Q&A: What’s The Endgame?

Today we talk about the swag bag of enlightenment. And what happens when your bag is empty.

This is the third in a series of answers to one reader’s question. The question posed several wonderful topics, and to address them in depth, I have separated out my answers. You can find a link to the other posts at the end of this one.

Q: Did you go through a people-hating period? Not literally ‘hate’, but were people’s aspirations, values, and conversations so alien and ridiculous to you, that you felt no motivation to socialize or be part of society?

This is what I’m experiencing now. It is strangely painful and depressing. And a bit confusing, as it seems the endgame should be a feeling of connectedness, love, oneness, motivation, productivity, flow, etc. Instead, I am contracting more into my inner world and feeling lost (in the outer world), anti-social, and dying to escape.

I was a licensed attorney, teacher, counselor. And now and now … nothing. I’m exploring writing short stories with themes of awakening, but I often feel, ‘What’s the point? No one will get it.’ I feel drawn to the creative realm, yet I cannot find the motivation to do. It doesn’t help that financially, I don’t have to. Yet, I feel I’m wasting my potential.

I’m turning 40 on Sunday and have no children (husband (awake) and I (awakening) have been on fence; now I’ve mostly lost interest) and no career. How does one channel that ravenous floating woman who exists and creates just for the hell of it?! Or rather, the heaven of it.

Did you go through a similar phase (aversion to people, low mood, loss of career motivation)? If so, how did you overcome it? You seem so well-adjusted and content.

A: This is an important question. Let’s see if we can unravel it and shed some light on…you guessed it…the question itself. It’s not about getting an answer. Once you really explore the question, it takes care of itself.

“It seems the endgame should be a feeling of connectedness, love, oneness, motivation, productivity, flow, etc.”

First, why does it seem that your spiritual quest should result in all these goodies? Specifically:

To what do you wish to be “connected”? Other people? Why do you want to feel connected to other people? Have you really seen people? Do you even know what they are? We’ve gone into it a bit in this post.

One level of reality: you are connected to other people, also to plants, animals, stars, you name it. You are connected. Be quiet.  Be alone. You can feel it.

On another level of reality: you are other people, stars, cats, juniper trees, hydrogen gas…you are all of it. Be quiet. Be alone. You can feel this, too.

On another level of reality: you are beyond all. This is very hard for Sleepwalkers to get to.

When you are awake, you can access these levels simultaneously. However, I don’t feel anything like “connectedness”. It’s the false self that feels connected or separate. Being awake, in my experience, leads to a kind of clarity where you just see things as they are. So I see that I am connected, that on the next level I am all that is, and then I am also beyond that.

I don’t know if this is the best way to describe it, but try this: I am a woman. At no point do I long to feel like a woman. No mater what I’m doing, that is what it feels like to be a woman. I am a woman making a pie. I am a woman digging a ditch. I am a woman dressed as a man. I am a woman strapping on a dildo to make love to another person, I am a woman painting her nails. I am a woman giving birth. I am a woman stuck in traffic. I am a woman. At what point is it possible to not feel like a woman if you are a woman?

This is a very typical issue with Sleepwalkers. In the dream, you separate things that are inherently inseparable. In the Dream, you can be convinced by some clever teaching or some line of logic that you are All One. But then you don’t feel it, and it leads you to seek and chase the feeling, when really what you need is the clarity of knowing…then the feeling is not an issue, is never sought. Get this: if you know it, you don’t seek to feel it. If you don’t know it and don’t feel it, you seek to feel it (when knowing it is what you need). When you feel it once in a while, kind of accidentally, then you again, seek to find that feeling, when really the feeling is irrelevant and the clarity of knowing is what you need.

You are convinced that you know it, but don’t feel it, when knowing it is inseparable from feeling it. They are not two things. Your longing to feel it means you don’t know it.

Also, you can feel it from time to time. You can have these moments when you feel the bliss, the oneness or whatever, and then it goes away. It’s like a bout of “spiritual” hicoughs. But you got the momentary feeling without the clarity of knowing, so it can’t last and is in fact, incomplete in so many ways. It’s borrowed, not owned…and partial at best. Once you know a thing, truly, you are inseparable from it and don’t seek it. In the Dream, they are separate. Everything is separate. And you want to put them back together, but you can’t really do that because the separation itself is not real. You can’t fix a problem that doesn’t even exist.

