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Published on Jan 18, 2017

How do we detach ourselves from our ego identity and experience the bliss of pure, pristine awareness? Spiritual Teacher with Zen Buddhism background Adyashanti speaks about the pure nature of awareness and how we can become enlightened. Highly recommendable!

Adyashanti says that it is very important that the spiritual seeker knows the difference between awareness and what arises within its field (thoughts, emotions, ego, mind, the material world, etc.). So if one wants to understand awareness better and e.g. learn how to deal with his unconsciousness then this distinction has to be very clear.
He goes on with saying that our suffering is due to the fusion of awareness with the content. If we could create space between us and our minds, if we could become more aware of our thoughts and the nature of our minds, then we could it would be easier for us to make the shift from personal ego identity to pure, blissful awareness.

After watching this video, you’ll understand more about:
– how to rest as awareness / abide in awareness
– being aware of yourself as awareness
– how to experience yourself as awareness
– spiritual awakening / spiritual enlightenment
– how to be aware of your thoughts
– the shift from identity to awareness
– a Zen teacher’s view on awareness
– nonduality and nondual teachings

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Every person is an immortal spiritual being expressing their life through a material body, mind and senses. We are in this world to learn effectively and to eventually awaken to complete awareness and knowledge of our true spiritual nature and ultimate Reality. Spiritual life begins when you accept the necessity to aspire to know and realise directly the highest Truth. Your sincere and earnest desire to want to know Truth, will keep you open to the inflow of the nature of Truth in your own Self. On your spiritual path to inner freedom and Self- and God-realisation, this book will be a useful guide and source of inspiration towards understanding your mind and knowing your true Divine nature.

Look Inside

Stephen Sturgess: Yoga, the Soul and Consciousness

tephen Sturgess is a London­based yoga and meditation teacher, and the author of The Yoga Book, a recommended text of the British Wheel of Yoga. Since 1969 Stephen has studied and practised yoga and meditation in India and UK under the expertise of well-
known gurus.

Practised authentically, yoga provides us with a starting­point for meditation, which awakens us to our oneness with true reality. This book demonstrates how to use a wide range of yoga postures, purification practices, breathing exercises and meditation practices as a portal to a higher consciousness – with all the everyday benefits implied in that phrase: an enhanced sense of peace, love, joy, happiness, harmony and personal fulfilment. Drawing upon the tradition of Kriya Yoga – the goal of which is to attune one’s individual consciousness with the Divine, or Universal, Consciousness – Stephen Sturgess shows us how to progress beyond the supple body to the vital, contented mind.


Published on Jan 17, 2017

Tara Talks: Radical Shift in Consciousness – Tara Brach

Mindfulness activates the prefrontal cortex of the brain, helping us wake up from habitual thought-loops and make a new, freer choice. Even simply remembering that we don’t have to believe our thoughts can effect a powerful shift in consciousness.


Published on Jan 17, 2017

Deepak and Menas discuss the crucial turning point that science is facing today. Visit: http://www.discoveringyourcosmicself.com

The purpose of The Transparency of Things is to look clearly and simply at the nature of experience, without any attempt to change it.

A series of contemplations leads us gently but directly to see that our essential nature is neither a body nor a mind. It is the conscious Presence that is aware of this current experience. As such, it is nothing that can be experienced as an object, and yet it is undeniably present.

However, these contemplations go much further than this. As we take our stand knowingly as this conscious Presence that we always already are, and reconsider the objects of the body, mind, and world, we find that they do not simply appear to this Presence; they appear within it. And further exploration reveals that they do not simply appear within this Presence but as this Presence.

Finally, we are led to see that it is in fact this very Presence that takes the shape of our experience from moment to moment while always remaining only itself. We see that our experience is and has only ever been one seamless totality, with no separate entities, objects, or parts anywhere to be found.

CONTENTS
Foreword

The Garden Of Unknowing
Clear Seeing
What Truly Is
Everything Falls Into Place
Abide As You Are
The Drop Of Milk
Consciousness Shines In Every Experience
Ego
Consciousness Is Its Own Content
Knowingness Is The Substance Of All Things
Our True Body
‘I’ Am Everything
What We Are, It Is
Peace And Happiness Are Inherent In Consciousness
Consciousness Is Self-Luminous
The Choice Of Freedom
The Ease Of Being
Knowingness
There Are Not Two Things
Knowing Is Being Is Loving
Changeless Presence
Time Never Happens
Unveiling Reality
We Are What We Seek
Nature’s Eternity
Consciousness And Being Are One
The Fabric Of Self
The True Dreamer
The Here And Now Of Presence
Consciousness Is Self-Luminous
Consciousness Only Knows Itself
Consciousness Is Freedom Itself
It Has Always Been So
Sameness And Oneness
A Knowing Space
Consciousness Peace ‘I’
Just This
The Doer
Origin, Substance And Destiny
Love In Search Of Itself
Openness Sensitivity Vulnerability And Availability
Time And Memory
The Moon’s Light
The Natural Condition

Published on Jan 16, 2017

Sruti is a spiritual teacher who writes about finding God within an experience with an uncommon and painful illness called Interstitial Cystitis. She has been interviewed on the Buddha at the Gas Pump talk show on YouTube about her experience of spiritual awakening in the midst of intense pain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atG0z…

This ongoing and chronic condition challenged her to stay present with daily pain and to look further inward for answers. In an extreme moment of pain, in which consciousness began to fade, Sruti experienced the erasure of all that clouds over the earliest source of vision.

She watched as one by one the layers of the mind, the body and feelings disappeared before her. She asks the question: Who is the One that Can Never Leave You? With whose vision are we seeing when the lights are going out? Has this early vision ever known anything at all?

Sruti’s book, The Hidden Value of Not Knowing, is available as an audiobook and an eBook online at Amazon: View Here
For more information about Sruti please visit http://www.srutisangha.org


Published on Jan 16, 2017

https://www.scienceandnonduality.com

All that is or could ever be known is experience, and all experience is known in the form of mind. Therefore, to know the nature or ultimate reality of anything that is known, it is first necessary to know the nature of mind. Whether the mind perceives a world outside of itself, as is believed under the prevailing materialist paradigm, or projects the world within itself, as is understood in the ‘consciousness only’ approach that is shared by nearly all the great religious and spiritual traditions, everything that is experienced is experienced through the medium of mind. Thus, the first imperative of any mind that wishes to know the nature of reality must be to investigate the reality of itself. Everything the mind knows or experiences is a reflection of its own nature, just as everything will appear orange to one wearing a pair of orange-tinted glasses. Having become accustomed to the orange glasses, orange will become the new norm and, as a result, the wearer will imagine that the orange colour he sees is an inherent property of consensus reality and not simply the limitations of the medium through which he perceives. In the same way, the mind’s knowledge of anything is only as good as its knowledge of itself. Until the mind knows its own essential nature, it cannot be sure that anything it knows or experiences is absolutely true rather than simply a reflection of its own limitations. Thus, the ultimate question that mind can ask is, ‘What is the nature of mind?’ or ‘Who am I?’ and the ultimate knowledge it can attain is the answer to that question.

From an early age Rupert was deeply interested in the nature of Reality. For twenty years he studied the teachings of Ouspensky, Krishnamurti, Rumi, Shankaracharya, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta and Robert Adams, until he met his teacher, Francis Lucille, twelve years ago. Francis introduced Rupert to the teaching of Jean Klein, Parmenides, Wei Wu Wei and Atmananda Krishnamenon and, more importantly, directly indicated to him the true nature of experience. Rupert’s first book is “The Transparency of Things,” subtitled “Contemplating the Nature of Experience,”. His second book, “Presence Volume I The Art of Peace and Happiness and Presence Volume II The Intimacy of All Experience” has been currently released by Non-Duality Press. http://www.rupertspira.com

EGO = The Unconscious Mind
ALERTNESS = Gate to Infinity
CONSCIOUSNESS = Your Spiritual Home
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“The truth is that we are the incarnation of Life, we are born into this world as a result of a miracle, and later we are lost amidst the multitude of teachings and dogmas. We identify with our beliefs and we forget who we really are: the pure, unconditioned consciousness. This is the essence of Frank M. Wanderer’s teaching” (Ervin K. Kery, publisher)

CONTENTS

Preface…………………………………………………. 9

I. The Ego……………………………………………… 13

The Individual is Becoming Somebody……………. 15
The Personal History …………………………………… 17
What is an Ego?………………………………………….. 19
The Ego is a Small Part of the Personality ………… 22
The Birth of the Ego…………………………………….. 24
The Rise of the Ego……………………………………… 27
The Identification ………………………………………. 28
The Mind …………………………………………………. 29
The Conditioned Patterns of Mind…………………. 31
The Power of the Intention………………………….. 32
In the Captivity of the Mind………………………….. 34
The Collection of our Masks………………………….. 35
The Mask of Spiritual Ego……………………………… 37
The Tricks of the Spiritual Ego………………………… 42
The Sea of Expectations………………………………. 46
The Power of the Situation…………………………… 47
The Programs of Internal Expectations……………. 48
The Involuntary Track Dictated by the Expectations 50
The Mirror of Opinions………………………………… 51
The Protective Shield of the Indifferent………….. 54
Immature vs Mature Ego……………………………… 56
The Roots of the Ego………………………………….. 58
Jump intro Unknown…………………………………… 60

II. The Alertness…………………………………….. 63

The Turning Inward…………………………………….. 65
The Downfall of the Ego………………………………. 68
Beyond the Ego …………………………………………. 72
Wake Up from the Somebody-ness……………….. 73
Escaping from the Captivity of the Mind………….. 75
Eliminating Mind Games………………………………. 76
Beyond the Personal History ………………………… 77
Waking up from the Personal History……………… 78
The Magic of the Now…………………………………. 79
Existence without Expectations…………………….. 82
The Acceptance…………………………………………. 84
The Lover of the Silence………………………………. 88
The Spiritual Birth……………………………………….. 91
The Gate ………………………………………………….. 94
The Alertness…………………………………………….. 95
Awakening from the Stupor of Identifications …. 97
Self-Examination vs. Self-Research………………… 98
Self-Research…………………………………………… 100
The End of Self-Research……………………………. 101
The Intensity of Being………………………………… 102

III. The Consciousness…………………………… 106

The Nature of Consciousness………………………. 108
The Evolution of Consciousness…………………… 112
The Level of Ordinary Consciousness……………. 113
The Level of Awakening……………………………… 114
The Level of Complete Freedom………………….. 117
The Enlightenment……………………………………. 118
Submerged into the Quiet of Consciousness….. 123

by Bhagavan: In the mid-1920s, is the work that originated with answers written in the sand in 1901…

For many years it was the standard introduction to Bhagavan’s teachings. Its publication was subsidised and copies in many languages were always available in the ashram’s bookstore, enabling new visitors to acquaint themselves with Bhagavan’s practical advice.

