Week 12 – Tell Me Where it Hurts

This year, I’m sharing a section each week from THE FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN. From start to finish, from my heart to yours. From the big comfy chair.

Welcome to week twelve of this free series. Settle into your own comfy chair, grab a mug of something nice, and read on.

(The following content is excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, by Carrie Triffet © Copyright 2019.)

Tell me where it hurts

Bodies, man. Can’t live with ‘em, but just try living without
‘em. As one whose physicality has been no stranger to dis-
comfort, I’ve had plenty of opportunity over the decades to
perceive both the body and its malfunctioning behavior as
enemies. Yet neither one is quite what it appears to be. More
recently I’ve come to recognize pain, as well as the body hous-
ing it, as wise gurus and steadfast friends.

Pain and the suffering that accompanies it, are two sepa-
rate things. We tend to experience painandsuffering as all one
sensation lumped seamlessly together. But as it turns out, the
suffering is an optional add-on, entirely due to the influence
of the subterranean self. It’s fascinating to feel just how differ-
ent the experience of pain can be, when it occurs outside the
subterranean self ’s identity structures.

And herein lies another clue about the deeply unhelpful
nature of the subterranean operating system itself. As we’ve al-
ready noted, the subterranean aspects of the self are responsible
for weaving a personal identity for us, more or less out of thin
air. The weaving of a personal identity out of millions of indi-
vidual data points seems a harmless enough activity. It isn’t.

Besides sending us down the wrong roads toward faulty
conclusions (as in my LA freeway example), this process of
automatically categorizing and linking the things we perceive
now with historical precedents and future imaginings, turns
out to be the very activity that indirectly creates all our mental
and physical suffering.

All our seemingly innocuous personal data points collec-
tively form the distorted lens through which we can’t help
but compare and resist, criticize and judge ourselves and our
world. The data points themselves obstruct all hope of experi-
encing true peace.

The gurus have been telling us this truth all along, of course.
The so-called ego is the source of all suffering. That’s an una-
voidable part of its job description. It’s the knock-on effect of
building a personal self that can’t help but function to resist
and block out the peace of God. But I maintain there are no
evil-geniussy criminal motivations behind its doings. The il-
lusory frequency the subterranean self emits simply jams the
God broadcast, that’s all.

Back to pain without suffering: It’s an odd sensation. The first
time I experienced physical pain minus suffering was back in
2013, during yet another of those brief awakening events. On
this occasion I’d had an encounter with Thich Nhat Hanh, an
enlightened master, in a vision the night before.

In the vision I was standing fifty feet away from him in a
stark concrete courtyard. He turned to look at me, and as our
eyes met, his piercing gaze transmitted a palpable vibratory
wave of enlightened realization deep into my mind. I felt the
powerful, high-frequency wave shudder awkwardly through
my energy field, and I lost my physical balance.

As I was falling sideways onto the concrete I realized I had
a choice. I could put out my hands in an attempt to break my
fall, which I knew would severely limit the power of this awak-
ening transmission. Or I could surrender to the powerful vi-
bratory wave and let myself fall unimpeded, even if it meant
my head might smash open like a pumpkin on the concrete.
I chose the pumpkin option. The vision ended just before my
head hit the ground.

I arose from my bed the next morning to find an entirely
silent inner state of being. Gone was the usual mental chatter.
It was a typical September day in Southern California, cloud-
lessly sunny and warm, so I dressed in jeans and a sleeveless
tank top and drove to the beach. It seemed as good a place as
any to get used to the unfamiliar inner quiet. This wasn’t trans-
cendent peace I was feeling, exactly, nevertheless the egoic self
was nowhere to be found. All inner turmoil had ceased.

I parked the car and made my way toward the water. No-
body was around, so I sat down on the sand and tried medi-
tating. It was a nice, effortlessly spacious feeling. But within a
minute or two the wind picked up so strongly, hurling the sand
with such unexpected force that it was starting to sandblast my
skin. Weird, the weather had seemed so calm a minute ago. I
opened my eyes to investigate.

Directly in front of me, the blackest clouds I’d ever seen had
gathered in ominous billowing layers to obscure the horizon.
Beneath them the turbulent sea had turned a brilliant emerald
green, frothed with whitecaps. I was startled to feel icy rage
emitted by that water, and understood immediately that the
scene in front of me was a physical out-picturing of my own
intense internal resistance to permanent awakening.

I tuned in deep within, and noticed for the first time a faint
and faraway rumble of dissent coming from the region of my
abandoned mine. As I focused in on it more closely I felt the
unruly ruckus of unconscious resistance that was still present
somewhere within me, hiding beneath a vast blanket of pris-
tine silence. No wonder this inner state hadn’t quite felt like
transcendent peace.

Back in 2013 I was still a little bit enamored of my own
drama, and true to form, I couldn’t help but marvel at the fe-
rocious beauty of sea and sky I was witnessing. I found its un-
bridled fury mesmerizing. But I couldn’t linger to admire it for
very long. The temperature was dropping and the wind was
rapidly picking up speed, the sand striking my bare skin with
ever-greater force.

I stood up to go find a café across the road where I could
enjoy shelter and a cappuccino. It was then I realized the hori-
zon in all other directions had remained cloudless, sunny and
presumably warm. I was in my own tiny, bitterly cold and un-
forgiving micro-climate.

Walking slowly through the marina, I watched calmly as
the yachts bumped and rocked madly in their slips. The wind
shrieked an earsplitting dirge, the boats’ metal riggings
whining eerily as they clanged and scraped against hollow
metal masts. Both my ears ached from the cold and the deaf-
ening cacophony; the ear facing the ocean was also being
pummeled relentlessly with frozen sand at full force. It was
extremely painful.

That’s when I noticed the genuinely odd sensation of
pain minus suffering. It’s kind of like pain doesn’t hurt. Or
rather, it does hurt, but it’s irrelevant. It couldn’t possibly
affect your inner state, which is entirely untouched by the
discomfort. In no way would pain ruin your day, no matter
how intense it might be.

That mini-awakening lasted a bit longer than most of
the others. But after a few days the angry inner foot-dragger
reasserted its supremacy. And for a long while afterward the
experience of pain without suffering remained a mere mem-
ory, a curious side benefit of a short-term, partial awakening.

Several months ago I was experimenting, just for fun, with
deep surrender into knowing the divinity of a painful condi-
tion—with no agenda other than recognizing its perfect iden-
tity. If everything is God, I figured, this must be too.

So I was trying to feel into that knowing, as fully as I could. Because
why not? Pain was here. I might as well occupy myself with the
game of unmasking its true identity. I held the pain in steady
recognition of its pure divinity. And not unlike that peculiar
sandblasted hunt for a cappuccino back in 2013, I discovered
the pain was present yet it didn’t hurt. Or, it hurt, but it wasn’t
bothersome in any way.

These more recent explorations into the nature of pain
went deeper than they did back in 2013. This time I noticed
it was a beautiful expression of radiant divinity. I marveled
at the wondrous gift this pain revealed itself to be. I was hon-
ored by its presence. And because it was already perfect right
here, right now, its choice of whether to stay or go was of no
importance at all.

(As it happened, the pain chose to leave after a day or two
of being recognized as divinity. The mysterious condition,
which showed up all of a sudden, disappeared without a trace
as quickly as it had arrived. But I didn’t require that outcome.
Or any outcome.)

Although we’ve talked mainly about physical pain here,
the same would surely hold true for mental-emotional pain.
The good news is, whatever form of inner or outer discomfort
we’re experiencing, pain without suffering can be known prior
to permanent embodied awakening. All it takes to explore the
sensation of pain without suffering is an attitude of gentle cu-
riosity, an open mind, and an abiding trust relationship with
the subterranean self.

In my experience, when we reach the point that we value
this self almost as much as we value the divine Light of our
own perfect Source, the subterranean self will gladly do eve-
rything in its power to help us taste spiritual freedom. Out
of loyalty. Out of gratitude. Out of relief to no longer be the
object of persecution.

It will back away as much as it dares, intentionally limiting
its own influence, so we can experience miraculous glimpses
of the transcendent self we truly are. It hopes we’ll be satisfied
with these glimpses. It hopes we’ll stop short of choosing a dif-
ferent operating system altogether.

The subterranean self can’t help being what it is. It is keenly
aware its very existence brings a world of suffering to itself and
you in equal measure. And yet it knows no other way to be.
There is no other way it can be.

Despite what the subterranean self would prefer, please don’t
be satisfied with mere miraculous glimpses of yourself. Dive into
the infinite beauty of your own true divine identity. You’ll nev-
er regret the unfolding mystery and adventure of discovering
who and what you really are.

And as for the subterranean self—although it may not seem
like it now, ultimately no greater gift can be given it, than peace
and liberation from its own dilemma at last.

~ Carrie Triffet, excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, © Copyright 2019

Find out more about The Fricken Map is Upside Down or buy the book

Week 11-B – The Body's Role in Awakening (Part 2)

This year, I’m sharing a section each week from THE FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN. From start to finish, from my heart to yours. From the big comfy chair.

Welcome to week eleven-B of this free series. Settle into your own comfy chair, grab a mug of something nice, and read on.

(The following content is excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, by Carrie Triffet © Copyright 2019.)

The body’s role in awakening (continued)

Here is one other important aspect of the body’s role with-
in awakening consciousness:

In much the same way that the body will not be bypassed
even though it isn’t real, the world itself
(totally ultra-not-real as well!) can’t be bypassed either.

The world and everything in it, including our own body, must
be loved and embraced, welcomed and forgiven. Only after we
forgive it and accept its present-moment imperfect-perfection,
will its illusory nature become clear to us. Only then can we
begin to truly see like the Creator sees, thereby transcending
the world.

But here’s the funny thing: Even when when we’re looking
past the illusion, to see like the Creator sees, the world’s il-
lusory nature still won’t inspire us to ignore it or dismiss it or
bypass it. Anything but.

Yes, we do transcend the world, but that’s because
everywhere in the world we look, we recognize
heaven on Earth. Even though the world may still be behaving
as it always has. And that recognition of the world’s inherent
holiness might very well inspire us to take helpful action.

