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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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Our Mind’s Ability to ‘Lay Waste’ to Our Lives

mind's waste pileOur Mind’s Ability to ‘Lay Waste’ to Our Lives.

How many times have we seen our minds make a totally incorrect evaluation of something going on in the present, or about to happen in the future?  How many times have our minds stopped us from doing some productive, fun, or wonderful spontaneous action that arose in us?  How many times have our minds made “a mountain out of a ‘mole hill.’”  How many times have our minds produced terrible ‘dramas’ and problems because of incorrect assumptions?

Usually, this is due to baseless fears our minds dream up, isn’t it?  Some prediction of a ‘bad’ or ‘catastrophic’ future that will come as a result of the action?  Or some idea in our minds that someone will hate: our actions, our words, our creative endeavors, or us?  (Such a thought occurs nearly every time I sit down to write my blog!  I’m learning to ignore this kind of thought.)  It’s a lie: we can’t predict the future or what others will think.

There’s a simple solution: test our mind’s assumptions.  Challenge every emotional interpretation, subjective opinion, or prediction about the future that our minds can make.  Especially, challenge every thought we have about what someone else is saying, thinking or doing when we can’t possibly know.  And, while we’re at it, let’s also challenge every opinion/prediction that every ‘talking head’ makes in the news media, and in academia.  Let’s even challenge the notion that we know what the world is! Our senses only take in a limited range of light, sound, etc.  What IS the real nature of the world?  Can we know it as it really is?

One simple question changes everything: “Can we absolutely know that statement or thought is absolutely true?”  If not, the statement or thought is a lie.  Yes, anything is possible, but, if it’s not absolutely true, then it’s a lie.

‘Let not our minds’ lies, lay waste to our lives.’  Life is a Mystery, outcomes are unknown…now why not find out What’s Possible?

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Calm and Quiet?

Calm and QuietCalm and Quiet

Noise echoes relentlessly through modern lives.  There is the noise of machines, multitudes of people, and the “noise” of endless communication in a multitude of forms (text, email, voicemail, paging, pinging, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.).  However, in my experience, the worst “noise” is the noise of my own thoughts.

Thought is a wonderful slave but, an awful master.  Although it’s only a representation of reality, we treat it as if it were true.  We treat our own thoughts as Truth, and don’t question them.  We treat our “selves” as if they’re entirely composed of thoughts and don’t question that assumption.  We let our thoughts dictate how we feel, and they are  often the source of terrible suffering.  Has anyone ever suggested that you question your own thoughts?  That they might not be true?  That they might create suffering?

Before you get another day older, start asking yourself some questions:

  •  Am I my thoughts? If so, then who or what is aware of thought arising?
  •  Are my thoughts true? How do I know?
  •  Are my emotions based on the truth or on partial or total falsehoods composed of false thoughts?
  •  Do I want to live my life in the cacophonous drama of false thoughts and the false feelings they create?

Truth is your greatest ally.  If your thoughts are false, stop listening.  If they produce unnecessary emotional turmoil, stop believing them.  Find a way to move to internal calm and quiet (meditation helps!).  It’s worth the effort.

May all beings ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it’s possible!

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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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Lots of Nothing

Empty Room pexels-photo-271649Lots of Nothing

I remember thinking that when I ‘woke up’ my troubles would all be over and that people would recognize that something had ‘happened’ to ‘me’ and that ‘I’ would instantly become a teacher to other people.  Hahahahahaha….the ego-mind makes up funny stories, doesn’t it?!  Ordinary life goes on.

This morning I rediscovered that what ‘waking up’ really brings is Nothing.  No inner life at all, rather Inner Silence without effort, no boundaries with ‘the rest of it,’ no permanent ‘self’ at all, no recognition, and No One to care.  I could say that inner silence is ‘blissful’ but, that doesn’t exactly describe it.  Nothing does.

The condition of ‘being awake’ has, of course, nothing to do with the ego-mind at all.  It’s about walking around as The Absolute, and knowing there is actually nothing else being perceived but, The Absolute in all of its various forms, and in its conditions Beyond Form, Energy (Dark or Light) and Matter (Dark or Light).  From an Absolute point of view, I could say that Nothing ever happens, and there is No One else here at all.  “I” don’t exist at all, and so Nobody can or does love a “me.” Nonetheless, love is everywhere that The Absolute is recognizing Itself.  A lovely paradox.

May all who read this ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it is possible!  Happy Solstice and Happy Holy Days (Holidays)

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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!

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freeimage-14639718-web Monkeys in Dialog

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Worthy or Unworthy?

Worthy or Unworthy?

