Isn’t the Self unchanging?

Yes and no.  If you say the Self is unchanging, then whatever changes is not the Self and that would be duality.  The Self is all there is.  Of course, the Self has changing and unchanging aspects.

Many teachers and teachings point to the substratum behind all experience and that is unchanging…that which is behind all changes and the comings/goings of things. Continue reading Isn’t the Self unchanging?

If I am detached, won’t I become a selfish entity…uncaring about others?

Who is this “I” that will become selfish and who are the “others”?  This question comes from an egocentric mind that is trying to grasp concepts it encounters.  The enlightened are not attached to people, places, things, etc.  So the ego incorrectly concludes this would mean selfishness and not caring about others.

The enlightened know that there are no others…there is only the Self.  In this way, the enlightened care for “others” just as much as the Self.  The enlightened know that to help others is to help the Self.  To love others is to love the Self. Continue reading If I am detached, won’t I become a selfish entity…uncaring about others?

Why do my old habits of thinking I am a separate self keep returning?

There is a distinction I want to make between thinking you are a separate self and believing/feeling deep down that you are a separate self.  Only you can say for certain which it is for you.

Thoughts of a separate self may always return.  Thoughts are not you.  Thoughts are largely not controlled by you.  Thoughts just happen.  The brain/mind creates most of the thoughts in relation to a “me”.  The brain/mind is trying to protect this organism from danger and to continue living.  And so thoughts about “what could happen to me” may arise…even after enlightenment.  Awakening just means you have seen through the illusion of “me” and so although the thought “what could happen to me” may arise, it simply is not believed.  You do not suffer from worry after the initial random thought. Continue reading Why do my old habits of thinking I am a separate self keep returning?

I do self-inquiry and what I am is obvious. How will that realization sink in?

You want to know how that realization will sink in and how to keep the knowing when the body/mind is full of fear or suffering.  You say you have awakened (per ‘what I am is obvious’), but I must tell you that you really don’t know who you are.  Maybe on some intellectual level you are trying to believe something, but in your heart and bones you “know” otherwise.

The same kind of thing happened when (for example) a devote Christian told me he was absolutely sure that when he died he would go straight to heaven and enjoy everlasting bliss next to God.  And yet he was terrified about his own death.  Why?  If death truly is going to a “better place”, then what is the problem with death? Continue reading I do self-inquiry and what I am is obvious. How will that realization sink in?

What is the body/mind and what do you mean we are not the body/mind? Part 1.

The body and/or mind, hence body/mind,  is what we usually identify with as “me.”  We really think we are this separate character in the world with its joys and sorrows, victories and defeats, sufferings and pleasures, etc.  This is the fundamental mis-identification – through which we keep ourselves trapped within the illusions of the mind.

What is the body?  Many Indian teachers have called the body just an accumulation of food.  In a way, we are a whirlpool.  We have a fairly consistent pattern (that does grow and change with age), but there is a river of food flowing through that keeps it going.  Cells are constantly splitting and dying.  All the cells of the body are replaced every seven years or so.  So like a whirlpool, what makes up the form (cells, instead of water) is not the same as time goes by. Continue reading What is the body/mind and what do you mean we are not the body/mind? Part 1.

If I am everything, why am I aware of only me?

With this logic, you would not be most of your own body. You are not aware of what the adrenal or pituitary glands are doing right now. You are not aware of what cells in the body are dying and which ones are splitting to form new cells. You are not likely aware of your shins right now…well maybe now that I brought your attention to it. You are not likely aware of the inside of your nose nor your ear lobes. You are not aware of your ear drums. You are not aware of the backs of your knees.  You are not aware of how many white blood cells you have right now or even feel one of them.  I can go on like this…but I won’t.

My point is…not being consciously aware does not mean separation or not being it. Continue reading If I am everything, why am I aware of only me?

Many teach that nothing happens and there is nothing done – do you agree?

I can kind of see how someone could say nothing happens and nothing is done.  When you wake up from a dream in the morning, you realize it was all in your head and nothing really happened and nothing was done (in reference to the “real” world).  Similarly, when you watch a movie in the theater…before and after the movie is just a white screen.  The movie was a play of images, and so you could say nothing really happened and nothing was really done.

But this is an attempt to separate yourself from what is being experienced.  It is a putting down of the experience.  During that movie, you did experience things happening and it may have made you laugh or cry.  During that dream, you may have experienced flying or being chased or whatever.  For the duration of the experience…clearly something is happening and things can be done. Continue reading Many teach that nothing happens and there is nothing done – do you agree?

What do you mean there is no time but Now?

The past is mental accumulated content. The future is mental imagination.

If there was no thought, now is the only time. “Now” implies other times that are not now, but for lack of better word there is only the timeless “now.” Time is purely a mental construct and a story we tell ourselves based on perceived motion (particularly repeating patterns) and memory/future imaginations. For example, let’s say I see a cat walking. I remember the cat being there a minute ago, but now it is here, and at the rate it is walking in its current direction – it will be there in a minute. This is all in the mind. There is simply a cat walking…now. Mentally we tell a story about where it has been and where it will be. Continue reading What do you mean there is no time but Now?

Is there free will or is there no free will?

Whether in the dreaming or waking world, I hope we can agree that there is a happening and events.  I do not deny the world’s existence (or the existence of dreams…they happen).  Those events are not predetermined and it is not fate and it is not clockwork/mechanical.  There is a will creating what is in the moment…ad-libbing and doing improv.  There is only the eternal now, which is the Self, and even the Self does not know what will happen. Continue reading Is there free will or is there no free will?

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?