Or, perhaps more accurately, to BE helpful action.

Gandhi said it, and it’s one of the world’s most brilliant,
bumper-sticker-friendly spiritual quotes of all time. Be the
change you wish to see in the world.

The quote is deservedly famous. It points directly toward
infinite transcendent wisdom, yet still manages to offer
practical advice no matter what our level of consciousness
might happen to be right now. It meets us where we’re at.
And then when our own consciousness deepens, we discover
the quote does too.

Levels upon levels of meaning, all pointing directly toward truth.

On the surface, Be the change you wish to see in the world
is simple and obvious. It means if you hate seeing litter in the
park, go be the one to clean it up. (And it’s okay if you silently
bitch to yourself about the messy habits of others while you’re
doing it. At least you’re inspired to take action. You’re helping
to make your neighborhood a tidier place for all to enjoy.)

The next deeper level of meaning would be, for example, if
you want to see more peace in the world, alter your own per-
sonal behavior and attitude in order to plant the seeds of peace.

Help your neighbors—yes maybe even those same messy ones
who litter in the park. And then take it further. Be patient and
respectful with those of differing opinions. Prioritize coopera-
tion in all you do, rather than competition or conflict.

The next deeper level after that carries an exponentially
greater degree of personal commitment: If you want a peaceful
world, think peaceful thoughts. This one is harder. Because, as
we know, peaceful thoughts are not usually the subterranean
self ’s preferred form of expression. Not all the time, anyway,
because we’re bumping up against the distinctly un-peaceful
thoughts of others (as well as our own) all day long.

It would take a Herculean amount of self-mastery to remain
at peace within the mosh pit of collective human expression.
Yet the aspirational decision not to participate in this collec-
tive tumult, is a profound one.

Thoughts, like everything else in existence, are vibratory in nature.
They matter. They CREATE matter. To only contribute thought-forms
of peaceful intent, therefore, would be a wonderful gift to the planet, indeed.

Yet even that isn’t as deep as the rabbit hole goes. This, to me,
is the true and final meaning of Be the change: If you want to
see a more peaceful world, be peace itself. Embody peace until
peace is your sole identity. You will then, quite naturally, be a
beacon of true peace, radiating it to all others. And because
you are its radiant epicenter, a peaceful world emanates from
your very being.

This is how key the body’s role is, in both the awakening
process and the type of world service one might be inspired
to perform on behalf of all beings. The clue is in the word:
Embodiment. Em-body-ment.

It is only when the Light of divinity is embodied—metabolized by
(and therefore as) the body—that your divine self can start to show up as you.

When Light is embodied, peace can start to walk around as
you. You emanate the vibratory signature of peace itself, which
carries the divine potential to influence the entire collective for
the greater good of all. Therefore, your contribution to world
peace is exponentially greater than it could otherwise be.

Gandhi embodied peace. He was also a social activist. Hence
his suggestion that if we want to engage in some seriously pow-
erful activism, we should take inspired action to pick up the
litter and help our neighbor too. Engage in all the levels of Be
the change
. But for maximum impact, do it from the stand-
point of embodied peace. When we do, he suggests, we’ll see
for ourselves how radically and powerfully our illusory world
changes to reflect us.

It doesn’t just have to be peace, of course. The world is sorely
in need of just about any higher-vibration state you can think of.
I choose to be kindness. I choose to be self-forgiveness. I choose
to be the infinite recognition that cauliflower-loving bugs are di-
vine beings in truth.

Our inner radiance of whatever embodied state we choose, is what gets powerfully transmitted to all. It doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker, but that’s okay.

~ Carrie Triffet, excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, © Copyright 2019

Find out more about The Fricken Map is Upside Down or buy the book

Week 11 – The Body's Role in Awakening (Part 1)

This year, I’m sharing a section each week from THE FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN. From start to finish, from my heart to yours. From the big comfy chair.

Welcome to week eleven of this free series. Settle into your own comfy chair, grab a mug of something nice, and read on.

(The following content is excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, by Carrie Triffet © Copyright 2019.)

Over the decades grace offered me more than one awaken-
ing opportunity I’d seemingly said yes to. At least, the top ten
percent of the iceberg said yes. But sometimes in more recent
years, a much larger percentage—maybe even a majority per-
centage of the self appeared to have said yes as well. Or so I
thought. Yet I never seemed able to hold onto any of these
awakenings for more than a few days at most.

As it turned out, this body, bless its heart, wasn’t structurally
ready to handle all that divine Light. Part of the human body’s
job description is to accept every uncomfortable memory or
traumatic belief we don’t feel able to deal with on a conscious
level. Even stuff we don’t know about.

With grave determination and steadfast loyalty, the body
stores all this un-decomposed gunk inside its own energy field,
and within the physical cells. So to some degree, it doesn’t even
matter if our conscious mind is interested in awakening. Our
unconscious stuff hidden deep in the physical body and energy
field is busy doing its own robustly oblivious thing—and what
it’s doing is the opposite of what’s required for awakening.

So let’s say grace smiles upon us, and we experience a trans-
cendent moment of spiritual Light, eternal bliss and divine
unconditional Love. Our energy field (which includes the
body, of course; it’s just the slowest, densest portion of our
field) is flooded with recognition of the magnificent Love-
Light-Awareness that’s always here in truth.

Yet if our energy field is chock full of old unresolved stuff,
and our cells are filled to the brim with lower frequency, un-
conscious beliefs about our self and our world, there is no
room for that flood of high frequency Light to find a perma-
nent home. If our cells are unable to let go of old unconscious
stuff, they can’t make enough room in which to digest and me-
tabolize high frequency Light.

As one who unknowingly spent years pushing vast quanti-
ties of spiritual Light at myself in hopes of profound transfor-
mation, I can tell you this: If the cells can’t metabolize it, the
Light will have nowhere to go. It will spark around and around
in your system in highly uncomfortable ways, short circuiting
until it eventually burns itself out. No harm done, it’s just not
pleasant or helpful.

Various techniques exist for clearing and opening the cells,
to help them make room to metabolize ever-greater amounts
of Light. These range from emotional processing of the old
stored traumatic gunk; to mysticism and spiritual alchemy;
to release of stuck energy through breathwork; and even to
purely nutritional means.

(Purely nutritional means: There are those who are convinced
spiritual enlightenment comes as an inevitable byproduct of
nutritionally healthy cell function. When super-healthy cells
are correctly doing their thing, they can metabolize maximum
amounts of high frequency Light. Therefore, the theory goes,
if we strive to make our cells super-healthy, we’ll be so Light-
filled that embodied awakening will just sort of happen all
by itself. I’d love it if that were true. And who knows, maybe
it is. It has not, however, been my experience, nor that of
anybody I know.)

In any case, whatever methods you choose to employ, I heart-
ily recommend making some room in your cells for greater
amounts of spiritual Light to dwell there. I recommend it even
if your spiritual path of choice might not seem, at first glance,
to support that direction.

Many excellent spiritual teachings say the body is not real,
and that is certainly true. The only thing that’s real and true is
Love-Light-Awareness, or Source, or God-Creator, or what-
ever the heck you want to call it.

Or if you want to be even more excruciatingly accurate,
we would ultimately look past creation and creatorship altogether,
to the formless Absolute.The Absolute is the only unchanging reality.
Creation, which includes bodies, qualifies only as illusory stuff.
Y’know, for gaming purposes.

Be that as it may. I know the body isn’t real. You know the
body isn’t real. But the body itself has no fricken idea it isn’t
real. It may therefore require some patient help to get up to
speed on that bit of news. Until it does, it will obliviously and
effectively deflect all our attempts to metabolize more spiritual
Light. And (unless it turns out they’re right about that nutri-
tion business) there won’t be a damn thing we can do about it.

I speak from long experience. I came into this world with
a profound desire to not come into this world. I didn’t want
to be in a body. That’s not a unique attitude; lots of shy or em-
pathic or artistic or spiritual or introverted or sensitive people
feel much the same. They’re born, they take one look around
and say, ‘Oh, HELL no.’

And the rest of their lives are spent tiptoeing around grudg-
ingly, barely present inside their own skin. I was one of those.

When I finally turned to spiritual practices, naturally I gravi-
tated to one that denied the body’s reality. The body is an illu-
sion, you say? Excellent!
I couldn’t wait to shed that shit, and
cavort as pristine spirit instead. And now I had the best pos-
sible excuse.

Yet bypassing the body never works. Even though it seems
(to some of us) to be merely an unwelcome tag-along we never
meant to invite to the divinity party. We’re simply not going
anyplace without it.

When the body is perceived as an unsafe enemy, or a shad-
owy bucket of shame and trauma, we cannot and will not leave
it behind. In my experience, an absolute prerequisite for last-
ing peace is the willingness to surrender completely into being
here, which includes being in the body.

If you’re an athlete entirely comfortable with your own
physicality, being in the body may not sound like a big deal.
But if you’ve never tried it, you may be surprised to discover
just how challenging a practice it can be, to sit quietly for any
length of time in presence, inside your own body.

If you recall, this is where all our old undigested gunk is
stored, and to be present in the body means we’ve stopped
running away from everything that’s been warehoused here.
We don’t get to bypass our stuff, on the way to transcendent
peace. We don’t have to nitpick and analyze it, but we do have
to sit still willingly and agree to be present with it in the Light
of Awareness.

No matter what it looks like or how it behaves, the body
and its storehouse of stuff is worthy of Love and acceptance.
Maybe even heartfelt gratitude, too, for its decades of unsung
effort. Slowly, eventually, the body becomes recognized as a
cherished friend. And at that point, we find the physical self is
no longer an obstacle to awakening, because we’re not trying
to escape from it anymore.

A few years ago, I was still pretty heavily into hatred and resist-
ance toward my own body. I hated how it looked and acted.
Various body parts and certain bodily functions still held deep
shame. I was consciously aware by then none of this was actu-
ally the body’s fault.

I wanted to feel genuine gratitude for my body, knowing it
didn’t deserve the unrelenting abuse I heaped upon it. I longed
to be able to look at myself in the mirror and not criticize what
I saw there. For years I’d been working with self-love and self-
acceptance in meditation, yet the fiercely critical inner judge
wasn’t even slightly impressed by my efforts.

