Archive for January, 2009

The Gateway to Awakening

In an earlier post I hinted at the true gateway to awakening. I am not saying that this is the only gateway, but it is a true one. It is a gate that is open to us when we are not identified with thought or any concept about things (one’s self and the world) needing to be any different than they are.
The source is this being NOW with ANY projection of self.
Typically selves that are projected are either in the immediate past or future or the non immediate past or future. This now devoid of projection is IT. We can still have a thought of projection, we can still think about projection, we can still “do” anything – but projection about one’s self or the world MUST be seen as lacking, completely, in reality of ANY kind.
This is it.

Here is another way of understanding this. Read Carefully!
This idea comes from an esteemed Buddhist monk, but it needs to be seen only by you.
He asked, “who wants to be anything?” “Why would you want to be anything?”
Consider these questions. Notice how you WANT to be something. Notice how you NEED to be something. Then go back to his questions.
Why not be you with wanting or needing to be anyone and knowing that you are not anyone. Can you see that?

I will return to this point from time to time, but consider these questions deeply. Let yourself be absorbed by them.


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The Philosophy of Liberation from the Lie

The Philosophy of Liberation from the Lie
Suffering, frustration, violence, and depression are a consequence of some (varying between people and situations) in our fundamental inadequacy, insufficiency, and unlovability.
This realization was founded on cross cultural studies in which hunting/gathering societies are compared with a variety of post-intensive agricultural and industrial civilizations (western, Asian, and others – see Morris Berman). Observation of HG societies made by explorers and anthropologists describe societies where sibling rivalry, temper tantrums, compulsion to achieve to impress self and others are, essentially absent. We see exactly the opposite in modern society. Temper tantrums, rivalry, and the compulsion to achieve (even negatively) are pervasive and perceived as normative.
This is a complex field and it is dealt with much greater detail in my book Liberation from the Lie. Meta-analyses of children rearing between cultures suggest compelling theories for these stark differences. In very brief summary, HG families are characterized between widely spaced births, direct physical contact through the first 3-4 years of life, relatively late weaning, and, perhaps most importantly, an understanding that each child is unique on his/her own terms – meaning that love is not earned through achievement designed to conform to the expectations of parents, but in the unique life force of the individual child.
In contrast, post intensive agricultural children are expected to yield to authority and become dutiful workers. Merit and love is earned and can be lost when authority is questioned and disabused. Competition is seen as essential for normative growth.
HG people see themselves as a part of nature. Their very existence is dependent on the harmony and balance of this relationship. Nature is trusted, utterly, to provide for their survival. In contrast, with the rise of intensive agricultural and city states, people are now separated from nature. Nature becomes as much an enemy as a friend. It is no longer trustworthy – instead it must be placated through ritual.
Religion offers post intensive agricultural people with a means to transcend one’s life through a trust in an after-life and an unseen and easily angered god. The concept of transcendence is absent in HG life, if only because nature (the tao) is perfect and trustworthy as it is.
Trust is the core element of HG society in contrast to modern life which is wedded to insecurity and the concomitant absence of trust.
In modern society, an identification with inadequacy is essential. Without this identification it would not be possible to motivate people through fear. The core identification supports the religious obsession with transcendence. It sustains acquiescence to authority structures. Perhaps most importantly, it fosters a reliance on external sources of authority, which results in one’s split with one’s own self.
Over time we lose our connection with our authentic selves and we live out our years sustaining the lie that made the whole process possible. The purpose of Liberation from the Lie is to see this process in our own lives and in seeing it become free of it.

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Ending the Search for a Better Me

Who are you this instant? Who are you before thought steps in and does what it is addicted in doing? Who you are is exactly what you are prior to any label constructed by thought. We’ve read this so many times in “spiritual” books and web sites. Is there a better way to understand what this means?
Nearly all of us who are engaged in the “spiritual journey” consistently posit a “better me” that will evolve over time. When we believe that thought or any thought related to it, we are, perforce, obliged to resist our current Life Force in the now of existence. We are are ceaseless moving away from who we truly are.
As long as we give life to the concept of a “better me”, we can never live from our source.
Can you see this in your own life?
Try to observe how we often muse about that better, more evolved me that will emerge through meditation or following the “how” instructions in a spiritual book or what we have heard at a retreat or gathering.
Even our own minds will tell us how unevolved and unenlightened we really are – as we are. Our mind pushes us away from our authentic being by its ceaseless projection of a better me. And we wonder why we are so often dissatisfied with who we are. This belief sustains our suffering.

Here is where this pointer gets subtle.
There is the authentic you are right now and there is the resistant self you are right now. This resistant self is engaged on some level with working toward a better you. They are very different beings. Can you see and, more importantly, feel the difference?
Who are you when you are entirely free of wanting to be anyone different from how you are exactly at this instant? That is the key question.
When we explore the core question, “who am I”, we discover that we can never find a me that can be grasped, yet you and I are right here right now. How can we make sense of this?
Like everything else in the universe, it is, ultimately, paradoxical. We can never ever grasp a me that can be expressed through words, thought or collection of thoughts, yet there is a you and I here right now. Of that we can be absolutely certain.
The question I am raising here focuses on the difference between living from the perspective of psychological projection, expressed as always striving for a different and more refined, more spiritual me and the me that is here prior to any and all wanting and striving. That absolutely solid, yet ungraspable me is always there and that is our authentic self.
It’s not all that difficult to get a sense of that authentic self – that Life Force. Possibly the best way to do that is to get a tangible feel for the striving, restless, dissatisfied me. Any thought that possesses the quality of wanting a me that is, in essence, different from the being that is right here right now, sustains our eternal suffering. Behind that energy is the me that is always at rest, content and free of needing anything from the external universe.
That is your true self.

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