Monday, March 23, 2015

Third Spirituality and Money Blog

I sometimes get information that my approach is hard, that things I say are harsh.
While I don’t idealize sugarcoating, I never mean to be cold or unfeeling. In the world of waking up and ending suffering, it’s not helpful to “pretend.” Egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate pretends (to be nice, be polite to people’s faces) in order to stay safe, unseen, hidden. It’s the quintessential puppet master, pulling strings just out of sight. That has no place in awareness practice.

Communicating clearly, offering clear information, is kind. Bodhidharma was called Grandmother because he was so compassionate, never hesitating to hit someone along side the head if they were lost in conditioned mind!

Walking the path of waking up and ending suffering, we choose to take advantage of all information we find in our path. If it’s in my path, it must be for me. Because we’re practicing to see karma/ego ever more clearly, nothing is perceived as too harsh. Only ego reacts in defensiveness.

Early in my tenure at the monastery where I trained I received a huge “spiritual opportunity” when I asked my teacher, in a rather large group of people, a “why” question. I never knew so much could be said about why without ever addressing the why! It was brutal. If I’d wondered before what of me was authentic and what was ego, that question would have been answered through those grueling (what seemed like) hours but must only have been minutes. It felt as if at least 100% of me was being crushed, sifted, and discarded. Much later I realized the authenticity was there, not at all concerned about ego’s mortification, right ready to bring me back to the next opportunity. Praise be!

Oh, and I never asked another why question. I got the lesson.

My point? If we are to be free, we must go through and let go all of egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate’s resistance. I don’t want to, I don’t do that, that’s not me, I don’t feel like it, it’s crazy, I’m too tired, it’s too hard, it’s scary, I can’t and all that digging-in-heels ilk must go. They must cease to be a part of our reality. No longer will they pull us up into conditioned mind, siphon off our energy, and make us believe that ego’s whining is our whining.

People suffer over all sorts of life content, as we all well know: relationship, money, jobs, security, future, anxiety, not enough, benefits, depression, the past, health, appearance, sex, worth, etc.  There’s endless agony as the voices of self-hate drag a person from one misery-producing “thing” to the next. “How will I?” “But should I?” “What if…” “I’ll never…” “You didn’t…” “Well, you should have…” Conversation after conversation with one focus and one outcome—suffering.

In practice we have many, many opportunities to confront the voices and get out of the conversation. Some opportunities we’re allowed to participate in, some the voices say no to. Ah, yes, it is voices saying no. We’re brainwashed into believing “I make the decisions in my life,” but in a lucid moment we know believing that is silliness. The voice in the head calls the shots. Moderate resistance means I probably get to do whatever; a lot of resistance means I don’t. No matter how long I’m willing to pretend authenticity is making my choices, sooner or later I’ll have to admit I’m a slave to the voices in the head.

I started this series of blogs writing about money and money karma, but we’re expanding beyond that because money is only one piece of content, interchangeable with all content. Given that, here’s the straight scoop. Not mean, not sugarcoated, just the “how it is.”

If we are suffering over something and we don’t want—which includes we are afraid — to address the cause of the suffering, we need to face that we’re choosing suffering and we need to stop complaining.

If I’m choosing suffering, I might as well acknowledge my choice and accept that I choose to suffer rather than having to go up against egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate in order to end the suffering. No pretending here. No saying one thing and doing another. I don’t want to face those voices when they start shrieking and threatening so I’ll just do what they say. My choice.

This could be a quick way out of the conversation in the head. The conversation is about what’s wrong, yes? If I admit I’m choosing what’s wrong because I don’t choose to end what’s wrong, what’s there to talk about?

Of course, the voices will switch to “Well, you should,” but we know what that’s about, yes? So, we can just sigh, look aggrieved and acknowledge, “Yes, I probably should, but I don’t choose to.”