Although it continues to be a standard primer for those who want to know what Bhagavan taught, parts of Who Am I? are quite technical. Since Sivaprakasam Pillai, the devotee who asked the questions in 1901, was well acquainted with philosophical terminology, Bhagavan freely used technical terms in many of his answers. I have explained many of these in notes that alternate with the text. The words of the original essay are printed in bold type. Everything else is my own commentary or explanation.

Since these explanations were originally answers to Sivaprakasam Pillai’s questions, I have included some of the original questions in my own notes. Before each new section of Who am I? begins, I give, if possible, the question that prompted it. Towards the end of the essay Bhagavan took portions from different answers and amalgamated them into single paragraphs, making it hard to know for sure whether he is answering a particular question or merely giving a teaching statement.

The paragraph that begins the essay was not given out in response to a question. It was composed by Bhagavan when he was rewriting the work in the 1920s. Many philosophical works begin with a statement about the nature of happiness and the means by which it can be attained or discovered. Bhagavan has followed this tradition in this presentation.

Every living being longs to be perpetually happy, without any misery. Since in everyone the highest love is alone felt for oneself, and since happiness alone is the cause of love, in order to attain that happiness, which is one’s real nature and which is experienced daily in the mindless state of deep sleep, it is necessary to know oneself. To achieve that, enquiry in the form ‘Who am I?’ is the foremost means.

Question: Who am I?

‘Who am I?’ The physical body, composed of the seven dhatus, is not ‘I’. The five sense organs… and the five types of perception known through the senses… are not ‘I’. The five parts of the body which act… and their functions… are not ‘I’. The five vital airs such as prana, which perform the five vital functions such as respiration, are not ‘I’. Even the mind that thinks is not ‘I’. In the state of deep sleep vishaya vasanas remain. Devoid of sensory knowledge and activity, even this [state] is not ‘I’. After negating all of the above as ‘not I, not I’, the knowledge that alone remains is itself ‘I’. The nature of knowledge is sat-chit-ananda [being-consciousness-bliss].

Vasanas is a key word in Who am I? It can be defined as, ‘the impressions of anything remaining unconsciously in the mind; the present consciousness of past perceptions; knowledge derived from memory; latent tendencies formed by former actions, thoughts and speech.’ It is usually rendered in English as ‘latent tendencies’. Vishaya vasanas are those latent mental tendencies that impel one to indulge in knowledge or perceptions derived from the five senses. In a broader context it may also include indulging in any mental activity such as daydreaming or fantasizing, where the content of the thoughts is derived from past habits or desires.

The seven dhatus are chyle, blood, flesh, fat, marrow, bone and semen. The five sense organs are the ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose, and the five types of perception or knowledge, called vishayas, are sound, touch, sight, taste and smell. The five parts of the body that act are the mouth, the legs, the hands, the anus, and the genitals and their functions are speaking, walking, giving, excreting and enjoying. All the items on these lists are included in the original text. I have relegated them to this explanatory note to facilitate easy reading.

The five vital airs (prana vayus) are not listed in the original text. They are responsible for maintaining the health of the body. They convert inhaled air and ingested food into the energy required for the healthy and harmonious functioning of the body.

This paragraph of Who am I? has an interesting history. Sivaprakasam Pillai’s original question was ‘Who am I?’, the first three words of the paragraph. Bhagavan’s reply, which can be found at the end of the paragraph, was ‘Knowledge itself is “I”’. The nature of knowledge is sat-chit-ananda.’ Everything else in this paragraph was interpolated later by Sivaprakasam Pillai prior to the first publication of the question-and-answer version of the text in 1923. The word that is translated as ‘knowledge’ is the Tamil equivalent of ‘jnana’. So, the answer to that original question ‘Who am I?’ is, ‘Jnana is “I” and the nature of jnana is sat-chit-ananda’.

When Bhagavan saw the printed text he exclaimed, ‘I did not give this extra portion. How did it find a place here?’

He was told that Sivaprakasam Pillai had added the additional information, including all the long lists of physical organs and their functions, in order to help him understand the answer more clearly. When Bhagavan wrote the Who Am I? answers in an essay form, he retained these interpolations but had the printer mark the original answer in bold type so that devotees could distinguish between the two.

This interpolation does not give a correct rendering of Bhagavan’s teachings on self-enquiry. In the following exchange[1] Bhagavan explains how self-enquiry should be done, and why the ‘not I, not I’ approach is an unproductive one:

Q: I begin to ask myself ‘Who am I?’, eliminate the body as not ‘I’, the breath as not ‘I’, and I am not able to proceed further.

B: Well, that is as far as the intellect can go. Your process is only intellectual. Indeed, all the scriptures mention the process only to guide the seeker to know the truth. The truth cannot be directly pointed at. Hence, this intellectual process.

You see, the one who eliminates the ‘not I’ cannot eliminate the ‘I’. To say ‘I am not this’ or ‘I am that’ there must be an ‘I’. This ‘I’ is only the ego or the ‘I’-thought. After the rising up of this ‘I’-thought, all other thoughts arise. The ‘I’-thought is therefore the root thought. If the root is pulled out all others are at the same time uprooted. Therefore, seek the root ‘I’, question yourself ‘Who am I?’ Find the source and then all these other ideas will vanish and the pure Self will remain.

Question: Will there be realization of the Self even while the world is there, and taken to be real?

If the mind, which is the cause of all knowledge and all actions, subsides, the perception of the world will cease. [If one perceives a rope, imagining it to be a snake] perception of the rope, which is the substratum, will not occur unless the perception of the snake, which has been superimposed on it, goes. Similarly, the perception of one’s real nature, the substratum, will not be obtained unless the perception of the world, which is a superimposition, ceases.

Question: What is the nature of the mind?

That which is called ‘mind’, which projects all thoughts, is an awesome power existing within the Self, one’s real nature. If we discard all thoughts and look [to see what remains when there are no thoughts, it will be found that] there is no such entity as mind remaining separate [from those thoughts]. Therefore, thought itself is the nature of the mind. There is no such thing as ‘the world’ independent of thoughts. There are no thoughts in deep sleep, and there is no world. In waking and dream there are thoughts, and there is also the world. Just as a spider emits the thread of a web from within itself and withdraws it again into itself, in the same way the mind projects the world from within itself and later reabsorbs it into itself. When the mind emanates from the Self, the world appears. Consequently, when the world appears, the Self is not seen, and when the Self appears or shines, the world will not appear.

If one goes on examining the nature of the mind, it will finally be discovered that [what was taken to be] the mind is really only one’s self. That which is called one’s self is really Atman, one’s real nature. The mind always depends for its existence on something tangible. It cannot subsist by itself. It is the mind that is calledsukshma sarira [the subtle body] or jiva [the soul].

Question: What is the path of enquiry for understanding the nature of the mind?

That which arises in the physical body as ‘I’ is the mind. If one enquires, ‘In what place in the body does this “I” first arise?’ it will be known to be in the hridayam. That is the birthplace of the mind. Even if one incessantly thinks ‘I, I’, it will lead to that place. Of all thoughts that arise in the mind, the thought ‘I’ is the first one. It is only after the rise of this [thought] that other thoughts arise. It is only after the first personal pronoun arises that the second and third personal pronouns appear. Without the first person, the second and third persons cannot exist.

Hridayam is usually translated as ‘Heart’, but it has no connection with the physical heart. Bhagavan used it as a synonym for the Self, pointing out on several occasions that it could be split up into two parts, hrit and ayam, which together mean, ‘this is the centre’. Sometimes he would say that the ‘I’-thought arises from the hridayam and eventually subsides there again. He would also sometimes indicate that the spiritual Heart was inside the body on the right aside of the chest, but he would often qualify this by saying that this was only true from the standpoint of those who identified themselves with a body. For a jnani, one who has realised the Self, the hridayam or Heart is not located anywhere, or even everywhere, because it is beyond all spatial concepts. The following answer[2] summarises Bhagavan’s views on this matter:

I ask you to see where the ‘I’ arises in your body, but it is not really quite true to say that the ‘I’ rises from and merges on the right side of the chest. The Heart is another name for the reality, and it is neither inside nor outside the body. There can be no in or out for it since it alone is… so long as one identifies with the body and thinks that he is in the body, he is advised to see where in the body the ‘I’-thought rises and merges again.

A hint of this can also be found in this paragraph of Who am I? in the sentence in which Bhagavan asks devotees to enquire ‘In what place in the body does this “I” first arise?’

Ordinarily, idam, which is translated here as ‘place’, means only that, but Bhagavan often gave it a broader meaning by using it to signify the state of the Self. Later in the essay, for example, he writes, ‘The place [idam] where even the slightest trace of “I” does not exist is swarupa[one’s real nature]’.

Sadhu Natanananda, on the flyleaf of his Tamil work Sri Ramana Darshanam, records a similar statement from Bhagavan: ‘Those who resort to this place [idam] will obtain Atma-jnana automatically.’ Clearly, he cannot be speaking of the physical environment of his ashram because paying a visit there didn’t necessarily result in enlightenment.

So, when Bhagavan writes ‘In what place…’ he is not necessarily indicating that one should look for the ‘I’ in a particular location. He is instead saying that that the ‘I’ rises from the dimensionless Self, and that one should seek its source there.

As he once told Kapali Sastri,[3] ‘You should try to have rather than locate the experience’.

Question: How will the mind become quiescent?

The mind will only subside by means of the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ The thought ‘Who am I?’, destroying all other thoughts, will itself be finally destroyed like the stick used for stirring the funeral pyre.

Question: What is the means for constantly holding on to the thought ‘Who am I?’ And what is jnana drishti?

If other thoughts arise, one should, without attempting to complete them, enquire, ‘To whom did they occur?’ What does it matter if ever so many thoughts arise? At the very moment that each thought rises, if one vigilantly enquires ‘To whom did this appear?’ it will be known ‘To me’. If one then enquires ‘Who am I?’ the mind will turn back to its source and the thought that had arisen will also subside. By repeatedly practising in this way, the mind will increasingly acquire the power to abide at its source. When the mind, which is subtle, is externalised via the brain and the sense organs, names and forms, which are material, appear. When it abides in the Heart, names and forms disappear. Keeping the mind in the Heart, not allowing it to go out, is called ‘facing the Self’ or ‘facing inwards’. Allowing it to go out from the Heart is termed ‘facing outwards’ When the mind abides in the Heart in this way, the ‘I’, the root of all thoughts, [vanishes]. Having vanished, the ever-existing Self alone will shine. The state where not even the slightest trace of the thought ‘I’ remains is alone swarupa [one’s real nature]. This alone is called mauna [silence]. Being still in this way can alone be calledjnana drishti [seeing through true knowledge]. Making the mind subside into the Self is ‘being still’. On the other hand, knowing the thoughts of others, knowing the three times [past present and future] and knowing events in distant places — these can never bejnana drishti.

