Spirit, mind, body
Table of Contents
This book can be completely summed up, with two words, shouted out loud, uninhibited, with absolutely no reservation: I AM!
Can you be a soul, expressing yourself through a body, using a mind, while living on a crazy planet, and still be free? Well, it's complicated.
Together, we'll weave our way through this absurd maze called life, and discover how it's done. As you read through this, take it with a grain of salt. Regard it as fantasy if you wish. But don't be surprised if something inside you begins to awaken.
You are invited to embark on an adventure, where you sail into realms so completely forgotten, that your will hardly dare believe them possible. Many of us are punished as children, one way or another for even peaking into these realms and daring to talk about it.
The first step on this path is knowing who you are. If you think you are just a physical body, THINK AGAIN. To understand the magnitude of the disservice you do to yourself, close your eyes. Picture a vast, and exquisitely beautiful landscape. The colors are so intense as to defy the imagination. The depth and perspective makes the Grand Canyon pale to insignificance.
In the midst of this wonder, is a small dot of awareness, behind the eyes of a tiny human. You stare around, entranced and in awe of all this beauty. Your mind takes in the scenery in all directions, almost to infinity. Subjectively, you feel all this space encompassed within your being. Well, that must be your imagination, how could you be bigger than all that? On the level of your thinking, of course it's not possible. The mind works with beliefs, fixed images, and finite concepts. Even the concept of infinity is itself a finite concept, because such is the nature of the mind.
The key is your imagination, which is the truest reflection of the very core of your being. It has no dimensions, philosophical structure, geometric structure, or any of the limitations imposed by the cultural programming of our so-called education - the indoctination that begins when we draw our first human breath.
Prior to that first breath, is the timeless, unbounded knowledge of your real self. Slowly, it is displaced, by the required identification of “self” with the little body. Words fail here, because even the concept of “self” has yet to be created. The idea that your skin forms a boundary between “you” and “not you”, is an alien concept in this strange three dimensional world you have just entered.
The intellect is a powerful tool that enables you to navigate the physical world that your body perceives. But it fails miserably when you go to explore the worlds beyond thought.
In the silence of your deep contemplation or meditation, you DO perceive the magnitude and grandeur of your being. Only when the mind is engaged, are you reminded of the minute size of your body in relation to the galaxies, or even just this planet.
Prior to your concept of “self”, is the feeling of identication with ALL. In your home beyond space and time, there is no size, because there is nothing to compare to.
Let us explore the magnitude of who you are. Before concepts of size, there is the most awesome variety of phenomena, species, sets of physical laws, structures, colors, sounds, modes of creation: musical, visual, mathematical, and many others that you cannot even imagine, Innately, you have the capacity to BE any of these, as well as being any of the identities that made them.
As you go deeper into contemplation, the range of your perception amplifies. In fact there is no limit. You will never experience all of these creations, because, as you discover each one, more are created. The exquisite joy of discovery goes on forever; and you HAVE forever!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is the intense suffering and pain that you can see, almost everywhere you look in our sad societies. Do you wonder, in a universe of immense beauty, driven by the pure joy and love of creation, how can this BE?
Well consider this: imagine a simple soul, living in a state of pure happiness, where anything is possible. It knows that whatever realm of experience it dives into, it can always come home. The concept of evil is just another finite construct. It could never completely contain the foreverness of this unlimited being. Then, along come the ideas of death, pain, guilt, sorrow, loss, grief, fear, murder, all the complex ramifications and combinations of these, along with the intense FEELINGS that accompany them.
Naturally, it is curious. It has never experienced fear, because what it is cannot be damaged or lost. What it IS capable of (if it chooses) is amnesia! So what does it have to lose? It will do anything to expand the range of its experience, and it wants to know what these strong emotions FEEL like.
Slowly, slowly, slowly, it immerses itself into the world of physicality – finite dimensions, massive heavy objects, and, the last step, occupying a physical body, with a veil of amnesia pulled over its mind. He/She now has to find out how to be, and live, on a planet that seems to be run by a team dedicated to maximizing the most painful experiences for the majority of its inhabitants.
So, here we are! Can you doubt the magnitude of your being and your vast courage in choosing this experience?
