What is wisdom? Wisdom is simply knowing what to do and not do to make progress with love. It's specific: what do I do or stop doing right now to make progress? It's nothing esoteric, it's simple, at least at the beginning. I suspect everyone has that kind of wisdom. Everyone knows simple things they need to do to become a healthier, happier human. Like giving up drugs and junk food, getting regular exercise. It's not rocket science. But it's also different for everyone. We're all unique, with different needs, bad habits, and mental justifications for not taking those simple first steps. That's why spiritual teachers are worthless. I'm the only one who knows all my bad habits and all the justifications I use to defend those bad habits and keep me stuck where I am. I'm the only one who can hold me accountable. Drugs and living in shared housing were the big obstacles keeping me from making progress. First I had to get free of drugs. So Leela made me fight fire with fire. She prescribed extreme amounts of booze to make me stop drinking. She made me eat extreme amounts of cannabis to wake me up to the fact that recreational drugs are not a legitimate way of feeling good and have no place in the spiritual quest, waking me up into a whole new state in the process. She let me taste what homelessness was like so I'd be willing to find a place to live alone.
Waking up is wisdom. That was a koan Leela gave me in the late 2010s. Turning it around like that puts the focus on action. I need to wake up. Everything else is secondary. But it was so easy for me to to fall into the enlightenment fallacy, that waking up is some big deal I work years for then it happens all at once and after that I'm on easy street. Leela disagrees. Waking up happens a little at a time and there's no end to it. Waking up is taking little steps in the right direction. As I take steps, wisdom becomes embodied in my life. Wisdom isn't a thing or a substance I can accumulate. It's more like a skill I learn, the skill of living well. What I learn always points me to the next step. Until I take that step I don't know what comes after. So far the next step has always been pretty clear. But some of those next steps, like quit drinking, get clean and sober, live alone have taken me years to take. Leela is the only source of wisdom, and for me Leela is my body. She's what I'm made of. I have to find the answers in me, in my body. I can't get answers by thinking because thinking is unreliable.
Guidance from my body. The more progress I make the more I learn to be guided by my body's signals. What my body has to say is always reliable. My body will always tell me the truth, Leela's truth. My thinking will only tell me what I think I want to hear. My thinking is the seat of all my bad habits. It's been polluted and distorted by my own history and human culture in all its glory and depravity. While I was in Boulder I got training in the use of two tools for bypassing my thinking and getting guidance directly from my body: muscle testing and body sensing. Those tools were the best thing I got from Harmonizing. Spiritual teachers are at their best when they teach skills. Now I understand the tools better. My body is Leela, who will always guide me right. Muscle testing answers are easy to interpret: strong or weak, yes or no. But easy answers aren't always the best kind. Everything about making progress with love is complex and richly nuanced. Body sensing answers are just like that: complex and richly nuanced. I've got an answer but I don't know what it means. The solution is to work back and forth using both tools. I need the simple answer: don't eat that, eat this. That simple answer saves my butt but it doesn't deepen wisdom. Grappling with the body sensing answer forces me to pay attention and gain wordless wisdom about what food is as I figure out dinner. Wisdom can't be reduced to words, although words can provide a clue for someone who's ready to hear. My body holds Leela's wisdom about everything, custom tuned to me in particular.
Two sources of wisdom. In the years since Leela spoke to me she taught me that I access wisdom from two sources. One source is all the wisdom I gained by paying attention at least occasionally in the course of god knows how many lifetimes. Wisdom gained is never lost. I take it with me into the next life. That's why paying attention is so utterly crucial, the best thing any of us can do. Memories die with the body but wisdom is outside time. I have the wisdom but don't remember anything about how I got it. This time around I reached a threshold. All the bits of wisdom I gained over all those lifetimes were finally enough to open a direct connection with Leela. That's what I mean by Leela spoke to me. Now when I do muscle testing and body sensing I have access to all wisdom, not just the little hardscrabble bits I've collected over the eons. I get guidance from wisdom herself, the master player of the master game all of this is. Leela's gift of wisdom is the ultimate expression of the principle of a hundred. The ultimate so far.
Spooky wisdom. It seemed almost spooky when I first started receiving guidance of the second sort, Leela guiding me from outside time. For instance she would insist I buy something or do something that made no sense at all to me. Why would I ever need that? What's the point of doing that? Then later, in some cases years later, that thing I'd bought or done would turn out to be something I really needed badly, a lifesaver. If I hadn't bought that or done that I'd be in big trouble right now. Or something I'd done years ago would turn out to be the key unlocking some wonderful new opportunity. Like all those music lessons that just fizzled out then turned out to be my ace in the hole for partner dancing, especially tango. Another example is Leela's stubborn insistence I use what I have rather than getting new stuff. Leela sees through time.
