Thoughts - some are mine, some are not. Most recent at the top (Aug 2022) 

The story so far . . . 


You are an autonomous sentient human being.


You have free will to do as you please.


You are at the hub of life; everything is experienced in relation to you.


Objects exist independently but become subjective through your conscious awareness: you give meaning.


The world beyond your perception is happening without you and secondary to your domain.


Life is a struggle that brings pain and suffering; it’s your right to take what few pleasures it affords. 


You steer the path of least resistance to survive; there is an animal core that guides you.


You are different from others; they seem false and only you seem real. 


Others don’t question the natural order, making it difficult for you to be heard. 


All your pain is mental anguish, wanting to connect with others but knowing that is impossible. 


Your isolation is dangerous; the non-conformist is ostracised, and independent thoughts are stifled.


Conformity is the easiest path allowing mutual support and belonging. It’s sensible to conform, so you fashion a persona and play along.


False smiles and empty words fill the air and you find yourself imitating to survive.


You are the person you once feared, not knowing, drifting through life. 


External events snap you out of your lethargy forcing a reaction.


Thoughts worn deep through repetition trigger automatic responses in a personality forged long ago. 


You are close to the void but being you is too addictive to let go of. 


You cling to habitual patterns through fear of the unknown.


Everywhere you turn you see madness and question whether the madness is within.


The world around you makes no sense; you look for answers but to no avail and so you look within wanting to know yourself.


You want answers to life’s mystery, to escape the circular quest for truth; you want the key that will set you free.



The story going forward . . . 


Recognise your incarceration and serve your time; don’t fight it, but learn to live within those prison walls. 


From daybreak to nightfall, minute by minute, hour by hour, watch as the sunlight from the barred window inches across the prison walls. Ask nothing of life; watch it unfold.


Through accumulated knowledge and experience, imagine what freedom would be like, but away from those fanciful dreams follow the things that appear to make sense – there’s no other way. 


Go about your daily life and watch as the days run into weeks, the weeks into months, the months into years and the years into decades. 


Know that the more you seek freedom, the stronger the prison becomes. The only freedom is in knowing there is nothing to free. 


Perhaps today, perhaps a lifetime away, it’s realised that the sunlight streaming into your prison cell, the view through the bars and the days, weeks and years of incarceration were all unreal. 


And know that today and a lifetime away are no different: awakening is in every moment, in every breath - so close and so palpable.


You were never held within a prison, and neither was the prison held within you; you and the prison were one and the same.


The beginning of the end . . .


Your story is your prison. This story of you is chalked on a slate and held tightly to your chest. Recent history is clearly legible but over time earlier words fade and parts of the story are lost.


The more threadbare the story becomes, the tighter you grasp it. As the chalked words merge and the story fades, the incentive to keep writing it diminishes, and as the Self weakens and your old life recedes, all the thoughts, ideas and beliefs that were imprisoned fall away.


Your story (now barely legible) loses its strength and your grip on the slate relaxes as the words make little sense anymore.


You may experience a moment of clarity and lay down the slate accepting there’s no longer a need to take from it or add to it.


The story ends . . . 


Regardless of what went before, for a fortunate few the slate is wiped clean.


Witnessing the clean slate is Enlightenment.


The clean slate, and nothing more, is Liberation.

(musings - Colin McMorran)

Carl R. Rogers (1902–1987) is esteemed as one of the founders of humanistic psychology. He developed the person-centered, also known as client-centered, approach to psychotherapy and developed the concept of unconditional positive regard while pioneering the field of clinical psychological research


When there is this complete unity, singleness, fullness of experiencing in the relationship, then it acquires the "out-of- this-world" quality which therapists have remarked upon, a sort of trance-like feeling in the relationship from which both the client and I emerge at the end of the hour, as if from a deep well or tunnel ... a timeless living in the experience which is between the client and me. (p.202) 

Rogers, C.R. (1961) On becoming a person. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 


Beyond the immediate message of the person, no matter what that might be, there is the universal ... . So there is both the satisfaction of hearing this person and also the satisfaction of hearing one's self in touch with what is universally true. (p.8) 

Rogers, C.R. (1980) A way of being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 


I find that when I am the closest to my inner, intuitive self –when perhaps I am somehow in touch with the unknown in me–when perhaps I am in a slightly altered state of consciousness in the relationship, then whatever I do seems to be full of healing. Then simply my presence is releasing and helpful. At those moments, it seems that my inner spirit has reached out and touched the inner spirit of the other. Our relationship transcends itself, and has become part of something larger. Profound growth and healing are present” 

Baldwin, M. (2000). Interview with Carl Rogers on the use of self in therapy. In M.


