Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tabula Rasa gets a companion blog

For those interested in personal stories rather than just pointers, you may want to click on over to my new blog.  In it, I tell the story of searching for enlightenment on the internet.  Does it work?  Can facebook really serve as a guru?  Are satsangs, retreats, or teachers actually required for truth realization?  And what about forums like Liberation Unleashed or Ruthless Truth.  Are they worth the hype?:

Let's take a look:

Streaming Enlightenment:  The life an times of an internet-inspired inquiry.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Liberation Unleashed Best Pointers, a Collection

Friday, September 6, 2013

Self Phone Logic

If I asked about the whereabouts of your cell phone, you'd mentally check your pocket or purse and give a response based upon experience.  If you weren't so confident as to your phone's location, you'd place a hand to your pocket, or maybe root around in your handbag, then likely feel a sense of assurance once the phone had been safely located. 

When I ask that you check reality for a self, I'm asking that you look for it as you would a cell phone.  And if your search ends without that self turning up, I'd tell you that the reason it's not there is not because it's some nebulous thing with the ability to hide better than anything ever hidden itself in the history of mankind.  (I DO mean history of all mankind, too.  There's not one individual whose been able to check for a self and present one).

There's a reason for this absence.

Someone once told me that though they couldn't locate a self, they weren't yet convinced that one didn't exist somewhere out there. Maybe in another dimension.  That they hadn't yet found it wasn't proof that it didn't exist.

Let's test that.

If it's located somewhere out there, it's obviously completely disconnected from experience because otherwise it would easily be located.  If it's disconnected, how is it a YOU? 

And if you insist that this entity IS experienced through emotion or just plain feeling, to WHOM would that experience happen?

That last bit of circular logic usually goes undetected.  It also the source of the confusion.

photo credit:  Empty Pocket I by boproductions on deviantArt

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Magical Disappearing Act

If there's a Me/ a Self/ an I, seeing the words in this post, where is that I right now?  Where?  In the eyes?  In the head?  The Body?

If there's a Me/ a Self/ an I, hearing the voice in the head speaking these words, where is that I? In the ears?  In the head? The Body?

What about the Me/ Self/ I that feels the keyboard?  Is it located in the fingers?  The whole hand?  The body?  The mind?

But you still feel a self?  Where?  In the body?  Which part would you remove in order to show me the self?  The heart?  If you need a heart transplant, do you then get a new self?

Is it in the mind then?  Yes?  Where is the mind?

In the brain?


Then reach into the brain and grab your self.

photo credit:  Your brain is in my hands, by Bianca0323 on DeviantArt

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

And I Feel Fine....

I'll be honest and say that I'm not sure how Liberation Unleashed guides continue to conjure up the energy and momentum it takes to repeatedly analyze and counter concepts seeker use in weaving a sustained entity called a self.  If guiding is done well, the sessions become a tango during which guide has to be willing to stay at least two steps ahead of the seeker.  This little dance becomes an even bigger challenge when the seeker has brought along preconceived notions of what this seeing will look like.  When that happens, they will want to lead even while holding their baggage.  Conversely, when they believe it's all about following the guide in order to earn enlightenment, they will want to go limp so that they can be dragged around the floor even while holding their baggage.

Tip:  Seeing through the illusion can't look any different than it does now.  That there is no inherent you is already the case.

I've done this dance for a while and find that I've recently begun to slow down.  As a guide, I've taken a sort of sabbatical.  While I still work with a few individuals here and there, I feel that for some, interest in learning the steps has waned.  And since it's a dance, I often end up feeling as though I'm the only one left on the floor.  Oddly, I'm beginning to prefer to be left just standing there for a while.


The further you get into this, the more it becomes evident that working to convince anyone of an idea or concept is not the endgame.  There's just no real point in injecting new thoughts in an effort to replace old ones.  On the other hand, I'll say that if someone is willing to work hard and throw caution to the wind, this process can often turn out really well.  But in those cases there isn't a 'me' trying to convince a 'you' of some new idea. 