Grappling with koans. I wanted to know more about these mysterious lifesavers. How could that be? Leela wouldn't answer questions about wisdom, about herself. Instead of answers she gave me koans: seemingly nonsensical statements for me to ponder and grapple with. In the course of grappling with many koans over the years, Leela slowly revealed herself, though she didn't introduce herself as Leela until 2021. Partly it's a matter of just putting in the time. I'm a slow learner but I learn well. I've gained a little wisdom every time through a vast number of lifetimes. Every now and then I paid attention and my experience became wisdom. So if I'm struggling with something gone wrong in my car or my computer, I get nudges about what to try, what to avoid doing that come from some life when I faced that same problem.
Time. What I struggled with the most was Leela's ability to see through time. She knows what's going to happen, so she can have me do something today that will be useful down the road. This brings up all kinds gnarly knots in me about free will versus determination, ex-philosophy student that I am. Her reply is that's irrelevant; you don't understand, you can't understand. Nothing in 4-space can grasp what 5-space is because grasping itself is 4-space. Everything mental is 4-space. Everything that exists is also 4-space. Wisdom doesn't exist. Just like love doesn't exist, or meaning. Things in 5-space can't be measured or defined. There's no substance to them, no existence. Wisdom doesn't exist, but it can help me just the same.
Connection. Leela, in the form of my body, is my connection with everything: all of time and space, the universe, all of this. My connection with Leela is universal and individual at the same time. I was born connected with Leela and lived that way as a child until I got disconnected by drugs in Kenya. Here's the story of how I reconnected with Leela.
How it all began. It began in February 2006. I had been feeling especially muddled, really miserable. I had no motivation to do anything. It seemed like only god could help me, and for me god meant meditation. Other versions of god seemed like delusions, make-believe magical beings, wishful thinking. Meditation I can relate to; it's simply hard work, no wishful thinking about it.
Wisdom speaks. I was thinking the solution to my muddle was a new meditation teacher. Suddenly wisdom spoke: NO. YOU KNOW ENOUGH. FIX YOUR OWN DAMN MEDITATION. Wisdom spoke is a figure of speech. I was not hearing a voice. There were no words. Describing what happened as a voice inside me is as close as I can get to saying a nonverbal thing verbally. Words can't touch this; words don't apply. That nonverbal thing was wisdom speaking. I did not know what it was, but it sure felt like I better do what it said. I felt better. There was a ray of hope. Something clear and unambiguous inside me had spoken. I sat there pondering what I already did know about meditation, and what shone brightest was the clue wisdom gave me decades before in Tallahassee: the subtle pleasure of breathing. That felt like the right starting point. Wisdom guided me to combine insights gleaned from kriya yoga with taoist magic. But following that clue had always been iffy. It was playing with fire, and I didn't want to get burned. I wanted more guidance, specific guidance. So I worked on that.
Ed Long. In Boulder I saw TH use muscle testing for getting spiritual guidance. He did it by muscle testing his own finger. I tried doing that but it never worked; I got contradictory results. Feeling badly out of balance I made an appointment with Ed Long, a Seattle dance teacher and healer. I hoped Ed could get me back in whack and teach me more muscle testing. He did a full Touch for Health testing/balancing, strengthening the weaknesses he found. After the session I told him about my self-testing struggle. Ed suggested I try a particular self-test I'd read about but never used. He showed it to me hands-on. I tried it out and it seemed to work.
Success. I started testing myself a lot. There was no contradiction. If I focused on what I was asking, I got an unambiguous yes or no. I was finally in touch with Leela, the wisdom inside me, that voice that had been so clear and emphatic. I couldn't hear it before because it hadn't yet spoken up, hadn't made itself known to me. Once wisdom spoke I had to do my part. I had to take my one step. I did that by finding Ed Long, getting his help with self testing, and practicing what he taught me diligently. That one step didn't occur in a vacuum. It relied on a lifetime of stubbornly persistent spiritual seeking. I may have gotten derailed by drugs but I never stopped seeking. My seeking led me to Boulder, where I learned the basics of muscle testing and body sensing. I needed all fifty-five years of seeking to be ready to take my one step. I now got guidance about what was right for my spiritual progress and what to avoid. Over the years since then, my ability to test myself has steadily deepened. There's always more progress to be made; there's no shortage of headroom.
Body sensing. I also use another technique TH taught us: body sensing. This is a meditation-like technique of focusing all my attention on the feelings and sensations in my body. If I ask a question while body sensing, I get a response that's rich and nuanced, not a mere yes or no. Body sensing answers can be bewilderingly complex.
Declaration. Before I could begin surrendering to Leela, my own internal authority, I had to declare my independence from all external authorities: teachers, systems, books. I especially needed to free myself from the shadow of TH's authority, which I still carried around like a mental curse, decades after I set myself free of him physically. Once I did that I could begin contacting my own inner authority via muscle testing or body sensing. I couldn't do either as long as I felt I owed allegiance to any kind of external authority.