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The Lotus Effect

Shedding Suffering & Rediscovering Your Essential Self

Entries in lotus effect (13)

Saturday
Dec182010

Consciousness Is Its Own Broom

Suzuki reports the following curious exchange between Yun-men (a Zen master) and a fellow monk.  When asked “Who is Buddha?” Yun-men said:  “The dried-up dirt cleaner.” 

To my analysis, this a rather profound response, although it doesn’t seem so at first.  After all, Buddha as a dirt cleaner?  What does that mean? 

Let’s take a look.  But first, a word about the meaning of “buddha.”  There’s nothing religious about this word—it simply means “awakened, aware” and originates from the Pali verb budh, meaning “to awaken." Thus, the term “buddha nature” can be taken to mean animated nature, nature that is aware. 

Buddha nature is consciousness.  Here’s the Dalai Lama equating buddha nature with consciousness:  “This consciousness is the innermost subtle mind.  We call it Buddha nature, the real source of all consciousness” (1988, 45).  Indeed, consciousness, since it exists, is part of nature and its defining characteristic is that it is aware.  In fact, the two words “consciousness” and “awareness” are functionally interchangeable. 

So, what did Yun-men mean when he described Buddha as a dirt cleaner?   Perhaps that buddha nature (consciousness) is self-cleaning. 

Consider a lava lamp.  Within it there is wax (the substance, the essence) and then there are various forms that it takes (the information).  The mind is made of consciousness, just like any given wax-form is made of wax.  As the wax moves, it self-cleans: through constant movement, it continuously sheds one form after another.  It is the very movement of the underlying wax substance that accounts for the arising and the cessation of any given form.  It works the same way with consciousness: in its continuous, uninterrupted flow, consciousness cleans its own house—each thought, feeling, and sensation that emerges eventually passes. 

Consciousness is its own broom.  It takes out its own mind-garbage.  In its ceaseless flow, consciousness wipes its own slate clean time and again.  Information ripples through consciousness like a wave across the ocean until it eventually fades out.

Here’s what Thich Nhat Hann, a noted Buddhist thinker, says on this point in Opening the Heart of the Cosmos: Insights on the Lotus Sutra:  “The wave does not have to seek to become water—she is water, right here and now. In the same way, you are already a Buddha.” 

If so—if consciousness, like water, is self-cleaning—then why should you bother with an identity (informational) detox if there’s never been a thought that didn’t go away?  The point is to help the process along, to tone down the informational tsunami, to learn to surf the mind-waves without drowning.

Source: 

Excerpt from Lotus Effect: Shedding Suffering and Rediscovering Your Essential Self

Wednesday
Dec082010

Self is a Stereotype: Correct It!

There is a story in Zhuangzi (a Taoist book named after Zhuangzi, a 4th century BCE Chinese philosopher) that goes something like this...

A master carpenter Shi and his apprentice are walking through the woods in search of a good tree. The apprentice sees a great big old oak tree and asks his master why he walked past it paying it no attention. "Oh, enough with that," the Master exclaims, "don't even talk about this one!" The Master Carpenter then explains: "This tree... it's so bad that if you made a boat, it'd sink; and if you made a coffin, it'd rot; and if you made a roof, it'd leak... This tree is good for nothing and it's exactly because it's so useless and worthless that it's been standing here so long..."

Are the Master and the Apprentice looking at the same tree? Not likely.

It'd seem that this parable is about stereotypes. The Master is right: the tree he is describing used to be no good, after all, he has seen it so many times while in these woods, looking for a good tree to work with. With time, the Master has come to ignore the tree -- and, ignored, the tree has been spared to grow into a great big tree that the Apprentice is noticing. The Apprentice -- free from the perceptual stereotype - is seeing the tree for what it is...

But what is the Master actually seeing?

The Master is seeing his own thought: the stereotype of the tree is super-imposed onto the actual tree. The Master has projected a thought of an ugly, good-for-nothing tree onto an actual tree. And, instead of seeing the actual tree, he is staring at his own thought as if he was staring at a tree, unaware of the difference.

