Essays Writings by John Fridinger

Writings, Articles and Essays by John Fridinger…

  • Sooner Or Later We Fall Silent


    It seems that, due to the limitations and structures of language, the word Consciousness (being a noun) suggests that it, that is consciousness itself, is an object.

    However, Consciousness cannot be an object simply because it is that which is aware of all objects, including such things as nouns.

    Which would seem to suggest Consciousness is a subject.

    However, even that cannot be true, because a subject is presumed distinct from its object, and would therefore also seem to be some mere “other” sort of object.

    Therefore Consciousness (this that is referred to each time we say ‘I’) is truly beyond and prior to the whole subject-object realm, or may we say beyond all of this human-imagined and extremely prescribed and proscribed “world” we’ve artificially overlaid upon what is truly a living environment that humans have coevolved with.

    An artificial (made of artifacts) overlay, so to speak, that we seem to be inextricably immersed and lost in. To the point that we are destroying both ourselves and “all our relations,” to use an indigenous term. In other words all of this interconnected and interdependent life we’ve been coming ever deeper and deeper into form both through and with.

    The thinking, relative, and extremely abstracted ego-mind simply cannot reach into these sorts of places. Or we could perhaps say, cannot reach Here.

    Nor can the ego-mind adequately express or perceive or even hear what I am attempting to point towards now, because this ego-mind (including the one through which I am using this computer to write these words) is itself just another imagined and seemingly separate object, and has, on its own, no possibility of accessing what is always infinitely prior to and greater than all seeming subject-object experiences.

    Yet, if we are able to set this ego-mind aside, even if only momentarily, then two alternatives will become open to us:

    The first of course is to remain silent in regards to this whole terrain, and simply live one’s experiential understandings from moment to moment, expressing through and by simply being This, with all one’s thoughts, sensations (sense perceptions), feelings and actions.

    To “know” existence in the biblical sense in other words, through a full immersion in and connection with all of our experiential environment, in each and every eternal moment, consciously.

    And/or second, to keep trying to use all these rather clumsy, abstract concepts and symbols of language as sensitively and creatively as possible, in an attempt to express that which can never be truly expressed in words, and yet is, strangely and paradoxically, the only true, constant, unchanging reality there is and we are.

    Beyond even our most profound metaphors, such as one I like a lot, paradox.

    What is also unique about the word Consciousness and any of its synonyms (such as Peace, Happiness, Love, Truth, God, Christ, Allah, Buddha-mind, Brahman, etc.) is that AS a symbol it tries to point towards that which is neither noun nor object nor subject nor quality, and also not any sort of dimension, level, degree, process or activity.

    But instead towards what truly and simply is, all the while as it is also appearing as all of This (and that and others and things), including even now these very words that are coming into (and sometimes out of) existence, right here and now on my screen, as I type.

    All of THIS.

    Words such as ‘tree,’ ‘body,’ ‘sensation,’ ‘concept,’ ‘blueberry,’ etc., all point towards seeming objects that no one ever actually truly experiences as they are until we become able to see through the very tenuous nature of all our ways of naming, labeling, describing, grasping and conceptualizing. A tenuousness that some humans are willing to defend to the death. So to speak.

    To let go of that defense even if only for a few moments at a time. Until eventually we realize language, imagery and concepts can be used whenever and for as much as they are helpful, all the while as we are also knowing that none of it is actually what we are, or what the world actually is.

    Here is where language might become like writings on water, moment to moment, every moment new. Not a “next” moment new, but THIS very same eternal moment always new. New and new and new. No matter how many times I read something truly profound. Always this moment.

    Or perhaps like the Hebrew written language, 3000 years old and without any verbs, so that the meanings and subtleties are able change, evolve and deepen both over time as well as with every generation, and even each time it is read and the verbs are freshly added through our very own immediate and direct here and now experiences of what is actually reaching through the words.

    We might say that the word Consciousness is the only true noun, because it indicates that which is real rather than that which is imagined. In other words, it is indicating something that is neither other, nor separate.

    All words now just one of so many ways we humans, who are where Consciousness seems to be becoming aware of itself here on our planet Earth right now, try to point to the very nature of reality, which we, as consciousness, also are.

    In other words, point to that which is prior to, the source of, and at the same time beyond all these words.

    Perhaps a legitimate effort would be to try to use a verb rather than a noun?

    We could say something like aware-ing, know-ing (NOT conceptually), table-ing, chair-ing, laptop-ing, sky-ing. But even these will still be labels, and therefore not accurate. They would still not be this true, here and now direct experience of what actually and simply IS, and which is always, merely and simply experiencing itself without any other, through all these myriad and infinitely relative forms, relationships and ways that we, this collective experience of life on earth, is.

    As a metaphor, one might say that bodies and form and living processes are all for the purpose of being able to dance this journey of life with each other, all the while as we learn more and more, and ever more deeply, that we actually are the Dance itself, discovering and rediscovering itself through dance, over and over and over. Through all of us, and through each of us.

    A different facet of the same metaphor is that all this language, and all this engagement through words, permeable (living) meanings and ever changing metaphor, is just another form and dimension of that Dance, or Discovery.

    And at the same time, paradoxically, simultaneously (not either/or), sooner or later we must fall silent! Fall into this Silence. There is no other way.

    This silence may then sometimes choose to speak through us, all in its own time and ways, always to itself, and yet always and also to each ever-seeming unique other that we altogether also are.

    THIS silence is why Lao Tzu eventually left China, for the Wilderness.

    ~ John Fridinger
    Talent, OR
    Summer, 2019
    Rewritten early spring 2023


  • By Becoming Us…


    Starting with Richard Rohr’s; “God loves us by becoming us…”

    As beautiful as these words are in their most obvious meaning, I believe they also include some deeper dimensions of understanding that many people are not yet able (or prepared) to hear…?

    I believe they are also saying that God, and therefore the actuality and power of God’s Love, which is not separate from or other than God, is all about becoming conscious of Herself through, and as, humans…

    And because all of this ever extending, unfolding, multidimensional existence is circular as well as directional (think of an ever widening extending spiral that is not just of time and space but of larger dimensions as well), these words, that “God loves us by becoming us,” are also all about us, through God, becoming conscious participants in this very incredible and rather amazing play of life that we are all of us a part of, beginning right here on our very own planet we call Earth, revolving around a star we call the Sun, in a galaxy we call the Milky Way…

    And that, by the very nature of what is, however much we attempt to name and therefore limit our very own sourceless and boundaryless source, we are all together this infinitely and eternally interconnected and interdependent manifest existence itself…

    All of life on Earth is actually also becoming conscious with us, as us, and through us….   Or, and perhaps most simply, this gift of God to us humans is actually also God’s gift to all of life here on Earth…

    Buddha said it this way; “I and ALL sentient existence has awakened…”

    In other words, through each one of us, through all of us, and through all these infinitely unfolding ways that life on Earth is coming into and out of form, we are called to share, dance, play, sing, and in so many other myriad ways, collectively share the experience of what is actually a limitless, multidimensional journey of awakening into and as Love…

    Not merely share it with each other, but also share it in consciousness with all living beings, all sentient existence, all form, all meaning, all expression, on every level and in every degree and detail, transforming all our made up beliefs in darkness and separation into light, creation, love, relationship…

    And even in the face of ALL the insanity we see all around us and in the world these days, THIS love or gift of God remains true…

    Every individual, every relationship, and every collective expression of Goddess being unique in these ways, and yet it is always the same One God, loving Herself into a more and more inclusive awareness of the infinite diversity of what is all also the same One that we also are…

    The biblical and Christian ideas of God having become human through Jesus and therefore the arisen Christ, that aspect of humanity that has never not been of Goddess, are actually pointing to, in some form or another, and no matter how obscured by trappings, exactly what is trying to be said here…

    Though it seems very few of us here in this made-up world of separation really gets it…

    And the great gift of God is that it is always our Choice, our very own Freedom, as extensions of God, Goddess, to allow it to happen, or not…  Allow God to become us, become this that we always and already are, and have only forgotten…

    God becomes our own becoming in Goddess’s own time and ways…  Each becoming, as I am calling it here, unique, yet we are always this same One becoming…  Similarities, reflections and parallels overflowing, soooo many ways of recognizing each other, here in the midst of this journey of the many as One and the One as many…

    My love of Goddess is God’s love of me…

    THIS is really what Jesus meant when he told us to give it all away and follow him…  Allow God to love us by becoming us…

    Let go of everything we believe, be still, and wait forever, for this that we actually always and already are…

    Reality is prior to all time and space…  As in Jesus’s words, “I am before Abraham was…”

    ~ John Fridinger
    Spring, 2022
    Talent, OR

  • Cartesian Theology and the Axis of Separation


    Part One

    The logical underpinnings, world views and mechanistic paradigms of what is predominantly a northern hemisphere Western/European, patriarchal, hierarchical and deeply alienated culture has colonized and subjugated indigenous, southern hemisphere, Eastern, feminine, matriarchal and nearly all other human ways of understanding, relating, experiencing and sharing the commons (world).

    All of our planet’s life’s ways, experiences, relationships, explorations, discoveries, needs and perspectives are being forced, far beyond what is natural, healthy or sustainable, to engage, submit and/or adapt to the belief systems, structures and effects of northern hemisphere, Western and European male centered ways of acting, reacting, thinking, seeing and understanding. As a result nearly all of the earth’s life support systems and inter-relationships, as well as most of our human social, political and economic life support systems and relationships are beginning to collapse.

    This Western centered approach engages the unknown, the unfamiliar, and what it cannot immediately relate to through rigidly defined and defended boundaries or “edges” that are almost always and almost totally shaped and defined by predetermined ideologies and beliefs. It forces all new experience and observation to fit into and serve a vast and mostly unconscious network of pre-existing patriarchal and hierarchical concepts and contractions that are founded upon one singular meta-belief, the meta-belief in separation, a delusion that western society hugely embodies and is deeply identified with.

    One way to describe this manner of seeing, engaging and understanding, and the churn of thinking and beliefs that lie behind all of it, is that it occurs as if all of existence resides within various interrelated and interdependent ideologies, concepts, logic systems and mathematical equations, or “boxes.”

    Western science, religion and philosophy, and all of the stories that the western mind-identity uses to validate its collective beliefs in separation has become a great, complex edifice of variously sized, shaped, shifting, moving, interchanging boxes, where innovative thinking is most often used to define, defend, and extend territory (identity, boxes), making this already huge, ponderous intellectual contraption merely larger, more removed, and more complex.

    At the core of this approach is a familiar and prevalent collection of concepts (boxes now become like chess pieces) that promote rationally devised and vehemently defended disconnections from existence.

    All of this enables and empowers, as early European thinkers like Rene Descartes intended, a dualistic “Self” opposed to “Other” view of life and human purpose, as a rationale for domination and control by the ruling classes. This exclusionary ideology, dependent almost completely upon its foundational meta-belief in separation, has come to dominate the whole world, with all the various competing and allied intellectuals who defend, define, control and interpret these beliefs or boxes acting as the new priests.

    “Other” becomes all others and all else. Everything that seems to be outside the possibilities of ownership, control, commodification and self-identity is denied existence, trivialized, and/or destroyed. It is this separation paradigm that dominates all of our world’s various interweaving levels of “Us and Them,” via all the myriad diverse ways competing and warring ruling elites define, contain and determine present day complex, mechanistic, and highly alienated institutions, political boundaries, sciences, societies and cultures.

    Part Two

    What I am attempting to point at, hopefully without getting to lost in detail, is a whole underlying collection of establishment beliefs and ideologies that deeply justify and empower our present society’s immense conflict with the earth, nature, life, and self.

    This fundamentally human identity of separation has become deeply institutionalized on a world level, with pretty nearly all human societies now embodying immense alienation from other people(s), life forms and the earth, resulting in ever increasing subjection and destruction of the environment and other life forms, all wars at all levels, and all social, environmental and cultural inequities and oppression.

    Descartes’ thinking extended out of a pre-existing separation identity that was, in the European context, already well established in a major way through elite aristocracies and the Roman (Catholic) church. All Descartes did was turn those elite and church controlled separation meta beliefs into a mechanistic philosophy, language, or science, partly as a means for the aristocracy to dominate over the Church, and eventually for the bourgeoisie merchant and banking classes, using the same “Cartesian” thinking, to take over from the aristocracy and establish what is now called Capitalism and Corporations.

    Present day science, commerce, politics and religion in most of their established and prevalent forms are deeply rooted in that original European Roman Church informed and supported separation from the Whole. Nearly all Cartesian/Atheist/Agnostic arguments against institutionalized churches and religious philosophies are basically arguing with themselves. All sides of such arguments are merely reinforcing and adding to the many misleading and mistaken views that we and the world are suffering from most acutely now, views based on a very fundamental and hugely mistaken belief in separation.

    Part Three

    Those who argue for a mechanistic Universe of bits and pieces ignore their own breathing, pulsing life and self awareness in order to do so, using twisting shifts of logic, a sort of logic that cannot really be “argued against,” so to speak, because to do so is to accept and validate the underlying terms of the argument, which is the meta belief in separation. It is an argument that insists upon the very nature of the argument itself to be the only means to ascertain fact and truth, and it dominates simply by continuing to assert its emphatically (and often violently) maintained apparent existence.

    Anyone who seeks for truth in other ways and yet engages such arguments will, and often without realizing it, justify the underlying terms of the argument as valid. And so they help the “True Believer” with their argument for a mechanistic universe of bits and pieces to continue the argument ad-infinitum, reaffirming forever all the myriad ways dominant identities of separation reassure themselves that they are “real.”

    This, at a basic level, is the primary purpose of Cartesian logic, to continue on as the “one” arguing such logic, all of it informed by an abiding faith in a fundamentally “egoist” self that is “absolutely” separate from all of the rest of existence. It is a circular kind of thinking that leads essentially nowhere, or in other words, always back into the delusions and illusions of separation, with only some occasional change in outer appearances and language.

    A mechanistic (delusional) universe only exists in the fictitious (separate) mind of “someone” seemingly standing outside of the Universe, perceiving “it” as something “other.” This is just one of the many peculiarities of Cartesian thinking.

    In other words, Descartes and all those of similar bent replaced the institutionalized Roman church’s “god above, outside of and ruler of the universe” with themselves, and all dualist thinkers since have been expanding upon this revolutionary Western European ruling class event, culturally instilling, expanding and institutionalizing this most fundamental split. “Man as god, lord over all else” has come to dominate nearly all levels of nearly all of our world’s ways of thinking and believing.

    Part Four

    Letting go of “consciousness of” (or beliefs in) “other,” the basis for all identities of separation, and learning to become more and more comfortable (or familiar) with “simply consciousness,” what I’ll call here awareness engaging with itself through all of us, welcomes a journey beyond rigidly held concepts of self, to a place where strong and healthy boundaries (flexible, inherently intelligent, naturally permeable) become our means of perception, communication and exchange.

