For all who have Awakened to their True Nature,
or are on a path to Awakening,
it is essential to embrace these 3 truths:
- ‘you’ can never Awaken
- ‘your’ Awakening or spreading of Awakening to others is not needed
- It does not matter whether or not you Awaken
At the relative or illusory level (unless we are experiencing the constant conscious Awakened ’state,’) we experience ourselves as seemingly-separate, ‘individual humans’ or body-mind-egos. I look out at the world through my eyes and think, “I am me, I am not you. We have separate bodies, minds and personal identities living separate, different lives and having separate, different experiences.” In Absolute terms, there are no separate beings – there is only One, there is only Pure Awareness.
Directly experiencing this Oneness, this True Reality, behind the false illusion of separateness, is Awakening, Enlightenment, Self-Realization.
We can use the term ‘you’ with a small “y” to include everything we think we are as ‘separate’ beings – our bodies, minds, thoughts, feelings, souls and personal identities or egos. Another fun term to include all that is the “mego.” And we can enclose relative terms like ‘you,’ ‘separate human’ and ‘state’ in quotes, to distinguish them from the Absolute, wherein separate humans, experiences and states are not real but merely an illusion, a temporary projection of the One.
‘you’ can never Awaken
NO ONE wakes up, or ‘attains enlightenment,’ or gets Self-Realized. This entire temporary projection we call the “creation,” and the emptiness that holds it, is already awake, already perfect. Including ‘you!’ Any part of that projection that seems to come to its own ‘personal’ “realization” of what it Really is, that seems to have woken up to the Truth that ‘it’ is actually the Pure Awareness behind everything, is merely stepping out of the way and letting go of its false identity long enough for the fully complete & awake Awareness to be revealed as having always been there. Nothing happened, nobody “reached” enlightenment, nothing changed. Read that again: Nothing happened! This is a very useful perspective when we still believe we’re not yet enlightened and awakening is this thing that’s going to happen, one day.
You could say, in the locus known as ‘you,’ Awareness momentarily just dropped its projection or story of being this or that false identity, and let Itself ‘be known’ as the One Reality it Is. But even that’s saying too much…because it implies time (past & future happenings,) subject-object (someone the ‘experience ‘happened’ to,) and duality (the experiencer was a separate ‘other’ from the One, and wanted or needed to ‘rejoin’ it,) none of which is ultimately true.
Since the entire creation & non-creation is already fully Awake, ‘you’ (this seemingly separate body/mind/ego) can do NOTHING to awaken. ‘Your’ efforts to awaken can only fail. Awareness may ‘seem’ to guide ‘you’ through a series of lifetimes, events, challenges, practices and teachers that seem to bring ‘you’ to an irresistible point where your sense of your false identity can’t help but fall away, revealing the Pure Awareness You always Were…but Awareness is driving that impetus, not ‘you.’
‘your’ Awakening or spreading Awakening to others is not needed
Since the entire creation & non-creation is already fully Awake, ‘your’ waking up is NOT NEEDED. An already-fully-awake creation doesn’t care if one particular seemingly-separate part of it ‘strives’ to wake up and succeeds or fails, anymore than the vast Ocean cares if one wave ‘strives’ to merge back into It. It’s all water.
If ‘you’ do ‘have the experience’ of having a full Awakening to your True Nature, that already-fully-awake Creation doesn’t need ‘you’ to broadcast it, call attention to it, or become a ‘teacher’ that helps others wake up. As a ‘mego,’ creation doesn’t need you to share it with one other individual, because it is Awareness that is waking everyone up, on it’s own agenda, not you in yours. Enjoy your Awakening, but don’t think, from the ‘mego’ standpoint, that you’re special or a needed gift to humanity. DON’T walk around looking to see if people notice you are now an enlightened being. DON’T think “Now that I’m awake, I can & should use every interaction & conversation as an opportunity to extol that ‘state’ and guide the conversation towards non-dual wisdom and helping these people to be enlightened
like I am.” Get off your ego-trip. To Pure Awareness, they’re just as ‘enlightened’ as you, and need nothing from you.
