There are many good systems and teachers available online these days.
Yoga practice is very important because it adds a physical and energetic dimension to your meditation and spiritual practice. This is vital because Western-style self-help (and even Neo-Advaita and Zen) is too intellectual. You tend to learn a lot of ideas, but gain little inner growth. And any lessons you happen to learn are not really translated to the level of your body or your vital energy.
Yoga will help you in many ways:
-It will free up energetic blockages in your body which are hard to fix any other way -It will release pent up emotions -It will vastly improve the quality of your breathing -It will improve your posture and flexibility -It will heal all kinds of chronic diseases like: chronic fatigue, cold hands and feet, allergies, migraines, ADD, high blood pressure, back pain, joint pain, thyroid imbalances, immune system problems, heart disease, PMS, depression, anxiety, insomnia, mental fog, etc. -It will build discipline and willpower, reduce laziness -It will increase your physical vitality -It will reduce your sleep quota -It will reduce stress and muscle tension -It can double as physical exercise without needing a fancy gym. It’s like having a portable gym. -It will gradually cleanse your Chakras and move Kundalini energy up your spine for spiritual awakening -It will improve your meditation, concentration, and self-inquiry -It will greatly reduce monkey mind and paralysis by analysis
Whichever yoga school you go with, make sure your yoga’s primary focus is spiritual development, NOT physical exercise. All physical postures should be a means of spiritual development, not a form of flexibility training. In proper yoga, postures are designed to iron out the energy blockages in your body FOR THE PURPOSE of deepening your ability to meditate.
I’ll be talking about specific types of yoga more in the future, as I experiment with various systems. For now, start doing your own research. The payoff will be immense.
Learning yoga is also a MUST if you’re going to be doing any serious meditation or solo retreats. Sitting for such long periods of time while neglecting your body is a wasted opportunity. Yoga will super-charge your retreats and get you more breakthroughs faster.
If you’re pursuing enlightenment and you feel stuck with meditation/self-inquiry, incorporate yoga into your daily practice ASAP. You need to bring your entire body along for this ride, not just your head. Enlightenment is not just a head thing. And if your body is in bad shape, from decades of bad food, chemicals, stress, bad posture, muscle tension, and disease, enlightenment may be practically impossible for you until you clear this up.
I will be adding a lot of yoga-related books to my book list in the future.”
“According to research cited by Stan Grof, about 30-50% of substance addicts (alcohol, hard drugs) are really just seeking a nondual experience.
That’s why you’re doing the alcohol or drug. It gives you a simulated pseudo-spiritual experience of unity. It blots out egoic consciousness. But you don’t know this because you haven’t actually experienced real unity, and you don’t yet understand what consciousness is. So you keep hitting that bottle or pipe but it never scratches that mystical itch.
You got the right idea, but you’re going about it the wrong way.
To get drunk on God, your mind has to be ultra-sober. That’s what meditation, pranayama, clean eating, etc. is for. Your mind has to be attuned to the subtle. But you keep feeding it the gross.
Which is also why 5-MeO-DMT, LSD, and Ibogaine prove so effective for hard addiction recovery. They show you the real deal. They show you the subtle.
Which is why Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, included LSD as one of the most important components of recovery. Until of course the government banned it. Ever since, AA has been de-fanged.
If you’re saying to yourself, “Yeah, Leo, but I’m not a drug addict! How does this help me?” Oh, yes you are! You’re just addicted to something a little more subtle or culturally acceptable. Nevertheless, the underlying dynamic with you is just the same. What you seek is nonduality. Because it’s the greatest thing ever. Nothing else is even remotely close. But you don’t know it yet. You have to take my word for it.”
There’s something really beautiful and powerful about this approach to education. In fact, I find it MUCH more effective than formal education. It just requires a deep sense of life purpose and passion to pull off, because no one is there to prod you along.
This might be rosy retrospection on my part, but if I could live my life over again, I would quit school, never go to college, and invest all that time into self-education. The more I learn, the more I learn how poorly learning is done by our social schooling system. It’s really just terrible. It emphasizes all the wrong subjects and mechanizes what should otherwise be a highly conscious activity. The current emphasis on standardized testing is especially flagrant and outrageous. Real education has nothing to do with passing tests or memorization.
If you’re a serious, ambitious, self-motivated youngster between the ages of 10-25, I highly encourage you to take your education fully into your own hands. Never has there been a greater time to go full-autodidact than now, in the 21st century. The world is your intellectual oyster. Don’t let an antiquated and bureaucratic education system rob you of your most productive growth years. Start studying self-actualization hardcore, now! Start studying all the technical fields you need to execute your life purpose, now! The character this will develop in you will be extraordinary. The levels of mastery and creativity you’ll reach will have no comparison.
