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Before Enlightenment I Attended to Fussy Little Details….After Enlightenment I Attended to Fussy Little Details

9/14/2018

Before Enlightenment I Attended to Fussy Little Details….After Enlightenment I Attended to Fussy Little Details

Another of the many myths of Enlightenment, is that somehow the body-mind lives in a state of constant flow after Awareness Awakens to Itself, and life is without: challenges, effort, and obstruction.  While this may be true on some days, like weekends without any scheduled events, in general it is not true.  It may have been true of some earlier teachers who lived in ashrams, and sat on cushions all day in meditation, or before a crowd of followers, basking in their adulation.  It’s not true for this guy over here: he still has to earn his daily bread, read his email, and run his financial life.

Awakening doesn’t give us a “get out of jail free” card, if anyone still remembers the old game called Monopoly.  We don’t somehow ‘wake up’ and then magically disappear out of these bodies into some new dimension of reality where the principles of gravity, entropy, disease, aging, and death no longer apply.  We also don’t get out of a world full of people endlessly pestering us to get “located on Google maps” or “get a great network of referrals from the Better Business Bureau” or whomever is crowding our phones, emails and airways with things we “can’t afford not to buy.”  The awake are still subject to all the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” and all the immoral, unethical, untruthful, sociopathic scoundrels who ply the world or both sides of the political aisles of government looking for “suckers.”

When this body-mind, sometimes called “I” or “me” gets overwhelmed with the sheer level of detail required to live a 21st century “modern life,” the mind sometimes wonders what good ‘waking up’ did?  Oh, THAT!

What I don’t have to do is identify as this screaming, gibbering, chattering, little voice in my head that calls itself “I, me, my, mine, etc.”  I don’t have to listen to my mind spit out the lies it has been taught about Reality.  I don’t have to believe the news reports that are mere opinion, speculation or interpretation.  I don’t have to fear the future, as much as all the advertisers in the world want me too, because fear sells products and services.  Attention can fall back into Pure Awareness Itself, the peace that passes understanding.

When the agitation of life is overwhelming, I merely sit my attention down into that Pure Awareness and experience that peace.  That was worth the practice, learning, effort and attention of awakening.

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Awake or Not, You’re Still in a Body

I just finished writing a book and was looking for inspiration to share in a post.  There wasn’t much to be had!  When you or I are uninspired and tired, it’s better to rest.

Remember that Brahman/Emptiness/The Radiant Darkness/The Mystery, has taken form into, as, and through our bodies.  The body isn’t a perpetual motion machine but, needs rest and care; the mind, likewise.

The particular body-mind that each of us inhabits, has its own unique requirements for balance.  We do better when we pay attention to those.  Because I’m more introvert than extrovert, having three days of social events in a row (while finishing a book) has exhausted me.  I need time alone to recharge, read fiction, and lay around relaxing.  Extroverts and athletes probably wouldn’t need this same amount of time alone and would be better with MORE company and more exercise.

Whatever kind of person you are, take time to find out what your body-mind needs.  In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, Jesus summarizes the commandments (the Western version of yamas and niyamas) and says, ‘love God above all else, and love your neighbor as yourself.’  If you’re not taking care of and loving yourself, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be much good to others nor a good servant to The Mystery.self-care-cat

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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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Death is Our Companion

tutankhamun-death-mask-pharaonic-egyptDeath is Our Companion

My 13-year-old nephew died of a rare blood disorder that stayed hidden until three days before it took his life.  The shock of the statement is enough to stop people in their tracks, let alone the reality behind the statement.  Death can come at any time, at any age, in any circumstance. If we are wise, it is our constant companion, reminding us to stay awake. It can rattle us out of our normal calm and complacent acceptance of the dreamstate, if we are still unaware of Reality with a capital “R.”  However, even aware of Reality, the shock of the sudden death of a young person brings a palpable heartache.  Certainly, it has produced a shattering of the hearts of those close to him.

The human body is frail.  Even those who take exquisite care of their bodies, and have the resources to spare no expense, will eventually succumb to illness and death.  How do we live in light of this truth?  Soberly.  Compassionately.  Adroitly.  As the shock wore off, and the numbness gave way to feeling, grief was and is my companion, as well as Death.  There is no adequate explanation to offer the bereaved, even though inwardly my thought is ‘The Absolute is taking back a part of Itself: it gives Itself into human form, and returns to Itself when it decides to dissolve that form.’

