How to Find Your Inner Teacher

In this section, you’ll find blog posts related to How to Find Your Inner Teacher. Topics include learning how to pay attention in order to make perception shifts to become more awake, deepening our spirituality and connection to nature, as well as developing a strong connection and conversation with our inner teacher.

Use the right sidebar Articles Menu to find full-length articles and transcribed excerpts from Karen’s classes.

 

Confusing Magical Thinking with Spiritual Practice

Q: When I was in the dentist chair, to get away from the discomfort, I tried to put myself up to the ceiling and detach. I imagined myself looking down at my body so I would feel less distressed. This didn’t work all that well. Had you practiced and been successful at doing that before? Q: No, not really. If you’ve never left your body before, it’s not likely you would be able to leave your body in a moment…

Everything is NOT Suffering

Q: In my reading lately, it seems that most Eastern philosophies and religions keep pushing the point that everything is suffering. Do you agree? I need to get you guys to start reading other books besides Buddhism, and Hinduism! Trying to translate the Eastern nondual view for the Western mind creates so many challenges, including the need for an entirely different vocabulary, and framework for seeing the world. Even though I’m going to be accused of speaking out of both…

Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

Q: Why didn’t you tell me up front that this spiritual path is hard?  Would it have changed your mind?  Q:  No.  True. So, why waste energy when your mind was already made up?  Q:  I would have known more about what to expect—I would have been better prepared.  Life and actions prepare—not anticipation, worry, or fear. Life is both easy and hard no matter what path you take. Determination and heart are what make the difference. So, wholeheartedly embrace…

A World Full of Tree People

“When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t…

Spiritual Unified Theory of Everything 

Q: Is there a spiritual unified theory of everything? The challenge with the question you are trying to resolve is that there is no language to adequately explain this. There is no representation that can work because all representations are bounded. You are looking for a theory of everything that explains your enlightenment experience in a way that lines it up with your waking experience. You wish to understand what weaves it all together. “What allows it all to exist?…

What Are Key Elements of a Spiritual Practice?

Q: What are the key elements of a spiritual practice? This is a very large subject, but as meditation is often pointed out as a key element of any spiritual practice, let’s start there. Various meditations are used for various practices and outcomes. And, there can be levels to these meditations. But, as with all spiritual practices that move us toward oneness/awareness, the truth is that any meditation practiced diligently can get the job done. But even within some spiritual…

I’m Worth Millions but Compared to My Friends I Feel Like a Loser. What Should I Do?

Q: I sold my company five years ago and have built a net worth of ~$10 million, but compared to my friends I feel like a loser and still keep trying hard at startups that stress me out and make me miserable. What should I do?

The monetary number is not the issue–10 million, 10 billion. That’s just a way of counting coups. It’s how you’re comparing yourself to your peers in a way that makes you feel lacking and/or …

Spiritual Highlanders and Lowlanders

Mt Abu

Where Do You Dwell?

I remember one chilly evening spent on a mountain top in India with a 119-year-old master. We’d become very fond of each other over our many visits. This particular night, we were gazing out from the top of Mt Abu looking over the vast plains of Rajasthan below and I was lamenting that he had it easier on his mountaintop. He only had one job as a guru and that was to live a spiritual life…

How is Recent Solar Activity Affecting Us?

solar flare The energy released by this explosion could be equivalent to millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at the same time. (Photo: Nasa)

Q: How is, or is recent sunspot and solar flare activity affecting humans?

Recent solar activity (the earth is experiencing an intense solar storm this week) has been blasting the atmosphere with ionized particles. The equivalent of throwing pebbles into the pond causing concentric waves to radiate out. And because so many pebbles are thrown in at once, the concentric circles cause interference with each other, resulting in disruptive patterns. The point is, it’s hard now for us to hold thoughts. Or to…

Thinking in Words vs Images

Q: Do most people think in words rather than in images?

True. Most people are trained to have nonstop thoughts, which are words strung together. The beginning of releasing thoughts is to begin to start learning to see in images.

Images don’t trigger thoughts in the same way. This may seem counterintuitive because images are more likely to create and evoke emotions. A picture is worth 1000 words.

