AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is taken from my Facebook account.

My life, my life, my life.

A review of one’s life must take place from time to time. The whole journey never seems to end, only to deepen, increasingly, with each step of the way.

A number of insights have dawned on me since the beginning of 2011.

First, I can say this year started off wrong and progressed further into a more painful direction. The alchemists would argue that one needs pain to grow, and perhaps they are right, as what I’ve discovered in and about myself has increasingly been forced out and out again, stark and naked and into my face like a blinding light that I cannot escape.

In the past year, I did any number of people a huge disservice, especially in the latter half of the year. The major sin I have committed was simple and is ridiculously easy to identify:

I stopped being true to myself.

I made one of the biggest mistakes that one can make spiritually, in that I tried to give my concern and attention and love to other people while having none for myself.

Perhaps if one is enlightened, this works, and works well, but the reality is that I am not enlightened or in the unitive state (to use a Christian term), and if my life is any indication, I may be quite far from it.

Self-sacrifice is a trait left over from my hardcore Christian days. The problem is that if one strains oneself too long, then a backlash will occur- the repression of what one really wants (or maybe even needs) will erupt through whatever crevices it can find, and then…well, the rest becomes history.

Despite the best of our spiritual endeavors to end the ego, ultimately, it will have to be taken from us by God (or the Truth or our Self), and that is that. Until then, it must be lived out, embraced, and kept in check. There is not much of a choice other than to overwhelm it with something Good, and even then that’s not a total guarantee.

But there is something to be said for liking ourselves, for liking our personalities, for living out our personalities. I cannot fathom that we develop said personalities, and that they mean nothing; something is wrong with regards to the literature on conditioned existence and so forth. The ego, in and of itself, is the problem, not the personality.

I’ve had a hard time liking myself in my life, due to various experiences.

But there is a point inside myself where I do like myself, and where I see that I fit into reality.

This leads us to another painful experience of my life, the dealing with the tribal identity and the need for one.

Some of you who know me may know that I’ve struggled with the tribal identity, the group identity, that I’ve never had. I’ve never belonged to a formal group of my peers, I’ve never been a part of something that is official. The closest “group” with which I affiliate is the Van Clan, but we’re scattered wide and far across the Earth, and we’re by no means formal.

Some thing that the idea of conformity is abhorrent, but the fact is that we have an instinct with a need to belong, and I am not an exception to that.

But then I also don’t sell myself short with group affiliation. If the group doesn’t meet my standards first, then they can forget it. Call it arrogance; I call it confidence and certainty.

At the risk of again sounding arrogant, I feel that I am more accepting of other people, who they are, what they do, and…

…their utter and complete BULLSHIT than most people I’ve ever met. The rule is that I am not above criticism, therefore, who can I criticize?

Yet that doesn’t keep me from seeing people’s flaws- instead, I look past them, their actions, their habits, and try to understand and accept them as a whole person, and honestly, there are so many things that just don’t bother me or irritate me, even if a “normal” person would be bothered or irritated by those things.

Which brings me to another point. People misunderstand. My entire life seems to have been this one huge story where no one understands me, and when suddenly I go beyond their relative level of grasping things, they’re out. They don’t ask for clarification, they don’t look deeper into themselves to find a reflection of it, they don’t go any further- they just give up, walk away, and that’s that.

I make assumptions about people, and I misunderstand others, too. But the difference is that when I misunderstand something about someone, I ask for clarification, I seek it. I seek the knowledge.

It’s progress, people.

Forsaking Sufism, even for a short time, led to disaster. I stopped saying the dhikr, because I felt that it was doing no good in my life and that it was just irritating me. I only meditated for a few minutes a night, if even that, and then I didn’t meditate very well at all. So the very core of my spiritual life was gone, and then, and only then, in the absence of those practices, did I see exactly how much they had been creating stability, exactly how they had been affecting me and everyone around me.

This all happened around the same time that I had been hearing constantly that just because you aren’t seeing results and getting experiences doesn’t mean nothing’s going on. I chose to ignore that, and now I know better.