    We begin to realize we are here, participating in life on earth, so that we might experience, embrace and bring ever deeper into shared consciousness all these infinite possibilities of distinction, celebration and diversity that life on earth is all about expressing. As a part of that we also begin to realize we are not here to reinforce and expand limited and rigid structures of separation (ego) identity through conflict and zero sum competitions.

    The purpose of all conflict is to establish ownership and territory, justify separation, expand and solidify beliefs in other, and, via myriad twisting and forever shape-shifting illusions (beliefs) assert power and control over what in truth only exists in our minds, no matter how much we may project our beliefs as being an outwardly appearing world.

    In this different sort of journey I’m attempting to point to, Self is directly experienced in the context of awareness, interaction, connection, distinction, discernment and interdependence, or in other words through open, healthy and vulnerable relationships. We begin to realize we are not these ideological peripheries, rigid (unhealthy) boundaries, or strongly held (defended) positions that our outwardly projected (appearing) belief systems seem to justify.

    Self, distinction, diversity, and unity is now realized as an inter-weaving, ever extending, creative process, a process we are merely yet so incredibly participant in. In this different scenario (what might be called the reality of existence) nothing is apart, all is participant, and we are now “identified” with (know ourselves as) our dimensionless and unlocatable center, or source.

    At the same time, such beautiful paradox, we realize all our centers are the same center, the same source. We begin to understand that everywhere in the universe, every place, every point, every awareness, every recognition, is the center and source of the universe, that each of us and all of us are also that center awakening to itself, and that through all of us life is becoming what it is meant to be, a conscious, infinite and unending discovery (recognition), celebration, and sharing.

    Exchange the word center for heart in the preceding paragraphs, and see how it affects your understanding of what is being said.

    Part Five

    What is not often accepted is that even as the Universe contains mechanistic logic, mechanistic logic cannot and will not ever be able encompass or explain the Universe. To keep insisting that the only reliable method we have for making sense of existence is the scientific method assumes sense and awareness are only and merely logical, objectifiable and/or mechanical activities.

    To truly know something one must first and foremost be intimate with it, one with it, i.e. not separate from it. In this essay knowing, or “to know,” is being used in the biblical sense. All other forms of knowing are merely belief, judgment, violence, and attempts to control, with all of that being the mechanizations of separation.

    In the final analysis, all mechanistic arguments for a Universe that can be logically “measured” and explained is by its very nature an argument that denies existence to anything and everything the arguer does not (and cannot as something separate) know. We cannot know what we have set ourselves apart from. Argument of this sort is by its very nature violent, dualistic, and invested above all else in acquiring power over what it (the argument/arguer) is merely imagining as being separate from itself.

    This kind of foolishness merely and forever (for as long as such an argument continues to be central to the identity of the arguer) sets things up so that the arguer for a mechanistic Universe absolutely cannot ever know or experience anything beyond what they already “know” or seem to experience. Whether they realize it or not they are arguing for an illusion, that is, their own believed existence as some “thing” or some “one” separate.

    Even when the arguer for a mechanistic universe understands some of these words, they do not really get it, in-their-bones, so to speak, that labeling a box or a collection of boxes the Universe doesn’t make it so. If they did, their arguments would soon cease to exist, and they would finally be able to look at the universe in some very different (new and ancient) ways.

    In Cartesian theology “Man has become God,” with some men now asserting themselves as “more god” than others. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Gaddafi, Hussein, Assad, Putin, Trump and similar others are examples (personifications) of this belief system expressing into some of its most insane of all, unfelt and disconnected extremes.

    Prior to Descartes the Church offered its own theological underpinnings and rationales for this sort of event, in the form of popes, kings, emperors, aristocracy, hierarchy, etc. The East and Middle East had and have their own expressions of this separation centered human tendency, of course, but it is the dominant European and cultural West that has developed that tendency into the extreme rationales and belief systems that are responsible for most of our present day major disconnections between cultures, between humans, and between humans and the natural world.

    Part Six

    And yet with all that has been said so far, I also believe we are upon an amazing journey and creation story of separation and return, with something new becoming awake and alive in (and as) the Universe.

    It may be that, as much as we are willing to let go of the past, we are coming into an end time, and that right here and now in these present moments, of our collective journey as self aware humans, we are being called to process and bring together our multitude of journeys and our multitude of stories, with none of them ever to be individually completed or fully understood until and as much as this “bringing together” happens.

    We are becoming able, if we choose, to realize that within all of our journeys and stories, with all of us so clearly in this same now become very leaky boat we sometimes call planet earth, that there is an incredible possibility being offered to us, the possibility of weaving back together, only now within consciousness so to speak, our collective reality of here and there, you and I, them and us, and all of it, as not ever having been separate to begin with.

    In that realization becomes universal forgiveness, the whole now remembering itself as all of us and each of us, and that nothing separate has ever really occurred. Nor that it ever could occur.  In this sort of collectiveness forgiveness is the possibility to become what I believe is the most incredible miraculous paradox of them all. We seemed to go away and so now we return to where we never left, through (with) each other, our paths now transformed into this shared awakening of and to what has always been.

    Waking up is the path in other words, with both the going and the return, through this rejoining of what was never apart, actually becoming a new act of creation in the Universe as a whole, as this human consciousness itself begins to participate in what has always been, always on-going, Creation.

    Expanding, extending without edges, every point of consciousness knowing itself as the center (heart) of the universe, and the conscious choosing of all that is. This sharing of metaphors is, in a real sense I believe, what religion or spirituality, or what some of us refer to as awareness realizing itself, actually is.

    But this is not a discussion about religion, rather it is to suggest that in the end all language that is not of a so-called practical nature, here and now, regarding physical needs, or as a way of joining our efforts to manipulate substance — trees into shelter, iron into tools, silicon into solar panels, seeds into food — all the rest of language is perhaps metaphor, a means of sharing what is always beyond conceptual or intellectual grasp, but also real, in a very different sense of “real.”

    All of creation as pointing fingers, so to speak, with language and art and science and all awakened human endeavors some of the ways we become a part of that incredible conversation.  Even the most practical and mundane things now become a part of that conversation.

    In this sense, what has become of religion can, when it is no longer what so many of us have turned it into, be re-realized as a means for diverse groups of people to share common experience through shared metaphors of what can only ever be pointed to.

    To experience this that we and all are, we must even be willing to let go of pointing, actually step beyond the end of the finger, in other words beyond all thought and image of our seemingly separate and separated selves.

    Simply enter.

    Part Seven

    Some folks will question such musings as these in terms of pragmatism verses idealism, consciously or unconsciously pitting these two principals against the other. But consider instead that there may be a natural and healthy way, in a larger context, that these two approaches actually weave together, with an assortment of other differences and principals, into life, human, and not just human, all the myriad unique individuations, condensations and expressions of life that make up this planet earth.

    It can no longer be about choosing between. Rather, choice becomes something else, showing up, being present, surrendering to, and participating in what is.

    When we choose in this different way there begins a new sort of journey in which we learn how it is that each of us is able to act as a part of the whole, all the while we are realizing ourselves as myriad unique individuals. A kind of global spectrum of possibility becomes aware of itself, through each of us awakening, uniquely, each at our own pace, and yet altogether.

    Arguing with prevalent dogmatic beliefs in structures and ideology, including the ideology of a “separate” so-called supreme being (Cartesian thinking before Descartes was born), recalls the “Briar Rabbit” stories from when I was a kid, and the “tar baby.” The more we argue with all of that the more we get stuck in it, stuck in our own arguments with it, and/or stuck in “it” through our own arguments, so to speak, and, what’s the point?

    Why not, instead, go on with our own journey into (becoming) the mystery? Realize ourselves as part of Creation so to speak, and save our energy and attention for those we meet along that sort of path, however they may appear?

    What we believe we have defeated we ourselves will eventually become, over and over. In every so called “victory” all that ever changes is the “appearance” of separation.

    So we let it go and continue with our own journey to become free, free from the past (his-story) and from fundamentalist dogma, whether it be scientific, economic, political, religious or personal, and dive deeply into a direct (and growing) experience of mystery. Leave behind efforts to capture into concepts what will always remain mystery to every mind lost in beliefs of separation. Instead allow mystery itself to express through us, moment to moment, writings upon water, and realize that we are this life which is awakening to itself.

    Yet, paradoxically, stay engaged. The opportunity for interaction and conversation is all around us. We don’t need to make anything happen, just step up when and as much we are able to be present, make relative choices around time, energy, and personal needs, and engage. By living in the world as it is, even as we discover more and more that we are not of it, and even as much as we can still sometimes despair of the way it seems to be, we still allow change to happen of its own, so to speak. And sometimes even through ourselves.

    Otherwise, our ways of thinking in terms of “either/or” and “us/them” will keep getting rehabilitated, on and on, with all the inherent assumptions of separation remaining as the only way to perceive, experience, or communicate.

    Duality and separation is the world’s meta religion, believed to be the only reality, forever taking “either/or” as far as it will go. When a particular brand of dualism no longer entertains or distracts, or justifies our competition and fear of each other, we merely attempt to move or lift our dissatisfactions into other areas, levels, or degrees of dualistic concepts.

    Part Eight

    What is the context and what is contained within the context. Machines exist as a part of the living Universe — I drive and use them regularly. But the fuel injection system in my truck does not describe the living Universe. Machines are expressions of a logical mind, yet logic is just one small part of the universe.

    The logical mind is a limited contraction of greater mind (Awareness). To the degree we are in touch with it, our intuitive (non-linear) mind will take us a little closer to realizing this. Yet we identify with the actions, imaginings and “makings” of our logical minds to such an extent that we are barely able to recognize that we are alive most thoroughly by way of participation in what is, on every level and to every degree, soooo much greater, infinite, eternal.

    Where we are coming from is what is important. Entering deeper into and reaching further out of where we are coming from, always further and always deeper, outward and inward, one whole rhythm or movement like breathing, is what life and consciousness is about.

    What is also important is to share, with others, each of us in our own unique ways, real and actual engagement and movement, rather than attacking, running, hiding, digging in or defending. In such sharings we begin to discover more and more that what we are, in truth, is the same.

    In every moment that that sort of discovery is shared, even if only a little more or for a little while, it moves all of us closer to this common world that is always here, always and forever waiting for us to (re) awaken to it.

    As women, men, humans, and all our relations, all beings born into this Earth-centered life together, continually forming and reforming through all of these myriad ways, shapes and species of life that have co-evolved with, together, we already have a common path.

    We don’t need to invent the way, only rejoin it. It is a path that we will be able to engage best through surrendering to it, which becomes, but only as we actually do it, a surrendering to what we always and already are.

    That surrendering into what we already are, together, is the true challenge. I believe it is the greatest and most central challenge humans now face.

    ~ John Fridinger
    Silver City, NM
    Winter, 2006

  • An Open Message Regarding Bernardo Kastrup


    I have been following some of Bernardo’s writings for a long time. A while ago my cousin asked me if I saw something he had just written, and my thoughts on it…  My answer to her has evolved into this essay… 

    Bernardo Kastrup doesn’t seem to fully realize the degree to which he is still trying to think his way to what in its primal essence is both prior to and the end of all thought, a sort of destination, phenomenon or quality he and his colleagues most often label “consciousness.”  They continue to promote their various philosophical, psychological, metaphysical and even scientific attempts to objectify, or in other words make into a “thing” that which precedes, is the source and substance of, and makes up all things, all thought, all language, all imaginings, all perceptions, all ideology and all concepts.

    It is as if a being in a two dimensional world, deducing the existence of a three dimensional realm, is trying to “reach” (i.e., grasp, own, control) a deduced, imagined and overly theorized “three dimensional realm” by extending, articulating and refining all of his same old two dimensional and very artificial boundaries in merely greater and “more encompassing” ways.

    One framework or scaffolding Bernardo seems to use a lot, in order to continue to be the identified “thinker” (doer) of his own thinking, is to challenge and debate (duel) with certain select (and necessarily contrary) scholars, peers and colleagues who might be willing to meet his challenges, and who, through a whole huge “rational” mess of convoluted and befuddled intellectual gambits and complexities, are even further lost than Bernardo is in what is truly a centuries-old game.

    Similar to college football, most of these collegial scholars are extremely addicted to banging away at each other’s identities with post-modern formulations, words, data, concepts and publishing credits, rather than with mere bodies, balls, yard lines and goalposts. The seeming “winners” will gain more “identity” at the expense of the “losers,” all of it of course depending on who’s looking and from which sidelines.

    It is a whole world of competing academic and institutional(ized) ideologues and their pet ideologies, each one trying to assert their own exclusive, special (personal) “understandings” of why it is that thought and/or matter, and all related and various space-time interactive measurable (graspable) effects, is all that there is. With every one of them coming from a different and very relative (to their own and each other’s backgrounds and conditioning) point of view.

    Bernardo does know a good bit more and better than most of his colleagues, and articulates what he knows in some beautiful, clear and elegant ways.

    He actually is, in some noticeable and certain ways, on the very edges of awareness, and probably experiences or has experienced in certain moments what can only ever be communicated via the natural realms, poetry, metaphor, certain stories, subtle pointings, pure art, dance, rhythm, music, etc. Or in other words, communicated through resonance.

    Yet, in other ways, and particularly in such realms as empire, prominent social personalities, power, money and self-imagery, Bernardo seems to still be pretty lost in much of the meta-belief-in-separation’s dominant, conflicted and competing projections, collectively referred to as (by fragmented minds) the “world.”

    Yet he has a highly trained and incredibly amazing mind as well, seems to be a profound intellectual adventurer, and is looking in some right directions through a massive education, all the while dragging bits and pieces of establishment science and academia, as best he can, along with him.

    Never-the-less, Bernardo doesn’t seem to understand that for as long as he keeps arguing with establishment belief systems he will keep being co-opted back into them, always to serve establishment’s (separation’s) own purposes. The more successful his challenges are, i.e., the more he is able to reform aspects of the establishment into Bernardo’s own ideological self-imageries, the more encompassing and eventually successful will be his co-optation back into the very same systems he is trying to challenge. Or maybe he does understand this, and it is what he wants. No knowing.

    For the purposes of this essay, establishment and our collective identity of separation are the same.

    None of the ways human “civilization” has clawed itself to where we seem to be now are (any longer) the way forward. Every additional effort large and small based on that history (his story), or might I say our collective trajectories, will only lead us, as individuals, families, tribes, communities and societies, ever deeper into destruction, along with most of earth’s present and relative (related) forms and expressions of life.

    In the same way the actual physical universe itself, at different major transitional points in its evolution, totally used up literally all the conditions, processes and circumstances that brought it to that point, making a whole new fundamental trajectory (never before known, implied or indicated in any of the universe’s preceding expressions of itself) both necessary as well as possible, human sentience on this planet, along with the planet itself, has now reached (and is reaching ever deeper into) a similar necessary as well as possible transition.

