Enlightenment in less than 2 hours

October 27, 2010


Enlightenment is characterized as the “the extinction of desire and suffering and individual consciousness.” Note that the definition does not say what it actually is, it just says what it’s not.


From my own studies I’ve seen two schools of thought on Enlightenment:


The first shows that it’s state of pure bliss… In the preface of Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle is in the throes of a deep depression when he says, “I cannot live with myself.” Suddenly that sentence makes him think, “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself there must be two of me… maybe only one of them is real.”


At that realization he is drawn into a vortex of energy, and gripped by intense fear as he falls into it.  When he comes out of it, he’s in such a state of bliss for months that he can barely do anything except take in all the joy and wonder of simply being.


This is a state I’ve hit on rare occasion, and I constantly study Tolle’s work to bring me back to it.


Now, there’s another school of thought that says true enlightenment actually exists beyond this state of bliss.  This school believes that a deep nothingness is where everything comes from, and that nothingness is the ultimate truth.  One of those people is Steven Norquist, the author of Haunted Universe.


The first half of the book is a long argument for why you should put down the book and stop reading it. The author actually begs you to stop, because once you know that nothingness you can’t go back.  He talks about all the things that he used to love, and how he doesn’t even do them anymore because all he knows is the nothingness.  But for anyone else who wants to know the truth, they should read on.


I read the book, late at night (a must for any good horror story).
It was gripping. I could not put it down.  And to my amazement, I got there. 3/4 of the way through I knew the nothingness so intensely that it felt like not only was there nothing to do, but I even had nothing to say.


I felt terror because I had just started dating someone and I couldn’t imagine her reaction when all of my feelings for her were just gone. I realized how much I liked my life and how I wanted to return to it.   Soon after I was somehow able to shake off the nothingness and return to my ignorant bliss.


So here’s the interesting part…
I miss the nothingness.


It felt like such a pure state. Thoughts reduced to nothing. No need to change anything, acquire anything, become anything.  I desire not to desire.


So here’s the question…would you trade passion for total peace?


It’s a trick question, actually.


Is that your final answer?

Never let your morals get in the way of doing the right thing.

October 26, 2010


The biblical story of God telling Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac always disturbed me…until now.


Rabbi Mordechai Finley of Ohr HaTorah in Venice Beach, CA gave an incredible sermon on the story of sacrificing Isaac.  Here’s my attempt to summarize:


First, God does not actually ask Abraham to kill Issac. The exact translation is God tells him to make “an offering.” While one can assume that means sacrifice, it’s not the word God uses. God only wants an “offer.”   And when Abraham finally starts to go through with it, it’s not God who stops him. It’s an angel.  I always read this story literally but Finley argues that this a pivotal point in the bible where God changes.  God actually evolves (in our eyes) at this very moment.


First think about existence this way…


In the first dimension, two points make a line.  The way that we get to the second dimension is we take a third point by placing it at a 90 degree angle to the line, which makes a plane.  Then to get to the third dimension, we put a plane at a 90 degree angle to the flat plane and that creates 3 dimensional space.  With me so far?


So now you and I are in 3D space together. So tell me…how do we get to the 4th dimension? Where do you put the next 90 degree angle?


There’s only one way to go… within ourselves.


And that’s where God goes in this story….The reason the voice is an angel rather than “the voice of God.” is because the angel is actually a metaphor for the voice within where we can now connect with God.  The bible actually makes the point to question who is your true God?  Look deeper and be careful, because the act of obedience itself could be a sin.


In other words, “Never let your morals get in the way of doing the right thing.” – Isaac Asimov

Falling in love with running (when I used to hate it)

October 22, 2010



I once jumped into a marathon to run 6 miles with a friend till the end.
I never run, so 6 miles was a big deal. It felt great, but for a week my knees felt so shot they would buckle as I walked.


I didn’t take up running again until now.


There’s a theory that modern shoes are actually the cause of many injuries such as knee pain. The idea is very simple… our feet were engineered to run. They are well-designed machine that takes care of everything, including shock absorption.  Before the days of shoes (a couple million years worth of time in the history of the homo sapien) the bottoms of our feet were used to rugged terrain, and our toes were wide creating a stable base, so we could run on anything.   Now our feet have the same design, but the skin is soft, so we just need a good cover for it and a way to spread out our toes.


Enter the vibram five fingers.


I bought the Bikilia model, named after Ethiopian Abebe Bikila who ran a world-record 2:15:17 marathon at the 1960 Olympics in Rome – barefoot. And I just went on my first run tonight.  And all I have to say is holy shit. I usually have to take a break every lap and this time I kept going and going like I was flying. At times it felt like my feet barely hit the ground.  I had to stop myself because I knew the muscles and feet have to get used to it (you run on the middle of your foot, instead of striking at the heel).


Beyond just running, it feels amazing for the real shape of my foot to touch the earth. It’s very grounding. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t want to run in them. (If you do buy them for running, read Tim Ferriss’ blog post first.)


I love simple solutions.

The Roast of Robbe Richman

October 19, 2010


I truly have the best team in the world.

After returning from my 30 day training / initiation, the team decorated my entire area, they all dressed up like me, and then took me out to roast me (yes, as in, I sit there and listen to them rag on me – in a pimp suit, no less).


This is my desk covered in hundred balloons, streamers and graduation hats.


This is half the team dressed up like me (I either wear blazer and jeans, or blue shirt and dark pants). 


This is the actual roast, and yes they made me dress up in a full pimp outfit (though I seem to look like a Las Vegas Marachi player instead).  Topics included of my obsession with raw vegetables and smoothies, the times I tried my Krav Maga moves on co-workers, and my overuse of the phrase “…and such.”

Thanks everyone for such an amazing return to the Zi Lounge. I’m so happy to be a part of this team.