Mindfulness (meditation) is when you see a thought as a thought without confusing a thought of a tree with an actual tree.

This parable, as I interpret it, is not about the tree but about the so-called Self. Here, in the West, we are used to thinking that we have a Self. In the East, in Buddhism and Taoism, Self is seen as an illusion.

When we think of a Self, we think of a thought that somehow summarizes and encapsulates our essence. But that is, of course, nothing but a stereotype. Like a tree, we constantly grow and change. And any self-defining, thought-long description of our Being inevitably reduces and over-simplifies our nuanced complexity.

What are we referring to when we are referring to our "Selves?" Are we looking at what is or are we "seeing" our own projections of what once was?

As the Master Carpenter who looks at his own thought thinking that he is looking at a tree, you may look at your Self and judge it as "good for nothing," "useless," "worthless." Yes, these are familiar paths of self-deprecation that we have treaded in the woods of our minds so many times that these paths now tread us...

But, hold it: take a look at this thought about your Self, look past it, look through it: perhaps, beyond this perceptual veneer of a stereotype that you have of you, the actual you have changed...

Let's apprentice.

Saturday
Dec042010

Emerson's Lotus Effect

One of the original American sages, Ralph Waldo Emerson, in an essay called Experience, writes:

“[S]ouls never touch their objects. […] If tomorrow I should be informed of the bankruptcy of my principal debtors, the loss of my property would be a great would be a great inconvenience to me, perhaps, for many years; but it would leave me as it found me – neither better nor worse. 

So is it with [any] calamity: it does not touch me; something which I fancied was a part of me, which could not be torn away without tearing me nor enlarged without enriching me, falls off from me and leaves no scar.  

[…] I grieve that grief can teach me nothing, nor carry me one step into real nature. 

The Indian who was laid under a curse that the wind should not blow on him, nor water flow to him, nor fire burn him, is a type of us all.  The dearest events are summer-rain, and we are the Para [rain-] coats that shed every drop.”

After I stumbled upon these lines I had four thoughts:

  • Emerson’s “lotus effect” (of shedding and repelling suffering) was strong;
  • his analogy of the soul (psyche/consciousness) to a rain-coat that sheds every drop was the same hydrophobic effect (water-fearing/water-repelling) that informs my own analogy of “lotus effect."
  • I wondered which Indian he had in mind – an Indian of the East or an Indian of the West (native American). 

And then I had this fourth thought, a question, really, that Emerson kind of alluded to:

  • Is this psychological (psychic, spiritual) imperturbability a curse or a blessing? 

For me, the answer’s clear: it is a self-earned blessing bestowed upon one’s own self via rigorous psychological self-help. 

What are your thoughts about this immunity of self-knowing essence that Emerson writes about?  And are your opinions founded on experience or speculation? 

Try out the cloak of Vedic invulnerability to find out for yourself.  Experience that Indian in you. 

Reference:

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Experience (Emerson: The Basic Writings of America’s Sage; edited by E. C. Lindeman, Mentor Books)

Monday
Nov292010

Feels Like a Self But Is It?

Consider:

"What is distinguishable is not necessarily separable."  (1)

Just because you see an eddy in a stream it doesn't mean that an eddy is separate from the stream.

"The imaginary line separating objectivity and subjectivity, reality and illusion, facts and theory, is literally imaginable." (2)

Just because you can imagine a (causal) line between any two points (or any two events) it doesn't necessarily mean that a line (of connection between these two points) actually exists.   First mind creates dots/data-points (that aren't there) and then mind connects these dots/data-point to create a line (of connection).  And the imaginable - suddenly - becomes real. 