It does not matter whether or not ‘you’ Awaken
The only way to ‘experience’ full Awakening is to be One (experientially, not conceptually) with the Absolute. If that Awakened realization dawns in You, You will ‘notice’ that You and Pure Awareness are One, always have been One, and have always been fully Awake. At the Absolute level, We could never have been ‘not Awake,’ so naturally it could not matter if ‘you’ Awaken. Since our ‘human’ existence is ultimately just a projection of this always-awake One, even if you still feel identified with your ‘human’ body, mind and ‘separate identity, it doesn’t matter whether or not ‘you’ Awaken.
Meditate in the morning, or never meditate. Eat healthy or eat a big plate of meat and unhealthy fried foods. Spend your days working a job and making money, or renounce the material world and spend a contemplative life in a monastery. Spend your evenings studying spiritual wisdom or holy scriptures, or spend it watching a bunch of silly comedies and crime shows on TV. Doesn’t matter.
Just as the illusory ‘you’ cannot cause ‘your’ Awakening to happen through any efforts of ‘your’ own, ‘you’ can also not keep it from happening. Because Awareness is already Awake, and it is lighting up every part of it with full consciousness of the Truth. When will that happen, ‘you’ might ask? “Hey, I look out at this crazy, very-unenlightened world, and at my own very problematic, unenlightened existence, and it doesn’t look like that’s happening yet, to me. So when’s this global Awakening suppose to light up?”
Your beautiful, poignant question is full of judgment about what Awakening and Perfection is supposed to look like. This is what it looks like, because this is what Is! And, more importantly, the question is couched in ‘time,’ which is just as much an illusory projection as the troubled world you’re judging. When will Awakening happen – yours, the world’s, Creation’s? Now. It’s happening right Now. There is no time; it’s all happening all at once. Which means there is nothing happening! In order for there to be something happening, there needs to be a start point and an end point, There needs to be time. Since there is no time, nothing is happening, or more accurately, everything just Is. If everything just Is, and nothing is happening, there could never be an un-Awakened ‘you’ that ‘eventually’ becomes and Awakened You. Already ‘happened.’ (That part of ‘you’ called ‘your mind’ cannot grasp this, cannot wrap itself around “no time,” or everything happening simultaneously, so don’t worry if ‘your mind’ reels a little at this.)
So don’t think that it ‘matters’ whether you be a ‘spiritual person’ or become an Awakened Soul, or not. Do whatever you feel called to do. I promise ‘you,’ ‘you’re’ not doing any of it; Awareness is doing it through you. Which means, whatever ‘you’ choose, ‘you’ could not choose otherwise. If ‘you’ already have deep spiritual leanings and feel a strong ‘call’ to Awaken, just try not to. Try to eat a lot of crap, be a couch potato, and get lost in the material world and your dying body’s identity. You won’t last a month. Conversely, if you heard that getting enlightened is the way to end all your ‘mego’s’ suffering, or became convinced that Waking Up really matters, and ‘you’re’ gonna renounce everything else and meditate till ‘you’ are fully enlightened, just try doing that. Put your head down, strive and strive and strive till ‘you’ are weeping tears of frustration that ‘you’ just can’t ‘get there.’
As long as you think ‘you’ are going to Awaken, Awakening will never reveal Itself to ‘you.’ The moment you get that ‘you’ can never Awaken, ‘your’ Awakening is not needed, and it actually doesn’t matter if ‘you’ Awaken or not, and give up the ‘you,’ You will Awaken. Instantly.
The Value of Being On The Path To Awakening
What is the value of:
– being interested in spiritual awakening;
– becoming interested in penetrating the true ultimate Reality behind all illusions and lives;
– studying, learning and inquiring into the nature of that Reality;
– doing practices that may supposedly lead to directly experiencing or realizing our oneness with that Reality;
– spending time with awakened ‘masters’ who may impart wisdom or transformative experiences;
– doing selfless service or devotional practices to transcend our ego and self-focus
If it is true that…
– all there really is, is Awareness, the One Reality
– all seemingly-real objects, including all stars, planets, and beings on those planets, are just temporary ‘reflections’ of that Pure Awareness
– Pure Awareness is already perfect, complete, and fully Awake to Itself
…what could it possibly matter if any of these illusory reflections of Awareness, called human beings, endeavor to learn about Reality or become Awakened or enlightened?
