How much damage have institutions caused us?

By “institution”, I am referring mainly to the State, the media, the school system, organized religion, healthcare, psychology, and big pharma. I am also referring to our employers and other organizations.

The church calls us sinners and we believe it. Psychologists diagnose us with mental disorders and we believe them. Employers undermine our identity by requiring us to fake all day and we lose ourselves. The healthcare system pushes harmful drugs that make us sick. School teaches us to sacrifice joy for a future reward that never quite comes. Even the institution of marriage (State interference in our love lives) damages us by taking away our freedom to do, say, and think what we feel just because we want to love someone.

Despite all this open manipulation and abuse, most people blame themselves for their problems. They may see themselves as victims of the abuse, but how does that make you special? Everyone is a victim of institutional abuse. The question is how to overcome it.

Healing is impossible if you fail to see that no institution has legitimate authority over you. Institutions are dishonest and self-serving—seeking only to strengthen themselves. They gain power by robbing you of your freedom, energy, and by stealing your attention away from the beauty surrounding you. I have found that it is possible to function very well in the world even though I have zero trust or faith in institutions. That is part of what it means to awaken.

Deep down, even after a lifetime of abuse and manipulation—all the threats, punishments, negative labels, and toxicity hurled at you by corrupt institutions—you must know that you are good. If you have ever been responsible for harming anyone, then go make it right. After you have done so, you can rest peacefully in the knowledge that you are perfect, beautiful, and complete. Anyone who knows you can be grateful. Anyone who attacks, judges, or insults you is incorrect. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.

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How can I experience a spiritual awakening within the context of a normal and stressful life?

Many people avoid spirituality because they believe it would require them to change everything or give everything up. We have our jobs, relationships and marriages, and our children. Then there are bills to pay, the daily routines and chores to be done.

Is spiritual awakening even possible while living in “the real world”? Do you have to leave all your responsibilities behind, go to a mountaintop, and become a monk? Thankfully, no.

Spiritual awakening is different from a vacation. It is a way of perceiving, a thought system of love over fear, a decision to completely overcome everything ego is and does. What was most surprising to me, when I chose this path, is that everything in my “real life” went far more smoothly. I was a better life partner, a better parent, and a better business owner because I learned to approach the “real world stuff” without fear or resistance—with a sense of calm and acceptance.

When you leave the stress and panic behind, you make better decisions and treat people right. Also, from the state of present moment awareness, cleaning or doing the dishes is just something that can be enjoyed. I won’t go so far as to say that I enjoy dealing with money or paying bills, but now I can do it without any emotional reactions.

I give myself permission to enjoy whatever I enjoy, but most of my time is spent fulfilling my obligations in life. I have never been to any sort of spiritual retreat and do not require any external conditions to stay connected to the source.

Any awakening that requires an escape from real-world responsibilities is no lasting salvation at all; rather, only temporary escapism. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.

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Is spiritual awakening real?

When I use the word “ego” or “spiritual awakening”, most people tune out—perhaps holding the opinion that ego is only natural and that spiritual awakening is just something egos talk about to make themselves seem superior.

I am sure that there are people who do fake enlightenment, who adopt it as an ego-identity to fit in or collect followers. I don’t fit with those people either because I’m too honest. If my goal was to be popular, clearly everything I am doing is wrong. Fortunately, I have no interest in popularity.

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5 or 6 years ago, I experienced spiritual awakening and have remained in this state. There is nothing special about me; rather, I merely studied the concepts and applied what felt true. My life then transformed to an extent that I felt an absolute calling to share what I have found.

At first, I felt that there was no need for me to do any of this because enough people probably know this stuff. As time went by, I realized that the knowledge I had acquired—through my understanding of the concepts and through radical application in my life—is perhaps unique enough that it needed to be shared.

The other reason I write most days and give talks is that it helps renew my spiritual faith. If you don’t touch this stuff daily, you slip back into ego. This, my 723rd almost daily spiritual post, is as much for me as for any audience who stumbles upon it. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.

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What is the one thing that holds people back from spiritual awakening?

Spiritual awakening is all or nothing. To awaken spiritually, you must go all the way. All the way to what?

1) To absolute faith in perfect love as the only appropriate response and the correct solution to every challenge.
2) To a total commitment to perfect honesty and wanting only truth.

While I break this out into two separate points, they are one. A fundamental attribute of perfect love is perfect openness and honesty—but failure on point 2 is so common that I wanted to draw your attention to it (my free eBook, The Switch is about this).

Other attributes of perfect love include forgiveness, acceptance, openness, and generosity. Regardless of the path you are on, the teachers who you follow, and the words you use to describe spiritual concepts—anything less than a total and complete commitment to perfect love always and with everyone is no spiritual awakening. You may fall short at times, but you see it right away and correct.

If you hold back—perhaps maintaining any belief that some thoughts or truths should be private, that attack and punishment sometimes teach a lesson, that corruption and evil have real power, that you are vulnerable and fear is legitimate, that you are guilty, that illness is real, or that worldly powers have legitimate authority—then you are not spiritually awakened and remain in the normal, egoic state. If ego remains real to you at all, then you remain in a state of confusion and suffering.