    Earth has experienced some similar transitions or transformations, but never before has she done so in the company of consciousness or may I say Life awakening to itself, presently in this case, and only seemingly so far, through and as humans. Humans who also happen to be the cause(s) or catalyst for these end stages that are now coming to pass.

    And just as as in earlier transitions, when none of the prior conditions (or stages) of the universe could guarantee, describe or “predict” what a new trajectory might look like, let alone survive its appearance (emergence), the same is true now for what is presently believing itself to be human, as a (potentially) awakening part of what is an immeasurably ancient yet always fresh and new, eternal journey.

    Humans are now, unavoidably, overly, and irreversibly, the dominant determiner of Life’s journey on this planet, and it is both time and far past time for us to begin to let go of the destructive ignorance of the old, even as we, in all our two dimensional ignorance, are without any actual “knowing” (which is always based on the impressions, infatuations and conditioning of a nonexistent past) of the new.

    All of us are a part of evolution. And not just evolution, the miracle of creation itself. We are being called now to really and actually step out of our illusions of separation together. What may go forward, in new ways we cannot know, at least not through and as these identities we must first and fully let go of, is what we have always been and only forgotten.

    What we can hope for is that what comes will be more (and more) consciously awake, and ever more openly and relatingly interconnected and together. And it is we who must become the seeds for these sorts of possibilities.

    We will, I believe, if and as much as we are able to let go, and most especially of what we believe to be the past, begin to discover other, deeper and better ways of engaging, first with our own selves, and then with each other, other life expressions, and the universe.

    It is our willingness that we are being called to realize now, all the while as we let go of willfulness, otherwise known as the assertions of competing illusional and delusional identities lost in the beliefs of separation.

    The modern western educated mind trying to understand this now primal requirement is like the proverbial camel trying to pass through the eye of a needle.

    Going for a walk with Bernardo in these realms of thought and language, in these ways, if I ever were to find myself doing that very unlikely such, would be sort of like going for a walk in the forest with a world class olympic gold medalist gymnast who can virtually (pun intended) jump, twist and fly over all the seeming “obstacles” in the forest.

    All the while as the forest is calling to both of us to slow down and bring our attention back to this expression or place that is unfolding both within and as a part of our very own here and now presence in the forest. This is the only place where he and I and a living world might begin to share a deeper awareness of what he and I and a living world also are, together, as each of us, as all of us, and as the forest.

    Invite this amazing Bernardo of my fantasy, through a sort of sharing of what we are that is the very same, to actually experience our greater being as the very forest itself.

    The two of us now discovering what is really the most intimate surprise of all, that this larger context (expression) of who he and I also are, that we were calling at the beginning of our walk the forest (or world), is now actually and consciously, without need of any labels, concepts or identity, discovering itself through and as our very own extant (here and now) conversation (journey) with each other.

    Whatever it may be, through writings, conversation, dancing, or simply noticing, we are now, actually, walking on water. And behold, this very “water” itself is now fully revealed as the most vulnerable, intimate and ordinary expression of all. And so we are revealed, to ourselves.

    In other words, realize with Bernardo a world of connection, rather than mere observation, all the while as we support each other and the world in letting go of some of the ways observation (separation) seems to offer (what is always and only) a temporary “sense” (illusion) of “control” over what we believe is other than us, or the so-called observed.

    Neither the observed nor the observer are actually real. Yet our beliefs that they (as in us, you, me, other) are, is now rapidly destroying ourselves, each other, other life and the earth.

    This consciousness of ourselves is an extension, and therefore not separate from the source of everything. The belief we are separate, the one meta belief every “modern” human seems to agree upon, and simply because in fact we are not and cannot ever be separate from source, actually has the power, simply through its own beliefs, to project and seem to make real illusions, and through acting as if these projections are real, destroy all that we are (in fact and truth) part and participant in.

    Just as it is not always a blessing to have great wealth, privilege, power, it is not always or at least only a blessing to have a talented, healthy, highly trained and educated mind, or a talented, healthy, highly trained and educated body. “Blessing” in this context meaning truly helpful for our true purpose(s) here on earth.

    Projections upon projections, none of it real. What is true and real never comes, never goes, never changes. And yet, all change, all form, all phenomena, all experience is made up of, arises from, and returns to the real.

    This huge play of existence we are for a while believing we are separate from, in a sense condensates out of the real, and it will all eventually fall away, dissolve back into, return to the real.

    That returning is also simultaneously a becoming, creation in greater and greater dimensions.

    What I am calling here the real is what all of us who are blessed with a truly auspicious or human birth are now being called to fully realize is actually what we, also, always and already, are.

    I actually believe there is an incredible gift in what we are all being called (invited) to accept.  This calling or invitation, that is arising through each of us and all of us who are also slowly beginning to realize that we also are what is calling, is not an abstract idea, concept or thought. It is reality itself.

    How amazing is that, reality itself wants to come into an awakened and ever awakening relationship with itself, through each of us and all of us. I believe this may be the most truly incredible gift in ALL of creation.

    Without becoming familiar with, embracing, and actually entering into and living paradox, none of this can be grasped. It is prior to all words, concepts, time and space. It can only seem to be grasped by allowing it to slowly (and sometimes suddenly) grasp us. Here is where we actually begin to experience the difference between willingness and mere willfulness. For it is always in its own time, and in its own infinite ways and manner.

    When that sort of symbiosis happens, the forest (world) begins to converse, dance, sing, shape-shift, drum and paint into actual phenomenal existence its very own joy, love and beauty, otherwise known as Source, all of it now expressing and discovering itself through each of us, with each of us, as each of us, and all of life.

    The universe in a grain of sand realizes that it is so…

    That Love is so…

    ~ John Fridinger
    Talent, OR
    Spring, 2020

  • Dark Night Writings


    An Alchemical journey over a period of many months, during the year 2008.

    True Silence cannot be kept.
    It can only be discovered.
    ~ Mooji

    It is morning, woke into all the same terror, center of it moving around, abdomen, belly, chest, laying still so as to be with it, “trying” to not resist, run, fight, not add energy to it… Mind attention tries to get away into thoughts, falls back into the terror, there is nothing solid left to hang thoughts onto… As if the infrastructure thoughts once used to organize themselves around has crumbled into dust, yet identity is still struggling to stay intact, survive… Only bits and pieces of identity left, tumbling up out of nothing, and then fading away…  Yet something here still believes these bits are me, continues to cling to them, continues to believe I am it, I am the clinging…

    Occasional fragments seem to assemble into a very fleeting “me,” with fear the only constant, as if I am only movements of fear and terror, along with a very deep desire to die… In and out of it all weave thoughts that conflict between reasoning that desire into action and reasoning that desire away… A strong sense of the harm such an act would cause others, along with a sourceless certainty it would make no difference, is all that seems to stop me sometimes, from acting it out…

    Last evening I was suddenly, no sense of a transition, just simply there I was for some hours in what I am calling the other place, peace, Presence, where fear never was, thoughts are just thoughts with not much attention to them as they occasionally rise, and then fall away, and a sense or seeing of how all things can (and do?) happen out of that place, and that even my own affairs could somehow get done on their own without any need of “me”…  Maybe it had to do with connecting with someone last evening just a bit, or, maybe, it just came, was, grace…

    Went to sleep in and as that peace and presence… Now this morning, as most mornings for months, is this overwhelming fear and anxiety, worldly activities seemingly impossible, affairs not getting done, the course of my life sliding into hell with me, so to speak… The “doer” dying away because it cannot “do,” or so it seems… Can only “try” to stay present, not run, clearly no where to run to, only the desire to run is left… it seems sometimes I try to run into the desire to die, disappear so to speak, like a wild critter cornered and no way out, in terror literally trying to flee into itself, back into its own origins…

    If my psychic mental emotional body were a physical body it’s if I am lying in bed dying, bones crumbling, muscles weak and in constant pain, organs barely functional, every cubic inch of me in extreme discomfort, hardly able to lift a glass of water, and yet something here that I am is still wanting to get up out of bed and move in the world and do my work and live a life…

    And this eternal awareness even now, in the midst even of the worst of this, of another way to live all of that– centered in the “place” I was (not was in but actually was) last night… It was clear last night all of my life gets done through me somehow, me merely appearing to do it, even as I experience a sort of joy in the apparent doing, yet not a me anywhere here that I “am,” somehow, with nothing actually being done, words not able to say it… That “non-place” never seemingly staying long enough for a life here in the world to root and expand out into larger life, sort of as in “happen…”

    I get confused and torn sometimes by the “making the dream state better, or waking up” choice or distinction… People have recently helped me see the way I hold two very serious horse accidents in my lower body, along with the constant need to keep my liver healthy, all of it layered upon extreme early and later childhood traumas, not to mention a very unusual, very checkered life journey…

    I worked in serious ways in Santa Cruz over a lot of years with two very good somatic therapists, but how much does any of that sort of effort matter, anymore? How is it that I block things into my lower body even more since the horse wrecks, and how it is that letting go of being with a woman seems to be the hardest and most debilitating thing my life has ever given me to experience, and that it keeps happening, over and over?

    Am I just trying to run away from ALL of that and all of life to boot, into so-called enlightenment..? And yet, I have been, or at least it seems, intensely chasing “God” for pretty nearly all of my existence… The company of a woman and simple survival the only serious competitions to that seeking, to the point that I would invariably make survival and relationships a part of the journey, very often to the detriment of both relationships and survival…

    Yet, what else is there, with truly healthy mind/body relationships with others apparently infinitely unattainable in this insane, hugely conflicted and self destructive dream world we humans have collectively and fearfully believed into seeming existence… Waking up out of it seems to be the only possibility, or at least the only possibility that has actually, really and lastingly mattered or made sense to me…

    At this point I don’t seem to have a choice, this is all happening anyway, something calling to me from way beyond this tenuous existence as a “someone” in a made-up world of someones, a calling that has so often nearly overwhelmed even my most basic instincts to survive…

    I listened to a Satsang yesterday, in which the teacher spoke in his own unique way, to a woman who seemed to be experiencing something very similar to where I’m presently at, about the reality of utter and total defeat, crushing, messy… The end of “me,” exquisitely tangible, not an idea, this me, not an abstraction, crumbling and dissolving, ripping and breaking up, coming apart into nothing…

    So aware even now that, as much as I desperately want to surrender I am not surrendering, instead and in a sense I am still “seeking” to die so that I can stop dying… I cannot surrender, and yet cannot stop trying to surrender, or so it seems… And the blessing that some teachings sometimes speak to, the “grace” of “being surrendered,” is like believing in the holy grail, as if I am trapped by belief (or hope) into a sort of eternal non-believing…

    Or perhaps I am actually being surrendered, and this is just what it looks like, feels like, right here, right now, this mess of conditioning called me, these memories, beliefs, feelings, ideas of separation and union, just another unique and yet in so many ways unremarkable life journey…

    Remembering teachings on not resisting, remembered not as thoughts but as if the remembering was reality remembering itself, for a couple days I had a real sense of or immersion into here and now, all resistance seemed to stop, and a whole day of simple presence… Things, thoughts, feelings, even the activity of trying, all of it simply rising and falling away within non-resisting awareness… Then, I watched as my mind somehow gained some leverage, and again make non-resisting into another desperate “thing to do,” so that once again I got caught up in resisting the effort to grasp onto non-resisting… Lo and behold, non-resisting became merely another way to resist… And as always, in resistance, hell…

    I am so attached to the “no place” place, and have sooo much aversion to this so-called dream, otherwise known by most people it seems as the manifest world…


    The day before yesterday found myself back in Presence most of that afternoon and through the evening and into sleep… Upon waking in the mornings most times I get caught back in the mind pretty quick, my resistance to this waking dream world collectively believed, so deeply felt in the body, always seeming to start as soon as I wake, and then of course resisting the resisting, etc. etc., and on down the rabbit hole I go…

    But yesterday in the morning I seemed to be more present than usual as I awoke, and somehow found myself staying with that initial presence so that it grew, and without noticing where or how, it shifted and I was again in Presence all that day and evening, things got done, the doing now doing itself through me, me doing but not doing, reading, being, sitting, doing, writing, people, conversations, out and about, the store, some work, all day long, walk in the evening with my dog, a very nice day, peace, joy and Presence, life happening, understanding in my body without either words or concepts, as if the fabric of Awareness is the very physical world is my body, as if Awareness itself is the body, and the body the physical world, all doing not separate, doing itself simply an expression, or something…

    I went to sleep that way, a day and a half, first time I can remember that it stayed with me waking in the morning… Even though I saw how mind gets going that morning it was like I didn’t go with it…

    Then this A.M. my mind coming back in, ahead of me, slowly, like between two worlds most of the day so far (now mid-afternoon), but getting more and more into the hell realms, sort of watching, fear of hell which I know just gets me there more, strong aversion to my own mind, aversion that goes with seeing the hate, violence, machinations and alienation of an insane world (an article someone sent me that I probably “shouldn’t” have read), with such a “world” being so often the hook that gets me into hell, maybe even as much as my own inward stuff, fear of survival, loneliness, etc…

    An incredible attachment to Presence and an extreme aversion to hell… Yet when I’m in Presence there is a sense of eternity and I’m not fearing hell, feel almost a fondness maybe even love for it even… I don’t really ‘remember’ the experience of hell in Presence, just a sort of shape and some of the terrain, the bones of hell so to speak, something to be loved in its passing, as if it left me a great gift of itself, a teaching rather than a reality, so to speak…

    But always in Presence there is still this “me” that wants to “stay” in Presence, a peaceful “me-mind” that occasionally creates images of “staying,” that for a while are let go of, sort of, maybe, so much attachment to staying in Presence…

    For a lot of this morning it is almost like I am in “both” places, places that I seem to also know somehow are the Same… Awakeness, Hell, wanting the one, aversion to the other…

    Yet always and only One…

    In Awakeness I both see and Am the world, and in Hell I think the world – it is the same world but not the same experience… And so it “seems” different… In Hell I think my dog Dancer is 12 years old and fear his death or that he will wander and get hurt, even though he is still healthy and agile…  And in hell I think a woman and suffer being apart, even though I remember there is nowhere to go…

    In Awakeness I see (realize?) I am part of a Whole, my dog is old, a woman I knew lives somewhere else and it is All simply now, Dancer’s eventual death a part of now, his alive Presence no less now, a woman gone from my days still with me in so many things we shared, our hearts interconnected, loving, still somehow our energy interactive, a whole seamless thing, these words not saying it even slightly…

    And just now remembering something about Christ’s garment being a seamless Whole…