Ponder: if an illusion (of self) exists is it still an illusion? (3)

 

Reference:

1, 2 Meditations through Rg Veda (Antonio de Nicolas)

3 - Lotus Effect (Somov)

Thursday
Nov112010

Psychological Autopoiesis (Identity Regulation, Identity Hygiene)

Over the last several years I have been reading Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan (the former, Lynn, is the ex of Carl Sagan and the mother of the latter).  This mother-son writing duo – to my estimation – is one of the key think-tanks on this planet at the present time.  Lynn is a fearless iconoclast brilliantly redefining our understanding of life.  But this post isn’t about “life,” in its biochemical or cosmic sense.  This post is about inner life and maintenance thereof. 

As some of the readers of my blog know, I recently published a book called “Lotus Effect” which is a program of the identity detox designed to help you “shed suffering” and “rediscover your (so-called) essential self.”  What I want to show you in this post is the interplay between biology and psychology, namely, the interplay between the two fundamental questions: “What is life?” and “Who am I?”

In their book “What is Life?” Margulis and Sagan write of life as “islands of order in an ocean of chaos.” This isn’t just a poetic stance, this is a kind of thermodynamic proclamation of independence.  You see, according to the second law of thermodynamics entropy (i.e. chaos, disorder) increases “in any moving or energy-using [i.e. living, i.e. existing] system.”  In other words, everything tends to fall apart.  But life – while it exists – resists this tendency for disorder through self-maintenance. 

Here’s Margulis & Son on this point:

“Body concentrates order.  It continuously self-repairs.  Every five days you get a new stomach lining.  You get a new liver every two months.  Your skin replaces itself every six weeks.  Every year, 98 percent of the atoms of your body are replaced.  This non-stop chemical replacement, metabolism, is a sure sign of life.”

This process of self-repair is called “autopoiesis” which is Greek for “self-making.”

Margulis & Son again:

“Without autopoietic behavior, organic beings do not self-maintain – they are not alive.”

So, where am I going with all this?  To the notion of psychological autopoiesis, to what an early 20th century Armenian mystic Gurdjieff used to call “self-remembering,” to what I call “identity detox,” i.e. to the work of psychological self-maintenance.  When I say “psychological self-maintenance,” I am not talking about emotional self-regulation (mood management).  I am talking – literally – about identity-regulation, Self-maintenance. 

When you ask yourself “Who am I?” you are, in a sense, shedding the outdated psychological skin and replacing it with an renewed sense of self.  You see, psychologically speaking, we are mired in informational misrepresentations of who/what we are.  We keep confusing ourselves with what we do, with what we have, with what we feel and think, with the roles with play, with our history.  This informational confusion is the entropy of identity, a continuous loss of self.  We simply disappear behind all these words of self-descriptions and self-definitions. 

The task of psychological self-maintenance is the same as that of biological self-maintenance: it is autopoiesis, it is a job of self-making.  Instead of being made (programmed) into “this” or “that,” we have to continuously de-program.  We have to keep asking ourselves this basic identity-detoxing question “Who am I – who am I at my core, at my foundation, who am I when I shed my roles, when I dis-identify from all that’s fleeting and transient in my life, who am I when go beyond my self-descriptions, – who am I in essence, rather than in form?”

As you see, the “Who am I?” question isn’t just a superficial inquiry.  It is a depth-psychology probe.  It is an invitation to drill down through the informational calluses that weigh us down.  It is an informational detox, a detox of identity, an informational strip-down, a process of remembering that you are not any information about you but that which is in the process of formation. 

I know it sounds heady and confusing.  And it is: you have to use your head and you have to tolerate the initial confusion that comes with this kind of self-work, before you finally begin to know what/who you are by being clear about what/who you are not.

Each day you are actively involved in life-supporting metabolic self-maintenance: you eat, you excrete, you repeat this cycle.  The same goes for psychological self-maintenance, but in reverse: first, you excrete (shed) the ego-dirt, the informational dust that gets in your mind’s eye, the suffering of identification with what you are not; and, then, you “feed” yourself – through meditation and contemplation – with a sense of self, with a sense of “am-ness.”