Consciousness, instead of being the watchman over a dangerous and unpredictable lot of impulses, of which few can be permitted to see the light of day, becomes the comfortable inhabitant of a society of impulses and feelings and thoughts, which are discovered to be very satisfactorily self-governing when not fearfully guarded

Rogers, C.R. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist’s view of psychotherapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.


When I am at my best, as a group facilitator or a therapist, I discover another characteristic. I find that when I am closest to my inner, intuitive self, when I am somehow in touch with the unknown in me, when perhaps I am in a slightly altered state of consciousness in the relationship, then whatever I do seems to be full of healing. Then simply my presence is releasing and helpful. There is nothing I can do to force this experience, but when I can relax and be close to the transcendental core of me, then I may behave in strange and impulsive ways in the relationship, ways which I cannot justify rationally, which have nothing to do with my thought processes. But these strange behaviours turn out to be right, in some odd way. At those moments it seems that my inner spirit has reached out and touched the inner spirit of the other. Our relationship transcends itself, and has become a part of something larger. Profound growth and healing and energy are present. 

Rogers, C.R. (1985) A client-centered/person-centered approach to therapy. In I.L. Kutush & A. Wolf (Eds.) Psychotherapists' casebook: Theory and technique in practice. San Francisco: Josey-Bass. 

Supertramp - The Logical Song.

One of my favourite songs as a teenager - I gave little thought to the lyrics back then, but now they talk directly to me: a call to 'self-enquiry':

When I was young
It seemed that life was so wonderful
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees
Well they'd be singing so happily
Oh joyfully, oh playfully watching me

But then they sent me away
To teach me how to be sensible
Logical, oh responsible, practical
And then they showed me a world
Where I could be so dependable
Oh clinical, oh intellectual, cynical

There are times
When all the world's asleep
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man

Won't you please
Please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
Please tell me who I am

I said now what would you say
Now we're calling you a radical
A liberal, oh fanatical, criminal

Oh won't you sign up your name
We'd like to feel you're acceptable
Respectable, oh presentable, a vegetable!

Take, take, take it

But at night, when all the world's asleep
The questions run so deep
For such a simple man
Won't you please
Won't you tell me
Please tell me what we've learned
Can you hear me
I know it sounds absurd
Why won't you help me
But please tell me who I am
Who I am, who I am, who I am


Songwriter: Roger Hodgson

Producers: Supertramp Peter Henderson 

The Tao Te Ching

We are that being uniquely called to occupy a precise place in the cosmic order no matter where or in what era we live. The Tao Te Ching is thus a work of metaphysical psychology taking us far beyond the social or biological factors that have been the main concern of modern psychology. It helps us see how the fundamental elements of the cosmos itself are mirrored in our own individual structure and it invites us to try to live in direct relationship to all these forces. Metaphysically the term Tao refers to the way things are. Psychologically it refers to the way human nature is constituted, a deep dynamic structure of our being. Ethically it means the way human beings must conduct themselves with others. Spiritually it refers to the guidance that is offered to us, the methods of searching for the truth that have been handed down by the great sages of the past – the way of inner work. Yet all these meanings of Tao are ultimately one. 

We are conscious beings occupying the mid-point between the great cosmic expanse and the world of subatomic particles; a precise place in the cosmic order no matter where or in what era we live.

“At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want” Lao Tzu.  


Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )



The Self wants to be happy, peaceful and content. It seeks clarity, peace of mind and an end to its suffering. It wants to escape from the daily struggle, to stop simply surviving and to start living, free from self-doubt, anxiety and fear. It wants life to unfold naturally and to embrace uncertainty, change and the unknown, and live the truth, and for life to reflect back that truth. It wants to feel at peace and at one with others, to be free from the fear of death and the constriction it places upon life. It wants to be free from stressful thoughts and live in a still mind. Rather than trying to satisfy these desires, we need to recognise where they come from – we need to turn inwards because looking externally cannot fulfil these wishes. By repeatedly focusing attention within, this message aims to expose as an illusion that which desires these things, and in so doing free you from your Self.