Back then I still perceived the wisdom of the higher self as
coming in from somewhere other than my own core essence.
One morning, fresh out of the shower and full of dissatisfac-
tion with my shameful physicality, I received an unusually
frank message from my higher self about the body’s true na-
ture. Here is an excerpt:

Your body is perfect. Your body is an indivisible part of a perfect
system of creation, which was intentionally chosen by you, and
by all of humanity.

At the inception of the soul, each human is gifted with a verti-
cal column of Light originating from divine Source. It is part of
the non-physical aspect of the human body. The Light runs verti-
cally up the center of the physical body structure.

This stream of Light is constantly with you, it is yours. It con-
tains the full knowledge of your own individual aspect of divin-
ity, your own true identity, and all the Love that heaven holds
for you. You couldn’t lose it if you tried—and you have indeed
tried very hard.

Your body is also gifted with a system of energy centers, each
one vibrating at its own unique frequency. Everything in your
world, your universe, is composed of energy in motion. The body
is no exception. Everything is vibration, operating at various fre-
quencies from very low to very high.

Unconditional Love is a vibrational frequency—a very high
one. If you want to embody the state of unconditional Love (and
you say you do) it is merely a matter of raising your own ener-
getic frequencies high enough to be compatible with it.

You have been asking, ‘What holds me back from fully em-
bodying the state of unconditional Love? What holds me back
from releasing the personal self and choosing divinity as my true
expression on this plane?’

This is what holds you back. The body is a vehicle of divin-
ity. It was always designed to be. Yes, in your experience it has
uncomfortable urges, inconvenient needs. It shits, it farts. It ages
and breaks down in various ways. It demands sexual or other
forms of gratification. Even so. The body is an intrinsic part of
the package. It is your divine vehicle. Your gateway.

Humanity has overlaid a complex system of collective agree-
ments onto the body: The body is dirty. Its requirements of elimi-
nation are shameful. Menstrual blood, which is nothing more
than the neutral shedding of the uterine lining, is taboo in virtu-
ally every culture.

And then there are the agreed upon ideals of physical beauty
and youthful appearance, and the immense pain of self-abnega-
tion that comes with falling short of those ideals.

Shame and hatred for your own physical vehicle are deeply
woven into the human psyche—and therefore into the cells of
the body as well as the vibratory field you emit. If you could only
see the divine magnificence of the body’s true energetic potential,
you would clearly recognize the enormity of your error.

The Light of heaven can only be metabolized and brought to
Earth by a body that has been wholly forgiven by the self. A body
that is cherished and recognized as a sacred part of all-that-is.
Even though its shit may continue to stink. Even though it may
sprout gray hairs in increasingly unlikely places.

World religions and cultures have promoted the idea of body
shame and hatred, in part as a way of keeping you from dis-
covering your own divinity. Make no mistake. There is no more
surefire way of blocking full expression of the divine AS you,
than by refusing to witness the body in the truth of its perfec-
tion. The physical body is the wholly neutral gateway to heaven
on Earth. To lock the gate and bar the door is to simply never
experience that holy union.

(Yes, my higher self occasionally swore like a sailor on shore
leave, because that was sometimes the best way to get through
to me.) At the time, this lesson about bodies, frequencies and
divine energetic potential was received as shocking new infor-
mation. Nowadays my own ongoing experience with it testi-
fies to its undeniable accuracy.

~ Carrie Triffet, excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, © Copyright 2019

Find out more about The Fricken Map is Upside Down or buy the book

Week 10 – Butterflies and Window Washers

This year, I’m sharing a section each week from THE FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN. From start to finish, from my heart to yours. From the big comfy chair.

Welcome to week ten of this free series. Settle into your own comfy chair, grab a mug of something nice, and read on.

(The following content is excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, by Carrie Triffet © Copyright 2019.)


Butterflies and window washers

With my reconfigured navigation system up and running,
the spiritual journey it inspired unfolded slowly and gently,
in ways that at first seemed very unspectacular and mundane.
Nothing felt like dramatic progress, initially. I spent the first
few months simply teaching myself the new discipline of un-
relenting kindness, as I learned to embrace the subterranean
self with compassion in every moment, no matter how it was
behaving—and no matter what mood I was in.

The effects of this practice seemed cumulative. Under the
benevolent gaze of the divine self within, the subterranean
ego self slowly blossomed and became willing to actively par-
ticipate, sharing its deepest unconscious secrets as needed. In
this always-gentle process, the unlikely trio of divine self, sub-
merged iceberg and I, cooperated on what ultimately became
a grand adventure of liberation.

Everything about this evolutionary journey has felt quite dif-
ferent from the agreed-upon collective ideas about the awak-
ening process. The usual metaphor for the spiritual awakening
process is the caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly. The
caterpillar lives his wiggly little existence for as long as neces-
sary, then cocoons himself to kick off the transformation.

Once inside, he swiftly breaks down into an unrecogniz-
able pulp. In this demolition process nothing of the caterpillar
himself remains. And the be-winged end product, the splen-
didly awakened divine self who no longer eats your prize ge-
raniums, is seen as being so much more wonderful than the
lowly caterpillar, the inconvenient personal ‘me’ self from
whence it emerged.

The comparison is understandable. It contains big nuggets
of truth. But do you notice the underlying current of self-ha-
tred running through it? It takes for granted the ordinary ego-
ic self is the unwanted obstacle to awakening. It assumes the
inconvenient old self must be got rid of pronto, so the shinier,
newer divine self can emerge.

The implication is that it takes nothing more than a heroic
act of will to let go of the inferior old self. Never mind that few
seem able to accomplish this act of will in actual practice. I
certainly couldn’t. This personal failing, this inability to let go
of ourselves is seen as the only thing standing between us and
our experience of divinity.

The good-riddance-to-bad-rubbish implication is, this mag-
nificent, newly emergent divine self (if we ever manage to be-
come it) will fly away without so much as a backward glance at
its own shredded egoic cocoon.

I dunno. I can only go by my own experience. To me, the
awakening process is more like walking around my own
house’s perimeter and performing a gentle window washing,
day after day. Gradually the Light is let in. When the out-
side panes have become somewhat clearer, I then choose to
knock on the door and ask permission to wash them from
the inside too.

Oh so slowly, the once-filthy panes of glass become more
and more transparent to the Light that’s always been here. And
after enough Light has been allowed to enter, a type of quiet
transmutation starts to occur.

This soft alchemy is no magic trick of transformation. It does
not suddenly make an unwanted obstacle disappear, revealing
a marvelous new butterfly-ish ‘me’ in its place. As it finally
occurs to me that everything, honest-to-God, really is God,
I begin to patiently wash my own windows with greatest ten-
derness and respect.

Not to remove the unsightly crud, but simply as an expression
of care and devotion. I am, after all, God washing the God off
of God. I’m not judging the dirt or the windows. Why would
I? That would be silly. I’m just practicing attentive self-care. It
doesn’t even matter, ultimately, whether stuck on bits of grimy
gunk are coming off or not. Holiness is.

Take a look around, inside and outside your own life. Maybe
it’s not what you imagined it would turn out to be. Washing
the God off of God is a practice of genuinely learning not to
mind what’s here right now. And that acceptance, in itself, is a
form of mastery leading to a type of enlightenment.

When washing the God off of God is our genuine window-
washing attitude, the interior of our house grows rapidly
brighter. And as the interior illuminates, the house itself and
all its contents
start to wake up and recognize themselves as the
same Light that’s been softly streaming in all along.

And that’s the alchemy. Inner crud slowly remembers itself as
divinity, which inspires the aforementioned crud to accept
Light instead of resisting it. The more Light it embraces, the
easier it is for the crud to more fully recognize its own
identity as God.

(Won’t that make the crud arrogant, believing itself to be
God? Uh, no. The crud has spent its whole self-hating exist-
ence believing in its profound unworthiness. The recogni-
tion of its own divinity, which is not a belief but rather a
direct knowing, causes it to realize, for the very first time,
that it has an authentic right to be. Along with every other
part of all-that-is.)

The cleaning of one’s own muddy windows is an oversimpli-
fied analogy describing this gradual evolution toward inner
union. In actual practice the process of window washing
is neither linear nor straightforward. Although higher
and lower selves are ultimately one, and the decision to
treat both with love and respect is profound, their aims
are not the same.

The higher divine self desires only our freedom and eternal
happiness. The worldly subterranean self will do whatever it
can to keep the game alive. Both are innocent; one of them just
doesn’t know it.

As my relationship with the subterranean self
deepened, I naturally wanted to ease its suffering. If it was ask-
ing for mercy, my instinct was to offer it. Yet in my experience
one reaches key points again and again in the journey, where
allegiance to Light must clearly be chosen.

The subterranean self benefits greatly from increased Light
streaming in through its partly cleaned windows. It feels hap-
pier and so do we. Yet this submerged self needs at least a
minimal amount of crud on its windows in order to survive.

As long as it survives, both we and our subterranean self will
remain in bondage together. For its sake and ours, therefore,
divine Love will inspire us to choose against the subterranean
self ’s pleas for indefinitely protracted survival.

This isn’t tough love. It’s the opposite of tough, and the op-
posite of small ‘l’ love. The tenderest divine Love imaginable
is what inspires us to hold the subterranean self close to our
hearts, in the authentic desire to spare it further unhappiness.

Love and compassion for all parts of the self, will help us
bring the higher and lower selves together holistically. In
my experience an attitude of love and compassion is a defi-
nite must if we want to experience true spiritual alchemy—
the kind where nothing ever needs to be killed off or aban-
doned, in order for the magnificent awakened self to emerge
and take flight.

~ Carrie Triffet, excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, © Copyright 2019

Find out more about The Fricken Map is Upside Down or buy the book

Week 9 – No Virgins Were Harmed in the Making of This Miracle

This year, I’m sharing a section each week from THE FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN. From start to finish, from my heart to yours. From the big comfy chair.

Welcome to week nine of this free series. Settle into your own comfy chair, grab a mug of something nice, and read on.