    The very simple truth I believe I share with all human births is I do not ever want to go back so deeply lost as forever into Hell… Resisting Hell, yet resistance itself still being my main route to Hell, in some ways I still don’t apparently get…

    Is there not a middle path through this fire that consumes me, is not Awakeness and my heart also there, here, in Hell? Not my heart that yearns to love but my heart that is Love, and the world as One, this heart of all hearts… How to stay present in Presence when all the world around me is lost in the raging dreams of an insanely conflicted human imagined “reality”…

    When loneliness and alienation feels so extreme, that is when Hell is at it’s worse…  And yet I also, even when I forget, somehow I still know, even in hell, that all of that is merely my own insane dreams, and that separation does not exist, is not real, and the Real world, as an expression of Awakeness, is the Truth of Love made manifest…

    In Hell all I want is to die, to end my own as well as all other perceived suffering, and I think sometimes maybe, if I care for anything beyond myself, that if I die the Awake World might be made more manifest for others, simply by the absence of my own separation, somehow, Inshallah…

    In Awakeness it doesn’t matter if I am alone or interacting with people, it is all the same peace and quiet joy, an Awareness that understands (seeing with my ears, hearing with my eyes), without thought or concept. In hell being alone is hell and interacting with people is hell and there is no understanding anywhere at all… Thoughts and concepts crashing around in utter confusion and chaos…

    There is still a “me” in Awakeness- desiring to not go back to hell, or more specifically, desiring to stay in and as Awareness … Attachment to joy and peace, to an understanding that is infinitely empty, to a stillness that transcends all duality and yet is the source and substance of all activity and relativity… And such a strong aversion to Hell, suffering, fear, pain, grief, loneliness, and being pulled apart by this yearning that consumes me…

    The clear realization that I hate my mind came to me as I drove away from Southwest Sangha day before yesterday, late morning, such a simple obvious thing but the first time I really saw it past the idea of it, even as earlier that morning I was Hell almost beyond endurance, or so it seemed…

    My mind really hating my mind, this Illusion called me hating the illusion of itself… After seeing the hate I actually maybe started to feel in my heart some care, acceptance and even perhaps a loving kindness towards my own mind, thoughts, attachments and aversions… Just a very barest beginning glimmer and maybe a first time…


    I continue today with a whole lot of fear and all the feelings and seeming internal experiences that orbit around fear, the complexity of the feelings at times more overwhelming than the fear itself, though fear seems to be always at the center, sort of where it all begins and what holds it all together, like the gravity of the sun holding the sun itself as well as the solar system together, fear holding together all of this hell realm as I am calling it…

    I have heard teachers basically refer to holding all of it as energy, but I don’t seem able to intentionally shift to a perspective like that yet, my mind continuing to shape all the different energies into the shapes and beliefs of fear, with all the various feelings, thoughts and sensations that collectively seem to become out of that energy the substance of my hell realms…

    Yet still continuing, moments and even occasional hours or days of peace and Presence, Awakeness, joy even… But mostly it is as now, hell… The other night sleep was not the usual refuge from hell it so often is for me, I was awake most of the night in a tiny little retreat cottage at Southwest Sangha, far off by myself, so incredibly separate and alone, nearly the whole night crying and begging to a God I felt, feel, infinitely separate from, to please let me die, pleading, please let me simply and fully, totally and forever die, no rebirth, no Nirvana, no me, no enlightenment, no rewards, no God, nothing, please… I am so sorry, whatever I did to deserve this please forgive me and let me be no more… “I” did not choose to exist, this is not fair, please, take my life, identity, thoughts, feelings, body, my everything, allow me only to cease, not-exist, forever…

    And that hell, without all the pleading and God stuff and etc., is basically where I am now again as I write, though less lost perhaps, rising a little out of it as I begin, typing on a computer out here in the middle of the vast mountain desert, just the simple act of writing seemingly enabling the possibility of some contact with this place inside myself that also surrounds me and is me, this place where teachings speak to me, with me, from me, as me… I remember again the image, the Duet of One…

    Later on yesterday I was, no warning as usual, slowly and never sure, back in that peace and Presence place that is always so tenuous and seemingly short lived when apart from it and eternal when it is… At any moment there can become something that I identify with, or want to make mine, or want to push away, change, not accept, and then I am caught, lost, and back in hell…

    This “me” place that hangs on and on and on, always loosing “not-me” in the fractured kaleidoscope of a mind that can’t hold onto any sort of an identity for more than a brief moment… Understanding and chaos, mind and feelings and no-mind and no-feelings, hell and Presence swirling around as if there is never an end to hell, with occasional Presence making hell even more hellish because this memory of a me is still caught in comparison, relativity…

    Just barely functional as usual, no intentions that can hold water beyond this timeless moment, barely able to connect with people and always moment to moment, holding (maybe with some kindness?) all of this difficult feeling inside of me even now, as I write… Trying, the very little bit of try that seems left, to be with all of it, inside and out, and not-do what I can… I can see how some people make “doing the next thing” into another trip about an imagined future… Maybe I do that sometimes, but mostly the next thing is just barely all I manage to notice, if I manage anything at all…

    I hear teachers and teachings say go into the fire, step into it… I want to ask what that means, what does stepping into the fire look like..? I know what it feels like, but what does it LOOK like…? It feels sometimes like I am stepping into the fire and trying to get away from it all at the same time.. Perhaps THAT IS the fire, what it “looks” like so to speak…?

    And inquiry, do I really know what inquiry is, what being curious is, looking not for answers but instead with an active curiosity letting what wants to reveal itself reveal itself, asking without expectation what is real, what am I believing, what seems to be happening, what is the story, the lower case source of all of this…

    But these are just words, actually doing inquiry is so vague, like watching the sensei when I studied Aikido, very easy to see what he or she was doing, but so hard to get (let?) it into my body so that it did itself through me… And now in the context of chaos, with inquiry so tenuous and hard to be still with, I don’t even know if there is a real question I am asking or merely another thing made up, just some more story I am contriving…

    In some ways it is hard to write, writing seemingly an escape from myself that never works for very long… A part of me feels like each time I reach out to someone from this place of transition (the only place I seem to be these days, praying that it is transition and not an ever deepening insanity), I am imposing my hell upon another, being repulsive, a crazy person, a loser,, bad, etc., etc…

    I call friends when it seems like the only thing left is to kill myself, though I don’t say that to them usually, just call someone, different ones, spread it out, with no one really understanding… A long time Vipassana practicing friend says meditate, make the choice to feel good, a long time Tibetan practicing friend says envision a different life, a happy life, a Theravada friend say love myself, a physician friend offers the possibility of drugs, and I just want to end this life, which never seems possible either, especially when I think of all the friends and people who care about me, the hurt it would cause them, and my dog’s pain in my ongoing and unending absence, and the general mess of loose ends I’d leave behind, not to mention the belief I still seem to have, maybe what stops me most of all, that it would not change anything, that what is trying to escape hell would just find the same or worse hell on the other side of killing itself, but no longer with a human birth that makes real change and the falling away of beliefs in separation possible…

    Also it’s an effort to write because the little that seems to be left of my self image keeps wanting to make what I write into something that looks good, with a part of me feeling like people are going to disappear on me if I reveal myself as just another mess, so many deserving people in the world reaching for help, why would anyone want to waste their time on this particular mess…

    When in the peace and Presence place a peaceful sort of energy seems to abound, in surplus even, no lack of it, a real feeling of physical health and vitality seeming to come along with Presence….

    But then sometimes it seems like I am just another one lost in a strange, crazy new-age “spiritual” world of people, who are all over everywhere these days it seems, people who believe waking up means “choosing” or envisioning (imagining) happiness, or earning it via long bouts of meditation, or by following all the 8 fold this and 4 noble that and 10 what-evers, all the while they ring bells and memorize spiritual commentary about other people’s commentaries on other people’s commentaries…

    All of that in some ways is no different from a mainstream insane world that believes war and conflict and battle and competition and extreme control of what is believed to be other and separate is the only way to lasting peace and joy and happiness…

    It is possible that this writing is merely another effort on my part to control or avoid rather than surrender…  I never know, I really don’t know anything at all, except this seeming fear and anguish and the yearning for abiding peace, abiding God, and/or for the end of myself…  And sometimes, that all seems to be the very same thing…

    And probably is…

    Someone suggested I am paying attention to non-dual teachings to much and that I should just do the next thing and be there with what arises, not realizing that already IS what I “do,” the only way I can even brush my teeth these days is to be there in the brushing, not somewhere else…

    And yet, when there is nothing else possible, listening to and reading teachings is all that seems to make the difference between merely chaos and hell, and believing in the possibilities of chaos and hell leading to waking up, really waking up…

    Either I am waking up or I am insane… At least for the first time I know (or think I know, as in believe) that waking up is actually possible for regular people, with all those years of reaching for something I did not really believe was possible for this so less than ordinary person, but still and always having to reach for what I sometimes called God anyway… No choice because nothing else ever, ever, ever made sense…

    The desire for love, companionship and intimacy with a beautiful, desirable woman still grabs me so hard sometimes… I tried more than once to combine seeking God and being with a woman into One Way, and always I failed… The fear of being alone continues to be perhaps the most terrible fear of all…

    I still it seems have a weak hold on an image I’ve carried for a long time, an image of place-based communities that enable shared values, relationships, and life as a whole to flourish, and in the context of such a community a woman partner and the sharing of a way with her that is all about eternally waking up together, all of it in-formed by a Universe that is eternally Awakening through relationship and community and the Earth as a Whole, just as much as it seems to be awakening through each (or some?) of us individually…

    I seem to still be attached to the possibilities and images of a world such as that, a World in which all of life and existence is waking together, actually awakening into each other and into everything… As each other, through each other, and for each other, all of existence one incredible awakening that is so paradoxically never not awake, an evolving, loving, joyful event, with pain, death, aloneness and all of that a part of it but not separate from the Love that under-girds everything…

    Why do I keep being caught up in such images, fantasies and desires, when it is only my own awakening that seems to be calling me always deeper into the fire, all of this of course presuming I am not just and merely insane…

    I am like one of those guys who would sit outside the monastery gates in olden times, in Japan or China, season after season, wanting to come inside and learn, as if I have been out here waiting and wandering for all of my life, looking to be let in and be taught by someone who really, really knows, wandering and seeking, but never finding the right gate, not even when sometimes a teacher does briefly seem to appear… I have wandered out here for so long now I have become an old man…

    No matter, I sit outside the Gate still, nowhere else to go… And maybe sometimes someone hears my pounding heart and a head pokes out and speaks to me… And sometimes I am speaking back, throwing messages over the top of the gate even, wanting more… A world without closed gates… And as I finish these words, tears…

    I tried to leave this path, make spirituality into something part time, peripheral, rather than my life… Horses, a piece of land, a woman who tried to stay with me… I imagined losing myself in the desert mountains on horseback after I “got it together…” A few years later, after many less obvious unheeded massages, it took first a dead horse and then two major horse accidents for me to finally listen, let it all go…

    I seem to know the truth of the words that one cannot earn Grace… Simply “be still and wait forever” is all, here in the midst of such total unknowing, terror, and my mind’s incessant attempts to fill up the unknown with itself, no matter what horrors it creates in its own image…

    I noticed when Awakeness visited this last time what is meant about the body being the duplicating machine of the mind… I “saw” a thought and immediately saw the body believe it into a feeling, saw it all, and in the ‘seeing’ it all fell away, ceased… Same sort of noticing happened a few more times while Awakeness remained…

    Everything that I care about, Awakening, God, the Wild Earth, loving a woman, friends, my dog, the possibilities of community, health… Hell is the absence of (seeming disconnection from) all of that, along with fear, grief and despair that it will all be absent forever…

    A hell that keeps coming, coming, coming because my mind is infinite in what it can make up in the beliefs of separation, the power of this mind that is a fragment or extension of the mind of God believing it is separate from God and now a god in its own right, whenever I believe it… No way out that I can exercise from within the beliefs of hell, hell unable to un-believe or un-hell itself, for every hellish effort is merely a continuing of hell’s beliefs in its own illusional existence…

    Always seemingly lost “forever,” this quest for awakening, enlightenment, God, as if impossible, and perhaps only a little less ridiculous than the quest for satisfaction in riches and power might have been, if I had ever felt called in that way…

    Reading the words “Every time a human touches into that unconditionality it’s such peace and fulfillment…” And I think of a concentration camp, a war zone, a refugee camp, a third world prison… Can I touch into unconditionality even as I feel those places in me…? Does awareness really wake up to itself in those sorts of places…? I remember the description of an awakened prisoner in San Quentin, and a person who awakened in a Nazi concentration camp… Does Awareness wake up, Awakeness realize itself, that which is forever beyond words be that which I Am, even in the midst of this grief and fear and pain that I feel right now as I realize that prisons and camps and war zones are also that which I Am…?

    This anguish beyond words for all the incredible suffering that I and all of Creation is one with, a suffering that I want to be apart from yet can only be free of in knowing my total oneness with all of it…

    In the Hell Realm now, terror at being alone and separate for ever, with horror, insanity, pain and suffering all that I am left with, war zones, prisons and refugee camps, no intimacy, no love, no beauty, no peace, no compassion, no joy, no life, this anguish beyond endurance wanting to die…

    Just barely maybe getting a glimmer of an understanding of true inquiry, investigative awareness… Mostly it seems I suck at it…

    Hopelessness as the other side of hope, no hope, as if somewhere back there I really fucked up really bad once or many times and there is no possibility of resolving, transcending or being free of whatever it is I have done to create such Hell. God keeping me alive and awake in this hell….. . It is not even that I am “in” Hell, but that I am Hell…

    Doing the next thing in the middle of chaos, crazy runaway mind, overwhelming feelings and no sense of anything that could describe a life of meaning and purpose… Not much of any will left, my body wracked by fear, despair and pressure, emotional pain, loneliness, hopelessness, mind running into thinking, fantasy, story, grasping, hoping, all of it in fragments without cohesion, meaning, or any tangible “substance” other than fear…  And overarching everything is a deep, profound, powerful desire to die… Awakeness seemingly gone forever…

    Skirting some fear, depression and loneliness this morning, but it could be that I also know I am OK, and maybe also with a sense of where I explored last night, or a sense of That which was doing the exploring, or something… It seems, listening to teachers and teachings, that at some point one may be able talk and even write about all of this, if/when it is called for, without getting lost in identification with the words, and without becoming lost in being a somebody in the eyes of others..?

