Love from Bend, OR

Hey guys. My last post was a bit of a reflection of what can happen when we follow our hearts and go where our intuition leads us. It is not always a good time, and anything can happen. By the time I post things of that nature, I’m usually already in a way better headspace, and it really only took me one night of good sleep to be back in peace.

The moral of the story here isn’t “oh hey, everything’s going to be fine; don’t worry.” Sometimes we like to believe these things, and they are just a sort of cold comfort that discourages further inner looking. Yes, ultimately, everything is going to be fine; it already is. Love has prevailed. Truth is our nature; always has been and always will be. We are all helplessly seated in the lap of God, with nowhere else to go.

However, until we realize this in our own being by way of seeing through the illusion of the ego-identity, things can be very much not be fine. On a real world level, that looks like suffering. We create the same hurtful patterns for ourselves over and over again, all while saying “oh hey, in the end, it’s fine; God loves us.” What a wonderful way for the mind to allow us to keep up our bad habits! No need to do our work or healing if everything’s going to be fine in the end, right? Why ever quit drinking, smoking, or traumatizing one another if everything’s already perfect?

The mind is so cunning, you guys. It can certainly use spiritual truths to stop us from dropping into deeper awareness and seeing through the ego completely. Mine still does that, for sure.

Similarly, sometimes I hear people casually mention that the whole world is illusory. While true, it is of little practical value when absorbed solely on a mental level.

Today I turned 31. I woke up on a couch at a hostel in Bend, Oregon, in the same pair of jorts I have been wearing for about 4 months. At 4PM I’ll be taking a bus out to a town called Mitchell, where there’s a couple—a pastor and his wife—who own a church that has been converted into a hostel. The idea of a hostel with a spiritual component is very appealing to me and something I’m interested in exploring. I will always write, but the idea of providing an affordable refuge for travelers that also offers regular meditation is feeling aligned, practical, and like something I could do… today anyway.

Any of this can change at any time. One day I’m working on a novel, the next day I’m ghostwriting novellas, then I’m hopping in a craigslist rideshare to travel to another state, then I’m writing this blog, then I’m wandering around by the Deschutes River staring at the same tree for 20 minutes. Now I’m being led out to a hostel in a small Oregon town to see what’s there. What happens after this is honestly a mystery.

As far as teaching goes: I’ve mentioned it before, and it does feel like I’m being moved into that role as well. However, I really don’t feel ready, and the main reason is because I’m still in process of watching my own “spiritual” ego. It is so common, and I’ve seen it in just about everyone who is consciously walking the path, including my teachers, and of course including myself.

Something happens after that first “aha” spiritual moment, or after we do a bit of meditation and begin to get a taste of our limitlessness in God: The ego latches onto what it has seen, and feels superior to those who haven’t peeked beyond the curtain, so to speak. I am very, very wary of this place. It feels “chosen.” It can justify any behavior. It judges and then convinces itself it is acceptable to judge “less awake people” because “it knows better.”

This is no good, even though I fully understand it.

And while it is true that someone who is liberated really can do whatever they want without karmic consequences, I still want to live in the world where self-realization results in togetherness, kindness, and a sense of worldwide community—no more hierarchies

I cannot allow myself to slip into this new kind of hypnosis, into an ego that believes it is “further along” or “special” in any kind of way. The whole point is to return to an original, non-special state, prior to anything being conditioned into us. If I teach, it will be because it is handed to me and because it is intuitive. I am not going to pursue the role, or anything else for that matter. A simple unfolding is all I desire, and a simple life. I will strive for ultimate freedom above all else by keeping my life simple and continuing to reject all else but my inner knowing.

On an energetic note: Oregon feels really good. Bend is the first place I’ve woken up where I don’t feel still kind of tired and headachey. I like how close I am to a river, and the community at this hostel is really beautiful. I may come back here to stay longer. I may get to Mitchell and have everything change on me yet again. Anything can change at any minute, and I am accepting of this.

I want whatever is given.

– lish

Location: Bend, OR


2 thoughts on “Love from Bend, OR

  1. Is it true that even someone who is really feee can do anything without karmic consequences? Or is it that the karmic consequences from actions rooted in true freedom are more apt to be neutral or positive than those rooted in ego? My sense is karmic consequences are inevitable and unavoidable because we are interconnected with all beings and creatures. It is why I practice – my ego is strong and supported by an over-wrought intellect, a dangerous combination in a spiritual practitioner of this sort.

    I also struggle to contain my “enlightened one” identity after some real aha moments in my practice. Nearly twelve years in, I feel much less attached to the “Buddha dude” persona I was (unwittingly) putting on several years ago. What’s changed is my desire or need to try and articulate for non-spiritual types the things I’ve learned through my practices. They won’t get it and I’ve tuned into the fact any strong need i possess to try and make them get it is ego-driven. For years I said to myself “This stuff helped me and it can help others. They need it and I’m gonna give it to them!” My intellect really gets off on swaying people to its way. Like right now for instance. Oh, so much work still to be done.


    1. I understand everything you wrote here. Realizations are so powerful, of course we want to “tell others” what peace and joy we have found. This is a beautiful urge, but the problem is that until the ego is really pummeled down, all this “telling” is just the result of a new ego that wants to “be the one to show people the light.” It’s so sneaky!

      But yes, it does seem to me that one who has fully surrendered the ego-mind is free to act in the world in any way. They and God are one in the same, and they act however the stream moves them. God is not bound or prohibited from doing anything. I see how this is a dangerous thought; it is the logic that many horribly egoic rulers have used, and I think we should call bullshit and avoid anyone who makes such a claim about themselves.

      Most of time, out of sheer preference for peace and quiet, I think this is why spiritual masters retreat to “isolated” places, although their energy still totally uplifts/alters the region they reside in. I am sure many realized sages have spent lifetimes on deserted roadsides, calling no attention to themselves whatsoever. Knowing this makes me feel so immature, haha.

      “Enlightenment” is precisely the state of ceasing to gather karma altogether: Positive, negative, or neutral. Nothing sticks anymore; all of life is witnessed and surrendered effortlessly.

      Liked by 1 person

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