In your life, you will have been encouraged to embrace the Self through sayings such as believe in yourself and anything’s possible, which is usually offered as a panacea to self-doubt and lack of confidence. However, such seemingly encouraging statements are part of the reason you find yourself on life’s treadmill, desiring all manner of things and finding fulfilment in none. Many believe an alternate to believing in one’s Self is surrendering to a higher power, and some religions offer this through the union with God. Belief in God through faith promises salvation and everlasting life, but such apparent surrender can imprison and increase suffering if it comes from a self-fulfilling need – in other words, if it is used to feed the yearnings of the illusionary Self, which unfortunately is usually the case. Surrender, in the truest sense, is dis-identification with the egoic mind and the collapse of the illusionary Self. Therefore, the truth of your being is not about intellectual conviction or having faith in divinities, nor it is about believing in your Self or in God; it is about relaxing the grip on your story, and resting for a moment between past and future, free from the shackles of history and hope - resting in the eternal present.  

The true Self is the stillness within – the Absolute - the underlying awareness that is open to everything and everyone. Any thoughts that arise cannot touch this; it cannot be harmed or changed. Seeing through the illusion of your Self by gradually dropping your attachment to thoughts will expose all your desires, fears and anxieties as irrelevant background noise, causing ripples through an otherwise still and silent void and the difficulties of the human condition will begin to fall away. With the death of the Self the fear of mortality drops away, as does the need to follow others. Your isolated persona will diminish, and the feeling of unease created by living under the tyranny of self-doubt, guilt and uncertainty will lift, along with the incessant need to self-protect. The puffed up ego deflates like a seeping balloon as the air that gave it form returns to the unrestricted and limitless expanse from which it came. Your defences lower because there is nothing left to defend and all divisions fade as the bounded separateness of the constricted Self disperses back into the boundless Absolute.

Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )


The Message

The reasons people look beneath the surface appearance of life and seek meaning and purpose and spiritual paths or deep philosophical insights are many and varied. Perhaps you are looking for something to validate your experience of life and strengthen your worldview, or maybe you are interested in ideas that challenge that experience and the accompanying introspections and meditations. You may be confused and struggling to make sense of your life and perhaps suffering from depressive thoughts and feelings of hopelessness, you may be looking for a purpose – something that makes sense of the chaos that can pull you out of the darkness. You may have studied Eastern philosophy, have knowledge of non-duality, and may want to test a strong philosophical or spiritual conviction, or perhaps you have arrived with nothing more than an open mind and a passing interest.


You may not consider yourself an overt seeker but may be open to new ways of looking at the world and your relationship to it. Whatever your motivations, they will make little difference when it comes to comprehending this message because it is not about gaining and building upon existing concepts or comparing beliefs and faiths nor is it about replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. This is not self-help with positive affirmations designed to rescue you from mental anguish because there is no long-term benefit in adding to or building upon a Self that is illusionary - any positive gains would be short lived and you would soon return to suffering, searching and seeking. Nor is it about acquiring knowledge, therefore understanding Western philosophy, Eastern spirituality or religious scripture will be no more advantageous than knowledge of the periodic table or Greek alphabet – this is starting from a clean slate.

Regardless of the motives that brought you here, as you start to consider the implications of this message - that on one level who you believe you are is an illusion - your initial response will likely be one of disbelief and incredulity. In fact, you will probably feel threatened and under attack. Rumi has something to say here:  When someone beats a rug, the blows are not against the rug, but against the dust in it. In order to continue, you will need to fight your knee-jerk reaction to the blows, which will not be easy because every fibre of your being will want to perpetuate your story. Just as the layers of dust built up over the years dull the brightness of the weave, so your conditioned mind builds up layers of identity obscuring the stillness beneath. This is not about revealing a truth; rather, it is about exposing an illusion. If successful, there are no words for what happens thereafter. 

Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )


Turning the bright spotlight of enquiry to face you is initially painful – the natural reaction is to avert the eyes, however, illuminating our thoughts and the story they maintain can reveal the illusion of the Self, allowing a new clarity to emerge from a deeper level of being. By continually focusing on your personal story and how its driven by your thinking and affects your life, and how virtually all your suffering is generated by past stories and future projections (most of which are negative), you begin that the bedrock of your life is a complex web of thoughts sparking conflicting, contradictory and confusing emotions. What hope for peace? All your efforts are focused upon trying to navigate this complex web of internal feelings and emotions in an attempt to make the ‘right’ choices and say and do the ‘right’ things, and while all your energy is consumed in the labyrinths of your mind you miss the beauty of the present moment. Leaving behind such madness allows you to witness your senseless mind games and brings moments of stillness beyond concepts. Regardless of how hard the ego fights to maintain its identity, the floodgates to the deeper truth will start to open, spelling the beginning of the end for the illusionary Self. 