If you are in college now and considering a master’s or doctorate program, consider doing independent study instead. But only if you’re the self-starter type, the entrepreneurial type. This path is not for the lazy. This here is like going off-roading.
Learning is one of the most beautiful and rewarding aspects of human existence. Teach yourself how to tap into this beauty, and never let it go.”
“The universe is vastly more intelligent than you. Human intelligence, and your personal intelligence, is a tiny filament of universal intelligence. The sooner you can grasp this, the smoother your life will flow. Here’s why:
Your life is not random. The universe conspires to give you exactly what you need to grow. Not what you want, but what you need.
Think of yourself like a rough jagged stone. It can roll, but not very well. There’s a lot of bumps and friction compared to say, a glass marble. The glass marble represents the ideal frictionless state. A state of full surrender. A state of full consciousness. A state of highest human maturity and development. A state where human intelligence becomes one with universal intelligence.
That is NOT your current state. Your current state is that of a jagged rock. So when you try to roll, it’s painful. The pain points you experience every day of your ordinary life are PRECISELY those jagged edges which the universe wants you to smooth out. That’s why your suffering keeps recurring and doesn’t seem to end. Because you’re failing to learn the lessons! The universe wants to turn you into a perfect marble. But you create very inventive ways to avoid the polishing process. You view it as hostile to your self, when really it is loving. You create ways to weasel out of it. Because its painful to get polished. If given the option between getting polished vs having an easy day, you’ll probably pick the easy day.
The problem is… life is one loooong downhill slope. It’s all about rolling. So when you avoid getting polished, you’re just setting yourself up for a rocky ride. You can’t be alive and not get rolled. The only question is, will you roll easy, or will you roll hard? Will you learn your lessons? Life is long and hard when you’re jagged. The universe’s purpose is to polish you. The reason you’re alive is to get polished. This is the point of your life. If you don’t understand this, you’ll keep running away and keep experiencing a rocky journey. But if you understand this, you’ll let yourself get polished and you’ll have a silky smooth ride towards the end.
Your suffering is not random. In your suffering is great intelligence. Your suffering is literally your unenlightenment — is your specific ignorance. The intelligence of the universe is presenting you with life-scenarios which are designed to smooth you out in the EXACT ways you personally need smoothing. When you get into a fight with your Mom, when you get into a financial difficultly, when you fail at school, when you get into a car accident, when your spouse cheats on you, when you get a health problem, when you feel like quitting your meditation practice, when you distract yourself from self-inquiry — these are all messages of growth, calls to adventure, calls to your highest self. Guess what? The universe is not going to send you an email or text message saying, “Wake up!” It’s much more elegant than that. It embeds the message straight into your life. How can you tell you have a message? Your suffering is the universe’s “you’ve got mail”.
Don’t go looking elsewhere for growth. It’s all the stuff you’re avoiding. Money is not growth. A new relationship is not growth. A thriving business is not growth. Employee of the month is not growth. Growth is how you are BEing.
This, in essence, is karma. Karma is not some silly law of universal justice. It’s the universe trying to optimize itself, the same way it smooths out rocks in the sea, turning them into elegant pebbles. When the rock doesn’t understand the bigger picture, it’s in for a grind. If the rock resists the process, it’s in for a grind.
Happy living requires obeying certain spiritual laws. One of these laws is: let yourself get polished, dummy! Learn to read the messages and enjoy the process, because you’ve probably got a lot of rough edges on you.”
“I want you to rethink your notion of what hallucination is.
Various dictionaries define hallucination as:
“A sensory experience of something that does not exist outside the mind.” “Perception of objects with no reality.” “A sensory experience in which a person can see, hear, smell, taste, or feel something that is not there.” In our culture, the label “hallucination” has a strong negative connotation because it implies a thing is unreal and hence inferior.
The problem, of course, with these definitions is that they assume a naive realist paradigm. Meaning, they don’t take seriously the possibility that nothing may exist outside of mind. How can we ever distinguish a hallucination from a normal perception, given that the only thing we have of reality is perception itself? We can never validate our perceptions by matching them up to some other facts — not even in theory — because all facts must be perceived to be known. Perceptions are the only facts we’ve got! If hallucination is defined as a perception of something which isn’t really there, then that opens the possibility that the entire world is a hallucination, because you can NEVER be sure that there is anything behind your perceptions.
And that’s exactly right! The trouble is, people don’t take this conclusion seriously. They dismiss it as some philosophical abstraction.