It's actually 'you' trying to wrestle with yourself. 


Here's the bad news, (although you might just enjoy hearing it):   If the inquiry is done right, you won't win.  Neither will I.  We end up just sort of walking away from each other after a handshake and some well wishes.  We'll likely never speak to each other again.  You might contact me again if you've scurried along, content in thinking that the self will never ever return, only to become disillusioned when you later find that that sense of self is still there.

Another tip:  The sense of self, or Conventional Self, is not a problem.  If it's bothersome, it's because you're still standing on 'the wrong side of the gateless gate'.

As for my being left standing on the floor, it's understandable.  There are lots of people who believe they want to see through this illusion as a means to relieve personal suffering, but what they haven't yet bargained for are the implications of it.  Because if there's no You, then what do you suppose that'll mean for your ideas about those you love?  What does it mean for every other self you assume is there and has always been there? 

Before engaging in this inquiry, consider those two questions first.  Are you ready for the world as you know it to disappear? 


(And if you're one of the folks still working with me, you'll know this post isn't meant for you.  With a willing partner, I do love the dance.)

photo credit:  Gosh, My World by ahmedwkhan on DeviantArt

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Point of No Return

I have had a twitter account.  Or two. 

The strangest thing about the discovery that Delma is a character within a story is in trying to reconcile the pre-NotSelf online life with the post-NotSelf accounts.  Over the years, a few blogs and even online journals have been created out there, but now there's no desire to go back to those old web spaces. It's very clear that they were thought-based constructions through which "I" friended or followed lots of people in order to help sustain a certain identity.

And now, there's no returning.  

Once seen, this cannot be unseen, they say.  It's a Dharma Seal.

Seems about right.

photo credit:  Twitter by Light-Schizophrenia on DeviantArt

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bridge of No Crossing

Find the direct experience of the place, the thing, the entity,
where sensory experience bridges.  Where it crosses over.  Meets.

Can anything other than the body be pointed to?

And within that body, find the direct experience of an exact location you call "The Crossroads", the single point at which all of the senses connect.  When and if you do find it, then...

Taste.  Can that taste be felt?
Smell.  Can that scent be heard?
Sound.  Can that sound be seen?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Indra's Internet

Why is the internet one of the richest places to seek enlightenment?  With all of the readers connected by way of this web, I can't think of a better illustration of one of the most basic metaphors for the nature of reality: Indra's Net of Jewels.

Oh, and hi there.  Welcome to this node, Jewel.

Francis Harold Cook describes the metaphor of Indra's net from the perspective of the Huayan school in the book Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra:

“Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each "eye" of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring."

photo credit:  Spider web by JimmyDick on DeviantArt

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Alleys, Backstreets and Internet Enlightenment

In addition to email work, I currently guide on one of those free forums named in the link bar above.  And right now, I'm noticing a trend. It's one of Inquiry Laziness. 

It appears that a guided inquiry into whether a separate self exists can make it seem as though the so-called process is just a wee bit too easy. 

It's a case of not believing in the quality of the cow what with all that free milk...

If you recognize yourself in that paragraph above, I don't mean that to insult.  But I do mean to shake you up.

Ok, I'm going to lay aside all of that nondual or enlightenment speak and put this in plain, everyday language.


A guide or teacher will not and cannot give you a shortcut or free pass by convincing you that there is no separate self.  The inquiry has to be done in its entirety, and it has to be done, ironically, by this supposed "You".  What's more, to do this direct inquiry, you need to be hungry for finding out what's TRUE, not thirsty for what Feels Good.  I'm not sure this is news, but looking to have a guide or teacher 'teach you no self' just plain doesn't work.

Philosophical debates with the guide, by the way, are absolutely POINTLESS.  The reason for this is that debates are of the mind, and the mind's basic function is to create a chasm between understanding and imagination.  That chasm IS the illusion of separation.  And you've got to know by now that in this inquiry, the mind and its tools are the very last weapons you should be wielding. 

