this: becoming free – (2019) by michael gungor (srh)
under it all, there is always and only this – your very heart and self.. this book beloved.. ie my love letter to you.. to simply tell you that i love you and to remind you of who you really are under all of those stories of yours..
the first noble truth: life is suffering
it’s hard to enjoy a day at the luxury spa when you’re paying for it using fairy tales and violence.. t.. everything in my life was built on these skeletons and lies..
structural violence et al
(talks about life being better w dentists and antibiotics and heating et al.. so not suffering the same as past.. but rather.. bored et al)
this is the human predicament. there is an endless not-okayness at our core.. t
missing pieces et al
there is nothing in existence that is fundamentally separate from anything else.. t
this is not how it feels to most of us because the nerve endings in our bodies end at our skin.. this gives the illusion of some sort of real boundary between the inside/outside of our bodies, but if you look closely enough, there is no such firm line.. t
so what does any of this have to do w that not-okayness at the core of the human experience? what does seeing the interconnectedness of everything have to do w the amount os suffering/freedom i experience..
this was before my world had taught me that my curiosity was evil.. t
(in shame) i felt like something at the core of me was bad.. my mind/body/curiosity were all evil and could not be trusted
i needed to be good.. i needed god to fix me so i’d be ok
the accolades hadn’t made me love myself
duanne had offered to send us off w some money to start the church if we could wait a little.. but we didn’t feel right about that.. we didn’t want to have any strings attached to anybody.. by this point, we had largely given up hope for any sort of org’d religious expressions.. but bloom was our last ditch effort to see if there was a way to org w/o becoming corrupt.. we didn’t want there to be anybody but ourselves to blame for any hypocrisy so we kept it clean and simple.. we met in homes at first.. then upstairs at old community center..only a few people would come.. handful of 20 somethings and a beautiful old man named chuck.. bloom was a weird place.. rat on shoulder, homeless, it was fantastic.. bloom was our shelter/sanctuary/home.. *but it wasn’t enough..t the christian world we had seen made me wonder if our religion was true.. if it was.. wouldn’t the people who were supposed to be the body have more in common w the teachings
house church et al
(on losing hope.. on churches w american flags and pics of slaughtered animals on trips to africa) sure we had bloom but after a couple yrs of such fervent idealism.. i had begun to grow weary.. we had hoped that our love would change the world, but it hadn’t.. the church was small/poor and all of our effort felt like drop of futility in an ocean of pain..
costello screen\service law et al.. part\ial ness is killing us.. need everyone in sync.. or the dance won’t dance.. and we’ll just keep spinning our wheels, suffocating – from the day, as we perpetuate myth of tragedy and lord
the second noble truth: suffering is the attachment to desire
suffering is what happens when we desire something to be other than what it is.. the clinging to the aversion (dislike) of pain is what brings the mental suffering, not the pain itself
this explains why there is till so much suffering in the world in the early 21st cent despite all our tech advances and pain management capacities
well.. not the reason.. it’s a symptom.. but again.. suffering is because none of us are legit free .. 1\ not everyone (aka: most) don’t have all the advances accessible 2\ none of those advances address legit needs
as maslow’s hierarchy of needs demo’s.. humans tend to find a whole new set of desires to pursue once they have fulfilled current ones.. our suffering doesn’t go away when our basic needs of food, shelter or sex are met.. instead we just find new things to desire..
oi.. so off.. this is whalespeak.. ie: food, shelter.. not legit needs.. that’s why they don’t get us back/to garden-enough ness.. that’s why they don’t satisfy us.. legit free people don’t/wouldn’t ‘want more and more and more’.. we just have no idea that’s true.. because we’ve not yet let go enough to see
(on suffering being wired into our dna).. we are born w a cacophony of undifferentiated vibration and sensation.. before words, there is no way to box reality into conceptual categories like ‘somethings’ or ‘someones’ to be desired or to have aversions to.. only the overwhelming and insignificant blur of sense w/o meaning.. still we cry.. why? because even before desire becomes rooted in specific ideas/stories, desire still exists.. we are born w and in a way as desire.. from the very beginning we are unsatisfied w this, and so we imagine a that.. we want that not this.. seems to be built into our dna.. life is suffering
oi.. so much whalespeak (wish we could talk)
ie: not yet scrambled.. the not label ing ness is more humane.. we need to be more like that.. a child doesn’t cry much if healthy and you hold it close.. all the other factors/pacifiers are because we’re in sea world.. we do have 2 deep desires.. which are never addressed/met in sea world.. that’s why all of us are still chained..