If you’re like the typical person, you hold hallucination as a category of experience which is separate from ordinary “real” experience. To you, hallucinations are clearly unreal and inferior to real perceptions. But now I want you to consider the radical possibility that everything is a hallucination! Consider that there are not two categories of experience, one “real” and one “hallucinatory”, but only one category: hallucination. You might wonder, “But Leo… Why call this one category hallucination instead of perception?” Because hallucination is closer to the fact. Hallucination is defined as perception without an object. Which is EXACTLY what we’ve got! Which is why mystics all around the world have referred to reality as “a dream”, “an illusion”, “Maya”, etc.
Perception = hallucination! There is nothing else behind it! There is no physical, external world behind your everyday perceptions. Which literally means that what you think of as solid, tangible, physical, material reality is just a hallucination, albeit a rather persistent one — one which is shared by most of the people in your tribe. That is, until you start to play around with altered states of consciousness or psychedelics. Then you quickly realize how intangible, unreal, and hallucinatory your everyday experience was all along.
This is exactly why psychedelics are so effective. And also exactly why they are so demonized by mainstream culture. The problem with psychedelics from the social point of view is that they reveal the distinction between “real” and “unreal” to be an artificial construction. And that’s bad for business.
The problem with people who demonize psychedelics is that they assume that they will ingest this physical chemical substance which will then alter their physical material brain, conjuring up “just” hallucinations. So why bother trying it, right? It’s just going to be some wacky fantastical delusion which has no bearing on real physical life.
But this logic makes some overlooked existential assumptions: 1) An assumption is made that the distinction between “real” and “hallucinatory” is somehow inherent to reality rather than artificially constructed by human consensus. 2) An assumption is made that psychedelic experiences are less genuine or truthful than ordinary experiences. 3) An assumption is made that things like “the brain”, “the body”, “chemicals”, “reality” are all REAL physical things, and not themselves hallucinations or conceptual constructions. 4) An assumption is made that a hallucinated chemical cannot interact with a hallucinated brain to reveal the hallucinatory nature of hallucination. But what if everything you’ve ever experienced or known, including the idea that your experience is “real”, is just a hallucination? What if you’re begging the question due to paradigm lock?
Think of it this way: if you are lying in bed sound asleep, you can dream up a hallucinated alien chasing your hallucinated body while you fight it off with a hallucinated machine gun which can puncture its hallucinated skin resulting it a hallucinated victory and even a hallucinated feeling of joy. So in a dream — precisely BECAUSE everything is a hallucination — a hallucinated weapon is very useful. Without it, you might get eaten alive!
Now, what if what you call “reality” works just like that?
That would be quite the mindfuck! Which is why so many people who casually try psychedelics get terrified. If we are familiar with the deep lessons of epistemology, that’s exactly what we should expect when people make such deep existential assumptions so carelessly. You CANNOT accurately evaluate consciousness from a naive realist paradigm! The paradigm is so deeply flawed that the only way it can be sustained is by staying far away from any possible altered states of consciousness. Your life must be designed to maintain the consistency of your experience, because literally your entire sense of reality depends upon it. So if ever such a person happens to casually ingest a psychedelic substance, they have one of two choices: reject the experience, blaming it on the evil, delusional psychedelic, or swallow their pride, admit they were deeply wrong about the nature of reality, and have their entire paradigm overthrown.
Let me be very clear what I’m saying here: reality is literally a self-interactive hallucination, whether you’re on psychedelics or not. There is no such thing as “real”. The notion of a “reality” had to be constructed by humans! How else would it exist? It exists from the human’s point of view. The reason it SEEMS so real is precisely because there’s nothing to easily contrast it with — the hallucination is so all-encompassing you can’t see its edges.
To avoid this inconvenient truth, mainstream society expends a lot of energy spinning intricate webs of belief, ideologies, and rules to construct and maintain bubbles of delusion which insist that ordinary experience is really “real”. What society must tell you is, “No! Reality is really real! It is that way! We didn’t construct it. We promise! Trust us. What, are you crazy??? Do you want us to lock you up in the loony bin?” But the truth is, the notion of “reality” is just a social convention. It is a useful convention in order to get a normative grip over the minds of the masses so they can be manipulated towards the propagation of the species.
No wonder the world is so ideologically fucked up. People are eager to kill other people over mere webs of belief because the very nature of reality and the success of the species is at stake (for them). Now that’s what you call Maya at its finest!
The irony is that this insight was revealed to me by a psychedelic.
P.S. You might still be left wondering, “But Leo… What about REAL crazy people, like those who hallucinate demons? Aren’t they really psycho?”
Well… Maybe they aren’t as psycho as they seem. After all, what is the concept “psycho” but a social convention? If you really cared about understanding “psychos”, you’d have to find a way to enter their paradigm, their reality. And if you ever did, maybe you’d agree with them ;)”