We are currently witnessing modern science’s attempt to categorize, organize, and quantify phenomena that is unquantifiable. When I use the terms auric field, frequency, polarity, or energetic, please know that these terms are not definable through intellect. Instead, they are part of a wordless conversation that arises from connection with deep states of perception and feeling. If practiced with commitment, contemplative prompts in this book can aid in developing levels of sensitivity to contact vibrational phenomena that exist beyond intellect. But until you have an embodied, altered consciousness experience, and comprehension beyond words becomes available, we will use these kinds of terms to “point at” these types of phenomena.
A cultural construction that pits two black and white “opposites” against one another, thereby eliminating room to live in the beautiful grey shades, the in between space, the limimal nature of our very humanity.
The dominance of these cultural constructions creates a worldview that positions human experiences and identities as constricted choices between THIS vs. THAT.
Within the wellness market, we see a huge resurgence of “embodiment practices” that actually end up further separating the body from mind through intellectualization. Within a non-binary worldview, we must see the body/mind as a cohesive unit and disown the hierarchical relationship of “mind” to “body.” When you come across the term body/mind in this book, I am asking you to value yourself as an integrated being and all of the intel coming from your “space suit.”
Dharma is the wheel of life, and helps designate how each soul plugs into universal flow. Dharma comes from the Sanskrit root Di, which means to sustain: to sustain a virtuous life in line with the laws of your own inner nature.
Within many wellness and spiritual circles, the word “dharma” has been co-opted by a binary worldview, and is often used to indicate a self-serving, highly individualistic concept of “personal purpose” or “self-fulfillment at any cost. In contrast, within a non-binary worldview, the concept of personal Karma is married to communicable Dharma, and we cannot deny the ethical social implications of finding a personal path that is also filled with service, and also honors one another.
In non-binary worldview, we must cultivate our understanding SvaDharma (Personal Dharma) by asking ourselves questions like: What is my inner nature? What is my deepest driving desire? But then we must press further to understand how this fits into Universal Dharma and Cosmic Virtuous Law, asking: Where do I find the most service within society?
This doesn’t mean we can’t critique or help radically change the system. But it inherently draws the self-centered focus towards community health, making sure each one of us meets our needs, while also considering the larger social and political ecosystem as we search for our personal place.
Many modern spiritual teachers speak of the “ego” in negative terms, as if it is something to conquer or demolish. This simple Western translation of “ego” flattens its historical and religious context, and vilifies it as a singular entity to be transcended through spiritual practice.
In this text, I aim to return it to its complexity, adding the word “structure” to demonstrate the profound depth of the ego’s scaffolding. Meaning, thoughts, choices, and perceptions don’t just stem from a singular place; it is actually a web of misperceptions that accumulate over time and extend beyond your immediate incarnation.
An unclear Identification/Misperception happens when we mistake the ego-structure, the movements of our own meta-dialogue, our emotional fluctuations, and/or imprints from past trauma as the reality of the present moment. Almost everything we see, feel, hear, and comprehend passes through our gates of personal conditioning, and understanding this can help us notice when we’re misinterpreting the multilayered present moment. I will also use the term Small Self to indicate misperceptions of the ego-structure.
In this book, our aim is to cultivate the capacity for Witness Self/Witness Consciousness, aka Sākṣī - pure unadulterated awareness, and the precise perception of the multilayered present moment. Within this state, we can hear, see and feel the responses of our own conditioning happening simultaneously, and contact a receptive, attentive, unadulterated stream of awareness. We’re able to hold interpretive narratives of the present moment in real time, and sense that which are manipulated by our own conditioning.
From a non-binary worldview, the ego structure is not something to get rid of but something to understand. Breaking binaries means rewriting our ego structure, and moving the vibration of trauma into a more conscious practice of discernment that allows us to bring our shining purpose forth and truly be of service.
Ego Structure Scaffolding/Vasana + Supporting Terms: Each human has an ego-structure filled with subliminal imprints. These hidden beliefs and subliminal imprints dictate behavior, speech, action, intentions, and all reactions in conversation and relationship. Vasanas and the supporting terms below encompass I-Consciousness- everything we subconsciously associate as a definition of who we are, which is formed upon these deeply entrenched structures of energy.