All that actually exists is the pure presence of the Absolute. This unknowable emptiness gives rise to all, including the illusion of searching, the difficulty understanding, the desire to understand and any ambivalence, frustration or realisation thereof. It is the formless underlying all forms, the one source; you cannot know it because you are it, it is so proximate you cannot see it.  Absolute can be likened to a pair of reading glasses: The glasses function by being so close that you do not see them – you see through them. If you need to work on the glasses, for instance if the hinges need adjusting, you have to remove them. You are then separated from their function and they have become an object of enquiry. However, now your vision is blurred making it impossible to do the work, thus you find yourself in the frustrating situation whereby what you want to see is what makes the seeing possible. Similarly, attempting to turn the Absolute into an object of enquiry you attempt to distance yourself from it, which creates separation and the truth is blurred. You cannot see the absolute because it sees through you – in both senses of the phrase.


To add to the difficulties, articulating the direct experience of the Absolute is impossible. Language relies upon naming and discriminating between things to give common symbols (written and verbal) with which to communicate, all of which are ineffective when experiencing the indivisible. Those who want to know it - to confirm its existence and describe it - are perpetuating separation and thus remain firmly within the illusion of a separate Self. The Self cannot know the Absolute and neither can the Absolute know itself, because to do so the indivisible would have to split into that which knows (the subject) and that which is known (the object). True self-enquiry is not a process of adding to your understanding nor is it about personal growth, it is about dropping your story and letting go of your preconceptions, it is about witnessing your mind games with compassionate detachment. 

Sam Harris - Waking up


That which is aware of joy is the same thing as that which is aware of sadness and on some level its not diminished by sadness or improved by joy. If you can keep dropping back into that state, and paradoxically and happily, that state begins to have its own qualitative character which is more towards the good side of things – more joyful and compassionate and loving and positive.


The mind has no shame – it just thinks, so thoughts just keep coming and the goal from a meditative point of view is this analogy from Tibetan Buddhism: To get into a position that thoughts are like thieves entering an empty house; there’s just nothing to steal! To be completely indifferent between a good thought and a bad thought, that’s the superpower. 

Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )

The trap

The individual who yearns for truth and Liberation, is caught in a trap: It is said that there’s an ingenious method of catching monkeys using a large clay pot tied to a tree. The story goes that a poacher places an apple inside the pot that has an opening slightly larger than a monkey’s hand and then hides in waiting. Patience is often rewarded as a monkey approaches and smelling the fruit squeezes its hand into the pot grabbing the apple and making a fist that is too large to retract. Despite having the means to escape by simply letting go it tightens its grip, even as the poacher breaks cover, the wretched animal remains trapped by its desire for the fruit and is subsequently caught. You may feel a mixture of pity and irritation towards the unfortunate creature: if only it could see things differently, if only it could see the bigger picture all its suffering would be over in an instant. 

We are clutching at life, our desires imprison us; freedom is letting go. We search relentlessly for a truth that will set us free and only by letting go do we recognise the truth of our lives: We were led to believe that truth and freedom from suffering was a reward after a lifetime of one hundred thousand steps, when in actual fact they were available in each step we took – available to us from the very beginning by simply letting go.


When the search is dropped and stillness is embraced the Absolute is glimpsed; caught in a movement, or heard in a sound – held for a breath, a beat of the heart. True in the moment until falsified by thought, alive in unknowing until deadened by language. It comes before all, underpinning everything, here in plain view, reflecting back every named phenomenon and every experience. Infinite are the ways the Self searches for truth: philosophy, theology, psychology and sociology. Such pursuits may increase knowledge and intellectual understanding but are of no use when seeking the Absolute - its truth cannot be conceptualised. Our thinking is so ingrained that usually only concepts matching existing patterns will be recognised and embraced (this is were Analogies can sometimes help). The intellect cannot discern truth; it cannot be taught or understood; a lifetime accumulating knowledge and refining ideas and beliefs will move you not a step closer. Take a step back from your thinking mind. Keep stepping back, and when you think you are at the source step back once more.

