Posts Tagged enlightenment
Here is a pointer that I find “enlightening”.
While meditating or reading, don’t we tend to “think” that the moment of full awakening might happen in the next instant? As long as think that, we will be tied to the heavy wheel of seeking. What about right now? What about right BEFORE the next moment?
We miss THIS life in the pursuit of enlightenment. The latter is ego, the former is truth; this ineffable now.
It’s time to move on from what is simply false in Eastern philosophy (Buddhism, Advaita/nonduality, and some Taoism). Jesus said the truth will set you free and the whole purpose of this blog is to identify the false, so that the ineffable truth of being and life can shine forth.
1. The basic tenant of Eastern spiritual philosophy is that we are not our thoughts and feelings. We are, therefore, not who we “think” we are. So far, so good.
2. Our thoughts and feelings change, but, as these philosophies point out, there is a part of us that doesn’t change. This part is that presence that observes our passing thoughts and feelings. We are, they say, this changeless entity. Now we’re getting on some shaky ground, but let’s continue.
3. This presence, which is our true self is separate from the body/mind. It is neither born nor will it ever die. It is eternal consciousness. Here the philosophies collapse. I will try to show this below.
My experience shows that Point 1 is partly correct. Clearly, we are not our thoughts. Our thoughts, do, indeed, change. One day we “think” we love our wife/husband, then something happens and then we discover to our shame and disbelief that we now are not the one who loves this wife/husband. Life has changed completely. But we can also observe that some of our thoughts change constantly, other thoughts change only occasionally, and still others are nearly constant in our life. Within this array of change, we can detect patterns of thought and feeling. These patterns suggest an individuality that is, in fact, real. For example, I know that I love to explore issues, that with all my heart and soul I stand up for those who have been victims of unjustice, I love the music of Brahms and Mozart, etc.
Our Eastern Philosopher will say that my seemingly consistent thoughts/feelings are merely an outcome of my conditioning. They are “mere” appearances on the utterly changeless and characterless ground of being. They will further assert that this is not a theory, but the the outcome of direct experience, it is therefore not an issue of philosophy, but of direct experience. I can respond that the same is true for me. I am able to employ the power of presence, that power that is central to Eastern spiritual tradition (EST), to detect and identify these patterns. I can, therefore, make the same experiential claim. It is something I can directly observe.
But more importantly, I can also experience what is pointed to in EST and assert that the ESTer is drawing a decisive line of separation between “presence” and thought/feeling/experience, in which it is posited that one’s true identity is exclusively on one side of the experiential dimension. Our ESTer posits that Reality is the ground of experience and sensed experience (thoughts/feelings/observations) itself is mere appearance. All objects (thoughts/feelings/sensed objects) are passing and insubstantial. It is highly ironic that a philosophy that eschews separation so depends on this division, that this Maginot Line of separation is posited between one’s true identity and what is mere passing appearance. I can see the mere passing appearance of that tree just outside my window. I can look away and the tree is no longer in view (the tree ceases to exist!), but when I look back – what do I see??? – it’s remarkable, but it appears to be that same tree. Yes, the direction of sunlight might have changed a bit, but I am very sure that it’s the same true – perhaps five seconds older.
Now before moving on, let’s take a deep breath. What is the EST person really doing? Is it not possible that by labeling all sensed objects (thoughts/feelings) as mere passing appearance, he is negating his own role in this sensed life? Consider that possibility. Is this any different from the substance abuser who is also seeking to avoid the challenges of life through booze and drugs? Is this any different from the depressed person who lifts himself out of the anguish of his psychological being by adopting a zealous faith-based attitude on this life? Is this any different from the religious fanatic who believes that this life is just a preparation for the real life that begins at death and he can avoid all of the messiness and unpredictability of everyday life and dream of living an eternity in heaven?
I do not seek to judge the ESTer, but it is possible to detect a pattern in human history that revolves around the negation of everyday life – because life can be challenging, it can be complex, it calls on us to make tough decisions, it brings to light all of the empty faith-based beliefs we might cling to out of fear of the unknown. This is what life is. Wake up to its fantastic messiness. Life calls on us to be challenged. Anyone who has parented a little baby into adulthood knows this is true. Anyone in touch with their heart senses the vapid emptiness of EST.