In fact, the longer you work to see in images rather than…

Why Eastern Spirituality is Often a Struggle for Westerners

indian spiritual people

Q: In reading Master of Self-Realization by Shri Sadguru Siddharameshwar Maharaj, I find that his answer to everything is that we are experiencing an illusion. We need to let go and just stop caring about whatever it is. That’s all there is to it. But for me, it’s not helpful to be told to just let go. What am I missing?

This is one of the reasons why Eastern spirituality can be tricky for Westerners. The Advaita Vedanta teachings do…

Spiritual Seekers, External Teachers and GIMMES

Q: Sometimes we search for so long we reach a point where we don’t even know what it was we were searching. But there is this longing that remains. What now?  What’s needed is a moment of recognition. Something clicks that makes us feel alive and excited.  That’s one of the things that happen when we find an external teacher. We have that sensation of hope that here’s somebody who could take me further down the path. You may not…

What are the Most Beneficial Things to do with Our Time?

Q: In addition to meditation and spending time in nature, what are the most beneficial things to do with our time? Take care of what is around you. Mend what needs mending. Tend what needs tending. Love what needs loving. Appreciate and enjoy your talents. Express your creativity. Be gentle and take comfort from simple living. There is nothing mysterious about any of this. It is all very straightforward. When you meditate and spend time in nature, it quickly becomes…

Trying to Measure Spiritual Progress

The mistake that people make with all spiritual practices is they walk into this room full of tools, and all these tools can help you to break through the illusion of duality, into that spiritual awareness connection, into the All-That-Is.  But what most people do is they try a tool for a brief period. They don’t get the quick results they’re looking for. They drop the tool. They go back and pick up another tool. “Let me try this one.”…

Should We Try to Resolve Thoughts in Meditation?

A few thousand years ago, back when the Buddha was alive—that was a very different world. There weren’t the distractions that there are today. Living back in that time, you were already much closer to being able to be in the now, because there was very little to distract from the now.  There are different challenges now. The principles are what they are, and they still work. But the effort that’s required now is much greater. So it requires a…

Reality is a Point of View

The current world energy could be summed up as a “Do Not Enter” sign with its red outer circle and horizontal bar. But if you look with a shifted perspective, you can also see that the bar can also be viewed as a handle that can be used to push the door open. Presently, many people are experiencing a kind of holding, where they don’t know how to proceed or believe they cannot proceed because they take at face value…

Emptiness

The human mind equates emptiness with negative things—lack of meaning, hunger, deprivation—rather than what it truly is—freedom from pain, the beginning of a healing process, cleanliness, a space opened to be full of creativity or love or other positive experiences and emotions. Because people are so afraid of emptiness, even when they release a negative emotion, once they feel the emptiness, the tendency is to fill it right back up with another negative emotion. I feel empty therefore I feel…

Can Positive Thoughts Overcome Negative Thoughts?

Can it work that there are certain numbers of people in a community or around the world, who if they think good thoughts, they can overcome the destructive thoughts?  On one plane, yes. But on the physical plane, destructive energy is a very dense energy that overtakes most things in its path.  An angry person has a much greater chance of making other people around them angry than a happy person has of making people around them happy. Negative energy…

Setting Triggers vs Setting Conditions for Awakening

In pursuing a spiritual path, what do I need to do to have an awakening experience? I tried going to church but didn’t have the experience I was hoping for. The way many people go about “pursuing” an awakening experience can actually backfire because they set up the experience as a goal. “My goal is to have an awakening experience.” It becomes the craving for the sensation, rather than understanding what an awakening experience is.  That’s the difference between setting…

What Are the Main Points To Finding Your Inner Teacher?