our suffering is always and only the result of our clinging to our desire for this to be that.. anthony de mello a jesuit priest and psychotherapist said it like this.. ‘if you look carefully, you will see that there is one thing and only one thing that causes unhappiness.. the name of that thing is attachment. what is an attachment? an emotional state of clinging caused by the belief that w/o some particular thing or some person you cannot be happy’
wow.. words.. ie: missing piece #2 – attachment..
but true.. not a clinging or a particular person/thing.. rather.. the need to be seen by someone.. ie: in footnote he says ‘attachment to the desire causes suffering not the desire’
this is an absolutely necessary realization for your freedom, and one that many of us are reluctant to accept, and partly for good reason.. it’s an easy truth to misunderstand/misuse.. there is no reason for you to try to judge the internal experience of someone else.. you have no idea how deeply they are clinging to the pain they are experienced.. therefore no right to tell them what freedom should look like for them in their circumstances.. the truth that our suffering is a result of clinging to that rather than loving this is never a truth to impose on others.. but rather an infinite ocean w/in yourself that you are free to swim in if you so desire.. it’s as simple as letting go..
the third noble truth: the end of clinging is the end of suffering
(in footnote): while many people toady consider science the antidote to myth, the practice of science ie still a human meaning making, and therefore ‘mythic’.. endeavor (as defined above – ‘myth not used here as simply stories that aren’t accurate.. rather.. stories that explain other stories’).. as the modern age had demo’d, rational and sci thought can hep us build and destroy w tremendous power, bu tit cannot, by itself, determine what or how we should build or destroy.. sci cannot by itself *offer any sort of moral, spiritual or aesthetic guidance to humanity.. for that we need myths.. w/o myth there would be no possible meaning derived from experimentation
interesting focus on myth.. ie: i’m not sure we’d even need/desire/seek meaning.. if we were legit free..
again.. myths aren’t false stories they are big meta stories that help us interpret and make meaning form the world around us
if you didn’t have myth, you wouldn’t have any meaning/language/concepts
yeah.. again.. not sure if that would matter to legit free people.. we have no idea
this is why it can be hard to recognize the extent of how your own myths color your thoughts/feelings/experiences.. tryin to conceive of how you conceive is sort of like trying to see your own eyeballs
which sounds absurd (absent mirrors et al).. but again.. maybe that’s how ‘meaning making’ would sound to us if legit free
all our baseline assumptions about what this is, who we are howe we should act come from the stories we tell … but all of that is story.. you live in story.. you are story.. because of the power of story/myth, people are willing to work most of their waking hours for an imaginary construct called a corp in trade for an imaginary value called money and pay a high % of that imaginary construct to another imaginary entity called the usa.. *one of the reasons our myths are so powerful is that they not only offer us a sense of meaning but an id and feeling of belonging
brown belonging law: the opposite of belonging.. is fitting in.. true belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are.. it requires you to be who you are.. and that’s vulnerable.. –Brené Brown.. et al
as the spiritual teach a h almaas wrote, ‘becoming free of the fixation of any perspective is the same as becoming free of the self’
whoa.. hameed.. yay..
(just) saying there is no such thing as an objective view
everything that you think imprisons you.. it’s just a story.. and when you can see that.. you are free
again .. back to p 25.. can’t be free until everyone is free.. as if already free ness doesn’t work until we all have that opp.. we all need our shells back.. in sync.. otherwise.. we keep circling back around to your ‘bloom.. not enough’ ness
if i had know that nurse’s dire sounding pronouncement was simply a limited description of one aspect of the unique and marvelous attributes of our new little princes…
our society teaches us a weird myth about how life is supposed to look.. top of ladder.. straight white male cisgender and able bodied.. bay girl w down syndrome.. sorry that’s way down the ladder.. i could only see a condition that threatened my personal pursuit of happiness.. my experience of the world was limited to the small, destructive stories from which i was viewing lucette (and everything and everyone else).. it didn’t take long though till she helped me see the light.. lucette means light
(on leaving bloom.. atheist.. career goes.. debt.. lucie born.. friend hired to help pastor tried to kick them out.. so left drama of denver)
the thing about suffering is that at a certain point, it takes the ability to cling to desire right out of you.. perspective gets all jumbled up and all that is left is this moment
you are not those (whatever addiction et al) things.. nor are you a person who needs to try to not be those things..