TRUST your guide not to give you a shortcut, but to figure out how to kick you in just the right place to get you started in finding your own way.  Because all they're trying to do is to get YOU to look for yourself.  We have no special powers or ability or insight that you don't currently have.  Right now. I'm not kidding.  None. 

All we can ever do is to show you how to hold up a mirror and try like hell to get you to notice what's not in it.  Once you do, the next task is to stop you from turning away from your own absence.

If you're working with a guide or teacher who is repeatedly and stubbornly asking you to examine your own direct experience, then you've found something worthwhile.  Stick with your direct perceptions, the findings of your senses.  And when the 'Yes, BUT' thought comes in to contradict what's been directly experienced, know it's the mind.  Take a breath.  Don't go for what looks like an easy out by turning to the guide or teacher to remove that doubt for you. 

You've got to do it all by yourself. 

Where is the "yeah, but" coming from if not other than thought?  Those thoughts are little protests against the truth, born solely of conditioning.  Good ole conditioning, the comfortable quilt that snuggles thought into the grooves of memory, is what prompts the 'yeah, buts'

In the face of your findings, They Lie. 

Ok, shall we let the nondual comments begin?  ;)

With love,

photo credit:  Taking the Backstreets by Quiddative on DeviantArt

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

We're in an Impossible Situation, You & Me

We're in an impossible situation, You and Me.
With no you.
With no me.
With no place to 'situate'.
With no time to exist IN.

There's nothing I can tell you.
With no I.
With words that aren't the thing itself.
With no things.

You'll never hear this.
No one is there to hear.
There's no there, there.
No here, here.

You'll never get this.
The most impossible situation of all.
Nothing to be gotten
Everything to lose.
No one losing it.
No it.

Ok, then.


With acceptance
by the imagined self
who seemingly has something, everything to lose
and insists on a willingness to lose it...

Just See!
In the simplest way possible.
Not "YOU LOOK". 
Instead JUST the looking.  Seeing.  Notice it's just the seeing, happening.
Alive seeing.
Seeing can't be helped!  Can't be stopped.  Can't help itself!
No looker, no director of looking.
Just the display, seeing itself.

And then, too....

This is not understood.
Not with thought. 
Thoughts divert.
Seeing can't be studied, thought through.
Waking up can't be gathered, grasped.

Seeing scenery and it becomes clear.
Seeing needs no seer, and it's the end of you.
Yet that's not quite true.
Endings don't come to something that never was.

The impossibility of it, is itself, impossible.
Because anything's possible.

So give up.
And just (as in "do no more than") look.
Then stop.
Where is the you who is frustrated with this nonsense talk, this gibberish?
When did the you begin reading this post?  Before this word?  Or did the "I" appear...

As a single thought.

Only after the question was asked?

photo credit:  Impossible by Illyism on DeviantArt

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


It seems you have a decision to make.

What exactly is your motive for inquiring into the existence of a self, separate from Life.  Is it because you want to... have to... know the truth?  Or is this a half-hearted attempt relieve your self of misery?  Because remaining on one of those two paths nearly guarantees you'll remain a seeker for a long, long time.


photo credit:  The Decision by Contorted Truths on Deviantart

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Separation that Leads to Freedom

When you strip away all the new age mumbo jumbo and religious
connotations, enlightenment is simply a state of detachment. But detachment from
what? From the ideas and concepts about life that we have come to see as
absolute, permanent truths rather than the subjective, temporary beliefs they are.
That's it. The things you hear about "being one with the universe," "having a
direct experience of God," and the like are merely interpretations of this
detachment and only serve to complicate the concept.

-Blair Warren, The No Nonsense Guide to Enlightenment

Is this true?  Maybe.  But why not test it out?  What if enlightenment wasn't about reaching the state of being 'one with the universe' without first understanding the very practical notion of being able to separate fact from fiction, or concepts about life from Life Itself?  Your first priority should be to simply find out what's true in your own direct experience only.  Then let the rest fall into place as it will.  

photo credit:  photosbykev on deviantart

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Everything You Think

I interrupt this blog to bring you an important message.

