A place for people interested in introspection, self awareness, mindfulness, meditation and training the mind to abide in a state that is free from the constant flow of meaningless chatter, mind theatrics, and discursive thought.

Wake Up Call

Wake Up Call

There is hardly a person alive who has not had to endure or does not endure some form of personal suffering in their life. Suffering can hit us in a wide variety of ways from personal tragedy, to depression, anxiety, fear, worry and maybe even just a general dissatisfaction with life or how one perceives their life to be.

Suffering is something that all human beings have in common just as we all search for happiness. Happiness often seems very illusive, especially when one is caught up in the many dramas that life can bring upon us.

When suffering becomes a burden and feels unbearable, this can actually be a blessing in disguise. This is our WAKE UP CALL, our call to awaken to a new consciousness that is free from suffering. This consciousness is something everyone is capable of awakening to, yet most find that it remains hidden from them, or aren't even willing to acknowledge or explore the possibility that  such an existence can be experienced.

To awaken one must first begin to realize the true nature of suffering. Keep in mind that there is a distinction here between pain and suffering. Pain is the physical discomfort of an ailment or injury. Suffering is entirely our own creation. Suffering can not exist unless we create it in our own mind and give it the attention and energy to continue. Suffering is created entirely by our own thoughts.

The awakening process begins with learning to observe our thoughts and to see them for what they are, and recognizing that our thoughts are creating suffering both in ourselves and others. Without these thoughts there is no suffering. Suffering and the thought process that drives them is entirely a product of ego, part of who we "think" we are.

When we learn to observe, then shift out of the thinking mind, and thereby shifting beyond our ego, we awaken to a new level of consciousness. We awaken to a Pure Consciousness, a Pure Awareness that is no longer burdened by thought. Without thought there is no suffering.

One who has endured enough suffering will find themselves ready to strive for this state and will continue working tirelessly observing their thoughts, quieting their minds, and will continue until the ego no longer exists.

If you are not ready to put in this level of effort, perhaps it only means you have not suffered enough yet. It is like the old man and his dog sitting on a porch. The man's friend asks why the dog is moaning. The man replies that the dog is laying on a nail. "Why doesn't he move?" asks the friend. The man answers "I guess it doesn't hurt enough yet?"

Michael L. Fournier

Why Do Some Religious Paths Fail?

Why Do Some Religious Paths Fail?

When looking at Enlightenment paths from a religious point of view, there seems to be two basic philosophies. One is to seek that path from inside oneself, and the other is to have faith and believe that it will just happen.

Generally speaking, most of the Eastern paths such as Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, and several more all teach that the path is found within.  Many of the Western paths advocate a path of faith, believing that you will enter the Kingdom of Heaven after you die. Ironically, even though most of the Western religions advocate a path based on faith, they still have roots that suggest the inner path. Within Christianity, Jesus is quoted as saying "The kingdom of Heaven is within" and "Know Thyself".  If you accept this as true, it then begs an obvious question. Why would you sit back and have faith, waiting until you die, to experience that kingdom?

Faith by definition is a strong belief or confidence in something despite the fact that there is no concrete proof or justification for that belief. As society continues to grow and we as a race become collectively more intelligent, fact and proof begin to offset the balance between faith and belief. It has always been within our nature as a race to seek answers to that which we don't understand. It is for this reason that people with higher educations, or those with scientific or inquisitive minds have less tendency to follow faith based religions.

Whether you seek a path through religion or are of an atheistic or agnostic persuasion, common sense would dictate that "knowing oneself"  is simple common sense. Understanding how and why our mind does what it does is the wisest thing we can ever do.

As Buddha is often quoted as saying, "Don't blindly believe what I say. Don't believe me because others convince you of my words. Don't believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don't rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don't infer or be deceived by appearances."
"Do not give up your authority and follow blindly the will of others. This way will lead to only delusion."
"Find out for yourself what is truth, what is real. Discover that there are virtuous things and there are non-virtuous things. Once you have discovered for yourself give up the bad and embrace the good."

