Would you say there is no doer and no choice?

Really, it does not matter if you call something choice or fate/scripted/preordained.  Either you can say you chose it all or you can say you chose none of it.  I find the “no choice” side tends to promote distancing and escapism.  Distancing and escapism is contrary to nonduality.  You are this and you can’t get away from it.  So I tend to speak from the choice side.  This tends to promote more intimacy and engagement with what-is.

Really either stance is fine, but the problem is when we say we chose something and other things just happen to us…that is duality.  We want to pick and choose…some things are my choice and some things are not my choice. Continue reading Would you say there is no doer and no choice?

Should I just stay as the Witness? The Self is the Witness…right?

There is no such thing as “the Witness”.  There is only awareness.  There is seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling.  There is no seer, no hearer, no feeler, no taster, and no smeller.  At best, you might say there is witnessing, but there is no witness.

Saying you are the witness is a subtle way for the ego to sneak in through the back door.  The ego says, “I am the witness of my thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc.”  This is true…for the ego.  What you really are is “awareness-ing”…in which there is thinking, feeling, experiencing, etc.  There is no noun.  To use a noun – as in ‘I am a witness’ – is a way to have an object to identify with.  In reality, you are the witnessing itself without a who/witness. Continue reading Should I just stay as the Witness? The Self is the Witness…right?

Isn’t the Self unchanging?

Yes and no.  If you say the Self is unchanging, then whatever changes is not the Self and that would be duality.  The Self is all there is.  Of course, the Self has changing and unchanging aspects.

Many teachers and teachings point to the substratum behind all experience and that is unchanging…that which is behind all changes and the comings/goings of things. Continue reading Isn’t the Self unchanging?

How can we know that we are awakened?

Let us start off by saying that awakening is clearly seeing through the illusion of “me”…no longer identifying with the body/mind, ego, or “I”.  The personal “I” is simply a thought and never really existed.  There is a knowing…in the here and now…that identification is no longer happening (and there is a memory of having had such identification).  So there is a knowing or awareness that the illusion of “me” is not believed…that awakening occurred.  Awakening is simply a happening in a point in time…prior – the illusory “me” was believed; and after – the illusory “me” is not believed.  In this way there is a recognition of awakening. Continue reading How can we know that we are awakened?

Should I try not to identify myself with any of the roles that I play?

Don’t “try” not to identify…it is not a matter of trying not to identify.  In asking this, you are admitting you are already identified…and so you must accept this – not resist it.  Instead you need to clearly see you are not what you are identifying with…then you automatically cease identifying with it.  Only through delving into the identification, seeing it thoroughly, and understanding it can you realize the error in identifying with it and ever believing it was who you are.

The focus is not on “trying not to identify” but to clearly see and understand.  Ignorance only continues when uninvestigated.  So I am saying investigate the identification thoroughly.  Do this and you will find you no longer identify with whatever it is and you know exactly why it was in error to believe you were it.  I don’t want to create a practice of “trying not to identify”, so I am attempting to be very clear that you need to cease trying to do anything about it and just look at it deeply.  With understanding, things change on their own.  We see through the illusion and we cease to be fooled by it any longer. Continue reading Should I try not to identify myself with any of the roles that I play?

Does the Self have emotions or is it part of the body/mind experience?

Duality does not exist outside of the mind.  There is only the Self.  This question is already coming from a dualistic perspective – Self or body/mind.  The body/mind is within and not other than the Self.  So if you experience emotions…the Self experiences emotions.  You are not other than the Self.  As Alan Watts once said, “you are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.” Continue reading Does the Self have emotions or is it part of the body/mind experience?

Should I remind myself throughout the day – I am not the body or mind?

This is a kind of affirmation, but I do not recommend any affirmations…even “I am not the body or mind.”  When you do this, what you are trying to do is to train the mind and alter your beliefs.  You are trying to change the habitual thinking of “I am the body and mind” with “I am not the body or mind”.  This will not help realization.  You will not awaken this way.  This is just trying to alter the illusions of the mind.  You can not awaken by training the mind.  You can only awaken by seeing through the illusions of the mind.

When you realize who/what you are (clearly and without a doubt)…you will just know you are not the body or mind.  You won’t have to remind yourself or try to remember. Continue reading Should I remind myself throughout the day – I am not the body or mind?

I struggle with feeling “contracted” & wonder if there is something there to unravel.

Some people talk about feeling an inner knot or feeling contracted. We often identify with this sense of contraction. We also try to expand or open ourselves. Whether we feel contracted or open does not matter, who/what we really are is beyond both feelings. Do not be fooled by the illusion of thought…but also do not be fooled by the illusion created by this feeling of contraction or expansion. It is the same inside this bubble as outside this bubble…and the film barrier is only a thought and feeling.

Cease struggling against the feeling on contraction.  Just recognize it as a passing feeling within awareness. It has nothing to do with a “me”. You are That…which includes any feeling of contraction, expansion, or any other feeling. Continue reading I struggle with feeling “contracted” & wonder if there is something there to unravel.

Are these critical for awakening: celibacy, not eating meat, & abstaining from alcohol?

They are not critical for realization/awakening/enlightenment.

I grew up eating meat and I still eat meat.  I have never stopped eating meat.  Enlightenment revolves around realizing who/what you are…eating meat or not eating meat isn’t a factor in realizing this.  If you feel you don’t want to eat meat, that is fine.  If you feel you want to eat meat, that is fine.

Funny enough, if you give up meat because you think it will help awakening or you believe it is non-harming or being compassionate…this could turn into ego inflation and thus become another obstacle to enlightenment.  I am now a better person because I don’t eat meat and I am now superior to those who eat meat…see what I mean? Continue reading Are these critical for awakening: celibacy, not eating meat, & abstaining from alcohol?

If I am detached, won’t I become a selfish entity…uncaring about others?

Who is this “I” that will become selfish and who are the “others”?  This question comes from an egocentric mind that is trying to grasp concepts it encounters.  The enlightened are not attached to people, places, things, etc.  So the ego incorrectly concludes this would mean selfishness and not caring about others.

The enlightened know that there are no others…there is only the Self.  In this way, the enlightened care for “others” just as much as the Self.  The enlightened know that to help others is to help the Self.  To love others is to love the Self. Continue reading If I am detached, won’t I become a selfish entity…uncaring about others?