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?

If the illusion is seen as an illusion, then why does it not end immediately?

If you see a mirage and recognize it is not water, why does the mirage not disappear?  If you see a magician’s trick and have come to know how it is done, why does it still look like he is pulling a rabbit from the hat?

It is a fallacy and misunderstanding to think that just because the illusion is seen as an illusion (i.e. recognized as an illusion), that it will for some reason end right then and there.  No longer perceived.  The illusion is called as such because of our incorrect understand and ignorance.  A mirage is just hot air refracting light, but the misunderstanding and ignorance would be to think it is water.  A magic trick is done through misdirection, sleight of hand, and props, but the misunderstanding and ignorance would to be think it really was magic and he materialized a rabbit. Continue reading If the illusion is seen as an illusion, then why does it not end immediately?

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?

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?

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?

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?

Are there partial or incomplete awakenings?

The idea of partial or incomplete awakenings is a refuge of the ego by creating progress.  It feels good, egoically, to say I partially awakened.  I have taken another step to “full awakening.”  No, that is just being stuck in a new illusion…a new set of chains.

How can there be a partial or incomplete awakenings?  It is like saying you can partially know that 2 + 2 = 4.  Can you incompletely know 2 + 2 = 4?  Both versions are really not yet knowing 2 + 2 = 4.  You either know 2 + 2 = 4 or you haven’t quite figured it out yet.  Or it is like saying you can partially or incompletely see a person entering the room.  You either saw a person enter or you did not see a person enter the room.  If you didn’t see, you are not sure a person is in the room.  If you did see, you know a person is in the room.  Partially seeing doesn’t exist. Continue reading Are there partial or incomplete awakenings?

Isn’t Enlightenment the realization that there is no such thing as Enlightenment?

I’ve heard this question different ways and sometimes with additional information.  For example, the Self is always Awake, and there is only the Self & the Self has always been free.

Let’s start with the Self is always Awake.  The massive fallacy with this concept is that we experience directly that this is not the case.  This is not even the case when you are dreaming at night.  You are asleep in your bed and a world is created from the mind.  You see other people, trees, rocks, etc.  It   is all from one mind.  There is no other.  All in the dream is only you. Continue reading Isn’t Enlightenment the realization that there is no such thing as Enlightenment?

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?

Isn’t saying you are Awake or Enlightened a sign that you are not?

I wrote a short book in 2009 called, “52 EnlightenMyths.” It was a list of common myths and misconceptions about Enlightenment.  A couple of them point to what this question might be getting at.

One that I listed was, “you won’t even know you’ve found it.” As I said then, I wonder who comes up with this stuff. The idea is that when it happens, there is no “you” left to know it happened. Pure myth. Continue reading Isn’t saying you are Awake or Enlightened a sign that you are not?