"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.  Hence, it is clear that the space of physics is not, in the last analysis, anything given in nature or independent of human thought.  It is a function of our conceptual scheme."
~Albert Einstein

At some point, common sense seems unattainable; the world pulsates, rhythmically, in and out of existence.  It's an uncanny bewilderment that shifts one's boundaries of sanity.  Cracks in the conceptual framework of old paradigms manifest as cognitive dissonance, disrupting an archaic personal view of the world.  Consensual reality becomes unconsensual.  Self-importance dissipates as progressively less is available to attach to it; it doesn't go away, there's just less to make special.  It's an uncontrolled slide from there, past a point-of-no-return where fewer choices are offered.  One naturally renunciates more and more of the illusion until, finally ... it shatters.

The illusion arises predominantly from thought consciousness as it intertwines with sensory input.  It's an amazing display of the mind. But, it's a virtual reality sequestered from the flow of the present state.  We lose fundamental cognition of our environment in accepting for reality this personal, deluded view.  Breaking it is deceptively difficult and it is even more difficult to hold the unadulterated perspective; delusion is extremely pliant and self-organizational.  It is very difficult for the mind to detect the illusion it personifies.

"When you see that all forms are illusive and unreal, 
then you will begin to perceive your true Buddha (awakened) nature."
~Siddhartha Gautama
Diamond Sutra

Human consciousness becomes highly conditioned by familiarity.  These countless and unnoticed conditionings are held as memories of both experience and indoctrination in the subconscious and the unconscious mind.  There is both an input of sensory and thought consciousness and a feedback / storage circuitry that resides in the body.  This feedback / storage circuit continues to discharge even after an object of consciousness is removed.  Phantom images intertwine to create a metaphorical swamp of faint cognition.

What I term "the swamp" is a mental mashup created by the substratum of the illusion bubbling up from the subconscious; the unconscious is becoming conscious.  It is at first sight so terrifying that most who encounter it clamor back to the comfort of the illusion - maintaining a false sense of security through ignorance.  Others camp along the shores of the swamp, afraid to enter and equally afraid to leave.  Courage and readiness are needed - a willingness to risk it all in order to find the passage home; this is not said for dramatic effect.

"Cast away all concerns for this life. Be an outcast from human society.  
Sever worldly ties.  Throw away attachment to friends and hostility to enemies."
~Dakpo Tashi Namgyal
Clarifying the Natural State

Some seekers might expect that destroying the cognitive illusion would put one in direct contact with the higher consciousness of Source Awareness.  In my experience, it doesn't.  Conscious illusions have a shadow, an after-glow or memory that stands between consensual consciousness and Source Consciousness (Awareness, Tau, God). This intermediate realm can have an initial appearance of shadowy, ill-defined nature in silhouette.

"Run from what's comfortable.  Forget Safety.  Live where you fear to live. 
Destroy your reputation. Be notorious."

The swamp appears as a reservoir of fears and other things we find generally unpleasant as, hidden within the subconscious, much of it simply hasn't been looked at carefully.  Finding oneself in such a hazy realm without a solid self-identity is disorienting and, at times, simply terrifying.  It's best, even necessary, to retreat from the consensual realm to put all focus on the challenges that lie ahead.  Keep energy levels up.  It's dangerous to try to do too much; you can't well-afford to break down here.  Anger arises from detrimental attachments to past illusion; frustration arises from attachment to desires for the future.  Both are clear indicators that you are still in the illusion.  Relax, meditate and recharge whenever possible.

"How does it feel, how does it feel?
To be on your own,
with no direction home
A complete unknown,
like a rolling stone."
~Bob Dylan

The journey is powered by the processes of renunciation of all indoctrination and purification of conceptual thought patterns; it will take seemingly forever to let go of the paradigms that we mistook for reality.  Clean, purify, polish - when you think you've reached it, clean, purify and polish some more.  Purification of thought and illusion is difficult to self-assess; it's too easy to think you've reached it, but it is generally the mind misguiding the mind.  So many self-proclaim, but have only substituted one delusion for another - a false prophet to themselves and others.

