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When Awakening Happens

waking upWhen Awakening Happens

When Awakening happens, one realizes the big joke…there is no one to awaken, and there is only a condition of being part of a Mystery.  Words can never describe what the Mystery is.  Try as teachers have through many thousands of years, even the best teacher can only ‘fail better this time than the last’ at describing the indescribable.

What one is, is the Mystery Itself.  No one needs to mediate that for anyone else: no priest or guru needs to be an intermediary between us and the Mystery.  No one can discover it for us, though it may be helpful if they point the way.  Though ‘one’ doesn’t really exist as a discrete “I,” that Truth can only be uncovered by certain basic practices that this one, a seemingly ‘discrete person’ does, until realizing paradoxically that one was never really a discrete person at all.

These practices need no special garb, no beads, no jewelry, no crystals, no singing bowls, no banners, no decorations, no special languages and no actual money.  (Money might be an exception, if one is being helped by a mentor or teacher, and if there is no other way the teacher supports herself or himself.  The Buddha himself carried a ‘begging bowl’ and Jesus told his disciples ‘the workman is worthy of his wages’).  Truthfully, however, all the practices necessary are available in open source literature: meditation, practicing presence, seeing thoughts as inaccurate or untruthful, valuing and speaking truth to oneself and to others.

Make the practices simple and you may uncover the Truth: in your essence you are Simply Awake as The Mystery.

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Infinite Mystery

Infinite Mystery

A recent interaction with one of my gurus (currently alive) has left ‘me’ puzzled and looking at the search for ‘awakening’ and ‘enlightenment’ in a whole different way.  I think I got addicted to the approval of teachers, so I have wandered around for the last 45 years looking for it.  Now that I’ve got it from some and don’t have it from others, I wonder what I’ve been looking for.

‘Awake’ and ‘enlightened’ are human constructs like any other human construct.  The ‘ego self’ is another such construct.  It’s true that there is something deeper than the ego self.  What it is, perhaps will always remain a Mystery.  We can try to explain it but, words ruin Mystery.

What we are and what Reality is can’t really be known in any final way.  It has to be lived from one moment to the next without clinging to any identity, even the identity of being ‘awakened or enlightened’ or ‘a teacher.’  Sometimes it takes failing to get a teacher’s approval to realize the truth that’s right in front of one’s nose all along.  No ‘I’ to get ‘awakened’ or ‘enlightened.’   No final ‘understanding’ that will be universally accepted.

Today it also seems that there is no condition called ‘awake’ or ‘enlightened’ that can be universally verified in all traditions.  “I” could chase “it” eternally and never be “done” depending on the latest teacher’s vision of ‘done.’  So “I” am giving up.  What remains, lots of tools and methods for going deeper and a desire to help others deepen.  What doesn’t remain?  Ultimate Answers or Identities.

What’s next is…a Mystery.

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Who is the Guru?

Temple Buddha Statue  in Sukhothai Historical Park,ThailandWho is the Guru?

I’ve often been asked who my ‘guru’ is, and I’ve had to ponder carefully when answering the question.  I don’t have just one guru, I’ve had many.  There is a long tradition of being told that we should work with only one guru, who should be able to see us all the way ‘to enlightenment.’  While I think this can be useful for some people, it is not helpful for everyone.

I can think of 12 people, on the spur of this moment, who I would consider ‘gurus’ to me.  Some of them are authors like Jed McKenna, some teachers like Adyashanti or Saniel Bonder, some are well-known and some are unknown.  Many trace their teachings to figures like Ramana Maharishi, Shri Bhagavan Rajneesh (Osho), Swami Muktananda, or Paramahansa Yogananda.  Others have worked in Christian or Jewish traditions.

Currently, I understand that the real Guru is The Absolute Itself, as It manifests Itself in, as and through each one of us.  Sometimes, another person can be a terrific guide or teacher to us at a particular stage of growth.  Sometimes, we find someone whom we can trust and who can take us all the way to the ‘finish line’ of ‘waking up’ or ‘enlightenment.’

As I write about this now, my experience is that The Absolute Itself is in every human being, every creature, every object, every situation, every moment, and every location.  Therefore, All of Life can be our Guru.  I would encourage readers to look at every situation as an opportunity to learn from the Guru, in Its many forms.  There is often grace to be seen, if only we look.

May all who read this be encouraged on the path of awakening.