When I say go all the way, I am not speaking of sacrifice. Go all the way to joy. Notice anything, anyone, or any situation that pulls you away from joy. Stop agreeing with it. I don’t mean you should avoid people or situations; rather, speak your truth to it and accept whatever outcome. No discipline is required for you to spiritually awaken because you are only giving up everything that you do not want—everything that causes suffering and crisis. Constant discipline and sacrifice is what must be given up and unlearned if joy and peace are to be experienced.

Now, if you have been living in a way in which you have not been perfectly loving always, and have not been perfectly open and honest, you will have to go through what appears to be suffering and crisis for a time. The cause of this transitional phase is not your spiritual awakening; rather, that you have been living in error up until it. Now you need to go through some life changes, which will happen naturally—requiring no planning, strategy, or manipulation on your part. If you are unwilling to accept this process, you are holding back (which is what we are talking about). If you go all the way, then everything will fall into place.

Go all the way, where there is no more internal conflict or confusion. I assure you that only love is true, only consciousness is real, that you (as spirit) are invulnerable and eternal. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.

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What is special about you?

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The ego thrives on the belief that you are special, different from everyone else, or somehow better. To prove their specialness, people make an identity based upon externalities such as accomplishments, possessions, beliefs, looks, characteristics, or other details having to do with a life situation. While some of this is mildly interesting, the truth of your identity cannot be found in these notions of specialness (nor can any lasting sense of satisfaction or enjoyment).

Rather than seeing reality, specialness would have us identify with our mental stories and then fight to the point of exhaustion to make them true. This is a fool’s errand, because there is nothing that can be done to make a special identity real. You can sacrifice, you can fight, you can ride the ups and downs, you can give it all striving for what you think is important—but nothing can change the deeper truth about you.

What is wonderful about you—your real potential—flows from just being. Access this by knowing that your identity is not your stories; rather, it is your spirit or consciousness. If you have accomplished something, or if there are special talents or beautiful personality traits that others enjoy in you, it is because you have become your best self by remaining centered in your spirit identity.

Rooted in the oneness and sameness of being, you can enjoy all the loveliness the world has to offer. Life flows nicely without much effort. Things tend to work out. The pace accelerates because you no longer resist. You feel perfectly complete, and success fills your life not because you had to reach for it; rather, because it flows from within. We continue tomorrow and each day after that. 

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Loving the new album by The Killers, Imploding the Mirage

The brand new album by The Killers called Imploding the Mirage is a supercharged dose of spiritual inspiration. The lyrics are fresh and meaningful, the sounds innovative, the songs just beautiful.

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A sudden hunger for beauty will arise when the darkness of the world has been fully exposed, triumphantly defeated, and the Great Awakening has come to pass.

For a long time, our awareness has been directed toward ugliness. Listen to the new music, watch the cinema, explore modern art, do some channel surfing, check out Netflix or YouTube. You will notice that essentially all the content made over these past many years draws our attention only to ugliness. Now at the end of this dark era, our instinctive need for beauty is so tragically unfulfilled that we forget to search for it and have almost lost the ability to recognize it.

Of course, overwhelming beauty still exists, and it is everywhere. But most of the time we are not in a state to care. We are blinded by so many concepts, obsessed with our supposed problems, flooded with such crudeness and messages of fear, by images of darkness and violent error—that when true beauty does arise externally, we feel too lousy inside to truly embrace it from that place deep inside and beyond the mind. When we are not in a good place inside, beauty has no power.

The dark forces of the world have hidden beautiful art inside museums, flooded the airwaves with profane ego projection, and have perpetuated concepts that pull our attention away from the present moment—the only dimension where beauty can be recognized—and drawn that attention toward a racing mind of past, future, and all the insane thoughts and fictional concepts that go along with it.

Yet very soon, after the full extent of the darkness has been exposed, humanity will once again look to the horizon and remember what life is. The agents of darkness and ugliness will fade into obsolescence, and the world will be led by those who are most gifted at drawing our attention to beauty—which is, and has always been, truth and reality. The great hunger to come alive will be fulfilled. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.

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Nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth. (A Course in Miracles)

Everything about the world is built around a different assumption—that our worth must be earned. After we agree that our worth has been taken away, we then spend our lives driven mad by a nagging need to reclaim it.

From this one belief, our lives become a story, a game, a show, a war. We lie, we deceive, we attack, we show off, we use people—all to show that we are more important, worth more, successful. Ironically, these behaviors render us useless to other people.

Some get so carried away with this game of establishing worth that they are “above” cooking meals for themselves, cleaning their own homes, grooming their own bodies, or expressing their own original thoughts and perspectives. No, to become an “amazing person”, everything must be outsourced to someone lesser. Meals are ordered, help is hired, legs are waxed, feet are pedicured, and opinions come only from the corporate media. Doing or thinking anything yourself is seen as too common and unsophisticated—somehow diminishing your worth.