The word swarupa is another key word in the text. It means ‘one’s real nature’ or ‘one’s real form’. Each time the phrase ‘one’s real nature’ appears in this text, it is a translation of swarupa. Bhagavan’s repeated use of the word as a synonym for the Self indicates that the Self is not something that is reached or attained. Rather, it is what one really is, and what one always has been.

Mauna is another of the synonyms Bhagavan used to describe the Self:

Q: What is mauna [silence]?

A: That state which transcends speech and thought is mauna…. That which is, is mauna. Sages say that the state in which the thought ‘I’ does not rise even in the least, alone is swarupa, which means mauna. That silent Self is alone God…[4]

In jnana, the state of Self-knowledge or Self-realisation, there is no one who sees, nor are there objects that are seen. There is only seeing. The seeing that takes place in this state, called jnana drishti, is both true seeing and true knowing. It is therefore called ‘seeing through true knowledge’.

In Day by Day with Bhagavan (17.10.46) Bhagavan points out that this seeing is really being and should not be confused with or limited to the sensory activity that goes under the same name: ‘You are the Self. You exist always. Nothing more can be predicated of the Self than it exists. Seeing God or the Self is only being God or your Self. Seeing is being.’ The same concept was elegantly formulated by Meister Eckart, the medieval German mystic, when he remarked, during one of his sermons, ‘The eye by which I see God is the same eye by which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye are one and the same, one in seeing, one in knowing…’

Question: What is the nature of the Self?

The Self, one’s real nature, alone exists and is real. The world, the soul and God are superimpositions on it like [the illusory appearance of] silver in mother-of-pearl. These three appear and disappear simultaneously. Self itself is the world; Self itself is the ‘I’; Self itself is God; all is Siva, the Self.

At the beginning of this paragraph Bhagavan says, in effect, that the world, the soul and God are illusory appearances. Later he says that all three are the Self, and therefore real. This should be seen as a paradox rather than a contradiction. The following answer[5] clarifies Bhagavan’s views:

Sankara was criticised for his views on maya [illusion] without understanding him. He said that (1) Brahman [the Self] is real (2) the universe is unreal, and (3) Brahman is the universe. He did not stop at the second because the third explains the other two. It signifies that the universe is real if perceived as the Self and unreal if perceived as apart from the Self. Hence maya and reality are one and the same.

The seeing of names and forms is a misperception because, in the Self, the one reality, none exist. Therefore, if a world of names and forms is seen, it must necessarily be an illusory one. Bhagavan explains this in verse 49 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:

Just as fire is obscured by smoke, the shining light of consciousness is obscured by the assemblage of names and forms. When, by compassionate divine grace, the mind becomes clear, the nature of the world will be known to be not illusory forms, but only the reality.

Question: Are there any other means for making the mind quiescent?

To make the mind subside, there is no adequate means except enquiry. If controlled by other means, the mind will remain in an apparent state of subsidence, but will rise again. For example, through pranayama [breath control] the mind will subside. However, the mind will remain controlled only as long as the prana [see the following note] is controlled. When the prana comes out, the mind will also come out and wander under the influence ofvasanas. The source of the mind and the prana is one and the same. Thought itself is the nature of the mind, and the thought ‘I’ which indeed is the mind’s primal thought, is itself the ahankara [the ego]. From where the ego originates, from there alone the breath also rises. Therefore, when the mind subsides, the prana will also subside, and when prana subsides, the mind will also subside. However, although the mind subsides in deep sleep, the prana does not subside. It is arranged in this way as a divine plan for the protection of the body and so that others do not take the body to be dead. When the mind subsides in the waking state and insamadhi, the prana also subsides. The prana is the gross form of the mind. Until the time of death, the mind retains the prana in the body. When the body dies, the mind forcibly carries away theprana. Therefore, pranayama is only an aid for controlling the mind; it will not bring about its destruction.

According to the Upanishads, prana is the principle of life and consciousness. It is the life breath of all the beings in the universe. They are born through it, live by it, and when they die, their individual pranadissolves into the cosmic prana. Prana is usually translated as ‘breath’ or ‘vital breath’, but this is only one of many of its manifestations in the human body. It is absorbed by both breathing and eating and by theprana vayus (mentioned earlier) into energy that sustains the body. Since it is assimilated through breathing, it is widely held that one can control the prana in the body by controlling the breathing.

According to yoga philosophy, and other schools of thought agree, mind and prana are intimately connected. The collective name for all the mental faculties is chitta, which is divided into:

manas (the mind), which has the faculties of attention and choosing.
buddhi (the intellect), which reasons and determines distinctions.
ahankara, the individual feeling of ‘I’, sometimes merely translated as ego.

Chitta, according to yoga philosophy, is propelled by prana and vasanas and moves in the direction of whichever force is more powerful. Thus, the yogis maintain that by controlling the breath, which indirectly controls the flow of pranas, the chitta can be controlled. Bhagavan gives his own views on this later in the essay.

The reference to samadhi needs some explanation. According toBhagavan,[6] ‘Samadhi is the state in which the unbroken experience of existence is attained by the still mind.’

Elsewhere he has said, more simply, ‘Holding onto reality is samadhi.’[7]

Though Bhagavan would sometimes say that a person in samadhi is experiencing the Self, these samadhis do not constitute permanent realisation. They are temporary states in which the mind is either completely still or in abeyance.

The next section is a continuation of the answer to the previous question: ‘Are there any other means for making the mind quiescent?’

Like breath control, meditation on a form of God, repetition of sacred words and regulation of diet are mere aids for controlling the mind. Through meditation on a form of God and through the repetition of sacred words the mind becomes focused on one point. An elephant’s trunk is always moving around, but when a chain is given to it to hold in its trunk, that elephant will go on its way, holding onto the chain instead of trying to catch other things with it. Similarly, when the mind, which is always wandering, is trained to hold onto any name or form of God, it will only cling to that. Because the mind branches out into innumerable thoughts, each thought becomes very weak. As thoughts subside more and more, one-pointedness [of mind] is gained. A mind that has gained strength in this way will easily succeed in self-enquiry. Of all regulations taking sattvic food in moderate quantities is the best. Through [this], the sattvic quality of the mind gets enhanced and becomes an aid to self-enquiry.

A sattvic diet is one which is vegetarian and which also excludes stimulating substances – such as chillies, tobacco, alcohol – and food that is excessively sour, salty or pungent.

Some Indian systems of thought maintain that the mind is composed of three fluctuating components called gunas:

sattva, purity or harmony.
rajas, activity.
tamas, inertia or sluggishness.

Since the type of food eaten affects the quality of the mind, non-sattvic foods promote rajas and tamas. The sattvic mind is the most desirable. One of the aims of spiritual practice is to increase the sattvic component at the expense of rajas and tamas.

Question: Is it possible for the vishaya vasanas, which come from beginningless time, to be resolved, and for one to remain as the pure Self?

Although vishaya vasanas, which have been recurring down the ages, rise in countless numbers like the waves of an ocean, they will all perish as meditation on one’s real nature becomes more and more intense. Without giving room even to the doubting thought, ‘Is it possible to destroy all these vasanas and remain as Self alone?’ one should persistently and tightly hold onto meditation on one’s real nature. However great a sinner one may be, one should, instead of lamenting, ‘Oh, I am a sinner! How can I attain liberation?’ completely give up even the thought of being a sinner. One steadfast in meditation on one’s real nature will surely be saved.

Question: How long should enquiry be practised? What is non-attachment?

As long as there are vishaya vasanas in the mind, the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ is necessary. As and when thoughts arise, one should, then and there, annihilate them all through self-enquiry in the very place of their origin. Not giving attention to anything other than oneself is non-attachment or desirelessness; not leaving the Self isjnana [true knowledge]. In truth, these two [non-attachment and desirelessness] are one and the same. Just as a pearl diver, tying a stone to his waist, dives into the sea and takes the pearl lying on the bottom, so everyone, diving deeply within himself in a detached way can obtain the pearl of the Self. If one resorts uninterruptedly to remembrance of one’s real nature until one attains the Self, that alone will be sufficient. As long as there are enemies within the fort, they will continue to come out. If one continues to cut all of them down as and when they emerge, the fort will fall into our hands.

Question: Is it not possible for God or the Guru to effect the release of the soul?

God and Guru are, in truth, not different. Just as the prey that has fallen into the jaws of the tiger cannot escape, so those who have come under the glance of the Guru’s grace will never be forsaken. Nevertheless, one should follow without fail the path shown by the Guru.

Remaining firmly in Self-abidance, without giving the least scope for the rising of any thought other than the thought of the Self, is surrendering oneself to God. However much of a burden we throw on God, He bears it all. Since the one supreme ruling power is performing all activities, why should we, instead of yielding ourselves to it, think, ‘I should not act in this way; I should act in that way’? When we know that the train is carrying all the freight, why should we, who travel in it, suffer by keeping our own small luggage on our heads instead of putting it down and remaining happily at ease?

In the last three sections Bhagavan has used three terms, swarupa dhyanam (meditation on one’s real nature), swarupa smaranai(remembrance of one’s real nature), and atma chintanai (the thought of the Self) to indicate the process by which one becomes aware of the Self. They should not be understood to mean that one should try to focus one’s attention on the Self, for the real Self can never be an object of thought. The benedictory verse of Ulladu Narpadu explains what Bhagavan meant by such terms. It asks the question, ‘How to meditate on that reality which is called the Heart?’ since that reality alone exists, and it answers by saying, ‘To abide in the Heart as it really is, is truly meditating.’ That is to say, one can be the Heart by ‘abiding as it is’, but one cannot experience it as an object of attention.

This interpretation is confirmed by the sentence in the last extract from Who Am I? in which Bhagavan equates atma chintanai (the thought of the Self) with atma nishta (Self-abidance).

In a similar vein Bhagavan remarks later in the essay that ‘always keeping the mind fixed in the Self alone can be called self-enquiry’.

Question: What is happiness?