What are the main points that need to be made in finding your inner teacher?  Being connected to the source is a birthright that has been taken from us by cultural conditioning.  Remembering is easy. Decide to remember.   Pay attention as though your life depends on it. By paying attention, you will begin noticing much more and you will remember, “Oh, this is this connection. I feel as though I am communicating with what I am paying attention to.” There is a flow back and forth of beingness…

The “Getting Ready to Get Ready” Stage

I keep having this feeling that I’m ready to make a big change. But at the same time feeling that I’m not really ready. That’s the “Getting ready to get ready” stage. Yeah, and what’s that about? Because everybody is going to want to know how do I get ready as quickly as possible? It’s a pacing step that’s necessary because when you have those kinds of massive jumps that are life-changing (I call them jumps to hyperspace), you can’t…

What Role Do Dreams Play?

What role do dreams play in our lives?  They are the safety valve for the subconscious. They release stored pent-up emotions, memories, hurts, worries. And they can provide creative solutions. They can reveal multiple dimensions. But primarily it is a way for the body to decompress from the day’s activities. A chance for healing. A kind of reset.  Not as an erasing, more like filing in the proper cabinet so that it can coexist peacefully rather than be strewn about…

Is Confidence Needed to Connect with the Inner Teacher?

For someone to be able to make use of the inner teacher, do they have to have a certain degree of confidence in knowing that what they’re getting is from the inner teacher? What builds that confidence is validation over time—it requires duration plus positive experience with the inner teacher. It’s like anything else, you’re building a muscle. But this is a very different kind of muscle because it’s invisible and the results are, to a degree, intangible. It’s not like lifting weights where…

There is no better time, there is no better place. There is only here and now–so get hopping.

Q: So, you’re saying to stop trying to game the system. Play it straight up. Here and now. That will make for a pretty big change after a lifetime of trying to see up ahead, around corners. And where has that gotten you? Q: That’s what fear and worry do though. When you feel that you have to watch out for everyone else and yourself–that’s a lot of responsibility. That’s a lot of moving parts. That’s a lot of things that…

Do We Have Free Will?

Do we, as humans, have free will?  As humans, no.  Then why is it that we feel like we need to make decisions?  Because humans are the smallest part of consciousness. The unmanifest creates the human, which becomes the manifest. Once it has been manifested, the journey has been set for the duration.  Did the universe create everything at once?  No, the unmanifest created the universe. In the creation of the universe, everything was set for the duration.  You are putting the starting point later. When something is manifest, the starting point is over and the duration…

Remembering What We Have Forgotten

Do all people have the experience of trying to remember the connection of awareness that they’ve forgotten something, but they don’t remember what it is they’ve forgotten? All people on a spiritual path do. The way they experience it is as a kind of deep-set loneliness that can live well below consciousness. Somebody may not be thinking every day, “Gosh, I’m so lonely” but there’s a feeling of being disconnected from everything that’s common to a lot of people.  So…

How Should We Go About Achieving Our Dreams?

Start with First Things First Q: How should people go about achieving their dreams? Most people are inclined to put the cart before the horse. It’s valuable to have dreams, but most people don’t know why they have the dreams they have. Many have them because they’ve fallen into them and don’t know what other dreams to have. Yes, through dreaming, people create their own reality and lives. But so many of these dreams get shaped at times in our…

How to Develop Intuition

Q: Does everyone have an intuitive ability? Yes. Everyone is born with an active intuitive awareness, otherwise known as the instinct for survival. Because this is essentially an unused sense, which is typically not valued or is feared, most parents teach it out of their children at a very early age. Q: Are you saying that intuition is nothing more than a glorified survival instinct? Intuition is a refined version, yes. Before the modern age when humans were on an…

The Shell Game

In order to survive, we all build a shell to live in. For some, the shell is the athlete, the brain, the attractive one, the funny one, the kind-nice one, the in-control-get-things-done one. There are many shells. But that’s all it is; a shell game.   But you won’t know this until you lift the shell up to see that there’s nothing underneath it. You don’t live in the shell, the shell is not you. When you are freed from that illusion, then you…

A Simple Meditation for Young Children

Don’t we all wish we’d learned how to meditate when we were young? All adult meditators would agree. And yet how many meditating parents still haven’t found the time or the way to start with their young children. The secret to success: Keep it Short. Keep it Simple. Keep it Fun. Following is a simple and easy way to get started. But first, a few tips. Keep the language and imagery simple. Stay away from loaded words. Keep the meditation…

What Does It Mean When I See Repeating Numbers?