Whether I’m working with clients coming to me for psychological help, spiritual help or both, I notice a consistent pattern: everyone feels and believes themselves to be essentially unworthy.  On an ego level this is usually because they’ve started to notice themselves and feel inferior in comparison to others, or because someone in authority over them keeps telling them they’re bad or wrong or awful or ugly or stupid or immoral or _______________________________  (fill in the blank with almost any negative quality).

Since I often work with people who’ve been severely traumatized (due to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse and/or some type of neglect), the emotional and verbal degradation is often accompanied by actual injury to the body.  When injury is added to insult, the client feels especially unworthy, often to the point of wanting to die by suicide.

On a psychological level, I work with such clients by demonstrating that it is the abuser who is primarily and essentially bad, and wrong, not the abused.  I also help them to accurately assess their attributes during therapy, to notice their strengths, strengthen areas in which they need improvement, and learn from their mistakes.

However, if people are stable enough to go deeper, we look at what is considered the spiritual dimension. In that dimension, my observation is that this prevalent feeling of unworthiness is because everyone knows that their ‘individual self’ is made up of the chattering thoughts in their heads and the emotions that those thoughts produce.  Somewhere within our body-mind we are aware that there is no substance to this ‘individual self’ since it ceases to exist whenever we stop thinking (or when others stop talking or writing about us or to us).  Therefore, we ‘know’ it’s insubstantial nature, and so are always feeling it’s unworthiness as a smokescreen for the real problem:  the ‘individual self’ doesn’t exist as anything but a mirage.  If that is so, we don’t KNOW what we are without further inquiry, but we know we’re not the ‘individual self.’

Even if people can psychologically understand that they are essentially neither worthy nor unworthy, just existing (I AM) as a neutral entity that can think, say, or do ‘good’ or ‘bad’ things, there is still an underlying question.  Is there a ‘self’ that needs to be seen as ‘worthy’ or ‘neutral’ or ‘unworthy?’  Or, is it truer to say there is no individual self at all?  This question “what is the ‘me’?” is the essential question in self-inquiry.

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

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Using Intuition to Wake Up

Using Intuition to Wake Up

When the logical, language-generating mind is ‘foggy’ as mine has been this last week or so, I like to change the focus of attention to my intuition.  Intuition is another way of ‘knowing’ or ‘learning something’ that seems to bypass the normal channels of words and logical thinking.  It’s easier to access, the more you are willing to drop the “story of me” which could also be described as ‘the thought-feeling complex that makes up the false self.’

The Merriam-Wesbster Dictionary definition of intuition is: “(1) quick and ready insight or (2) (a) immediate apprehension or cognition, (b) knowledge or conviction gained by intuition, (c) the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.”  This useful definition leads you to intuition’s use as an important spiritual tool.

Intuition is most easily accessed for beginners, when you sit in meditation or practice being Present in this moment.  As attention is moved away from language to the breath or a mantra, it’s possible to notice certain things, especially with practice.  This ‘noticing’ is done by using physical sensations and the resulting intuitions, to give us a felt sense of What Is.

For instance, in meditation, or even when practicing Presence, have you ever attempted to find the spatial boundaries of Awareness?  Have you ever noticed that your sense of Time seems to change in meditation?  Is Awareness limited by Time?  Can you use your intuition to ‘drop into’ the ‘immensity’ of Awareness?  Can you use intuition to feel or sense that what is actually looking through your eyes is not the ‘false self’ that chatters in your head?  These are some very good uses of intuition and can be quite helpful in helping you to awaken from the slumber of the false self.  May all beings who read this awaken in this lifetime: it is possible!

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Words, Words, Words…

This “Enlightenment Now” Blog is the first time that I’ve attempted to do a weblog on a regular basis, and is the most writing that I’ve done, since writing a book in the 2000s.  Though the blog is posted here, I also post it on other Facebook pages and groups.  The purpose is to learn how to communicate better with people as a teacher of spiritual awakening and enlightenment.

Sometimes, I’ve had some difficult comments to deal with, as a result of posting.  People accuse me of acting ‘better than’ others because I claim to be Awake, and say that I look down on others who don’t know they are That.  Other people repeatedly accuse me of not writing in the appropriate, proper, Non-Dual language.  Others are offended that I am not recognizing their level of enlightenment because my words are for beginners and I’m assuming they are beginners.  (How dare I assume they are beginners?)