Indeed, if there is only the One Reality, and all beings are simply reflections of that, there could be no individual ‘endeavors.’ The word endeavor implies personal volition on our parts, but if we don’t really exist separate from the One Awareness, there can be no personal endeavors. It could only be the One awareness’ volition that makes anything ‘happen.’ There could be no personal volition, because there is no person. A shadow cannot, of its own volition, walk away from the substance casting it. Nor can it ‘endeavor’ to become more One with it.
There could be no difference, or judgment of superior/inferior, between living out an ordinary, non-aware life and living a more ‘spiritually-aware’ life. No difference between a simple life of working, raising a family, having pleasures and pain, and dying, and a life of meditation and walking the path to spiritual realization.
At this level of relative or apparent reality, on this planet, the vast majority of people seem to live out very ordinary lives, with little or no awareness of, or interest in, the deeper levels of consciousness and the deepest Truths of non-dual Reality and Pure Awareness. Then, there seems to be a certain subset of people who are interested in That, in probing That, in realizing That (and some say that number is growing.)
Who cares? It’s just Awareness being interested in Awareness. It’s just Awareness ‘manifesting’ that desire in certain humans, to experience Itself as a human with that inkling, as opposed to a human without spiritual leanings. If we find that we are one of those humans with a strong penchant for discovering the Real spiritual Truth behind all illusions, it’s only because Awareness is manifesting itself that way in us. It’s just a ‘calling,’ an affinity, a predilection in us that Awareness put there. It doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean we are smarter, more evolved, or walking a more ‘righteous’ path than those not interested.
When Awareness ‘wants’ to experience what it feels like to be a rock, It manifests a part of Itself as a rock. When Awareness ‘wants’ to experience what it feels like to be a tree, It manifests a part of Itself as a tree. Maybe it manifests itself as a long-lived bristlecone pine tree and gets to experience that for 5000 years. Sometimes it manifests as a sapling that lasts only a few days and is then gone. When Awareness ‘wants’ to experience what it feels like to be an ordinary, workaday human, It manifests as that. When It ‘wants’ to experience the feeling of a ‘spiritual’ human on the path to Awareness and ultimate Reality, It manifests as that. Maybe It manifests Itself as a long-lived human who’s generally healthy all his or her life. Sometimes It manifests as a human with lots of illness, pain or suffering who lasts only a few decades, or far less.
It’s just the ‘play’ of Awareness through every rock, tree and human. In a relative sense, you could say it’s Awareness’ way of ‘discovering’ Itself consciously, but it is truly cosmic play, not a necessity, because Awareness is already fully complete and awake. Indeed, It must be, because It’s the only ‘Thing” there is! So It doesn’t need to ‘endeavor’ to wake up, and as temporary shadow manifestations of That Awareness or reflections of It, we don’t need to endeavor to wake up, either. So what is the value or importance of being on path to awakening. To you? This seeming ‘individual?’ Absolutely nothing! It’s just where you find yourself. And even though it may indeed be just where you find Your Self, it’s not special. Indeed, until you know it’s not a special endeavor or accomplishment that ‘you’ have undertaken, ‘you’ will not find Your Self on any path to awakening. As long as you think it’s ‘you’ doing it, you cannot wake up. When you realize there is no ‘you’ doing anything, and that it’s just Awareness expressing Itself, meeting Itself, when ‘you’ disappear, then and only then can You meet Yourself.
We are not real individuals, living out our own personal, separate lives. We are simply sense organs of the Divine. We’re like the fingers on a hand, feeling out the Universe for the benefit of the One of which we are simply an extension; the fingers do not have their own separate lives.
As the extensions and feelers of Awareness that we Are, we walk the path and wake up. We do so because we must, because it’s the only thing we can do, because it’s what Awareness, as us, is manifesting right Now.
Ahh, Death. The Big Endo. La Muerte. Annhilation, Cessation, Darkness and Demise. The Grim Reaper.
Death is no big deal.
That may sound provocative. As humans, we are sooo fascinated by death. It’s the thing we fear most, try to avoid most, and the thing we feel the most devastated by, if we find out that we are dying or that a loved one is dying or dead.
