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Ben's Healing Journal


This is the start of a thread to host my healing and connection journal entries.  My intention with these posts is to begin to put into writing the story of the healing journey I have taken on the Lightning Path.

Previously, I had created a post called "Grounding" where I was talking about recent developments relating to my healing journey. However, I am going to delete that post and instead paste it here in this thread, to begin the process of collecting all my healing and connection experiences into one place. May the people of this world be free.


There is a famous quote that goes "the way that you do one thing, is the way that you do everything."

I think that quote is a good way for me to start this post because it illustrates the idea that there is sometimes an underling commonality to many seemingly disparate aspects of our own life and behavior.

Reflecting back over my life and spiritual journey, I can pretty clearly see that one underlying commonality in myself tends to be a lack of grounding.

Interestingly, I think "ungroundedness" is related to self-delusion in the sense that being ungrounded tends to make the gulf between our ideas & aspirations about ourselves, and our actual lived reality, increasingly wide.

Therefore, I think the process of spiritual awakening that is espoused on the LP has to do with learning to be honest with ourselves, thus 'bridging the gap' between the facade of ourselves and our actual life.

I would like to give an example from my own life that I am dealing with now. Most of my professional career was involved with software development; I worked as a software engineer from my early twenties until my late thirties.

As my career progressed, eventually I found myself working for an engineering firm writing software to control specialized testing equipment that was being sold all over the world. Additionally, while working there, I 'inherited' a whole lot of projects and code from a more senior engineer who had recently quit.

The code written by the senior engineer was way "over my head" in the sense that it was very low-level and sophisticated, and demanded a level of educational background that I didn't even remotely possess. However, I was bright in my own right, and managed to "cope with" the job of adapting the existing code to each subsequent project that I was given.

Additionally, the projects themselves took months or sometimes even years to unfold, so on a day-to-day basis, I didn't have too much to do.  Over the course of time, I found myself to mostly only pretending to work.

Even worse, as the complexity and novelty of the projects I was involved in over the years continued to increase, my own lack of foundational knowledge regarding the machines I was controlling caused increasing problems. Over the course of time, this caused me to become increasingly fraudulent and inauthentic in the work I was doing, and in retrospect, most of my energy was spent on maintaining the fascade of the 'version' of myself I was trying to portray to my employer and our customers. In short, I was pretending to be something that I was not.

Despite all these facts, my situation persisted (and became increasingly worse) over the course of many years. The reason it lasted so long was because despite all the drawbacks I mentioned above, I was still for the most part, managing to "pull off" the projects at hand, and the company I worked for was such that as long as they were getting paid, they just moved onto the next project. Additionally, I was also getting highly compensated, so I just muddled along.

However, my situation with work caused me considerable guilt, anxiety, and other negative emotions. (In retrospect, I think these types of feelings may be examples of Steering emotions

(Note: one thing I wanted to bring up, is that despite all the shortcomings and blunt self-critical honesty I used to paint the above picture of my career, there were of course some good things about it. I met a lot of amazing people, travelled to many interesting places world-wide, and definitely made positive contributions to many projects. However, overall, the reality of the picture I painted above was certainty true -- even if I managed to keep continually push it out of own awareness at the time.)

As a final note, I would also like to comment on the schedule that I kept while I worked at the job I described above. I tended to work a "flexible" schedule, which in practice meant I never came into work before the afternoon. While this afforded me a lot of flexibility in life [to spend time in the mornings with my daughter when she was young, for example], it also caused a lot of other problems for me because during the times when I was depressed, I tended to just sleep all morning.  This caused my entire lifestyle to be unstructured and undisciplined, and further eroded my own self respect.

Because my work situation was unsustainable, eventually it fell apart, and I was fired from my job. This was a very traumatic event for me.

During my time on unemployment, I grew increasingly unhealthy mentally.  Largely this was because while I wasn't working, what little semblance of a routine I'd had at my previous job became lost. My life began to become filled with various addictions, and at my worst,  my days were filled mostly with watching television. Additionally, my behaviors were characterized by addiction, including such things as nicotine usage, prescription drugs abuse, excessive alcohol consumption, excessive sleeping, excessive sugar consumption, and pornography. All this both led to, and was caused by, the severe depressive episode I was immersed in.