Veils that cause us to see layers of fantasy- psychological imprints and unchecked personality traits. In tradition-based yoga, it describes the psychological imprint that arises from a series of causes and conditions, including those linked to the past, childhood, nurture, nature, and perhaps past lives. We often over simplify this definition to mean something along the lines of “limiting thinking.”
Within the scope of non-binary worldview, we must take it further to understand that it’s not just about using our minds to understand limiting psychological structures, but also about exploring how psychological imprints leave traces in the spiritual circuitry. These imprints cloud our understanding of spiritual agency. Bringing saṃskāra to the surface of conscious reflection requires an integrative approach, body/mind as the same continuum and the present moment as the only doorway into timeless imprint on our ray of consciousness.
The accumulation of samskaras- constantly repeated psychological imprints that shape our personality aspects. Translates loosely to "deep groove" in the subtle body.
Here’s a lived example of these three pieces of the ego scaffolding: one of my long-time students was caught up for years in a psychically abusive marriage. After bravely pulling herself out of this situation, she ended up remarrying a partner with extreme money issues. The deeply held vasana at the core of both these situations involved abuse of body, sex, and money, which all relate to the same subtle energy center. The behavioral loops, or samskara, that kept her trapped in this pattern of partnership, both manifested from this deeply held vasana and further contributed to it.
I often like to imagine the irrigation canals of my personality, formed by repetitive causes, conditions, and choices. Our self-image then flows into these troughs. When we don’t “feel like ourselves,” it's because we are in a situation that isn’t allowing our past practiced patterns to be recognized. These misperceived identifications with self seek continuity and comfort over realization and truth. As we seek to build a non-binary worldview in this book, we’ll examine our ego scaffolding and move beyond compulsive behavior that seeks comfort and recognition, honing our sharp tools of discernment to support truth and non-violent action.
3 Types of Karma
Binary worldview definitions place karma within a punitive model that amplifies fear-based negative outcomes and victimhood mentality; What goes around comes around. Karma’s a bitch. If we want to adopt a more complex non-binary worldview, we must work to transcend this limited definition.
At its root, Karma means to make into form, to take action. Rather than holding a negative or a positive charge, Karma simply holds the directly proportional consequence to a given action, honoring all of the causes and conditions that give rise to and motivate this action. Action can occur in the realms of thought, speech, and physical activity, as well as intention.
There are three types of Karma:
Sanchitta: subtle body, stored karma, both from other lifetimes and the residue from past actions and choices.
Parabdha: the karmic situation that you were born into, which is unchangeable- birth parents, body, constitution, genes, and the undeniable fact that time is limited on earth in a human body.
Kriyaman: the area of choice and the actions you are performing now. There is no power greater than right action in the present moment.
Throughout the text, I also reference to Bloodline Karma, which refers to your family lineage and its many energetic layers: biology, belief systems, power dynamics, family worldview, learned and passed down behaviors, suffering, stories, and the social implications of how and where your family took up space within institutional social organizations. Looking at bloodline karma introduces us to all three types outlined above: the subtle body imprints and programming we carry from our ancestral lineage that can be shifted through awareness, karma that cannot be changed, like genetics, and the choices we make in the present moment with this awareness.
These three types of karma give us a larger understanding of how our actions, intentions, and unconscious behaviors directly affect the outcome of our lives. Opening up to this contemplation is critical to building a non-binary worldview, as we seek to more responsibility interface with reality by taking full responsibility for that which we can change.
The ability to have a “birds eye view” of a situation beyond self-serving consequences and small definitions of self. I often describe this as “when the pool balls hit,” meaning the many causes and conditions that reverb from a personal choice. In the “meta” we can sense all of this reverb, opening to an internal vision we didn’t previously have access to, and eventually learning to see less division between our perceptions of “self” and “other.”
