I dedicated my life to only one thing.
Learning to die consciously.
As a young adult I gladly and with great relief left the world and joined a group of monks in a simple small remote village. A village isolated and far removed from the activity of the world. I spent the rest of my days meditating and listening to and trying to understand the teachings of the Buddha and the wisdom of my Lama (teacher and spiritual guide in Buddhism). I tried very hard to learn how to die consciously. It was the only goal I had. Nothing else mattered to me. Why would it? The world as the scriptures taught me, is just an illusion.
There was never any doubt that I was doing the right thing. I studied and followed the teachings carefully and seriously.
I meditated, fasted, took part in ceremonies, memorized, chanted, and prayed faithfully, and performed good deeds which I believed would clear past karmas.
I never let myself be angry or even think of harm towards another living being.
Anything my teacher asked of me I never hesitated. I was happy to be his student, in the presence of and in service to such a great sage.
I did everything the 'right' way. I was convinced I was giving myself the best chance of dying a conscious death and then I would free myself permanently from the suffering of life and death.
All those other people who were out there in the world having relationships, families, and trying hard at their jobs; I thought they were all lost. Can’t they see that everything they are doing and trying to create is temporary? We will all die anyway, why waste time on anything to do with the world of illusion?
I was glad not to take part in all that illusory and superficial activity.
I was a seeker.
I was confident I had found the right path.
I stayed steady and unwavering on this path all the way into old age.
Then the day came.
Death came for me.
As I was being pulled away from my body I experienced only terror and could not stay conscious. I was shocked at my own fear and weakness. I couldn’t believe I spent all my life preparing for this moment and yet I failed so miserably.
I concluded from this that it was because I’m weak and a failure and carried these beliefs along with the pain and disappointment for many lifetimes.
Several years ago, I relived the memory of that life and I released the beliefs and pain.
Then I understood the real reason why I, as that dedicated monk, experienced such terror and could not stay conscious.
I saw it all clearly.
I had died afraid because I lived afraid
I saw all the things I had been running from.
Being a monk in that remote community meant I did not have to face responsibility for my own survival. Someone else would take care of me. Someone else would tell me how to live. I didn’t have to make difficult decisions. I didn’t have to think of things like my body, or money, or people, or my desires. I didn’t have to feel too happy or too hurt or too anything.
My monk self thought of himself as unattached.
But the truth was that I was deeply attached. I was attached to material things, to money to pleasure, to people. The world. To many things.
That is why I felt I had to run away from it all.
That is why I separated myself.
That is why I studied so hard and memorized the teachings.
But I had never truly discovered what the teachings were about. I believed in them strongly, but this only meant I carried them and clung to them as ideas. They actually became barriers, since I thought I knew something that I didn’t truly know.
I didn’t realize that being in the presence of a great teacher and hearing or reading wisdom was not enough. Not near enough. I had to learn what they meant, I had to realize wisdom through experience. Not my teacher’s experience. MY experience.
I would have had to live.
Be in the world and live.
This would have meant facing the complexities and difficulties of life. Things like money and my mixed emotions about it. I would have to fall in love and risk my heart being broken. I would have to experience failure. I would have to experience success and then inevitably see it pass. See the suffering, violence, and unrest in the world. See it in me.
This time around the priority of the inward seeking guides me on how to see the opportunities in what the monk saw as “just illusion”.
So many lessons to learn and grow from. So many fears to walk through and vulnerabilities to embrace.
Now when I think of that lifetime, I feel a sense of gratitude for the challenges life brings me in my day-to-day current life.
Yet also, so so much goodness too, so many discoveries and gifts to enjoy, and share.
So much LIFE to live.
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Recently I was struggling with my mind and was experiencing exhaustion. I could barely focus on anything longer than a few minutes and the exhaustion felt deep and existential.
My thoughts were around how it's all so meaningless. I'm too tired to care. What's the point? It's all so meaningless. So much suffering (mine and others). So many lifetimes of seeking, of trying and what has it done? Nothing. I have nothing to show for any of it.
I'm used to going through darkness and rough patches and ups and downs (it's natural for all of us sincere seekers at different phases. The light gets lighter but the dark also gets darker).
But this time I thought I'd share since we are going through what I see as an unprecedented shift and time on this planet. In case it is of help to anyone.
But more than the difficulties, I want to also share the awareness that came to me this morning after my relentless mind finally surrendered it's need to know and be in control.