(The following content is excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, by Carrie Triffet © Copyright 2019.)

Along with the revised sense of God and creation, came a new
appreciation of the energetic universe itself. As with God and
creation, I didn’t go looking for new ways of understanding
the cosmos. These puzzle pieces were quietly dropped into my
spiritual worldview on my behalf.

Even though it now embraces physics (meta, quantum and
astro) to some degree, my spiritual worldview is also one of
awe and wonder. I seem to have a newfound appreciation for
the miraculous nature of existence itself. My core definition
of ‘what is a miracle?’ has changed, and the quasi-scientific
framework, for me, only adds to its profound beauty and mys-
tery. So let’s talk about miracles. What they are, what they’re
not, and perhaps have never been.

Modern culture tends to look back on ancient civilizations
with a sort of bemusement at what we consider their child-
like naiveté, or superstitious approach toward spirituality. We
shake our heads at their efforts to appease the Gods Out There,
in order to insure a good harvest, or make a plague go away.

Silly ancients, we tell ourselves. Good thing we’re so much more
sophisticated now.

But it strikes me that our modern approach is really not so
different, minus the odd blood sacrifice here or there. Occur-
rences we interpret as evidence of the spiritual realm in action
(i.e. miracles), are really more like impartial displays of the
structural laws of the universe.

Various branches of science speak of the existence of mul-
tiple dimensions, the first four of which together describe
the recognizable laws of space-time as we experience them
here on Earth. Some scientists cite evidence for six or
seven more dimensions beyond those, or however many
more they can measure with instruments, or postulate as
suggested by mathematical probabilities. Metaphysical
teachings, however, allow for a virtually infinite number
of dimensions, each one related to an equal number of
possible timelines.

You know the virtual reality games we’ve been talking about?
This infinity of dimensional timelines explains the mecha-
nism through which these richly complex illusions of life can
exist. The direction of any given game can never be definitive-
ly known in advance, because endless moment-by-moment
possibilities exist for any outcome. A grand game indeed, and
one befitting the divine beings we are.

I’ve heard the mechanism described the following way. For
what it’s worth, this simplified analogy feels accurate to me in
its basic explanation of how multi-dimensionality works, in
relation to the life experience of any given gamer:

Your individual game of life is like an old-fashioned slide
carousel (ask your parents), which is, in turn, hooked up to
a slide projector. Although there are indeed infinite slides to
choose from, some events (slides) are pre-programmed into
your individual carousel before you start the game. Yet how
you respond to each slide as you see it projected onto your
screen, is entirely up to you. Your choice of responses,
essentially, is the game.

That’s because your response to the projected image is what
determines which new slide will tumble in next from the
vast universe of possible slides, to take the next slot in your
carousel. How divinely aligned (or misaligned) was your re-
action to the last slide you saw projected onto your screen?
How high or low frequency was the nature of your response?

Whatever it was, you will magnetically attract a slide that is
its vibrational match. And your game will move seamlessly
into that new direction.

So a miraculous healing (to swing back around to the topic
of miracles—we do get there eventually), does not occur be-
cause you had an illness, then you prayed, and the next minute
that illness was miraculously healed. Technically speaking,
there’s no such thing as a healing, miraculous or otherwise.

It’s just that your beautiful heartfelt prayer lifted you into a
higher-vibration alternate timeline. One in which that partic-
ular illness doesn’t exist in your body. In some other timeline,
the illness continues unabated.

We’re sliding between timelines all the time, but it’s usually
quite seamless, with only minor changes. Our bodies tend to
age imperceptibly from one day to the next, for example. Each
of the body’s minor physical changes inhabits its own timeline.

We don’t pay much attention to the subtle, seemingly linear
progression from one of these timelines to the next, because
the small changes are considered normal and expected.

Bigger shifts, like the sudden disappearance of an illness,
are noticed and labeled miracles. Out of the ordinary shifts
like these clearly demonstrate in fact, timelines are under no
obligation to behave incrementally or linearly. Dimensional
timelines act like a bunch of random slides, and any one of
them can fall into your carousel at any given moment.

They only seem to create small linear changes most of the
time because that’s what we expect. Large anomalies are called
miracles because they defy our expectations of what is pos-
sible. We therefore tend to attribute them to the intervention
of external deities.

But they are the result of connecting with your own in-
ner deity—the one who has always known its own true divine
identity, and knows perfectly well how multi-dimensional-
ity works, even if you don’t.

The shift to another timeline is not the miracle. You,
gloriously multi-dimensional you, are the miracle.

I’ll give you a couple of my own relatively trivial examples of
timeline shifting, based on high-vibrational responses to ex-
ternal stimuli. I have hundreds of similar examples to draw
from. Suffice it to say I wholeheartedly embraced the above
explanation of malleable timelines and dimensional possibili-
ties when I encountered it, because it so closely matches and
explains phenomena I’ve been experiencing for many years in
my own life.

Here’s the first example. Back in 2005, a few weeks after that
first powerful awakening episode, I was invited to attend a cli-
ent’s annual general meeting and give a presentation to board
members. This annual gathering was a three-day event held
at an all-inclusive luxury resort in Cabo San Lucas. The resort
boasted half a dozen immaculate blue swimming pools, in-
cluding the de rigueur swim-up bar. Because God forbid you’d
have to towel off before refilling your drink order.

I was still kind of buzzing with I-am-the-universe-itself
Awareness after that initial awakening. So after a day or two
of drifting around the various pools inside the resort complex,
I decided it might be nice to wander down to the beach and
have a solo experience of actual Nature.

One could see the beach from the resort but nobody seemed
to go there. It felt oddly forbidden, almost, to leave the perim-
eter walls of the compound. As I stepped beyond the outer
boundary I discovered there was actually good reason for that.
They must’ve been using some kind of invisible electronic
fencing to keep the bugs out.

The moment I stepped past the walls, time seemed to slow
and I sensed the attention of thousands of bugs all turning
to zero in on me. Uh-oh. Half a second later the cumulative
buzzing filled my senses as I felt myself surrounded by raven-
ous airborne creatures, the first few giant welts already starting
to form on my arms and legs.

But then all by itself, a knowing arose from someplace within
me. With complete authority I silently said to the insect hordes,
I am sacred. I am not an appropriate food source for you.

Everything immediately stopped in mid-buzz, and all bugs
disappeared, along with the welts already existing on my body.
At the time I didn’t know whether to be more startled by the
self who rose up out of nowhere to make that proclamation, or
by the bug-free miracle it seemingly caused.

I had no explanation for the miracle at the time. Nowadays,
I would say the divinity-assisted proclamation of my own in-
herent worthiness brought me into closer vibrational align-
ment with divine truth. I was seeing a bit more like the Creator
sees. And this high-vibrational state shifted me into a timeline
where that particular beach held no flying bugs.

Funnily enough my next example is also about bugs. I’m new
to organic gardening, and I wanted to try growing cauliflow-
ers. I knew it wouldn’t be easy because so many different kinds
of critters are incredibly fond of them. To make it even more
interesting I wasn’t content with just going organic; I wanted
to try growing them in accordance with our no-kill/no ene-
mies policy. So there would be no bug murder going on here.

It soon became obvious it would be a small miracle in its
own right if these plants survived long enough to actually pro-
duce a head of cauliflower, because the beautiful blue-green
leaves themselves were so desired by so many. Every day I
would pick off, or spray water off, at least six different kinds of
invasive insect. I didn’t want to hurt them, just remove them
from the plant. I kept infestation at bay, and as long as there
were only a few of each type of bug I found it easy to remain
loving while I did it.

About seven weeks into the process we took one evening
off to go to a music festival, so the cauliflower plants went
forty-eight hours instead of twenty-four without my usual
attentions. I came back the following day to serious infes-
tation—and every gardener knows how hard it is to reverse
an infestation after it’s already established, no matter what
methods you use.

Some creatures eat a multitude of pinprick holes. Others,
given the chance, want to eat the whole plant down to the
stalks. And then there are the ones who simply prefer to suck
the life out of the veins and stems. Still others like to lay their
eggs on the leaf ’s underside, to give the caterpillar hatchlings
a delicious buffet lunch before turning into winged things
themselves and repeating the cycle. Most of the more ma-
ture leaves were hearty and strong enough to withstand the
multi-pronged attacks, but I was dismayed to find many of the
younger, smaller leaves had been decimated.

A number of these vulnerable baby leaves now held eggs,
three or four types of bugs and tiny newborn caterpillars in
addition to having already been eaten down to lacy stalks.
I was surprised to notice myself becoming a little bit angry
and indignant on behalf of these defenseless baby leaves. It
wasn’t fair
, I thought, that the innocent babies were getting
attacked from so many quarters, when they were obviously too
young and tender to defend themselves
. And I noticed I got
a little bit ruthless in my bug and egg removal. They had, in
some small way, become my enemies.

Many weeks earlier I had relinquished my expectation, or
right, to an actual cauliflower harvest. I had been asking very
pointedly for some time, to be shown not only how to correctly
witness ‘enemies out there,’ but also to know how to properly
behave in response to their transgressive actions. Not just in
my garden, but also in the world I perceived outside me.

I had watched the cauliflower leaves attracting transgressors
and (much the same as while losing my lettuce) I realized
right away if forced to choose, I’d far rather learn this lesson
about enemies, than harvest cauliflowers. Even though we
really like cauliflowers.

I was already pretty good at knowing there’s no such thing
as an enemy in truth. But what about taking action at times it’s
clearly needed, whether here in the garden or in more extreme
cases out in the world at large? Was I just supposed to think
spiritual thoughts and look the other way? That answer didn’t
seem quite right, in the chaotically transgressive age we live in.

Was it ever appropriate to take a stand against transgressors, I
wondered? Sometimes action is surely required. Isn’t it?

I knew my cauliflowers and their many devoted admirers
were here, in part, to teach me about this larger issue, surely
one of the most urgent lessons of our time. So my anten-
nae went up immediately when I noticed I was becoming
angry at the unfairness of the relentless attacks upon inno-
cent babies. I correctly identified this interpretation as my
own subterranean ‘enemy generator’ at work. I didn’t buy
the propaganda.