What is called happiness is merely the nature of the Self. Happiness and the Self are not different. The happiness of the Self alone exists; that alone is real. There is no happiness at all in even a single one of the [many] things in the world. We believe that we derive happiness from them on account of aviveka [a lack of discrimination, an inability to ascertain what is correct]. When the mind is externalised, it experiences misery. The truth is, whenever our thoughts [that is, our desires] get fulfilled, the mind turns back to its source and experiences Self-happiness alone. In this way the mind wanders without rest, emerging and abandoning the Self and [later] returning within. The shade under a tree is very pleasant. Away from it the sun’s heat is scorching. A person who is wandering around outside reaches the shade and is cooled. After a while he goes out again, but unable to bear the scorching heat, returns to the tree. In this way he is engaged in going from the shade into the hot sunshine and in coming back from the hot sunshine into the shade. A person who acts like this is an aviveki [someone who lacks discrimination], for a discriminating person would never leave the shade. By analogy, the mind of a jnani never leaves Brahman, whereas the mind of someone who has not realised the Self is such that it suffers by wandering in the world before turning back to Brahman for a while to enjoy happiness. What is called ‘the world’ is only thoughts. When the world disappears, that is, when there are no thoughts, the mind experiences bliss; when the world appears, it experiences suffering.

Question: Is not everything the work of God?

In the mere presence of the sun, which rises without desire, intention or effort, the magnifying glass emits hot light, the lotus blossoms and people begin, perform and cease their work. In front of a magnet a needle moves. Likewise, through the mere influence of the presence of God, who has no sankalpa [intention to accomplish anything], souls, who are governed by the three or five divine functions, perform and cease their activities in accordance with their respective karmas. Even so, He [God] is not someone who has sankalpa, nor will a single act ever touch him. This [untouchability] can be compared to the actions of the world not touching the sun, or to the good and bad qualities of the elements [earth, water, fire and air] not affecting the immanent space.

Sankalpa means ‘resolve’, ‘will’, or ‘intention’. God has no personalsankalpa. That is to say, He does not decide or even think about what he should do. Though mature devotees ‘bloom’ on account of his presence, it is not because He has decided to bestow His grace on these fortunate few. His presence is available to all, but only the mature convert it into realisation.

The three divine functions are creation, sustenance and destruction. The five divine functions are these three plus veiling and grace. According to many Hindu scriptures, God creates, preserves and eventually destroys the world. While it exists, He hides His true nature from the people in it through the veiling power of maya, illusion, while simultaneously emanating grace so that mature devotees can lift the veils of illusion and become aware of Him as He really is.

Question: For those who long for release, is it useful to read books?

It is said in all the scriptures that to attain liberation one should make the mind subside. After realising that mind control is the ultimate injunction of the scriptures, it is pointless to read scriptures endlessly. In order to know the mind, it is necessary to know who one is. How [can one know who one is] by researching instead in the scriptures? One should know oneself through one’s own eye of knowledge. For [a man called] Rama to know himself to be Rama, is a mirror necessary? One’s self exists within the five sheaths, whereas the scriptures are outside them. This self is the one to be enquired into. Therefore, researching in the scriptures, ignoring even the five sheaths, is futile. Enquiring ‘Who am I that am in bondage?’ and knowing one’s real nature is alone liberation.

In self-enquiry one is enquiring into the nature and origin of the individual self, not the all-pervasive Atman. When Self appears in capitals, it denotes Atman, the real Self. When self it appears in lower case, it refers to the individual.

The five sheaths or kosas envelop and contain the individual self. They are:

annamayakosa, the food sheath, which corresponds to the physical body.
pranamayakosa, the sheath made of prana.
manomayakosa, the sheath of the mind.
vijnanmayakosa, the sheath of the intellect.
anandamayakosa, the sheath of bliss.

Sheaths two, three and four comprise the subtle body (sukshma sarira) while the fifth sheath, called the causal body, corresponds to the state of the individual self during sleep.

The individual ‘I’ functions through the five sheaths. Practitioners of theneti-neti ‘(not this, not this’) type of sadhana reject their association with the five sheaths in the way described in the second paragraph of Who Am I? The idea behind this practice is that if one rejects all thoughts, feelings and sensations as ‘not I’, the real ‘I’ will eventually shine in a form that is unlimited by or to the sheaths.

Keeping the mind fixed in the Self at all times is called self-enquiry, whereas thinking oneself to be Brahman, which is sat-chit-ananda [being-consciousness-bliss], is meditation. Eventually, all that one has learnt will have to be forgotten.

One can distinguish different levels of experience in the practice of self-enquiry. In the beginning one attempts to eliminate all transient thoughts by concentrating on or looking for the primal ‘I’-thought. This corresponds to the stage Bhagavan described earlier in the essay when one cuts down all the enemies, the thoughts, as they emerge from the fortress of the mind. If one achieves success in this for any length of time, the ‘I’-thought, deprived of new thoughts to attach itself to, begins to subside, and one then moves to a deeper level of experience. The ‘I’-thought descends into the Heart and remains there temporarily until the residual vasanas cause it to rise again. It is this second stage that Bhagavan refers to when he says that ‘keeping the mind fixed in the Self alone can be called self-enquiry’. Most practitioners of self-enquiry will readily admit that this rarely happens to them, but nevertheless, according to Bhagavan’s teachings, fixing the mind in the Self should be regarded as an intermediate goal on the path to full realisation.

It is interesting to note that Bhagavan restricts the term ‘self-enquiry’ to this phase of the practice. This unusual definition was more or less repeated in an answer he gave to Kapali Sastri:

Q: If I go on rejecting thoughts, can I call it vichara [self-enquiry]?

A: It may be a stepping stone. But real vichara begins when you cling to yourself and are already off the mental movements, the thought waves.[8]

The following optimistic answers by Bhagavan, on keeping the mind in the Heart, may provide encouragement to those practitioners who often feel that such experiences may never come their way:

Q: How long can the mind stay or be kept in the Heart?

A: The period extends by practice.

Q: What will happen at the end of that period?

A: The mind returns to the present normal state. Unity in the Heart is replaced by a variety of perceived phenomena. This is called the outgoing mind. The Heart-going mind is called the resting mind.

When one daily practises more and more in this manner, the mind will become extremely pure due to the removal of its defects and the practice will become so easy that the purified mind will plunge into the Heart as soon as the enquiry iscommenced.[9]

Bhagavan noted that ‘thinking oneself to be Brahman… is meditation’, not enquiry. Traditional advaitic sadhana follows the path of negation and affirmation. In the negative approach, one continuously rejects all thoughts, feelings and sensations as ‘not I’. On the affirmative route one attempts to cultivate the attitude ‘I am Brahman’ or ‘I am the Self’. Bhagavan called this latter approach, and all other techniques in which one concentrates on an idea or a form, ‘meditation’, and regarded all such methods as being indirect and inferior to self-enquiry.

Q: Is not affirmation of God more effective than the quest ‘Who am I?’ Affirmation is positive, whereas the other is negation. Moreover, it indicates separateness.

A: So long as you seek to know how to realise, this advice is given to find your Self. Your seeking the method denotes your separateness.

Q: Is it not better to say ‘I am the Supreme Being’ than ask ‘Who am I?’

A: Who affirms? There must be one to do it. Find that one.

Q: Is not meditation better than investigation?

A: Meditation implies mental imagery, whereas investigation is for the reality. The former is objective, whereas the latter is subjective.

Q: There must be a scientific approach to this subject.

A: To eschew unreality and seek the reality is scientific.[10]

Question: Is it necessary for one who longs for release to enquire into the nature of the tattvas?

Just as it is futile to examine the garbage that has to be collectively thrown away, so it is fruitless for one who is to know himself to count the numbers and scrutinise the properties of the tattvas that are veiling the Self, instead of collectively throwing them all away.

Indian philosophers have split the phenomenal world up into many different entities or categories which are called tattvas. Different schools of thought have different lists of tattvas, some being inordinately long and complicated. Bhagavan encouraged his devotees to disregard all such classifications on the grounds that, since the appearance of the world is itself an illusion, examining its component parts one by one is an exercise in futility.

Question: Is there no difference between waking and dream?

One should consider the universe to be like a dream. Except that waking is long and dreams are short, there is no difference [between the two states]. To the extent to which all the events which happen while one is awake appear to be real, to that same extent even the events that happen in dreams appear at that time to be real. In dreams, the mind assumes another body. In both the dream and the waking [states] thoughts and names-and-forms come into existence simultaneously.

The final two paragraphs of the essay are taken from an answer to a question that has already been given:

Question: Is it possible for the vishaya vasanas, which come from beginningless time, to be resolved, and for one to remain as the pure Self?

There are not two minds, one good and another evil. the mind is only one. it is only the vasanas that are either auspicious or inauspicious. When the mind is under the influence of auspicious tendencies, it is called a good mind, and when it is under the influence of inauspicious tendencies, a bad mind. However evil people may appear, one should not hate them. Likes and dislikes are both to be disliked. One should not allow the mind to dwell much on worldly matters. As far as possible, one should not interfere in the affairs of others. All that one gives to others, one gives only to oneself. If this truth is known, who indeed will not give to others? If the individual self rises, all will rise.

If the individual self subsides, all will subside. To the extent that we behave with humility, to that extent will good result. If one can continuously control the mind, one can live anywhere.
Source: David Goodman

RAMANA MAHARSHI || WHO AM I?

Published on Jan 13, 2017

http://www.amodamaa.com
A short introduction to Amoda’s work.
Music by Kavi Jezzie Hockaday: ‘Rain Song.’


Published on Jan 13, 2017

Discussing the notion of Good and Ethics.


Adyashanti explores the idea of renewing our consciousness from day to day. By letting go of the weight of the past, you become unencumbered and liberated to discover a sense of renewal. By entering into a constant state of renewal, you enter into a sacred dimension of being that is fresh, vital, and alive. This allows you the opportunity to deeply awaken to your eternal essence. Adyashanti invites you to discover this instant renewal for yourself in every moment.

Quotes from this video:

“Meditation is the act of being in a state of renewal—of listening to the quiet spaces inside as opposed to the noisy spaces inside.”

“The sacred dimension has that sense of freshness—that sense of instant renewal.”


Published on Dec 29, 2016

Jannecke Øinæs from Norway interviews Sri Mooji as he speaks about the most important discovery that can be made in the human kingdom and the spontaneous integration of knowledge that comes with falling in love with the Self.

“The ego is actually the fiction of our self. The fact is your inmost being.”
~ Mooji

Jannecke Øinæs’ website is http://wisdomfromnorth.com


#1 New York Times Bestseller!

In her latest book, The Universe Has Your Back, New York Times best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein teaches readers how to transform their fear into faith in order to live a divinely guided life. Each story and lesson in the book guides readers to release the blocks to what they most long for: happiness, security, and clear direction. The lessons help readers relinquish the need to control so they can relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. Readers will learn to stop chasing life and truly live.

Making the shift from fear to faith will give readers a sense of power in a world that all too often makes them feel utterly powerless. When the tragedies of the world seem overwhelming, this book will help guide them back to their true power.