Welcome to the challenge of your life. Make the best of it, for time is passing.
Just when you think you made the breakthrough and you’re finally, after all the meditation, after all of the satsangs, after all of the reading, awakened, Life drags you back to the everyday vicissitudes and challenges of personal everyday existence. The key is – as it always has been – is just to see what’s happening. What are you beliefs? What do you assume to be true, as opposed to what you actually observe to be true. Usually, there is a very considerable difference between the two.
Jesus said “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32). What exactly did he mean by that? His statement mirrors that made by the great 20th century sage Krishnamurti, who said,
“To see the truth in the false, sets the mind free from the false. Freedom from the false does not come about through the desire to achieve it;
it comes when the mind is no longer concerned with success, with the attainment of an end. There must be the cessation of all search, and only then is there a possibility of the coming into being of that which is nameless.”
So how do we see the false as false?
We see that consciousness is. It happens before thought. Thought is always a secondary response to what is seen within consciousness. If you notice the chair you’re sitting on, that noticing happens after it has already been registered within consciousness. Then thought will evaluate the situation with some form of judgement. None of this is bad. None of this is, necessarily, a problem. This is what thought does and we are hard-wired to think.
The issue that all sages address is that of psychological identification. We confuse our authentic self with the psychological self. This psychological self is the small self. It has some truth to it, but it is far from the complete truth. When we identify ourselves with our conditioned – judging mind and we say, “this is who I am”, then we have identified with a very small part of our intrinsic selves.
But, when we see that we are consciousness and that this consciousness is aware of our psychological selves, then a whole new self is seen to exist. It is not new, only the realization of it is new. We are this infinite consciousness that can and will hold anything within it – whether it be bliss or suffering. Unlike the psychological self that is always on the hunt for a charge, for resolution, for help, for fun, – consciousness is always full, quiet and utterly accepting.
Which brings us back to Michael Corleone, the Godfather. You will get a sense of this consciousness, but the psychological self will always re-assert itself. So, when you think (THINK) you’re free, that pesky psychological self will pull you back in. That’s ok. We notice the process and the more we notice it, the less will be its effect on us.
Just a little interlude from the depression/anxiety series – in the form of something I very rarely do – namely to give a some advice.
Starting today STOP following the badgering voice in your head. Instead allow everything to be just as it is, including your internal voice, but place no more attention on it than you would on any other minor item that expresses itself in your consciousness.
See yourself as the eternal force that allows EVERYTHING to be just as it is. See it as still – as the empty light within which everything passes through. See this force as your heart. Get a feel for the love that resides in this place. See everything arise and fall away within the perfect seeing – touching – hearing light. Go with no flow, but feel the flow of existence as running through you.
Do what you love – what brings you joy – and if not doing what appears to not give you joy – see if you can find the spark of excitement there. It’s waiting just for you.
Feel the vastness … just feel everything with your light. This is the you before you were fallen by the King Thought.
Last night I was considering a problem. All the esoteric teachings say that our true and deepest identity is awareness … just awareness without anyone who is aware. Yet, there is this persistent sense of a personal me – seeking – desiring.
The person we believe ourselves to be, we are told, is just a dream and everything he/she believes to be real is also a dream. It is ALL, we are told a dream.
Thus anything (and I mean anything) I can do to get awake or enlightened is just an action within a dream. It’s what we do to sustain the dream of me and my world. This life of seeking (wealth – happiness – oneness) is just a dream.
That is the end of seeking for seeking is, itself, a dream. It’s the energy that keeps the dream seeming real! As long as we seek, we prolong the pain of endless lack! Awareness sees all of this, but it is blazing awareness when the narrative is experienced, directly, as a dream.
What does this mean? It means that there is nothing “I” can do to become awake – for I am, already, awake as awareness founded on the rock-solid knowledge that all else, everything without, is a dream.
Does that mean that the dream is meaningless?
No, not exactly. But it does mean that any meaning we place on it is dreamlike and conditioned by our culture, socialization, and inheritance. All of that is, of course, nothing less than a dream. So make as beautiful a dream as you can and live and walk in beauty!
When we see EVERYTHING in the dream as ourselves – for it is our dream and only our dream; then we can LOVE it all for it is our own immediate reflection! That’s the end of conflict, the end of violence, the end of division, the end of seeking.