A tangential, yet significant, point we do well to consider as conditioned human beings is this: In believing I am ego and ego is me, I am agreeing that the conversation in the head is me talking to me. In agreeing to that, I am agreeing to indulge the suffering drama in the head—and the ruined life it results in—rather than face the fear of “not being me.”

One advantage we have in practicing awareness is that we know—at least intellectually—that we will stop “being me” one day anyway. We’re going to die.
The old expression “you can’t take it with you” applies to money and possessions and can give the impression there’s a “you” that’s going somewhere and will have to face what you can’t take with you. Good to clear up that misconception for ourselves as soon as possible!  If there is no I and there is no me, which an awful lot of our spiritual heroes have strongly encouraged us to prove for ourselves, then it’s unlikely any “one” is going to make the journey and the main thing we won’t be taking with us is I/me!

The “would you rather be right or be happy” got very popular because people can sense the truth in it—though most people still choose “right.” In awareness practice the question is even more direct: Would you rather suffer as an ego or be happy?

I’m still looking for those folks who want to take the next year to see and see through the whole mess, those intrepid spirits looking to face and face down egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate once and for all. Not someone who’s just curious, might be interested, would like to find out more…. Nope. Not that person. This is the “I’ve had enough; I’m in if I die in the effort.” Those are the ones.

As someone who is already doing the year-long “getting past money and all other karma” retreat said, “I have wanted to face this (ego torture) all my adult life; I just never had the courage or the support.”

It’s available now.

In gassho,


  1. "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night."
    Yes, Gassho.

  2. I’m in if I die in the effort! Thanks for your willingness to hit me alongside the head!

    1. (And only conditioning cam be hit anyway!! Yay!!!!)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Wow, just love your honesty and insight into truth and ego. It is exactly where I am at right now, brutally facing my ego. You are courageous and I appreciate this.

  5. Dear Cheri,

    You write:

    "Communicating clearly, offering clear information, is kind. Communicating clearly, offering clear information, is kind. Bodhidharma was called Grandmother because he was so compassionate, never hesitating to hit someone along side the head..."

    Say that again, please.

    "...never hesitating to hit someone along side the head..."

    Ah yes. That's what I thought you said.

    What it is to be a Zen Master! How nice to be always in the right when you hit somebody!

    Yes, your slogan,

    "Inner peace
    = world peace"

    is concise and memorable. But if it means,

    "Inner peace
    = the right to beat the crap out of your students"

    that (I feel) is a less attractive message.
    One has to be so careful with slogans.

    I am sure that violence is not the way. I am very sad (even disturbed) to find that there are still people (like you) who idealise physical violence, who see lashing out as a mark of enlightenment.

    Goodbye, Cheri Huber. What a shame! I wanted to like you.



    Rob Foxcroft

  6. Any guesses whether Cheri will delete my last comment?

    If she does, then she isn't committed to her own principle, "Communicating clearly, offering clear information, is kind".

    If she doesn't, then I think she ought to let us know whether

    (1) Bodhidharma was right to make a habit of hitting people; or

    (2) Bodhidharma was wrong to hit people and ought not to be imitated in this (and perhaps in other things).

    1. Why beat up on Cheri when she is merely delivering a message? In return for her reporting a Zen philosophy you passively agressively say goodbye and challenge. You are illustrating her point clearly. There is no right and wrong, there is only IS. Its your database of experiences that makes the judgement. The only thing that matters here, is this really your authentic belief? Is it really you, or is this a remnant of your conditioning. If you care about someone, would you make an intervention that seems painful, embarassing, to snap them out of the future or past movies to get them present? Only YOU matters...nothing else. How you respond to stimulus of any kind is KEY to being authentic.Its okay if you stick with you original posture about violence. Its okay if you change. But note the opportunity to INSPECT your reaction to see if its really you, or a stored kneejerk procedure learned elsewhere.

    2. Thorough answer. Is he a troll?

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  8. Nice blog...
    Thanks for Shairng...
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