Gabrielle says, “My commitment with this book is to wake up as many people as possible to their connection to faith and joy. In that connection, we can be guided to our true purpose: to be love and spread love. These words can no longer be cute buzz phrases that we merely post on social media. Rather, these words must be our mission. The happiness, safety, and security we long for lies in our commitment to love.”

When readers follow this path, they’ll begin to feel a swell of energy move through them. They will find strength when they are down, synchronicity and support when they’re lost, safety in the face of uncertainty, and joy when they are otherwise in pain. Follow the secrets revealed in this book to unleash the presence of your power and know always that The Universe Has Your Back.

Gabrielle is the New York Times best-selling author of May Cause Miracles. She appears regularly as an expert on NBC’s Today Show, has been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as a next-generation thought leader, and was named “a new role model” by the New York Times. She is also the author of the books Add More ~ing to Your Life, Spirit Junkie and her newest book Miracles Now. Gabrielle is the founder HerFuture.com, a social networking site for women to inspire, empower and connect.

Youtube named Gabrielle one of 16 Youtube Next Video Bloggers, she was named one of Mashable’s 11 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Inspiration and she’s featured on the Forbes List of 20 Best Branded Women. Gabrielle has a monthly segment on the Today show and weekly radio show on Hay House Radio. She has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times Sunday Styles, ELLE, OWN, Kathy Lee & Hoda, Oprah Radio, Anderson Live, Access Hollywood, Marie Claire, Health, SELF, Women’s Health, Glamor, The New York Times Thursday Styles, Sunday Times UK, featured on the cover Experience Life and Self-Made Magazines (top 50 Women in Business) and many more.

For gabrielle’s free videos and meditations visit http://gabbyb.tv/. Check out Gabrielle’s latest release: the Spirit Junkie Alarm App: http://gabbyb.tv/spirit-junkie-app


Published on Jan 10, 2017

Also see https://batgap.com/marianne-williamson/

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Marianne has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose & Bill Maher. Seven of her twelve published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1. The mega best seller A Return to Love is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality. A paragraph from that book, beginning “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…” is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers.

Marianne is the founder of Sister Giant, an annual conference dedicated to forging a deeper conversation about what is happening in America today – and what we can do to change it. This year’s conference is coming up February 2-4 in Washington, DC. Speakers include Senator Bernie Sanders (keynote), Thom Hartmann, Jean Houston, Robert Thurman, and many more. The event will be livestreamed.

Marianne’s other books include: The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness, and Making Miracles A Woman’s Worth Illuminata: A Return to Prayer Healing the Soul of America: Reclaiming Our Voices as Spiritual Citizens A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for Living Your Best Life A Year of Miracles: Daily Devotions and Reflections, and her newest book, Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment, available now.

Marianne is a native of Houston, Texas. In 1989, she founded Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area. To date, Project Angel Food has served over 10 million meals. Marianne also co-founded the Peace Alliance. And she serves on the Board of Directors of the RESULTS organization, working to end the worst ravages of hunger and poverty throughout the world.

According to Time magazine, “Yoga, the Cabala and Marianne Williamson have been taken up by those seeking a relationship with God that is not strictly tethered to Christianity.”

Website: http://marianne.com


Has the modern scientific world robbed our lives of a deeper sense of meaning and purpose? Has science rendered God irrelevant? Or can science actually bring us towards a deeper spiritual understanding and a greater sense of joy in our daily lives?

Space scientist and physicist Anthony Mannucci explores these questions from a unique point of view. He begins by stating the obvious: everyone wants a sense of purpose and meaning to their lives. How to achieve it? Dr. Mannucci’s narrative takes us down a path where science is a starting point for something deeper. He reveals an Absolute Truth that is central to science and to our nature as spiritual beings. Dr. Mannucci expertly explains the power and the limitations of science. He reveals that science and spirituality are not distant cousins but in fact share a bond.

What follows is an exploration of mind, and how exploring the nature of mind leads us to a deeper appreciation of our spiritual nature. Dr. Mannucci shows how the right words and ideas can change your life. In concluding the book, Dr. Mannucci discusses the importance of mystery and awe, two emotions familiar to every scientist. You will find the ideas in this book original and refreshing, conveying a message of hope and joy. Those who embrace these words will not regret their decision.

Dr. Anthony J. Mannucci is a NASA space physicist who has devoted his life to unraveling the secrets of our larger world and increasing the knowledge of humanity.


Published on Jan 8, 2017

Sruti is a spiritual teacher who writes about finding God within an experience with an uncommon and painful illness called Interstitial Cystitis. She has been interviewed on the Buddha at the Gas Pump talk show on YouTube about her experience of spiritual awakening in the midst of intense pain: VIEW HERE

This ongoing and chronic condition challenged her to stay present with daily pain and to look further inward for answers. In an extreme moment of pain, in which consciousness began to fade, Sruti experienced the erasure of all that clouds over the earliest source of vision.

She watched as one by one the layers of the mind, the body and feelings disappeared before her. She asks the question: Who is the One that Can Never Leave You? With whose vision are we seeing when the lights are going out? Has this early vision ever known anything at all?

Sruti’s book, The Hidden Value of Not Knowing, is available as an audiobook and an eBook online at Amazon: View Here

For more information about Sruti please visit http://www.srutisangha.org


Is it possible to fully accept, even love, the life you have? Is it possible to drop the struggle to make yourself and your life different? Acclaimed teacher and bestselling author Roger Housden says yes in this profound alternative to nonstop striving and self-criticism. Whether about our relationships, careers, or spirituality, many of us judge ourselves as not measuring up. But fulfillment comes when we stop struggling and learn to trust the wisdom of what life presents us with.

Housden wrote Dropping the Struggle as someone who, up until a few years ago, spent much of his time in a covert struggle with life. Despite his success, he often felt that something was missing. He struggled for years with an ongoing spiritual longing, with questions of meaning and purpose, with the search for love, with all the usual difficulties of being human, until he finally realized — though not with his thinking mind — that the only thing life was asking of him was to rest in a deeper knowing that was always there, usually silently, behind the arguments and strategies that would so commonly occupy his conscious self.

“Struggle will never get us the things we want most,” Housden writes, “love; meaning; presence; freedom from anxiety over the past and future; contentment with ourselves exactly as we are, imperfections and all; the acceptance of our mortality — because these things lie outside the ego’s domain. For these, we need another way. That way begins and ends in surrender, in letting go of our resistance to life as it presents itself.”

Read An Excerpt

Roger Housden talks about DROPPING THE STRUGGLE

Published on Aug 17, 2016

In our culture of “get more, have more, be more,” is there any place for “good enough is good enough”? Author Roger Housden says “yes” in this interview about DROPPING THE STRUGGLE: 7 Ways to Love the Life You Have.

TEARS TO TRIUMPH VIEW HERE


Published on Jan 6, 2017

Full-Length Version

 To be released on June 1, 2017


To be released on June 1, 2017


In Embodied Enlightenment, contemporary spiritual teacher Amoda Maa Jeevan dispels the outdated view of a transcendent enlightenment and instead presents a new, feminine expression of awakened consciousness for all—one that is felt and known through what our everyday lives are made of: our emotions, bodies, intimate relationships, work, and life’s purpose. This book is a direct invitation to awaken in a profound, embodied way, and to participate in a collective evolution that can create a new world.

When many of us think of enlightenment, we may envision a life of seclusion and contemplation, transcending the body and worldly attachments, or the achievement of karmic perfection. But what if, rather than something reserved for the mountaintop meditator or sage, the call to awaken is meant for us all? And how can we consciously live that awakening in the midst of our complex, messy, modern lives?

Speaking from her own awakened experience, Amoda Maa Jeevan offers a timeless wisdom, busting some of the common myths about enlightenment and addressing topics often excluded from more traditional spiritual conversations—from the connection between consciousness and the body to relationships to planetary health. In addition, she covers the unfamiliar territory of what happens after enlightenment, delving into awakened action, creative expression, and more.

There’s an urgency today to evolve beyond humanity’s current ego-based paradigm, and along with it, a unique expression of enlightenment is emerging. With clarity, passion, and grace, Embodied Enlightenment invites you on an exploration of consciousness that embraces both the messiness of your earthly experience and the non-duality of pure awareness, offering guidance on how your daily life can bring you into alignment with a divine destiny of individual and collective awakening.

Amoda Maa Jeevan is a contemporary spiritual teacher and author. In 2002, after many years of spiritual seeking, meditation, and immersion in psychospiritual practices, an experience of the dark night of the soul led to a profound inner awakening. After a long period of integration, in 2012, she started speaking from silence in small gatherings in the UK. Today, she offers meetings and retreats to a growing global audience. Amoda Maa is becoming known as a unique voice, attracting spiritual seekers from the non-dual community, as well as more diverse seekers such as students of A Course in Miracles and New Thought. She has been a guest on Conscious TV and Buddha at the Gas Pump, and is also a regular speaker at the SAND (Science and Nonduality) Conference and the Open Circle Center in the United States.

Amoda Maa’s background in psychology and her experience for many years as a transformational group facilitator and emotional/spiritual counselor, as well as her personal journey through suffering, have led to an innate wisdom rooted in direct experience and a conviction of clarity. Her teaching today emanates the untamable fragrance of freedom while radically embracing the totality of the human experience.

Amoda Maa is the author of two books, How to Find God in Everything (Watkins, 2008; released as a revised edition, Radical Awakening, in March 2016) and Change Your Life, Change Your World (Watkins, 2012), both of which arose out of a mystical vision around the same time as her awakening. In this vision, she was shown the key to humanity’s suffering and the potential for the birth of a new consciousness and a new world. While the expression of her writing and speaking since then has evolved in both depth and breadth, this vision has been the catalyst for her work. Embodied Enlightenment is based on both her vision for humanity as well as the conversations that arise at the cutting edge of non-duality in her meetings with people from all around the world.

Satsang with Amoda – Is awakening possible amidst the busy-ness of everyday life?

An excerpt from Satsang with Amoda Maa Jeevan, in which she talks about the possibility of awakening amidst the busy-ness of everyday life and the “maturation of awakening” as a conscious journey

If we take a look at the events of our world, we will easily realize that we live in revolutionary times. The revolution of our days is, however, entirely different from any other revolutions in human history.

This revolution is not launched in order to rearrange the domain of forms and shapes, so as to replace old and outdated forms and shapes with new, dynamic and vivid ones. This revolution is able to take humanity beyond forms and shapes. The revolution of our time is the revolution of the Consciousness.

Consciousness, which has been sound asleep under the spell of identification with the forms and shapes for thousands of years, is slowly waking up in our days. There is an increasingly powerful alarming impulse, and the number of people sensitive to the wake up call is getting bigger and bigger.