In the interest of brevity, I will skip ahead a few months here. To start, let me mention another good quote: "Things are always darkest before the dawn."

Unexpectedly, and despite all my hardships, one very positive thing happened: by an amazing series of coincidences, I met a woman during this time who would change my life. I met her in NYC while I was visiting there, and after a 6 month courtship, we eventually got married!

Soon thereafter,  my unemployment money ran out, and I found myself without a job at all.  However, things were starting to get better for me, and despite some chaotic initial experiences, my wife and I eventually managed to settle down together and begin to build a healthy lifestyle.

I had been married before in the past, and had experienced a very toxic and unhealthy relationship. However, my second marriage was completely different. For whatever reason, my wife and I brought out the best in each other, and I suddenly found myself 'on the right path' in life.

On the job front, I took the first job I could find, which was a manual labor type job only making 10 bucks and hour. By some miracle (and with financial help from my family), we managed to survive on my meager income until I found a slightly better manual labor type job, making 50% more, which I am still working.

During my tenor at this current job, my life has been completely different. I am working very hard for relatively little money, but I am forced into a life of discipline and structure that I've never had before. Even though my entire adult life was characterized by an inability to get up in the morning, I have managed for the past 4 months to be up every day at 6:30am to get to work. Additionally, the work I am doing is more physical in nature [not so ethereal as computer software], and causes me to 'be present' in my body. Further, it isn't the kind of work you can 'fake'. My days are long and difficult, but at the end of each one, I actually find myself feeling good and proud of myself for authentically earning my living for that day. After years of feeling bad about my work life, I now find myself doing something real, and feeling good about it.

Additionally, my various addictions seemed to just drop off the map as if by magic. A lot of this was because of my own efforts, but in retrospect, the whole thing had sort of a magical (effortless) quality to it. I think this had to do with the idea of coming into alignment; in an aligned state, our natural proclivity is to strive for health and healthy behaviors.

I also think that being in a loving, and mutually supportive relationship has been a big part of my recovery and healing process. The LP emphasizes the idea that authentic spirituality is dependent on need fulfillment, and the idea that we can't fulfill all of our own needs. Therefore, relationships are very important, and maybe even a prerequisite for a healthy and fulfilling life.

As a final note, I have also settled into a sustainable diet that seems to be good for my body and mind that I have stuck to for the past four months, which is in essence a paleo-style [grain free] style of eating. Further, I have also completely abstained from literally all addictive-type substances, including even sugar and caffine -- neither of which I am very proud of myself for being able to report, I have ingested for going on several months now.

So for sure I can say the my day-to-day routine, sleep architecture, and diet are the healthiest they have ever been, and my married life an entirely positive and uplifting experience.

Looking back, I have cycled through periods of extreme UPs followed by extreme DOWNs my entire life. This has persisted for so long, that by now I have mostly accepted my bipolar illness as an inevitable fact of life for me.

However, I am cautiously moving forward with an increasing optimism that perhaps authentic healing might in fact be possible. And for sure, it is my ambition to exemplify that healing.  (I will consider myself healed from this disease when I am able to go an entire year without any episodes.)

Therefore, I am working to continue my healthy lifestyle, and of course I am continuing my engagement with the authentic spirituality of the lighting path.

Eventually, I would like to eventually return to software development in an authentic capacity. But in the meantime, I will continue my efforts to ground and therefore authentically become the healthiest version of myself that I can.

To me, that is what authentic spirituality is all about. May the people of this world be free.

awesome recounting! Thanks for sharing Ben

-- Subscribe to new posts by visiting your profile. Click the edit button, scroll down to "subscribe to Forums" and click "subscribe."
Quote from Mike Sosteric on February 5, 2019, 6:54 am

awesome recounting! Thanks for sharing Ben

Thanks Michael. These forums are an excellent way for us to start writing about our healing experiences. I am working towards building up entries in my healing journal so that eventually I can compile them together, and have the complete story of the healing and transformation I've experiences on the Lightning Path documented in written format.

