Posted on

Releasing the ‘Me’ into Silence

Silence and StillnessReleasing the ‘Me’ into Silence

One thing that I’ve noticed lately is that although a ‘self’ no longer exists, the ego-mind’s lone remaining trick is to keep the body-mind tied up with MUSIC now, of all things.  Music! with all of its abilities to affect ‘my’  moods. This has been going on for a long time.  I’m sick of it.  The intention has arisen to find the Silence and Stillness underneath the music and make it permanent.  I know It’s there, what else could be aware of the music arising?

Fortunately, long ago I received a gift.  There is something called the ‘unstruck sound’ or ‘anahata nadam’ (unstruck sound in Sanskrit) that is said to be the sound of the Om vibrating the Universe.  Or, in laymen’s vernacular, the sound of God vibrating in/as/through the Universe.  Sometime around my 24th birthday in 1979, I started hearing this sound which, is not really a sound.  (No, it isn’t tinnitus and doesn’t interfere with normal hearing.  It’s like a very high-pitched, electrical, G-sharp note that plays  constantly.)  It was curious and puzzling at first.  Because I was an evangelical Christian at that time, I called it the sound of the Holy Spirit but, told no one about it.  After all, I lived in a cult in those days and only the leaders could pronounce truth.  The rest of us were to be ‘sheep’ and were taught not to use our own discriminating awareness: so that we wouldn’t notice the difference between the Truth and the lies of the leaders!

Somewhere around 2000 when I was 45, I finally read what that funny no-noise sound was in my inner ear.  Yup, ‘unstruck sound’ or ‘anahata nadam.’  The instructions said to use it as a meditation focal point and, said it would be a speedy way to ‘wake up.’  It certainly helped!

Today, I’m realizing that listening to that ‘unstruck sound’ moves me into thoughtless awareness quickly.  I’m also noticing that it pulls me in deeper, the more I listen to it.  Eureka…a way into inner Silence.  Inner Silence is to be commended….all of our pre-existing patterns eventually disintegrate there and we are open vessels for the Mystery to do with, as It will.

How will you find your own way to Inner Silence and lose your ‘me’ too?  I’m guessing you’ll love it when you do.

Posted on

The Peace that Passes Understanding

The Peace that Passes Understanding

In the Christian New Testament, we find reference to ‘the peace that passes understanding.’  When I was heavily involved in Christianity, I had an intellectual understanding of what this meant but, no visceral, actual experience of it.  It took ‘waking up’ through the Eastern spiritual traditions to really understand this Peace, since I didn’t find Christian mystics to lead me to it.

When ‘waking up’ happens, the ‘center of gravity’ of our experience shifts from the ego-mind to the Awareness that watches or registers the ego-mind arising.  I sometimes call this the Registrar; some call it The Witness.  This Registrar is effortlessly registering every thought, feeling, physical sensation, and sensory perception.  This Registrar is really another disguise, though, and doesn’t have a knowable identity.  Mystics and others call it by many names: Brahman, God, The Absolute, The Divine, The Radiant Darkness, and Emptiness being a few.

In spite of tumultuous circumstances (whether we call them ‘outer events’ or ‘inner turmoil’), The Absolute is always there registering everything that arises, sustains itself for a time, and passes away.  Once aware that I Am That, it’s clear that the deepest part of human beings isn’t all the fluctuations of life or body or mind but, The Absolute.  Knowing, intuiting and experiencing oneself to be the Absolute, is to sit in the Silent, Clear, Stillness that is doing all the registering of everything currently arising, whether pleasurable or painful.  It is to sit in the Eye of any storm, and to experience the essential Stillness of The Absolute.  This is the peace that passes understanding.

May all people who read this ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it is possible!eye of storm peace passing understanding

Posted on

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!

Posted on

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!

Posted on

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

Posted on

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!

Posted on

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!

Posted on

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!

