting out your story you remain oblivious to THAT which you are.


That which you are is so simple, so immediate, so direct and so eternal, it remains unseen ~ waiting.



You are always there.


Wherever you go, you will be there.


Before you were seeking, you were.


While you are seeking, you are.


After you stop seeking, you will be.



You do not have to try to be what you are.


Without effort, without gain, without achievement or struggle, you are.



All is, because you are.


All was, because you are.


You are not what you imagine yourself to be.



Prior to words, you are.


Prior to thoughts, you are.


Prior to understanding, you are.




No crusade, no conviction, no alms are needed for you to be who you are.


You are who you are, in the present moment now.


Restore the memory that you are.


Be THAT which you are.



Inspired by the wisdom of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and the brilliant work of Stephen Wolinsky PHD.


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