I've found that starting the process by writing a forum post is a good way for me to "let it flow" -- presumably because writing a forum posts seems less intimidating than trying to start an "essay" or even a "blog post."

Anyway, I started to write the "next installment" (ha ha) of my healing journey here... but ended up taking what I'd started to post on the forum, and posted it on my LP blog instead:

(Additionally, I am going to take my original post above on grounding, clean it up some, and post it on my blog as well; as I said, I am working on organizing and collecting writings!) May the people of this world be free.

here is another entry in my healing journal. this is just rough notes. eventually, i want to clean this up. but i am trying to just get into the habit of getting some of this into written form, instead of perpetually waiting to "finally get around" to creating some idealized version of this. as i've said before, telling the story of my own awakening process is important to me, and something I am working on bringing to fruition.


In another forum, we were discussing the difficulty of existing in old energy conditions while working towards awakening and empowerment.

As I start to work on telling the story of my own LP journey, one thing I am realizing is that a lot of the ups and downs in my life over the last few years have resulted from the dramatic shifts that have occurred as a result of awakening and empowerment.

An additional -- and I feel very important -- insight regarding this, is that in each case, somehow or another, the changes were for the better; in the end, everything "worked out OK."

This is important to keep in mind when we are going through big changes, especially when we are facing an uncertain future.

I bring this up because I am going through big changes like that right now, and I am definitely facing an uncertain future!


I mentioned elsewhere that I had wanted to go onto part time work at the place I was working. But that didn't work out, and instead it turns out that within 2 weeks, I won't be working there at all.

Here is a short email excerpt that contains some of my thoughts about it. (As i mentioned, I am trying to post to my healing journal on an ongoing basis to start to get my experiences in writing.)

Guys - I do have some news. I am turning in my 2 weeks notice today at Grainger.