I recently got asked, “Why do I keep seeing repeating numbers? Does it have a spiritual meaning?” In this case, this person was seeing the same time on the clock every day at 1:11, 3:33, and 4:44 day and night. I have to laugh, because—case in point—when I went to check her text for her numbers series, this was on my phone home screen. This is a well-documented synchronicity phenomenon that I’ll explain in a moment. It’s just that some…

Three Key Components to Finding the Inner Teacher

There are three key components to finding the inner teacher. It is truly this simple. Stop. Look. Listen. The stopping is stopping the craziness of modern life. Stopping habits that keep you trapped in behaviors that you know are nothing but time wasters. Stop using your phones as a pacifier. Stop running around looking externally for the outer world to fulfill you in any lasting way. Stop hectic lifestyles. Part of the stopping includes beginning the process of meditation, which…

What Is the Importance of Nature to Reconnect with the Inner Teacher?

This conversation came out of discussing The Inner Life of Trees and Finding the Mother Tree. Q: I’ve been thinking about trees and their ability to communicate with each other and to help each other and I was wondering if their consciousness is greater than ours? What they have kept in their evolutionary process is a groupthink, a oneness that humans have lost. We used to have it and that was where there used to be telepathic communication and the…

You Are Not Your Story

From the time we take on language, our ability to see things clearly for what they are, as they are in real-time, is impacted by perception and memory. Both have been culturally influenced, so cannot be fully relied on to reveal any great truths. You must look past your story; the story of who you’ve been told you are by parents, teachers, clergy, friends, culture. You must look past the memories because memories are inherently inaccurate. They are stored perceptions…

Definition of Crazy — Doing the Same Thing Over and Over and Expecting Different Results

Q: I’m feeling stuck in old patterns. A: Work to try to shake yourself out of the habits that are preventing you from changing, from getting to where you want to go. For example, don’t start the day at the computer. Start it outside going for a walk, or exercising, or reading. Q: I know, I’ve made my energy and my life very small. But it feels manageable. Making it bigger feels like just adding more to the to-do list….

A Name is the First Spell

We are born in a state of oneness—still aware of our pure connection with a greater knowing, a greater beingness and the all-that-is. But as soon as we are taught language, we begin being taught how to forget. How is that possible? Let’s use the word “tree,” which is a language symbol for the image symbol for the thing itself. We’ve instantly been twice removed from pure reality. Much gets lost in the translation. Each time we are indoctrinated into…

Is There Progress in Karma?

Most people think of karma as a spiritual principle of cause and effect/punishment and reward. This view holds that the sum of a person’s previous and current actions determines their fate in the future. For example, if someone committed bad deeds in a previous life, they would be punished for those past misdeeds in this life. If you are a good person in this life, you would be rewarded in your next life. From a non-punitive view, karma is what…

The Question of the 21st Century

If you’ve been a reader of this blog, it will be no surprise that I’m in the camp that’s happy Biden won. I am also keenly aware that nearly half of our country feels as bereft and depressed as I did when Trump won 4 years ago. I am saddened by this divide. I think the bigger question is how does America get off this seesaw. Is the political rift so deep and irreparable that we really need to figure…

Finding the Truth in the Time of Alternative Facts and Fake News – It Can Be Done

We’ve come to live in a complicated, splintered world where not all realities are shared equally anymore. For instance, in this age of Trump, one can choose the option of “alternative facts.” The divisiveness that is happening in this country (and around the world) is like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime. As someone who works hard at being clear and living a spiritual life, this is more than disconcerting. At least in the US, the generally accepted practice has…

What is the Best Way to Live with Uncertainty

Q: How do we make ourselves better able to embrace change and uncertainty? You have a major opportunity right now. This national uncertainty we’re facing will continue intensely for quite a while before it levels out. Knowing that this is not going to go away quickly will prevent you from rushing back to the status quo. Most of this has to do with varying levels of acceptance: acceptance of certain emotional states, external world conditions, and so on. Once we…

Didn’t There Used to be a Thing About Living Within One’s Means?