This kind of daily “identity detox” is no more complicated or time-consuming than brushing your teeth.  It is part of psychological hygiene, not a chore but an enjoyable task of self-remembering.  There are many different experiential ways of accomplishing this.  Just like with biological self-maintenance, you have a choice of any breakfast of consciousness you wish.  It so happens that I, myself, like Dzogchen-style “sky-gazing meditation” for my “am-ness cereal.”  That doesn’t make me a Buddhist.  If you want to go with the Biblical “bagel-and-ham” of “I am that I am” to start and/or finish your day, you don’t have to be a Christian to do so.  Any psychologically-autopoietic identity-detox method would do!

Enough rambling.  Time to load up on “am-ness” calories!  Lotus-eating time!

p.s.:

Read anything written by Margulis & Son!  It’s complex but scientifically and existentially brave.  I particularly recommend “What Is Life?” and “Microcosmos.”

Monday
Oct182010

Lotus Effect, Ontologically

Thought plows the field of Consciousness.

Feelings grow.

Ontologically*, Nothing changes.

 

*Ontology (psychologically, not philosophically (not that there is a great difference between these two applications of consciousness)) is the knowledge of one’s Unchanging Identity.  The rest is informational (phenomenological) metamorphosis.

 

Thursday
Sep092010

Disclosures of the Lotus Mirror

Li Ho, a 9th century Chinese poet observed:

Hsi-shih dreams at dawn, in the cool of silk curtains:

A tress has slipped from the scented knot over the fading rouge,

The pulley creaks at the well, winds up with a jade tinkle

And startles awake the lotus which has just slept its fill.

 

Two birds on the flaps disclose the mirror, an autumn sunlit pool.

 

She loosens the knots and looks down in the mirror […]

Her toilet done, the dressed hair slants and does not sag.

She […] turns away, still without speaking.  What has caught her eye?

She goes down the steps and picks up the cherry flowers.

So, what’s the story here: a girl, named Hsi-shih, is asleep, the sound of the water-well outside awakens her and, it so happens, also startles a couple of birds off the surface of the pond; once awake, the girl fixes her hair that she didn’t mind while she was asleep and notices cherry flowers.  Sounds like your typical privileged morning in the 9th century China.  Why write a poem about it?  I don’t know.  I am not Li Ho.

But here’s why I am writing about this poem.  Here’s what it means to me.  Let’s take it a stanza at a time.

Hsi-shih dreams at dawn, in the cool of silk curtains:

A tress has slipped from the scented knot over the fading rouge,

The pulley creaks at the well, winds up with a jade tinkle

And startles awake the lotus which has just slept its fill.

Notice that the poet gives this girl two names – her given name, His-shih, and then a metaphorical name, “the lotus.”  Lotus in Asia has long been a sacred symbol.  As I see it, divinity aside, lotus represents consciousness.  Indeed, the sound of the well awakens the consciousness.  And a sleeping beauty comes alive.  If we strip this poem down to its basic philosophical meaning, all that happens here is that a mind is awakened.

Metaphorically, a lotus blossoms.  Let’s see what happens next in the poem to see what happens next when a mind awakens:

Two birds on the flaps disclose the mirror, an autumn sunlit pool.

All of a sudden, Li Ho switches focus: the poem is no longer about the girl, it’s about the fact that two birds, also startled by the sound of the well-chain, fly off the surface of the pond “to disclose” a mirror.  What a mysterious detour!  What’s this about?

I have no idea, but here’s how I see it.  Li Ho is telling us about what happens when the mind awakens: it becomes self-reflective.  Indeed, in sleep, the girl was one with reality, not even aware of the hair that had fallen on her face.  But once immediately awake and self-aware she checks the mirror of her consciousness and… fixes herself up.

She loosens the knots and looks down in the mirror […]

Her toilet done, the dressed hair slants and does not sag.

Self-awareness is self-correcting, which is a sleep of yet another kind.  The lotus – having briefly bloomed – is closing again.  The mind, having seen itself in the mirror of its own consciousness, starts correcting itself.  Only to be once again awakened by another input from reality:

She […] turns away, still without speaking.  What has caught her eye?

She goes down the steps and picks up the cherry flowers.