you cannot be anyone other than who you are in this very moment, and you don’t need to be.. in this very moment there is nothing missing.. nothing that is lacking.. nothing that is imperfect or ugly.. i think most of us focus so hard on changing rather than simply and mindfully being..
well.. yeah.. we don’t need to be fixed.. but we do have holes/missing pieces/whatever.. from systemic/structural violence/stripping.. we are already what we need to be.. we have already what we need to have (deep w/in).. the holes/missing pieces/whatever will return/uncover.. if only we could get out of this cage/world.. play in a diff park.. all of us at once.. in sync
she already has it.. she already is it.. the only thing keeping her form this realization and experience is her belief that she has to achieve or protect it somehow.. for so many of us our biggest problem is actually *that we think there is a problem
the fourth noble truth: the way
we want to figure out how we can attain it.. we buy the books .. attend the conferences.. wear specials clothes.. skip meals.. scour thru sacred texts.. knee, pray, meditate for hours.. we overlook broken/violent religious systems w their manipulative altar calls, racist/patriarchal power structure, child molesting priesthoods, .. oppressive control mechs.. hoping that if we persevere we will eventually win.. we will eventually get the gold star, .. the ‘well done good and faithful servant’..
what most of us are often actually looking for when we seek our spiritual prize.. is for the reality of this moment to be something other that what it is.. there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.. there is only this.. maharshi: ‘it is false to speak of realization.. the real is as it is always.. we are not creating anything new or achieving something which we did not have before’..
if we truly are all connected as one.. then none of us is truly free until all of us are free.. t
good news: today we have the means to org the chaos of 8b legit free people.. until we sync .. let’s try that
ie: a nother way
imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch in 8b souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to connect/coord us.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for.. the energy of 8b alive people
ken wilber: ‘walking up (realization of ultimate truth) .. must be accompanied by growing up (maturity in relative truth).. and cleaning up (psych shadow work) in order to be health and holistic’.. east often focused on waking up.. west on growing up (social justice issues: fem, civil rights, sci inquiry..).. spiritual maturity takes time, energy and practice..
nah.. that’s whalespeak.. and why we haven’t yet gotten to global equity.. let go (you’re talking in circles now -you just said ‘in this moment there is nothing lacking’.. i added – in each person – .. let’s stick with that)
spirituality takes time, energy and practice
oi.. i don’t think so.. takes a lot of work ness is killing us
this fourth/final section (of book) will focus on exploring what i have found to be helpful pathways for experiencing deeper levels of freedom’.. but important to realize that in talking about the way.. *we are not talking about a list of things that one has to do or believe in order to achieve enlightenment..
um.. *yeah you are.. any form of m\a\p.. is saying we’re not enough as is.. and legit freedom will never be uncovered/whatever.. if we think any of us are not enough as is.. (esp go into it p 122-125 et al)
ie: why a book – 1/2 of which is about pathways to the way
one must first realize that some part of their body/mind is holding onto something in order to let it go.. letting go: that’s the one spiritual move (or unmove).. it’s not even something you ‘do’ as much as something you stop doing.. it’s not trying to change anything but simply being.. we cannot chose to do this/that in order to someday attain enlightenment.. such an act would still be an act of grasping.. trying to let go is still clinging.. letting go is enlightenment.. of course there may be time your body just isn’t ready to let go..
rather.. we can’t let go (in the sense that we’re not even trying to let go) until everyone is free.. in a free space.. where there is ..nothing to prove ie: legit free people would see talk of enlightenment/letting-go et al.. irrelevant.. no?
the most musically mature people are those who have learned to relax and let the music happen thru them.. the music is the flow.. but *getting their takes practice
does it? i’m not sure.. but i’m pretty sure we don’t have to be musically mature to learn to relax and let the music happen thru us.. that is a description of a not yet scrambled child.. rather.. it’s about musically detoxed (or whatever).. the ‘competition/performance/practice’ ness is part of our supposed to’s of school/work et al.. not natural
ie of p 116 *list of things
mastering new scales is, after all, a necessary discipline for any competent improviser
i don’t know.. do we really know that? what defines competent/incompetent improvisation?