"Don't believe everything you think." is likely the single most helpful directive alongside, "Just Look!"  It's also very likely to be overlooked.

So how do you know which thoughts to believe, and which to toss aside as 'mind stuff'?  There's no need to choose.  Because in order to make the decision, what you'll do is to think about thinking.  And then you'll congratulate yourself when you've hit on something you feel is a Spiritually True thought.

There's no such thing.

Instead of thinking about it, let's try something different.  What happens when you do this exercise?  Does the world go anywhere?  Does it collapse without the incessant chatter? 

Is it still all very much there in all its color, texture, vibrancy, and richness?  Or is it even richer than ever?

photo credit:  TaoLife Studio

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Irony of Trusting Your Self


I sit with each of your emails, each forum post, or message, and wait for a response to come, knowing that anything that ends up written out won't be something "I" determined or decided.  Because of this lack of a controller or doer, the words will just flow.  And if you hear and understand the message, that's not your doing either. 

Anything written here in this blog or in my responses to your inquires is a concept, an idea which will, due to causes and conditions, trigger thoughts in the your experience.  Given the right time and circumstance a message might hit home.  But it will still only be a thought.

As we work through the inquiries and exercises, the only reality you can use as a reference point  is what is gleaned from sensory input.  As you sit there, the senses tell you that the feel of the chair underneath your rear is 'real' when compared to the self.  That chair can be touched or seen.  As you read, background sounds can be heard.  Those things are real to the senses.  Detectable.

There is no sense which detects a self.

At this level of our inquiry, my entire task is to get you to understand the difference between this sensory reality and what exists only within thought and imagination.  Doesn't that seem a simple notion?   It is.  So why does it so often take weeks, months, and sometimes years to see this? 

The answer to that is indeed a paradox. 

Truthfully, you need to trust yourself.  You need to trust your current, immediate exprience and findings above all else, above all the teachings and conditioning that's been introduced from childhood.  You need to defy collective common sense that says there's a You in that body and brain, and see the truth of reality without all of the concepts accumulated through an entire lifetime.  And then you need to trust that this finding is the absolute truth of the state of things, and you need to hold the conviction that your direct experience of reality is more true than the imaginary stories you've been innundated with for years.


"Trust Yourself" doesn't mean there's a self to trust, it means that the sense of self that is currently held going into the inquiry, is the very sense of self which needs to surrender to the simplest of findings.  Finally, it's seen that there was never anyone to surrender.

Trust yourself to get you to see through yourself.

photo credit:  Trust Life a Little Bit by norynn on deviantart

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Self and the Fall of Man

A love letter, written to a 'client' this morning....

Dear M,

I still think you have an intellectual understanding and not experiential, so we should continue to work on this.
Though we've talked about how this is factual, because of your years of experience in the spiritual world, I can see in your writing that there is still a cloak of emotions surrounding your idea of what seeing this might look like. You'll have to jettison that for now because this is so very much practical that it can completely be explained in a scientific way. Now, that can be quite a disappointing thing to hear for someone with your experience, but what it also does is to make this completely accessible.

Make no mistake, this is entirely accessible, and without struggle. What's needed, however, is to look at this in a very matter-of-fact way. The question of a separate self is actually a 'yes or no' and very quick answer. The struggle is in trying to see that through the bullshit spirituality dishes out about bliss and love and peace. All of that isn't there going in to the inquiry.

Is that awful to hear? I'll repeat it, though, so that we can bring your expectations in line with the work to be done.

This is in no way spiritual. This is factual, and as a matter of fact, thinking that a self exists is what's so damned weird. The practical matter is that it is nowhere to be found. And what do you need to surrender to? The loss of that crap sold by gurus just to keep people hanging on. If you do surrender it, you'll see what's so plain and clear that you'll wonder how you've missed it this whole time, and then you'll realize that you were looking past it for the brass ring.