    To be a somebody in the eyes of a world in the beliefs of somebodies, that feels to me sometimes to be way, WAY more terrifying even than being alone in hell…

    I find myself wondering what depression is… This being alone never stops, it is the end of it all in a sense, something I seem to know, but also not wanting to know it a lot of the time still… When it is Presence it is definitely alone, all-one, which does not feel like alone feels right now as I write… And yet, is it not Presence that I also see in others’ eyes sometimes…? In Presence I am all beings and there is no such thing as alone, only One…

    This morning a walk in the hills, Presence for a while there, rest of today feeling like on the verge of Hell and on the verge of Presence, both and neither, just plain vanilla depression and despair maybe, the veil swirls one way, then the other, resisting hell or feeding hell, bits of Hell and Presence, asking myself what is real, what am I telling myself, now, here, what is this story…

    And so I see a story, this story, stories, the story of Hell, the story of separation, the story of the world, the story of them and me, them and us, the story of someone particular to love because I can’t love it all, or love myself, and then suddenly a swirl and there is no story, Presence…

    Until the next story, my mind is as infinite as the Universe, it can keep coming up with stories forever, can’t stop it… I am so obviously and majorly believing my mind, identifying with it and hating it all at the same time, this mind that goes on and on, myriad variations on Hell, or so it seems…

    Yet earlier this morning for a while feeling clear, present, No-Self…  Gone, gone, gone beyond the going, even the going gone…

    So much feeling, where does all this feeling come from, for my whole life feeling has dominated, or so it seems, feelings so outside of and larger than everything else, even as a kid… Is it really just energy…? Looked for and found a web site that has a lot of Nisargadatta on it, in the process of looking for him discovered a whole lot more, didn’t realize that Non-Dual had become such a consumer item, spiritual materialism for the 21st century…

    I feel like a real provincial, always just going with what came next, never knew there was a “non-dual” movement, “neo-advaita” or whatever it is called, until recently…

    Most of the non-dual stuff I was just looking at via google seems so, I don’t know, contrived…

    Just feeling really depressed by it all now, want to curl up and die, everything becomes a “trip” as we used to say, yet some teachings are utterly real, speak to me, speak in me, are me, the same as me, and though I hear sort of some of the same words from all these new-age non-dual folks it is as if a lot of it is just and merely about more power and self-imagery, stories to sustain their own identities, or in other words, just more stuff…

    Not my way, or something… People always seem to want power, identity in the eyes of others, or something, damn, I want out of it, all of it, please dear God no more spiritual trips, please, please help me… The end of graven images, even non-dual ones, enlightened ones, teacher ones, awakened ones, no-me ones, all-is ones…

    So much stuff…  Are more and more people really actually waking up…? And am I still after all this time seemingly just as far away as ever from waking up…? I know, not far away, right here, I’m already awake, just don’t know it, all that jazz, fuck, digging it deeper and deeper this depression, like I am the last one in the so-called “spiritual” world to get it…

    Or, maybe there is something ELSE besides all these non-dual, “no one is here,” “no one to awaken” trips… Even though I “know” no one is here and there is no one to awaken… Maybe making fun of myself is what is really happening here…? The possibility of a sense of humor even here in Hell…?

    Who am I to say anything about anyone or anything, with me spending so damn much of my time lost in thought and in my own drama and feelings, with hell, fear, despair, depression always the places I return to… In some ways, maybe many ways, this has been going on for years, maybe my whole life even, more so than I am willing to admit even, just escalating beyond all comprehension or endurance these last few months… I choose to die, let go of all of it, no awakening, no enlightenment, no no-me, please death embrace me fully…

    I have experienced the Duet of One many times, but only I seemed to know it… Sometimes in talking to people something comes through, something responds, but none of it is me…  Somehow I get out of the way or am gotten out of the way, no knowing why it happens, just does, never determined by “me” in any way…

    But not ever out in the open so to speak, this One knowing itself as both of us, recognizing and acknowledging itself in and as each other… It is always the other person perhaps having a profound experience, or not, maybe thinking I had something to do with their experience, or maybe not, and me letting it be that it was just a good moment, appreciated, as much them as me, because it was…

    But what I always look for and miss is this place where we simply are, the same, looking into each other’s eyes and hearing with each other’s ears and knowing together that it is so… This One Energy that we are, dancing with itself through us, dancing its own knowing of itself…

    And even those occasional moments with people have been just as intermittent and non-determinable as Presence presently is… For years have had brief experiences with others, if I could see it coming I got out of the way best I could, let it be, over when it was over, let go, never me…

    I’m still feeling into all the ways the terrain seems to have shifted around me recently, seeing, my stories, even my stories and beliefs about hell, what wants to die, so much, and so much more… The question came, what is this me that “wants” to “drop away?” And suddenly there it was, no me, at least in that moment… A me here now or so it seems, describing it, yet no me here now either…

    What is this about being alone? The greatest question of all for me perhaps… Perhaps the greatest question for all humans in the beliefs of separation…

    I am alone now, it is a given, a reality, or fact, not to be argued with, or so it seems… I haven’t always been alone, and can remember being alone as something that I sometimes missed in those times when I was not alone… Either way seems to be the way, but the way I would still choose it, it seems, is to not be alone… I have some grokking of the Ultimate Aloneness all true teachings seem to point to, that which we all are, which is not loneliness, and have in brief moments experienced my own sense of that… But I am also here in this world with no way out, only through, and in this world alone is about something else…

    What alone means for me in this world, or so it seems, this experience of life as a part of a seeming world of others, is two-fold… On one hand it is about not being with a primary partner, a lover, a woman, someone in particular to love and to be open and vulnerable and unconditionally intimate with, someone who loves me and who’s survival and comfort means as much to this “me” as my own survival and comfort does…

    And on the other hand alone means the absence of a community of people on a shared spiritual path that includes some common language and experience, and maybe even some sort of common worldly destiny or lifestyle, a collective way that manifests and reveals uniquely and yet universally at the same time what we and all life are, unique, individual and yet together…

    People, and multiple generations even, with whom openness, intimacy and vulnerability, comfort, and natural ways of survival has become a shared experience… All the while that there are the natural realities of life, difficulties, struggles, learning, and all of it, whether we are alone, or not…

    So my question becomes, what is there to be discovered and maybe realized in the context of just this being alone, that I am knowing as me, now…?

    I am being very rational here this morning in order to type and get this out… A big part of me just wants to cry and/or go back to being with the shifts in terrain that seem to be happening now… Rational was not the basis last night, I was very present, vulnerable and open, alive and real, right here, with so much more happening and seeming to come through than can ever be put into words, rational, irrational or otherwise…

    I’m scared to stop writing, because I will then be back alone with what I am feeling around being alone, asking myself what story, what belief is this about… What comes up now is the belief that I deserve to be alone, am a bad person who does not deserve the sort of companionship I seek, that I am being punished, exiled…

    And no, I don’t know if any of that it is true, but I don’t know that it is not true either… I simply don’t know…  And, I am alone…  But maybe there is a deeper story, a deeper pattern here, this very belief that says I am alone… I do have a number of friends but most of them do not know me in these ways I keep finding myself more and more, and there is virtually nothing I can share with most of them about it…

    I seem to be writing partly to run from hell, from being alone, the same thing at this point, with running digging me ever deeper into hell, so much wishing I could have gone a different way last night, yet so much else did happen, don’t want to loose touch with that…

    And now another morning, last night I saw clearly through hell, hell is a belief, story, not necessary… It is a belief that wants to die, and some kindness and understanding towards that belief, the ways it served me perhaps, kept me alive, out of jail, safe from all the ways that can be experienced here in this world’s beliefs of separation, protected others even perhaps… But it is not needed any more, I can let it go, to rest in peace, not hated, loved even in passing…

    This morning, alone, but hell of a different sort maybe, what is this alone, I don’t know, really don’t know… Maybe alone is not hell…?

    Saw so clearly through and past hell last night, now am in hell deeper than ever… Fear beyond fear, anguish beyond comprehension… Nothing I can do, nothing I can not do, a small child lost and alone wandering in the darkest night, a night that promises to last forever, a scream to somehow encompass forever this child’s only response… I was left alone as a very small child in some very desolate and very scary and very physically painful places for very long periods… Here is where it comes back to perhaps… Wanting to be forgiven…? Hell is dying over and over and wanting it to end, never really being dead, truly gone… Forever, no one, nowhere, alone beyond comprehension, no love no god no light…

    Does this really end, hell, separation, or is it only for special people to truly awaken…? When I am in Presence I know it is already everyone, here I know nothing…

    I seem to have this belief, it goes back a long way I think, that I will not be graced by the end of myself in separation until I am able to endure and accept without resistance the most hellish hells my mind can imagine… And, considering the infinite possibilities of imagination, perhaps that is a belief I need to ask, is it true…? Must I…? And my answer is, I don’t know, but maybe not, with some growing hope that it is not true, because that could be an awfully forever long journey through hell…

    All of this is made up by my mind, I know, but there is no outside of this at all now, mind is nuts, pressure, filled to brim with chaos, bits and pieces of stories, thoughts, images, body full of overwhelming energy, fear, anguish, terror… Watching it all and falling into it all and watching it all…

    Hell is all there is now, wanting to escape and “trying” to stay, know soooo much of what teachings say about all this, but my simply knowing teachings does not change anything, still Hell beyond measure, still want to die rather than be here in it, even though I think I know it is the hell that really wants to die, but all of that just ideas now, I would without hesitation kill myself right now except that it would deeply hurt friends and others, leave a mess, and almost certainly not change anything…

    Mind at war with mind, the totality of all existence seemingly filled with this war, this hell, as if this is all there is- outside, inside, total… Just last evening I was back in Peace and Presence, am often there now, or so it seems, for moments hours even a couple days here and there recently… But always back to this Hell, which I still seem to believe in so firmly, apparently as a result of conditioning that I continue to gain some understanding of… And it is a Hell that is always “forever,” longer than I can imagine in other words, when I am in it…

    Seems sometimes as if both Presence and Terror are in some sort of joined together crescendo, but that is probably just another head trip… All that is left here and now is despair and terror beyond words, absolutely nothing I can do or not do… Yet, my mind, more and more subtle and desperate all at the same time, keeps trying to do it… I simply do not know how to Be with this, Be with Hell…

    Early morning. Doing the next thing is all I can barely do, the terror hovering everywhere… Letting go of the steering wheel is not a game or an idea any more, for a long time now… Every time my mind grabs on to the wheel my world goes careening all over the place, into total chaos– the letting go is now all encompassing, beyond all comprehension… My whole world is falling away, literally, mind terrified and grabbing on to bits and pieces it imagines to be left… Doing the next thing becomes “eat your soup,” as a friend said the other night…

    The next thing appears now to be to write some more, reaching out for the barest threads of a sense of others…

    A piece of land I dreamed into existence for over 20 years is sold, giving me some more money and payments that will cover the mortgage on a house here in town… An extensive and highly active local community email list and a website forum that I started over 7 years ago is being turned over to a community group just now forming itself at my suggestion…

    The list is unusual, maybe unique, 2000+ addresses on it, just about all local in a rural SW New Mexico area as big as some eastern states with a population maybe 40,000 total, the list and forum progressive, alternative, sustainable oriented… They took up most of my life and attention for the last seven years, soooo much writing, all done for free, just a little bit of work doing solar design to keep me going financially… The list and forum became much to much for me a long time ago, nearly killing myself to keep it all going, determined to be faithful to shared ideas of local sustainable earth based spiritually awake community… I have also now withdrawn from all environmental and community-radio boards and activities…

    I cannot do design work now either, cannot “do” anything any more, or sustain any of the willfulness and intention of old habits… New patterns and enough space from the fear, both of which might allow me to work again, have not developed… These days new patterns seem to be a lot harder to manifest than when I was young… And space from fear seems to be totally beyond my control…

    Good friendships are also falling away, some very painfully… I cannot share what is happening with almost anyone here now, their concerned and fearful interpretations of it all, no matter how open and honest I am, only adding intensively to my own confusion and fear…

    Regular people just think I am going nuts, a physician friend wants to give me drugs, Sufi and Buddhist friends say that non-dual teachings are messing me up and to sit, follow the precepts, study, train my mind, etc…

    I’m in a small rural mountain town in New Mexico, to which all my ties seem to be falling away…  The town, the valleys to the north and the east, the mountains, this is my world… In such a small, rural and relatively remote place one doesn’t avoid people without turning into a hermit, they are here in your face, the community of what is, not like in an urban world where one can hide out and/or move on in terms of community relatively easily, without even physically moving, so many social layers intermixed…

    I stayed at a place up in Northern NM called Lama Foundation for a few weeks recently, a place where I lived in the late 70’s for a couple years… Even there though, except for one friend, there is no real understanding… Connecting with people who know and trust and live the non-dual teachings I am absorbed into is my vague hope now, if I can somehow get away from here… So much dualistic spirituality from my past just falling away, and so many relationships along with it.

    Before I discovered non-dual teachings I was living many of the bones of them without much understanding, trusting my instinct, having given up on the “new age” a long, long time ago, spiritual materialism, all of that…

    I’ve reached for tastes of sangha in little ways whenever and wherever I could, and tried with the list and forum to join in the creation of sangha by other means and understandings, but it is all falling away now, like a dream turning into formless fog, fear of the vast emptiness that shines darkly through the fog overwhelming me… Moments of Presence as I am calling that place that awareness sometimes shifts to, maybe enough to sustain, but never enough to dispel the fear for long, my mind grabbing at Presence over and over and over, loosing it always in the grabbing…

    On one side of doing the next thing is terror of an unknown nonexistent future, Emptiness imagined into the shapes, textures and feelings of a terror filled mind projecting itself outward, thoughts and conditioning, on the other side of doing the next thing is sinking into inertia, dropping down into inaction, fear of all movement or action, falling down and down always into the next thought or crazy sluggish image…

    Both sides the same place, all of it terribly lost from Now, This, what is right here in front of me, all there is… And yet I am real, I am here, right now as I type I am, no where left to go… Terror or Now, no seeming control over what happens next… What the teachings say is true, there is no place to be, identify with, know, and yet I am still Here, Terror all that is left to grasp on to and still believe I am…

    Letting go even of terror now, this most familiar place of all…

    ~John Fridinger
    Silver City, NM
    Sprig, Summer, Fall, 2008

    This is just one of many journeys through the darkness for this one…

    And yet childhood does eventually fall away… Even as it can take many lifetimes for it to happen…

    I am making those writings public to serve the possibilities of others who may find themselves transitioning in similar ways, so they might be encouraged to realize there is something larger also happening, something they can perhaps tune into and be supported by, as they persevere… And so they can know they are not alone, even as they are being called to discover in some different and larger ways, through being alone, what not being alone is really about…

    This is also being shared so folks who believe they can “do” awakening like a study project or a collection of techniques and behaviors might begin see the awakening journey in some larger ways… And how much it calls for from us, for it to be true…

    To have, whatever we may name it, many call it God, Goddess, Enlightenment, a thousand names for the nameless, we must be willing to give up everything, including all our ideas of how it is supposed to look, when it is supposed to happen, everything…

    Understand that it is, at least for awhile, about the end of the world as we think, believe, and even know it to be… Not as in new ideas, perceptions and emotions replacing old ideas, perceptions and emotions, but as in the end of all beliefs that we, others, things, the world, are our ideas, emotions, sensations, sensory experiences…

    That instead we actually, always, and already ARE this fecund, limitless emptiness that is also our Source, this Love that is the final “destination” of everything, and that we have, for all these many lifetimes, mistakenly feared, most of all…

  • Wildness, Wilderness & David Whyte



    Wilderness and wildness can be beautiful ways to recognize source made manifest, and to describe an enlivened earth as the larger terrain we and all of life are co-participants in.  In this view or metaphor, and for the purposes of this essay, wildness is understood to be the activity of wilderness, while wilderness is understood to be the manifest expression of awareness, source, life, consciousness, Goddess, Tao, so many names for that which is is prior to all naming.

