Hi I am spot dawa.
I am living as a karma yogi, since that is the best description I have found for what I have been doing for five years. I put lovingkindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity into my physical work, most often by the practice of tonglen. This experience has been transformative, for even though there is no cultural equivalent in America to the work and role of a "karma yogi", the discipline of generosity as a basis for work has many hidden advantages and protections!
I am a renunciate, but I have no guru or lineage, so even if I am enlightened I have no dispensation to teach Dharma. Still I am open to talking about it!
For example, I am pondering the Greater Discourse on Craving, in which Buddha describes the Twelve Steps of Dependent Origination, in which: with ignorance as condition, formations arise; with formations as condition, consciousness arises; with consciousness, mentality-materiality arises; with mentality-materiality, the six bases of contact arise; with the six bases as condition, contact arises; with contact, feeling arises; with feeling, craving arises; with craving, clinging arises; with clinging as condition, being arises; with being as condition, birth; with birth as condition, arises death and old age, the whole mass of suffering.
That being said, how can ignorance be said to go before consciousness?! Unless in fact we are ignorant even before we are conscious ... which on reflection, seems true!
There is in any case, no foundation for the self to claim any inherent existence. How from this realization arises the compassionate heart? A wonderful mystery!