On the other hand I didn’t embrace the lesson right away,
either. I didn’t fully dive into the opportunity clearly being of-
fered, even though I’d been asking for this all along. After all,
action was required first, right? The little buggers were every-
where. So I acted.

For two days I used three times as much water as before,
grimly blowing the insects off the leaves over and over. They
hopped right back on, of course. But I made sure I disrupt-
ed their nest building efforts, and slowed down the creation
of colonies. If one or two of them drowned in the process, I
wasn’t all that sorry.

On the third day I sprayed the insect hordes off the first cou-
ple of plants, as I had been doing for the past two days, acutely
aware of the futility of the exercise. It was only then I admit-
ted to myself, I hadn’t bothered to give full consideration to
the lesson at hand. I hadn’t yet taken it seriously enough to
base my actions upon it. Recognizing I had little to lose at this
point, I paused as I approached the next group of cauliflower
beds, sprayer in hand, and chose to view all the living beings
in those beds as being equally of God. I persistently basked
in their Love-Light divinity, keeping at it until I could clearly
feel my own.

I felt the telltale softness, as everything in my world now
became imbued with the gentle glow of divinely illumined
Awareness. And then I lifted the first leaf of the next cauli-
flower plant in line to be sprayed. It held eighty percent fewer
bugs than the plants I’d sprayed a minute ago. The rest of the
plants showed roughly the same degree of reduced infestation.
Somehow I wasn’t surprised.

I suppose it qualifies as a small miracle. Yet I prefer the
metaphysical explanation, which seems to fit better: I brought
the electromagnetic patterns of my thought-forms into more
coherent alignment with the much higher-frequency patterns
of divine truth. I thought a bit more like the Creator thinks, if
you prefer that wording.

As a result, my own overall frequency lifted higher, which
popped me, quite seamlessly, into a dimensional timeline that
was a vibratory match for my own more divinely aligned fre-
quency. A timeline in which the more devastating degree of in-
festation hadn’t ever occurred. Or maybe it was a timeline in
which other predatory bugs had already found the leaf-eating
critters, and had obligingly hoovered up eighty percent of them.

That might be the more logical timeline explanation, be-
cause the plants’ leaves were still every bit as damaged as they’d
been before the timeline shift. If the infestations had never oc-
curred, it would stand to reason the leaves would also reflect
far less damage. That would’ve been awesome, to witness a
garden full of cauliflower plants suddenly restored to their for-
merly pristine blue-green beauty and vitality. It would’ve been
a sparklier miracle for sure, than the somewhat more prosaic
marvel I experienced.

It would have more closely resembled the first example I
gave you, of the already existing mosquito bites on my arms
and legs that disappeared along with the mosquitoes, on that
Mexican beach. In that earlier instance, I received a little tur-
bo-charged boost of divine knowing. Undoubtedly that’s what
helped shift me into a super high-vibrational version of that
beach moment.

Back to the cauliflower leaves, had I been utterly convinced
of the Godliness of all plants, all leaf-eating bugs and myself
alike, my own frequency might have risen to such an extent I
would perhaps have attracted a substantially higher-frequency
slide, or timeline, into my carousel—one in which no harm
had ever been done. As it was, my sincere witness of joint God-
liness fell within the realm of an enthusiastic exercise.

Hey, I’m not complaining about the timeline result I got, by any means.
I’m just saying, there’s always room for improvement.

The next evening I paused before spraying, as I had done
the day before, and felt more deeply into the holiness of all the
bugs and cauliflower plants alike. This time I found the inci-
dence of bugs was nearly nonexistent, lower than it had been
before the infestations ever began.

This example of the cauliflowers may seem trivial (and I sup-
pose it is), but it does point toward a couple of very powerful
clues about the correct response to transgressive actions taken
by ‘enemies out there.’

One: Correctly aligned thought patterns that contain no
trace of enemy consciousness, even while in the midst of taking
physical action to stop aggressors
, bring infinitely more power-
ful results than taking those same actions while perceiving the
other as an enemy.

Herein lies the mystery, or the magic, or the miracle, or whatever
you want to call it, of taking appropriate action while refus-
ing to perceive enemies. Our own higher frequency, stemming
from our more closely aligned action, inevitably must result in
higher frequency outcomes than we could have ever imagined.

Like this one, for instance: As I was finishing with my cauli-
flower chores on that first day of more divinely aligned think-
ing, Steve arrived and remarked that all our tomato plants
seemed to have inexplicably grown about eighteen inches
taller overnight. On closer inspection I noticed they also ap-
peared to be laden with more than twice as many full-size to-
matoes as the day before.

After my second day of divinely aligned cauliflower spray-
ing, the same tomato plants were now heaving with still more
clusters of beautiful plump tomatoes. All told, our tomato har-
vest would now be more than triple the original yields.

In my experience, the knock-on effect of seeing more like
the Creator sees, brings all kinds of exponential, unlooked-
for miracles seemingly out of left field. This was no exception.

Thanks to this higher-frequency timeline, not only did my
cauliflowers thrive, but we would now be enjoying homemade
tomato pasta sauce all throughout the following year.

Which brings us to powerful point Number Two: Maybe this
is how the world gets healed of its many gaping wounds. May-
be this is how climate change is reversed. It seems to me this
lesson can be scaled up to include the world’s most seemingly
intractable issues. If we can take responsibility for the quality
of our own thoughts, mindfully aligning them with divinity
instead, every time we catch ourselves pointing fingers at the
enemies who got us into this mess—who knows.

Maybe that action alone would be enough to pop us into in-
crementally cleaner and healthier timelines. Dimensional pos-
sibilities where ocean plastic, or air pollution, or fracking has
never been a thing. Or at least, far less of a thing. And can you
imagine what other unexpectedly beautiful delights of Nature
might also exist in that somewhat-higher frequency timeline?

Or let’s take it even one step farther. Imagine, if you will,
dozens of people picking up trash on a beach (appropriate ac-
tion) all the while carefully seeing both the trash and those
who discarded it as divinely holy expressions of our shared
Source (appropriate perception). Imagine the potential ripple
effects created by this mindfully intentional combo platter of
divine alignment. Who knows what lovely, life-affirming time-
lines the planet might shift into, if such high-frequency behav-
ior became commonplace among us?

Do you doubt it’s possible? It’s impossible only if you say it
is. You’re a multi-dimensional spark of God-flame, kiddo. You
can do it. We all can.

~ Carrie Triffet, excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, © Copyright 2019

Find out more about The Fricken Map is Upside Down or buy the book

Week 8 – Seeing Clearly

This year, I’ll be sharing a section each week from THE FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN. From start to finish, from my heart to yours. From the big comfy chair.

Welcome to week eight of this free series. Settle into your own comfy chair, grab a mug of something nice, and read on.

(The following content is excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, by Carrie Triffet © Copyright 2019.)


Seeing clearly

One night a number of years ago, I was sincerely asking to see
how God sees. I truly wanted to be able to look upon the world
I live in, and find it innocent and holy. But it wasn’t happening.
Not even a little bit. So I was praying, asking for some kind of
pointer that would help me make this shift of perception:

You know everything about me, God. My thoughts, my beliefs.
You’re there when I fart. You’ve seen me have sex. But I know
nothing about you. Give me a hint. Show me how you see things.
Help me know you better so I can see the world as you do.

Cute, right? Like I said, it was a long time ago. Anyway, I
went to bed after that and slept as I normally would, dreaming
about nothing in particular. But I woke in the early morning
with a strong sense I was in the presence of a huge intelligence
of some kind.

It was vast, deep and immeasurably powerful. I wasn’t
alarmed by its size or power, because it felt thoroughly benign.
More than just benign—it was wholly suffused with the inno-
cent sweetness and radiantly gentle spotlessness of God. This
being, I realized, was Love and Light incarnate. And because
it was all of these magnificent things, I could feel within my
own mind-body-energy field that I was all of these things, too.

Yet I was puzzled. I felt I really ought to recognize this mas-
sive entity. It seemed so famous, so well known. I couldn’t
quite place it. Slowly the realization dawned:

Oh. My. God. This is the devil.

I was witnessing Satan—as viewed through a
completely pristine mind. Satan, seen from God’s perspective.

I’d been asking to see how God sees. This is how God sees.
This is what unconditional Love-Light is. Everything is made
of God, which means everything is witnessed and experi-
enced by God AS God. Everything is recognized as the pristine
perfection it really is in truth, no matter what sort of havoc
that perfection may be busy inflicting upon the world. Small
wonder I was having such a hard time, trying to embrace this
whole Love-Light-Awareness thing, eh?

The lesson provides a useful illustration of our shared human
dilemma. If we want to know Light and Love as our own true
identity, we can’t be dabbling in exclusionary thinking. It’s all
or nothing; everybody or nobody. If we deny the divinity in
anyone or anything (no matter how badly they may behave),
we deny it in everyone and everything.

As if that prerequisite is not challenging enough, we have
yet another hurdle to consider. To experience Love and Light
as who we really are, we have to be on a similar wavelength to
it. We can’t be invested in fearful anxieties about the future, or
caught up in believing stories about our own unworthiness,
because those ideas all reside on a different, more knuckle-
dragging frequency level.

Only in the past few years have I come to appreciate the role
of energetic frequency and vibration, as it relates to spiritual
evolution. Unconditional Love and Light are extraordinarily
high frequencies, and if our mental-emotional activity is not
a reasonably good match to these frequencies, we haven’t a
prayer of knowing those transcendent states firsthand.

And yet life on this planet inspires pretty much every one
of us to work overtime, creating fearful defenses and limiting
stories about ourselves and each other. We worry and fret, we
judge and condemn. We fill our wounded hearts with fire
and ice, or other numbing agents. The inevitable result, is
that our personal wavelength rarely comes within spitting
distance of the extremely high-frequencies where divine
Love and Light reside.

If you are spiritually gifted or exceptionally lucky, your angelic
guides might now and then offer you peekaboo glimpses of
the mind-blowing beauty of your own true identity. For years
I fell into the category of the very lucky, an enthralled tourist
snapping pictures of my own magnificence from the safety of
the tour bus. Yet I could never seem to own what was being
shown to me. It was far too bright.