Jordan Peterson on Jung's notion of consciousness

Jung’s idea was something like this: at the beginning of time people were unconscious and that consciousness emerged with all its catastrophes, consciousness of death for example, and one way out of the burden of consciousness was to return to unconsciousness. You can do that with alcohol you can do that by being dependent; you can do that by failing to grow up. You refuse the burden of consciousness by becoming unconscious again.  But there’s another way forward, which is by becoming even more consciousness. So the idea would be a little bit of consciousness is like an illness but if you can expand that consciousness upwards enough then it starts to become something that is it’s own cure and that partly what your goal is while you suffer through life is to heighten your consciousness to the point where everything gets integrated enough so that that’s proper medication for the disease of self-consciousness. So it’s more consciousness rather than less – it’s more attention. 

Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )

The ocean wave



Waves are a manifestation of the ocean, arising as the seabed slows the incoming tide causing the surface flow to swell up and overturn. Although the familiar sight and sound of crashing white foam appears separate and identifiable, it is always part of the ocean, and never separates from it. It makes no sense to imagine a wave independent from the ocean: the two are one and the same. Similarly, we are temporary manifestations of the Absolute, apparently being born, having our moment and then returning to the source.


Just as each wave has a unique form as it swells and breaks, so too our environment uniquely shapes us as we grow. And just as the wave is created and sustained through constant movement, so our life is created and sustained through continual change. Waves are tangible and physically exist; we can distinguish between them and can measure their progress and witness their different forms.

However, we know their appearance, their motion and force are manifestations of the one underlying source. Their separateness is both real and unreal; we know that although each individual wave is unique, they do not act autonomously and cannot exist independently from the ocean. Similarly, our sense so being a separate and identifiable Self is both real and unreal; we very much exist – we are real and in many ways are a product of our environment and our experience, however we are also unique expressions of the one underlying source, having no existence independent from that source – I call it the Absolute. 

Becoming aware of this deeper sense of self – the Absolute – we fall into a way of being that naturally expresses through us, we come to realise that we are whole and complete just as we are and therefore need nothing to fulfil us. Knowing we are whole allows us to manifest truthfully and naturally in the world. This peace and clarity sends positive waves out into the rest of our lives and good things come to us because we are sending out only the good. Because we don’t need anything to complete us we are at one with the infinite life force and therefore are open to all possibilities – we embrace life and life embraces us – the wave and ocean are one.

Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )

The waterwheel



Trying to control the flow of life is ultimately a hollow endeavour. Life flows freely and is unmoved by your efforts to exploit its force. The waterwheel turns due to the river’s flow. The river knows nothing of this; its essence remains untouched. We believe that we have autonomy, that we are the prime movers in our own stories. We believe that we are waterwheels turning by their own volition, but we are not the prime mover or the masters of our destinies. The waterwheel has no inherent power or movement of its own; its structure allows the potential for movement, but only through the river’s flow. 

By trying to shape life and control your destiny, you are mistakenly attempting to take ownership of life, which is analogous to the waterwheel trying to change the essence of the river. Attempting to harness life’s force to your own advantage is as futile as the wheel attempting to alter the river’s flow. You are not the Self. You are the one Absolute, the eternal flow that moves all. 


Living in the stillness of non-Self is having a deeply felt sense - at a level beyond intellectual knowledge - that you are the river not the waterwheel. Emptiness refers to the river: the unknowable, boundless and infinite source that animates everything, including you and me - empty and yet bursting with an energetic life force. For the purpose of the analogy I separated the wheel from the river but in truth, there is no separation. There is just the Absolute, the unrestricted source of all things manifesting all phenomena - the known and the formed, and all noumena - the unknown and the formless. Enlightenment is intuiting that there is no separation between you and the underlying source. Such a realisation liberates you from the huge burden of believing you are a constricted, self-governing, mind-body that must constantly Self protect and control the world around you.


Enlightenment it is about letting go, whereas striving for it reinforces the notion that you are an individual Self that can take action, such as taking steps towards becoming Enlightened. - only an illusionary Self can follow such paths. The Self is in that sense akin to a particular species of shark - it has to keep moving to stay alive, the dilemma you face is that to lose your Self in the Absolute the illusionary Self must come to a standstill. Once the Self stops perpetuating its own illusion, life will have a lighter, less restricted feel –, action, direction, purpose and meaning will all manifest though you but will be born of love not fear, your old tunnel vision will be shattered leaving a wide open vista, and life will return to the playground of your childhood.

Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )


The unknowable


How can the unknowable be approached, how can it be written or talked about? How can the infinite be expressed by the finite, how can the eternal and the formless be comprehended in a world of impermanence and forms? This unknowable stillness at the core of your being can only be pointed to indirectly and therefore should be approached delicately and from various angles. 

We have a subjective and flawed understanding of our relationship to the world around us, which is created by our thoughts. It is possible to examine our common assumptions about the external world and how we interact with it, including our relationships with other people. Our beliefs, born out of thought, create and sustain the illusion of our Self. These beliefs are kept alive by habitual thinking patterns, which build and sustain our story - our self-image – a story that is unreal and, for the most part, unhelpful.

The awareness beneath this story is occasionally glimpsed in rare and uninvited moments of so-called ‘heightened consciousness’ or ‘heightened awareness’ that occur in a flash, but cannot be experienced in the moment or relived through memory. These moments may occur at times of great personal drama, physical exertion, quiet contemplation, or even while brushing your teeth – it matters not. The common factor is that for a fleeting instant and through no cultivated effort, an altered state takes over – a sort of peace and clarity that has nothing to do with our individual stories, and for a moment our suffering disappears. Because there is no personal sense of  ‘I’ having the ‘experience’, the moment cannot become part of our experiencing structure - our story - and we cannot attach to it. Then we return to our everyday consciousness, wanting to understand and trying to take ownership of what just happened – wanting to make it part of our story. However, this impersonal awareness cannot be contextualised within our frame of reference; it can only live when we are absent. This clarity exists beneath the story of you.


These brief glimpses cannot be expressed without destroying their essence, and so all we are left with is an attempt to point to this ground of being indirectly through analogies and metaphors. It is not knowledge that can be understood and passed on; it is more akin to an ever-present and vaguely familiar feeling that infuses every experience, being both of the experience and other than the experience – both real and unreal. All that can be hoped for is that the Absolute behind everything, including the illusion of the Self, might become apparent, not in a dualistic subject/object sense as in ‘I am aware of..’ or ‘ I know that..’, but though an impersonal, indescribable being-ness that is so close we cannot see it and is as fundamental and as effortless as the breaths we take.

Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )


The Absolute.  

These words aim to liberate you from the illusionary Self and reveal that you are the stillness beneath - the one ocean that embraces all. If successful, you will no longer be a slave to your thoughts, in fact you will be open to see and hear for the first time; you will be free to experience the world as it is, as opposed to how it has been created through your conditioning and sustained by the illusion of your Self. This is, in the truest sense of the word, freedom. Freedom from your ingrained thought patterns, freedom from the defensive ego, freedom from the constraint of being what you think you should be, and freedom from anger, guilt, depression and sadness. You are not a separate Self - you are the pure presence before separation. You are not a separate person experiencing consciousness; you are consciousness experiencing a separate person.

This is not about positive thinking or about choosing positive thoughts over negative ones or about dropping thoughts. It is about recognising an underlying stillness that can notice thoughts rather than becoming them; it is about realising your true nature has little to do with your thoughts or the Self that is born from them. You are not born out of thought, you are the pure presence before thought. By noticing how the Self reacts to the world we can come to realise it is our attachment to thoughts – not the thoughts themselves - that creates the Self and leads to our suffering. Moreover, just as it is not about choosing positive thoughts over negative ones, neither is it about stopping or controlling your thoughts.


It is quite obvious that we cannot stop the thoughts that wash over us, any more than we can stop the waves that break on the shore, however, we can look beneath those thoughts to the ocean they are held within. I refer to this ocean of pure conscious awareness as the Absolute. I invite you to discover that truth. All that is required is an open mind and a willingness to enquire within. The illusion of the Self is the belief that you are your thoughts – the personal identification with the voice in your head, when in reality you are the awareness beneath that constant mind chatter.


Noticing the thoughts rather than attaching to them may seem a subtle change in perspective, but in fact, it is a huge paradigm shift. Once you have taken a step back from your thoughts by not attaching to them, they become like clouds passing across a clear sky. You will notice the interesting patterns and shapes they form as they float by – coming from nothing and returning to nothing, but they cannot touch the background perfection of the azure blue stillness - the Absolute that holds all.


Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )




Acceptance when it is practiced as a means to an end is not acceptance.