Another issue is that you believe that if you felt the connectedness, it would feel good. What if it doesn’t necessarily feel good? Do you still want it?


Here’s another Dream concept. Love. It’s a bit of sticky business, to be sure.

On one level: you love people, animals, plants or whatever. It’s personal.

On another level: you feel a general love for all, regardless of their characteristics or what they are to you personally.

On another level: you are love, as is every manifested thing. The idea of giving or receiving love, needing love, loving…these are seen as fantasy. If there is nothing else, if every manifested thing, if every manifested force, if everything that can be perceived by you is made of only love and nothing else…

Being awake allows you to access these levels simultaneously. Though many can experience difficulty accessing the level of personal love because that is really deep Dream illusion.

That last level is mind blowing. This is not part of the Dream. In the Dream, you will say, “But what about Hitler!” (he’s such a perennially useful trope) You see suffering and cruelty everywhere, and you believe this is caused by an absence of love. You believe that the spiritual quest is the answer to this apparent lack of love. You believe you are separate from love, that you need to connect to it, channel it, get some, give some, whatever. You need to love people who’ve done terrible things. You need to be a saint. You need to breathe in hate and exhale love. On and on. From the level of All Is Love, this is simply hilarious, ego-perfecting behavior.

Not being a dick is just common sense, not really a “spiritual” thing. Your persona-self is judgy, brutal, ruthless, sadistic, petty. So sure, get that under control, but it has nothing to do with love or enlightenment.

You are love. So are all the shitheads you share the planet with. If that’s not a solid and constant reality for you, then you are Dreaming.

Does waking up and realizing, knowing completely and persistently that all is Love make you feel good? What if it doesn’t feel good? Do you still want it?

And I must add that there is another level, beyond love. But that’s for another time. You can read a little taste of it here.

Motivation, Productivity and Flow

Oh no! You got sold some McBuddhist New Age self improvement crap. It’s okay, don’t feel bad. It happens to the best of us. It sounds so logical if you don’t examine it closely.

You are a smart and well read woman. You’ve had some experience in life. So you know that there are lots of things you can do to become more “productive” (as if that’s a good thing?), motivated etc. But what on earth does enlightenment have to do with being more productive?

Here’s the sales pitch: Sickness is caused by blocked feelings or lower vibrational feelings. McBuddhas don’t have these, so you won’t get sick. McBuddhas always get awesome parking spaces, because they are totally in the “flow”. You can’t accomplish or experience what you want because you have limiting beliefs. McBuddhas don’t have limiting beliefs so they have the lives they want. McBuddhas get shit done because they are always at Zero Point. McBuddhas are always swimming downstream. Fuq, they are the stream! Become a McBuddha and you will be a better person and have a better life. You will sneeze rainbows and even wild dangerous animals will lie down before you, tamed by your radiating compassion.

Here’s my sales pitch: If you wake up, the result will be that you will be awake. Attain clarity and the result is that you will see the world and life as it is. You will give up EVERYTHING and you will gain only awakeness and clarity.

Enlightenment is not self improvement. It’s not about getting a better self, or a better life, or avoiding pain, or sickness or anything like that. It’s not about feeling love or oneness or connectedness. There is no comfort to be had, no security. Being awake is not quantitatively better than being asleep, it’s just different. People who are not awake can produce seeming miracles, heal themselves, control their bodily processes, manifest awesome parking spots, etc. People who are awake may be able to do these things, or they may not.

How would it feel to wake up right now, my dear, to find that you live in a world of totally crazy people? They are all delusional, some in more entertaining ways than others, and some in quite scary, unpleasant and violent ways. Would that be awesome? Would that make you feel more connected, productive and motivated?

How would it feel to wake up and find that everyone you know and everyone you will likely ever know is actually walking and talking in their sleep? Would that be awesome? Would you feel like life just got so much better? Would it feel like you won the Big Prize?

The endgame

Even the idea of an endgame here is really telling. The Dreamer is always seeking something. If I do this I’ll get that. And not in just a practical way, like digging a well (if I dig this well, I’ll have water). It’s much more insidious. Here are some examples:

When I get married, I’ll be (happy, secure, loved…whatever)

When I have a baby, I’ll be (happy, complete, whatever)

When I finish my degree…

When I get a promotion…

When I can afford to buy a sportscar…

When I lose weight…

When I get revenge, justice, etc…

When I eat 100% vegan, raw, fruit, breatharian, etc…

What’s on your list of “when I…”? This is all persona, faux self fantasy. You imagine yourself as lacking something and then you imagine there is something that will fulfill that lack and you project a fantasy version of yourself in the future, having attained the thing to fill the hole.

