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Alone or All One

Alone or All One

It occurred to me today that when we human beings speak about feeling or being alone, what we mean is that our ego-minds are isolated within ourselves and they end up chattering to themselves.  No one else hears the contents of our minds, except us, or the rare person who is willing to listen to us for a little while.  Even in this latter case, the person only listens to our minds communicating via external language (talking) for a brief time.  The rest of our waking hours, our minds are alone with their own content.  If we think of ourselves as only an ego or language-generating mind, we are bound to feel alone, walled up within ourselves with this content.

What happens if we allow silence into this picture?  Then the mind feels really, terrifyingly alone, since our individual consciousness is now deaf to the mind’s chatter.

For the spiritually awake, however, the experience of Awareness is that it has no end, either spatially or temporally.  For those who don’t live in the ego-mind as the integration point of human life, there is no felt boundary in space or time.  Awareness goes on forever and is everywhere and, in some way, is also everything.  In this case All is Awareness or All is One, and so there is no “one” to be alone, there is just unending Awareness experiencing Itself in its many forms.

Sitting within the confines of the human ego-mind I am alone.  Sitting within unbounded Awareness, I am part of the One.  Yet, paradoxically, I am both ego-mind and Awareness together; a Mystery.

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Integration after Awakening: Deconstructing So-Called ‘Truths’

Integration After Awakening: Deconstructing so-called ‘Truths.’

Whathammer-sledgehammer-mallet-tool happens to you when it dawns on you that what you are is more than your mind and its ideas of itself?  When you discover the Awareness or Consciousness that you are, how does it change the way you live?

Since thoughts aren’t the interpreters of reality, they will become less important to you.  It could also become more obvious to you that they’re false.  Either they’re false because they’re only verbal representations of Reality, or they’re false because the thought itself is a lie, if examined closely.  Until the moment when you experience that Awareness is what you are, thoughts have been primary in their importance.  They define you, others, the world, and Reality.  Now they become open to testing and challenging.

“The stock market is going to crash today.”  There’s one thought that some might have been thinking just yesterday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 400 points.  With that thought, there will likely have been a jolt of adrenaline and a very unpleasant bodily response.  However, was this thought really true?  No, the market’s going up right now, one day later.

“This coffee is too bitter” is a thought I just had drinking the decaf by my side while writing this post.  Okay but, what does ‘too bitter’ mean?  Isn’t it just a subjective opinion, rather than a truth that I need to defend?  Is the thought something that needs defending? No.

“I’m a nice guy” is another thought, and this time it’s a thought about my supposed fixed ‘self.’  However, it’s not always true, so why would I want to defend the thought when someone challenges it or thinks I’ve treated them badly?  Wouldn’t it be better to consider it just a description of a temporary set of behaviors, rather than the ‘truth’ about ‘me’?

Even the thought ‘human civilizations are only 10,000 years old and before that time, we were all hunter-gatherers’ which has been the basic premise of modern archeology and anthropology has already been proven false by the discovery of relics that date back hundreds of thousands of years.  So, is this academic thought absolutely true? No!

Once you understand that Awareness is the underlying truth of what you are, all other thought-based truths can be deconstructed.  In the end, we give up certainty about nearly everything…and it’s part of the deconstruction and dissolution of our false sense of self and everything else, that is the trajectory of the Enlightenment journey.

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Awareness Is

Awareness Is

The great joke about waking up is that there isn’t actually anyone to wake up and nothing for the mind or ego; and awakening or enlightenment is undefinable in verbal terms.  Awareness awakens to Itself.  Awareness is that which looks AND that which is seen.

Awareness looks out of these eyes at a sofa and pillows, registers mantras on the stereo and a clock ticking and traffic in the background.  The traffic can be heard because the window is open as It registers unseasonably warm temperatures in the northern hemisphere in February: 70F or 21.1C.  Objects are given names by the mind not by Awareness.  Awareness knows itself.

Each person, dog, squirrel, animal, tree, rock is, in Itself, the same Awareness.  Awareness exists in many forms and as the Formless.  Awareness is registering Itself ‘out there’ by every sense that aids in perception.  Awareness is in all form and beyond form: immanent and Transcendent.  It’s everything and You are IT.  Wake up beyond your mind if you can…and as simply as you’re able…it’s indescribably delicious.

