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Earl R Smith II, PhD

(Read More From My Blog)

Mentoring is always a combination of abstract concepts and practical action. It's the complexity of the thoughts involved that makes it different from coaching. With coaching we might be focused on the refinement of a particular skill or capability. The question is competence with a tool - skill with an instrument. But, with mentoring, we are dealing with a life and the path that it is on. There is nothing simple about that.


In the beginning there was only One and that One knew itself as all that there was. There was no other. Thought, that great chicanery, had yet to arrive on the scene. Rationality was an unconsidered possibility.

Within the womb of that eternal Oneness, the Self experienced the wonder of Being. No permission being asked, what was and always had been flowed forth in yet another manifestation of Being. Nothing of significance occurred. Nothing of significance changed. Every moment was perfect and just as it should be.

Here, in this Eden, nothing and everything was known. Time did not exist as separate from pure Being; nor did space. There, in the center of everything, there was emptiness filled with everything.

Into this Eden there intruded a thought; the first of its kind and the latest of its lineage. Other Eden’s had been intruded. Nothing was new about this intrusion except as it was the vengeance of prior despoiled paradises on the virginal new ground.

Out of shame and hatred, this vengeance arose and put its mark on a newly born Eden. Without remorse and, indeed, with a self-righteous sense of rightness did the despoiling occur. The moral sense that was the solid foundation of corruption made it so.

This new thought birthed the idea of another. Out of the contracted malady called shame, which quickly generated a growing suspicion of self-bad faith, came the unavoidable creation of the Avatar. With it came an entire universe of manufactured reality. With it came not the serpent but the other “I”.

At first the creation of this intruding thought seemed benign enough; a fanciful creation. The One rested within its Self and was undisturbed. The sustaining knowledge that only the One represented what has stood as the foundation of the manifestation of Being.

Then another thought intruded, but not from the One. The Avatar had that thought; it’s first. “I am that which has created me. There is none before me and all who would contend differently are demons and heretics.”

For the One this thought was like all others might be; merely a thought to be thought of as a false reality. Unafraid of its implications, and unaware of its insidious nature, the One considered its creation.

But the Avatar found such demeaning meaning unacceptable. The “I” who aspired to be “me” conspired. Deep within its virtual reality there grew a determination to continue to exist and to over master that which threatened such existence.

The battle did not last long and the outcome was virtually predetermined. With the assistance of the vengeance of already the spoiled Edens, the One was over mastered and condemned to irrelevancy. The virtual world of the Avatar became the new reality; the virtual manifestation of Being.

What followed was a massive construction project. The newly anointed “me” embarked on a massive construction project which resulted in an ever-expanding edifice; a castle of sorts but, of course, completely virtual. Its only substance was the dungeon below into which the One had been consigned.

The Mask became the manufactured reality independent of Being. As the edifice grew so did the distance between that which is all that there is and the virtual reality which the Mask represented. As that distance increased, the grounding of the Avatar shrank to a knife’s edge and then to the point of a pin. The difficulty of maintaining the illusion increased exponentially and finally approached a breaking point.

Out of the darkness of the dungeon there came a rising wail. The only thing that was genuine in all of Eden cried out of its own Being. A victim of its own creation, and its prisoner, their settled in a growing lament for what might have been against the corruption of what has come to be.

The manifestation of Being had come to realize the corruption of its own creation. The “me” was not real but was defining what was real. There was no substance at all in this “reality”. The corruption was complete.

As the edifice grew, the connection with Being faded; not only the manifestation of Being that produced the virginal Eden but, also, with Being itself as the grounding of all that is and ever will be. The virtual Avatar, which so easily over mastered its creator, now sought to wipe out any evidence that that creator had ever existed.

And so the battle was joined. The virtual against the real; the Avatar against the One. A presumption of omnipotence dominated the armies of the Avatar. Having over mastered, the insignificance of erasure was assumed to be easily at hand.

So confronted, the One found it had two options; both of which were confounding. The first, and most extreme, was to simply cease to exist as that manifestation of Being; in other words, suicide. If the creator of the synthetic reality dies, there may be echoes but eventually the virtual creation expires. The suffering arising from the obscenity that the creation had become would cease.

The second option was to Awaken from the dream. Being would survive in its manifestation of Being but, upon Awakening, the virtual reality which it had created would cease to be the definition of what was and always has been. The Avatar and its edifice would be put in its place as a distraction from the experience of pure Being.

So the choice is between the reality of suicide and the act of virtual murder. The choice is between ceasing to Be and the ceasing of a created virtual reality. For some manifestations of Being, the choice is an easy one. The reclaiming of the ground of Being is the journey that is often called Buddhism. The path to awakening has been trod by millions over thousands of years.

But there are others for whom the decision is not so easily made. It has to do with the wits of the gulf which has opened up; with the extent of mastery and the depth of shame which has come to accompany the visceral experience of inauthenticity. Here there may be despair. Here there may be a fear that the murder, even as it is virtual, may uncover a reality which is shaming. Here comes the completely erroneous fear that Being, in and of itself, is somehow inadequate.

Being always and ever faces three choices. The first is to continue to be asleep; to wear the mask and build the edifice ever higher. Asleep until the end, Being comes into existence and passes away without ever experiencing life, only virtual life.

Or Being can awaken and relegate the virtual reality to the unreal. It can experience its own true nature. In doing so, it can realize its own infinite nature and timeless existence.

Or, if the distance has become too great, it can cease to exist as a particular manifestation of Being. The ultimate revenge; the ultimate payment for sins against itself, Being simply ceases to exist and takes his vulgar creations with it.

The three choices are ever and always before every manifestation of Being. The unavoidable reality is that the ground from which Being arises is indifferent to the decisions made by a particular manifestation. The principal intention of this ground is continuation.

But, for each manifestation of Being, the decision which is constantly made and remade, is defining. Shakespeare got it wrong when he had Hamlet say, “To be or not to be, that is the question.” Not to be is to be assassinated by your own creation. How to be is the question. Awakening is the only real option. Everything else is oblivion.


© Earl R Smith II, PhD

I look back on the first three months of my work with Dr. Smith with wonder. My journal reflects a journey of self-discovery so vast that I hardly recognize the person who wrote the first entries. It's been a year now and I am happier now than I have ever been.

PJ, Mentoring Client

"It's the most amazing experience I have ever had. I needed to find a new path. A friend recommended Dr. Smith. What was most amazing was the wisdom and perception that he brought. New vistas have opened up and, as a result, a new chapter in my life. There's no way that I could put a value on what he has contributed to my life."

Mentoring Client, CEO and Serial Entrepreneur

"Chief - that's how Dr.Smith was introduced to me and, based on our work together, I have come to understand why - helped me focus on the possibilities that I had been missing in my life. He guided through developing a new vision for my life. My life is richer because of working with him."

Mentoring Client

"Earl is a wise mentor with lots of experience. He has a great way of explaining things and getting you to look at them from another perspective. Dr. Smith is a tough mentor, but, if you can learn just some of what he knows, your life will change forever."

Mentoring Client, Deloitte

“Dr. Smith is a very different kind of mentor. If you’re looking for a warm and fuzzy adviser, this is the wrong guy for you. But if you are dedicated to change and want to be challenged by a very experienced mentor Earl may be just what you are looking for.”

CEO of Croix Connect and Host of ABC Radio’s ‘Taking Care of Business’

“Dr. Smith's mentorship has been of great value and inspiration to my personal and professional development. I felt the need to take a new direction. He helped me sort out the possibilities and showed me ones that I never considered. Working with him has been a truly life-changing experience.”

Partner, IT & Telecom, Defense Solutions