The lotus blooms again: instead of correcting one’s own reflection in the mirror, the mind is once again awakened to its own presence by a little nudge from reality.  First, reality tickled the mind with the sounds of the well, now it has roused the mind with the stimulation of the cherry blossom.

And so it goes, from sleep to wakefulness, from sleep to wakefulness.  The lotus of self seems to be in the best of blooms when engaged with whatever is, rather than trying to polish its reflection in the mirror.

My only hope is that Hsi-shih doesn’t pick the cherry blossoms and doesn’t return back to her mirror to use them as a garland on her dress.  Whatever it is that we are, we certainly are not the reflection disclosed in the mirror.

Of course, there are a million ways to read and interpret Li Ho’s poem or my interpretation of it.  Your time to reflect.

Monday
Jul122010

Placid Lake of Lotus Consciousness

Sometimes we feel that something comes over us.  The mind changes, and we feel that we change too.  But do we? 

Fill a glass with water.  Wait until the water settles, then stir it up with your finger.  Watch the waves of the vortex warp the surface.  Now sit back and watch the water clean itself of all these wave-forms.  What you are witnessing is a process of self-cleaning.  Recognize that your consciousness works the same way.  Notice that while it certainly takes time for informational ripples to fade out, they always do.  Recognize that no matter what you’ve ruminated over or worried about in your life, no matter how long that song was stuck in your head, eventually all those thoughts (images, feelings, sensations, memories) dissolved back into the surface of your consciousness.  Indeed, there has never been a thought (mind form) that didn’t go away.  Knowing this, recognize that you don’t have to be afraid of your mind forms any more than a lake has to fear the waves on its surface or the lotus has to fear the morning dew.

Thursday
Jul012010

Lotus Moment of Self-Discovery

The following is a both an entertaining and illuminating passage of self-discovery from Richard Hughe’s 1929 novel “High Wind in Jamaica.” 

“And then an event did occur, to Emily, of considerable importance.  She suddenly realized who she was. 

[…]  She had been playing houses in a nook right in the bows […], and tiring of it was walking rather aimlessly aft, thinking vaguely about some bees and a fairy queen, when it suddenly flashed into her mind that she was she

She stopped dead, and began looking over all of her person which came within the range of eyes.  She could not see much, except a fore-shortened view of the front of her frock, and her hands when she lifted them for inspection: but it was enough for her to form a rough idea of the little body that she suddenly realized to be hers

She began to laugh, rather mockingly.  “Well!” she though,  in effect: “Fancy you, of all people, going and getting caught like this! – You can’t get  out of it now, not for a very long time: you’ll have to go through with being a child, and growing up, and getting old, before you’ll be quit of this mad prank!”

Determined to avoid any interruption of this highly important occasion, she began to climb the ratlines, on her way to her favorite perch on the mast-head.  Each time she moved an arm or a leg in this simple action, however, it struck her with fresh amusement to find them obeying her so readily.  Memory told her, of course, that they had always done so before: but before, she had never realized how surprising this was. 

Once settled on her perch, she began examining the skin of her hands with the utmost care: for it was hers.  She slipped a shoulder out of the top of her frock, and having peeped in to make sure she really was continuous under her clothes, she shrugged it up to touch her cheek.   The contact of her face and the warm bare hollow of her shoulder gave her a comfortable thrill, as if it was the caress of some kind of friend.  But whether the feeling came to her through her cheek or her shoulder, which was the caresser and which was the caressed, that no analysis could tell her.  

Once fully convinced of this astonishing fact […] she began seriously to reckon its implications.”  (pp. 135-136)

Step out of your mind for a few minutes (like Emily).  Discover this body of yours.  And then discover the discoverer.

Saturday
Apr032010

Standing on Pure Lotus Land

Another identity-focused poem + interpretation combo (arbitrarily truncated, edited & annotated – see italics – by yours truly):

Zazen Wasan (Praise of Zazen) by Hakuin (1686-1769)

From the beginning all beings are Buddha (i.e. consciousness).