As you look around in this world, you see religions, war, hunger, crime – all manner of things to keep you occupied, challenged, and looking for answers. Some people may sink into the deepest apathy, convinced that this is just the way things are, it is human nature, and nothing can really change. WOW! Starting out as an infinite being of joy, where else could could you go for have such an experience?
Not ready to awaken yet? Let's bathe and wallow in this misery and suffering. Let's explore this experience to the depths of what can be possible! We are in this dense continuum for such a brief moment in the vast span of time that we can create.
What else can we do to explore the wonders of this world of amnesia? We can go fight in wars created just to see how intense human suffering can become. We could murder someone, as we probably have in other lifetimes, hide the body, and then run away in terror, always looking over our shoulders.
You may want to experience a short life, with intense violent emotion, that will gradually destroy your body with disease or even cancer. Some people choose to do this: decide that an individual, group or race deserves your hatred. There are demagogues that become very popular by encouraging this choice.
The more intense this hatred is, the more justified it seems, and the more you will forget who you are, to become deeply immersed in the dark, dense world that you came here to experience. Eventually you will discover that this is a dead-end, and file the experience in the category of things you don't choose to repeat.
Then there are the dangerous sports, like climbing mount Everest, motorcycle racing, deep sea cave diving. When you truly believe that death is permanent, there is nothing scarier or more thrilling.
Want to go to hell? Look up your local judgementalist preacher. He will convince you that you were born in sin. He will convince you that you are the lowest creature that ever walked the earth. He will make you feel guilty about every sexual thought you ever had. He will conjure up images of eternal torture in caves populated by malevolent demons – and convince you that this is your well deserved fate, UNLESS............. And so he controls your behavior, gets your money and becomes a “pillar of the community”.
How about “true love”? Codependency is the name of the game here. It is celebrated in almost all the love songs. The promise of extreme bliss and love that turns sour. Why does it turn sour? Because it is a CONDITIONAL love; it is confused with ownership!
This is one of the most fun and interesting ways to sabotage yourself: I love you IF..... But the condition is unspoken. Both partners have these hidden expectations, so what do you get? Bliss for a while and then fireworks! But isn't that what you came here for? These are some of the most intense and painful emotions available in this game of amnesia.
If you want a quick exit, just hang all of your happiness on the affections you get from someone else. It is a long fall from such an emotional high, and before you can say “I love myself”, you've jumped out of a window.
Now, exploring further in the world of physicality, we find mountains of information about how things work: science, psychology, spirituality, relationships, communication. We can study forever, looking for the ultimate truths. THEY ARE NOT THERE!
The greatest scientific minds have all found, that some of their biggest breakthroughs occur spontaneously, in their dreams or daydreams, not from the logical mind, but from the heart.
This is a favorite of academia. Ever since Newton and Darwin claimed to have almost the whole answer to how life and the universe works, a portion of the academic world froze in time.
Science and rationality, for many, are synonymous with the assumption that nothing that cannot be seen, touched or measured, exists. This world view excludes consciousness from the realm of scientific inquiry. Until the advent of quantum physics, that mindset predominated through most of academia.
The discovery that the thoughts of the experimenters can influence the outcome of their experiments, upset this neat little apple cart. At least it did for the majority, but not for whose who clung to the “scientific” dogma, that Ken Wilber called “flatland”, and I call the “clockwork universe” theory. For those seeking a basis for spiritual ideas in experimental science, I recommend Ken Wilber's book: The Marriage of Sense and Soul.
“From dust we come, and to dust we must return.” Even the religionists behave as if this were true; they visit graves, as if the essence of their loved ones is still tied to the rotting corpses under the ground.
Scientific study in the western world, has long been this “deadly serious” activity, that puts aside our feelings, our sense of wonder, and the joy of expansive awareness, to dissect, scrutinize, and subject to logical analysis, everything that can be measured.
Now let's look at this “clockwork universe” without a soul. Random accidental events are the root cause of everything we experience? What, then, is beauty? It must be the chemicals created by the endocrine system in combination with specialized synapses firing inside the brain, precipitated by a stimulus in the external environment.
But WHO perceives this beauty, and WHAT determines which phenomena create that response?
Ever since the non-material “soul” vanished from the scientific landscape, philosophers and psychologists have puzzled over this for centuries.