i don’t think of scales anymore while i am improvising on stage.. my mind/body have simply melded into the music.. the notes i play are more like breathing than thinking.. of course to get to this point i had to do a hell of a lot of thinking about scales
you did.. in sea world.. but is that how music et al .. would really dance if we were all legit free?
ie: formal practice screwed me up for 40 yrs; i know many who played/loved the instrument or whatever so much that they just fell into the sounds it made.. can’t read/tell what the scales are.. et al.. and that’s people still in sea world.. imagine if we were all legit free.. i think we have no idea what music et al.. would be like
but of the infinite possibilities before the student.. how is she supposed to know what it o play w/o it sounding like utter nonsense? this is where scales become helpful.. scales provide the basis for the idea of ‘correct’ notes
yeah.. see.. that’s what we’ve been engrained to believe.. but does it hold for legit free people? ie: what is utter nonsense? to who?.. sounds like not yet scrambled ness to me.. and i’d say any idea of ‘correct’ ness is a big part of what is keeping us from us
she begins to internalize the sound and feeling of the scales in the same way that one internalizes the rules of grammar or the natural cadence of a native language
exactly.. and not natural.. ie: language as control/enclosure
at some point all of the scales and feeling of those scales become like second nature.. at some point the guard rails fall off and there is just the sound of the notes played over the chord.. at this point *there are no more ‘correct’ notes.. no more rules or guidelines or structure or limitation.. there is only the music.. only this
yeah.. all *that this ness.. but as first/inborn nature..
ie: we think we aren’t enough.. so we have to train it into us.. then we have to train it back out of us.. then we’re 50 and wondering where our days went.. and why we didn’t let go of all the training way back when we were 5
isn’t this *also how it goes w religion.. when we are young
when we are young.. we need someone to tell us the appropriate places to place our fingers on the frets.. thous shalt not steal /kill.. for years we need to practice those scales.. trying to learn how to not be completely selfish .. we learn how to love.. eventually, after years and decades of diligent practice, we start shedding the training wheels.. we don’t need the 10 commandments post on our wall in order to not steal.. *we just don’t want to steal.. early on in our spiritual practice, **we need b&w rules that tell us what is permissible and what is not.. the sort of maturity required to skillfully navigate the gray spaces usually ***takes many years of disciplined, hard work
**killing us softly w its same song ness
***and its takes a lot of work ness
handing a trumpet to someone who doesn’t play and saying ‘there are no wrong notes’ will not result in the same sort of music that came from the lips of genre-defying miles davis.. one must learn to walk before learning to run.. you *can’t effectively break the rules until you know the rules
oh my.. *what a time/energy suck..
i think we have that all backwards.. i think we have not idea what legit free people/music et al.. are like
(on different mystical traditions … incredibly diff.. at begin/shallow level).. but when you find the *people who have seriously practice their scales for decades.. those who have lost their own ego supremacy in the nondual fullness of this.. they all start sounding a lot alike..
yeah.. what if we are all alike in the beginning (ie: almaas holes law; maté basic needs/essence; .. ) .. and all that *seriously practicing ness wastes our years/energies.. we just think we need to go thru *it because we’ve been trained to believe we need to go thru it
i think this (they all start sounding a lot alike) is because when you hear a master play, you are not simply hearing the fearful steps of a person trying to remain w/in an individual scale anymore.. at this stage of spiritual maturity, *there are not more ‘wrong notes’..
this is all whalespeak man.. *there never were.. welcome to age 50 (in sea world).. that’s what’s ridiculous.. why do we keep living/wasting/killing our lives/aliveness this way.. thinking we have to train/work-hard first .. in order to be..