Out of the peaceful void I was resting in, this understanding came to me:
There is no controlling what is happening on this planet.
The dark will do what it does. The light will do what it does.
Our true being is beyond all of it. Humans are no longer in control over this planet. This is a good thing, existence is doing what needs to be done.
What is happening is not just beyond our control, it's also beyond our human comprehension. We can know bits and pieces. That's all. That's enough.
Certainty is an illusion, we never had it but are now much more aware of it. This is bringing up a lot of pain and suffering. But the suffering has always been there. We were more able to avoid this through having our identity and sense of self-centered importance be constantly affirmed through our busyness and attachments. This is all being exposed as false.
Nothing and no one outside of our mind is the real cause of our pain.
We can care for our well-being and for our loved ones. But we cannot choose who will stay and who will go. It's the choice of each Soul.
We are losing our identity as humans and joining the rest of the universe. The only way out is to transform the layers of separateness created by our ego and re-join the universe.
We are so much more than human, we are cosmic beings. ❤️
I had an experience.
It happened while bartending. Over 12 years ago.
The bar I worked in had a cigarette machine in the back. The bartenders were told to keep an eye out for under-18 teens sneaking in to get cigarettes.
One night three young-looking guys walked in and headed toward the cigarettes. I stopped them to check their I.D.s.
I looked at the I.D.s but my mind got dizzy and I couldn’t make sense of how to figure out their ages (this mind dizziness still happens, especially with numbers. doesn’t bother me too much. But it used to).
I tried but couldn’t make my brain work and I felt a wave of panic. The guys were staring at me, waiting. I had to go find my shift manager for help. When I asked my manager to look at the I.D. cards, he looked at me like I was crazy. Yes, they are 18, he said, annoyed at me.
As I walked back to hand them their cards and saw the expression on their faces, I felt the shame intensify and engulf me. And then the experience happened.
I suddenly became bigger than myself. I expanded to about 6 feet bigger all around my body. I watched from this bigger space, somewhat above myself, yet everywhere at the same time. From that bigger space I watched myself being embarrassed and hand the I.D.s back.
But as I watched I was unattached from it all. Just fascinated by what was happening.
Unattached might give the impression of flatness. It was not flat at all. It was magical and joyful. It was total and pure curiosity (not an analytical curiosity, but a “see what happens” curiosity).
I was free from the need to control or direct anything, including myself or what I was feeling.
The whole experience must have lasted only a few moments. But it felt longer, like it happened in slow motion.
For the following few days I felt peaceful and then the peacefulness faded and I went back to my usual inner turmoil. If anything, feeling even more unsatisfied.
In the back of my mind I was wishing I could find a way to make that experience happen again. I sensed this to be the way out of suffering. But I couldn’t figure out how to do that. Because I didn’t make it happen to begin with.
It was a completely spontaneous experience. I wasn’t really meditating or doing dedicated inner work at the time. I was actually working 3 jobs, barely sleeping, and living off Redbull. I was saving money for my “dream” of traveling the world.
I had been reading books on how to make your dreams come true, visualizing, etc. I couldn’t think of a dream that would make me happy except traveling. So I decided for a little while, with nothing else to go on, that traveling the world must be my dream. As usual for me back then, I was focused outside of myself and on the future (I thought that's where 'happy' must exist). I was ignoring what was right in front of me and within me.
Even though my life didn't immediately change much on the surface, that experience was a glimpse of a truth for me.
That glimpsed truth was that I am not my body, my mind, or my emotions. There is something else to who I am.
I recognized this something else as what teachers and mystics call witnessing awareness. I've heard descriptions of this witness being a non-judgmental awareness of all that is, and that it is full of joy. That sounded exactly like what happened for me.
I never had anything like that experience again until I did travel, but not the outer world, I shifted my search inward, traveling instead through my inner world. Instead of making my dreams come true, I started seeing the untruth in the dream I had been living in.
As I began peeling away the layers of my unconscious, the experience of expanding beyond my mind, emotions, and body, and witnessing have become regular occurrences.
I’m so glad to suddenly feel free in talking about past lives.
I wasn’t really that afraid to. I just didn’t want to seem ungrounded or foofy. I also know that if you haven’t experienced it yourself, how can you relate? Understandably. It may seem like I’m just belonging to an eastern religion or philosophy. Which I don’t. It’s a genuine experience for me. Not much different than working with and healing childhood memories or any other memory.