One interesting theory is that consciousness is one of the properties of matter. That would account for the belief of the world's indigenous cultures, that all things are alive, including the rocks. To make this consistent with the soulless universe, it must be a property that is passive and incapable of influencing any of the random events in the universe. Hence, we are all just going along for the ride, and self-determinism is only a delusion. Logically then, you cannot even decide what you will see as beautiful, because, as mere consciousness, you do not influence the factors that control it. Can you live with that?
Those who would control you first used religion to enslave your mind and confine your thoughts. That worked very well for a few thousand years. Burning heretics was an excellent tool to keep most people in fear and discourage independent thought.
Then came the Renaissance, and some stretching of the creative muscles and, “Pope forbid”, some free thought. So, from the establishment, emerged a brilliant strategy: if they could not prevent the questioning of church doctrines, then why not co-opt it and send it in a direction that could be controlled?
Hence, the “politically correct” definition of rationality came to involve the rejection of everything associated with religion. That included the soul, any concept of spirituality, re-incarnation, a supreme being, and any ideas that deviated from the clockwork universe construct, where life is just an accident of nature.
This dogma swept through academia, even to the point where the official psychiatric literature once defined belief in God as a form of insanity. What a clever way to curtail man's exploration into higher or more refined states of being!
We are entering an era where rigid thinking serves only to hold us back in our exploration of who we are, what we can become and how we can expand our awareness to encompass the many dimensions to be found in the realm of imagination.
Is the dream we call “real life” any less real than the other dreams we create? Did your teacher slap you to kill your beautiful daydreams? You can consider that a rude hypnotic command to limit your attention to the dream they mis-named “reality”.
Find, if you will, a dark place in your imagination, where demons, ghouls, and all the most terrifying creatures you can conjure up, exist to thrill and inspire fear and horror. You have created this place so many times in your dreams and your fantasies. Why? What is its purpose? Maybe you even go to horror movies to feed more substance and variety into these fantasies.
When you are immersed in the intense feelings and emotions of the fantasy world, your thoughts are suspended, there is no awareness of time, and you give yourself permission to almost believe it is real. Even adults can go there!
Expand this fantasy world to include wonderful things: angels, beings on other worlds who communicate to you telepathically, some of them even look human, colors and sounds more beautiful than anything that can be perceived with the limited five senses.
Now you are entering a world detached from the 3 dimensional construct known as the physical universe. Some people think the universe is infinite. Compared to the realms you are beginning to explore, it is TINY!
How many dimensions are there? How many do you want to create? Mathematicians can have a lot of fun here. There is one caveat: you must and will learn to control your thoughts. Fear can induce one to create things so fearsome, that some may run away back to earthly “reality”, and swear off imagination for the rest of their lives.
I once met someone who had a near death experience that demonstrates the power of fear. Apparently he carried a huge amount of guilt. He had treated people in horrendous ways. His girlfriend put lithium in his vodka. When he came back from his 2 week coma, he recounted how a giant hand pushed him down and told him he was going to hell. For all that time, he experienced horrors that closely match the hell described in the Christian bible – the power of belief! He also became crippled and deaf. From observing his subsequent behavior, his girlfriend's actions are not so surprising.
The doorway to freedom is Love. It can be found in meditation. When some people first sit to meditate, they may find their thoughts racing at “100 miles per hour”. This constant busyness of the mind is a habit that can be broken. Just allow those thoughts to do what they will. Don't hang on to any one of them, or resist or make judgments about any of them. One's own thoughts are never a reason for shame. After all, you are MUCH more than your thoughts. As you allow your thoughts to just be, you will find them slowing down after a while (a short or a long while). The thoughts will slow until there are very few of them, and they will be replaced by a sense of peace, or even euphoria.
As you sit and close your eyes, ask “Who am I?” Images appear, come and go. You are not any of these images. As you let them go, one by one, you discover eventually, a stable field, that has no image, substance, time or space. It has been called by many names: the void, God, All that is, Allah, Atman, I Am, the divine, etc. As you enter into this field, you find that it is Love – infinite, with no shape or boundaries. It is the joyful center and force that creates – because it is FUN and INTERESTING!