I feel their hurt, behind their anger.  I also wonder at the hurt and the arguments over words.  I’m not Non-Dual and Absolutist enough in my language for some.  However, how does one communicate with a person from the Absolute point of view, when from the Absolute point of view nobody exists at all except Consciousness Itself?  Communication is impossible: there is no speaker and no listener.  So, how could I hope to speak a novice’s language and help a novice uncover his or her True Nature from an Absolutist point of view? I cannot. I will fail, unless I adopt the dualistic view and treat this novice as an individual, three-dimensional entity.  Also, what’s the point of communicating with a novice if they already know everything about Who They Are?  There isn’t any.  However, ask any novice if they know who they are and see what they say?  Awakening isn’t a given, it is arrived at by uncovering the truth, and that is a process that takes practice and effort (from the relative dualistic viewpoint).  Do you forget all of your efforts to understand Awakening now that you stand in the Absolute point of view?  Do you forget where you came from?  Remember, someone reached out to you, too, didn’t they?

In the case of a person who is offended that I dare offer simple instructions or views about Awakening or Enlightenment to people on a FB Group Page, I have a question.  How would I know the level of understanding of every reader who reads the page?  Also, if Awakening and Enlightenment is the end of ego, then why is a person offended by my words?  Isn’t that ego speaking? Isn’t ego saying, ‘Oh, that man, he doesn’t see how very advanced ‘my’ understanding is, he’s talking down to ‘me’?  Who is the ‘me’ who is offended?  Also, why make the untested assumption that everyone who reads a post is already Awake?

Some people object that I am ‘looking down on’ those who have yet to Awaken to their True Nature, as if by not calling them Awake, I am making the assumption that they are inferior to ‘me.’  I don’t make that assumption because I know that we are all Awareness Itself.  However, if we are interested in truth, why would a reader make an untested assumption about me as a writer? Is that inquiry into the Truth or untested assumption?

It’s puzzling how anybody Awakens to their True Nature unless they get some help to uncover that Nature.  If the novice feels temporarily inferior and hurt because someone calls himself Awake and claims that others may not be, that is an ego idea (inferior/superior are both ego constructs) and ego/thought-generated feeling that will pass as they understand their True Nature as beyond ego.

It is difficult to make any statement about Awareness, because Awareness precedes all statements and all words.  But, “fools rush in where angels dare to tread,” and all of us who attempt to teach are that kind of ‘fool’ and ‘fail often.’  We can all argue about words endlessly but, words will never accurately describe Awareness. I don’t pretend to be a perfect speaker, teacher, or writer about ordinary things.  Trying to speak about Enlightenment to the novice is like trying to describe water to someone who never drank it.  I can speak in analogies and parables…individuals must experience Awareness themselves to know they are That.  I only hope that those who read this blog and these posts, will check their own assumptions about what is being written, and ask questions if they don’t understand something in the writing.  I do answer all the questions I can, as time allows.  I will be as tender as possible in replying.

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Believe NOTHING: Validate Everything for Yourself by Your Own Experience

Walking the dog this morning, I was remembering a conversation I had with a client this week about belief and faith.  Awakening or Enlightenment is NOT a faith-based activity.  You do not have to believe the arcane religious dogmas or doctrines of any faith in order to wake up.

In fact, quite the opposite.  You have to test everything for yourself to determine if it’s actually true or not.  If, in an earlier article this week, I tell you that you can awaken with three essential practices: meditation, practicing presence, and thought-busting….why would you believe my word?  You need to test out what I, or anyone says, to see if it’s actually true or false.

Many of the world’s current religions are closed systems that are self-referential.  In other words, they tell you to believe what they tell you because they say it’s true!  You’re not allowed to question the basis for that truth.  You’re just told that you ‘haven’t believed strongly enough’  if you’re having doubts.  You’re also told to ignore the obvious inconsistencies, hypocrisies, and blatant contradictions in the sources of the faith or its followers.  Your rational mind isn’t allowed to question the sources of doctrine or dogma, it’s only allowed to ask for clarification on the content of the doctrine or dogma.

You don’t have a rational mind so that you can ignore it.  You have it because if you allow your mind to ask the single question ‘is this really true?’ it will free you from the oppression of everyone else trying to control you with their interpretations of reality.  Usually they want you to give them attention or money or both.  While it might be helpful to have a guide to help you awaken, the role of guide is not permanent: you must eventually be your own guide.

Our experience of being Awake, may be guided by a history of others who were able to awaken from delusion.  However, it doesn’t need to be guided by their rituals, or their preferred way of doing things.  We also don’t have to believe their books, just because they tell us they are holy books.  Awakening will happen when we go deeper than thought, even religious thought; not when we get inundated or lost in thought.  Our experience of The Absolute/The Divine/God or even if we call it Emptiness, is not mediated by words, it is a direct experience.  Aren’t your most peaceful moments of communion with whatever you call The Absolute actually wordless?

But, don’t believe me: test it out for yourself!