I didn’t understand either until the memories started coming. They came because I've healed so much pain from this life and from childhood, yet still have struggled with stubborn self-destructive patterns. I wanted to understand why. The memories were the answer to what still needed healing and resolve.
The reason I’m glad to begin speaking about my memories though is because so much of what I understand and want to share comes from my Soul’s history. So I felt limited in speaking to certain issues because how can I explain why I know?
The Christian mindset for example, I get it very deeply. I get how strong the desire is for an outer God figure, I get the comfort and relief of it.
Up till about a year ago when I felt sad and alone, I would secretly comfort myself by listening to christian music and crying.
AND I get the, often intense and debilitating and very real, fear and guilt about the belief there is a God up there judging me and I might be punished for eternity if I sin.
I also know feeling special that I get to go to heaven and feeling secretly superior to those that are going to hell while trying to ‘pray’ for them and do “good”. I get being a missionary for God’s work. I also get feeling betrayed and angry towards this God when I experienced agonizing suffering and he didn’t help or save me like was promised. I get the whole game. Because I played it. For lifetimes.
I also get the ‘God loves you’ and ‘You are Perfect in His Eyes’ as well, the positive Christianity and positive thinking that is attractive to us to counter the negativity and make us feel better. Because the self-judgements and fear are still running deep in the unconscious. I also get the angry atheist, that is reacting, for the same reason.
How can I explain that I understand? I wasn’t raised in it nor did I have much direct exposure in this life. See my dilemma here?
It’s not really about trying to expose or tell anyone how they should live. It’s not about judging anyone either for living out these things.
I’m just finding it harder and harder to hold back these things and not be myself.
I also feel that things are different on this planet right now. Despite the widespread hypnotism and unconsciousness, I’m pretty sure I won’t be killed or destroyed for sharing what I know and who I am.
Also. This time I’m not interested in being a Martyr. I think I learned that lesson.
#TheDalianMethod #HellYeahLetsDoThis #IRemember #ICanHelp
I used to have this armor around me, it was sort of like a rebelliousness.
But it wasn't real.
It was reactionary.
Like the teenager that yells at the authority in their lives:
"You can't control me!"
"You can't tell me what to do!"
But deep down under that act there is a need for love and approval and there is fear. There is wanting freedom but not quite ready or knowing how to take responsibility for it.
There is still thinking the freedom is given to us from outside of ourselves. The teenage rebel is still trying to demand her birthright from outside of her own being.
There is another rebellion, one that feels much more genuine for me. I’ve come to know that this rebellion is often a quiet one. That it's not about looking or acting a part, nothing to do with the idea of a rebel.
It's not necessarily about shouting what we are against or what we don't want.
It's about understanding that there is no true power without vulnerability.
It's not about joining a club or an identity as an outcast or being special just for not fitting it.
It's really about having nothing to prove.
An identity needs to prove something. Or hide from something.
The Soul doesn't follow rules.
The Soul doesn't not follow rules either.
That is how free we are.
So what is the difference between self-love and narcissism?
I see them as existing in different universes, that's how different they are.
Narcissism is superiority. Superiority is based on comparison, competition, and insecurity. It is looking outward for who we are. It is needing to prove something.
It is a temporary compensation for the painful feeling of smallness deep down.
Superiority is there only because somewhere inside there is inferiority. Two sides to the same coin.
We come out of this painful game when we change direction and start looking within to transform the root of what is making us feel small or needing to prove anything.
This is not a “fake it till you make it” kinda thing. Not at all. Do we need yet another facade to hide behind? No, I don’t think so.
The first step is to be honest with ourselves about how we really feel.
It’s tricky because we don’t actually need to be taught how to LOVE ourselves. How to TRUST ourselves. How GOOD we are. How POWERFUL we are. How BIG we are. How MAGICAL we are. (but role models and facilitators are a huge help).
We were born already knowing this.
We just have to UNLEARN what we were taught. We need to see through and undo all the lies. All that we took on during our time here on this planet.
A technique to transform the root of insecurities:
Dalian Method sessions by Lila
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I’ve been exploring what ‘life purpose’ really means.
When I was younger and not happy with my life, I wanted to find the work that would fulfill me. If I’m going to spend so much of my life in a job or career I want it to be joyful and fun.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do and had very little I felt passionate about. And all the questionnaires and books on choosing a career or finding my purpose didn’t help me.
I eventually came to the idea to travel the world. When I was traveling I felt so free and spontaneous and excited about life. I lived in the moment. I felt alive. I wanted to feel that all the time. Not just on the occasional trip.