    Wilderness, uncontained, inter-relational, infinitely varied, without rigid boundaries. And yet, familiar. Wildness, the actual enlivening itself, coming into and through form, endlessly interacting with myriad, fluid, ever changing reflections of its own becoming.

    Section one

    Our mainstream materialist worldview believes that for most of evolutionary history instinct ruled animal life, and only later on in an evolutionary sense did intelligence and “thinking” come along, as an adjunct to or higher level order of instinct, to increase possibilities of survival and expansion.

    Consciousness (or awareness) in this worldview is believed to be an even later and higher level activity of thinking, which materialist “science” has not yet been able to describe or explain.

    What is mostly ignored in order to continue this materialist approach to the studying of our origins is that instinct must be preceded by or at least predicated upon perception. In other words, there must be something that is perceived for instinctive behavior to re-act to. Otherwise instinct could not exist or participate in a universe founded upon relativity.

    And for perception to occur as a predicate to instinct there must be something perceiving.

    That something is variously called sensation, sentience, awareness, consciousness, or perhaps even life itself.  In other words, that which is the enlivening of everything that is alive.

    Anyone who can say simply, here in this very present moment, “I Am,” and simultaneously in this very exact, same, quiet, present moment know, without any need at all to go into thought, concept, image, memory, feeling, time, or sensation in order to know this, in other words without any “proof” at all needed you are now knowing that You Are, is realizing her very own self as also this awake, knowing, present, enlivening source of All that IS, which is also now knowing itself as You knowing yourself, without any need for any other.

    This knowing without any other is independent of all objective and subjective knowledge. It is a continuum in which all language is realized to be essentially made up of “verbs” (for lack of a better term here).  Or in other words it is a world in which activity, actuality, language and exchange (communication) are one, or whole (holy).

    A separate “knower” having an “experience” comes into play only in the instant consciousness identifies with an activity, thought, feeling, perception, memory, sensation or story, and the “once moment” (now passed into beliefs of time) is named, storied, or “remembered.” And nouns are invented.

    In this understanding our whole world and the very universe itself becomes a vast limitless conversation eternally reaching to be heard, understood, and come into consciousness, of,, by and as, all these myriad possibilities of its very own self.  Activity, actor and audience are the same.

    To say it again from a somewhat different direction, for instinct to play a part in the whole, and for thinking to then come along and amplify the possibilities of instinct, eventually perceive its own activities, and then believe they (as “itself”) are above and/or greater than instinct, there must first have been awareness or consciousness.

    And now from a third direction – In the midst of awareness “something” other seems to arise and perception, as a reflection of awareness, also arises, simultaneously, inherent in the very nature of something arising in awareness. Also inherent in this something is a momentum, trajectory, or may we say a desire to continue to exist and multiply.

    This primordial impulse, as a part of its desire to continue to exist and multiply, eventually discovers thinking, and even more eventually, in the mirror of its own source or awareness (consciousness), of which it is, it “conceives” itself to actually be its own thinking, and therefore something now other, distinct, and separate from its source. In other words, thinking, via perception, becomes, through its own thinking (beliefs interacting with themselves), the “thinker” of itself, and therefore now also “separate” from itself, as well as its source.

    And now in this belief that it is other than its source, and having the same power as an extension of its source to extend (imagine, believe, desire), something continues its journey of turning away from its source. It multiplies.

    And because this something is not actually in truth separate from its source there becomes also an ever increasing turning away from itself, coupled with a strong tendency to identify more and more with and as what we call an identity of separation, or ego.  This turning away that is being described here, and ego, are the same.

    As a part of this turning, something, in order to further sustain and reinforce its belief in itself as something separate and other, increasingly must forget its source, of which it also IS.

    And so now what we call ego is in a real sense the very personification of all this ongoing forgetting.

    To continue in this third direction, or story, something other, now believing itself to be separate, makes up (invents), out of this primordial belief in separation from what it has forgotten, ever further separation centered around what we often call guilt, loneliness and fear, in regards to its source, which it somehow feels the false “absence” of, and yet has forgotten.

    In a desperate attempt to escape the pain of the guilt, loneliness and fear it has made up, and by using the immense power of its very own source combined with the myriad possibilities of manifest form, something other projects all that pain, guilt, loneliness and fear upon its very own now forgotten vast awareness.

    Something other, to continue believing in its own independent and separate existence, must now keep believing (insisting) that its ever increasing projections in the beliefs of separation are real. Because the substance of its projections are woven out of its beliefs in guilt, loneliness and fear, they conflict with each other and multiply exponentially. All of this merely makes the projected and illusory world of something other seem ever more separate and threatening.

    In the seeming realness of his projections as something separate that he must struggle with, something other is further assured that his own separateness is real.  Something other also now firmly believes he must assert total dominion over his projections, so as to become more substantial as something separate and other than them, or in other words survive and multiply.

    Something other dimly knows that if he stops struggling for dominion he, his projections, and all of separation as he believes it to be, will disappear. And so he invents death, because he would rather “die” in the belief he is a real body struggling with his projected “material” world, made up of other material things and other bodies that will go on, than “disappear.”

    The whole materialist world view, including but very much not exclusive of establishment science and organized religion, is hugely lost in some extraordinarily complex, multilayered, mostly unconscious and therefore very conflicted variations of what I am trying to point to in this section.

    All efforts to “figure” (think) one’s way out of such a mess as this will always and only add to the mess. Our current world-level circumstances – climatically, environmentally, politically, economically, socially, relationally and personally – are a result of now thousands of years of our trying to “think”  (fight, control, avoid) our way out, or in other words become “free” of our own projections.

    Section two

    Wildness as a metaphor begins to open a door for individual expression and engagement, through awareness, to become a sort of venturing beyond intellectual (conceptual) boundaries and memories (beliefs in time), and enable a journey of discovery into what is truly ourselves, prior to yet not apart from thinking and instinct.

    In this new ancient story, separation is (once again) seen as the illusion it actually is, and, to the extent it is no longer believed, it slowly dissolves back into the nothing it always was. Thinking and instinct, in the absence of beliefs in separation, simply and naturally transform, because they are no longer apart from their source, awareness.

    Wilderness, in the form of the natural world, and through wildness as an activity of awareness awakening to itself as you and I, here in the context of all these many apparent activities, shapes and processes we are perceiving, engaging, enacting, expressing, knowing, comprehending and recognizing, is once again revered as the sacred and much larger context of what we also are.

    The “laws” of nature, of physics, of science, of economics, and of all other systems of understanding, in this portrayal, become simply our many descriptions, understandings and conceptualizations, more or less accurate in a relative sense, of what is for some of us an incredible play of ever more coherent possibilities arising in consciousness.

    We are no longer merely describing matter, material, things, and our motivation is no longer survival in the separatist sense. Instead, we are describing consciousness itself, as it is, both within each of our selves and as a play of manifestation or creation. A play in, and of, this that we also are.

    Only now we are consciously of it – that is participating in it consciously – or in other words participating in consciousness as consciousness itself. Each one of us uniquely at our own pace and in our own ways, yet also all of us together – and yet, paradoxically, the same.

    We have become exactly where the changing and the changeless, join, rejoin, dance, sing and rejoice.

    Section three

    We are simultaneously shaped and moved by what is apparent to us, and through the evolution of intelligence and thinking we have learned to discern ever deeper patterns, invent space, time, language, and offer name, description, expression and concept to what we perceive. We do that partly to evade, capture, contain and/or control all that we believe we are apart from, and/or fear we are subject to.

    But we also describe, name and conceptualize what we perceive in order to communicate amongst ourselves reverence, awe, care, joy, celebration and concern – for life, for each other, and for the natural world we are a part of.

    In other words we describe, name and conceptualize what we perceive as a way to express and engage each other and the environment, as well as our internal (inward) dimensions, through what I’ll call here the infinite possibilities of love.

    Wildness – to express some of the shape and shaping of what is alive, ever-extending but more subjective, relative; what appears as wildness to one may not appear as wildness to another.

    Wilderness – place and means of sharing what is alive and ever-extending, yet also immediate, here and now, infinitely textured, without limits, no “part” of it “encompassable.”  A metaphor for what we are called to enter into, become, directly experience.  This wilderness cannot be known by what is apart from it, by what believes itself separate.

    Infinitely textured wilderness – where there are no closed doors, no fences, no walls, no separation, yet infinite distinction, uniqueness, variability.  A “place” where the center is everywhere and where experience is always experiencing itself without a separate experiencer, eternally awakening as each of us and all life.

    It is in this sort of wilderness that we begin to discover, more and more, how our world which seems so lost in its beliefs of separation is merely something we are collectively and individually making up.

    In true wilderness everything is permeable, continually embracing, nourishing and being nourished by all of its seeming opposites and “others.”  In this wilderness, which comes awake through our awareness of it as what we also are, the body-mind’s senses and abilities are now understood to be merely our means of motivation, connection and engagement. We are now wildness itself, no longer merely instruments in the service of observation, separation and defense, where the only intent was to preserve the illusion of an observer, conflict and separate identities.

    Section four

    What we usually call anger is only what is left of its essence when we are overwhelmed by its accompanying vulnerability. It reaches through the lost surface of our mind’s or our body’s incapacity to hold it, and penetrates past the limits of our understanding. What we name as anger is actually only our incoherent physical incapacity to sustain what is a deeper form of care that abides within all these outer appearances of daily life. In this sense anger becomes the unwillingness to be large enough and generous enough to hold what we love helplessly in our bodies and in our awareness, with the clarity and breadth of our whole being.

    A re-rendering of some words by David Whyte.

    David Whyte seems to be trying to show a way through anger to a lighter manner of being, in this excerpt as well as the larger writing it comes from.

    But I believe David is also, maybe without realizing it, adding a great deal of weight to anger, making it seem more substantial, real.  I suspect his effort could easily become another means or justification for some people to sustain identification with separation, and not go deeper, discover what lies behind, beneath, prior to anger.   But to do something like that (as he seems to know} we first must let ourselves feel this anger we are all born into, acknowledge it, and begin to understand it without judgement.

    That has been one of the shortcomings (for me) with a lot of David Whyte’s writings, how much of it keeps circling back into what are some of the same illusions of separation he is attempting to reveal, with such amazing genius, for what they are.

    So many, and probably more often women in this hugely patriarchal world, find anger to be much too dangerous, unbecoming, fearful, and entangled with guilt, to allow themselves to feel or express it.

    Yet it seems, generally, that the energies of anger are how most people invest themselves most directly into our collective human conversation, through proxies (shields, weapons, containments), of belief, judgement, ideology, posture, intensified and contracted energy, force, deception, manipulation, and all the other myriad ways this meta belief in our collective illusions and identities of separation use to try to become more secure, more invulnerable.

    In a lot of David’s writings, what I will call freedom becomes simply a reflection of his own unique abilities to see with exquisite detail what it is we are caught in, as he navigates, negotiates and describes activities within the ballrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, libraries, corridors, grand staircases, high ramparts and nooks and crannies of a great castle he never seems to leave very far behind.

    Even as he walks out and about upon his castle’s many high vantage places, delves into its deepest dungeons, explores its bedrooms, pantries and ballrooms, and climbs its many high towers, he never seems to go very far beyond its inner and outer “views,” beyond this play of light and shadows we call the world, which he is attempting to reveal in his writings.

    All the while that he is still calling out, describing and giving name to many aspects of the infinite wilderness that all our castles and little interlinked kingdoms are attempting to keep us safe (separate) from.   And yet, even in the midst of our readings of words such as David’s, we keep extending our fences, boxes, technologies, walls, boundaries, streets, castles, forts and belief systems in what has always been an unquestioned attempt, as separate identities (individuals, families, tribes, nations, species), to gain dominion over the wilderness.

    The vast unknown that lies beyond all David’s castles,’ worlds’ and kingdoms’ beautiful and highly educated (described, named, defined) views, and also beyond all its alleyways, sewers, dungeons and fearful dark places, doesn’t seem to tempt David to any significant degree.  He does not seem to be called to take a journey that no one in the beliefs of separation will ever return from, if they truly go with all their being.

    In that kind of journey willfulness slowly transforms into willingness, as we disappear ever deeper into a huge fecund emptiness, infinitely rich and subtle beyond measure, a stillness so complete it is beyond all possible names and descriptions, and yet it is from this stillness that all language and activity arrises.

    In that sort of emptiness one begins to find, always more the less we feel a need to defend against it, what we have never really been apart from, only believed so, for a while.

    David invites us even unto our castle gates, and even nudges some of them open for us, sometimes, if we are listening closely to his words. And he leaves us there, to decide if we want to pass through, go forth, or not.  And in this way he serves a great human cause, for which I am hugely and deeply thankful.

    It seems this is David’s essential contribution and his own soul’s journey this lifetime. He helps us cultivate awareness in ways we might otherwise not have found. Maybe he takes us just as far as he can see and feel, which is a fair bit more than most, I think.

    Perhaps, even if only because I seek the company of such as he, I want him to let his own words carry him far enough beyond all our castle walls, through his writings, to be able to look back and actually begin to grok all this world’s incredible heaviness and its contracted and defended nature in the beliefs of separation, now made unavoidably apparent, in contrast to the incredible spaciousness he has begun to enter into.

    And then go on, around the corner so to speak, out of sight, let his writings become his dis-illusion, his destruction, and erase all he believes himself to be.  His words now become the occasional footprints, blazes, markings and droppings of his own unfolding and forever in-blooming disappearance. All of his words now like gifts to all the rest of us of his pilgrimage beyond them, words left behind so others may also find the courage to pass through the gates and leave their castle walls behind.

    Words to call out to more and more of us to follow our own unique paths through and upon the waters of a journey that never ends, to a destination we never left.

    In the midst of this disappearance of all we believed we were, the wilderness itself will actually begin to use our activities, movements, words, and ways of expressing, to speak to and from something deeper that is each of us and also all of us.  This is what we have come here into these lives to hear, to see, to share, and to finally and fully recognize as being what we also are.

