© Shared from Wayfinder: The Path from Pain to Purpose with permission, all rights reserved
WHAT’S THAT ON THE COVER?
It’s a star tetrahedron, also known as a merkaba. Many people at first glance think it is the Star of David, which is the two-dimensional version of this geometric form storied by Judeo-Christian mythology as a symbol of divine protection painted on the shields of the armies of King David. Stories such as this are archetypal, an exchange of symbolic meaning to encapsulate the infinite and ineffable with limited means and limited understanding.
Two tetrahedrons form the Star Tetrahedron and fit inside a sphere with their points touching the inside of the sphere.
The meaning of merkaba breaks down as mer (light) ka (spirit) ba (body) — a Vessel of Spiritual Light. This represents the inseparable relationship of universal dichotomies such as the material and the spiritual, the positive and negative, the manifest and the unmanifest. In Creation, the law of matter, or the Yang masculine energy, resists and draws inward, while the law of spirit, the Yin feminine energy, gives and reaches out.
This form is a perfect equilibrium. It is symbolic of the Energy Body, the truth of Sacred Identity, co-creation, manifestation, and spiritual phenomena being apparent in the material, whether seen or not.
The star tetrahedron is a central part of a larger sacred geometric body called Metatron’s Cube which holds all platonic solids, the building blocks of Creation, and every geometric shape in the universe — basically, every building block of matter.
Metatron’s Cube joins the centers of the flowers in another sacred geometric shape called the Flower of Life, together with straight lines, which completes the equivalent angular masculine shape. Metatron’s Cube has been the sacred map of Creation for ancient civilizations, mystics, and sages.
Sacred geometry is found throughout nature, in the Fibonacci spiral, the curls of ferns, the cubic formations of pyrite, the snowflake crystalline structure of ice, and the spherical shape of planets and stars.
“Sacred” means that something is connected to a higher order, meaning, and purpose. It is quite natural and respectful to recognize the creative genius inherent in nature and the universe and consider it sacred. In today’s world, many people fear sacredness as an affront to intellect, reason, and order—the collapse of logic.
The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization. As he crosses threshold after threshold, conquering dragon after dragon, the stature of the divinity that he summons to his highest wish increases, until it subsumes the cosmos. Finally, the mind breaks the bounding sphere of the cosmos to a realization transcending all experiences of form—all symbolizations, all divinities: a realization of the ineluctable void.
― Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
This book begins with lows and builds up to the highs on a steep incline, which a gracious reader described as “a constant crescendo.” I began writing this book during personal, health, and financial crises in my life. It chronicles my awakening thus I didn’t censor out the mess before the glory. An awakening can be a messy process. It is conscious expansion, which requires you to stretch beyond and undo personal beliefs and learnings that do not hold the test of truth when challenged by your conscious expansion.
With this book, I will bring to your attention what samsara, cyclical suffering is like, with examples from my own life experience. For every human alive on this planet, this is where we all start. Learning this feat is the prerequisite. All the fluff positivist “Just be happy,” macho “Man up! Pull yourself up by the bootstraps,” or even wise Buddhist teachings that state that, “Mindfulness will enrich your life,” will mean nothing to you if you don’t start with awareness that resonates.
This book was written from a journey of deep suffering to revitalization. This is behind the crescendo. I’ve taken apart my own survival programs and conditioning to examine them, which is exactly how I was blessed to become a sort of “consciousness hacker.” Like the quintessential hacker or scrappy creative, I made do with what I had to go on within reasonable reach to take my own consciousness and human programming scripts apart.
We are always beginners at every new level and we are constantly reaching new ones. Shoshin, the Zen Buddhist concept of the Beginner’s Mindset, is an invaluable tool to keep us in a state of openness and curiosity, making it seamlessly easier to be present and in touch with our inner child. The inner child is an archetypal aspect of who we all are which retains perpetual joy, sensitivity, and creative freedom, all of which gets shuttered away by experiencing trauma.
In my life, I’ve endured tremendous trauma, a neuromuscular disorder, neurochemical imbalance, chronic migraines, oxidative stress (I was recently tested in positive for pre-cancerous cells, in 2018), and adrenal and neurogenic fatigue. In 2014, I had a traumatic brain injury that locked me down for sixteen to twenty hours a day in a sort of forced Vipassana meditation retreat for seven months.
In 2017, it took me six months to go from being bedridden, losing five pounds a week until I was a little over 90 pounds, not being able to turn my head from side to side or nod, to gaining all my weight back, regaining my cheer, beginning to recover the necessary focus and mental capacity to enjoy reading again, writing voraciously, starting up my own company, and enjoying steady vitality.
