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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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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!

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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!

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Enlightenment Now: Three Essential Practices to Uncover Your True Nature

In my many years of spiritual practices, and the study of various religious and spiritual traditions, I find myself offering three basic practices to those who come to me for psychological or spiritual guidance:

  • Meditation
  • Practicing Presence (meditation in the midst of everyday life and activity)
  • Thought-busting (challenging all thoughts for truthfulness)

There are so many other practices and experiences and accessories that we could have in our possession to make us look spiritual or feel spiritual but, these are all unnecessary.  I don’t even consider one particular guru, or only one particular path to be important or ‘the way.’  People wake up using the resources of many gurus and many paths.

Bottom line: the simpler the practice, the more widely you can apply it to your life, and the more impact it has.  Complicated things might be helpful for a while but, you will forget them during stressful times and then they will be useless.

Let’s look at each of the three practices that I’ve mentioned above briefly.  Much more can be said about each practice but, this post serves as an introduction.

To begin with we have meditation.  Meditation is deceptively easy: it is simply the act of moving your attention from your thoughts and emotions, and directing it to the physical sensations of breathing (usually focusing on the sensation of breath in the nostrils).  I say it’s deceptively easy, because that seems like a simple task to do.  However, the body-mind’s attention is addicted to listening to the thought-generating capacity of the mind all the time.  To break the fixation of attention on thought takes a tremendously strong intention.  However, it is worth it.  Once you have a continuing experience of a level of awareness or consciousness deeper than your own thought-feeling processes, your whole view of yourself, the world, and life will change.   For a breathtakingly excellent book on how to meditate, I recommend a book by Culadasa (also known as John Yates, PhD,) The Mind Illuminated.  I’ve been meditating for nearly 30 years and this is the clearest set of instructions I’ve ever read.

Practicing Presence, or Staying Present, is another essential practice.  It is essentially a form of meditation in which you are standing up, walking around, and doing things.  However, while in the midst of all of this activity, your attention is NOT focused on thought, it’s focused on the simple perceptions of your five senses: smelling, tasting, touching, hearing and seeing.  When in conversation with another person, staying Present means simply listening to the other person with total attention, rather than paying attention to your own thoughts OR trying to formulate a response to their comment before they’ve finished making it!

Thought-Busting is my name for the process of challenging the truthfulness of your own thoughts.  In psychology, this is sometimes referred to (in a more complex form) as ‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.’  Most of us never learn that our thoughts are inaccurate, or just plain lies.  We accept that whatever thought arises in our mind is true!  Upon a simple examination, we find this is not the case.  First, all thoughts are merely mental representations of reality, not reality itself.  Second, the content of most thoughts is false.  If you have a thought about the future, it’s not the absolute truth, and therefore it’s false.  How could you possibly know what’s going to happen in the future?  Thoughts about what other people are saying, thinking, or doing when they’re not in your presence, speaking to you, are also false: they are simply your fantasy about the other person.  Even most thoughts about yourself are false.  In coming to the ground of Being, we need to eliminate every falsehood from our experience.  While we can’t stop the mind from generating whatever thoughts it does, we CAN STOP LISTENING TO THEM and treating them as if they’re true.  If your thoughts aren’t absolutely true, then they are lies; plain and simple.

I have made a lifetime spiritual practice out of these three varieties of practice.  I highly recommend them to you.  You can awaken to your True Nature as the Absolute with only these practices, plus a little guidance.  Try them for yourself and find out if what I’m writing is true or false!