This builds on “meta,” and can be described as our “inner sound”- the many messages that circulate within us and create our specific perspectives and preferences. I like to think of it as the many interactions of my small self, learning, growing, and stumbling to express themselves- personality aspects, animalistic response, past programming, and the many layers that go beyond social personality that we keep to ourselves. Examining how this inner sound current gets constructed helps us understand how we separate from our True Nature on a millisecond by millisecond basis. Many of the contemplative prompts in this book aim to befriend the meta-dialogue and harness creativity/imagination.
An approach to the world that interrogates these EITHER/OR cultural assumptions and commits to living life beyond label and hierarchy, holding opposites on a continuum, and thereby giving way to a more groundless, attentive, and authentic mode of understanding ourselves and the world.
Platitudes & Cultural Myths
Language, beliefs, and communal actions that support a widespread notion of the “way things are” that often flattens the complexity of individual experiences, perpetuates abuses of power, and prevents true personal, social, and political change.
In the words of one of my dearest teachers, Richard Rosen, Prana is the “subtle invisible life force” that infuses us all. There are many yogic techniques to sense the subtlety of prana in your own embodiments and in what appears to be your surrounding reality, and we will explore several of these in this book. The breath is an expression of prana, as is your skin, and your thoughts. Please do not confuse the meditation technique with the teaching itself.
An organizational system has its own pranic field, just like your body has its own, and a friend’s body has its own. The movement and connection of prana is what subtly unites us beyond the realm of the physical. In the fourth binary, Pranic Economy: Lack/Abundance, we will use this definition of Prana to examine social systems and economic structures, and build a more regenerative understanding of how this subtle life force can reshape these systems.
Each and every one of us is subjected and susceptible to cultural narratives, nurture, social influence, and fear about the consequences of living our own truth. We are so inundated with outside messages of who to be, how to behave and where we fit in. These overbearing messages seep into our own self-talk and self-recognition and before we know it, we have lost our personal power of discernment and pure witness awareness.
In contemporary society, we are trained through cultural, social, and institutional programming to “fit in” from a very, very young age, and this programming violently separates us from our true nature, personal uniqueness and communal dharma.
The limitless field of possibilities, the substram to all existence. Within a non-binary worldview, the embodied understanding of this term helps us develop Lived Ethics, sensing the omnipresent effects of personal action and choices on the whole of humanity.
One limb of the 8 fold Noble path of Theravada Buddhism.
Merit is developed through a contemplative lifestyle, attention, and the willingness to seek right action from situation to situation.
Deep respect for all sentient beings is a motivating factor behind action within the Noble 8 fold path.
Subtle Body & Spiritual Circuitry
There are many philosophical systems that attempt to define the “Subtle Body”- the energy systems that are beyond the physical, material realm. These include the Prana Vayus, Chakras, Meridians, Doshas, Nadis, and Natal Chart Placements, among numerous others.
In binary worldview, these concepts are sometimes used to indicate that higher octaves of consciousness are possible if these subtle body energy systems are cleaned and restructured. Phrases like “we hold our issues in our tissues,” “the body never forgets,” and “trauma is lodged in the body” hint at these subtle realms, yet are still deeply associated with the material realm.
Spiritual Circuitry is a term I coined to break this subtle realm/material realm, body/mind binary. It’s not that trauma is lodged in our bodies and needs to be unearthed and “cleaned out,” but that it has been circulating in our field for millennia, and we sense it through the five sense portals and the flesh of our body.
Throughout the contemplative experiences of this book, I will present ways for each of us to more closely identify with our spiritual circultry, and to cultivate levels of sensitivity that extend beyond binaries of subtle/material and body/mind. Non-binary worldview is about holding experience in a feeling state beyond hard and fast definitions. We will hold a felt sense of the ineffable, together.
Our experience that is bound by our body and our ego-structure. Whether we like it or not, we live in a technologically connected and highly sensitive piece of equipment, within a culture and social structure that inherently abuses the body with its societal norms. Non-binary worldview seeks to optimize our relationship to our own “space suit,” going further than just cultivating appreciation or “self love,” and being in utter AWE of its advanced sensitivity.