This immense healing was initiated when I decided that I was going to go for my compulsion to achieve some mysterious thing I can’t even explain but I follow anyway, not just because I feel I have to, but because I feel like there is no other way to be fulfilled. It was either that or giving up on life.
A 7 a.m. phone call came through to invite me to meet a group of mystics, osteopathic healers, naturopaths, pranayama teachers, and metaphysical practitioners in Long Beach. Before this, no matter how uncomfortable and bad it felt, I kept spiraling further out of control with disempowering experiences such as abuse, accidents, illness, and existential depression. The more I desperately sought to make everything right, be financially and materially responsible, apply for countless jobs, network, and project all the energy I possibly could to grasp some means of external control, the worse my health and the state of my life became. It was unsustainable, unrealistic, and self-aggressive to keep committing to living a way of life which was draining the life out of me.
I didn’t know better. I started with a life of such violation and poverty, having first been homeless from the age of nine and nearly dying and went into a month-long coma at the age of fifteen, that I felt enslaved to the material world or else be subjected to the violation and poverty all over again. I felt like I constantly owed it to the material world. I felt that I had to pay to live. As Noam Chomsky writes:
“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.”
It took being hardly able to get out of bed because I was in so much pain to finally relent to admitting that the corporate 9-5 wasn’t good enough to get me out of bed every day, that caring what other people thought of me wasn’t good enough, that most everything which I had thought were great accomplishments and expectations weren’t good enough, and that love wasn’t just some silly fluffy commercialized way of making money for a holiday in February. You don’t heal if you don’t love yourself. Love is power.
You lose your power and life energy when you don’t truly love yourself with unconditional compassion, daring, audacity, faith, fearlessness, and abandon — this is something we will learn every day of our lives from the moment we choose to awaken. Our inability to fully comprehend everything edges us toward the ineffable, to surrender with trust. We all live in either Love or Fear at any given time. Love is not simply amity, affection, or admiration, though these do arise from lovingness. Love is connection to what is eternal within you. To “love one another” does not mean to grab the face of someone you don’t know and give them a kiss on the mouth à la Brazilian style. To love one another is to recognize what is eternal within one another. This is how you see God, the Divine, in all. The expression “namaste” is recognition and respect for what is eternal within another person. To live in love is to dwell within what is eternal. Fear is disconnection from what is eternal within you; whenever you feel stressed, worried, anxious, fearful, you are feeling separated from what is eternal. Love is expansion, Fear is collapsing. Love is an experience of heaven on earth, fear is an experience of hell. When you can learn to witness what is eternal within even someone whom you despise and events of the world you consider horrific, you will see the truth of it all.
Toward the end of the book, you will learn how Love spans levels of higher conscious reality and how Fear spans levels of lower conscious reality. These levels of conscious awareness co-create and produce manifestations in individual and collective realities. This is, in effect, where quantum consciousness meets law of attraction.
Most people have a conscious awareness that starts from materialism, defined by Li Hong Zhi as, “a philosophical theory holding that physical matter in its actions and movements is the only reality; everything in the universe, including emotions and thoughts, can be explained by physical laws.” There is a bottom-up approach from materialistic reality which builds up to spiritual reality.
For me and other spiritually-inclined friends whom I have met, there has been a top-down experience which starts from spirituality and works down to materialism. From childhood, I learned about energy, spirit, archetypes, shamanism, and mysticism. I abandoned this path when I became bitter about my circumstances and adopted more of a mentality of betting my stakes on the material world before I came to my senses and returned. Through this book, I can perhaps help you decide to head towards liberating your conscious awareness by your own free and happy will by showing you that it can be done no matter how challenging it may seem to be.
When you make your choice that you would like to travel towards these undiscovered lands which are meant for your growth and development, you will find your own spiritual friends, teachers, mentors, and masters.
From the start of this book to the end, my awareness has expanded and superseded the person I was before. The difficult line to cross was this one: the one from the person I used to be and what I used to know, to a greater realized potential and more to know about myself and the world I inhabit. On the surface, I can look like a smiling person sitting with a cup of coffee and a journal and time can look like it’s going on at a leisurely pace, while there is a surge of movement carried by grace, an invisible force that is always there. What we consider as manifestations in the immediately visible material reality all around us always proceeds from the invisible forces we cannot see. This is not an exclusively Buddhist or Eastern philosophy precept.
