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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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Integration of Awareness and the Individual Life

41PrIv5n6YL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Once we discover that Awareness is our True Nature (not some identity composed of thoughts that we call the ‘ego’), it can be quite an upset to our way of life.  While the discovery that Awareness is who we are may take considerable time and energy, it is not the end of the process that we call Enlightenment.

The discovery of Awareness creates a seismic shift in the sense of identity.  Okay, we’re Infinite, Eternal Awareness (or Emptiness or any of the 100 other names) which has become these body-minds.  Our actual identity is simultaneously the Infinite/Eternal and the here-and-now person (in this particular writer’s case, called “Jonathan Labman”).  Both are true, paradoxically and at the same moment.

The implications of this discovery will take us a long time to embody, or ‘live out’ truthfully in the real world.  All of our ideas of who we ‘are’ or in this case ‘were’ will actually be only partially true.  The ‘ego’ doesn’t really exist?  What does that mean?  That’s what we begin to discover as we continue the journey of Enlightenment after discovering that we are Awareness.

This discovery that we are Awareness and so is everyone else, will also have a profound effect on how we interact with the so-called ‘others’ (all of whom could be seen to be aspects of the same Awareness).  How can we know we are Awareness, and exploit, harm, abuse, ‘use,’ or steal from others?

However, some people stop too soon in their Enlightenment trajectory.  This is why some people appear to be so injurious to others.  (More to follow.)

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The Spontaneous Act

The Spontaneous Act

Some time ago, I discovered that my actions are nearly always spontaneous.  There is a vibration (skanda, in Sanskrit, I believe) in the body that comes from Awareness Itself and moves outwards towards an action.  Creating my recent book was such an action.  Though I had been working on bits and pieces of it for a while, two weeks ago I had an urge to finish the book.  Five minutes ago (two weeks later), the printed copies are sitting on the desk in the office where I’m writing this blog.

If you look carefully, you’ll become aware of, and be able to follow these arising vibrations or impulses: to move, to rest, to eat, to drink, to feed the chickens, to collect the eggs, to play with the dog, to create a new work of art, to exercise…to give to others, to love, to wake up.  If the impulse doesn’t hurt you or anyone else, why not go with it and see what happens?

Usually the mind and its false thoughts and FEARS get in the way.  Whenever I write, it’s tempting to listen to the thoughts that say things like the following statements:

  • ‘You are Awareness and so is everything else, why bother writing?’
  • ‘No one will read your book or your blog, so why bother?’
  • ‘People who read your book and your blog will be nasty and critical so why bother?’
  • ‘You’re going to make mistakes and it won’t be perfect, so why bother?

I’m certain some people have been nasty and critical because I’ve already experienced that.  I have no idea what will come in the future, however, or how people will respond to this individual expression of Awareness going forward (be it verbal, written, written in blog form or in book form).  The courage to allow the expression of Awareness, is itself an expression of Awareness.  The ability to counteract false thoughts and fears with the truth, typically expressed as ‘I don’t know’ is also a gift of Awareness.  All this comes from being Simply Awake.  How wonderful when I (and you) can listen to this Awareness and not let false thoughts and the fear they cause, get in the way of spontaneous action.water as spontaneous act

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The Core Discovery that Heralds Awakening

Awakening as Sunrise

Once you’ve had enough practice at meditation, staying Present, and seeing through thoughts so that you know that you are NOT thoughts, it’s time to explore what you really are.  If, in meditation, you’ve reached the ability to experience Silence and Stillness, you can ‘sit’ in that awareness for a good length of time.

If you can sit in meditation for a significant time, you can get to the heart of what awakening is about.  As you have begun experiencing your deepest identity as the Mystery or Consciousness or Awareness or Emptiness or Christ Consciousness or Holy Spirit (to name a few of the names various traditions use) see if you can explore the boundaries of that identity.

Does Awareness (to use one name for sake of brevity) have any sense of time at all?  In your inner Being is there any sense of age?  When you look for the spatial boundaries of Awareness can you feel them?  Are there any Boundaries to Awareness?  Is there some felt place where Awareness ends and no longer exists?

