Distance Between Perceived Self and Enlightened Self

Interesting self-discovery class I led Tuesday night. We first went on a journey to meet our enlightened self and bathe in its light and wisdom. I have taken that journey several times before with my students. This time, I felt such a deeper peace than before after that journey. There was a richness in the silence I came back with. I allowed that silence to permeate our experience for some time. But the journey was not complete yet.

We were led to the next step which was to ask what makes up the difference between who we think we are today and our enlightened self, what makes up that distance? It turns out it is not “because we still have lessons to learn.” It is not that “we are not whole yet.” Instead, the distance we perceive is only made up of resistance to truly being our enlightened self.

Together we allowed ourselves to feel the distance we felt and make peace with it and try and find a few words to describe it in the process of making peace with it.

We already are enlightened, we are just perceiving ourselves separate. “Healing” is simply learning to accept what we already are. “Attracting what we want” is simply learning to accept what we already are and already have. The Law of Attraction becomes simply releasing the resistance to already having and being.

This explains to me what Yogi Bhajan, my yoga teacher, said (I paraphrase): “You can work hard and go after what you want or you can just be you and let everything you need come to you.”

What I See isn’t as Real as I Think

To the Universe,

Ok I understand. Please wait while I reprogram my brain worldview as I did not realize that the previous programming which I thought was realistic, was perceived to be negative thinking by you.

I thought I was being realistic by looking at life as it happens: a war here and famine there, global warming and rainforest destruction, and also wonderful people working toward healing all that.

Although there is some truth to this realistic worldview…. I understand that what I see currently in the world around me is a combination of an old paradigm still running its course blended with a new paradigm which is only in bud form. It is like watching a movie playing the old worldview that has not finished running its course, while the current paradigm is not fully hitting the screen yet. So “being realistic” is being behind in time from what is really taking roots in the world today. “Being realistic” is believing what is already gone because what really is is not completely perceptible yet.

It is not that we should ignore what we see, but it is not as real as it appears. It may just be the last breath of something dying…. so we may be giving it more power than it really has and thereby keeping it alive instead of simply letting it go.

That is why dreaming what I really want is infinitely more real than what appears to be!

Spiritual Journey: Worldview, God and Healing

Excerpt from forthcoming book:
Psychotherapy and Healing
Aligning Mind, Body, and Soul with Self-Love, Mindfulness and Mindlessness

Our worldview is not how the Universe/Life really works, it is our best approximation to it. The conflict between our worldview and the way the Universe really works is what we have to heal in order to find the happiness we seek.

There is a parallel between this and how we view God. I would say that our concept of God is to our worldview what God is to how the Universe really works. The first one is subjective, the second objective. So learning/seeking to live according to how the Universe really works, instead of remaining in our own worldview, is healing our relationship with our concept of God.

THE REBEL AND BEAUTY: Thinking versus Appreciating

I was born a thinker, not a doer. I loved my mind. It was safe there. Looking at the outside world. Noticing what needed to be better. I found a deep rebel in me. I loved my rebel. It had critical thinking. It saw things differently. My rebel gave me a purpose in life. To share my discoveries, what I found healing, to infuse the mainstream with my rebellious ideas… I thought all was well…

Now I am discovering a new part of me that is asking my attention. A part that just wants to appreciate people and everything, a part that is in awe of every moment, of a little bug or a little flower, of a little child, of an older person, of the spark in someone’s eyes… That part is growing in me and, as it is growing, the rebel becomes less important. The rebel no longer gives me a purpose… I am less here to help change the world, and more here to appreciate what is… every person in his/her darkest moment, not just when everything is great, to see beauty where I could not see it before… to connect where I could not connect before because my rebel overrode my ability to see that I did not have to rush, that I could take the time to breathe, to smile, to forget I had a purpose… I am losing my seriousness…


Excerpt from forthcoming book:
Psychotherapy and Healing
Aligning Body, Mind and Soul with Self-Love, Mindfulness and Mindlessness

What is self-love? The best way to know if I grasp something is if I can teach it to someone else. It took me a while to understand how to do that with self-love. The first time I became aware of the concept of self-love was when a friend asked me to look into a mirror and tell myself: “I love you!” At the time, it felt extremely uncomfortable and trite. I did not feel tears or sadness. I did not feel that I did not love myself and needed to learn something. I was blind to what I was missing. I had a disconnect with self-love. But I knew how to love others. So I taught by example; by showing how I love the person who wanted to learn self-love from me. But it wasn’t enough because then people relied on me to feel loved, but not on themselves. I needed to use words to pass it on.