At the Absolute level, these individual bodies and identities are merely temporary projections of the One Awareness, so, like the actors in a movie, nobody actually gets born or dies. It’s simply Awareness projecting form and consciousness for Its own delight, constantly changing, never ending, so there’s nothing to mourn.
And yet we mourn. We identify with our individual bodies and lives, think they are separate, personal and so very real, and then we take our supposed ‘ending’ as a tragic, conclusive event.
The tragedy of tragedies that causes us to experience a level of wailing, devastation, and bereavement incomparable to any other loss in our lives. The event we never want to face, never want to talk about, never even want to be aware that it’s around the corner for every one of us. We live, plan, acquire and tra-la-de-da as if we will always be able to continue in this body and personality forever. We are very good at avoiding all thoughts of our own demise.
Death becomes the passage of which we are so freaked out and terrified that we literally shape every critical choice and facet of our lives around it, consciously or unconsciously. A friend of mine often refers to our current paradigm on earth as “survival domain,” in which our constant foremost concern is our own survival, rendering very difficult the kind of selfless, Oneness thinking and advancement in consciousness that would transform this world.
Whether we are an ordinary workaday unphilosophical person, a deep analytical thinker, or someone who claims to be fully assured and comforted by their religion’s description of an ‘afterlife,’ make no mistake, death is the single most impactful topic of concern on every mind. Even within those religion’s very bibles, aside from God’s creation and laws, the sagas most dwelled upon and tarried over are the deaths of the key individuals, and how dramatic or compelling those deaths were. Virtually every popular story, Shakespearean stage play, movie and TV show has the death of some key character as its core and arc.
So it’s essential to take a look at death in the light of Truth. If we could shift our perspective from death being this horrifying, frightening, mysterious end to us, to death being no big deal, actually an inconsequential illusion, every being, action and state of mind in this world would be immediately transformed. There’d be nothing to fight over, nothing to grieve over, no boundaries or safety to ‘secure,’ and very little to worry about. Imagine a world like that (as John Lennon did;) now imagine all it would take is knowing we never die (not even John.)
Note: The following is an understanding of death from an awake, non-dual, Pure Awareness or Ultimate Truth standpoint. It is not intended to belittle any person’s valid & respected emotion over a recent death of a loved one. We recognize that as long as we seem to be in human form, a significant part of that is to experience big changes & emotions in response to someone’s (seeming) disappearance from this earth.
This website, toawaken, is about waking up. From what? From your false identity to your True Identity. From identifying with your ‘separate’ body, mind and personality – thinking that’s who you are and all you are – to knowing, not just mentally but experientially, that there is only One Entity, Awareness, and that ‘you’ are One with that, and in actuality, do not really even possess a ‘separate’ body, mind and ego identity. That those are only temporary illusions or projections of the One. This is the Absolute Truth, and considering things from this Knowledge can be called the Absolute Viewpoint; considering things from the “I am a separate human” perspective can be called the ‘relative viewpoint.’ We will examine Death from both the Absolute and the relative view.
From the Absolute View, only Spirit or Pure Awareness exists, and what seems like very real galaxies, beings, bodies and separate lives are just projections of that Awareness, having no separate corporeal existence of their own, just as the actors & images on a movie screen are just temporary projections without real lives of their own, which instantly evaporate the moment the projection stops, the light comes on and the pure white Screen appears as the reality behind it. From this View, pining for one’s life or fearing death is a non-issue. We never had our own individual identities or bodies in the first place, so there’s nothing to die, nothing to end, nothing to lose. We ‘started’ as Pure Awareness, we always are That, and we’ll never be other than That. If we seemed to temporarily identify with one specific body, mind and life, and even if it seemed to take countless lifetimes to ‘eventually’ realize our True Identity – i.e., awaken or experience enlightenment – all of that is of no consequence to Pure Awareness. Time does not exist at the Absolute level, so even if it seemed like there was a transition in ‘time’ and ‘space’ where Awareness ‘gave birth’ to many ‘separate’ beings who slowly made their march back to Oneness with It, to Awareness nothing actually happened…or it would have all happened Now. There is only Now.