Whether we’re here in this three-dimensional construct, or awake from this dreamstate, we’re still in a body.  We can say, speaking a bit too imperiously from the Transcendent point of view, that “Nothing is happening and Everything is perfect, even the death of a boy.”  Yet even as we speak or write those words, we feel the sensation in our throats, or the perception of our fingers striking the keyboard.  Death will take the one who takes refuge in the Transcendent and refuses to acknowledge the Immanent (here and now 3-D world), just as quickly as one who denies the Transcendent and acknowledges only the material world.

What do we do in the face of Death?  Wake up to our True Nature as the Absolute Itself.  Live as free from the distraction of the chattering mind as possible.  Serve The Absolute in as many ways as possible.  Comfort the grieving, even if they are ‘lost in the dreamstate’ and without denigrating their lostness.  If we are no longer lost, we once were!  The Absolute goes ‘down’ into form, awakens in and as and through these bodies, in order to serve Itself and know Itself in a multiplicity of ways.  Our job is to cooperate with that, to surrender to that, and to accept the real suffering that exists in many forms here, including in saying goodbye to a wonderful 13-year-old boy.  May our grief serve the good purpose of breaking our hearts open, so that more light shines through them in all directions.

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

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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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Self-Care in Different Seasons

Self-Care in Different Seasons

In the Northern Hemisphere, where I live, it’s getting darker and colder by the day.  Sunrise is currently at 7:11 AM and sunset is at 4:33 PM.  This is a very short day with less than 9 hours of daylight.  If I use awareness and check in to how the body feels right now it is: often tired, the mind feels foggy, and I want a lot more rest than I do in the summer months when the days are very long.  If I lived in the Southern Hemisphere, such as a friend of mine from Australia does, I’d likely have a lot of energy, be very active, and need much less rest.  However, I’d probably need more water to not get ‘foggy’ or ‘muddle-headed.’

Spiritual aspirants sometimes ignore the body and its needs and rhythms.  We think we should ‘push’ the body to do exactly what the mind wants it to, no matter the season.  If we’re doing spiritual practice, and it’s a lengthy, daily practice, we hesitate to modify it to the rhythm of the seasons.   However, your Awareness and your perceptions are channeled through the vehicle of the body.  Your deepest intuitions are often sensed as ‘body sensations’ or ‘feelings.’

It could be useful to consider the health and well-being of the body as an integral part of your spiritual practice.  It could also be useful to consider altering spiritual practice and providing alternatives at different seasons, and even in different kinds of weather.  Again, I notice that if it’s raining or snowing, my body feels heavy and slow.  It may be the opposite for you but, the point is…it’s quite wonderful for your body AND your spiritual practice, when you let the body have a ‘voice’ in your decisions, rather than just pushing from the mind.  May everyone reading 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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Enlightenment Now: The Frailty of Being Human

In circles of those who think and talk about enlightenment, some of whom may even be enlightened, we often want to focus on the great, grand visions, the Oneness that is felt in meditation and other wonderful and glorious experiences.  However, it’s important to continue to experience everything, including the frailty of being human.  We humans, even those who are awake, often expect too much of our bodies.

Recently I spent 15 hours in an automobile traveling 800 miles (over 1000 kilometers).  It was the second time I’d done so in a week.  We went to visit family far away, in a different time zone.  We slept in different beds, ate different food, drank different water (which was highly chlorinated), interacted with different people (and different bacteria and viruses too!) and were in a whole different environment than usual.  We had a wonderful time, in spite of all the differences.

However, having returned home, my mind has the idea that my body should not feel any effects from the strenuous travel and all the differences in what I experienced.  Also, having been feasting for Thanksgiving holidays in the U.S., I felt it necessary to limit my caloric intake and go on a diet.

My body is having none of it!  It feels weak, nauseated, and out of balance.  Awareness is still aware of these feelings but, they are very real, not made up.  The body needs time and care to adjust to being home again and probably doesn’t feel good with the drastic reduction in calories and the substitution of ‘health food milkshakes’ after eating solid food.  The mind needs to pay attention and care for the body!

No matter how grand our realization or how deep the understanding of The Absolute that has awakened in us, our bodies will bring us back to humility.  It’s a good thing they do, otherwise we might think that the body is immortal, rather than knowing that it’s The Absolute that is the immortal One.  All the great meditative states and perhaps even siddhis will not remove the frailty of the body.  Remember to treat it with care.