The effects of this impulse, waking us up from our dream of identification with the forms and shapes is felt by everybody, sometimes even several times a day. But many of us are unaware of what we actually experience; all we feel is that successes achievable in the world are less and less attractive for us. We recognize that behind earthly successes and failures there has to be something deeper, something more profound in our life.

We see it day by day that an increasing number of young people question the appropriateness of the goals offered by social and religious education. They shake off the hands trying to lead them along the right track, and as a consequence, they are exposed to the experience of emptiness and despair.

Society offers a ”solution” for the problem, in the form of the products of the entertainment and pharmaceutical industries and the manufacturers and service providers of excise goods and services. Today, these are prospering and extremely lucrative industries. They offer ”help” to young people in suppressing fear and in treating other superficial symptoms.

There is only one gateway leading out of this situation: and that is the present moment. We are only able to shift the center of gravity of our life from the peripheries to the center. What does it mean?

The edge is the present state of Consciousness, in which the overwhelming majority of people live. That is the state of identifying with the mind, that of the dormant Consciousness, which dreams and tells our personal history.

That is the state of perfect identification with thoughts, emotions and desires, where we seek the goals of our life only in the world of forms and shapes, whether they are crude material forms (the world experienced with our sensory organs) or fine material forms (thoughts, emotions). The motor of our existence on the edge is the ambition to become something or somebody and to be in control all the time.

The centerpoint, the Awakened Consciousness, and the world of internal silence are beyond the mind. It does not refer to the internal silence forced upon oneself by various techniques called meditation (in this case, in fact concentration), but the indescribable, but experienceable, alive and living internal emptiness. In there, there is no effort, no desire and ambition, and we give up the last bastion of wanting to be in control. This is the state of perfect abandonment and submission, submitting ourselves to the Present Moment, to the Now.

The revolution of the Consciousness is therefore taking place Now, in the present moment. There are no strategies, no great leaders in this revolution, only heroes who understand the evolutionary progress of the Consciousness and are open to allow the processes to take place in themselves.

~ Excerpted from the book by Frank M. Wanderer: The Revolution of Consciousness: Deconditioning the Programmed Mind VIEW HERE


Published on Jan 5, 2017

A discussion proposing an experiential way to explore the nature of Consciousness.


Answer, There are a number of levels from which I can respond to your question…
The first is to say that enlightenment is the awakened state of Being. When all thoughts have stopped and you are in a state of deep inner silence, which is profoundly peaceful and still, you are in the enlightened state. You are so fully present with everything around you that separation largely dissolves and you experience Oneness. You feel the Presence of God or the Divine within you and within everything around you.

It is profoundly blissful. A deep inner knowing arises and yet you are in silence. You come to know yourself as love. Profound insights and revelations sometimes emerge out of the silence. Spontaneous healings can occur.

This awakened state is the natural state of your Being. It is the truth of who you are. It is ever present within you. It is just that most of the time, you are so involved in the world of the thinking mind and the past and future that you are largely unaware of it.

At the deepest level of enlightenment, or Presence, all separation dissolves completely. The personal dimension of you disappears. There is no sense of your self in the past or the future. There is no sense of life outside of the present moment. You have become utterly absorbed into Oneness and the mystery of existence in the moment.

However, you cannot function in the world at this level. You would need a team of caretakers to take care of you. I recommend a softer version of enlightenment — one that allows you to function in the world in an enlightened and balanced way.

This means that you are fundamentally grounded in the present moment, but the world of time is available to you. You are in the world but not of the world. You have a sense of the past and future, but you are not identified with it in any way. You know that only this moment is the truth of life.

Enlightenment is also a process.

Each time you allow repressed feelings, thoughts and memories to emerge from the darkness of your unconscious mind into the light of awakened consciousness, you bring more light into your life and your Being. As you continue with this process of liberating yourself from the wounds and traumas of the past, you will gradually become enlightened, which simply means that there is nothing left in the darkness of the unconscious mind.
Source: Leonard Jacobson

Published on Jan 4, 2017

Non-duality teacher Rupert Spira shows us a ‘method’ / a ‘treatment’ which those who are not in spirituality won’t often hear. But we have to deal with it responsibly and honestly! He advices us to remain as the knower, as awareness, detached from the depression itself and thus becoming free from suffering and depression.

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Depression is a becoming more and more a serious mental health illness, which – without therapy or treatment – can lead to a life full of suffering or even suicide. But we don’t have to live with it forever. Rupert shares his advice on how to deal with depression wisely so that we get a spiritual understanding of it and overcome not only depression, but also other negative emotions like sadness, doubt, frustration, melancholia, etc.

Rupert asks us to enquire into the nature of what is going on inside of us. What is it that we know about depression? (Rupert Spira Quotes)
‘All there is to the depression is the knowing [awareness ] of it, that knowing is shining right on the surface of the feeling. It’s not buried behind it. You don’t have to separate yourself out from the depression and go looking for this knowing presence, (…) It’s right there shining (…).’ He continues ‘So give your attention to the knowing.’ It’s a very subtle change of focus that we have to make. Instead of focusing on the depression, we focus on the knowing of it. And we don’t have to escape the negative feeling. Because on the surface of the feeling, our true being shines. As a result of this ‘The depression itself, the feeling itself will have been revealed, the true substance of the feeling will have been revealed, which is happiness. Happiness is the substance of all feelings, even our deepest depression.’

So, if we listen to Rupert’s advice we can learn

– how to deal with depression and other negative emotions and feelings
– how to become free of the suffering that depression can create
– how to become aware of depression
– how to live a happier life
– how to enquire into and meditate on our true nature, which is awareness and how to remain as that awareness / consciousness.
– how to be your true, authentic Self.

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There are three transformational processes within the evolution of the Consciousness. These are, in fact, three levels of development. At these different levels of development the state and functions of the Counsciousness show entirely different signs. If we are aware of these characteristic signs, we may easily recognize what state of development of the Consciousness we are in: ordinary Consciousness, awakening or the level of complete freedom.

The Level of Ordinary Consciousness

This is the lowest level of the evolutional process of the Consciousness. Ordinary Consciousness is rooted in, and feeds on, past times. The present moment is less important for it, it is only a gateway leading to a future we long for. Future is nothing but an improved and beautified version of the past, a future in which we will be successful in the all the things in which we have failed in the past. For ordinary consciousness, only past and future exist, it lives in those and feeds on those.

In that state of Consciousness the appreciation and opinion of others are very important for us. We want to meet the expectation directed at us, we are pleased to play the social roles that are dictated by our community. We thrive to be good parents, a good husband or wife, useful employees and law abiding citizens. Our willingness to play these roles is caused by our complete identification with those roles. Our entire indentity is based upon those roles. We do not look for true answers to the question ”Who am I?;” we are content to be told that by others.

In the state of ordinary Consciousness, the dominant character of our life is the Ego; we wish to make it larger, brighter and more individual. That is why we are learning, gathering knowledge from others, until the end of our life, in the belief that we will thus become more and more intelligent. Still, we become less and less self-confident, and we do not have enough courage to face the challenges of life on our own. We therefore need a guide, a support. We do not long for complete freedom, we follow pre-determined rules and respect authority.

The Level of Awakening

The advent of that level is indicated by moments in our life when we wake up from our ordinary life, and recognize the reality that we in fact live in the captivity of our thoughts, emotions and social roles. Under the effect of those moments, a profound desire for freedom and truth arises in us. We then begin to search for the paths leading to the desired freedom. We intend to become more conscious and alert, to find the truth for ourselves about who we are and what our mission in the world is.

We no longer want to obey the old rules, old leaders, traditions and authorities. We no longer accept ready-made, second-hand theories and explanations. We are not ready to depend on the opinion of others any more. Instead, we want to acquire knowledge and experience from the world for ourselves. We take pleasure in discovering new things, and we embark on new journeys without fear.

It is at that level that real self-control is created in us. This self-control is not rooted in fear of punishment or hope of reward. Many people are able to develop a high degree of self-control in the fear of Hell or the hope of Heaven, or merely because they want to work together with something they regard as larger than themselves. That kind self-control will, however, only produce temporary results, since it is the based upon suppression. Its maintenance requires constant effort from us. If, for some reason, the degree of effort declines, the suppressed desires, anger and emotions burst out, causing us even more suffering.

Real self-control is not born in us out of suppression, but out of the recognition and understanding of the meaning of Life. That kind of self-control will liberate our Consciousness from the state of identification with the world of Shapes and Forms. It will create a space between us and the functions of the Mind, and in that space the ability of seeing and understanding will be born.

Real self-control does not have any rules, and there is nobody around to tell us how to do that. Everybody must create that self-control in themselves without any external pressure, putting aside all kinds of authorities, and using their own personal experience. Everything created for us by others is transitory, but what we create for ourselves will be lasting and permanent. Everybody must find himself or herself what he or she is looking for.

The Level of Complete Freedom

This is the highest peak in the evolution of the Consciousness. The most important characteristic feature of this level is alertness, the acceptance of the present moment, an openness to the existence, and a celebration of life.

In that state of Consciousness an entirely new dimension of existence opens up for us, showing us Existence from a completely new perspective. The unity behind the controversies is revealed in front of our eyes, and we no longer insist on looking on the sunny side of life, as we are able to discover beauty on the dark side, too.

We accept life as it is, and it is not done under pressure, since that acceptance is the result of our complete freedom. The freedom is, in turn, a fruit of our escape from the world of Shapes and Forms. We have understood and experienced the process of awakening. The time has come for us to take control over our mind whenever it is required by the circumstances. When we do not need the work of the mind directly, let us give it some rest.

Everything will be quiet and peaceful in us. We are beyond all good and evil, we are a mere Consciousness that does not analyse or judge, only contemplates. We realize that the same contemplating soul lives in everybody, so the differences between human beings are only superficial, and deep inside we are all the same. Experiencing that unity will bring us the ecstasy of Life, the perfect joy of Existence.

This article is excerpted from the book, The Chant of the Heart: Enjoy the Nectar of Being…
The of the Heart: Enjoy the Nectar of Being

By Frank M. Wanderer


The common idea that DNA determines so much of who we are — not only our eye or hair color, for example, but also our addictions, disorders, or susceptibility to cancer — is a misconception. This concept “says you are less powerful than your genes.”

The problem with that belief system is that it extends to another level … You find yourself to be more or less a victim of your heredity. You become irresponsible. You say, “I can’t do anything about it, so why try?”

In reality, a person’s perception, not genetic programming, is what spurs all action in the body. It is actually our beliefs that select our genes, that select our behavior.

The human body is comprised of 50 to 65 trillion cells. Cell functions independent of DNA and its perceptions of environmental stimuli affect DNA. This also applies the same principles to the human body as a whole, showing the power our perceptions, our beliefs, have over DNA.