Awareness doesn’t ‘know’ or ‘understand’ things the way our human minds try to; Awareness simply is everything, or more precisely, the ‘nothing’ behind everything. So It doesn’t ‘know’ that part of its ‘projection’ might identify itself as a separate being who takes itself way too seriously and fears it has an impermanent lifespan. At the Absolute level of Spirit, or Awareness, or God, or Ultimate Truth, or whatever you like to call it, everything just Is, and that Is-ness is absolutely perfect in Itself; It could not be otherwise.
If all that seems hard to comprehend with your mind, no matter. The human mind, incredible as it is, is very limited in its capacity, accounting for only a fraction of what your consciousness actually knows and experiences. More importantly, the mind is part of the illusion. It’s part of the very projection it wants to understand, so it could no more understand what’s behind that projection or wrap itself around its phantom existence, than could a fish comprehend the water that always surrounds it, or your eye see itself. The bottom line is that the ‘seemingly-separate ‘lives’ of our minds & food-bodies are not who we really Are, and what we Really Are has no beginning or end, so fearing your own end or sobbing over someone else’s is all just more of the illusion. An awakened sage simply knows he or she cannot die…not in the ‘religious’ sense, where some part of them like the “soul” or “astral body” will go on in an “afterlife,” but more precisely, because there never was a separate ‘he or she’ in the first place!
This is Absolute Truth, and you cannot comprehend this with your mind. You can only experience it directly, and the paradox is that at the Now when you are having this direct experience and knowing without question that is indeed True, there can be no separate ‘you’ to experience it. That ‘you’ must dissolve in order for you to even enter this experience. So in a sense, it’s not an experience at all, for that would require an experiencer. Since you must disappear, it just Is.
Which brings us to examining Death from the ‘relative’ view, that of you actually having a separate mind & body. From that point of view, it would seem natural to feel great remorse over the ‘death’ or ending of something that really existed and was so warm, beautiful and capable of a brilliant life and great love. But even from the relative perspective, if we examine things closely, we see that it’s not natural at all. Indeed, it makes no sense.
For starters, both Modern Science and Eastern spirituality agree that everything in the material world that seems to have solidness and continuity, is in fact, over 99% space. Even as science has isolated the material components that ‘appear’ to give solid mass to things – the molecule, then the atom, then the individual parts of an atom – and continued to crack each one open to find out what’s inside, and what’s inside that, what they keep finding is nothing. Each time they pierce inside of one of these tinier & tinier ‘shells,’ they find it’s just filled with space…there’s nothing there! In the Buddhist tradition, they have know this for thousands of years. They have directly experienced that, although there appears to be sensations rising & falling in the ‘field’ of Awareness, there is in fact no solidity or continuity to any of it…just empty patterns coming and going in nothingness. Not much to be attached to, there. If our bodies & minds are just bunch of random sensations & occurrences with pure space between them, what exactly are we mourning when those random atoms break away from the temporary pattern they were forming to go on existing as a different pattern or pure space?
The great Indian sage Sri Nisargadatta has a beautiful way of clarifying this. He reminds the mourner that what they are actually mourning as a terrible loss is actually nothing more than random acts of chance. There was no guarantee that a particular man & woman would come together and try to conceive. Then there was no guarantee that their attempts would be successful. It was all chance. Then, from embryo to birth to child, to teenager to young adult to middle-aged adult, that seemingly-continuous person has actually never been continuous, has actually changed thousands of times, with almost every one of those changes brought about by chance, by things the ‘individual’ could not control. So when this ‘individual’ dies, you are not mourning the ‘same’ continuous individual, you are actually mourning thousands of acts of chance you could never have predicted or controlled anyway.
Even at the most mundane level, insisting, “Well, at least to me, they seemed the same person across time and I wanted unlimited time with them,” it makes very little sense to put such an emphasis on this thing called ‘death.’ Death’s significance is inextricably caught up in ‘time.’ If you believe time really exists, you will feel despondent when their allotted time has ended and you can now no longer spend ‘time’ with them.