Like water and ice, without water no ice, outside us no Buddhas (i.e. all is one, one is all).

How near the truth, yet how far seek, like one in water crying “I thirst!” (you are enough).

Like a child of rich birth wandering poor on this earth, we endlessly circle the six worlds (of false identities).

The gateway to freedom is zazen samadhi (sit down in meditation to see the real you).

The pure lotus land is not far away (you cannot but be the real you).

And if we turn inward and prove our True-nature – that True-self is no-self, our own Self is no-self – we go beyond ego and past words.

(when we dis-identify from what we are not, we find the emptiness of awareness, which is the ground of our being, our true, essential “self,” our Original Face; when we dis-identify from the informational mind-dirt, when we go beyond the verbal/word self-definitions, we rediscover our essence, our “buddha-nature;” we are not mind, we are consciousness, not the objects of our awareness, but the awareness itself; the no-self isn’t a nothing, it’s everything).

Our form now being no-form (we aren’t form, we are essence).

This earth where we stand is the pure lotus land, and this very body the body of Buddha (we are the blossom itself, not the 1000s of its informational petals; we are the ground of being, not what grows on it; we are consciousness, not mind),

Saturday
Apr032010

Playing Programmer in Lotus Land

Here’s a stanza from a Rush song, called Freewill, and my interpretive projections.

They are those who think they were dealt a losing hand,

The cards were stacked against them:

they weren’t born in lotus-land.

Mind is conditional, i.e. un-free.  Consciousness isn’t conditional, it is the conditioner, thus, free, or, in the parlance of the East, consciousness is un-born or a-causal (in the sense that it is not pre-determined, but pre-determines).  Consciousness is the source of freedom.  Override determinism via mindfulness. 

Once again: how’s mind different from consciousness?  Same way as form is different from essence and the programmer is different from the program.  Brain – hardware.  Mind – software.  Consciousness – programmer.  Mindfulness – toggle switch.  Sit down to witness the difference.  Sit down to play programmer.

We are what we identify with.  Which do you identify with: mind (form) or consciousness (essence)?

Saturday
Apr032010

Reflections in the Lotus Pond

Poem (by Charlene Balcom, Reflections/Shadows on the Shoji/Hokuseido Press, 1936):

As you reached into the lotus pond,

I saw the reflection

Of a young willow

Trailing slender branches

In the water.

Poetic Interpretation:

Lotus pond is post-Narcissism, it reflects no ego: when you look into the lotus pond of your consciousness, no Narcissus looks back; when you look into the lotus pond of your consciousness, you see no mind or any informational "self," for that matter,  just the "trailing slender branches" of Reality nearby.

Any reflections in the lotus pond are mind-projections…

Saturday
Apr032010

What if we could go through a day of spilled coffee, traffic snarls, and fights with our loved one, and emerge feeling balanced and unscathed? The Lotus Effect offers ancient meditative techniques designed to help readers do just that. Written by clinical psychologist and practicing Buddhist Pavel Somov, this book breaks down the 'lotus effect'-the ability of the lotus plant to repel any non-nourishing foreign substances that cling to it in order to allow it to access as much sunlight and water as possible. This natural resilience helps it to thrive and bloom in even the worst conditions.                                

Using the lotus flower as its central metaphor, The Lotus Effect offers meditation techniques and intriguing thought and perception exercises for shedding difficult thoughts and experiences, anger, worry, stress, and feelings of low self-worth. Readers discover what triggers their minds to focus on these feelings, and they practice disidentifying with these thoughts and instead identifying with their essential selves-the selves which, like lotus flowers, remain unstained by the slings and arrows of daily life. Somov introduces practical meditation practices including neti-neti (mindful detachment from distressing information, 'I am not this'), vipassana meditation (interconnection between mind and body), Dzogchen meditation (acceptance and awareness of reality), and Western relaxation training.

