Is awakening a way to avoid reincarnation? Liberation from the wheel of birth & death?

Who knows?  There is no way to tell what will happen after we die.  The desire to be and to experience is the root cause of reincarnation (further being and experiencing), so it may be possible that when there is no longer the desire to be or to experience…it will all cease on its own.

I don’t really care either way.  I don’t care if the individual game continues or not.  I don’t care if all sense of being is done at the end of this life and there is no more experience.  I don’t care if some personal “me” continues on into another life and there is more experience. Continue reading Is awakening a way to avoid reincarnation? Liberation from the wheel of birth & death?

How can one be happy in life even when they didn’t get what they want?

Even if you get what you want, you won’t be happy.

If it was a car, a job, a spouse, or whatever…you will fear and worry about losing what you got and so you will never truly be happy even when you get it. There will always be the anxiety of “what if I lose it?”  Happiness does not come from getting the things you want. Continue reading How can one be happy in life even when they didn’t get what they want?

Is awakening a chance event?

You could call it a chance event.  What is chance?  It is something that we do not control.  It is something that happens of itself.  It is something that happens not due to an act of our will.

Awakening is like this.  Awakening happens of itself…not due to an act of our will.  Awakening is a seeing through the illusion of “me”, but what can an illusory “me” do to see through itself?  Any act of will by the “me” only reinforces the illusion of a “me”.  We do not control awakening or make it happen…awakening just happens of itself. Continue reading Is awakening a chance event?

Do we choose our thoughts?

Yes and no.

You can choose to reminisce about your childhood or past trips.  You can choose to imagine and dream about what you want to do in the future and plan trips.  There is no doubt that we do choose some of our thoughts.  However, there are times when we don’t choose our thoughts and they just happen.  Many are plagued by fear, worry, guilt, shame, etc…and no one chooses to put themselves through that kind of suffering.  They can’t help it, the thoughts just arise. Continue reading Do we choose our thoughts?

Should I renounce everything to achieve enlightenment?

Renunciation is a classic spiritual practice and I see value in it, but it will not lead to achieving enlightenment.  Enlightenment is not achieved…because upon enlightenment there is a seeing that nothing is gained and the “me” who could achieve is an illusion.  Renunciation may weaken the sense of a “me” through giving up “my” and “mine”.  However, this should not become an accomplishment.  “Look at all that I have given up!”  In this way, it subtly sustains the fiction of a “me”. Continue reading Should I renounce everything to achieve enlightenment?

What do you think about charging money for spiritual teachings?

I am OK with it.  I understand that there is a long tradition in the East (like India) that says you should not charge for spiritual teachings.  However, they also have had a cultural tradition of taking care of the needs of spiritual teachers.  For some spiritual teachers, sponsors and donors give land, give food, pay for publishing books, pay for expenses and upkeep of buildings, and more.

In the West (like in the USA), we do not have such a tradition.  And so if you want to devote your life to being a spiritual teacher (as they do in India), then you may have to charge because no one will else will be paying your rent, paying your bills, and buying your meals.  It is just not a part of our culture. Continue reading What do you think about charging money for spiritual teachings?

Why do I even have to realize the Self?

You don’t have to realize the Self…you are the Self regardless.  The Self is what you have always been, is, and will be.  So really, what you might realize is that you are not the body/mind…this fictitious “me”.  You never realize the Self.  In the previous sentence, you can plainly see that “you” is the subject and “the Self” is the object and “realize” is the verb that connects the two.  This never occurs.  The Self is not an object…the Self is the subject. Continue reading Why do I even have to realize the Self?

Is awakening about personal development or spiritual growth?

No.  Awakening (aka enlightenment, realization, liberation, etc.) is not a process of development, growth, addition, or expansion.

Eckhart Tolle once said at one of his seminars, “this is not a personal development seminar, but a personal diminishment seminar.”  He is quite right in that you are not trying to develop or grow or add to or expand yourself.  Also, a common teaching tactic is to diminish or demolish the ego and sense of “me”. Continue reading Is awakening about personal development or spiritual growth?

The world is filled with desires and fears; don’t we need to look beyond the world to find peace?

No, we don’t need to look beyond the world to find peace.  The world is not the one filled with desires and fears.  Your mind is the one filled with desires and fears.  Or more precisely…your thoughts.  For, when there is no thought, we can look around in our world and find there are no desires or fears…there is only peace. Continue reading The world is filled with desires and fears; don’t we need to look beyond the world to find peace?

How do we break the habit of excessive thinking?

By not paying thought any mind and instead being 100% devoted to the experience of now.  By not fretting about the past, nor worrying about the future too much, and being fully conscious of now.  By accepting the present moment as it is for as long as it is…neither clinging nor repelling what (by its very nature) changes. Continue reading How do we break the habit of excessive thinking?