But what are you worth in this state? If you are so superior that you cannot do these things for yourself, how will you be capable of doing anything for others? Will a partner want to stay with you when you are unwilling to make him or her a sandwich, unwilling to clean the kitchen, unwilling to do a favor for fear of undermining your perceived worth? In this state, you are taking rather than giving and parenthood is out of the question.

This game of gaining worth is all about seeking approval from others. But others will never give you what you seek because they are playing the same game. Within this twisted thought system, to approve of or admire someone else would diminish a person’s worth. Nobody you know is willing to go there.

You can sacrifice so much, accomplish even more than anyone wants to hear, and in the end you will never feel worthy. You will compare your real self, your actual life situation, your real relationship, your actual bank account to the lies everyone else is projecting about these very things. You will never feel as though you have arrived. There will always be one more achievement, always one more problem that must be overcome, and you will never get there because there is this one assumption about establishing worth—which has become the foundation of your life—and it is utterly and exactly wrong.

According to A Course in Miracles, “Your worth is established by God.” You are perfect from birth and are exactly as you are meant to be. Your worth is not earned; rather, it is so absolute that it cannot be destroyed. You are life manifested, and you are divine—a spirit that is eternal beyond threat.

When you know your real value, your life is enjoyed very differently. You learn because you are interested. You create because that is what inspired minds do. You try things, you experience your wildest fantasies, you know people deeply and are unafraid (nobody can diminish you). You are self-sufficient. Beyond this, you take care of and serve everyone with joy.

Your worth need not be established; rather, it needs to be celebrated. Everything is already okay. Be here, now. Enjoy this moment. There is no destination. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.

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You who fear salvation are choosing death. (A Course in Miracles)

There is no magic in salvation and it requires no ritual. It is not a onetime event from which there is no going back. Because it is a state in which you are absent of fear, salvation is indeed nothing to fear.

Salvation—or true spiritual awakening / enlightenment / awareness of consciousness—is a state of existence in which a person has overcome the problem of ego. An ego is a mind that believes it is separate from the rest of reality, that you are only a body and mind, that your thoughts are supreme, and that life is about being right, better, and your purpose is to win.

Ego is a thought system—or endless thinking game—in which players move between 6 roles: judge, prosecutor, defender, jailer, oppressor, and victim (Read “Games Ego Plays”). It is a cynical mind driven by fear and acting through attack. Ego is a parasite that controls you, but it is not you. It is what makes you sometimes get mad and say crazy things.

To choose ego is to choose death by aligning with a body that will perish as you cling to an impermanent world of illusion. All matter—physical form—is always changing. There is nothing stable. It is a dance of illusion.

Salvation happens when we stop believing thoughts. When we become the observer of them. When we notice the insanity of fear and recognize the full knowledge and truth of love. When we identify as the force of life, itself. When we value all that is invisible / imperceptible / not matter / not “stuff”—love, feeling good, inspiration, joy, bliss, truth, beauty. When we recognize that God is the same thing as love, the same thing as life, the same thing as consciousness—and all the words, the details, and the confusion merge into a oneness and clarity.

Salvation is a choice we make each moment—a decision to die to the world and align with the source. It is a step beyond faith, to knowing. It is a decision to kill / escape / laugh at any insane thoughts that we observe. It is a decision to place the mind in service to the thought system and energy of love—which naturally heals the body and ends your problems.

In salvation, there is nothing to fear. You are always free to go back. The thing is: when you experience the awakened state, you won’t want to. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.      

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The way isn't hard, but it is very different

Throughout my life, I have quietly watched a world where suffering and crisis is the normal way of life. Where people are physically in pain, made obese victims of corporate junk food advertisements, made confused by the narratives of TV and films, and have become detached from nature and common sense through a school system designed to domesticate rather than educate.

I have been made to feel alone as I silently listened to all the trivial, meaningless conversations and debates about nothing in a world where inspiration and beauty is crushed in friendship, family, and relationships. A world where “love” is understood as an abusive arrangement filled with expectations, threats, blame, argument, and shame.

I have survived world where jobs deplete and then dispose of us, where the news media lies about everything and covers the rest up, where big pharma offers the “help” of harmful drugs that only numb us and make us sicker, where churches ask us to sacrifice more but offer little help with salvation, where every aspect of society has been controlled by those whose intentions are to use us up rather than to nurture us.

I saw it, I rejected it, and I tried to find my own way. But the ways of my ego were no solution. Absent of any real wisdom, my brief moments of pleasure only caused so much suffering and crisis.

The purpose of suffering in our lives is to reveal errors of any path other than spiritual awakening. There are many different words and ways of explaining spiritual awakening, but when we decide that it is real, when we learn about the eternally true principles, and when we put it into practice fully, then the suffering and crisis of the world ends.

You do reach a state of ongoing joy, filled with beauty and pleasure, absent of pain, suffering, and crisis. You become the energy of love—within you, flowing from you, and filling your mind with its true thought system. You create so much value for others that your life is filled with abundance. You experience perfect health in life, and you embrace the eventual death of the body without fear.

It is possible to experience a life without fear, without ego, without confusion, without drama, without suffering, without problems—all of which is an unreal creation of an unhealed mind. The way isn’t hard, but it is very different. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.

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