Life is indeed overwhelming these days. What with the non-stop political circus ramping up to beyond frenzied levels, just for starters… Even so, we need to find a way to not be distracted and to remember to expand our consciousness beyond our short-term, short-sighted actions. Earth Overshoot Day came on July 29 this year. This is the second time the day, which marks the time at which humanity has used up its allotment of natural planetary resources for the year, occurred…

What If — Everyone Started the Workday Dancing?

When I spent some time in India, there were many things that were striking. But one that I found most so was when I visited a friend’s office and he asked me to join in on their lunch break. Thinking I was just signing myself up for more curried dal and roti, I said sure. Then riotous dancing broke out and everyone—and I do mean everyone—joined in. The sheer joy of it can’t be translated. But I can tell you,…

Planet Earth Team Humanity

When did it happen that we’ve come to live in a time where it has somehow become socially acceptable to publically behave badly by expressing anger and frustration, and a willingness to harm others. Whether by yelling, name-calling, flipping someone the bird, or worse threatening someone’s integrity or safety. And, conversely, showing signs of sensitivity and vulnerability are frowned on as being weak. Not an upside down cake I have any interest in taking a slice from. What if we remembered to start…

Mind Meld

Several times a day, Graidy comes and sits on my lap, and then gently presses his forehead to my forehead, with his nose to my nose. He does this with deliberate precision, until we are staring eye-to-eye. Then he closes his eyes and breathes his warm breath on my face. I feel his body relax. We stay like this, merged, for several seconds. I wonder, is he trying to read my mind? I’ve no doubt that if he could climb…

I Understand…

I’ve never been one to turn away from the raw and real, and nitty gritty about life. I don’t seek it out, but if it comes looking for me, I’ve tried to equip myself to the best of my ability to meet it. Hence my training as an EMT, my training in psychology, and my involvement with dog training and rescue. I figure that pretty much covers most of the bases. As life often has a tendency to bunch up,…

How to Tell if the Moon is Waxing or Waning

Here’s a simple way to tell if the moon is growing toward full or waning toward new. Just remember that “C” is the 3rd letter of the alphabet which is lower (smaller) than “D,” the 4th letter of the alphabet, which is higher (bigger). So when the curve of the moon makes a “C,” it’s waning. And when the curve makes a “D,” it’s waxing. C = #3 (less than #4)- Waning – loosing light toward New Moon D =…

Planting Sustainable Outdoor Snacking Stations

I was just reading an article about planting a food forest by a farmer whose philosophy I share. And it reminded me that I’ve been doing a variation on this with my property for about 10 years. I call it creating “Snacking Stations.” I started doing this with an eye toward building in “passive food providers” onto my property so that even if I might not have time for a large garden every year, I would still be able to enjoy…

My New Year’s Wish for the World

My wish for all of us is that we remember that we are all connected. We all share the same home–Planet Earth. We all share the same gene strands that make us human. And we need to do a better job of remembering what we have in common rather than always focusing on our differences. There are no winners in war. Just one side that appears to lose less. To help you remember the depth of our connection to ALL…

If Only People Paid As Much Attention As Dogs

Admit it. You can’t even move toward your shoes without your dog(s) knowing that you are going out. And whether those shoes are hard-soled or sneakers tell them whether they’re going to get to go with you. That’s because our dogs really pay attention. They notice every little action we take. Every little facial expression. Every little sigh or laugh. Every little everything. They. Pay. Attention. And they know exactly what that action, expression, sound means. I cannot move an…

My Primary News Source

If you pay attention to the news, it seems we are living in crazy times. Even though I try to remind myself that’s not entirely true–it’s just that “crazy” sells and the media is buying. I do my best to do my own ferreting out to find the truth, which mostly means staying away from what passes as “news” these days. Sitting in a restaurant last night, my table was facing a grandmother, mother, and young son. As they were…

Sharing an Experience

I was speaking with a long-time mentoring student who’s found himself working very hard not to become embroiled in verbal battles of late. His question to me was:  Is there a way that we can sanely engage in intelligent conversation that can include differing views, without resorting to hostility? Great question, don’t you think? Is it possible to discuss politics or religion, or anything we feel passionately about, without getting locked into stalemated arguments? Which usually results in the predictable…