From Marcus Aurelius:
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
From Miyamoto Musashi:
“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”
Attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
I don’t have all the answers, solutions, nor have I perfectly unlocked internal liberation. Which is why I am writing this. I am exploring the possibilities of what could make it happen and applying myself as best as I can. I know I have to strive to do my very best to apply everything I am sharing in this book. This is my responsibility as an author, teacher, and spiritual friend to you, the reader. Within the same merit, I also have to acknowledge the same understanding which Sakyamuni, or Gautama Buddha, faced when confronting the matter of teaching—according to changes in levels of awareness, teachings will be rendered incomprehensible, inapplicable, irrelevant, or too rudimentary. There is a constant process of level reconciliation.
Sakyamuni was not the only Enlightened Being who realized this. All Enlightened Beings realize this. In Biblical text, it is written:
“For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.” Hebrews 7:12
Holding onto old paradigms of awareness causes perception distortions. You have the capacity to incrementally learn, unlearn, declutter, create, unlock more of your body’s own ability to heal, expand your conscious awareness, shorten or lengthen your lifespan, turn genes on and off, rewrite your genes and your story, and rewire yourself by way of neural plasticity. The world’s fastest superhighway is not necessarily the Autobahn, it is quite possibly the ordinary human being. Technological things have their technical specifications. Humans have specifications which could be adaptively defined and redefined forever: 1 billion+ neurons, 100 trillion+ neural synapses (connections), signals traveling along at 268 MPH along an alpha motor neuron in the spinal cord, and 100,000+ miles of myelin-covered nerve fibers (MIT School of Engineering, April 2011, What are Thoughts Made of, Scientific Daily, November 2010, Stunning details of brain connections revealed, Discover Magazine, March 2011, Numbers: The Nervous System, From 268-MPH Signals to Trillions of Synapses).
There will always be unrealized potential. It is a process of discovery, exploration, and endeavoring towards the realization of this potential which makes life feel interesting and meaningful.
Buddhist practitioners and shamans are natural neurologists and quantum physicists who have often been overlooked because society hasn’t been able to grasp their intuitive capabilities. Only recently, it has become possible to hook up electrodes to a helmet, place it over a monk’s head, and see that, “Holy smokes, there’s unexplainable brain activity!” and find that the monks and shamans have held ways to facilitate and unlock capabilities of the brain, nervous system, neurogenesis, cellular regeneration, cellular spontaneous reorganization, changes down to mitochondrial DNA, and so on. For several millennia!
This kind of wisdom is embedded in the natural order of the universe. For instance, the innate behavior of the macro ecosystem of the forests and wildlife around Chernobyl spontaneously reorganizing in recent years, repopulating with endangered species which had not been seen before the historic incident, and the micro-ecosystem of cellular spontaneous reorganization after injury. Though it is found through discovery, it never means that it never existed prior to the discovery. For example, there are manifestations of chaos theory buried in mystic traditions, such as the Kabbalah wisdom that knowledge comes from chaos and the teachings of the Buddha Fa that the complexity of the universe has its own order. A Zen monk from San Francisco, a cybernetics scientist from Berlin, and I arrived at the same conclusion that the human constructed self and conditioned existence is built through imposed adaptation rather than natural, authentic beingness.
The Zen monk found this through his spiritual practice, the cybernetics scientist found this through contemplating on how artificial intelligence engineering could be seen as the desire of human beings to have a reflection of their selves to study, and I found this through my diversified portfolio of ponderings a.k.a. curiosity. There is a massive consciousness mainframe; the progenitor of all consciousness, which we humans sometimes call God, Source, Spirit, Creator, Man Upstairs, or White Bearded Guy in the Sky Touching the Finger of Other Dude Painted by Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter what we call it or how we define our spirituality. Spirit has nothing to prove to you. Only you and your ego will keep demanding proof as a way of delaying trust and discovery in your own expansion.
There is a cathedral of time, space, air, and mystery all around us all the time. Everyday people live irreverently within it. Few choose to notice that this environment is as close to them as touching their skin and permeating every cell and nerve in their body. The stained-glass windows are your skin’s dermic layers, your perception, and every part of you which gives and receives.
When someone first starts to wake up from this dream-like state of irreverence due to ignorance, they start looking around at others who are unaware that they are unaware and their egos start pointing fingers. “Look at this, look at that, why would people think this, do that?” This is egoic rubbernecking and gossiping about the states of others’ existence. This is an irreverent, immature attitude. Reverence begins when you start to realize this and truly wish to learn humility, non-violence, and non-violation, towards the universal natural order and to become as genuine as you can be. There is nothing too mythic about the mystic, it is quite realistic. Mysticism is simply a direct experience of higher meaning and purpose. Whether you talk about quarks, neutrinos, mathematics, geometry, genetics, biology, ethics, and so on—it all has to do with spirituality, with the intangible nature and order of all that is, which both defies and constructs reason!