By All Appearances

By all appearances, there is an individual self, a ‘me’ made up of a body-mind, in here, and a ‘world’ of people, places, and things out there.

By all appearances.

And then there’s that other old nugget: appearances can be deceiving.

By all appearances, it looks like there are two or more things going on – me and you, us and them, inside and outside, this and that, etc. But is this our actual experience?

Not only can appearances be deceiving, they are deceiving.

Just as a magician pulls a coin from behind your ear and then makes it disappear in his hand, all appearances of the mind, body, and world appear and disappear. Deception at its finest!

Check it out. Thoughts come and go. Feelings come and go. Sensations come and go. Perceptions of the world are constantly coming and going. But what one thing does not come and go with them?

The presence with which they are known.

Ask yourself the question, who or what is this knowing presence that is aware of the coming and going of all things – thoughts, emotions, sensations, and perceptions of the world – yet doesn’t come and go with them?

You don’t have to search for this knowing presence, because you are this knowing presence. Relax in this, your essential nature, and its qualities of peace, love, and happiness will permeate your entire life, especially when it comes to relationships and actions.

So What Is The Plan?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’                                            ~ Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

There is no afterlife, no reincarnation, no resurrection, no heaven or hell. This brief interlude called ‘life’, this delicate bridge between birth and death, is the one chance we have to express ourselves as a unique manifestation of that which is never born and never dies.

So, in response to Mary Oliver’s classic poem, the question we might ask ourselves instead is where is this ‘you’ that can make a plan in the first place to do something with its ‘one wild and precious life’?

What do we find when we look for this ‘you’?

We find a body-mind made up of a cluster of random and fleeting thoughts, images, emotions, sensations, and the ever-changing perceptions of the world through the five senses. Not one concrete or lasting quality to invest our identity in.

So the ‘you’ that claims to make and carry out plans has no real substance. It can’t be found except in the transitory expressions of the body-mind. This being the case, we can correctly conclude that there is no actual doer – there is no one to make and follow through with a plan.

If we say yes, I am the doer, I am in charge of my life, it would be like the wave saying, ‘I am in charge of the ocean. I am in charge of how the ocean behaves.’ Experience shows that the ocean dictates the wave’s behavior, as the wave is born of the ocean – without the ocean, no wave.

If the ocean is in charge of the wave’s identity and destiny, what is you’s counterpart? What is in charge of you’s identity and destiny? The wave is made of the ocean. The ‘you’ or ‘I’ is made of?

A better question we might ask ourselves is who or what is doing the looking in the first place?


Do we really think that we are in control? By the haphazard and sometimes despairing way in which many people lead their lives, we obviously know deep down, intuitively, that we are not in control, but we think that if we put up a good front, act like we know what we’re doing, maybe someone will believe us. Cult leaders know this to be true.

Many of us spend our lifetime identifying with a false sense of self, a personal I that when looked for can’t be found. Yes, there is evidence of a separate self, but only in fragments of passing thoughts, images, feelings, and sensations. The only thing that the I can say for sure is I am. Nothing more. Nothing less. This is a key.


Will you spend your precious life clinging to and defending an illusory separate self, a body-mind made up of a collection of conditioned thoughts and emotions?

Will you try to impose your will on others because you only feel good if others bend to your ideas or even crumble under your hardnosed scrutiny?

Will you withdraw into your insecurities, inadequacies, and failures, living a lonely life distanced from friends and family?

Or will you use this one and only chance to discover your true identity and express the peace, love, and happiness inherent in the gift of simply being? Of simply saying, knowing, ‘I am’?


You can look closely at the personal ‘you’ made up of passing thoughts, sensations, and perceptions, and discover that whoever or whatever is doing the looking, observing the coming and going of all things, reading the words on this screen, is actually the foundation, the source of all appearances. The ever-present background of all experience.

Or you can be buried forever under the ponderous weight of the illusory, temporary, so-called individual self.

So what is the plan?

Be Open

Be open to the possibility that you’re not who you think you are – that the individual self that you think of as ‘me’ is an illusion.

Be open to the possibility that your real self exists prior to, during, and after any manifestation of a body, mind, or world has come and gone.

Be open to the possibility that this real self is unlimited, boundless, without beginning or end. Is not born and never dies.

Be open to the possibility that no words can begin to describe your infinite and eternal being. That you, we, I, are beyond all concepts, cannot be found, and yet are everywhere and contain all things.


If you take an honest look at the qualities that make up your so-called personal ‘me’, the one seemingly mired down in the drama and complexities of every-day life, all you find is a cluster of fleeting thoughts, images, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, none of them with any more staying power than a cloud in the sky.

A cloud appears and disappears in the sky. It can’t come from beyond the sky – no boundary to the sky has ever been found – so it must be made of the sky. Likewise, a thought appears and disappears in awareness, an ever-present knowing awareness. It can’t come from beyond awareness – no boundary to awareness has ever been found – so it must be made of awareness.


All these things that you once thought you were – a thought, emotion, sensation – are irrefutably exposed as temporary, finite appearances and therefore can’t be considered your real identity. Only that which never comes and goes can be considered real.

So who are you?

Be open to the possibility that there is something indefinable and unchanging in you, as you, from which all experiences, all appearances, arise. Call it ever-present awareness, or unlimited consciousness, or an all-knowing unknowable knowing.

And why would you be open to this possibility? Because at your core you know and feel that this is your true identity.

Actually, you have to make no effort to be open, as this is your natural state. Just as the bud of a flower opens naturally in the warm light of the sun, our essential being opens naturally in the warm light of awareness, the background of all experience.

Simply being aware that you are aware – that your essential being is awareness itself – is all that is needed to allow your separate, individual, contracted self to open naturally and dissolve in the warm embracing light of this knowing presence that is always with you. Is you.

Be Open



Nothing New

Nothing new. Nothing old. Nothing in between.

All things arise in consciousness. Consciousness being that which is seeing the words on this page; that which is hearing a faint ringing in the ears; that which is feeling the weight of a body sitting in a chair; the changeless knowing presence that has been with us our entire lives.

Consciousness is not new. It was never born or just magically appeared. Where would it come from? Can a beginning to consciousness be found? And if so, who would find it?

Consciousness is not old. Something that is changeless cannot age. If something has no beginning, where could it end? And if an end could be found, who or what would be there to find it?

If consciousness has no beginning or end, where or what is in between?

No beginning, no end, no in between. Unending. Boundless.

Where is there room for two?

There can only be one consciousness knowing itself – knowing knowing knowing. And, in the realm of concepts, you, I, we, are this knowing presence.


Nowhere to go. Nowhere not to go.

Nowhere is Everywhere. 

Changeless Presence.


Nothing to do. Nothing not to do.

Nothing is Everything. 

Changeless Beingness.


The Changeless One

Radiates Peace, Love, and Happiness

And You, I, We, cannot find It

Cannot lose It