What keeps you motivated after awakening?

Motivation is something the ego wants.  Ego needs motivation and drive to do things it doesn’t really want to do.  Motivation is something you need in order to do work.  Ask a child “what is your motivation or drive for playing?”…and you will have a very confused child.  Or you might get the simple reply…”because it is fun.”  What is play, really, but to have fun.  So what is being said is “I’m having fun to have fun.”  It is having fun for its own sake.  This is play…no motivation needed. Continue reading What keeps you motivated after awakening?

Doesn’t it take time for ego, suffering, and/or conditioning to fall away?

I hear many variations of this question and so I hope to answer the spirit of the question instead of each variation.  Doesn’t it take time after awakening?  Time for the ego to drop away or time for suffering to end or time for conditioning to fall away or time for the realization to take hold or settle in.

Unfortunately, this is the ego looking for a back door so that the illusion can continue for a bit longer.  Can “I” have more time to battle the ego, suffering, conditioning, etc.?  It doesn’t have to happen now…because it takes time (or so the myth goes). Continue reading Doesn’t it take time for ego, suffering, and/or conditioning to fall away?

Is enlightenment different for everyone?

There is an appearance of different enlightenments because everyone is not using the same definition of enlightenment.  You have to first define enlightenment.  I define it as a radical and permanent change of our identification. Basically, we see through the mirage called “ego” and are never fooled by the mirage again.  With seeing through this illusion and seeing it for what it is, there is an end to seeking and suffering (like problems, fear/worries, guilt, etc).

In my case, I awakened and it was unlike anything I had read about or studied prior.  After awakening, I read works by Ramana Maharshi, H.W.L. Poonja, Nisargatta Maharaj, Ramesh Balsekar, Zen Master Bankei, Huang Po, Bodhidharma, Robert Adams, Gangaji, Adyashanti, and more. Continue reading Is enlightenment different for everyone?

Can regular meditation lead to spiritual awakening?

No, nothing leads to spiritual awakening…including meditation.

There is a famous Zen story of a monk sitting all day in meditation.  The master comes along one day and asks, “What are doing?”  The monk replies, “I’m meditating so I can become a Buddha” (i.e. awakened one).  The master sits down nearby, picks up a brick laying on the ground, and starts rubbing it.  The monk is confused and asks, “master, what are you doing?”  The master replies, “I’m polishing this brick to make it into a mirror.”  The monk laughs and says, “no amount of rubbing a brick can turn it into a mirror.”  To which the master replies, “And no amount of meditation will turn you into a Buddha.” Continue reading Can regular meditation lead to spiritual awakening?

Is there such a thing as living in pure nonduality?

What do you think that would mean?  When people speak of pure nonduality, they often talk as if there would be an absolute nothingness/oneness or absolute non-differentiation.  That they would not be aware of the appearances of the world or something or other.  They don’t seem to catch the fact that the idea of “pure nonduality” is just another form of duality.  There is not such thing as pure versus not-pure nonduality.  There is just nonduality.

Life and the world itself is not dualistic…it has always been nondual.  It is our minds that believe in separation.  It is a mental fiction.  There never was otherness.  There is only the mistaken idea of otherness, because there is a perception of many things (that we then assume are separate). Continue reading Is there such a thing as living in pure nonduality?

Why do you call awakening or enlightenment an insight?

There really isn’t a good word for the happening.

I still sometimes say it is an understanding, but the two issues that I see arising from this are people considering it a mental understanding (grasped mentally) and/or an understanding that takes time to get (like accumulating knowledge does).

I still say it is a realization, but the main issue I see arising from this is people saying they had “realized” when it was just mental knowledge or belief derived from a passing spiritual experience.  They thought it was some sort of mental realization (again grasped mentally). Continue reading Why do you call awakening or enlightenment an insight?

Isn’t everyone enlightened?

Enlightenment is also called liberation, but enlightenment is realizing that you were never bound to begin with.  So although nothing was gained by enlightenment, what was lost was the delusion of bondage (an illusion of the mind).  In losing the delusions and illusions, we realize our natural state.

As there is nothing to be gained, that is why I think some people mistakenly say “everyone is enlightened.”  Or some mistakenly say “everyone is enlightened” because “enlightenment is out natural state.”  This too is mistaken because enlightenment is realizing our natural state instead of continuing to think who we think we are…with all of our problems and suffering. Continue reading Isn’t everyone enlightened?

What do you mean when you say “be present”?

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”?

Why is the world considered an illusion?

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?

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?