A visit to a heavenly tourist attraction is a wondrous gift
for anyone to experience. It’s not even slightly mandatory,
however, along the spiritual journey. I have also come to
realize it’s not remotely the same thing as experiencing our
own true Love-Light identity for real. I brought back only
postcards and souvenirs, when I visited via tour bus. But I
come back forever transformed by Love-Light itself, each
time I’m able to own it directly—even just a little bit—as
my true identity.

I bring this up only to point out how peekaboo glimpses differ
from authentic embodiment of Love-Light, because I myself didn’t
understand the difference for many years. I could never figure out
why my cherished collection of Polaroid Love-Light snapshots re-
fused to develop into fully embodied knowings of divine truth.

Now I realize, in order to give us these careful tastes of our
own divinity, our guides put up helpful screens and veils so we,
the lumpy, carbon-based physical entities we are, don’t burn
to a crisp in the presence of our own glory. It’s a kindness, in
other words. And (despite the impatience of eager tourists like
me) it’s very necessary, until it isn’t.

If Love and Light were forced upon any aspect of the self
that actively doesn’t want them, or isn’t ready for them, an epic
clash of wavelengths would ensue. Love and Light would then
be experienced as a brutal spotlight interrogation at best, and
incineration at worst.

And this is why Love-Light-Awareness waits so patiently to
be authentically invited in. Not just by the conscious top ten
percent of your ego iceberg, but by the other ninety as well.
The cellular you, the physical you, is the determined secret
keeper on your behalf. It would shriek with pain and terror if
confronted prematurely with the unlimited, unflinching Light
of divine truth. And Love-Light-Awareness wishes always and
only to be kind.

Love and Light can only be fully embodied by an awak-
ened, undefended heart, powered by the high-wattage energy
field that is part and parcel of this divine state of being. Yet life
on Earth does not exactly seem to lend itself to this kind of
extreme attainment.

So is the Love-Light divinity deck purposely stacked against us?
I don’t know. Maybe.

These days, I prefer to regard life on Earth as an epic virtual
reality game. Each time we start from zero, with no memory
of earlier wins or losses. The point of the game seems to be to
load ourselves up with as many obstacles as possible, and then
see how long it takes to remember ourselves as God.

From the standpoint of a divine being (which you are), there
would be no advantage in remembering yourself too easily.
Where’s the fun in a game in which every roll of the dice pre-
dictably brings you closer to your guaranteed win?

More to the point, if our reason for being is to experience as
much as we can on behalf of the Absolute, we will set up the
game to be as nail-bitingly interesting as possible. Will she re-
lease her crippling fear of intimacy? Will he find peace within
the morass of alcohol addiction? Success is never certain, from
our limited perspective anyway. And that’s what makes it such
a kickass game.

~ Carrie Triffet, excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, © Copyright 2019

Find out more about The Fricken Map is Upside Down or buy the book

Week 7 – God and Creation

This year, I’ll be sharing a section each week from THE FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN. From start to finish, from my heart to yours. From the big comfy chair.

Welcome to week seven of this free series. Settle into your own comfy chair, grab a mug of something nice, and read on.

(The following content is excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, by Carrie Triffet © Copyright 2019.)

God and Creation

My new, insider relationship with the subterranean self was
the first and most obvious change to my spiritual worldview.

Yet it wasn’t only this softened attitude toward the egoic self that characterized my gentler, post-map landscape. I also found myself embracing a different sense of God, and the nature of creation. A different sense of why we’re here.

I didn’t actively go looking for a replacement definition of
God, or a different creation story. This wasn’t an intellectual
decision; it was done on my behalf, through divine grace. It
forms part of the new navigation system, which arose from the
spacious ground of not-knowing.

The ground of not-knowing, allows room for a perfectly
customized, divinely-inspired journey to unfold—one that’s
exactly right for each individual journeyer. It’s what happens
when you clear the slate of what you think you know, and instead
let your higher self reconfigure your spiritual navigation system.

The puzzle pieces that make up your perfect spiritual
worldview may or may not be the same ones as mine. They will
be the ones that lead swiftly and gently to your own liberation.

The customized spiritual navigation system I describe
throughout this book has been perfect for my own evolution.
It has lifted me beyond my stuck places with ease and grace.
That doesn’t mean my spiritual worldview is universally better.
It’s just what’s been perfect for me.

My revised sense about God and creation arrived without fanfare; these particular puzzle pieces quietly inserted themselves
into my worldview over the last couple of years, and for me
they’re a good fit. They form the living foundation for much of
what has occurred since.

I’ll explain the update with a brief review:

When non-dual teachings speak about God, the infinite mystery of pure void is what they’re referring to. Pure void is sometimes described as infinite, eternal emptiness. Which, paradoxically, brims with the latent potential for all-that-is.

‘The Absolute’ is another, possibly less confusing label for it.

This great emptiness-in-fullness can’t experience itself. It cannot stand apart from itself, to perceive or experience anything.

But not everybody agrees on this ‘prior to all that is-ness’
as the definition of the word ‘God.’ Not everybody traces God
that far back. And this is where creation comes into play.

Here is the creation story I find resonant at this time:

The Absolute chooses to experience its own great infinity. To facilitate this, a ‘deputy’ of sorts arises out of the emptiness-fullness, and is tasked with carrying out this choice. The deputy is itself made out of three intertwined raw materials of divinity. These are Love, Light and conscious Awareness.

Employing these same three raw materials as fundamental building blocks of creation (because no other raw materials exist), this deputy creates all-that-is. All that can ever be.

Creation is the deputy’s principal function, therefore the deputy can accurately be called the Creator. And the Creator is what many people, not surprisingly, think of as God. It’s what I think of as God.

The word ‘Source’ can also apply here. The deputy is the
Source of all that exists. Or you could just refer to the deputy
by its component parts: Love-Light-Awareness.

(A lumpier title, but technically accurate. Although I suppose it’s a little like saying, ‘Please pass the bottle of tomato-vinegar-spices,’ when you really mean ketchup.)

From here on in, I’ll be using the word ‘God’ interchangeably with ‘Creator’ or ‘Source,’ to mean the aforementioned deputy facilitator of the Absolute.

And as you’ll see throughout this book, the creation story described above (we are created so the Absolute can experience itself) is woven deeply throughout my own journey of the past couple of years.

~ Carrie Triffet, excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, © Copyright 2019

Find out more about The Fricken Map is Upside Down or buy the book

Week 6 – A High Speed Chase Seen Through Backward Binoculars

For the rest of this year and most of the next, I’ll be sharing a section each week from THE FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN. From start to finish, from my heart to yours. From the big comfy chair.

Welcome to week six of this free series. Go ahead and settle into your own comfy chair, grab a mug of something nice to drink, and read on.

(The following content is excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, by Carrie Triffet © Copyright 2019.)

A high speed chase seen through backward binoculars

I was being taught to step away from my own personal view-
point with good reason. For years I’d been exploring the
theme of enemy consciousness (and how to live beyond it),
because the flip side of that tug ‘o war is true inner peace.

I was learning that an enemy is only an enemy, because I
have perceived it as such. But the human perceptual view-
point is a freaky thing. It was slowly dawning on me that I
probably shouldn’t have been relying on it as an advisor in
the first place.

A human being’s perceptual lens can never be trusted as an
accurate reflection of the way things really are. Your percep-
tion and mine are not clear, factual representations of what
we see. They’re made up of our own highly personal sets of
prior associations.

Some of these associations are cultural or religious, others
are supplied by the society we live in. Any of these may give
the illusion of common ground with those who seem to share
our general view. Education and family influences (or lack
thereof) also play big roles in shaping perception.

Our own personal prior historical experiences, paired with this mélange
of tangled associations, inherited assumptions and unexam-
ined group expectations forms the lens through which we in-
terpret everything we see. It’s all relative, and no interpretation
is ever truly accurate.

To illustrate how it works, here’s a small example of my own
from many years back:

I was driving through South Los Angeles one day with a school
friend I hadn’t seen in ages. We had
just been to a trade show together, and were on our way to
another appointment someplace deep in the garment district.

In that section of the city several freeways converge in a complex
series of cloverleaf curves, the on and off ramps weaving under
and over each other in every direction. It takes a fair amount of
lane merging to get where you need to go. Jabbering excitedly
with my friend about all the changes in our lives since we’d last
seen each other, I barely noticed what I was doing.

Having made it safely onto our chosen freeway, a few min-
utes went by before my friend observed, ‘Um, there’s a guy
who’s been driving alongside us for a while now, and he keeps
looking in the window at you.’

‘Really?’ I asked, my eyes on the unpredictable antics of driv-
ers in front and behind me, ‘What do you think he wants?’
‘I dunno,’ she said. ‘But he looks pretty mad.’

I felt a cold stab of fear. Partly because my own prior associations
had long ago led me to the conclusion that other peoples’ anger
was unsafe, and I should always tap dance my way to a state of
mutually agreed upon harmony whenever possible.

And partly because of another prior association: This was Los Angeles,
famous around the world for the occasionally lethal effects of road
rage. I prayed the guy wasn’t carrying a baseball bat or a gun.

I stole a peek over at him. A very dark skinned man of pow-
erful build glared back at me. Oh man. Oh shit. I had no idea
why he was mad at me, but prior societal associations of mine
made his anger a little bit extra-frightening.

I grew up in an economically depressed Rust Belt town in the
1970s, where racial tensions ran high. My junior high school
years in particular saw semi-regular flashpoints of pent-up
student frustration, the racial lines often clearly drawn. I never
got beat up, back then or ever. But sparks and fists flew all
around me with a certain amount of regularity.

Decades later, on this Los Angeles freeway, I couldn’t help
but filter an encounter with this angry stranger through that
junior high school lens. It was automatic; it’s how our minds
process new information.

I made that unconscious linkage instantly, and promptly
broke out in a nervous sweat. For the
next ten miles his car kept pace with mine while I steadfastly
refused to look at him, fervently hoping he would get bored
and go away. He didn’t.