One of the creations of this center, is the sense of “I AM”. From this is drawn our sense of identity – as individuals, communities, nations, races and species. Sometimes, in your meditations, you may encounter "yourself", as another identity operating in another dimension, that may not even have the same laws of physics. If that happens, don't be too surprised, after all we ARE multi-dimensional beings.
The biggest prize comes when we release any sense of identity and enter the infinite realms, where all experiences are possible.
We confine our thinking with belief in Sin or Evil. When we judge a portion of ourselves or our thoughts as being unworthy, we have closed off a large portion of our being. That part of us will be forever simmering below the surface of our awareness – until we can own it, but know that it is not who we are.
From the earliest time in our lives, we are taught that certain behaviors are not acceptable. This is pounded in, sometimes with pain, sometimes with embarrassment and sometimes with the fear of losing something important or someone's love or respect. This conditioning is so deep and powerful that we punish ourselves for even having thoughts about such behaviors. And that keeps us TRAPPED!
Real love is unconditional. Until we can feel it towards ourselves, every part of ourselves, our thoughts and emotions, our deepest, darkest desires, with every dark deed we have ever done, we are enslaved; we hold back and can never truly love anyone else.
We have all done things that we are not proud of, and caused hurts we wish we could take back. If your attention gets stuck on one of these, with any sense of remorse, then KNOW that you a good person. A sociopath has no conscience and is beyond the reach of this book. First, ask yourself if there is any way you can make up for the harm. A confession or an apology can relieve tremendous burdens on both sides. Sometimes a good deed or financial compensation can create a balance in the situation. If this is not possible, then let it fall away into the past. Your best remedy is to forgive yourself. In the silence of your thoughts, allow your feelings of love to envelop you and the subject of your regret. Perhaps a time will come when you can make up for it.
Do you wish harm to someone else? Have they committed deeds so vile, that they could never be forgiven? Then recognize the potential that you have to do similar things. Many of us have walled off a part of ourselves that we might call “evil”. Under some circumstances, such as extreme hunger, or a childhood full of pain and deprivation, living on the streets, what would you be capable of? If you were raised as an aristocrat, what would you do to “common” people who dared to take your property? What if you were taught from birth, that anyone who disputed your religion was an agent of the devil and deserved to die? In our lives of slumber, we have all done unspeakable things that we thought were justified.
“Good and bad” is a set of opposites that is contrived and relative to situations. For example, the bug exterminator is good if you are a homeowner, but ultimate evil from the viewpoint of a cockroach. We tend to create this “dyad”, and put ourselves on one side – usually “good”, and consider it an absolute. But what if you decide to encompass the potential you have to do ANYTHING. We might have the thought of doing something completely unacceptable, an extreme example might be to rape a child. The thought itself does not make us evil. This is where we might put up the wall and set up an automatic construct in the mind to protect ourselves from such thoughts, lest we might act on them. The problem with those automatic walls is that we forget we made them. As we build more and more, our thoughts and behavior become more and more inhibited or even compulsive.
The key point is: Can you trust yourself? Do you need to shield yourself from your own thoughts and impulses in order to not do harm? We try to automate our own “goodness”, for fear that we might not always be in control. The truth is, that at any moment (barring pain, drugs and hypnotic control), we can always choose to do or not do anything that occurs to us.
Let's suppose you have a bad temper. You might lose control of your emotions and say or do things you later regret. Does guilt protect you from having this happen? You might judge yourself and consider all or part of yourself to be evil. Does it help? Beneath the jungle of thoughts and impulses that we sometimes call our “mind”, is a pure, calm, infinite field of love and joy. We begin to access this if we take a few deep breaths when we are angry.
If this is not too extreme, you can gradually recover by taking full responsibility each time it happens. Take a few deep breaths, and recognize that YOU are the creator of this emotion, not the person or thing that is directed at. Acknowledging it as your own creation, you can allow it to fade away. If the anger is too stubborn to be dealt with this way, then please, find a good spiritual counselor or psychologist – one who will not put you on drugs!
Our dark side CAN be our strength. When we take full ownership of everything we are capable of, we release guilt, fear of being judged, and, most of all, we gain trust in ourselves and our ability to do what is right at any moment. We don't need absolute rules, religious commandments, or the approval of other people, to know and do what is right and appropriate. We have the greatest power when we love and trust ourselves. It is also the greatest freedom.