    Real freedom, which terrifies every one of us at least for a while, IS that going forth into emptiness.  Some of David’s writings and readings speak a little of this disappearance of all we believe we are, and call us into an actual passage through and beyond our seeming worlds of separation.  His writings do pierce through, in so many beautiful ways.

    But words like his need also to show us, as well as accompany us beyond, to where all our separately believed and conflicted worlds will begin to fall away of their own, allowing what has always been, slowly or rapidly as grace will have it, to reveal itself for what it truly is and we also are.

    Section five

    Words cannot transport us, but words that arise from the lived, felt and embodied can become for us like openings, fingers pointing, invitations to rejoin the lived, felt and embodied.

    Such words are no longer things, or concepts, they’ve been transformed, life is now calling through them, to life. And so life hears life, love sees love, God knows God. We pass on through the calling, leaving behind the fingers, the openings, and we become our own transport, simply by going.

    We have become willing.

    It is all about our relationship with words, how we use them, what they are for us. Do we see them as walls, defenses, masks, the substance of our personas of separation, or do we see them as invitations and openings, permeable contact, through which we may emerge, meet, enter, and be entered, with our recognition of each other and all of life being the only key necessary to pass on through into a different kind of terrain, where we might truly know and be known. And not just words; looks, expressions, gestures, postures, actions, touch, sound, vision, everything, all of life our art, this activity of creation.

    Here is what true intimacy is about, and where it lies.

    Words are what we choose to believe they are.  We can begin to use them to recreate a different world in the image of what we are, instead of what we are not. But to do that words must become openings, passageways, engagement, and be no longer our means of defense, attack, alienation, separation.

    Anger is merely the illusion of separation asserting itself more and more, continually pulling itself back up by its own bootstraps, so to speak, an illusion that believes it is real.  Beneath anger is fear, fear of what we truly are and have never not been.

    Anger denies fear, projects it instead as the world around us, foreign, threatening, other.  Anger is also what our castle walls are made of, and its ramparts and dungeons and towers, all of which enables anger to believe it can contain its own contradictions and internal conflicts and convince itself for just a little while longer that these disturbances are not there, and that it can remain real as something apart from its own source.

    Anger, fear and ego, all the same illusion, divided upon itself, so as to convince itself it exists.

    In his rendered excerpt above, David seems to attempt to invent all this away, by bringing anger together with compassion and care, a kind of conflation that misses a larger dimension beyond all our words, an infinitely larger dimension in which all, including what seems to appear as anger and fear, actually do co-exist.

    What David is saying in this passage is not wrong, it simply falls short, for me, makes anger acceptable, respectable in a relative sense, a “refined” anger, relative to the now “different” anger and aggression of less erudite and self aware “others.”

    Writing that supports and extends our meta beliefs in separation, no matter how deep, profound and beautiful, and maybe even especially when it is deep, profound and beautiful, is not helpful in our world today.

    To paraphrase Liz Greene, I believe instead we must begin to transform all wrath, and all anger, into courage, rediscover our own true wildness, and step out into the wilderness, alone, and yet also together.

    ~ John Fridinger
    Talent, OR
    Fall, 2018

  • Seeing


    eeing (Awareness) knows that it knows, and knows its own seeing or knowing, without any need of another (an other). This seeing is NOT of the eyes, ears, or any of the bodily senses.

    Metaphor, we must “move” with words such as these, allow them to carry us past (or prior) to words, and then “further,” past and prior to thought, emotion, memory, imagination.

    In such a movement we may begin to discover that what is real is what we also are, here and now, source and destination, a sort of nowhere that is everywhere, where all true seeing, hearing, sensing, feeling via the bodily senses is forever arising out of and forever subsiding into, without there ever being any actual coming or going.

    It is in our willingness to be Here, this silent, vast, empty, timeless and dimensionless moment eternally unfolding, that we can begin to fully realize all experience, comprehension, apprehension, appearance, form and matter is in truth our very own self.

    What is sometimes called Awakening is the most ordinary foundational state and activity of all manifest existence, apparent and otherwise. This forever dawning, eternally present, forever setting, entirely seamless, infinitely varied, limitless discovery and realization of what is itself, over and over, is what we also are.

    Because we humans have believed ourselves separate from what can never be apart, it is now become possible for Creation to actually share and extend through and in relationship.  This is the incredible gift that Creation itself, so to speak, has offered in exchange for our belief in separation and alienation, for as much as we are willing to surrender this belief and allow it to be transformed by Grace.

    Awakening only becomes possible as we become truly human. And we become human when and as much as we begin to really see that we are sentience itself aware that it is sentient. And so incredibly paradoxically, all of creation awakens in every moment and through every movement of a human awakening.

    The body is animal, yet life is eternal, expressing both in and as these what seem to be manifest dimensions, through form, substance, bodies, movement, change. Life is prior, beyond, and encompassing of all form. Life becomes human and sentient through our dawning awareness that we ARE life in relationship with itself, a process, or we could say a verb that is infinitely greater than mere bodies, thoughts and ideas that are lost in identities of separation.

    Through each of us and all of us life itself is awakening, unfolding.  It is a movement of silence rather than merely objective, relative, phenomenal. Yet life is also inclusive, of the relative, objective, phenomenal, of body, form, inclusive of each of us and all of us.  All sentient expressions of life are participant in the body of what some call Christ, this ever unfolding extension, creation or Child of God without any other.

    Eternal transcendence, yet also form, also body, beauty ever extending, increasing, engaging, awe inspiring, infinitely expressed and expressing, through form.  In other words, God is also body, also form, always extending.

    Yet always beginning, always a beginner, every moment, every movement, fresh and new.

    A sort of felt sense that has only a tenuous connection with emotions and sensations, though they can be metaphors for what cannot ever be known as something other, separate. Our world, the universe and the whole of manifest existence is essentially and most fundamentally an infinite, unending, incredible, ever extending, multidimensional metaphor.

    A Conversation, without any other.

    All these words. another failed attempt to point to what cannot be said. A pointing finger does not know the moon.  Only this Knowing itself knows what is being pointed to, and it knows because it knows that it knows. Without any agency at all.

    Prior to all words, ideas, sense or sensation, is this knowing, without object or other. And still just words. Knowing simply is, and knows that it is. It is what writes these words, it is what hears these words, and it is what groks these words.

    This knowing is you and I and all of life, and all of the universe. And, paradoxically, this knowing or awareness that is all of us, all of life and all of the universe is simultaneously knowing it is also, uniquely, each of us, each aspect of life, and each aspect of the universe.

    What some call waking up is an ever deepening and infinitely unfolding realization of Being, through, in and as each of us, which is also simultaneously knowing itself as all of us, all of life, all sentience, and all of existence.

    All of us and all aspects of existence incredibly unique, yet simultaneously the Same. The identity of separation (ego-mind-body) cannot grasp any of this. We can only allow ourselves to become what we always and already are.

    Being knows itself, without any need of another, and without any need to grasp.  No collection of thoughts in the beliefs of separation can “do” it.  All effort to “do” merely reinforces an identity of and belief in separation.

    In other words, being is knowing, prior to and beyond all grasping or understanding, yet totally inclusive (knowing, loving, accepting) of all that grasping and understanding is, seeks, and by seeking denies. This is why surrender is so important.

    What some call God does not make any of this complicated or hard, instead it is we who do that. This is neither good nor bad. It simply is, an aspect of the nature of our shared journey.

    What all beloveds, in their heart of hearts, yearn for most of all is actually the most simple and obvious thing of all. What is yearned for is always “hiding” in plain sight, always now, always here, and always and already what we are.

    Our attachment to beliefs in identities of separation, to all these illusions we collectively call the world, ourselves, others, things, friends, enemies, is all that obscures what is most simple and most obvious.

    Yet it is not about “getting rid” of anything or “going beyond” anything. Instead, we are being called to “see” and “hear” through all of this, in other words through the world, ourselves, others, and seeming things, and, most especially of all, through our own thoughts and feelings.

    Seeing through in such ways becomes an embodying and embodiment of creation, for now we are beginning to turn toward what we have only imagined we could ever turn away from.

    The beginning of the end of spiritual bypassing.

    Such a “turning,” slowly, yet also at times instantaneously (In Zen what are called the sudden and gradual schools), becomes an ever unfolding dance of transformation and transfiguration. A shift, so to speak, from what we have “made” in the beliefs of separation, into this Love that holds and accepts all, even and so seemingly paradoxically our very own beliefs in separation.

    In the light of Love, darkness never was. Zen’s gateless gate. Or perhaps an ever unfolding joining of Creation with a self that was never apart.

    Always paradox. Seeing and hearing what is being pointed to here, through all these appearances and projections in the beliefs of separation, will actually begin to “transform” our shared world into greater and greater means of seeing and hearing through it, beyond object or subject, in more and more incredible, joyful, loving, and beautiful ways.

    More and more it becomes the means of God to see and hear Herself. Transformation in this sense is really just the dissolving away of obscurations, all these long held and accumulated clouds of belief.

    Seeing is the metaphor for the light that dissolves the clouds. In this dissolution we realize more and more we are the light.

    In the sort of knowing we are exploring here, there is no coming, no going, no loss, no gain, no birth, no death, no destruction. Instead creation becomes what it always has been, without an opposite.

    And so amazingly, through this knowing or seeingshared with each other, the whole play of coming, going, loss, gain, birth, death, creation, destruction, is transformed into what it has never ceased to be, infinite, incredible, magnificence, creation without opposite, life beyond all these words, grandeur without the slightest impingement of grandiosity.

    Simply what is…

    Death and darkness were always illusions.

    Creation, light, love, truth, beauty; life has always been and always will be all there is.

    ~ John Fridinger
    Talent, OR
    Winter, 2019

  • Grace


    Part One

    It is Grace that brings about the final cessation of any identity of separation, otherwise called ego, to reveal all of manifest Existence as this Truth of Love that we also Are. No ego or identity of separation can orchestrate such a dissolution, nor can any illusion of separation “unite” with what has never in any way been apart.

    In Truth there is neither an ego to kill nor something other to unite with. “Higher states of consciousness,” “thoughts as tools with lasting purpose or value,” a “self stored in memory that we can “access,” though these can be extremely noble and helpful understandings along the way, is still just story that we will need to let go of at some point.

    All belief in a phenomenal world – things, others, choices, actions, time, space – derives from one single meta belief, that separation is possible.

    It is this one mistaken belief that gives rise to ten thousand beliefs, ten thousand seeming choices, the ten thousand things of Taoism and Zen.

    In what is sometimes called the turning around and undoing of beliefs, “things” do become useful, just for a while, as “stepping stones.” But only as much as we are willing to let each thing go, step further, go beyond, continue into our own dissolution. Otherwise the spiritual journey becomes merely more ways for ego to reflect back to itself the illusions of its own separate existence, so as to “prove” to the ego it is real.

    Belief, through a kind of profound paradoxical willingness, rather than willfulness, brought into the light of awareness, is undone without any doer neededand we slowly begin to realize that separation was never real.  In all of this world of ten thousand things there has only ever been one temporary choice that we who in Truth are infinite and eternal Extensions of Source, have to make.  Surrender, without any expectation at all, our beliefs in separation.  Or not.

    The ego cannot allow this surrender to happen, for the ego is belief personified, an illusion of separation that believes it is real. It will cease to exist when it is finally, fully and clearly seen as merely a choice we made. No one chooses separation when they clearly see in the light of true understanding what it is they have chosen. A corrected mistake ceases to exist, there was only ever the truth, after all.

    For those of us who have become seekers, the ego quickly learns to make up “spiritual” games to obscure and veil the truth that separation (ego) is not real.  Spiritual ideologies and even beliefs about the end of ego itself become its new games of separation, new ways of hiding, the “new” ego. As our understandings becomes more powerful, sophisticated and subtle, the ego’s games will also become more powerful, sophisticated and subtle.

    We can believe the ego’s games for as long as we wish.  Again, here is the only real choice we have. Continue in the illusions of separation, or share in this Truth that none of it is real, and that in Truth we are one with all of existence.

    All that is alive IS consciousness, consciousness seeking itself, recognizing itself and engaging with itself.  We are reflections of the truth all life shares, Whole, Holy. What makes us also human is this power of the Whole to know itself through us, even in the midst of some of our deepest beliefs in separation.

    And so it is that only as we become able to bring this one singular choice that seems to hide behind all of the ten thousand things, into consciousness, will Grace be able to reveal its own awareness without any other, as the truth of what we also are. In this revelation even the most extreme appearances and experiences of separation will be transformed.

    In the light of awareness what is not true becomes what it has always been, nothing, a mirage whose only substance was belief. We need only say yes to the Truth of Love, with just the smallest measure of willingness, and we will begin to discover a trust for what we cannot ever “know,” only be.  We will start to hear, in the heart of this awareness that we are, what is always softly calling to us, and guiding us Home.

    Part Two

    Our whole human realm is a projected synthesis of all the beliefs in all the memories, conditioning, games, passions, fears and stories of all the billions of beloveds who are choosing over and over to believe that separation must be real and that its proof is the apparent existence and sensorial experience of a phenomenal world – things, bodies, others, thoughts, separate identities.

    Ego holds itself up by its own bootstraps, so to speak, in the sense that it is a belief that believes it is real.  But it is our own belief in the ego’s belief, its belief that it is who and what we actually are, that enables this, gives it power over us.   Ego, the identity of separation, cannot have any lasting power or belief of its own, because it is not real.

    We are, in Truth, Extensions of God, Thoughts of God, the Love of God, eternally One with God. We are as powerful as God because we are the Same as God. Thoughts can never be separate from the Mind that conceives Them.  Love can never be separate from Love.

    Belief is “about” something “other” than the believer. Yet in Truth there is no other. A believer without belief becomes, through its own dis-illusion, the very essence of Freedom. In other words the ending of belief is the ending of the illusion of believer, ego, and bondage. What is left is what we always and already Are.

    Duality is the backbone of illusion.  We made duality up by believing there could be something separate from Everything – that is from God, Love, Tao, Eternity, whatever term or symbol we use so we may have conversation about this.  In Truth we have never been separate, duality is a fiction, the past does not exist, memory is not real (actual), and the future is a dream based on the “past.” All of that is what the ego uses to fence us apart from what is truly the truth of ourself, here and now.

    Anything that comes and goes is not real. All fear is made up to further the ego’s belief in separation. Fear is the ego’s “proof” to itself that it is “real.”  All fear and aggression is fear of God, of Love, of Self, a rebellion against the Truth that we also are. Fear cannot be real because Love never attacks and there has never been and can never be anything separate from God, from Love, from Self.

    When I say a thing is without a cause, I mean it is without a particular cause. Your own mother was needed to give you birth; But you could not have been born without the sun and the earth. Even these could not have caused your birth without your own desire to be born. It is desire that gives birth, that gives name and form.