At last I reached my exit, dismayed to see he was taking
it, too. He followed behind me for another ten minutes as I
made my way to our destination. I pulled into the parking lot
and he brought his car to a screeching halt next to mine. We
got out of our cars and stood face to face, him shaking with
rage, me with fear.

I braced myself. This was many years before I knew anything
about empathic tendencies and what it means to feel other
peoples’ feelings; all I knew was, his anger tore into me like a
hundred knives hurled straight into my body. But there was
something else too, something besides outward-directed rage.
And in a peculiar way it hurt even more.

‘You cut me off,’ he snarled. ‘Like I wasn’t even there.’

Like I wasn’t even there. That was it. A focused pinpoint of
white-hot searing torment, aimed with surgical precision not
at me, but at himself. Although I had no words to describe the
phenomenon back then, I felt his inner pain and frustration
for one blinding instant as if they were mine.

His momentary jolt of fear as I’d cut him off on the freeway
(a normal reaction to being put in danger), had quickly turned
to boiling fury at my apparent cavalier disregard for his inher-
ent right to exist. (Instant linkage.) How dare I think his life
was worthless?

I listened quietly, looking into his eyes as he spoke. When
it was my turn to talk, I apologized humbly for my error, ex-
plaining truthfully I never even saw his car. It must’ve been in
my blind spot, and I wasn’t paying nearly enough attention to
what I was doing, I admitted. I was genuinely sorry for taking
him so many miles out of his way just to speak with me, and
I said so.

He nodded, processing this new information. As I watched
his face, I could see it was almost as if his inner GPS unit had
originally taken him down a well-worn route marked
‘Favorites.’ But now it was recalculating an entirely different
pre-programmed route. A route called ‘Lady Drivers.’ This
road held no rage, just an exasperated handful of patronizing
gender assumptions. He sighed heavily and turned away.

‘See that you don’t do it again,’ he instructed almost offhand-
edly over his shoulder, shaking his head with a sour grimace as
he pointed his car back in the direction he had come.

My point here is not to suggest his prior experiences of life
weren’t real. Or that his conclusions about his experiences
weren’t accurate. Of course they were. They were valid and
real to him, as my prior experiences were valid and real to me.

It’s the way we each pasted those historical assumptions onto
our present circumstance that highlights just how unreliable
and arbitrary the personal perceptual lens really is.

By seeing through the lenses of our separate histories, we each brought
wildly divergent and completely irrelevant ideas to the in-
teraction. And because we believed what our separate lenses
showed us, we each perceived ourselves as the potential victim
of the other one’s intentions.

It’s the inner satellite navigation system itself that can’t be
trusted. It can never be relied upon to give an accurate read-
ing. By analyzing its millions of data points to formulate its
conclusions, that very process guarantees every road it takes
us down will be faulty.

Our inner GPS unit does its very best to
help us navigate our world, bless it. But in truth, all of its data
points are meaningless. And the destinations even more so.

Learning to take the personal point of view with a large grain
of salt is fundamental to spiritual and emotional freedom.
Strangely enough, I didn’t fully recognize the deeply flawed
nature of my own (or anyone else’s) personal point of view,
until my softened stance toward the ego self helped me notice
firsthand the fallibility of its perceptual lens. The egoic lens
just isn’t built for accuracy.

I realized then that I am endowed with a personal viewpoint,
simply because that’s what allows me a sense of being a sepa-
rate personal self. Not because there’s anything inherently true
or right in my way of seeing anything. So my egoic lens isn’t
worth a lot. And honestly, that personal self business? It ain’t
what it’s cracked up to be.

~ Carrie Triffet, excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, © Copyright 2019

Find out more about The Fricken Map is Upside Down or buy the book

Week 5 – My Tiny Guru

For the rest of this year and most of the next, I’ll be sharing a section each week from THE FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN. From start to finish, from my heart to yours. From the big comfy chair.

Welcome to week five of this free series. Go ahead and settle into your own comfy chair, grab a mug of something nice to drink, and read on.

(The following content is excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, by Carrie Triffet © Copyright 2019.)

Earlier I was sure of so many things, now I am sure of nothing.
But I feel that I have lost nothing by not knowing, because all my
knowledge was false.
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj


My tiny guru

One day last summer, fresh out of the shower I sat down to
meditate. I began by asking the question: What it would take
for me to Love humanity?
Not in the intellectual abstract, but,
y’know, for real.

Because let’s face it. We suck, right? We’re a tough bunch
to Love. And yet many times in meditation, I had experienced
firsthand the God-self-ness of human beings, individually and
collectively. I had felt our divine Light, our timeless innocence.
Where’s the disconnect, I wondered? How do I experience this
purity of self and other in my daily life?

Just then an incredibly persistent housefly began buzzing
and buzzing around me, landing periodically to tickle its way
across my bare arms or zip back and forth around my wet
hair. I smiled and acknowledged its God self, which of course
meant nothing at all to the fly. He knew what he was. He was
also thirsty and I was a bountiful fountain of recently showered moisture.

No amount of shooing had any effect at all. I tried slip-
ping into conscious Awareness and meditating on the in-
convenience of his behavior, seeing the behavior itself as
God. Seeing my own mild annoyance as God. It’s all true of
course, but the buzz-tickle-stop, buzz-buzz-stop-tickle was
so random it would have taken a meditator far more master-
ful than I to manage it.

And yet I had long since realized everything arises as an op-
portunity to shepherd me along my path of awakening. So I
checked in with my higher self: Is there a lesson here? Does this
fly have something to teach me?

As if in answer, the fly turned and flew straight at the tip of
my nose—bop!—with a force that startled both of us. Okay, I’ll
take that as a yes. What am I missing? What’s the lesson?

I paused to allow an answer to arise from the depths of divine
inner wisdom.

I was invited to notice that greater vision, greater Light and
greater Love are automatically limited by the habitual action
of seeing through the lens of the personal self. I was viewing
things from my own perspective. (Of course! Who wouldn’t?)
That perspective naturally included my own needs and wants:
I wanted to meditate. Meditation was important to me. It’s
what I do, it’s who I am.

Yet this fly, this outsider, was ruining my meditation because
its own needs and wants were, of course, its primary concern.
Were my needs and wants actually more important? Or were
they just more important to me?

I wasn’t really wondering whether flies should be accorded
equal rights. I was asking this question to investigate my own
egoic assumptions about life. I was beginning to notice my
own agenda was not necessarily more important than any-
body else’s. It just felt more important because it was mine.

This was a question I’d pondered before, most recently while
tending my garden. I was the one growing the veg at great effort
and expense. What was the right attitude to take toward the
beings who were busy decimating my lettuce crop? I couldn’t
bear the thought of waging war; that was the complete antith-
esis of where I wanted to be in my life. It was just too damn
painful to cultivate enemies anymore.

I decided I valued inner peace more than I did my lettuce.
I also valued peace more than I valued my ingrained assump-
tion that my lettuce belongs to me. So I blessed these slimy
little creatures, then plucked them off my leafy greens (ick)
and repatriated them to the other end of the garden. They
came back, and back, and back again of course, until no let-
tuce remained.

Bugs, birds, rodents, slugs. I was sort of willing to entertain
the idea that I was not automatically entitled to harvest what
I grew. And since all of Nature seemed to passionately and
emphatically agree with that conclusion, I figured there must
have been a lesson in there somewhere. But that was as far as
I’d gotten on this particular question.

So this new bit of wisdom was highly pertinent to my daily
life at this time. Although I had already been experimentally
looking outside my me-centric ideas about life, it was still me
doing the looking. The ‘me’ self was chewing over the idea of
stepping outside the viewpoint of the ‘me’ self, in other words.
I hadn’t thought to examine the fact that the ‘me’ lens itself is
the limiter of wisdom.

The higher self ’s implied suggestion was a delicate one: Why
not play around with viewing the situation from beyond the
limiting lens of the personal self?

I realized this exploration
would offer not only an answer to the housefly-meditation
thing and even the garden pest conundrum, but an answer to
the question I had posed at the start of the meditation. Where
was the disconnect between the recognition of God in human-
ity I experienced during meditation, and the ability to apply
that knowing to the actual human beings we are?

I immediately checked in with the personal ‘me’ self. Gone
are the days when I would take a unilateral battering ram to
its defenses in the name of spiritual progress. I was only too
aware this suggestion of stepping outside the personal local-
ized viewpoint, would strike at the very heart and purpose of
the personal self. If I wasn’t viewing the world through its sub-
terranean lens, then what exactly was its job description?

What do you think, I asked. Would you be willing to allow this
exploration, to help me understand better?

The fly’s buzz-tickle-buzz-buzz antics had become too much
at this point. I moved into the bedroom and closed the door.
When I checked in again for the subterranean self ’s response,
I realized I was feeling no inner resistance of any kind. It had
quietly backed away, leaving me free to explore outside its usu-
al boundaries. I was overcome with a wave of deep admiration
and gratitude for the subterranean self ’s bravery and (ironi-
cally) its selflessness.

I’d been working patiently and steadfastly with the subterra-
nean self for several months by this point. It had taken quite
a while to build mutual trust and respect between us. Even
though I had dropped all my jaundiced ideas about the intrin-
sically destructive motivations of the subterranean self before
I approached it, I found myself unable at first to extend it my
authentic trust, affection or respect. Even though I wanted

Heartbreakingly, for its part, the subterranean self seemed
far more eager to trust in me, far more willing to give me the
benefit of the doubt than I could offer it in return. Progress,
genuinely desired on both sides, was steady but painfully slow
and awkward at first.

I’ll include here a representative example of my early at-
tempts to reach out humbly and sincerely to this aspect of the
self, just to give you some idea of the collaboration’s rocky be-
ginnings. I was not in the general habit of writing letters to the
subterranean self, but I found myself doing so as I sat down to
pen this diary entry.

January 5, 2018
Oh, sweetheart. Can I call you that? I so want to be able to offer
you my love. But when I try it feels fake, to you and me both.
And I want to trust you deeply and completely, because I know
you deserve it. But no matter how hard I try, something within
us (within me) just won’t go there.