If you know that you don't wish harm to innocent people, then TRUST your innate goodness! It IS who you are.
When we discover our eternal love of all life and that we are worthy of love and trust in ourselves, this could be called the END of the 'dark night of the soul'.
Trust is the key! Trust yourself, that you will not willingly do harm to innocent people – or other conscious life forms. The exception of course is when you allow your emotions to take control and steer you against your better nature. Decide and trust yourself that you can make these exceptions less frequent. There are many paths to achieve this, including counseling or even meditation.
Have you ever looked into the eyes of an animal, and felt its conscious recognition of you? In your calm moments, would you ever cause unnecessary pain or harm to this creature.
Trust other people to do what they perceive is in THEIR best interest. Sometimes they will surprise you.
As the cliché goes, "Seize the day!". That's all well and good and easy for a cliché, but what does it mean for you?
First of all, sit quietly and relax the mind. Allow your dreams to come into focus. Which dream is your favorite? What would you most love to experience, do, feel, be or have?
Is this dream possible? If not, take the leap and dare to imagine that you have achieved it. Take your time with this. Now, does it look more possible?
How would you FEEL if you achieved this? Now close your eyes and create that feeling (Yes you can!). Magnify the intensity of that feeling.
What activity can you experience TODAY that would make that feeling real?
Not today? How about tomorrow?
What would you do if that feeling was part of your life? What COULD you do?
How would your life be better?
No excuses, MAKE IT SO!
You're already there! Have you been swimming or just treading water? It gets easier as you master the game.
When you first took the leap into physical form, you had very little idea of what you were getting into. Of course you knew all about it in theory, but the reality of it is something different! It was a courageous act.
The "not knowing" is what gets you. The human state of amnesia leads to the "BIG" questions:
What happens after death? Does life continue?
Is there a god? What is he or she like? What does he/she/it expect of me?
What is my real nature? Is there a soul?
Am I my brother's keeper, or is my own survival all I can manage?
Is sex sinful? Under what circumstances?
Some of us bought into a dogmatic system that answers these questions and relieves us of the burden of thinking. Each religion has its own variant answers, and atheism is a dogma that denies the existence of anything beyond the space-time continuum of Newtonian physics.
Part of our awakening is to break free from the constraints of rigid belief systems. And awaken we must, for we would never have immersed ourselves into this crazy quagmire, if getting out was not part of the plan.
You've already done the hardest part. You tested the waters, you tried (in this lifetime or others) murder and all the forms of pain, misery, suffering and guilt – including the most extreme. You know what it's like. Isn't that what you came for? Chances are, any problems you have now are minimal compared to the magnitude of what is available on this planet.
The rest is a JOY RIDE. And I mean that literally. If you've got this far in the book, you've done it all, and begun the trip home. You've already discovered that the level of joy in your life can increase more than you had thought – even if only for moments. The most painful parts from here probably involve facing the darkest things you have been, done and thought – that does take courage. So does forgiving the people that have wronged you, or harmed others.
You will find that courage – it's inevitable. Sooner just means that your journey goes faster, later just means you choose to take your time. It's kind of like a trampoline, your jump down and face the pain of something you had not wanted to look at or admit. Then you bounce up and your joy and relief far surpasses your fears.
The rest is just discovering and allowing your joy to blossom – it will lead you home. Do the things you love to do. Guilt and fear can choke off your joy; letting them go releases it.
The joy can be felt as magnified aliveness. Even when I called myself an atheist, I worshiped aliveness – the expansive, intensely conscious, trans-personal aliveness that I now call God.
One of the impediments to breaking free is impatience. "Are we there yet?" "How long will it take?" "What will enlightenment look or feel like?". These lock our attention onto the biggest lie of all: TIME.
You cannot conceive of time without engaging the MIND. The mind deals only in past, future and abstractions. The mind is clever, complicated and devious. Perception occurs only in the present moment. When the mind is engaged, perception is interfered with and distorted, never enhanced.
It can be useful to compare what is perceived with past experiences and stereotypes, in order to decide how to respond to a situation. But more often than not, this becomes automatic and simply blocks clear perception of what is there.