Simply Awakesimply awake leopard

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Dealing with Fear

Dealing with Fear

In the silence of this moment, everything is okay.  If my mind starts up again, chattering about the future, it can get ‘lost’ momentarily in the chatter.  Then fear can arise, and the whole tiger fearego-process can start up again.  This is the path of delusion, physiological contraction, and unnecessary suffering.

Sometimes this whole process can be hidden in the hustle and bustle of taking care of daily business.  This is true, especially if something challenging has come along in the external reality, and I have to ‘keep going anyway.’  If that happens, though, there will be a physiological “signal” that the mind has ‘gone off the rails of reality’ and into ‘fantasy land’ or ‘catastrophe land.’  Usually it’s physical tension in the body.  That tension is an indicator that there is some self-inquiry to do.

Usually, at that point, I start to ask a simple question, ‘when did I start to feel the body contract?’  That’s followed by ‘what was I thinking about when my body started contracting?’  Then finally, ‘is that thought really true?’  Usually, when I hit on the truth of what’s been bothering me, my body will relax.

Yesterday, I did some of this digging and realized that my mind had begun catastrophizing.  It started sometime between the unexpected death of a family member, the unusually low arctic temperatures we’ve been living with for 10 days, and the less than stellar business receipts in November and December. I started feeling ‘The Absolute is out to get me, and the future is going to be a Catastrophe.’  Of course, the moment this thought was discovered, it was obviously a lie because ‘me’ is really The Absolute in form, and why would It be out to ‘get’ Itself?  The body began to relax again with that discovery and the mind returned to silence.

May all people who read this ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it is possible!

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Embodiment: Awakening Occurs in a Body

Human Forms Heart pexels-photo-256807Embodiment: Awakening Occurs in a Body

Today I’ve been thinking how very esoteric the terms ‘waking up’ or ‘enlightenment’ often sound, and how very divorced from our bodies and our human experience they are ‘advertised’ to be.  One of my early fantasies about being ‘awake’ was that all physical and emotional distress would somehow disappear with ‘waking up.’  With my 13 year old nephew suddenly and currently fighting for his life, I can tell you that the latter is definitely NOT true.  There were other ‘enlightenment myths,’ some passed down via spiritual traditions and religions, and some made up by my own fantasy-oriented mind.

One thing that most people who ‘wake up’ know for sure is that the way we ‘sense into,’ intuit, or ‘feel into’ Awareness is through the body.  The body can be perceived as a ‘receiver’ of Awareness, a ‘transmitter’ of Awareness, or perhaps both.  The Absolute or Awareness or Consciousness takes form in, as, and through these bodies.  The body isn’t something that needs to be ‘wrestled into submission’ as if it’s the origin of sin, or starved into submission (starved either from food, or sex, or human contact), or treated as an ignorant and destructive ‘thing.’  It is a living form of The Absolute.

Just as it takes the perception of the body to begin to intuit Awareness or The Absolute, so it takes listening to the body, its physical sensations, and its emotions (a subset of physical sensations, entirely composed of them) to live an awakened life.  Though the body is temporal (most cells are being replaced at some regular pace), it is more reliable than the ego-mind in terms of the accuracy of its reporting.  It is also the vehicle through which The Absolute serves and knows Itself in Its many other forms (animals, plants, inanimate objects, human beings).

Waking up, doesn’t produce freedom from physical pain, disease or death.  It doesn’t automatically produce freedom from all deeply held traumas (such as in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), or from physiological reactions to physical dangers.  It doesn’t produce physical perfection, in short.  Perhaps a few mythical human beings have moved into some exalted and perfected physical state but, the vast majority of people who wake up are still subject to every human, physical limitation.  Some of the well-known masters even died of cancer.  It does, however, offer a brilliant, clear, unobstructed view of Reality….much to be appreciated and grateful for.

May all people who read this ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it is possible!