5-Step Explanation

1.The cell is like a human body and it functions without DNA

The cell is like a human body. It is capable of respiration, digestion, reproduction, and other life functions. The nucleus, which contains the genes, has traditionally been viewed as the control center — the brain of the cell.

Yet, when the nucleus is removed, the cell continues with all of its life functions and it can still recognize toxins and nutrients. It appears the nucleus — and the DNA it contains — does not control the cell.

Scientists assumed some 50 years ago that genes control biology. It just seemed so correct, we bought the story. We don’t have the right assumptions.

2. DNA is controlled by the environment

Proteins carry out the functions in cells and they are building blocks of life. It has long been thought that DNA controls or determines the actions of proteins.

Here I propose a different model. Environmental stimuli that come into contact with the cell membrane are perceived by receptor proteins in the membrane. This sets off a chain reaction of proteins passing on what could be described as messages to other proteins, motivating action in the cell.

DNA is coated in a protective sleeve of protein. The environmental signals act on that protein, causing it to open up and to select certain genes for use — genes specifically needed to react to the current environment.

Basically, DNA is not the beginning of the chain reaction. Instead, the cell membrane’s perception of the environment is the first step.

If there are no perceptions, the DNA is inactive.

Genes can’t turn themselves on or off … they can’t control themselves. If a cell is cut off from any environmental stimuli, it doesn’t do anything. Life is due to how the cell responds to the environment.

3. Perception of the environment is not necessarily the reality of the environment

In a 1988 study done by John Cairns, published in the journal Nature titled “The Origin of Mutants,” he showed that mutations in DNA were not random, but happened in a predetermined way in response to environmental stresses.

In every one of your cells, you have genes whose function it is to rewrite and adapt genes as necessary. In a chart illustrating Cairns findings in the journal, environmental signals were shown to be separate from the organism’s perception of environmental signals.

A being’s perception of the environment acts as a filter between the reality of the environment and the biological reaction to it.

Perception rewrites genes!

4. Human beliefs, choosing to perceive a positive or negative environment

Just as a cell has receptor proteins to perceive the environment outside the cell membrane, humans have the five senses.

These are what help a person determine which genes need to be activated for a given situation.

The genes are like programs on a computer disk. These programs can be divided into two classes: the first relates to growth, or reproduction; the second relates to protection.

When a cell encounters nutrients, the growth genes are activated and used. When a cell encounters toxins, the protection genes are activated and used.

When a human being encounters love, the growth genes are activated. When a human being encounters fear, the protection genes are activated.

A person may perceive a negative environment where there is actually a supportive or positive environment. When this negative perception activates the protection genes, the body’s response is the programmed “fight or flight.”

5. ‘Fight or Flight’

Blood flow is directed away from the vital organs to the limbs, which are used for fighting and running. The immune system becomes of lesser importance. If you picture the responses we once needed for running from a lion, for example, the legs would have been infinitely more important in that immediate situation than the immune system. Thus, the body favors the legs and neglects the immune system.

So, when a person perceives a negative environment, the body tends to neglect the immune system and vital organs. Stress also makes us less intelligent, less clear-minded. The part of the brain related to reflexes is given more prominence in fight or flight mode than the part related to memory and other mental functions.

When a person perceives a loving environment, the body activates growth genes and nurtures the body.

For example, in Eastern European orphanages where children are given lots of nutrients, but little love these types of institutions have found to have stunted development in terms of height, learning, and other areas. There is also a high incidence of autism. Autism in this case is a symptom of protection genes being activated, like walls being put up.

Beliefs act as a filter between the real environment and your biology. Thus, people have the power to change their biology. It is important to keep a clear perception because otherwise you won’t develop the right things biologically for the real environment around you.

You are not victims of genes. What beliefs are you choosing for your genes to be expressed?

Please note: The above is a simplistic summary of “The Biology of Belief”. For more details, you may visit http://www.brucelipton.com

Previous article by Dr. Lipton:

The Human Genome – Perception Directly Controls Gene Activity

Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D is an internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit. Stem cell biologist, bestselling author of The Biology of Belief and recipient of the 2009 Goi Peace Award, he has been a guest speaker on hundreds of TV and radio shows, as well as keynote presenter for national and international conferences.

Dr. Lipton has taken his award-winning medical school lectures to the public and is currently a sought after keynote speaker and workshop presenter. He lectures to conventional and complementary medical professionals and lay audiences about leading-edge science and how it dovetails with mind-body medicine and spiritual principles. His books include:

2005 The Biology of Belief – Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles View Here
2006 The Wisdom of Your Cells – How Your Beliefs Control Your Biology
2009 Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There from Here
2013 The Honeymoon Effect: The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth

This collection of autobiographical and teaching stories from peace activist and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is thought provoking and inspiring. Collected here for the first time, these stories span his life. There are stories from his childhood and the traditions of rural Vietnam. There are stories from his years as a teenage novice, as a young teacher and writer in war torn Vietnam, and of his travels around the world to teach mindfulness, make pilgrimages to sacred sites and influence world leaders.

The tradition of Zen teaching stories goes back at least to the time of the Buddha. Like the Buddha, Thich Nhat Hanh uses story–telling to engage people’s interest so he can share important teachings, insights and life lessons.

LOOK INSIDE

Finding Your Inner Peace & Peace Of Mind – Spiritual Teachers – Teaching by Thich Naht Hanh

Thich Naht Hanh teaches us how to become mindful of breathing in our everyday lives. Through meditation and being mindful one can become free from pain and suffering and learn true wisdom through insight.

Thích Nhất Hạnh ; born October 11, 1926 is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. He lives in the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in the South of France, travelling internationally to give retreats and talks. He coined the term Engaged Buddhism in his book “Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire”. A long-term exile, he was given permission to make his first return trip to Vietnam in 2005.

Nhất Hạnh has published more than 100 books, including more than 40 in English. Nhat Hanh is active in the peace movement, promoting non-violent solutions to conflict and he is also refraining from animal product consumption as means of non-violence towards non-human animals.


Our most fundamental sense of well-being is derived from the conscious experience of belonging. Relatedness is essential to survival.
When we feel part of the whole, connected to our bodies, each other, and the living Earth, there is a sense of inherent rightness, of being wakeful and in love. The experience of universal belonging is at the heart of all mystical traditions. In realizing non-separation, we come home to our primordial and true nature.

It’s here in all the pieces of my shame
That now I find myself again.
I yearn to belong to something, to be contained
In an all-embracing mind that sees me. . . .

—Rainer Maria Rilke

The Buddha taught that suffering arises out of feeling separate. To the degree that we identify as a separate self, we have the feeling that something is wrong, something is missing. We want life to be different from the way it is. An acute sense of separation—living inside of a contracted and isolated self—amplifies feelings of vulnerability and fear, grasping and aversion. Feeling separate is an existential trance in which we have forgotten the wholeness of our being.

Never in the history of the world has the belief in a separate self been so exaggerated and prevalent as it is now in the twenty-first century in the West. In contrast to Asian and other traditional societies, our distinctive mode of identification is as individuals, without stable pre-existing contexts of belonging to families, communities, tribes or religious groups. Our desperate efforts to enhance and protect this fragile self have caused an unprecedented degree of severed belonging at all levels in our society. In our attempts to dominate the natural world, we have separated ourselves from the Earth. In our efforts to prove and defend ourselves, we have separated ourselves from each other. Managing life from our mental control towers, we have separated ourselves from our bodies and hearts.

With our Western experience of an extremely isolated self, we exemplify fully what the Buddha described as self-centered suffering. If we identify as a separate self, we become the background “owner” of whatever occurs. Ajahn Buddhadasa, a twentieth-century Thai meditation master, describes this conditioning to attach an idea of self to experience as “I-ing” and my-ing. Life happens emotions well up, sensations arise, events come and go and we then add onto the experiences that they are happening to me, because of me.

When inevitable pain arises, we take it personally. We are diagnosed with a disease or go through a divorce, and we perceive that we are the cause of unpleasantness (we’re deficient) or that we are the weak and vulnerable victim (still deficient). Since everything that happens reflects on me, when something seems wrong, the source of wrong is me. The defining characteristic of the trance of separation is this feeling and fearing of deficiency.

Both our upbringing and our culture provide the immediate breeding ground for this contemporary epidemic of feeling deficient and unworthy. Many of us have grown up with parents who gave us messages about where we fell short and how we should be different from the way we are. We were told to be special, to look a certain way, to act a certain way, to work harder, to win, to succeed, to make a difference, and not to be too demanding, shy or loud. An indirect but insidious message for many has been, “Don’t be needy.” Because our culture so values independence, self-reliance and strength, even the word needy evokes shame. To be considered as needy is utterly demeaning, contemptible. And yet, we all have needs—physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual. So the basic message is, “Your natural way of being is not okay; to be acceptable you must be different from the way you are.”

Almost two decades ago, author John Bradshaw and others enlarged our cultural self-awareness by calling attention to the crippling effect of shame. Since then, many have recognized the pervasive presence of shame much as we might an invisible toxin in the air we breathe. Feeling “not good enough” is that often unseen engine that drives our daily behavior and life choices. Fear of failure and rejection feeds addictive behavior. We become trapped in workaholism—an endless striving to accomplish—and we overconsume to numb the persistent presence of fear.

In the most fundamental way, the fear of deficiency prevents us from being intimate or at ease anywhere. Failure could be around any corner, so it is hard to lay down our hypervigilance and relax. Whether we fear being exposed as defective either to ourselves or to others, we carry the sense that if they knew . . . , they wouldn’t love us. A winning entry in a Washington Post T-shirt contest highlights the underlying assumption of personal deficiency that is so emblematic of our Western culture: “I have occasional delusions of adequacy.”

During high school, I consciously struggled with not liking myself, but during college I was distressed by the degree of self-aversion. On a weekend outing, a roommate described her inner process as “becoming her own best friend.” I broke down sobbing, overwhelmed at the degree to which I was unfriendly toward my life. My habit for years had been to be harsh and judgmental toward what I perceived as a clearly flawed self. My attachment to self-improvement transferred itself into the domain of spiritual practice. While I realized at the time that kindness was intrinsic to the spiritual path, in retrospect it is clear how feeling unworthy directly shaped my approach to spiritual life.

I moved into an ashram and spent twelve years trying to be more pure—waking up early, doing hours of yoga and meditation, organizing my life around service and community. I had some idea that if I really applied myself, it would take eight or ten years to awaken spiritually. The activities were wholesome, but I was still aiming to upgrade a flagging self. Periodically I would go to see a spiritual teacher I admired and inquire, “So, how am I doing? What else can I do?” Invariably these different teachers responded, “Just relax.” I wasn’t sure what they meant, but I didn’t think they really meant “relax.” How could they? I clearly wasn’t “there” yet.