In old age the emphasis shifts from doing to being, and our civilization, which is lost in doing, know nothing of being. It asks: being? What do you do with it? – Eckhart Tolle
children do not try to play.. they just simply play
this is god
somehow christendom turned jesus into an idol to be possessed by the ego as a key for the ego’s eternal enduring, rather than the living invitation to fully experience the eternal this.. christian empires turned the idea of incarnation (god made flesh) into a dead and sterile dogma of exclusivity rather than a lived reality of love.. the ruling entities and those leading the developments of christianity and the church made jesus’s words more about what will happen in some imagined future after death rather than the eternal life that he pointed to here and now..
when god is seen as this (fully present .. swimming in the ocean/moment), the arguments on terms get a little silly.. does god exist.. of course not, an god worth his salt could not possibly be confined to a human idea like ‘existence’.. but neither could one accurately say that god doesn’t exist because ‘nonexistence’ is also a concept.. far too limited to apply to an infinite an ineffable this..
god for me is a name for the nonduality that is beyond such categories as existence or nonexistence, matter or nothingness, real or imagined.. god is all in all, beginning and end as they are now..
like i’ve said all language fails miserably when you start trying o talk about this infinite [ ].. words will always fall short of encompassing even a fraction.. there can be no meaningful fraction of infinity..
same for all of life.. ie: language as control/enclosure et al
it seems to me that by holding our sacred language more loosely, we have more space w/in which to play..
let go ness
to see that this is god is to realize that we are home.. we don’t have to go anywhere or do anything to be in the heart of god.. you’re already here.. you’re already it..
then why ie: p 122-124.. takes a lot of work/practice et al?
if already on/in each heart ness.. we really need to let go of that (122-124) thinking..
toward getting us back to the garden-enough ness..
this is awareness
this is love
the problem of evil
hmm.. seems he’s saying no binaries in true love.. so good/evil et all.. just part of the dance.. (i think it sucks to say those suffering are part of the dance.. easy to say/rationalize/ignore from privileged perspectives)
i think i’d say we have evil because god gave us free will.. and with that free will.. we got all messed up and built sea world
from garden-enough page:
on why the conditions of the garden weren’t fail proof.. why it didn’t work.. perhaps: *1\ to show we had a choice 2\ weren’t enough anothers .. to love one another 3/ to learn what enough was/is.. we don’t need more to have enough
also thinking about the tree of knowledge (of good and evil).. ‘for when you eat of it you will surely die’.. makes me think of carhart harris entropy law.. that we are dying from an excess of order/measuring/accounting/knowledge/intellect ness.. and until we let go of that control issue.. that hard won order.. we’ll keep on dying ie: literacy and numeracy both elements of colonialism/control/enclosure.. we need to calculate differently and stop measuring things
free to suffer
i too have looked at the flowers and seen that there is nothing to worry about.. i , like you, too, perhaps, beloved, have felt deep betrayal, crippling depression and tremendous pain, and yet here i am, still alive and with magical 21 chromosomed baby gloob on my chest.. and i wouldn’t have it any other way.. how could i? have you hear this music? it’s everything..
yeah.. i think we need a nother way way to live..
i get the overwhelming ness of thinking about those with unconscionable suffering.. and so we make the best of it.. and that may be all we can do..
but.. i’ve seen enough .. to think we now have the means to detox all that.. to re shell ourselves.. we need a way that takes better care of all of us..
2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b legit free people
Musician, heretic, lover of Life.
Michael Gungor is a Grammy nominated musician and composer who lives in Los Angeles, California. His musical projects are Weiwu, Gungor, and On Earth. He also hosts two podcasts—“The Liturgists Podcast” and “Loving THIS”, and is the author of the book “THIS: Becoming Free.”
Michael’s second book (this) breaks down the illusions of existence, inviting readers on a journey to live more self-aware, free lives.
The first album release under the new name was Beautiful Things in 2010.
Gungor published his first book The Crowd, the Critic and the Muse in 2012.
In April 2019, Gungor published his second book This. He is currently the host to a podcast, which shares the name with the book, that explores the spiritual themes of clinging and suffering.
Michael Gungor grew up in Marshfield, Wisconsin. He is the son of pastor and author Ed Gungor. He began writing and playing music at a young age and went on to study jazz guitar at both Western Michigan University and the University of North Texas while also touring and working as a multi-instrumentalist musician. He met his wife Lisa at Oral Roberts University during their first year, and she, also a musician, later became his music partner and serves as the other primary vocalist and songwriter for Gungor.
Michael and Lisa live in Los Angeles, California with their two daughters, Amelie and Lucette. They wrote the song “Light” for their younger daughter, born in May 2014, who has Down syndrome.
In 2007, Michael and Lisa Gungor founded a non-denominational church community called Bloom, but have since dissociated themselves from the church.