But world travel didn’t work out for me.
So then I had an idea to live off the grid and not be dependent on a system that I felt was unhealthy, repressive, and corrupt. I wanted to learn to grow my own food and be liberated from doing pointless unsustainable things, like mowing the lawn or consuming in a way that was destructive to our planet.
Never did that either.
I’m glad I didn’t. While these things may be right for another person, they weren’t right for me. They were actually my attempts to escape my problems. I didn’t see that the way my life has unfolded was a result of my past experiences and unconscious limiting beliefs.
I didn’t know that in order to create something new, I have to see how I've created my problems. That’s where true creative power is. I can’t create the good stuff while pretending that I have no responsibility in creating my struggles and pain. The two aspects are deeply connected.
I ended up living the very life I was set on avoiding. Living in the midwest working an office job.
But it has been exactly what I needed. In so many amazing and unexpected ways.
Of course we want to live a meaningful joyful life. But we often don’t know what that truly looks like and when our grand plans aren’t supported by Existence, no matter how badly we want it, there is usually a very good reason.
As stubborn as I am at times, I’m learning to trust my Soul and Existence. The big picture is so much more intelligent than my own limited ego.
I don’t think life purpose means to do something that compensates for what we believe is lacking. I think it means a step by step journey into the unknown that takes us into the direction of our greatest growth. Which often is in the direction of our greatest fears and challenges.
It may even go against everything we thought we knew about ourselves.
What I'm doing now in my life is more fulfilling and rewarding than my plans and expectations could ever have been. It is also a bigger and deeper joy than the "happy" I was pursuing when I was younger.
Some of you can relate to this. The constant assessing of the mind. How am I doing? Did I do or say that correctly? Is it good enough? The comparing with other people.
Or worrying about what people think. Second-guessing. Doubting. On and on it goes. That’s what mine can sound like. Yours may have its own default trajectory.
This chattering mind has been fading into the background more and more. There is this new feeling of freedom and space coming into my life.
But I’m not always sure what to do with this freedom. So many things I can do, and don’t know which choice to make. So I find myself not doing anything. Because I can’t decide. And then that chattering mind comes back in. The old comes back in because it’s comfortable. This is what I’ve known for so long. Freedom can be uncomfortable. Change can be scary, no matter how positive it is.
I started responding to this indecision anxiety by asking myself, “What in me wants to be lived right now?”
Sometimes my inner voice says, “Go do the laundry.” And though that’s not very interesting, I do it. And in doing it, I feel the energy in my body shift. I might have a spontaneous insight or solution to an issue. Or maybe I just feel more grounded and it feels good to act on something I’d been procrastinating on.
Other times, it says, “Go write that thing you wanted to write about on Facebook, but said No to doing it because you were worried people won’t like it.”
Or, “Tell that person how much you love them,” or “Stop people-pleasing and be honest with others.”
And the outcome of what I do, like if it’s my writing, is not so important. Whether it was good or not isn’t as important as doing it. I lived what wanted to be lived. In doing that, I’m already successful. That’s what really matters to me. If I make a mistake, then it was needed so I could learn something.
At times I have to consciously remind myself about this. Because my mind has been shaped by the world. Programmed by fear and judgment.
I notice that if I’m not connecting with my intuition and letting that guide my energy, my mind will run it for me. I have to teach Spazzy how to relax.
This is the intention I’m inviting:
I want to live in a way in which I am genuinely at peace with myself. I’m going to die at some point, but when that day comes, I don’t want to go with all these unlived experiences and regrets. In the end, I don’t want to look back on my life and suddenly see that I held back so much.
Letting death guide my life. This gives me my anchor, a priceless perspective to carry wherever I go.
PS: I don’t make this feel like a ‘job’ that I ‘have’ to do. I try to be honest with myself. If my intuition asks me to do something and I don’t want to do it, then I acknowledge how I really feel. If I’m honest with my No, then the Yes does eventually come. And when it does come, it’s a genuine full-hearted YES.
I’ve been noticing in some people who even though they have no interest in this whole inner work stuff, they will actually light up when speaking about a dream they’ve had.
It’s really cool to see that.
They wonder what the dream means. What it symbolizes. And sometimes they will even open up about their inner world when they normally wouldn’t.
The dream becomes an opening. A safe way to take a closer look.
Yet most of us don’t seem to look at our daily life that same way.