When you want to accept the thing that’s causing you to suffer in order for that thing to disappear and relieve your suffering, you are not accepting the thing. In other words, acceptance is accepting the suffering. So for instance waking up with early morning anxiety about the day ahead causes you to suffer, acceptance is not a way of overcoming the anxiety so that you don’t suffer, acceptance is accepting the anxiety in the moment that it arises and accepting the suffering it brings. You want to control the feeling of anxiety and rationalise that accepting it may make it go away – again, this is not acceptance, this is a strategy to try and control it, which will only ensure that its grip tightens – it’s the exact opposite of acceptance. True acceptance is welcoming the early morning anxiety – embracing it as a part of your living experience. 

If there’s a way to avoid suffering then clearly you should take it, for instance using painkillers for a headache; the suffering I am discussing here is psychological and brought about through the circumstances of your life. Again, if you can change the circumstances causing the anxiety then this should be considered. When you feel you have no control over the cause of your suffering, when all other avenues to relieve it have been explored, there is then an opportunity to practice the acceptance I am discussing.

The idea that our lives are filled with pain and suffering can lead to an overall acceptance of how things are, along with the assumption that to fight against it is pointless. However, I suggest that there is distinction to be made here between accepting ‘what is’, and giving up. Accepting ‘what is’ recognises that a deeper consciousness is acting through us. The idea that we can end our struggles by simply allowing life to take us where it wishes, often described as‘going with the flow’, is misguided; the struggles each of us face in our daily lives – all the frustrations, heartache, failures and setbacks are part of life. We cannot sanitise that life by choosing to give up and go with the flow. Such a decision is meaningless anyway because we are not in the flow - the flow is in us, - or, more precisely, we are the flow. Choosing to ‘go with the flow’ falsely assumes that, firstly, there is a Self that can choose, and secondly, there is a separate flow it can ‘go’ with.

Acceptance when it is practiced as a means to an end is not acceptance.

Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )


You are not what you think.      


Imagine a large transparent plastic box filled with hundreds of multi-coloured marbles, its high sides contain the marbles ten deep. It rests on an even bigger glass topped table in a dark windowless room and a powerful up light is placed under the table. As the light shines through the glass it is filtered through the box of marbles sending up multi-coloured rays – reds, blues, greens, yellows and purples. The colours are eye-catching, however, you want to experience the pure light source, therefore in order for the light to shine through unfiltered you part the marbles with your hands so that the bottom of the box is exposed and the rays of light can shine through. However, as soon as you take your hands away the marbles rush to fill the gap and the light is once again filtered through them.

The multi-coloured marbles are your thoughts filtering the light of pure awareness and catching your attention with their bright colours; the act of parting them allows the pure light beneath to shine through. Continuing with the analogy, initially, it is quite tricky parting the marbles because they overrun your hands and backfill the space as quickly as you create it, however, with practice you are able to perfect your technique and can spread the marbles and hold the space for longer periods. Over time, something else begins to happen: the plastic box begins to expand – its sides start to stretch and its surface area increases. As the box grows, the marbles thin out until their density reduces to the point where they are no longer ten deep, but are now single marbles rolling around the bottom of the spacious box. There are just as many marbles but the space they were contained within has expanded and the light now shines through unfiltered. The expanding box is the stillness increasing within you; thoughts remain but they no longer filter the light into colours that grab your attention.


This is not suggesting that you deny your feelings or try to change or control your thinking. It is not about changing attitudes or beliefs nor is it about altering behaviour - although that may be a side effect; it is simply watching these manifestations and recognising and becoming aware that the vast majority of your thoughts are negative, unhelpful and untrue and that you are the ground of being beneath them. They are nothing more than brightly coloured collections of past memories and unreal future projections that grab your attention and collectively become your story, they have little to do with this present moment of being alive – in fact they kill the beauty of the present moment. 

Abraham Maslow 

Transcenders, I suspect, find it easier to transcend the ego, the self, the identity, to go beyond self-actualization. … Perhaps we could say that the description of the healthy ones is more exhausted by describing them primarily as strong identities, people who know who they are, where they are going, what they want, what they are good for, in a word, as strong Selves… And this of course does not sufficiently describe the transcenders. They are certainly this; but they are also more than this.

Going much further, Transpersonal Psychology is interested to explore extreme wellness or optimal well-being. It is interested in those cases of persons who have often or perhaps permanently expanded their "normal sense of identity" to include the supra- or trans-personal, the Self of all selves, the One underlying the Many. Transpersonal Psychology explicitly acknowledges and makes use of the profound spiritual psychologies of the Great Traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, mystic Christianity, Judaism and Muslim Sufism), as well as new insights and methods in the human potential and consciousness-expanding movements.