It is hard to believe, but I have worked there for now 6 months (!) as of April 2nd! Reflecting back on it, it was a good experience for me.
During that time, I consistently got up and made it there on time, and worked very authentically and hard each day.
One interesting spiritual concept that I like is called "atonement", and means to do something good in the present to make up ("atone") for something we did in the past. So in this sense, Grainger was my 'atonement' for some of my behavior at previous jobs.  And I think Grainger was good for me because it was good, wholesome manual labor where my efforts contributed in some way to the greater good.
Additionally, I also managed to systematically develop a personal yoga (asana) practice during my time there; for many months now, I have been doing yoga twice a day for 15 minutes each during my breaks. Having a consistent asana practice is a major milestone in my life, and I think the rigid structure I was subjected to at Grainger helped me achieve it.
However, working there is very difficult for me, because it is an overly hierarchical and management-centric place where the workers are controlled through fear-based punitive measures. I definitely humbled myself and tried hard to fit in the best I could, but in the final analysis I don't really have the right personality to work in a warehouse.
The levels of disassociation, self-hatred, blank-stares, lack of people skills, and what could only be described as "anti-charisma" that is typical of the workers there is difficult for me to tolerate.
Anyway, I have been going through a series of increasingly ugly steps of "progressive discipline" relating to their quantification of my "productivity".
It has been a weird experience actually, because my boss pulled me aside the other day and had an hour long meeting with me where he broke down and admitted that he didn't really know what he was doing when it came to quantifying our "productivity."
(I had gotten screaming mad at him previously because I had taken a stop-watch and small notebook and had quantified the whole thing myself, which completely exposed the fact that his numbers were neither correct nor fair.)
But when yesterday when I had 2 (!) meetings with various "upper management" stiffs regarding all this, my boss just sat there quietly with eyes down cast as the stiffs took his numbers as gospel and proceeded to implement their policy steps to further the process of firing me.
I sat quietly and respectfully listening to what they had to say, but then spoke up and mentioned that I am verbally putting in my two week notice, with the written version turned into HR tomorrow.
I heard the quote before "when in doubt take action", which I think is apropos here; I am not just going to sit around and wait to be fired. Plus dealing with the managers at Grainger is demoralizing for me.
As I mentioned it was a good experience,  but I will not be working in another corporate environment anytime soon. As it turns out, I found out that I don't in fact mind working hard. As a matter of fact, as I come to more fully exemplify my essential Self, I have realized that actually I am a hard-worked at heart.
Grainger is a sad and pathetic place to work, and in the final analysis they are basically right with what they are saying in as much as that I am not really a "steller worker" compared to many of the others who are younger, or more accustomed to factory work than I am.
I have been highly compensated in my life in the past for working in a non-authentic capacity, but ironically, while at Grainger, I worked with 100% authenticity, and to the absolute best of my ability. I say that proudly, and the way I conducted myself at this job marks another definite demarcation point in my personal development.
I remember reading J.D. Salinger's books where the overall theme is we have to "polish our shoes for the fat lady in the audience." Over the course of the unfolding of the story of the Glass family (which I think is an archetypal version of our family), it is eventually revealed that "the fat lady in the audience" is "christ himself." (This message -- that authenticity [even when no one else is looking] is the path to enlightenment -- is exactly correct, and the older that i get, the more that I believe it. )
I remember in 2011 being in Silchar in India, and observing the way that many of the traditional people there went about their work-- with complete, selfless devotion. It made such an impression on me, and when I asked the one guy about it, he told me that "that is their form of worship; they worship Krishna by complete devotion to their work." I will never forget seeing that.
So ya, I am moving on from Grainger, and I am hoping that I will be able to secure this job at Vizmeg that Luke recommended to me, which is a land-scaping place. Eventually I want to get another programming job, but I am really hoping I will get to spend several months working out-doors this summer. If there is any way I can get by financially while doing that, it will be such a good experience for me, and will help me continue to heal my body and mind.
I remember another central message of Buddhism that is conveyed by Salinger in his stories, about an old man who is present in the limo on the way to Seymour's marriage. (The old man is always "staring straight ahead" -- or in other words, is self-guided, not looking to others to establish what is "going on.")
The old man's behavior is meaningful when one begins to understand that reality unfolds from the perspective of the individual, and that our fate is to a large extent in our own hands, if we are just willing to "look straight ahead."
The same thing is often heard in 60's drug culture, where the advice is to "not get lost in someone else's trip."

So when I am dealing with simple-minded and sort of ugly managers at Grainger, it is difficult for me to really play along.

Instead, I am just going to move along.

so that is my news.
hope everybody is doing good.
ben May the people of this world be free.

I turned in my two week's notice yesterday, but didn't make it the two weeks; I walked off the job at lunch time today and will never go back.

The changes that have occurred in my life over the last six months have culminated in a "me" that I am so proud of. After more than 20 (!) years of mental illness, substance abuse, and toxic relationships, I finally arrived at a magical place of high-functioning & thriving health that I didn't think was possible for me. It was like a light bulb finally being switched on: I became self-disciplined, authentic, present, creative, and loving.

The last few remaining negative people in my life had dropped out of it. (A while back, I got a new phone and a new number, and several people who were a negative drain on me energetically I just never called again, and they fell completely out of my life.)

Plus my home life was very positive, supportive, disciplined, and uplifting, and by any objective or subjetive measure, I was thriving.

But one element in my life that continued to drain me was the toxic environment I was enmeshed in at work. On the surface it wasn't so bad there necessarily. Obviously it wasn't ideal conditions, I was inside of an artificially lit warehouse after-all, doing heavy repetitive work all day. Country music blared on the radio, and FOX news blared on the televisions. But I managed to tune it all out, and go about my work the best I could. At first I kept my head down, and kept to myself, and just went about the work the best I could.

My personal self discipline continued to increase, and for the first time in my life, I was getting up in the mornings and making it to work on time every day. This was a major accomplishment for me, and I had spent twenty years unable to do that.  Additionally, I was finally at a point where I was practicing yoga Asana twice a day [in the gym at work, during break periods] consistently.