In the relative view of separate beings existing over time, this Universe is estimated to be a minimum of 5 billion years old. If you were to lay out that 5 billion years across a 24-hour clock, the average human lifespan of 75, 85 even 95 years, would appear and be gone at .000005 (five-millionths) of one second before midnight. Truly, here & gone as if it was never there. All of us. When we are afraid of, or mourning for, death, we are arguing against the natural completion of a momentary existence that had no more significance in the Universe than a mosquito landing on the eternal Sun.
Once again, we are not trying to belittle anyone’s attachment to their own body and life or the lives of someone they feel they’ve ‘lost.’ We are simply providing other ways of holding death, from both the Absolute and relative viewpoints, to make it easier to see that Awareness, your True Nature, is permanent and nothing is lost. Ever.
Ultimately, this does no good for our minds. For minds are the illusion that makes us feel like separate individuals in the first place, and like there really is something terribly lost when the body-mind dies. Complete freedom from worrying about death, our own or our loved ones, can only be experienced when we dwell in our True Nature continuously, having let go permanently of the illusion that these bodies, minds and personal identities are real. That’s is why, through sharing the Truth about Absolute Reality on this website, we invite you…to awaken.
One of the most potent practices to quickly advance your Awakened perception is to watch every thought that comes by in your mind and say, “That’s just a thought, I don’t believe it”
As we’ve discussed earlier, thoughts can seem the most tricky impediment to waking up, because we have so many of them and they seem so real. Most people have thousands of thoughts coursing through their mind every hour: main thoughts (the “important” ones we believe we must focus on,) sub-thoughts (less important thoughts that still command our attention,) and sub-sub-thoughts (unfinished sentences or little scraps of thought that have no immediate importance to us, like a quick judgment about a character in the TV show you watched last night, or the flavor of a croissant you had in France 4 years ago.) They flood our minds in quick succession, so quickly there’s barely a nanosecond to stick the wedge of conscious Observing in between them.
They seem so real because of the habit of always thinking and letting our minds become our masters over millions of years of conditioning. The amazing thing – perhaps the single most amazing thing in all the world – is that our thoughts are not real. The very definition of insanity is believing, obeying, or identifying with something that’s not real…yet that’s exactly what virtually everyone in the world is doing, all the time! We hear those thoughts, that voice in our head, and we think, “I need to think that thought,” “I need to obey & react to these thoughts,” and finally “I am these thoughts…that’s me in there, thinking things through and advising myself what to do.” Truly, this is the source of all the insanity in the world. Even lifelong meditators often say, “I’m looking forward to quieting much of that noise & chatter but, hey, some of those thoughts are REAL, and I need those ones.” In this dream-world it’s quite amazing how lifetimes of habitual conditioning have left us thinking our thoughts are something real.
Note: When we say “thoughts” here, we include emotions, which are just the bodily felt feedback of our thoughts, and all body sensations. All desires, plans, fears, judgments and moods are also just thoughts.
The truth is, NONE of them are real. None, zilch, zero. One of the beauties going deeper in your Awakening is seeing thoughts for what they really are. Just empty movement. That’s all. Just fleeting sensations and inert movement across the Void. They’re not even “our” thoughts.
Being awake means constantly, consciously being aware of, and dwelling in, Ultimate Reality, not un-reality. We certainly honor the humanity and passions of this relative dream-world, and simultaneously, recognize that anything that’s not permanent is not ‘real’, not The One eternal Awareness. Obviously thoughts aren’t permanent. Not only do they shift and change constantly like desert sands in a windstorm, but when we die, all our thoughts are gone. Finito! No more brain & body, no more thinking (there is still Being and “knowing,” just not mental thoughts.) So thoughts are unreal. Many people, even those on the ‘spiritual path,’ bristle when hearing this, and (through thinking & talking) try to prove their thoughts are real.
Now, with a little contemplation & insight, anyone will realize one of the most astonishing discoveries: The only thing that “proves” a thought is real, is another thought! Wow! That’s startling! Try proving your thoughts are real – any of them – without using another thought to prove it! You can’t. That’s because they’re just identity-less sensations, rising and falling; ephemeral, flighty things that have no lasting substance. It’s pretty easy for everyone to agree this is so, and know it conceptually (although most people won’t dare look at this truth; it would make them feel so angry or foolish or disoriented to admit that all the thoughts, judgments and plans of their precious mind, throughout their entire life, were just free-floating, owner-less sensations.)