Maslow articulated such key concepts as “self-actualization” (development of one’s capacities) for Humanistic Psychology, then exceeded it with his Transpersonal Psychology ideal of “self-transcendence” (full spiritual awakening or liberation from egocentricity), along with the notion of “peak experiences” (and “plateau living”).

Carl Jung

Until you bring what’s unconscious into consciousness it will control your life and you’ll call it fate. The more you deny what’s inside of you the stronger it will come after you – from inside, it also comes from outside like the people who come into your life just at the right time; they are your fate.

Kena Upanishad

The eye does not go there, nor speech, nor mind. We do ... Just as fire that burns and enlightens things does not either enlighten or burn itself, so the mind, which wills and determines in respect of external objects, cannot will or determine in respect of its self, because its Atman is also the Brahman.

Jordan Peterson - on his youthful dilema

I don’t know how these things where causally related, I guess it was because I was trying to figure out who I was and how that could be fixed – something like that. I started to pay very careful attention to what I was saying. I don’t know whether that happened voluntarily or involuntarily but I could feel a sort of split developing in my psyche – a split into two let’s say, and one was let’s say the ‘old me’ that was talking a lot and that liked to argue and that liked ideas.


And there was another part that was watching that part, like just with its eyes open and neutrally judging, and the part that was neutrally judging was watching the part that was talking and going that isn’t your idea, you don’t really believe that, you don’t really know what you’re talking about, that isn’t true. And I thought, hmm, that’s really interesting – and that was happening to 95% of what I was saying, and so then I didn’t really know what to do. So I thought okay this is strange, maybe I’ve fragmented and that’s just not a good thing at all – I mean it wasn’t like I was hearing voices or anything like that, it wasn’t like that. People have multiple parts.


So then I had this weird conundrum – it was like, well which of these two things are me? Is it the part that’s listening and saying no that’s rubbish, that’s a lie, you’re doing that to impress people, you’re just trying to win the argument. Was that me or was the part that was going about my normal verbal business me, and I didn’t know but I decided I would go with the critic. And then what I tried to do, what I learned to do I think, was to stop saying things that made me weak, and I’m still trying to do that because I’m always feeling when I talk whether or not the words that I am saying are either making me align or making me come apart. And I really do think the alignment -  I think alignment is really is the right way of conceptualising it because if you say things that are as true as you can say them, let’s say, then they come up out of the depths inside of you.


Because we don’t know where thoughts come from, we don’t know how far down into your sub-structure thoughts emerge, we don’t know what process of physiological alignment are necessary for you to speak from the core of your being. We don’t understand any of that, we don’t even conceptualise that. I believe you can feel that and I learnt some of that from reading Carl Rogers who’s a great clinician because he talked about mental health in part as the coherence between the spiritual or the abstract and the physical and that the two things were aligned. And there’s a lot of idea of alignment in psychoanalytic and clinical thinking.


But anyway I decided I would start practicing not saying things that would make me weak and what happened was that I had to stop saying almost everything that I was saying - I would say 95% of it. It’s a hell of a shock to wake up and realise you’re mostly dead wood! It’s a shock, and you know you might think do you really want all that to burn off? Well there’s nothing left but a little husk – 5% of you, its like well if that 5% is solid then maybe that’s exactly what you want to have happen.


This Thing Called You - Ernest Holmes

The greatest minds of the ages have accepted that such a pattern exists. Socrates called it his spirit, Jesus his Father in Heaven. Some ancient mystics called it Atman. Why don't you call it just you, your complete self? For surely this is what they all have meant.

Just try to catch the larger vision and realize that there have been and are people, many of them, who have wooed and wed some invisible Presence until Its atmosphere and essence have become wo­ven into the fabric of their own existence. Every man is a doorway, as Emerson said, through which the Infinite passes into the finite, through which God becomes man, through which the Universal becomes individual.

You are to believe with utmost simplicity and with complete faith that there is a pattern of your be­ing, or a real spirit of you, which is as eternal as God, as indestructible as Reality, and as changeless as Truth. This pattern is seeking to manifest through you. Back of it is all the will and purpose of the uni­verse, all the irresistible laws of being.  Finally it will win.

It is because it is there that you have these irre­sistible urges—the longing to live more fully, the feeling that life belongs to you. There is something within you beyond all doubt and fear, something which has never been limited by your acts or de­stroyed by your feeling. This is the only something that can make you whole.

Counselling in Present Moment Awareness

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