Where is the self? It's not mysterious, not mystical. Where is this thing the brain has been conditioned to believe is automatically there? Why in the world can it not be found anywhere outside of a concept? Why has no one, throughout history, found one? What is plain when looking out through the eyes? The WHOLE WORLD is there in the view, without a single trace of a self.

And then the conditioning comes in and completely dismisses this absolute and astonishing fact, and we go back to believing in something no more real than unicorns and fairies.

It's really unbelievable. We are literally brainwashed. The whole world is. And THAT, in a nutshell, is the Fall of Man.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Why can't you see this?
Because of a tiny, habitual assumption that goes undetected.

  The assumption is that there is a 'you' who sets out to do the inquiry.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's Not Just That There's No You...

In recent discussions, the notion of 'best direct pointers' has come up often. While accuracy of language and phrasing is entirely subjective and without a final truth to be landed upon, the question has led to an examination and refinement in the phrasing I use.  Let's take a look.  
Which pointer do you find more helpful in opening your mind up to a line of inquiry...

1.  There is no you.
2.  There is no tangible you.

I've used both, though feel that the first is more direct and effective.  But the second one is, for lack of a better word, more 'accurate'.

The problem with number 1 is that it can lead to a nihilistic view.  With number 2, the individual can try to work the concept of 'tangible' instead of working the concept of 'you'.  This has led to a pointing style in which I start off with "There is no you." and work into looking at how that phrase can be true when we compare tangible objects to the idea or concept of a self.  So we're looking at what is known to the five senses, and comparing that to what's ungraspable.

But that's only a first step, and with some, once the no(t) self insight comes,  I do further work on the nature of time and space, and then examine objects themselves.  This broader inquiry loosens the conceptual framework of that steadfast "I".

If I had to say which types of pointers reconcile the two statements made above, what's most true is this:

The YOU doesn't exist in the way it's assumed to.  There's no 'historical you', 'present you', or 'future you'.  There's no actual entity which lives through time and space, only thoughts which appear to pop up in time.  And thoughts appear just one at a time.

Ok, think about that.

Thoughts appear just one at a time.

This means that each time the 'I' or 'self' is referenced, it comes up, and then disappears along with the thought.

There is no entity moving from thought to thought.

But existing only within a single fleeting thought is not how humans see the self, even though that's actually the only way it can be said to Be.

Test this.  Thoroughly.

photo credit:  CommanderDex on Deviantart

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Love Letter to a You

I must like the idea of writing a letter to a seeker because here's another....

Dear You,

You don't exist.
Never have. 
Not in the way you THINK you do.

Listen to the surroundings.  
Can sound help but be heard?

Look at the sights.  
Can sights help but be seen?

Feel. Reach out and touch something.  
Can sensation help but be felt?

This is so very obvious to the You, isn't it.  "I see that!", you tell me in our exchanges.  "But I still FEEL a me!"

You're frustrated.

The very fact that you're frustrated demonstrates the obvious.  There is no you in control, just life happening. Frustration happening.  Did a You choose to be frustrated?

So look again.  Do it now.

Can you see that words on a screen led to that looking?  Was there a you that the words had to wrestle with or did it just naturally flow from the reading?  The assumption is that the sentence reads, "YOU should look."    "You should now listen."  "You should now feel."

That's not what was asked.  And there's a reason why the directive does not need a noun or pronoun.

There is no "I" doing the looking, the seeing.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dear Seeker, It's Never Easy to Write This....

I'm not sure how many ways I can tell you this, and so most times I just have to repeat myself.  You don't listen.  Thoughts crowd out the very ability to listen to direction.  And!  You often become frustrated with this direction and walk away from our inquiry thinking that the pointer can't be of much use.  You assume that the person giving it is just wrong about what it is you need to hear in order to see this.  But the truth is,

You're wrong.

There's a reason why this particular pointer is the most effective I've come across.  It's direct.  Blunt.  It leaves no room for discussion, and my role is to end the discussion entirely. 