As you Awaken, however, you drop knowing that conceptually in the wake of seeing, experientially, that all thoughts, emotions and body sensations are just empty movements of energy with no “suchness” of their own. As an analogy, it’s like looking out in your yard and seeing a cluster of very “real” bugs circling & hovering in front of you, and then remembering that you just rubbed your eyes for a while, and that in fact, your “bugs” are nothing but those little points of light you see after a hard eye-rub – phosphenes. You may get a little jolt of disorientation when you realize that something you swore was very real was actually just phantom lights. Not surprising they also call them ‘getting stars in your eyes.’
You may get a big jolt of stark terror when you realize all your thoughts are actually hollow nothingness! “Oh My GOD! You mean all these thoughts that I’ve been thinking all the time, judging, reacting to and making my decisions from, all my LIFE, are empty nonsense??” Yep. All of ’em. “Well, damn! What do I do now? If I can’t even believe in my thoughts, where do I get the information I need to tell me how to live this life? Who am I, without these thoughts and my belief that they are real?”
Precisely! Who, indeed are You! Congratulations, you’ve just come to the precipice of self-inquiry and the possibility of Knowing who You really are, beyond thought. Will you jump off? Remember, the thinking mind accounts for only the tiniest fraction of your total Consciousness. Wouldn’t you love to experience the Rest of who You are?
The way to jump off is to be willing to question your belief in every thought. Every one! As best as possible, stand aside from every thought, as a detached, non-judgmental Watcher, and say, “That’s not me. That’s just another thought passing by. I don’t believe that thought, or that one, or the next one.” Eckhart Tolle put this practice in a beautiful, succinct way. He instructed us to say, “There’s that voice…and here am I watching it.”
You won’t stop having thoughts…hundreds or thousands of them every hour. Maybe a little quieter during your deeper meditations or for a while after. That’s just fine, because you’re not endeavoring to cease having thoughts, only to cease believing in them. Stopping for a moment after you’ve had any thought, particularly an “important, must-obey” thought, and saying “That’s just a thought, devoid of substance, and I don’t need to believe it,” takes the wind right out of it and instantly makes you the calm witness of even your most commanding, dreaded thought-forms. Doing this ongoingly, with all your thoughts, makes you enlightened.
Practice walking away from your monkey-mind. Allow thoughts to rise & fall, but don’t impart significance to any of them, and don’t believe any of them.
If you practice this perceptual shift constantly & devoutly, you will indeed experience a radical re-orientation or perspective. It can feel immediately blissful, or frightening as hell, or both, depending on how invested you were in believing your thoughts were your identity, your very ground of Being. The minute you realize your thoughts are just empty “stuff,” you may suddenly feel like you have no ground to stand on, which is what happened to this writer as I awakened to Reality. One evening, I turned a laser-focused attention on my thoughts, and said, “I don’t believe that thought. Just empty movement. I don’t believe that one either. More empty stuff.” One by one, I discounted every thought that passed through my mind, and pretty soon, my whole thought-world collapsed and the bottom dropped out of my perception. I felt like I was floating, mostly in deep bliss, but also with a jolt of fear, like “Whoa, I’m really getting out there! Hope I don’t go psychotic and lose touch with “reality.”
Then a Voice inside of me (inside, outside, all around, who knows where,) said, “That fear is just another thought. Don’t believe that one either!” I spread my arms, let go of all thought and all belief in thoughts, and felt myself drop into an abyss of Silence. The abyss could have been disorienting, if I had any thoughts to register fear or comment on being adrift in space, but I didn’t have any. This thoughtless, timeless, spaceless place felt like home. It felt like me, surrounding me. Then something ‘clicked,’ and even I disappeared; there was simply This, with no one experiencing it.
Ever since then, I’ve been clear that not only are our thoughts vacant of any substance, but they are unnecessary. Our Being’s omniscient knowing takes care of everything that ‘happens’ or needs to ‘happen’ in this existence – both the Real existence of the One, and the illusory existence of all these lives we seem to lead.
P.S. I know this because all of that happened while I was driving a car on a highway, and even with awakening in full bloom, ‘I’ never lost control of my vehicle, and ended up safely at my destination. Jesus, take the wheel, indeed!
