Tag Archives: transformations

Shedding Identities to Find Consciousness

Awakening to our true nature happens in a split second when the mind is still. Nothing needs to change in order to wake up to the truth of our Being. The full embodiment of this awakeness that we are, however, might last years or a lifetime. It is in the embodiment of the truth that real transformation takes place. Such embodiment is a continual process of shedding identities and ideas, however, not acquiring them. Embodiment might be said to be the real work of awakening, but it is a natural, spontaneous process, not the project of the egoic mind, for that thought is never what awakens.

~~ Dorothy Hunt, poet, author, spiritual seeker and leader, and founder of the San Francisco Center for Meditation and Psychotherapy

I came across Dorothy Hunt as I was perusing the agenda of the upcoming SAND16, Esalen workshops. One day I’ll attend a SAND event, but until then, I troll their agendas to find insightful and inspiring leaders in the world of Science and Non-Duality. What struck me in this quote from Dorothy Hunt’s website is this sentence: Such embodiment is a continual process of shedding identities and ideas, however, not acquiring them.

I do a whole lot of acquiring of ideas; I read, study, listen to audios, and follow leads into the latest thinking announced in journals and described in notes from conferences such as SAND, but now I have to ask: am I hindering my own awakening by holding onto my lifelong ideas and personal identity? By grasping tightly to my idea of who is ‘me’ and what kind of a character I am and what I can be? Dorothy Hunt’s words lead me to wonder and to do some self-assessing on the topic. It may be time to assess inward as well as to seek outward.


For Wayne Dyer, the Journey Continues

We are not our bodies, our possessions or our careers. Who we are is divine love and that is infinite. ~~ Wayne Dyer

I’m holding Wayne Dyer close to me today, close in peace, harmony and joy.  Sadly, I am not alone, as millions are hugging him to their hearts today, the first day in 75 years that the world has been without its Wayne.  He has been a brilliant presence, persisting and growing through the years, going from motivational speaker in the 1980s to one of the people named on the top ten list of spiritual leaders in the world. (For a good chuckle, hear Wayne Dyer tell of his placement in 2011 as number 3 spiritual leader behind Eckhart Tolle and the Dalai Lama.  He tells a good story and his stories always have a point. —Or rather, I should say, “told” and “had”.)

He had the gift of compacting big thoughts into small sentences– aphorisms and memes that now appear across the Internet. But make no mistake, his wisdom and his gift to us, the world, is not in the aphorisms; it was in his generosity and persistent intention to take as many of us along with him on his journey as would go.

In April, he visited my hometown and my thoughts and appreciation are the same today as they were in my notes then, though today I would expand that one day as an expression of the full journey:

… I metaphorically walk with Wayne through the day, I catch a glimpse of what he wants us to achieve − the complete acceptance, expanse and joy of being. Capture that, I think, and you have captured the meaning of life. Or, no. You have captured life itself.

He leaves us with so much wisdom so well expressed. Here are just a few quotes from Wayne Dyer:

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.

Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul.

I see death as simply removing a garment or moving from one room to another. It’s merely a transition.

When Wayne Dyer’s family spread his ashes off the coast of Maui, Wayne’s face appeared in the waters. Coincidence? Wayne Dyer taught us there are no coincidences.

I ask myself. What is consciousness?

(c) DepostPhotos.com -njnightsky

(c) DepostPhotos.com -njnightsky

I watch a seagull dive into the calm surface of the Columbia River. Are we connected, this bird and I? Are we entangled in the folds of eternal consciousness?


What are these ideas of consciousness that the world of physics and spirituality talk about so much and that I understand so little?

I come to this discussion acutely aware of my own materialist understanding of the world. I am Western-educated in the old-school sense of the words, and I question all things that whiff of spirituality unless I’m presented with tangible validation of their factual existence—material evidence. This matter-based view of mine is deeply engrained, imprinted even, and I struggle to catch glimpses of the world as it exists in its deeper realms.

Sometimes I think I see it, or feel it, or tangibly sense consciousness. And my world is akimbo with this evidence, off-kilter as I analyze what I saw, felt or sensed. I stand, off-balance and teetering, because, you see, just recently I began to know on an intellectual level, that it’s there, or here—that an intangible consciousness is at work under, around and above all material aspects of the world; this is a new knowing and it pinches my mind.


I seek out explanations of what this consciousness is.

I like the simple ones, those easy to grasp. “Consciousness is awareness: the two are synonymous….Consciousness is the potential for all creation.” says Deepak Chopra in The Book of Secrets.

So, I ponder his clear, simple statement: Consciousness equals awareness. Yes. We get that.  But then comes his zinger: it “is the potential for all creation.”  And later: It is “pure potential”. My challenge is not just to understand this intellectually but to really “get” it. I struggle.

Consciousness is a “field of pure potentiality,” and we, as part of consciousness, tap into that field, either intentionally or not.  Clearly, to be intentional about it is preferable.

In reading Peter Russell’s From Science to God and listening to his talks, I come to see his view that consciousness is in all things; all creatures and all systems down to the atomic simply have varying experiences of it. We humans like to believe ours to be the most evolved, but is it? I’m not sure if Russell thinks that it is, and I’m no longer so sure that I can believe it either, or that it matters who’s king of this particular hill.