The second time I was hit by the concept of self-love was at a time when very little money was coming into my life. That led to a divorce, foreclosure and bankruptcy and not being able to live close to my son. I felt unsupported and scared and terribly lonely. I did not trust anything or anyone. I kept trying to create businesses without success. Not knowing where to turn for help, I did a labyrinth walk trying to get some clarity about my financial affairs. Before the walk the facilitator had us draw a card at random. Each card had a different word on it. We were to think deeply about what we wished an answer to and draw a card. The card I drew had the word LOVE on it. I did not understand. I needed money. I needed to be able to afford a roof over my head and pay for food and child support. I was crying for help inside. I did not know where to turn. And this is all the universe could give me, a card with the word LOVE on it?

Self-love is about learning to be true to our self no matter what others might say, or what others’ reactions might be. Self-love is about risking to tell one’s truth in a relationship even if it means potentially feeling or being rejected. Learning about self-love requires time alone outside of social pressures to learn what is natural and spontaneous to us, and also to learn what it is like to live with our self – with our mind and thoughts, and with our body – to learn to love who we are because no one else is there to love us. Self-love is learning to turn loneliness (fear) into aloneness (contentment).

Self-love can only happen if we let go completely of the need to be loved by others. That need is neediness and puts people off. They may shy away from us as a result. And that need limits love, consciously or unconsciously, to receiving only love in the way that we think we want, not in all its abundance and exuberant fragrances. Without self-love we control and constrict the way Life flows in us. We create lack and misery. By letting go of that need, we free others to love us, in their own ways, without expectations on how that should look like. In turn, we allow the world to give us infinitely more than we knew was possible.

What is your identity?

In psychology courses you learn about identities such as Age, Disabilities (mental or physical), Religion or spiritual identity, Ethnicity, Socioeconomic status, Sexual orientation, Indigenous identity, National origin, and Gender.

The acronym is ADDRESSING. We have other identities such as which groups we identify with (vocation, hobby, and also vegetarian/vegan/omnivore for instance).

We were asked to fill out our own ADDRESSING identities and I realized that if I answered factually it did not feel like me. So I also answered from a feeling perspective. I realized I did not feel any association with being born in Belgium but I identified much more with the East Indian culture (food, spirituality and in particular yoga and the teachings of the masters of the far east).

When I tried to answer the gender identity I realized I did not feel 100% male or female. I felt something like 60% male vs 40% female. But being forced to specify the percentages still felt uncomfortable. I talked with a transgender professor and she said that a lot of trans feel that way and that they even go beyond this by not forcing the % male-female to add up to 100%, it could add up to anything we feel is right for us.

That was a new opening in my thinking. And then I could say I feel 70% male and 40% female for instance.

But then I realized I really have more than one perception of myself. I have the perception of the human being for instance and the perception of that part of me that is pure awareness. My awareness as I experience it has no gender and no sexual identity. It feels more real than my human body and my mind because it is indestructible; itcannot die and cannot get sick or hurt. As a human being I sometimes experience the no gender thing. It is not like being fluid, it is a form of transcending identities.

I asked myself what was the purpose of identities such as those psychologists like to play with because my awareness/soul does not experience any of them: no age, no disabilities, no religion, etc… Then I realized that the purpose of identities experienced in the human form has to do with learning to love oneself and therefore others. It has to do with learning every aspect of compassion. Then when we are as compassionate as is possible there is no longer a need for any identity. We become expressions of love in all its infinite forms.

Human beings are evolving toward the recognition of being spirits first. It is therefore not surprising that as a species we are going through an explosion of traditional identities.

We live in an exhilarating time of human evolution! I LOVE it!


There are probably an infinite number of options to create the village that we probably all seek…. as many as there are human beings and we probably each have to find our own which is related to our individual purpose in this life.

Here are some guidelines I came to: We need to shed our old self, embrace our higher self, and create from our higher self.

1) Letting go of victimization/neediness as victimization/neediness creates loneliness, not a village. We do this by realizing that it is our ego that is reacting to situations and then using the victimization/neediness feelings to control its environment. But there is another reality the ego does not see: We are free and abundant and loved no matter what… so we need to let go of (or challenge within us) the ego interpretations… it creates a difficult reality.

2) Embracing our own sense of self whatever comes: pain, hurts by acceptance and letting go, not holding onto them (which is what the ego does), and also by tuning in to (or remembering) joy, happiness, peace no matter the circumstances and remaining connected to the sensations in our body as we do this because that is how the past trauma/hurt is released.

3) Creating from our higher self means:
a) Understanding where others are coming from without thinking it is against us, because it is not, even if it feels like it. Remaining true to our self, honoring our self — meaning finding our love light and doing what we have to do and/or what we want to do from that place.
b) Let life be life and play with it.