I have to return to my encounters with God, with the experiences of what I call the Black Fire. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go to my blog at and look up the Black Fire to get a grasp on it. I have no problem sharing it with anyone who wants to read it, but the issue is too great to discuss here.

But mostly, I have to get back to me. I have to get back to me, to liking myself, and I mean my REAL self, not the part of me that’s always bending and ready to break under the stress of trying to make sure no one’s going to get mad at me or reject me or delete me off Facebook. My life cannot be something where I walk around worrying that I’ll offend someone or that someone will offend me. Offense happens, I know, and I want to be beyond it, rock-solid and stable so that no one can hurt my feelings.

Does this all make me selfish? Maybe, I don’t know. I can see other things about me that make me incredibly selfish, and of course, I feel guilt for those things. But guilt will not help. Acceptance will help, because that will help to dissolve the passions of self-will and desire.

Where am I inside myself, though?

Right now, I’m at a crossroads in my life, and I don’t know what road to take. But maybe I’m already walking down the right road without realizing it.

You cannot imagine the amount of stress it takes to not be who you really are. It’s not that I was outright fake. It’s not that I lied. Because I didn’t. But I did compromise, I did bend, I did things that were out of character for me, I did things that I should never have done, and may God have mercy on me for it.

And sometimes, it becomes automatic. In fact, I think this all started a long time ago, and now my Black Fire perception and self-appreciation and gratitude have all become occluded inside myself, and I have to struggle and fight to feel it again, just like I had to struggle and fight for years to feel Longing and Love again, and even then there are times when they recede from me.

But that’s okay. All in a day’s spiritual work.

Am I happy with my life? My friend Hannah asked me that years ago. She was maybe 13 or 14, and I was 20. The question threw me off guard, because I wasn’t expecting her to ask me that.

Even now, I don’t know if I can properly answer that question.

I think the degree to which one experiences Love and Black Fire is directly related to how much one likes one’s self.

So the answer would be more like, “Sometimes. Sometimes, I’m so happy with my life I think I’m going to burst. Other times, not quite.”

Instead of thinking that I have to find a group or someone or something to which to attach myself and go along for the ride, I’m going to be the one who’s living this life, I’m going to be the one to whom others attach themselves to come along for the ride- you’re welcome to come, but you aren’t obligated to, and that’s that.

But of course, it’s rarely that simple. This take time and energy, and energy can run out pretty fast if you aren’t careful.

That’s another good point to bring up. I stay tired a lot. The reason I’m tired is simple.


When you constantly work on yourself (and it’s a 24/7 type job), you don’t have time to take a break, you don’t have time to slow and stop- you don’t get an “off” day, you don’t get a chance to recover, you keep going, going, and going. There is no distinct “let’s work on ourself!” time; you must do it even in the heat of the moment.

That is the price one pays in being a mystic, but hopefully, it’s a price well worth it.

And for all people’s accusations and misinterpretations of me, it seems it would be easier to come to me directly and inquire what I mean instead of making up shallow stories behind my back, overreacting, and then taking up that I’ve committed some grave offense equivalent to massive infant sacrifice.

Also, for future reference: if you are a complete, unethical bastard that does things such as, say, 1) cheat on your partner who assumes monogamy with you 2) blatantly lie about your friends and 3) take unnecessary vengeance on people who did nothing wrong to you, then you can go fuck yourself, because that makes you a bad person, and being a fuckwit to people who have been good to you does not get you high rankings in my book.

Do I mean you, dear reader? Well, that depends. Do you do anything highly unethical such as listed above? No? Then not you. Do you do those things? Yes? Then yes, you.

Otherwise, I’m one of the most lenient people morally speaking, because I understand we’re human. But don’t go do something that’s just plain out terrible to someone else and then pretend like you’re freakin’ Jesus to the rest of us- because some of us are still endowed with common-sense, believe it or not.

So it’s time to embrace myself, not anyone else.

But I’m still here for all the people I love. Don’t think I’ve gone anywhere. Just showing you a new dimension, a new aspect of myself that I’ve previously not shown anyone.

So this is where it begins. Mark your calendars. February 10th, 2011, begins the era of Unapologetically ME.