In fact, this has never really happened. It’s great to achieve things, like finally finishing school or having a baby if you want one, but it’s always anticlimactic. After a relatively short time you are on to the next thing, or dealing with the crap that came with your attainment or new life status.

Enlightenment has nothing to do with any of this, but it’s reflexive to plug it into the same Dreamstate paradigm of “It will be better when I…”.

Waking up means being awake. From there, you will see what you see and know what you know. Anyone who pitches you with any other benefit or endgame of enlightenment is selling you something else. Sure, there are some definite improvements. For instance, it’s impossible to have low self esteem, which is something all Dreamers seem to wrestle with in one way or another. But that’s only because you no longer have a self to esteem. So whatever you think is gained is only a byproduct of having lost everything.

Your endgame is being awake. Not a more loving, evolved, productive (good god!), motivated version of your current self. You will not maximize your potential or find yourself or reveal the divine within yourself or anything like that. You’ll be wide awake and experience a clarity that on occasion is almost too much to bear. Side effects include: bliss, ecstasy, the reflex to avoid people, the inability to carry on with the life you built for yourself, unknowing pretty much everything, rarely being truly seen or understood by anyone ever again. Oh, and sometimes you might go through a streak of getting primo parking spots. It happens.

In the following posts I address other parts of this question:

Feeling misanthropic, avoiding people, not wanting to be involved in social interactions
Losing your motivation

image: taken on a surreal and unplanned stay in Reno


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  1. Emma says:

    The information on this blog is priceless.

    No one else I’ve come across makes and explains the distinction between dreamstate spirituality and awakening (and many other oft-confused topics) with such jaw-dropping clarity and candor. Your expression is truly a rare and powerful thing.

    So now we know: even the most convincing, life-affirming, and wisest spiritual teachings have nothing to do with awakening. That one does not lead to the other, and in fact, that the former can derail the latter. That they are apples and … an orange.

    Love the questions at the end of each section. If the price of truth is everything you ever wanted (or thought you should want), do you still want it? And can one be brutally honest about this.

    If all is love manifested, including the dicks and shitheads, and all is perfect as is, then the aforementioned need not change. Nothing and no one needs changing. This is both disturbing and liberating. My mind keeps reaching for “reason”, “purpose”, “justice / fairness”, but in the paradigm you present, there is none. It seems to be a shithead’s world. C’est la vie, I suppose.

    The woman analogy & the clarity of knowing versus feeling are amazing pointers.

    One can meditate and muse on this post (and your next one) for months.

    Thank you.

    • 21st Century Bodhi says:

      You’re most welcome.

      To be clear, I never said it was all perfect as it is. I never mentioned perfection. Perfection is just that duality thing that Dreamers get all in a bunch about.

      It would be great if dicks and shitheads would change, I’m all for it. Being a better person has its own rewards. I’m just saying that a world full of better or worse people has nothing to do with enlightenment. If we all suddenly became “let’s make love not war” peeps today, that would be great, but that has nothing to do with enlightenment. If we took a huge retrograde leap and brought back slavery, that would also have no bearing on enlightenment.

      So by all means, find your virtue and shine it up. Find the shithead within you (we’ve all got some shithead genes, after all) and evolve it. It’s a lot of work being a persona-self! I’m in no way saying that self improvement is a worthless pursuit.

      I’m only pointing out that people often confuse Persona Remodeling, Repair and Maintenance with Enlightenment. They are, as you say, apples and an orange.

      • Emma says:

        True, you never mentioned perfection; others do say this though. I wonder if “all is as it should be” would be truer. Or maybe that’s just splitting hairs.

        Gotcha about persona-self improvement. The worthless pursuit would probably be other-persona improvement. If there are any others …

        Now THAT’S something I’ve been pondering: the surreal feeling that overcomes me (at times) that I am dreaming up the people in my life, as if they are reflections of parts of me or … something of that nature. This seems rather solipsistic though. Members workshop material, perhaps.

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