Take the time to understand how your mind works, see how judgement sets into motion thoughts that will loop back to alter perceptions of events at a later date in the form of prejudices. Learn to observe the mind and all of its thoughts, see how these thoughts can bring about harm and suffering to the self and to others, see the good, bad and the ugly. It is only in this way that wisdom can emerge, and thus peace, tranquillity and joy will follow.

It doesn't require faith to observe ones own mind, only diligence.

Michael L. Fournier

Vacation for the Mind

Vacation for the Mind

Ever wonder what it would be like for the mind to go on vacation? When we think of the word vacation, what comes to mind is often traveling to some paradise somewhere Vacations give us a break and allow us to renew ourselves.

Can the mind take a vacation? Not a fantasy vacation, but a real one. The word vacation has its roots in the word vacate. So a vacation of the mind then can be thought of as vacating the mind. Or emptying the mind.

Meditation is like a vacation for the mind. Our minds are in a constant state of flux, ever changing, jumping around from one thought to the next. For most of us, the only time the mind falls quiet is during sleep.

If we operated our bodies the same way we operated our mind we would have collapsed from exhaustion a long time ago.

When our mind is never given the opportunity to take a vacation, it can suffer from all sorts of problems. When we allow the mind to continuously run, unchecked and unsupervised, our trains of thought become a runaway train we can't stop. 

As this runaway train accelerates, we can experience all sorts of unhealthy, or unpleasant states from fears to anxieties to regret, to anger, hatred, jealousy and so on. Our mind will run on and on, keeping us awake at night. In extreme cases, this can even lead to mental and emotional issues.

For the health and well being of our mind, body and soul, it is every bit as important to take a mind vacation as it is to take a physical vacation. So take the time to meditate, learn to quiet the mind.

Learn to see the mind for what it is, even when it isn't very pleasant, and understand how and why your mind thinks the way it does. Learn to know yourself and you will be rewarded with all of the benefits of a real vacation; solitude, relaxation, peace and quiet.

Michael L. Fournier

The Present Moment

The Present Moment


Most of us have forgotten what it means to live in the present moment. We are continuously being led to thoughts or memories of the past and projections of the future. While we are caught up in the non-stop discursive thought of the mind, we are being hijacked from the true experiences of the present moment.

One day while driving down a country road, past a farm, a young boy about 7 or 8 was observed driving around the front yard of the farm in a golf cart. He had complete control of the golf cart while his dad sat beside him.

The smile on his face said it all. He was so engrossed in the moment, with his full attention on the experience at hand that one could easily know his mind was, at that moment, incapable of wandering to the past or the future, there was no discursive thought processes running.

He wasn't worried about what his friends were doing, where his favorite toy was, what he was having for dinner, or anything else. The experience of driving the golf cart had 100% of his attention.

How long has it been since you were able to experience life with that kind of child-like innocence? When was the last time you were able to experience the present moment with 100% attention and 100% clarity? 

Unless we take the time to observe and study our mind in motion, and see that it is constantly reflecting on the past, or projecting into the future, continuously occupying our awareness; until we take the time to become aware of how our minds lure us away from the present moment, we can not regain that child like clarity of experiencing life as it truly is.

Michael L. Fournier

Tasting Chocolate

 Tasting Chocolate

For one who has never experienced the mind falling into complete silence, it is easy to believe that it is not possible. The mind wants to only acknowledge experiences it has encountered first hand or can rationalize, understand and explain.

Trying to comprehend something beyond thought, using logic and thought to do so, is an exercise in futility. To the Egoic thinking mind however, nothing should ever be beyond comprehension.

Our logical, self centered, Egos want to believe that there is nothing in this universe beyond our understanding including the universe itself. And so we search endlessly for explanations and meaning even where there is none, all the while trying to find words to explain that which can not be explained.

Trying to explain the experience and state of being one encounters when they move beyond thought and into the silent mind is like trying to describe the experience of tasting chocolate to someone who has never tasted chocolate.

You can describe how it is made; what it is made from, how cocoa is grown, you can attempt to describe sweetness or bitterness, but no matter how many words you use and how well your descriptions are, you will never be able to describe the taste of chocolate adequately to one who has never experienced it for themselves.

It is only when one places a piece of chocolate on their own tongue and tastes for themselves that they can truly know what chocolate is.

Michael L. Fournier