Perception without engaging the mind is just pure joy; there is beauty in absolutely everything. What IS engaged at those times is the heart. Our natural expression of being is love. Time is then just an artificial construct that permits planning the future, organizing the past and solving problems. In the present moment there ARE no problems. If you are hungry, you have perceived a sensation; it does not have to be interpreted as a problem. You can engage the mind to work out a way to get food. If your child is hungry, it becomes difficult to disengage the mind until you can resolve that.
Even in those circumstances, the mind is of only limited value. The greatest effectiveness requires that you nurture your intuition. There is a wider intelligence that far surpasses human logic. Decide and learn to tune in to your intuition, and the world is your "oyster".
The mind is a valuable resource, it is NOT who you are. Time and the mind are inextricably interwoven. When you engage thought, your perception is forced away from full awareness of your present environment. For example, racists do not perceive individuals, they see stereotypes programmed by past learning.
A major portion of breaking free, involves recognizing and releasing all the concepts that we confuse with perception. This is no small undertaking! It would include releasing stereotypes. Sometimes our pre-programmed concept of something can interfere with perceiving what is actually there.
The obvious question now, is HOW?
We start with a deep meditation. As you lower the frequency of your brainwaves, the mind becomes weaker in relation to your sense of presence. The stereotypical concepts that block your conscious awareness begin to lose their power, and you begin to get a glimpse of HOME. Joy is where you live. Awakening to that is the game.
There are a myriad of tools and techniques out there that can assist you – just be wary not to fall into any of the philosophical traps. Those can be recognized because they claim to be the "ONLY WAY".
Here are a few of the good ones that I know about:
Some of the native American teachings – take care to find one that is not compromised by European religious attitudes and dogma.
The Course in Miracles.
Conscious Language, an extremely powerful modality for healing and awakening.
Self Realization Fellowship – very powerful wisdom, just don't get caught up in the divisive dogma that can result from following a dead guru.
Independent Scientology practitioners and groups. There is some incredibly powerful spiritual technology there. You can use it for extraordinarily rapid growth. Their philosophy recognizes the oneness of life, but does not go there. They call it the 8th dynamic. It has some of the best techniques I know to create quantum leaps in awareness. Use your intuition and best judgment in finding a group, but stay away from the Church of Scientology. It has lost its focus and become centered on money, control and power. Their leader has altered the technology created by Hubbard, to the detriment of his followers, but for his own advantage. I am personally very grateful to Mr. Hubbard for the massive breakthroughs I experienced with his systems, before his church was taken over. It did actually raise my IQ from 133 to 158 on the Catell scale.
The teachings and meditation techniques of Mahaj ji.
Guided meditation, cds and videos, there are hundreds, with a wide variety of focus. Choose carefully. They can open up wondrous worlds of experience.
Tantric practices that can be an effective path to divine realization.
The Silva Mind Control Method.
The workshops of Keith Varnum, mostly around the Phoenix area. I learned some very valuable tools from him.
Visiting beautiful places and quieting the mind. I experienced a huge breakthrough in Sans Souci Gardens, outside Berlin. It completed a 43 year spiritual journey, that began in 1967, Vancouver, BC.
The avatar course, by Harry Palmer – that one changed my life. It is by far the most powerful set of tools for awakening that I have found. I have experienced miracles with this, and incredible results in using the tools with others. I have chosen this as my primary path, and there is more information about it at the end of this book.
One caveat: your path is exclusively YOUR path to awakening. Any system or technique you use to assist you is only a portion of your way home. Don't let anyone claim responsibility for your growth. All the wisdom you find has its origin WITHIN you.
As sleeping humanity begins to awaken and grow towards maturity, new perceptions become possible in the species blueprint; and new modalities for growth and healing.
Now is the time to discover your own. Close your eyes and ask your divine self: What am I ready to see now? Throughout your life, there were perceptions of yourself that you promptly denied. These images were so unacceptable, that the fear of being perceived that way made you squirm and reactively shut them down.
The time to OWN these possible versions of yourself is NOW. If you are ever to break free, there cannot be anything that you hide from.