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Resting as That

Resting as That

Sometimes it is time to rest.  Even to rest from spiritual practice.  In fact, sometimes the best spiritual practice is to open to Life and learn whatever lessons It has for you just by paying attention to what’s right in front of you.

If it’s dark and cold outside, and you’re ill, the antidote is rest!  If your spiritual practice no longer bears fruit, the antidote could also be to rest.  If you are no longer pursuing anything, and you are silent inside, then you have become pure perception and at least, temporarily, merged with All.  In this condition, can you feel any boundaries between a ‘you’ and an ‘outside world?’

If you notice there are no boundaries then, no Inner or Outer, then aren’t you aware in that moment that you are Resting as That?  Now, could you continue that rest for the remainder of your life?  If so, then you would be ‘awake,’ would you not?

May all beings who read this ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it is possible!

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Dialog

Dialog

It’s been a real pleasure interacting with people as a result of the (usually) daily posts that I’ve been doing on Facebook. I’d also say it’s a challenge. The challenge is, as I just discussed with a Facebook friend, that the mind habitually wants me to contract into proving it is ‘right.’ It is so very easy in our world right now, to back into a corner, and say “I’m right and you’re wrong and I have nothing to learn from you. So, let’s go to war, and whoever wins is right.” Unfortunately, in the United States, our political system has never been more divided by this particular type of egotism.

This is the heart and soul of what our egos do: we divide into ‘us and them’ or ‘me and you’ and reinforce our ‘rightness’ by pointing to our ‘superior’ words or logic or argument. In fact, ego is all about words and is composed of: words, false assumptions, and the feelings generated from false assumptions. As I’ve written before, however, ego is an ephemeral ‘ghost’ trying to act like a continuous, solid, Being. Therefore, it needs constant reinforcement from the ‘inner voice’ and the ‘outer voices’ as to its own existence. Because of that, it either wants praise or if it can’t get praise, it wants war (inner war or outer war will do, whatever keeps the chatter going continuously).

Among those on the path of ‘waking up’ in all spiritual traditions, I’ve already noticed that it is still a challenge not to make the other wrong. As I mentioned, I have this challenge personally. Also, I’ve actually stopped participating in some Facebook groups because my language is always challenged in the group as ‘not orthodox enough’ even when the ‘orthodoxy’ is Advaita Vedanta, the path of Non-Dual Awareness!

As we begin to understand the Truth, and awaken to what is True and Real and what is not, it’s helpful to keep an open mind, and not defend our words just for the sake of being right or using the ‘approved language.’ In this way, we open a dialog to find the commonalities in the many paths to ‘waking up.’ There is so much of value in listening to the other person and trying to understand the other’s point of view. After all, in the experience of ‘waking up’ we find that the Other IS you.

May all beings reading this post awaken in this lifetime: it is possible!

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

freeimage-14639718-web Monkeys in Dialog

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Ordinary Life

Ordinary Life

“When you’re hungry, eat.  When you’re tired, sleep.”

“Before enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water.  After enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water.”

There is a lot of mythology in the world about what happens when a person ‘wakes up’ or ‘gets enlightened.’  First of all, the ego doesn’t wake up: Awareness wakes up to Itself.  Second, once Awareness wakes up to Itself, It continues a transformation process in the body-mind of the person through whom Awareness has woken up to Itself.  (Many more myths persist but, whole books have been written about them, so no need to list them all here.)

This is akin to the Christian tradition of salvation, being followed by sanctification.  The individual will bows to The Absolute will.  The ego is seen through and given up.  Sometimes, in other traditions, the ‘sanctification’ process is called ‘purification’ or ‘transformation.’  This is not always easy, and is often painful!  The ego doesn’t give up without a fight.

Looking at it from a three-dimensional-life point of view, this process of purification takes time.  Simultaneously, a new way of living comes into being: decisions are no longer made based simply on what is ‘good for me’ because ‘me’ doesn’t exist.

While this transformation is going on, ‘normal life’ continues.  We work, pay our bills, buy and/or grow food, shovel snow off the driveway (for the third time in ten days), and go to seasonal holiday celebrations.  Life looks and is ordinary.  People who ‘wake up’ still look like regular human beings, and aren’t ‘special’ in any way.  When we’re hungry we eat; when we’re tired we sleep.  We still chop wood and carry water (if we need to), or do the modern equivalents of those activities.