In Case You Missed It–Blood Moon Eclipse

Last night, I had a front row seat for a spectacular display, where three separate lunar events converged— the first of its kind since 1982, and the last we’ll see until 2033. The total eclipse coincided with the full moon nearest the fall equinox, known as the Harvest Moon. And the moon was at its closest approach to Earth for the year, making it also a supermoon or perigee moon. The ‘Blood Moon’ eclipse gets its name from the reddish…

It’s All What You’re Used To

I had a couple of friends visiting from New York City. After two nights of being kept awake by the nightly symphony of our frogs, crickets, cicadas and other orchestra members, my friends said they couldn’t wait to get back  home to the “Quiet” of the city. Mind you, they live on the same block as a hospital AND a police station! Guess it’s all what you’re used to… : )  Click to listen to Night Sounds in the Northeast…

What My Herding Dogs Have Taught Me

I was recently asked by an interviewer what I’ve learned from my dogs. Since he was referring to Dogs of Dreamtime, he was specifically asking about Kiera, Magic, and Molly. To put into context some of what I’ve learned from my animals, it helps to know that, left to my own devices, I gravitate toward intense herding breeds. Kiera is an Australian Shepherd. Graidy is a Border Collie mix. Magic was an English Shepherd mix, who died from Lyme Disease….

Northern Lights

The first time I saw them, I was camping out in Nova Scotia on an isolated sliver of a peninsula that jutted out into the choppy Atlantic Ocean. As I’d done since I was a kid, I threw my sleeping bag on the ground so I could have a clear view of the night sky. It was the new moon, so I was anticipating some magnificent stargazing. What I wasn’t anticipating was what happened next. All of a sudden and…

How to Go On A Walkabout

Most people know the expression, Go On Walkabout, comes from the aborigines. But most people don’t know much about the underlying reasons for the practice. When aborigines set off on a Walkabout, they’re taking a spiritual journey to a “Belonging Place” in order to renew their relationship with their Dreaming and the Landscape. I was born a Dreamer. And I’d been going on my own version of Walkabouts long before I’d ever heard of the term or learned anything about…

Planting by the Moon

Planting time here in upstate NY is considered to be safe (danger of frost over) after Mother’s Day. So, as of this past weekend, the gardening gun has gone off. While my cold weather crops have been in for weeks, now it’s time to get the rest of the garden going. But, I can’t just yet, you see, because I’m waiting for the New Moon — which is still about a day away. And then I’ll wait a couple more…

Go To The Dark!

I needed to get a tool out of the garage to finish a project I was working on. As I turned on the light, there was a bat flying low and circling around the garage. Then it starting flying around the light. I quickly opened the garage door, waved my arms and yelled, “No, not the light! Go to the dark! Go to the dark!” Guess it’s all a matter of perspective…

Counting by Halves

There are two times in life when we count by halves. One is when we’re under the age of ten, and we’re half way between one birthday and the next. We’re still young enough for it to feel as though a year stretches on forever. So making it a whole six months more is worthy of being marked and counted. “I’m six and a half!” says my friend’s daughter with great pride. I’m excited for my friend’s daughter, because I…

Dream Catcher

I was awakened at 2:30 this morning by a flash of light outside our bedroom window. I’m accustomed to the odd nighttime event, being a Dreamer and all, and this was definitely odd. Mainly because the dogs didn’t bark. Actually, I guess that was the good news. It meant there were no intruders on the property. (I’ve had intruders on my property before–during one of the very few times I didn’t have dogs–and it was the ultimate in creepy and…

Looking Up — The Orionid Meteor Shower

Like dogs, I find that people fall into two main categories–those who look down and those who look up. By down I mean looking at what’s in front of us–the earthly things. By up I mean looking at what’s up in the sky–the vision of things happening overhead. Like Graidy, who, as part bird dog, instinctively looks up to find movement (as contrasted by Kiera, my herder, who instinctively looks down and around for movement) I’ve always been drawn to…

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