It’s tricky. On the one hand I know in my heart the teachings
about you are correct. You do block out true peace. And that
hurts. How can I trust deeply in anything that blocks out God?
But I also know you’re not to be blamed for that. I know you’re
not evil. I don’t know how I know, but I do.

Maybe my feelings will change as I get to know you better. In
the meantime, instead of love or trust, I’ll offer you everything I
can right now. My honesty. My loyalty. I’m here no matter what.
I want to learn what you truly are. I don’t know why you do the
things you do, but I’m interested. Whatever you want to share
with me, I’d be honored to learn. So let’s start with that and see
where it takes us. Okay?

On this sunny summer day six months later, as I found myself
preparing to meditate from outside the personal viewpoint,
my relationship with the subterranean self was already one of
ever-deepening trust and mutual respect. By this time we were
routinely working together with the divine Light of Aware-
ness, and could clearly feel the rapidly growing inner illumi-
nation, clarity and wisdom that is a natural hallmark of such a
divine partnership.

Having taken refuge from the persistent fly behind the closed
door of the bedroom, I sat and prepared for meditation. Sinking
deeply into present moment Awareness, I marveled at how re-
markably easy it felt to step completely away from any sense of
personal viewpoint. For the first time I could ever recall (other
than during awakenings), the ‘me’ point of consciousness held
no gravitational pull.

Since the ‘me’ perspective was temporarily deactivated, I
took advantage of this gift by focusing on the truth of what
is. What does truth feel like? I wondered. How does it feel to see
humanity as the Creator sees us?

I tuned into the human collective. Without a personal point
of view I found I was automatically free of my own assump-
tions, opinions, beliefs, judgments and even my innate prefer-
ences. None of that was relevant. None of it held any kind of
energetic charge. I could sense my vision had become far less
restricted than usual; I was seeing from a higher perspective.

As I brought the Light of Awareness inside the collective sea of
humanity, I first felt it as a surging, clashing, chaotic sea of move-
ment and change. Yet there was nothing alarming or negative
about it. Resting here, I was startled to discover this turbulent
sea was actually made of ecstatic joy. I was made of ecstatic joy.

I sank in deeper, beyond the surface level of constant move-
ment, and settled at last into deep stillness. And in this hushed
and holy stillness, this sacred foundation of our shared
humanity, I felt our true nature. It was made of ecstatic peace.

That was it. That’s what I had been missing. God is the col-
lective perfection of all-that-is, exactly as it is. It’s the ecstasy of
our human perfection, exactly as we are right now.

I just wasn’t on a high enough wavelength to experience it, until I stepped
outside the localized viewpoint of the individual self. Until,
you might say, my heartfelt desire to know God became (tem-
porarily) stronger than the desire to see things my own way.

And yes. This new knowing of our collective perfection was
still happening only in meditation, not in daily life. What can
I tell you. Mine has been a gradual ascension; so gradual, my
ears don’t even pop.

~ Carrie Triffet, excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, © Copyright 2019

Find out more about The Fricken Map is Upside Down or buy the book

Week 4 – The Half-Acre I Call Home

For the rest of this year and most of the next, I’ll be sharing a section each week from THE FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN. From start to finish, from my heart to yours. From the big comfy chair.

Welcome to week four of this free series. Go ahead and settle into your own comfy chair, grab a mug of something nice to drink, and read on.

(The following content is excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, by Carrie Triffet © Copyright 2019.)

What follows is a little more in-depth backstory explanation,
leading up to that decision to turn away from everything I
thought I knew. Because the decision itself was a pretty big
deal. It felt radical.

To abandon all spiritual teachings and
concepts felt like I was trespassing upon a secret forbidden
zone. The very idea of stepping beyond all known bounda-
ries seemed like a violation of the rules, somehow. Somebody
else might find such a thing exciting, but I’d never been the
rule-breaking type; I did it only as a highly uncomfortable
last resort.

Here then, is a brief rewind. A short history of my spiritual
journey, and how it brought me to this choice point.

Thirty-something years ago I began my first spiritual practice
as a way to fix my dysfunctional life and livelihood. I did it
because I wanted to feel better. Career, relationships, finances,
health, housing and just about everything else was in serious
need of cleanup. If my life had been a parcel of land, you could
have likened it back then to a stagnant, polluted swamp.

I worked hard in those first twenty years of diligent daily
practice. As a result the muck and stink of the swampland
slowly receded, leaving nutrient-rich soil in its place. Each
time a newly fertile bit of soil revealed itself, I rushed in to
plant beautiful flowers in tidy rows. Over the years my
patch of land gradually transformed into a rather damn
fine good-looking garden. The envy of many other would-
be gardeners, in fact.

My dysfunctional relationships had become functional;
serious illness had reversed itself completely; and I’d gradually
gone from deep debt to savings in the bank. I had a good mar-
riage to a good guy. A good career with good clients. A good
house in a good town. Good friends. It was all very, very good,
and I was deeply grateful for all that goodness. But. And.

I started to notice, no matter how carefully I weeded the un-
wanted debris and planted nicer things in its place, the ground
underneath my little half-acre didn’t feel good. Despite the
lifelong desire for peace, inside I was anything but peaceful.

This had always been the case, of course. But so many more
pressing things had been wrong with my life, the inner unease
had barely registered. Now that the landscape was green and
skies were patchy blue, I became unbearably aware of my un-
comfortable inner condition.

Closer examination revealed my attractively landscaped gar-
den was perched atop an abandoned mine, the tunnels dark
and forbidding, the entrance long since caved in and sealed
tight. It was then I realized I could pretty up the garden until
the end of time, but my subterranean regions would remain
largely untouched by that effort.

Naturally I assumed the tunnels and their unknown contents
were the cause of my pain. If I could just get rid of them I’d be
happy. Over the following decade, I tried to pry the tunnels
open, flooding them with the healing Light of divinity until
they cried ‘Uncle.’ Or sometimes I cajoled, offering sweet-talk
and patient reasoning along with my heavenly searchlights.

Other times I lost patience, and went at the mine’s entrance
with a non-dual battering ram instead. Nothing worked.
Damn you, abandoned mine. Can’t you see I want to fix you?
Well, maybe not fix you. I want you gone, because you’re block-
ing my access to enlightenment. Why won’t you go away, so I can
know inner peace?

No response. (Unless, of course, ‘crickets’ counts as a re-
sponse.) For years, I nevertheless remained grimly deter-
mined to unleash the bulldozers, for an extreme makeover on
my underground landscape. I vowed I would not stop until my
garden smelled pretty inside and out.

Yet by and large, this collection of shadowy tunnels remained
stubbornly unknowable and utterly immovable. The harder I
tried to eliminate the entire subterranean mine—or better yet,
bypass it with a jaunty wave, my heavenly jetpack propelling
me up, up, up beyond the clouds—the more grimly it dug in.

It wasn’t interested in my little epiphanies and awakenings. It
wasn’t impressed with my spiritual illuminations in the least.
Our rejection, it seemed, was mutual.

Enlightenment per se had never been my intended destination
in those early landscaping days. A desire for awakened con-
sciousness never even made it onto my radar screen, let alone
my metaphysical bucket list, during the first twenty years of
spiritual practice.

As far as I knew, a quest for enlightenment looked like that
old cliché parodied in New Yorker cartoons. The cross-legged
guru on a mountaintop, and the disheveled climber who ar-
rives at long last to ask the guru his Big Burning Question:
What is the meaning of life?

Um, right. I was no existential rock climber. Who cared what
the meaning of life was? I just wanted to feel better. I had no
concept of what we were supposed to be awakening from, or
why enlightenment was even a thing. (Or a no-thing.) I just
knew way down deep in my bones, somewhere, somehow it
was possible to feel lasting peace. And that’s what I was after.

It wasn’t until my first brief ass-kick of a spiritual awaken-
ing in 2005 at the age of forty-seven, that I got an actual taste
of that peace. It was transcendent. Big as the entire universe.

My life restructured itself completely in its aftermath, this time
with the map oriented firmly ‘True North,’ toward the direc-
tion I assumed enlightenment would be found.

Big changes had come in the powerful aftermath of that awak-
ening. Over the next few years one good marriage ended, and
another good marriage began. One good life in a beautiful
Californian beach town was eventually traded for another
good life in a beautiful English hamlet. It seemed, at first, like a
huge evolutionary leap forward into divine trust. And in some
ways it was. Yet deep beneath the surface, nothing changed.
The abandoned mine and I remained at a stalemate.

It was clear this powerful subterranean intelligence wasn’t going
to budge if it didn’t want to. Nor was it going to let me go any-
where without it. Inner peace simply wouldn’t happen without
its consent. I was the one, in the end, who cried ‘Uncle.’

So I finally dropped all my ‘spiritually correct’ certainties. I
dropped my arrogance. I dropped everything I thought I knew
about maps, and tunnels and everything else. I let go of my
withering judgment of this stubborn subterranean self, and
took a closer look, this time with fresh eyes. Was it possible
nothing about this old mine needed fixing? What if I was only
seeing it incorrectly?

Setting aside all my ingrained assumptions, I began to com-
prehend at last the fundamental mistake I’d been making all
along. This old abandoned mine was…mine. Maybe it was
time to reclaim it. To treat it as something valuable, something
dear to me. Maybe even offer it some long overdue respect.

For the first time I approached the tunnels and their mys-
teriously alive contents with complete humility. I stood at the
mine’s metaphorical entrance and quietly knocked. I asked to
be allowed in, as a student who knew nothing.

I reached out to this much-maligned aspect of the self, even
though I had long believed its sole desire was to deprive me of
peace. I became genuinely curious to know more about it, to
understand life from its subterranean point of view. With this
change of attitude, I found my wish readily granted. Knock-
ing on that symbolic door with full trust and an open heart, I
asked for, and received, permission to come home.

Who knew such a simple shift would allow a breathtaking
world of miracles to unfold? In equal partnership with all as-
pects of my self—from the very highest to the lowest—I soon
discovered this reclaimed mine of mine offered an unlimited
motherlode of inner exploration. And there was gold in there.

~ Carrie Triffet, excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, © Copyright 2019

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