All the while Consciousness is busy transforming the life of the body-mind it’s awakened in, punching holes in the ego’s idea that it is real and rules the world, and bringing Silence to an ‘internal world’ formerly dominated by chatter.  This is generally done quietly and ‘behind the scenes.’  It is something to look forward to, because everything changes for the better.

May all who read this awaken in this lifetime: it is possible!

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Thoughts and Feelings are Real: The ‘Self’ They Seem to Produce Is Not

Thoughts and Feelings are Real: The ‘Self’ They Seem to Produce Is Not

My own awakening was facilitated by a school that, as small as it was, split into two factions a few years back.  In the school, we were taught that we didn’t need to perfect the ego in order to awaken, we just had to see THROUGH it to the Ground of Being that we truly are, in order to awaken. Then we could integrate the Pure Awareness with ego, thought, others and the world.

I’ve gone back to write on one or two of that school’s FB pages and I incur disagreement with my premise that the ‘ego’ is not real.  After all, people say, thoughts are feelings are real, although temporary and ephemeral.  They do occur within the inner space of the bodymind.  I have no essential disagreement with that or with the appearance of 3D reality.  If I cut my finger, I will bleed, after all.

I do disagree with the premise that because thoughts and feelings are real, the ‘ego’ they create is somehow real and permanent, and with the premise that the ego holds an essential and fixed identity.  My own personal experience is that the personal story winds down and basically disappears over time.

Literally, one day I was walking the dog on the usual tree-lined road and realized ‘I am not thinking about problems anymore; I am not my problems.’  A few years later I was able to watch the whole ego identity arise around a mind-generated problem and then pass away as soon as I questioned the basis of that problem and that ego  After that occurred, I began to understand that what’s left after the transformation that began with the first awakening to Awareness is Awareness Itself. Awareness is then free to spontaneously produce action, thought, emotion, speech, response, relationships, creative projects or whatever it wants through the vehicle of this bodymind that it also is.

To call that spontaneous expression of Awareness a ‘self’ and treat it like it is a fixed ‘entity’ that needs to be protected and defended with certain words is both erroneous in the great Enlightenment traditions and in my own experience.  To cling to ego as important or worthy of being defended is understandable but, seems to be ‘halfway up the mountain.’  Go further.

May all who read this awaken in this lifetime: it is possible!

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Why ‘Simply Awake?’

Simply Awake

The real ‘difficulty’ of ‘waking up’ or ‘getting enlightened’ is just how simple it actually is but, how complicated we make it.  . Academic scholars have written endlessly, people argue about what the ‘right words are’ to describe it relentlessly, and there are thousands of teachers who seem to teach a torturous path to get ‘there.’ Many groups led by teachers only venerate the teacher as ‘awake’ and will never recognize anyone else as ‘waking up.’ Others offer elaborate rituals, sequential studies, developmental programs, etc. that take lots of time and money to complete but, still never lead to ‘waking up.’

The reason I’ve called my business, my website, and my Facebook group ‘Simply Awake’ is because it is my experience that the simpler we make the language of ‘waking up’ and the simpler we make the means of ‘waking up,’ the more people who can benefit from figuring out what ‘waking up’ is and how to live an ‘awakened life.’ Ego has run amok on the planet and it’s time that more people lived from the Truth of their Being, rather than the false premise that they are only an ego.

There are three basic ‘practices’ that I’ve elaborated on before: meditation, practicing Presence, and ‘thought busting’ (questioning the truthfulness of your thoughts). There is one basic goal: discovering that you are The Absolute, Consciousness Itself, Pure Awareness or Being…..and that you are is already THAT. You just have to learn how to access it. What you are can never be undone, it can just be hidden until you are ready to find it. There are plenty of people alive now who can help you. Find one but, never give your power away. If I can be of assistance contact me or post a question on the Facebook Group Page called Simply Awake.

May all who read this awaken in this lifetime: it is possible!