my unedited personal notes:


Next week an invaluable podcast series on the five Tanmatras [i.e. The Five Divine Currents] begins.  Powerful, compelling, deeply personal yet universal.  I encourage you to join us.


not ego, not childhood wounds cloaked as one’s ‘truth’.  not perspective, bias, or beliefs

Real ‘inner grit’ comes from the transcendent.  the witness, the Shiva value. Yet positive attracts negative.  Being that in kali yuga attracts negativity, judgement, resentment, projection, misunderstanding, jealousy, anger, etc.  and that will come not just from strangers but from those closest to you.  The other option is low profile, like the Mona Lisa smile.  So, some choose to speak from that place openly while others prefer to hide it.  The choice is theirs but the decision comes from a spontaneous place called their own true nature.  Either way one has little choice in which they live…  and the process of living it is not clear cut.  It is awkward and difficult as one integrates the ‘house of mud’ of the superficial self, with the awakening process to one’s inner Divinity… the undefinable, ungraspable field of Perfection… The silent, unbiased, unopinionated Shiva value within.  From there, commitment is infinitely solid, yet paradoxically not black and white. 

Cultured life vs behavioral modification

Spiritual growth is not about outward appearance.  it is an evolutionary process.  though there are phase transitions along the way, it is essentially gradual with no surface displays of progress.  It is natural, like the growth of a tree or the rising of the sun.  So, it is common to put on ‘behavior airs’ to convince one’s self and others that they have spiritually ‘advanced’.  Are the changes rooted in subconscious chit or genuinely from within a stronger connection with the transcendent?  That is not so easy for one to tell for sure.  Yet the desperation to want confirmation compels many to modify their behavior in an attempt to convince themselves and others of their progress. 

The following is a lovely note from one of my long-term students reflecting the truth of the genuine process of spiritual development… humble, uncertain or even confused on the surface, yet life changing, solid and profound: 

Dear Michaelji,

I could not write a good ‘about me’ page for my blog. Then yesterday I wrote one that [my husband] also liked. I was wondering if it sounds correct to you? It has been my experience.

About Me:

From a young age, I started to define myself through others. I would/and still do want others to validate me and my existence. While growing up, I could not find a clear mirror, not from my family, friends, or teachers. I didn’t always receive a positive reflection when I was myself. I learned that I was much more accepted if I mirrored others instead of them mirroring me. Although superficial, I finally had connections with people. However, over time, I forgot that I existed at all. 

Then, in my early 30’s, I met my teacher. The first day of class I walked into the room to the cleanest mirror I had ever experienced. Because the reflection was so clear, I could barely hold back my tears. All day, I felt a burst of emotion move through my body. I was too embarrassed about crying around a bunch of strangers. Because of this, I ran to my car after class, drove home, ran inside my apartment while avoiding all my neighbors, and shut my door. I let out years and years of a false sense of myself. I did not stop crying until I woke up the next day. 

Over time, I have realized that I have karma, and people look at me through this karma. Somehow, my teacher could see me outside of my karma, and in return, I developed a sense of myself. Not immediately, but over time, I developed a reference frame outside of the world reflection. I call this my inner grit. When I feel myself reaching out there for answers and validation, I return to this place of uncomfortableness and stay with it until it disappears. It is not fun or easy, so I call it “inner grit.” 

This blog is about what I find during my explorations. In the past, I would have been too afraid of what others thought to speak out. But now, if what I say is ridiculed, questioned, or picked apart, I know I have a place to go that will transcend it all. Once I stop wanting to be heard, I will be heard. This is how I feel life works, and my inner grit will get me there.


“If you don’t like your personality, you better change it now because after you are enlightened, you won’t care.’”

    attributed to Swami Muktananda

“Failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it.”

“graveyards are full of indispensable people”


“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”

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