I am trying to quiet my mind. Should I just witness my thoughts?

There are two things I want to cover regarding this question.  The first is that it is best to not try to quiet the mind.  That is fighting the mind and that battle will never end in victory for you no matter how long you fight.  It becomes a never-ending battle.  When you are trying to quiet the mind, you are actually agitating and fueling the mind to create more thoughts.

In the yoga sutras of Patanjali, on the first page, is the line, “Yoga is the cessation of the revolutions of the mind.  Then the Seer [i.e. Self] abides in its own nature.”  The mind revolves like a wheel spinning.  So, when you try to quiet the mind, you are actually helping to spin the wheel and the mind continues to revolve. Continue reading I am trying to quiet my mind. Should I just witness my thoughts?

Can adopting the belief ”I am enlightened” make someone enlightened?

No.

Enlightenment is sometimes called Liberation. However, enlightenment means realizing that you were never in bondage to begin with.

Now the ego could try to adopt the belief, “I am enlightened” and try to play the part of someone who is not bound…because you (the ego) will still feel that you suffer, have problems, etc. (i.e. in bondage). Continue reading Can adopting the belief ”I am enlightened” make someone enlightened?

Is nonduality all about getting rid of this separate wave?

Not at all.  Nonduality is about seeing through our identification with this separate wave we call “me.”  Even after awakening, the separate wave will still exist as a thing.  But the “separate wave” has clearly realized that it is the ocean (which includes all waves).  It is realizing that the separation existed only in the mind.

I have a question, what is a “thing”?  What are we talking about when we talk about “things”?  I recently spoke with a young man and asked him this question.  He quite rightly answered that a “thing” is a noun.  A noun is a convention of speech.  Usually, it is used when we want to talk about a part of something. Continue reading Is nonduality all about getting rid of this separate wave?

Didn’t your spiritual practices lead you to your awakening?

I can’t say none of it helped, but I can say none of it led to awakening.  I know this may sound contradictory to some, but one thing that was seen clearly upon awakening was that none of my practices awakened me and no progress towards awakening was really achieved by any of the practices.

Awakening involves seeing through the mirage of ego and the illusions/delusions of the mind.  Not mentally, which can be very fickle, but in the heart and bones.  Many of the spiritual practices and experiments that I did were focused on weakening this sense of “I” and ego.  At the time, I did not really know that.  I just thought I was overcoming fears and attachments and I was learning about acceptance (for example). Continue reading Didn’t your spiritual practices lead you to your awakening?

Does awakening come all at once or in stages?

As I define spiritual awakening, the seeing through the mirage of ego is a sudden and deep insight that can not be denied.  As such, you either have had the deep, undeniable insight or you have not.  There are no stages when it comes to understanding.  You either understand, or you do not yet understand.

For example, you know that 1 + 1 = 2.  It does not matter how much I might try to convince you that it equals 4, you will not believe me.  Isn’t this so?  When I show you ” 1 + 1 = ” and ask you what does it equal, you will always say 2…wouldn’t you?  Could it equal anything else? Continue reading Does awakening come all at once or in stages?

The awakened are without fear? Don’t you need fear to stay alive?

Yes, I have said that the awakened are without fear.  Fear is based within the identification with the body-mind…another way of saying it is that fear is based on otherness.  We are afraid of “other things” and in reference to how it impacts this body-mind (or other body-minds we care about).  If you realize you are not just this separate body-mind and there is no other, then what is there to be afraid of?

Fear is also not required and needed for the continue existence of this body-mind.  Fear is only necessary when wisdom and understanding are not present. Continue reading The awakened are without fear? Don’t you need fear to stay alive?

Is a living guru required to awaken?

Let me start by saying I had no guru or teacher (living or dead) that gave me, lead me, or otherwise helped me to awaken.  I just read a whole lot of books on various spiritual topics and did many different kinds of practices, only to spontaneously wake up one day and realize something totally different from what I had read previously.  So based on my experience, I would have to say – no…a guru is not required to awaken.

Could a guru help?  That is a totally different question.  The answer is possibly. Continue reading Is a living guru required to awaken?

How would one engage in politics while keeping it all grounded in nonduality?

A good question considering the most recent presidential election.

If one was so inclined to engage in politics, and one is Awake, then it would be remaining in the understanding that regardless who wins (for example, the last election – Hillary vs. Trump)…it was the Self that decided. 

It is not a matter of keeping it all grounded in nonduality.  That makes it sound like it takes some effort or doing.  Awakening or enlightenment is the occurrence of the direct insight of the Self / nonduality.  Once this realization occurs…it can not be denied.  You feel it in your heart and bones.  Afterwards, regardless of what goes on in the world (of appearances of duality), you are never fooled into thinking anything is other than the Self. Continue reading How would one engage in politics while keeping it all grounded in nonduality?

What can I do to awaken?

You can do nothing to Awaken.

I know…not the answer seekers want to hear, but there is more to this answer than meets the eye.

The personal me that is in this world (i.e. the ego) is saying it wants to Awaken – which means seeing through the mirage of ego and no longer being fooled by the ego.  How would that work?  It should be very obvious that there is nothing the ego can do to overcome the ego.  Anything the ego does only reinforces the ego and strengthens the reality of the mirage.

Is there another way to see the initial answer of “you can do nothing to Awaken?” Continue reading What can I do to awaken?

Isn’t saying you are Awake or Enlightened a sign that you are not?

I wrote a short book in 2009 called, “52 EnlightenMyths.” It was a list of common myths and misconceptions about Enlightenment.  A couple of them point to what this question might be getting at.

One that I listed was, “you won’t even know you’ve found it.” As I said then, I wonder who comes up with this stuff. The idea is that when it happens, there is no “you” left to know it happened. Pure myth. Continue reading Isn’t saying you are Awake or Enlightened a sign that you are not?