Suggestion: Watch the movie Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1986 or 1987) or read the book. It is very inspiring to watch the lead character, a black man sold into slavery, and the grace and integrity with which he chooses to live his life. It may give you insights into how you want to approach your journey!


I took care of my neighbor’s cats while they are away. I shoveled their front porch and stairs to the front porch. Put some food and unfrozen water for the potential outdoors stray cats, in the back, by the rear door. They are caring that way. Simple things.

As I do these things, I look at my life caring for some people who are disabled, or older, or helping with yoga classes and psychotherapy, and getting a sense of satisfaction with what I do. I find I am letting go of the burden of fearing there is something more I need to do that I can’t put my finger on… the burden that I am supposed to be doing more. I did not know I was carrying that feeling around dutifully.

Before coming home to my neighbor’s cats, I had spent the night at a lady’s home because she needs 24/7 presence and care. As I was helping her get ready for the day, I helped her sit up on her bed, I noticed that, as usual, she couldn’t hold herself up. Her back is very stiff as though she is trying to push away from something. That stiffness prevents her from being able to sit up on her own and stay seated. She needs someone’s support.

This time instead of just working with her being that way, trying to help her dress up in all her stiffness… I thought of giving her a hug while rubbing her back like a gentle massage. She embraced me back. She started to relax. I felt her body melt in my arms. She breathed better. After 30 seconds or so, I started taking her pajama shirt off and started dressing her and I noticed she was holding herself sitting up as if it was normal for her. She was relaxed. What a glorious morning!

It is like the Zen teachings: carrying water, chopping wood. It is OK to live simply, smiling at the chance to breathe another breath and to smile at people and at life, smiling with people and with life.


Yesterday I was asked to help out a couple. The man was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 6 years ago. But a year ago became more difficult for his wife because he stopped recognizing her. She had a bit of an accident in the morning and needed help caring for him.

When I met him he was watching TV not really knowing what he was watching except for what was on the screen and what he heard in the moment and for 1 minute or so. He did not foresee a murder was about to take place, but he was able to see that he was mistaken and it happened after all. I experienced him as a jolly easy going man. I helped him to the bathroom and then helped him to bed. He kept looking for her but she had terrible pain and needed to rest sitting up. She wasn’t used to letting anyone else care for her husband. At one point he told me he was looking for his wife as he tried to come out his bedroom one more time. He clearly meant the woman who cares for him every day. He looks for her guidance, for her presence eagerly. And when she tells him what to do, he says “Okay!” almost jokingly, like a man who has gotten used for his wife to be bossy. She was surprised he knew who she was. She also took his teasing her as a personal resistance to her… not as a teasing husband.

Her experience of him was that he was unhappy. She told me she gave up on her own happiness: “It is a choice you have to make!” I saw that she was unhappy but I did not see that he was. So I asked her what she meant. What she had experienced of him before the disease was a man who took charge where ever he was, at work or at home, constantly improving things or leading others to. He no longer did that. He was just being, but she saw it as being unhappy.

Because of her sense of loss she was bitter and angry with him, sighing when he did not remember what she had just told him. I could see her side. But I could also see she had not adjusted to his new life and his new experience. She was stuck in the past.

From where I stood, without knowing his past, he was just a jolly easy going man, joking around with his wife, needing her to keep telling him what to do… he’d done enough of telling others what to do for a lifetime.


Did a labyrinth walk this morning with my friend Jennifer. It was covered with snow so we could barely see the outline of the path. Jennifer had done it before so she had a little idea before starting. We started with a prayer of intention. And then we trusted. At times we had to clear the snow with our boots to see where the outline of the path was, and we made it.

Insight #1: The path ahead may not be clear, but it is not as difficult as it may appear. (At least that’s what the message is for me right now!)

Insight #2: As I walked I felt my love for a dog I once had who I had to let go when I moved to the city. I had had some tantrums with him because he loved his freedom and escaped and that strained my relationships with some neighbors who were afraid for their dogs. But now I felt the love I had for him as clear as light I felt how I missed him as a being. Not nostalgia, not sadness, just a caring. So I knew I always love even if I don’t feel it. Love is like the sun that may be covered in clouds from the earth’s perspective, but is always there… So I love but may not be aware of it because of clutter. When I clear the clutter, I can feel the love, toward people or pets (even from the past), and it is not that I love them now, it is that I remember the love I kept hidden from myself.

Corollary and food for thoughts: We always already love our enemies… the problem is not to try and love them… the problem is that we have some clutter to clear up and that has nothing to do with our enemy, only with our self!