Posted on

What ‘My’ Enlightenment is for ‘Me”

One of the admins of one of the Facebook pages that I post on, is a respected master in another tradition, and he wanted me to answer the question above, plus give a history of my own path towards Enlightenment. He wanted a ‘step by step’ description of the process, which I immediately knew was impossible, since the process began at 15 when I questioned the faith of my parents and began a conscious exploration of other paths and faiths. I am now nearly 63!
 
There was no tidy linear progression as in some of the venerated Buddhist traditions, although I have experienced each of the Buddhist jnana meditation fruits, if my self-evaluation is correct. They just weren’t in the expected order! Also, something I found out today that they recognize, which is meditating on the Anahata Nadam (or Unstruck Sound, said to be the sound of the Aum vibrating in the Universe), I have been doing unconsciously since 1980 or so when I started to hear it, and consciously since 2000.
 
I wrote a whole book about the pathway I took to awakening, and revised it sometime after 2010; it’s called An Ordinary Being. This book holds the more detailed version of the story. I never publicized the book and it sold very poorly. I’m not ‘pushing’ it in this post either, it’s just to let you know there is a record, and to let the Buddhist Master know that too.
Even since 2010, however, there have continued to be changes to ‘my’ experience and understanding of what Enlightenment is. I doubt that I could even summarize those changes in a step-by-step, linear progression.
 
There was a lot of adversity after the initial awakening in 2001. There was dissatisfaction with my path, at almost every juncture, too. My dissatisfaction drove me to finally question every last truth that I’d been taught, including the truthfulness of the ego’s existence. My experience of enlightenment is that there is no ‘person’ who awakens. No ‘ego’ gets to claim Enlightenment. Enlightenment is about Emptiness being embodied in form to use Buddhist language. To use Hindu language we would say that Consciousness/The Absolute/Brahman is being embodied in human form. From my perspective, Enlightenment is a never-ending horizon…there will always be more growth.
 
However, there was a time recently, when the understanding finally dawned that there wasn’t anything that could be done to make Realization clearer than it was. There was not another practice, another set of words, or another teacher that would un-do the ‘ego’ anymore than it had already been undone. Consciousness/Emptiness exists in this form, and there is no permanent ‘self’ here. There never has been, but, this mind just wasn’t aware of that until the last year or so.
 
It is now possible to watch the entire arising of an ephemeral ‘ego self’ that wants to be identified with. In this bodymind called Jonathan, that usually occurs when there is a ‘problem’ or ‘challenge.’ I began to be able to do this at a six-day silent retreat with the teacher Adyashanti in September 2016. It still occasionally can arise in the mind even today, for a few moments, if the ‘problem’ is ‘serious’ or gets the emotions involved. However, there is no self here. It is clear now that there never was one, just a very fixed illusion or delusion that there was one.
 
So, even the question ‘can you tell me what your enlightenment is for you as a person?’ is a tricky question to answer. There really is no person to be enlightened. There is spontaneous action, speech, compassion, peace, love and rest that arises. The mind and thought-generated emotions arise and are generally ‘seen through.’ This bodymind now knows that the nature of reality is that it is impermanent, and therefore that all pleasure and pain is impermanent. It also knows that all experiences, whether physical or spiritual are inherently unsatisfactory because they are temporary and don’t create any change in a ‘self’ that doesn’t exist.
 
To live like this in the three-dimensional world of people, places, and things is tricky business. “I” had wished that I could just live my life out in a cave, or someone would build an ashram around me but, such things are unknown in the West as appropriate ways to live. While knowing that All are Emptiness or Consciousness, it’s clear that most people are asleep to their True Nature. Mostly, compassion arises for those not awakened, and certainly spontaneous ‘help’ seems to arise. Other emotions also arise including anger, and fear, and sometimes there is grief at how much suffering there is in the world. The emotions are generally as ephemeral as the ego is in general, and the bodymind no longer attempts to build an identity around them. That’s the best “I” can do to answer the revered master’s question in a short form. May all beings Awaken to their True Nature!