Achieving a daily, grounded yoga asana practice is probably my proudest achievement.  I had gone on a completely ketogenic diet in October of 2018, which is something I had done in the past and had great success with. (But each time, I didn't manage to stick to the diet.)

However, from October 2018 until the present, I managed to stay on a completely keto diet, which in essence is a whole foods diet. But the ketogenic aspect of it has additional benefits, such as striking mental clarity, and a complete and total lack of hunger. By the 1st of the year, I was effortlessly practicing intermittent fasting every single day, completely skipping breakfast and lunch. Plus I was doing the asana, and also working out for 30 minutes with weights during my lunch break. All of that physical activity, plus the fact that my actual job had my on my feet working for 8 hours a day made a big difference in my body.

I lost about 15+ pounds, had my belly go away, and started to get muscular in my upper body. I was attending yoga teacher training for 4 hours every Sunday morning, and was enrolled in University for the first time in twenty years. My relationship with my Mother was finally getting healed after so long, and I was actively programming, writing, and being creative again: 3 things that i had completely lost the ability to do. Plus I hadn't entered into a depressive episode for more than 8 months, and it looked like the combination of healthy diet, healthy life, supportive marriage life, and the LP-induced healing I had undertaken had completely transformed me.

My own charisma and alignment continued to increase on a daily basis, and I felt better than I ever had before. Being "alone with my thoughts" all day also started to change me a lot, and I sort of "discovered" mindfulness all at once, which changed everything. As I mentioned elsewhere, I was performing the GI meditation 100's of times a day while at work, and all at once i had this giant AHA moment where I realized that my mind was keeping up an inner dialog like 24/7.

As I learned to turn down the volume of my thoughts, I also started to see how I wasn't my thoughts. It was a sort of meta-awareness that descended on me, and even when the stream of my thoughts wouldn't stop so easily, I still knew that they weren't real somehow. (As a matter of fact, I started to become much more aware of how my thinking "kicked into high gear" whenever I needed to protect myself psychologically; in essence, I started to become aware when my bodily-ego started to become active... constantly telling itself how right it was, imagining alternative scenarios to cover  up its deficiencies, etc.)

The warehouse I worked in was being run like a prison, where the wages were higher than average for that type of work, and people were sort of 'trapped'. Additionally, a ridiculously structured points-based system of fear-based punitive repercussions awaited anybody who stepped out of line, where stepping out of line meant excessive talking, occasional tardiness, punching the clock more than 3 minutes late, not meeting "production quotas", etc. As a matter of fact, in highly connected states of mind, I could see the the "management archetypes" that existed among the higher ups in the organization: in essence, they considered the work-force an unruly mob to be managed.

I also noticed something strange. I was putting off such a grounded, consistent, positive, and coherent vibe that people started to notice. But some of what my vibe was met with was very painful to me. Other people's energy or the vibe they put off when you come into contact with them was horrible, and I think ultimately the reason I walked away from the job.  Probably a warehouse environment is more negative than most anyway, and attracts a fair amount of bad people. But a couple of them in particular, put off strongly the vibe of child molester or torturer of small animals, and interacting with them became unbearable.

In the final analysis, out of several hundred people who worked there, I ended up liking about 3 of them total. Those three guys in particular were OK, and I will miss them.

And the 3 or 4 boss guys who I had to deal with also really bothered me. They had like a little 'click' that made them in charge of the rest of us, and they tried hard to keep you in a 'beta' position when you were interacting with them. They refused to treat you like a human being, but did everything they could to enforce the 'system' onto you.

Over the course of time, as my body and my mind got stronger, I started to 'overpower' them energetically, and it was an interesting experience. I had become very insightful, and started to in essence consider the bosses to be complete morons. They were busy trying to promote, punish, or fire people based on various quantifications of our productivity that made literally no sense at all.  And the simplest and most obvious insights regarding the processes we were performing seemed to be completely lost on them.