Thoughts are wonderful – remember, they’re part of Spirit’s ‘creation’, too, and as such, should not treated as some cosmic ‘mistake’ to be gotten rid of. Plans, preferences, judgments, desires, passions, even fear, are such amazing experiences the One is having, as the seeming Many. Enjoy your thoughts, be bemused & playful with them, and allow them to help you express your own unique expression of this Divinity. Just don’t believe them!
When you think about it, it’s kind of odd that anyone looks to a teacher, teaching, messiah or scripture to tell them how to win at life, or live correctly, or awaken to an enlightened state or radical identity shift. There’s no commandment that says Earth needs to be a place where natural humans have to learn to be natural humans, instead of already knowing. Look at the rest of nature: Trees know how to be trees; fish know how to be fish; lions know how to be lions. They don’t go seeking a master lion or awakened fish or enlightened tree to sit at the feet of, for years, just to learn how to “achieve” their natural state.
And yet billions of people follow Jesus, or Allah, or the Torah, or study the Vedas or Buddha’s Dharma, or seek an enlightened master who can tell them how to properly work this thing called life. As if we wouldn’t know what to do without these God channels or books telling us how to be, what to do and what not to do in this world.
And other billions don’t turn to any scripture, faith or messiah to know how to live; they simply live their life as best as they can, figuring their daily life experiences will guide them to what they need to know to live the best, happiest life they can. These people may even be more on the right track than all the path, religion and teacher followers. There’s at least one school of thought that says everyone who follows a religion or seeks life guidance from a master is only doing so because they’re desperate to find answers and happiness in a life which, if they didn’t believe in these gods, messiahs and scriptures, would seem utterly alone & meaningless. The old quote, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.”
And yet, here we are, supposedly the Crown of Creation, supposedly the most evolved beings on the planet, a group of 7 billion lost souls, all wondering how to make sense of life and achieve some modicum of true peace and lasting happiness, if not a clear understanding of why we must die after a 100 years or far less and whether we go on in some form after earthly life is over. Everyone wants to go on, no one wants their sense of personal identity to stop. So we have Heaven or reincarnation or floating up to become some sort of helpful astral being in a “light body” or no body at all, but all of them some form of continuing as “ourselves,” as some divine form of who we already are, or think we are.
Do those “afterlife” versions of our bodies, selves and heavens or planes of consciousness really exist…or did we just make up those myths to comfort ourselves about our impending deaths and possible “non-existence?” Do we really need to go on? And while we’re here on Earth, do we really need to seek guidance, from any source old or new, on how to simply be and be human? These are core questions, totally worth asking and contemplating.
Maybe life is just an “is.” Maybe, as one wise person once said, “Life is not a problem to be solved, it’s a reality to be experienced…and when it’s done, it’s done.”
And yet our consciousness reaches out for something lasting, some deep understanding of the whole Cosmos and why it exists. If it’s all a Great Mystery, and the human mind can never pierce or comprehend the whole Truth, then why don’t we just leave it alone, stop wondering & seeking for something deeper, live out our lives and families and careers and aging years, and stop asking? Many people do. Others feel driven to keep seeking deeper meaning and higher states of experience, even if they seek all their lives and the answers still elude them.
Neither course is right or wrong. Life is just an “is” and it’s going to go on fine (or not go on,) whether we figure out what it all means and unlock the key to The Mystery, or not. Whether we wake up or not. The Universe isn’t demanding anything of us to continue being impelled towards it’s full fruition. We didn’t create the Universe, It created us.
And yet somehow, even though it may seem that the Universe could go along fine without the human race, thank you very much, in a very real way, the Universe needs us. Not so much in the way that we’re “special” ’cause we can think and reason and realize God in the way perhaps other animals cannot. More like in the way it needs every part of itself, the way in which it needs every blade of grass, to complete Its experience, its “journey.”
Which brings up perhaps the most important question: Is it we who desire awakening to the bliss & knowledge of the Oneness, or is it Spirit’s inexorable “mission” to know Its whole Self through all these planets, beings and experiences, through us, that’s driving our longing to press ever onward?