    The desirable is imagined and wanted and manifests itself as something tangible or conceivable. Thus is created the world in which we live, our personal world. The real world is beyond the mind’s ken; we see it through the net of our desires, divided into pleasure and pain, right and wrong, inner and outer. To see the universe as it is, you must step beyond the net. It is not hard to do so, for the net is full of holes.

    Look at the net and its many contradictions. You do and undo at every step. You want peace, love, happiness and work hard to create pain, hatred and war. You want longevity and overeat, you want friendship and exploit. See your net as made of such contradictions and remove them. These are the holes. Your very seeing them will make them go.
    ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

    Part Three

    We become identified with stories, memories and beliefs in the same way we become identified with the body. We believe our stories are who we are, a whole huge virtual landscape of drama, fear, desire and judgement. All of it weaving into and as the experience of the body. The body is the cornerstone, the container and the charnel ground in all this, seeming to hold together a separate collective of experience which we have chosen to believe is what we are. The belief that thinking is real is the belief the body is real. Always it is the same singular mistaken belief, that we can be separate from Source, God.

    The ego mind/body identity is a “whole” in a sense, in that it all arises out of that one core central belief that we are separate. It is like a “whole” little separate “kingdom” we believe we have carved out of the unity and inviolability of God, a kingdom we are the sole ruler of, with all of it centered around beliefs in danger, scarcity, pain, suffering and sorrow, intermixed with other various beliefs in accomplishment, gain, satisfaction, pleasure and thrill.

    In order to maintain all of our tiny “separate” little kingdoms, separate from each other as well as separate from God, it became necessary to forget that we are extensions or, in some traditions, children of our Source.

    Yet something in us still remembers.

    That Something keeps softly calling to us, come home, return to this Truth that we already Are, and have only forgotten. That is what the seeking for happiness is really all about, no matter how much we may confuse our desire for happiness with things, wealth, fortresses, special relationships, power, fame, sensation, romance, etc.

    There will always be a little part of us that has not forgotten, still knows we are not separate from God. That part IS the calling. And paradoxically that “little” part is Everything, for it remains as always the Truth of what we Are. The Christ, as it were.

    And even as that little part of us is also what we most fear, we don’t really want this little kingdom. What we really want is happiness, which is our true heritage and nature as Extensions or Children of God. Love and Happiness are the Same.

    God is always extending, through Love, extending as all of us and each of us, in all our infinite variations or expressions of One, and through each of us and all of us God or Wholeness is also extending outward into and as Creation.

    The choice we have is to surrender all that we have made in the beliefs of separation, and allow it to be transformed into what it already is, Creation, through the power of a Love that transforms everything.

    Or we we can choose to keep holding on to separation.

    Beloveds seeking the Truth often speak about the letting go of attachment and desire, yet most have only a vague sense of what that is.

    Attachment is believing that a thought, feeling, emotion, sensation, perception, thing or memory is real and inseparable from what and who we are.

    Desire is believing that there is something other, apart from what we are, that is real and will make us happy if we somehow attain or obtain it. Yet nothing separate from what we already are can ever bring true happiness. No illusion can bring happiness.

    Only the Truth is capable of happiness.

    ~ John Fridinger
    Spring, 2013
    Saluda, NC

  • In the Face of What Is Happening


    Part One

    Something that may help, in the face of what is happening in this country and in the world, is to be willing to consider all of it in terms of what works and what doesn’t work.

    Not speaking does not work. Speaking in ways that increase delusion, misinformation, fear, reaction, anger and alienation also does not work.

    I’ve had some rather serious associations with monastic environments of various sorts, during my life. In such environments not speaking actually does work, because in such environments one’s goal tends to be, at least at first, very personal, whatever we may call it; God, consciousness, freedom, understanding, enlightenment, waking up…

    In recent times I’ve come to understand that, whatever my goal may be, it is not attainable on a personal level alone. I realize I am not just an individual, that I am also participant in some larger levels of organization. And that this is so for better or worse, depending on how I choose to engage. Similarly, I can see that humans as a whole are part of a greater level or order that we may call life, or even the “Earth.”

    Every part of any sort of level, order or “whole” is deeply shaped by the whole and affects the whole, one way or another. Good, or not. Commission or omission, it doesn’t matter, in either case, and for as long as we are present in these ways we find ourselves together, there is also this play of interactive effects.

    In other words, the interplay between health (wholeness, connection) and disease (unease, disconnection, alienation) is actual, and occurs at all levels of organization, without exception.

    Language and speech seems to be one of the ways consciousness and the possibilities of consciousness are able to participate in this whole we humans seem to be partly about – all the while as we are hopefully learning to participate in better and better ways.

    What is good is what is healthy to the whole as well as all its participants, with health being understood as what is directly experienced in each moment, rather than merely an abstraction, idea or concept.

    Like health, “good” seems most often to be a pleasant experience, but it is not always so. And yet, whatever the experience may be, we usually know, when we are quiet and attentive enough, if it is healthy, good, or not. This sort of “knowing” I am speaking of is one that all consciousness experiences, without proof. It is sometimes referred to as I AM.

    Experience is always prior to words and concepts. Yet we are most often very quick to fill up the space and terrain of experience with words, talk, thinking, memory, concepts.

    Yet when we slow that process down we begin to discover something different. And different is what humans need to be doing a whole lot more of, these days.

    For experience to occur there must be some sort of interaction, what could perhaps in this case be called an interaction of all the many things that make up each of us as an individual, here where our sense of a “self” or individuated consciousness seems to lie. Organs, skin, memories, sensory impressions, life impressions, environment and genetics, certain spiritual dimensions perhaps, all of these possibilities that have shaped and informed us, collectively interact – healthy, or not.  And so I AM, healthy (good), or not.

    Through symbols, concepts, ideas, images, in the form of speech and language, music, movement and art, humans seek to experience what is good (healthy) collectively, communally, socially. In other words we vulnerably (consciously) share our myriad unique experiences of what it is to be alive, together.

    Some of that alive human continuum is what might be called the intimate dimension, much of it non-verbal, two or more people, centered in the physical and the sensual (of the senses), where such possibilities for good or not, health or not, also exist. But that is maybe a different conversation, though probably similar in the way that things of the same continuum are similar, as in related.

    People interact through symbols, speech, movement and behavior, with various levels, degrees and orientations of consciousness coming into expression, harmoniously or not. Thus we create our common world.

    The possibilities of that sort of creative process, on a human level, here in this “place” of the local or community, these places and ways where we most clearly and obviously live together, connectively so to speak, is where I find myself trying to sink deeper into, these days. It is where my attention keeps going to, more and more, with my activities, and with what I seek in regards to the movements and trajectories I attempt to share with others.

    Part Two

    Our collective speech, our languages, and our means of communication have been taken over. Most of it is being used now, via local, national and international media owned for the most part by elites who are invested in separation, zero-sum games and power-over ideologies, to manipulate and deceive, without concern for health or good.

    May I refer to an essay, Silence is a Commons, by Ivan Illich. I want to use it as context for some of what is next.

    The Silence that all speech arises out of, as Illich points out, is no longer a commons. Technology, and the media by and through which we communicate with each other, and all that has come into play around the joining of those two for selfish purposes, has enclosed Silence, fencing it and us out of our nourishing relationships with each other, as well as apart from life.

    Language, speech and imagery is a collectively held and expressed human creative force, in some ways not different from the air, water and sunlight all life on earth depends upon. All language and all communication arises out of Silence.

    Yet the very words, symbols, images, felt beliefs and concepts by which most people think and communicate, with themselves and with each other (or not), are now for the most part fenced off, owned, manipulated and controlled by a few at the expense of the many, a many that includes all of life, because it is all of life and not just human language that speaks (arises) out of that silence.

    A friend recently argued that it is up to each individual, that no one of us is responsible to affect the circumstances of another, and that we all have an equal opportunity to wake up, or not. To me that is the same sort of thinking that says people in an inner city ghetto, the poor in Appalachia, or an average person in any third world nation all have the same opportunities as I do to become materially secure.

    In truth there is an incredibly widespread and deeply imprinted and controlled poverty of language, imagination, and information about each other, even here within these local places where we live together.

    Also absent are many of the skills one would naturally learn in healthy communities, natural skills that are are necessary in order to use language, information and imagination to support nourish our myriad ways of relationship with each other. This is true particularly here in the U.S., where that sort of poverty is designed, manipulated, enforced and exacerbated by a corporate owned media to serve the interests of the wealthy and powerful.

    It is up to each and every one of us who has the means and ability to rise above that poverty in whatever small, partial or different ways we can, and address the circumstances in which others experience that poverty, just as we are all, according to our means and ability, responsible for circumstances that underlay all the many much more commonly understood forms of poverty.

    If we who can speak to some extent do not act to increase the possibilities of others regaining their own voices, through the powers of language, information and imagination, then, whether through commission or omission, we remain participant in the very same structures and interests that maintain and prey upon all who are caught in that poverty. Even if we believe otherwise.

    If a common social world that derives from all our unique perspectives, or in other words from and through all this diversity of life discovering itself as an ever awakening human experience, is to be regained, or UN-enclosed, then we who can, to whatever small or large extent we are able, must firmly and clearly speak up, wherever and however we are able.

    We are, all of us, collectively, the asleep-at-the-wheel driver of this social vehicle that is heading towards a cliff at 90 miles an hour. It is going to take a goodly number of us waking up – some threshold number, which we will never know until, if, or as we attain it – to have any significant effect upon the inevitability of what is ahead.

    If you nudge me a little hard in the process of this awakening, well, that is one of the discomforts, and the risks, that comes along with waking up together. And together is the only way real and true awakening can happen. This is what I believe. It is not going to be without pain or confusion, this waking up, but it is for sure better than staying asleep at the wheel.

    And so, circling back to the beginning of this essay. What works and what doesn’t work of course begs the question, work for what? If we are ready to join together in looking for some answers to that question, we begin to enter into actual conversation, rather than argue. We become willing to let certain questions that all of us can relate to show us the way, rather than our so often opposing beliefs and ideologies that arise out of different conditions, different journeys, different pasts, and different beliefs in separation.

    ~ John Fridinger
    Talent, OR
    Summer 2019

  • God does not “see” sin


    Part One

    God does not “see” sin…

    What the world calls “mercy” in common usage presumes a crime (or sin) has been committed, and that “forgiveness” is about something real, in other words a “real” crime, or sin.

    In such an ontology forgiveness and mercy serve merely to “make” separation more “substantial.”

    True (radical) forgiveness and the mercy it seems to entail, at their deepest and most sublime levels, is not about what others are doing or not doing. Real forgiveness is meant first and foremost for ourselves.

    We forgive ourselves for seeing others through (and as) our own judgements, our own alienation, and all the many ways we have learned to project our learned and conditioned beliefs in separation onto a seeming world of “others.”

    As we begin to discover a true and radical forgiveness of ourselves we will also begin to see others fully, as if with God’s eyes, realizing with greater and greater understanding and insight that we are one and the same, as in expressions, creatures and/or extensions of God.

    True and radical forgiveness, in the midst of a full meeting with itself, here in the midst of a world we tend to think of as “other,” becomes no more. It was always, in a sense, a temporary passage.  What was believed no longer is. And so now complete, forgiveness is no longer needed, at least not in any of the ways it once believed itself to be.

    Which is of course an incredible paradox to any mind that has spent lifetimes lost in beliefs of separation. Because now, in the midst of radical forgiveness, sin, violation, insult, crime and all other seeming assaults upon our integrity are seen for what they are, illusions, nothing.

    True forgiveness is the ego’s greatest enemy, yet it is only an “enemy” through the ego’s “eyes” of separation. Love sees no enemy, no “other,” only love.  In such seeings as this, over time, ego or separation identity will slowly dissolve into the nothing it always was.

    Part of our journey here in this world is to RE-define, RE-purpose and share all of this language that ego, in its beliefs in the illusions of separation, has taken over for its own purposes, which are to make up and defend separation, or the insane illusion of its own separate existence.

    Mercy becomes now simply to see others and the world through true radical forgiveness, or in other words through the eyes of God, Goddess, Love.

    Part Two

    Hanuman, to Rama:

    “When I believe I am the body, then I am your faithful servant. When I know I am the soul, I know myself to be a spark of your eternal Light. And when I have the vision (seeing) of truth, you and I, my Lord, are one and the same.”

    Hanuman is the evolved state of our unruly monkey mind that constantly jumps from thought to thought. This (devoted) mind is fully focused on the presence of the Divine Self, the Lord of Life within the heart.

    It is also said that Hanuman is a perfect servant, but a terrible master.

    And so, thoughts, though their substance is of mind, are not mind, are instead merely what mind in the beliefs of separation is giving its (divided) attention to.

    Such thoughts jump around and change on their own, which is the very nature of manifestation or diversity, of which they also are.

    When (and as) mind in its limited beliefs of separation begins to (re)discover that the truth of itself is not these thoughts, is not jumping around, and has never nor can ever go anywhere, it also begins to see with increasing clarity that these monkey thoughts gain their power to keep our attention (i.e. our belief in them) by borrowing the very real power of our own attention.  The more we realize this the less power our thoughts will seem to have.

    When this process progresses far enough, and as thoughts slowly become (once again) subject (devoted) to mind (God), every person and every path different, an unfolding of consciousness along a different level or dimension may begin.

    In such devotion as that, mind, heart and form (manifestation, bodies) are first realized, and then slowly, more and more, actually experienced, in actuality in other words, as truth, love and beauty, without any need of separation, or in other words a separate (ad)vantage point, in order to know this.

    Thoughts are not separate from the mind that thinks them, and, because of this, and for as much as they are believed, they are just as powerful.  Here is where it becomes important to realize that we and all creation are also thoughts in the Greater Mind of God.

    The ONLY difference between thoughts and the mind that thinks them is that mind is the source and substance of thought, and not the other way around.

    Through awakening in these ways, thoughts may once again become useful,  helpful, in their new/ancient (and as intended by nature) serving capacity.

    Hanuman or monkey mind, awakened to his source and substance, yet still in the form of thoughts, is now able to see through what unconscious thoughts once, in their temporarily believed “ruling” capacity, “made” of creation.

    What was once “made” in the image of beliefs in the illusions of separation now transforms, in a real sense becoming all that it was always meant to be, no longer “separate” from but instead participant in the Whole.

    Not one, not two, also one, also two… Infinitely dimensional paradox.

    Like the children of God they also are, Mind is now allowing thoughts to play in the light of its (our own) awareness, so that eventually, naturally, because light or awareness is of course also the source of nature, life, they become helpful, useful, serving, creative parts of the whole.

    This allowing is what is also sometimes called God’s infinite love.

    Ever extending…

    ~ John Fridinger
    Talent, OR
    Winter/Spring, 2018