To be present means to cease doing things that take your awareness away from now. If you did nothing at all, you would automatically be present. We are present, because our bodies are in the present and our experience is of the present. There is no when or where else we can truly be than here and now.
And yet, mentally we do things that pull our awareness from the experience of now into imaging some future and digging up the past. If we are future seeking, we turn the present moment into a stepping stone. If we are past dwelling, we similarly turn the present moment into something less important. The past and future, for many, is an entertainment we use to distract ourselves from the present. To be present…the here and now must be the priority. Continue reading What do you mean when you say “be present”?
I know when I say the world is an illusion that I sometimes receive a vehement denial from people. From them, I get a sense that they believe “the world is an illusion” is a denial of the existence of the world, a denial about the world’s importance, or otherwise is putting down the world (i.e. reality). This isn’t true of course (mostly), it is their own misunderstanding of illusions.
The world is an illusion, because it simply is not what it appears to be. To explain this further, I will use five analogies – mirages, magician’s illusions, movies, virtual reality (VR) games, and dreams. Hopefully, through the analogies you may get a glimpse to a deeper understanding of what is meant by the world being an illusion. Continue reading Why is the world considered an illusion?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?