I don't want a dialogue with you! 

Don't be offended by that.

While a dialogue may help you to UNDERSTAND what's being said, that understanding isn't what's going to get this done.  I'll tell you what will and I'll give it my best shot, knowing that it's worked for hundreds of people already, maybe thousands.  Here it is, so listen up.

Just Look.

That's it.  It's the best and most thorough pointer you're going to find if you could just stop long enough to do what's directed. 

Now, you have to ask yourself this... how is it that this pointer can be it.  The one.  Everything.  The KEY?  Go ahead and ask that question.  Test it out.  Tear it up.  How is that IT?

And when you hit a brick wall, just maybe you'll do what's being asked which is to notice that a speck of dust is more real than the self.  A droplet of dew is more real than the self has ever been or can ever be. 

How is that true?  In what way is that true?

When the answer comes, just stop and take that in.  Then scan that brain for all of the teachings which say that this is simple.  Childlike.  Humble.  Think of all the accounts of those who've 'gotten it' and said that they couldn't believe how simple it is.  And the look of wonder?  It's not because they're suddenly seeing pixie dust or rainbows.  It's because they stopped to follow the directive, and then they saw the truth of REALITY AS IT IS.


Look at the picture in this post.
What is seen?
What is absent?

Look at anything.
Any time.
What is seen?
What is not?

photo credit:  soft drop by JimmyJaszczurka

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In nearly two years of working with individuals on seeing through the illusion of a separate self, I've noticed that the biggest obstacle to seeing that the self is created and dies with thought is in slowing the process of inquiry. Out of habit, the train of thinking keeps rolling and doesn't slow down long enough to inquire into whether or not the content of any single thought exists as actual ...reality. I generally suggest a two-fold inquiry. First, I ask the person to look at a single thought to determine whether the content is real. As in Real Life Actual. And often, immediately upon discovering that it's not, the finding is entirely dismissed. Instead, commentary and thought spin about why or how thoughts appear, and what they might mean, begins in earnest. The cycle of overthinking begins and the simplest of inquiries is entirely swallowed by analysis.

To counter this, I try to simplify the inquiry further, slowing the person down long enough to look at how one single thought works. My favorite way is to ask a question about a delicious dessert. Well, because I just happen to love dessert.

So... as an example, let's talk chocolate layer cake, specifically from Gregg's Restaurant in Rhode Island, because that's just the best I've ever had. Especially with a glass of milk. 
There's nothing like that first bite, the first introduction of that fudgy frosting and moist, fluffy cake. It literally melts in your mouth. I'm not sure what kind of chocolate they use, or why the cake is my favorite but the combination gets me every time.

But I can't eat the thought of a chocolate cake. No matter how much detail I go into in describing it, it's just one empty thought after another. My craving for the cake remains and can never, ever be satisfied by thought.

It's like this with all thought. They're empty of actual content, empty of reality, except in the imagination. Though thought can function as a terrific tool to assist you in imagining your route to work, or in gathering ingredients for a recipe, it's limited. And in and of itself, utterly powerless to manipulate physical reality. No matter how much thinking goes on, reality remains unaltered unless the thought is followed by an action. The thought doesn't cause the action. Not directly. Action MAY follow the event of a thought and another thought links the two separate events. But the two never touch in actuality.

In any inquiry on the nature of thought, this is an important, basic, and largely overlooked fact. The implications are enormous. All of the anxious thoughts about what might happen or might BE happening is pure fiction and imagination. That this is true is very literal. Even the thoughts that tell you how to avoid a dreaded upcoming condition is fiction until action results.

The next time anxious thoughts about what is, will, or might be happening begin racing (and there's no stopping them, so don't try), try pointing to that content anywhere in your current reality. Separate the thought from the physical reality and see how no matter how many thoughts appear, nothing ever changes. The anxious thoughts will disappear on their own, replaced by other thoughts. Until they do, notice each one and check your surroundings. Has anything actually been altered?
photo credit:  deep in thought, by slatkatajna