Can drugs be used as a tool to reach enlightenment?

I would have to say no.  Can drugs give you cool experiences…even spiritually profound ones?  Perhaps.  But this would be the same as any glimpse gained through meditation. Continue reading Can drugs be used as a tool to reach enlightenment?

Does the experience of self-realization or awakening naturally give rise to a nondual understanding?

Or is it the other way around – that a nondual concept of reality conditions the very nature and experience of self-realization?

This is a very interesting question.  It is true that our experiences tend to conform to our expectations and concepts.  There is a well known idea in India that God appears to you in the form you expect and conceptualize.  So if you are Christian, God appears to you as Christ.  If you are an ISKCON memeber, God appears to you as Krishna.  If you believe/conceive a formless God, God appears to you without a form.  The experience of the Divine tends to conform to our concepts of the Divine. Continue reading Does the experience of self-realization or awakening naturally give rise to a nondual understanding?

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?

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?

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?

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?

Once there is Realization, can it be lost?

Once an apple falls from a tree, does it ever return?  Once the bottom of a bucket falls out and all the water goes with it, does the water ever return to the bottomless bucket? Continue reading Once there is Realization, can it be lost?

The Self has always been free. The Self is always awake. Right?

This is really a nasty question.  If I say “yes”, then you will think there is nothing to realize and remain stuck in suffering.  If I say “no”, that is not correct and limitations on the Self could be inferred.

You see…it is not as simple as saying “the Self has always been free.”  While true, the question is do you feel free?  Also, are you free from suffering?  If you do not feel free and are not free of suffering, then you are not awake and are not free.  However, it is a figment of your imagination.  An illusion of the mind.  You are hypnotized…and hence asleep…within a prison of your own thoughts.  As long as the illusion is attached to and believed…it is a delusion of being trapped and that delusion has effects. Continue reading The Self has always been free. The Self is always awake. Right?

Where is the responsibility in nondualism?

Nisargadatta Maharaj said, “love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows.”  Likewise, for me, love says, “100% responsibility for everything” and wisdom says “0% responsibility for anything.”  Between the two, my life flows. Continue reading Where is the responsibility in nondualism?

I feel like I’m enlightened, but others don’t treat me any differently. Why?

Why would you be treated any differently if you are enlightened?  You will not suddenly have a glowing halo around your head.  Nor will light shine from your body.  Nor will people be able to feel by your mere presence how enlightened you are.  It is a myth that others will recognize your enlightenment and treat you any differently. Continue reading I feel like I’m enlightened, but others don’t treat me any differently. Why?