This change has happened rapidly for me. It was not so long ago that I looked for consciousness in my body; maybe my mind created it or, somehow, my heart, I thought, and I meditated on that. I could not find it.

I should have just picked up a book by Deepak Chopra or Eckhart Tolle or Peter Russell or Francis Lucille or so many others. They would have told me in a heartbeat that the spirit of all, consciousness, is not in a body, that it is instead nonlocal, everywhere, that it is not a thing residing in time and space.  They might have used terms new to me, like non-duality, as they explained the complexities of this realm. And my head would have been akimbo.

My sister told me the same thing, by the way, and she does not consider herself a philosophical scholar. She just knows. She told me that Sunday School misled us all those years ago. There’s no soul sitting cross-legged somewhere inside our chests, she said.  Consciousness is nonlocal.

As I read and study, trying to grasp this mind-altering change from matter to consciousness, from a mechanistic view of the world to one in which the intangible realm of consciousness creates all, I am often stopped in my tracks by the beauty of it. Of course, then I start up again.


The vision slips.

The seagull swoops away, white against a pure blue sky.

And I yearn to see it again.

Zen Cairn with flower (c) Depositphotos.com, Anegada

When the Trappings Go, What Next?

I am surprised sometimes when I look around and the trappings of my life are gone.

Some of them.

I’m in my office and here’s what happened to get me to this point of blank walls and space on the shelves. I looked around my office one day not so long ago and I saw photos of me, my partner, my family, my business, then more of me. Big ones, small ones and some in a packet on the shelf. I saw a poster of Portlandia and two wall calendars. On my shelves were stacked books upon books, stuffed alongside with CDs. On my desktop were piles of folders and stray papers, spreadsheets and notes. Against all four walls were plastic boxes of files and maps and grocery bags full of stuff temporarily placed and waiting for someone to move them on. Hanging from the curtain rod was a boomerang. Somehow, when I looked around on that one day not so long ago, the room, which has been my office for more than three years, just did not feel right anymore.

The photos and posters seemed wrong, and so I took them down, fully intending to rearrange and put them back up. The books were overwhelming and the folders had become relics of projects long past. The boxes and bags weighed my room down, filling it with heaviness. And the boomerang? A souvenir. This was over a month ago and now, as I look around, I see just a few things on the walls – a poster of doors, which I like for some reason, an eco version of a calendar, a small printout of a photo of my partner, and an old license holder that says Les Bons Temps Rouler.

Nothing else has made it back up on the walls yet, and I cannot think of anything that could.

My room is in transition, shedding the old and waiting for the new to arrive.  I know this room is a reflection of my journey, as it is my room, the one room in the house that is not shared, and so, I wonder – what belongs on the walls now?

Watching Waves of — Something

Cold and gray, far out from the shore, the wave curls upward, rounds, reaches its peak and breaks. It’s a beautiful thing, even at this distance, and I am momentarily entranced. You’d think I wouldn’t notice it way out there, with so many others breaking between it and me.  But I do. Something about this one catches my eye, a spark of a thought, a life, a—something.

Ocean building on froth

I enjoy the power of such a wave, but I remain dry-footed on the beach, out of reach of the ocean’s pounding, I’m happy here. I’m content. I’m dry and I know what’s what here on land, out of the water. But then that wave, which seemingly had given out, swells up again, a bit closer this time and so, even more powerful to my ears and eyes, and to my mind, especially to my mind. It presents an interesting, though still distant thought on the horizon. It’s a beautiful thing but it doesn’t affect me much here as I stand solid on the sands of this beach, grounded in the realities of the world as I know it.

Ocean swelling

But this wave is not done. Once again, it builds, and builds some more, until it is a mountain of a wave. It’s closer now, and so it thunders in my ears, pounding, pushing, insisting that I notice—something. I don’t know what, but I do notice. And then the wave smooths out, leaving a frothy mirror on the surface of the water. I begin to turn away to focus my attention inland, but it’s not done, and it catches my eye again, as it swells, even closer this time. It’s a beautiful wave, but I am busy, with places to go, things to do.

Ocean getting closer

Still, I pause to watch as it rises out of the sea again, cold, so very cold and yet beckoning. It grows, building, and building again. I look around. Is anyone else noticing this mind-shattering event? This wave that will not stop? It rises overhead, curls, then crashes into froth. How can I ignore this one? Coming so close in out of the ocean? I cannot.

Ocean froth

I study it. I step into the water reaching up at the beach, and as the wave comes closer, its final effort, I feel it surging around my ankles, pulling me in.

What is this wave’s reality?

It is my own. We mingle in the sand, this great reality rushing in from the ocean and me, a woman standing not so steadfast on the beach.

My ocean wave settles back into itself, into the ocean, one sound, one vision, one reality. And I am with it. I feel the froth as I spread my arms wide, as I, too, become a wave, rising, curling, crashing and turning to froth. And then I know: there is no wave, no wave that can be singled out, individual. There is only the ocean.

Judy's Words - shifted view of the ocean