In the Lotus Effect, Pavel Somov teaches us to work our way through the complexities of pain, suffering and impermanence towards learning to let go, surrender and accept the teachings of our samsaras, the afflictions of body, mind and soul. With the Lotus effect we shift from pain and suffering towards growth, rebirth and transformation of the self, soul and essence. A wonderful read to dive into right now; great for clinicians as a guide and for all others, if you wish to grow a new lotus within yourself!

Ronald A. Alexander, Ph.D., executive director of the Open Mind Training Institute and author of Wise Mind, Open Mind

The Lotus Effect is a remarkable book which guides readers on rich exploration of their relationship to their own identity. Somov's voice is lithe, often playful, but his intent is dead serious. The ideas and techniques in the book are designed to do nothing less than transform the way we think about our own identity. We begin with a process of "identity detox" - which is a wonderful way of describing the process of detaching from the information about ourselves which is not our true self. After working through a series of short exercises designed to help us enact the experience of dis-identifying from what we are not, we are then led on an exploration of what is left after we have discarded all of these unhelpful attachments. Somov has a gift for capturing issues of great complexity in simple concise metaphors and enactments, allowing us to find our way almost effortlessly into an experience of deep self-exploration.

Andrew Peterson, Ed. D., author of The Next 10 Minutes

I read (and write) self-help mindfulness books. This one by Pavel Somov hooked me in first pages with its compelling blend of fascinating history and a very down-to-earth, novel and inventive way of bringing to life and describing age-old Buddhist and Hindu concepts. It was clearly written and also provocative--in the sense that it challenges the reader in a positive way to practice and bring these concepts of detoxifying the mind and mental processes into everyday life. He also helps to explain teachings on emptiness with wonderful clarity and insight, and makes the paradoxes that exist in this area more understandable from an experiential level.

This is a highly beneficial book that can help overcome entrenched negative emotions and thought patterns--even addictive behavior. The writing, too, was seamless and highly engaging. I actually started reading this book at night when I was tired, and I have to say that I happily lost some sleep that night because I couldn't put it down. Thank you Pavel Somov for sharing with us such a unique and healing book.

- Donald Altman, M.A., LPC, author of The Mindfulness Code: Keys for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness

Table of Contents

Part I:             Lotus Identity

  • Chapter 1        Lotus Effect   
  • Chapter 2        Identity Detox

Part II:           Dis-Identify From What You Are Not

  • Chapter 3        Neti it Out!
  • Chapter 4        Not a Nothing!

Part III:          Re-Identify With What You Are

  • Chapter 5        Root of Am-Ness

Part IV:           Perennial Growth

  • Chapter 6        Lotus Blossom
  • Chapter 7        Identity Detox E.R.

Identity Recovery

Identity theft is when someone identifies themselves as you and steals your resources.  Identity giveaway is when you identify as someone else and surrender your sense of individuality and uniqueness.  All identification with the external is a giveaway of your essence.

The word “identity” comes from the Latin word idem, which means “same.”  Identity is built through identification with the external, with what you are not. We determine our identities by comparing ourselves to “not-ourselves” and thereby try to determine who we are. We tend to think along the lines of “I am like this or that” or “I am like so-and-so or that-and-such.”  Therein lies the problem. 

You aren’t like anything or anybody else, even if you are similar.  Similarity isn’t sameness.  No one is the same as you.  Number 1.0000001 is very, very close to 1, but it still isn’t a true 1.  Only 1 is 1.  And only you are you.  There is no one like you.  You are not an almost-you, or a kinda-you, or a sorta-you.  You are one of a kind, fully and uniquely you!  When we identify (equate) ourselves with the external, with what is not us, we ignore the very uniqueness that makes us different. 

Recognize that uniqueness is beyond comparison.  Recognize that you are beyond comparison.  Recognize that as long as you define what you are by what you are not, you are exchanging your uniqueness and oneness for similarity.  And, in so doing, you are giving away your identity and losing sight of your essential, unique self. 

Identification with the external is an identity giveaway.  Identity giveaway, just like identity theft, is a loss of self.  Look inside to re-discover yourself.