Finally, this is the way home. There is a sense that it lies down deep beneath the surface as opposed to high on a mountain top, though either concept is metaphorical.  Enter the swamp and tread lightly; appearances will subside. Stillness is your guide and firmness your protector.  Lighten up and drift - downward, downward, downward - landing lightly like a feather on an asteroid. Within absolute stillness, one will the recognize the infinite void of the primordial state, the dharmakaya.

The sacred perspective is ordinary, familiar and nearby though a mystical journey lies yet ahead.  The formless realm, operates in much the same way as the physical realm and important insights can be gained here. There are signposts to notice along the way: voices, visions, songs and poetry - messages from Source Consciousness left to guide you.  Discernment is required. There is a lot of misinformation that arises along the way; teachers/gurus/friends will misguide you; ego threatens constantly.  Walking the razor's edge is an adventure in perspective and discipline of the mind.

"Some of you are not smiling.  You are wasting your time."
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Finally, and it's really very important:  maintain an inner smile while letting go of all attachment to outcome - especially, attachment to preconceived ideas of awakening, enlightenment, god or whatever label you have for it.   Give it all up and let it be as it is.

A Death Row Inmate

"Write like you're a goddamned death row inmate

and the governor is out of the country ..."
                                                             --  Alan Watts

This blog, begun some eight years ago, is about capturing a process of spiritual transformation - the true death sentence of the egoic inmate.  It's about the truth of the "I am that" - a truth that can neither be perceived nor imagined except by negation - "I am not this and not that."  In relative terms, it's about listening to the silence, then trying to figure out what to say about what you heard.  It's been a challenge to reduce realizations that are beyond intellect to conceptual monologues that have any chance of piercing the veils of the reader who thinks s/he is already aware of what you are pointing to.  Language is such a dull tool and hesitation is an effective barrier of sentence structure.

I've been hesitant to write about unsettled matters.  It's unfortunate that due partly to obsession with perfection I couldn't capture moments, fresh and unfettered by thought and insecurity during this period that presented some of the most provocative and profound insights of this incarnation - understanding is not as important as being.   I've started 16 articles since "The Swamp," written well over a year ago, had ideas for multiples of that number of articles and was about to start another.

I may have left some to think that I disappeared into the swamp  In a way, I did; I cut off virtually all ties to the outside world and enjoyed no guarantees from one moment to the next.  But, this has been the most informative series of experiences of my life.  I would not have been able to write fast enough, so ... there are numerous recordings of some discussions that span the most recent 6 months.  These should provide fuel for further writing when I make time for the endeavor or, perhaps, they will be left to be discovered centuries from now to provide fodder for a new religious doctrine.

I began writing about finding the rabbit hole and peering into it.  Now, I'm interested and challenged by what to do within it.  It's been a personal endeavor and my only motivation for writing this blog is to document the journey and share this with friends and family for whatever benefit is to be derived from it.

Be free to sigh in relief, scorn in dismay or yawn in indifference.  I have returned to the playground.  I don't know what comes next and I am not attached to an outcome.  I hope you'll join me for what arises.

Moving Forward: Terms, Conditions, Disclaimers and Fine Print

I have realized that I am not to be a teacher except by the example we all set for others.  A good teacher is a rare and beautiful gift to the world, but the best teacher is the one who sets the example.  Likewise, I don't have a teacher, lama  or guru though I listen to and read writings from several.  I like the Buddhist practice of kalyāṇa-mittatā, a spiritual association of noble friends who share interests and ethical values.  Thus, my teachers are my friends.  

I am not a religious person.  However, the basic tenets of secular (non-religious) Buddhism align well within my view of the form we find ourselves in.  And, while I believe that all religions point to the same core truth, all religions have been misquoted, corrupted, conceptualized, misinterpreted and misused.  For most of my life, I identified more as a scientist than anything else, even after I left research and entered the business world.  It was an attempt to intellectualize my view of our world and to interact with it in definable terms.  While the more interesting realizations are beyond thought, I still have great regard for science and intellect as long as they don't become a facsimile of the direct experience.

So, don't take anything I write here to be a teaching - or even seriously; you may not want to follow my example either. This is simply an exploration.

"Don't try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist;

use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are
                                                                                                   --H. H. the 14th Dalai Lama