Probably because we are so close and get attached to it all. Probably because we have been conditioned to look at ourselves and our life as something to control and judge. This is bad. This is good. Fix the bad, get more good.
Sometimes life is painful and we don’t want to look at it or feel it.
Many, if not most of us, learned to trade some of the magical wonder for survival.
And maybe we learned that mystery is not to be tolerated.
So for some people, for just a little while, their dream becomes a time when they allow magic and mystery. Even if they deny it in their everyday reality, they will admit that there is magic in their dreams. There is an adventure there. There is a message to be uncovered.
And it’s perfectly tailored.
Just. for. them.
They will take a brief break from their insistence on cold hard facts.
They may temporarily forget their whole “if it can’t be proven then it doesn’t exist” attitude.
They relax their version of static reality and absolute truth and culturally shaped views.
A little more open to exploring, less rushing to be right.
Slightly less afraid of the airy fairy stuff.
Their guard comes down just a bit and they sparkle for just a little while.
This sense of magic and mystery is our lives. We have just forgotten that life is made of magic. We have forgotten that we are made of magic.
Even though on the surface the stuff happening in our life may seem like isolated and unrelated occurrences. Even though they may not seem all that meaningful. They are. They are part of a big picture.
It’s all connected. It’s all meaningful.
Just like in dreams. Nothing is ever really a mistake or an accident.
Our challenges and difficulties are meant to take us on an adventure. Joy, pain, ups and downs, trueness and falseness, they are part of the adventure of being alive.
Where even the nightmare can have an enchantment about it.
Deep down we all know this. Under the veil created from our beliefs, attachments, and wounds.
Under the veil imposed on us from a society rooted in forgetfulness.
Life is on our side. Always sending us messages and trying to help us.
So then is your so-called waking reality that different from the dreams you have when sleeping?
Look UNDER the surface and see!
I’ve always had this gift (curse?) of making something small and enlarging it, expanding on it, embellishing it. Stretching it for miles and miles.
I did this with situations that were painful for me. Creating all kinds of fear scenarios. All kinds of stories. Rolling them around in my fearful worried head. Hanging onto it for as long as I can.
What used to seem like a bad habit, I’ve made it into a gift now. I’m now making mountains out of what feels good. Taking tiny beautiful moments and pulling whole universes out of them.
The way the air feels on my skin. The feeling of the floor I’m sitting on as I write this. How it feels to hold the pen I’m writing with. The textural sounds that silence makes. The sound of the heated air coming out of the vents. When I wash dishes, the texture of the plate, the way the water caresses my hand.
I collect these moments. As if they are shiny gold pieces and the brightest ruby and shimmering emerald stones. Treasures often found after digging through the mud.
And. The more ordinary the better.
And it’s not some grandiose noble idea on how present I'm being. It’s just noticing that some things feel really good. If I let them. If I give myself permission to indulge it as much as I want.
Letting myself swim in it.
Letting life in.
It’s all so incredibly alive. So much so, that sometimes I wonder if anyone has ever exploded from the hugeness of it all.
And the world... well so much is happening isn’t it? But I keep coming back. Back to *here*.
I’m sharing this especially for those of you who have a sense that you are here to help. How easy it is to confuse helping with carrying the world on our shoulders. Taking on the suffering of others.
But really, it’s only you that you need to save. In that saving you recover your true self. And in letting yourself be alive as who you are, it creates powerful ripples. Those ripples travel to the places they are most needed.
And without our effort they do exactly what needs to be done.
To me this is what it means to be of service. Being in service to our aliveness. Do you feel it? How the world is just aching for aliveness?
Every moment you gift yourself soulful pleasure, you gift it to the entire planet. Yes, all of humanity but also our beloved Earth herself.
In my personal connection with our momma Earth I've noticed she doesn’t seem to care so much about my carbon footprint or joining a cause in her name. She is not interested in being saved.
In my ecstasy I can even hear her sigh sometimes… as if to say “Ah yes, that! right there! yes, thank you!”.
So you see? Our work doesn't always have to feel like work. We are just growing our beautiful inner swirly and pulsing light and allowing it to shine itself brightly.
Yours in shiny ecstatic light,
PS. This opening to ecstatic feel goodness, yes it also can bring moments of agony as well. We start feeling the entire spectrum of our inner landscape. The agony has its own uncomfortable and strange richness and beauty. I wrote about the relationship between Agony and Ecstasy here
Leela Haris - Expanding Consciousness