I started to get to the point of actively disliking the bosses, and (out of spite, maybe) I started to overpower them energetically as I said. I did this by using the affirmation "I dominate in consciousness", and what i noticed by that is that the bosses are very negative and bullying to the workers, and sort of 'set the emotional tone' with the workers, who assume a subservient position.

So I noticed that my affirmation and emotional coherence did in fact completely overwhelm them, and in many sort of weird meetings I had during the 'progressive discipline' I was being subjected to, I managed to avoid being "sucked into" their emotional space. Instead, I maintained an upbeat and extremely psychologically present attitude even in the face of meetings with 2 or more boss types where they take you into a little room to try to reprimand you. They try to make a 'moral issue' out of your failings at work, and try to tie your self-esteem to your 'work productivity.' It is a sad and pathetic thing.

I told them numerous times that I would not be working any faster than I was currently, and that they would just have to 'follow their own procedures' for firing me. (I made it about a month past that point before I eventually walked off the job today.)

Working there was an interesting experience, but I can not subject myself to such a negative environment ever again. It looks to me like I will be spending the next few months working as a landscaper, and my understanding is that it too is very difficult work.

But I don't think it is the hard work that really bothers me, so much as the enslavement of the warehouse setting coupled with the rigid and fear-based control structures of the corporate environment that i was in before.

Being outside in the fresh air working in the sunshine sounds like a welcome change to me.

And i have vowed to myself that from here on that I will continually work to free myself from corporate control over my life.
 May the people of this world be free.

good job ben.

good job, really.

Very capturing recounting. I went through a similar experience myself once, only that for me it was much shorter, and unlike you, I put up with most of it.

Hi aim - thanks for saying that.

it is scary for me and my wife because we have no money coming in now, but I have faith that I will be able to get another job, and we will continue to get by.

i am working everyday to find a job, so I think things will be ok. May the people of this world be free.

I learned a new Greek word (concept) today, which is "holos"

It means something like "whole or complete", especially in the sense of being "completely at one with your Self"

If I had to describe to somebody how I feel, "holos" would capture it: a holistic sense of well-being and present moment high-functioning existence.


one problem i run into with this is the contrast between how i have become -- how "ok" i am -- and how "not ok" everyone around me seems to be. it is so hard for them to just relax and be natural.

at worst, neurotic outbursts and distress seems to be the order of the day, but mostly it is juts a low grade lack of enthusiasm presence or positivist that i am forced to deal with it. it sucks.

people have a deep-rooted negativity that is painful to interact with. even worse it is often disguised and suppressed, and tinges everything they say or do.

it is ironic that i spent most of my life as a very chemically unbalanced bipolar individual... but now, i am very stable, and tend to view others as "bipolar" in the sense that they tend to have two distinct personalities. one is sort of their positive, integrative self -- the best they can manage it. the other is their depressed, negative, complaining self. and it is completely obvious which 'personality' they are stuck in today.

(i am getting better at not 'engaging' with people who are spinning negatively; there is no point to it. but it is an art form to be able to defend yourself (i.e. interact with) people who are negative w/o getting defensive in turn, etc.)

the other thing i struggle with is my loved ones. i come from a very high functioning, extremely well-educated and finally successful family... but whose members are very disassociated, overly left-brained, and emotionally absent and indifferent. it is a weird thing.

on the surface everything is fine, but from a human / emotional perspective, it is difficult because i always feel bad interacting with them because they aren't really there. my mom in particular is like that really bad, and she reacts bad to me when i connect easily and naturally to others because [i think] it brings to her awareness the fact that she doesn't do that, especially with me.


often my mom / sister sort of act like they "don't see me" which is weird to be involved with. and my one brother definitely does that, and literally 'shuns' people [me] who he doesn't like. (my mom does that with her one sister and maybe others).

so it is ironic, i am really appreciating and loving my family more than i've ever have, but on the other hand, i am very sad that everyone is so emotionally distance.


on a positive note, i have spent a lot of time around my 1.5 year old niece, and it is joy for me. May the people of this world be free.

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