My own experiential answer to these questions is that the Awareness within has no sense of time so it’s Eternal or Immortal.  It has no sense of SPACE or spatial limitations and so it is unending.  Awareness can be felt to transcend time and space; you can know by your own ‘experience’ that this is the Truth.  The Awareness within you and the Awareness ‘outside of’ you is the SAME AWARENESS.  It is the Transcendent Awareness.  In the Mandukya Upanishad of the Hindu tradition the Sanskrit uses the words “Ayam Atman Brahman” to summarize the finding (loosely translated) that “this individual Awareness IS the Divine Awareness” in other words they are one and the same.  Or, for my Buddhist friends “this internal Emptiness is THE EMPTINESS” that the Buddha discovered.

Sitting deeply in meditation, you can feel, sense, and intuit the Truth which is that there is only One Awareness and you are part of it.  So is everything and everyone else.  Also, you’ll find it true that even if you lose touch with the feeling/sensing/intuiting of Awareness (usually due to some physical and emotional stress), it doesn’t go anywhere.  You are Always That Awareness, which is in a mysterious way what is registering your feeling, sensing and intuiting of Itself.  This is The Mystery that We Are.

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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.

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MYSTERY Emerging….

Mystery EmergingMystery Emerging

When concepts of “I” and “awake” and “enlightened” die, what happens next?  In my last blog I said ‘Mystery’ is next.  Mystery looks like a release of deeply held muscle tension.  Hearing from a long-ago dharma buddy whose wife read my blog somewhere on Facebook.  An offer to host an internet radio show for veterans, and a whole week of almost no work….like a vacation without the planning.

This Being, or whatever one wants to call it, doesn’t miss the “I” and it doesn’t miss “awake” or “enlightened.”  The bodymind is more relaxed than it’s been in its entire lifetime.  The spiritual/therapy group that I led last night was a ‘hoot’ as we say.  (For those unfamiliar with American slang, we had a lot of fun and did a lot of laughing.)  Lunch was delicious.

What’s next, after this blog is finished, is unknown.  Not ‘good’ and not ‘bad’ just ‘unknown.’  There are some lightly held ‘preferences’ including the wish to work with all kinds of people from all over the world.  How will that ever happen?  No idea.  Also, no idea if The Absolute cares about these particular ideas.  “Doubtful It does” you say?  “I” don’t know.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s episode of “Big Mystery Living as (little) mystery.”  It promises to be as unexpected as today’s.

Have fun being the little mystery part of the Big Mystery that you are!

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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

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Family of Human Beings

Family of Human Beings

When I was 16 years old in 1971, I had an answer to the first and ‘cheekiest’ prayer I ever prayed.  The prayer was ‘God, if you exist, create the miracle of getting me a scholarship to international high school  (6th Form, A Levels, International Baccalaureate level) in South Wales, U.K.’  I had originally been told that my parents were ‘too rich’ for me to qualify for a scholarship, though they had four children they had to educate and send to university.  After being accepted in April of that year, there was a postal strike, and I prayed the same prayer for another month until May 1st because there had been no word on the scholarship.  I found out that my prayer was answered then, when against all known odds I got the full tuition scholarship.  This led directly to becoming a believer in a Higher Power immediately afterwards.

Because the international school (United World College of the Atlantic) had students from over 50 countries, including all inhabited continents and even some from countries ruled by communist governments (in 1971 during the so-called Cold War, this was a rare privilege), I came to see that whatever country we are from, we are all human beings.  In fact, because we were put in common circumstances in a new place, all of us formed lasting bonds in spite of having different religions, ethnicities, currencies, and languages.

Though I was narrowly sectarian in my own religious views at the time, even this fact didn’t keep me from becoming friends with many of other faiths.  Now, 45 years later, I still long for communication and communion with people from all over the world, and am finding it by meeting people on Facebook.

I am amazed that we are able to speak to each other so openly about ‘waking up,’ ‘enlightenment,’ and the spiritual journey.  I’m also deeply delighted to again feel part of the Family of Human Beings.  Writing these posts and meeting people from all over the world on Facebook has made life richer by far, in a few short weeks.

Today’s little bit of writing is just to say ‘thank you’ for one more thing I’m grateful for: the family of all human beings that are now speaking together about spiritual Truth.  My experience is that we are each, individually, The Absolute Itself in form.  My hope is that these writings help all readers to uncover this for themselves.  May we continue our open dialog until all realize Who is the Origin and Who is continuing to come into a multitude of forms as The Family of Human Beings.

May all Human Beings who read this awaken in this lifetime: it is possible (and wonderful)!

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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

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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!