Today, November 11, 2017 is my 48th birthday. For fun and a little indulgence, here are the top ten things I’ve learned during my 48 years on this planet.

1. I’ve learned that everything I have learned can be examined and emotionally resolved through skillful inquiry. I’ve learned that when this inquiry is thorough, it doesn’t mean I no longer have thoughts, just that the emotional triggers underneath the thoughts are gone. So I can express freely my perspective without feeling super attached to it or traumatized when there is disagreement or conflict from others.

2. I’ve learned that addiction is not a moral failing. It’s simply the way many of us survive until we are clear enough psychologically, emotionally and energetically to move pass the addiction. We are taking care of ourselves during addictions and in moving past them.

3. I’ve learned that, although many people say they want to be free spiritually, there is an aspect of our minds that does not want this. We do love to suffer on some level, perhaps because it is familiar. Embracing and honoring that aspect and then inquiring into it within myself has been the key to going deeper and deeper.

4. I’ve learned that money isn’t inherently good or bad. It’s the beliefs around it that cause suffering. I’ve met homeless people who are quite happy. I’ve met millionaires who are miserable. I’ve met spiritual people who suffer over their belief that money isn’t spiritual. I’ve met people who have no interest in spirituality who are clear around money issues and do not suffer. It’s the beliefs, not the green paper or lack thereof. Having said that, I like to have money to take care of myself and the people I love and who work for me and those I meet in the world who do not have enough money to make ends meet.

5. I’ve learned that everyone is traumatized, not just the people who have suffered from extreme physical or sexual abuse or war. It’s a matter of degree only. Some trauma doesn’t look like trauma at first. But that emotional trigger that rises up in the face of psychological conflict, abandonment, relationship breakups, political discussions, and authority is trauma. I’ve also learned that our world as a whole is not quite ready to own up to and resolve the trauma. Most are still looking to others to change in order to feel better. I’ve learned that I will keep talking about trauma until we all look within and resolve it. I’ve learned that this is how we will truly change the world. I did not learn any of this from a book. I learned from inquiring into my own trauma.

6. I’ve learned that worldly things cannot provide lasting happiness, only temporary pleasures. This doesn’t mean I have to avoid the world or turn away from it. Pleasure is wonderful. This simply means that for lasting happiness, I can only look within.

7. I’ve learned that falling in love is mostly about ego. Beyond the “falling in love” stage there is a deeper, more emotionally mature love that can endure eternally. It is unbreakable and unconditional.

8. I’ve learned that everything that I try to hide from others is an opportunity to inquire into shame. I’ve also learned that, once I am free of shame, it is nobody’s business to know everything about me unless I want that to happen.

9. I’ve learned that death is nothing to fear. Only the ego fears its own death. Inquire into the emptiness of ego and the fear is gone. Then one can truly live.

10. I’ve learned that spiritual awakening is merely the beginning. Waking up to one’s true nature is like a match that lights a fire. The fire is the key. And that fire can change the world, as long as someone doesn’t sit idly by believing that spiritual awakening is some sort of end point. There is no end point. Life is constant movement happening in the restful space of now.

Much love, Scott Kiloby

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