Find a quiet place and put the request into your wider field of consciousness: "What self-perception did I detest?" Slow your thoughts and allow the answer to come. It may be from a moment in your childhood, or much later. It may take courage to face it without recoil. Just know that nobody else is aware of this thought. Now, see and feel this self-perception. Give yourself permission to explore it. Take your time, and decide objectively if there is any truth to it. Decide if there is anything in your life that you need to make right, and if so, make plans to do it. Be ruthless with yourself, it is a doorway to freedom. Then, feel the expansive love that you truly are, and release the perception.
Repeat this procedure, over whatever time period works for you, until the question produces no more answers.
Congratulate yourself on a major step forward. It's a good beginning.
What do you have the courage to BE? There are people who have accomplished things you don't even dare to dream of. Aside from bodily limitations, the only thing that distinguishes you from them, is self perception. Worldly accomplishments serve limited purposes, but can also be a distraction to self-discovery. Money can be a barrier, it can free you, or it can take you on a journey to wealth that does not even bring happiness.
Accomplishment that brings satisfaction, or just frees you from the limitations of drudgery or poverty, allows you to give yourself permission to feel wonderful, expansive, and create yourself in any glorious image you choose.
One of the delights of playing on the human level, is to create images of yourself that enable you to go out and do magnificent or outrageous things. Life is really all about having fun. Self images can be enjoyable to play with, or they can trap you into dismal lives. But none of them are really YOU!
The images that you perceive are merely a creation of the mind. When you perceive something, a tree for example, a pattern is created in the perceptual field, which is a joint creation of your brain and the essence that you experience as "you". The mind then copies this pattern to form an image in your memory.
If your perceptual apparatus, nervous system and brain were different, the pattern would be something else, and so would your image. The objective "reality" bears only a glancing resemblance to your perceptions. When it comes to images that you form of yourself, there is a total disconnect. Those images bear no relation to the limitless essence that you are.
The search for "self", must, of necessity, be endless. Any answer you may seem to find, will always be something other than the one doing the looking. You, as the one that sees, have no definable attributes, only the abilities to create and perceive.
The process of awakening to freedom involves the untangling of complexities, experiences, beliefs, thoughts, ideas, perceptions, yes even beauty, from the ultimately simple perceiving consciousness that you are. If someone calls you "simple", take it as a compliment!
I'm sorry, I can't keep a straight face while writing this. What is there to prove? Usually this is understood in the context of gaining someone else' approval. Ultimately, of course you don't have to prove yourself to anyone, INCLUDING yourself.
It does make sense, when that approval can win you a job or a promotion or maybe even a relationship. But, more often, it is the compulsive drive to overcome perceived disapproval that may NEVER be resolved. It may be a parent, sibling or even yourself that holds you in servitude to approval. The answer is loving and accepting yourself. You don't win love and acceptance through meeting another person's expectations; just work to achieve the goals that are truly yours. If that person cannot love and respect you for that, it is their loss. You can release any need or attachment to their love and respect. What counts is the love and respect you have for yourself. Admiration from others is just the icing on the cake. As a vast, beautiful and timeless being you really don't have to prove anything to anyone.
How's this for a hidden and unquestioned belief: Home is a location! Well, some say: "Home is where I hang my hat". Many of us pick a part of the world and decide that this is where they feel at home; this is where they are happy just to be.
Where IS your true home? Does it have longitude and latitude? Maybe it just has attitude. Is it where you were born or where you were raised?
In our cultural mindset, "home" is a place where we can feel safe. That is until the "wrong" people find out where we live!
Some religious believers begin to get it right when they say: "God will call us home". But do we have to die to go there?
Well the truth is, you are already there. All the distractions, beliefs, images, intellectual constructs exist to perpetuate the illusion that you are located in space and time, that you are anything but limitless joy, with the potential to create, be and experience ANYTHING!
This state that could be called your true home is something you have probably already experienced, even if only for a fraction of a second. It is there for you to tap into at any time, with more practice the times become longer and better.
There are so many tools available now to assist you with that. Of course the journey is not complete, and why would you want it to be? You exist simultaneously in the world of illusion, and in your natural state of joy. The more you tune in to your native state, the more fun and ease you find in this intriguing vast universe of ours.
This brings us back to the real meaning of life: Do what you will! That includes learning, growing, recreation, helping others and anything else that is fun.