During a six-week Buddhist meditation retreat, I spent at least twelve days with a stomach virus. Not only was there physical discomfort, but I found that I made myself “wrong” for being sick. Having already struggled with chronic sickness, this retreat made it clear just how harshly I had been relating to myself. Sickness had become another sign of personal deficiency. My assumption was that I didn’t know how to take care of myself. I feared that being sick reflected unworthiness and a basic lack of spiritual maturity.

In one of the evening dharma talks, a teacher said, “The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom.” For me this rang incredibly true. I had been hitting that boundary repeatedly, contracted by the almost invisible tendency to believe something was wrong with me. Wrong if I was fatigued, wrong if my mind was wandering, wrong if I was anxious, wrong if I was depressed. The overlay of shame converted unpleasant experiences into a verdict on self. Pain turned into suffering. In the moment that I made myself wrong, the world got small and tight. I was in the trance of unworthiness.

Several years ago, at a meeting with a group of Western teachers, the Dalai Lama expressed astonishment at the degree of self-aversion and feelings of unworthiness reported by Western students. I know many friends and students who have found, as I did, that even after decades of spiritual practice, they are still painfully burdened by feelings of personal deficiency. Many assumed that meditation alone would take care of it. Instead, they found that deep pockets of shame and self-aversion had a stubborn way of persisting over the years.

Carl Jung describes a paradigm shift in understanding the spiritual path: Rather than climbing up a ladder seeking perfection, we are unfolding into wholeness. We are not trying to transcend or vanquish the difficult energies that we consider wrong—the fear, shame, jealousy, anger. This only creates a shadow that fuels our sense of deficiency. Rather, we are learning to turn around and embrace life in all its realness—broken, messy, vivid, alive.

Yet even when our intention in spiritual practice is to include the difficult energies, we still have strong conditioning to resist their pain. The experience of shame—feeling fundamentally deficient—is so excruciating that we will do whatever we can to avoid it. The etymology of the word shame is “to cover.” Rather than feel the rawness of shame, we develop life strategies to cover and compensate for its presence. We stay physically busy and mentally preoccupied, absorbed in endless self-improvement projects. We numb ourselves with food and other substances. We try to control and change ourselves with self-judgment or relieve insecurity by blaming others. We are so sufficiently defended that we can spend years meditating and never really include in awareness the feared and rejected parts of our experience.

Often those who feel plagued by not being good enough are drawn to idealistic cosmologies that highlight the sense of personal deficiency but offer the possibility of becoming a dramatically different person. The quest for perfection is based on the assumption that we are faulty and must purify and transcend our lower nature. This perception of spiritual hierarchy, of progressing from a lower to a higher self, can be found in elements of most Western and Eastern religions.

When we are in the process of trying to ascend, we never arrive and always feel spiritually insufficient. This was clearly the case during my first years of practice in pursuit of becoming a more perfect yogi. The temporary and passing states of peace or rapture were never enough to soothe my underlying sense of unworthiness. I felt continuously compelled to do more. An alternative face of such insecurity is spiritual pride. The very accomplishments—like improved concentration or periods of bliss—if owned by the self, reinforce a sense of a deficient self that is moving up the ladder. With either pride or shame, our awareness is identified as an entity that is separate and afraid of failure.

In my own unfolding, as well as with friends, clients and dharma students, an intentional spotlight on shame and unworthiness has been enormously revealing. Many people have told me that when they realize how pervasive their self-aversion is and how long their life has been imprisoned by shame, it brings up a sense of grief as well as life-giving hope. Fear of deficiency is a prison that prevents us from belonging to our world. Healing and freedom become possible as we include the shadow—the unwanted, unseen and unfelt parts of our being—in a wakeful and compassionate awareness.

* * *

For a child to feel belonging, he or she needs to feel understood and loved. We each feel a fundamental sense of connectedness when we are seen and when what is seen is held in love. We habitually relate to our inner life in the same way that others attended to us. When our parents (and the larger culture) don’t respond to our fears, are too preoccupied to really listen to our needs or send messages that we are falling short, we then adopt similar ways of relating to our own being. We disconnect and banish parts of our inner life.

Meditation practices are a form of spiritual reparenting. We are transforming these deeply rooted patterns of inner relating by learning to bring mindfulness and compassion to our life. An open and accepting attention is radical because it flies in the face of our conditioning to assess what is happening as wrong. We are deconditioning the habit of turning against ourselves, discovering that in this moment’s experience nothing is missing or wrong.

The trance of unworthiness, sustained by the movement of blaming, striving and self-numbing, begins to lift when we stop the action. The Buddha engaged in his mythic process of awakening after coming to rest under the bodhi tree. We start to cut through the trance in the moment that we, like the Buddha, discontinue our activity and pay attention. Our willingness to stop and look—what I call the sacred art of pausing—is at the center of all spiritual practice. Because we get so lost in our fear-driven busyness, we need to pause frequently.

The Buddha realized his natural wisdom and compassion through a night-long encounter with the forces of greed, hatred and delusion. We face the shadow deities by pausing and attending to whatever presents itself—judgment, depression, anxiety, obsessive thinking, compulsive behavior. Because shame and fear often are not fully conscious, we can deepen this attention by inquiring into what is happening. Caring self-inquiry invites the habitually hidden parts of our being into awareness.

If I pause in the midst of feeling even mildly anxious or depressed and ask, “What am I believing?” I usually discover an assumption that I am falling short or about to fail in some way. The emotions around this belief become more conscious as I further inquire, “What wants attention or acceptance in this moment?” Frequently I find contractions of fear under the story of insufficiency. I find that the trance is sustained only when I reject or resist experience. As I recognize the mental story and open directly to the bodily sense of fear, the trance of unworthiness begins to dissolve.

There are times that the grip of fear and shame is overt and vicelike. At a retreat I led a few years ago a young man named Ron came into an interview with me and announced that he was the most judgmental person in the world. He went on to prove his point, describing how scathing he was toward his every thought, mood and behavior. When he felt back pain, he concluded that he was an “out of shape couch potato, not fit for a zafu.” When his mind wandered, he concluded he was hopeless as a meditator. During the lovingkindness meditation, he was disgusted to find that his heart felt like a cold stone. In approaching an interview with me, he felt caught in the clutch of fear, embarrassed that he would be wasting my time. While others were not exempt, his most constant barrage of hostility was directed at himself. I asked him if he knew how long he had been turning so harshly on himself. He paused for quite a while, his eyes welling up with tears. It was for as long as he could remember. He had joined in with his mother, relentlessly badgering himself and turning away from the hurt in his heart.

The recognition of how many moments of his life had been lost to self-hatred brought up a deep sorrow. I invited him to sense where his body felt the most pain and vulnerability. He pointed to his heart, and I asked him how he felt toward his hurting heart at that moment. “Sad,” he responded, “and very sorry.” I encouraged him to communicate that to his inner life—to put his hand on his heart and send the message, “I care about this suffering.” As he did so, Ron began to weep deeply.

In Buddhist meditation, a traditional compassion practice is to see suffering and offer our prayer of care. Thich Nhat Hanh suggests that when we are with someone who is in pain, we might offer this deeply healing message: “Darling, I care about your suffering.” We rarely offer this care or tenderness to ourselves. We are definitely not used to touching ourselves, bringing the same tenderness that we might to stroking the cheek of a sleeping child, and gently placing a hand on our own cheek or heart. For the remaining days of the retreat, this was Ron’s practice. When he became aware of judging, he would consciously feel the vulnerability in his body—the place that for so long had felt pushed away, frightened, rejected. With a very gentle touch, he would place his hand on his heart and send the prayer of care. Ron was sitting in the front of the meditation hall, and I noticed that his hand was almost always resting on his heart.

When we met before the closing of the retreat, Ron’s whole countenance was transformed. His edges had softened, his body was relaxed, his eyes were bright. Rather than feeling embarrassed, he seemed glad to see me. He said that the judgments had been persistent but not so brutal. By feeling the woundedness and offering care, he had opened out of the rigid roles of judge and accused. He went on to tell me something that had touched him deeply. When he had been walking in the woods, he passed a woman who was standing still and crying quietly. He stopped several minutes later down the trail and could feel his heart hold and care for her sadness. Self-hatred had walled him off from his world. The experience of connection and caring for another was the blessing of a heart that was opening.

The Buddha said that our fear is great, but greater yet is the truth of our connectedness. Whereas Ron was able to rediscover connection and loosen the trance of unworthiness by tenderly offering kindness to his wounds, we might feel too small, too tight and aversive to open to the pain that is moving through us. At these times it helps to reach out, to discover an enlarged belonging through our friends, sangha, family and the living Earth. A man approached the Dalai Lama and asked him how to deal with the enormous fear he was feeling. The Dalai Lama responded that he should imagine he was in the lap of the Buddha.

Any pathway toward remembering our belonging to this world alleviates the trance of separation and unworthiness. After his night under the bodhi tree, the Buddha was very awake but not fully liberated. Mara had retreated but not vanished. With his right hand, the Buddha touched the ground and called on the Earth goddess to bear witness. By reaching out and honoring his connectedness to all life, his belonging to the web of life, the Buddha realized the fullness of freedom.

We are not walking this path alone, building spiritual muscles, climbing the ladder to become more perfect. Rather, we are discovering the truth of our relatedness through belonging to these bodies and emotions, to each other, and to this whole natural world. As we realize our belonging, the trance of unworthiness dissolves. In its place is not worthiness; that is another assessment of self. Rather, we are no longer compelled to blame or hide or fix our being. When we turn and embrace what has felt so personal, we awaken from feelings of separateness and find that we are in love with all of life.

Source: Tara Brach is the founder and senior teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C., and teaches throughout the United States and Canada. She is a clinical psychologist and author of the forthcoming book Radical Acceptance: Living with the Heart of a Buddha (Bantam).
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Rupert Spira continues the conversation we began in Part 1, discussing A Course in Miracles through his lens of non-duality. He refers to what ACIM calls Holy Spirit and Internal Teacher as “our deepest love and understanding.” Rupert has a clarity that sounds in the mind like a Zen gong! His insights help “connect the dots” in ways you will be thankful for. To stay in touch with me, join my elist at https://amytorresacim.com


Published on Nov 4, 2016

Rupert Spira was kind enough to sit with Bill and me while we were on retreat with him at Mercy Center in San Francisco. Rupert has a clarity that sounds in the mind like a Zen gong! His insights help “connect the dots” in ways you will be thankful for. To stay in touch with me, join my elist at https://amytorresacim.com

Must we fully engage the thinking mind in order to perceive words on a page?
Eckhart Tolle challenges us to “watch the thinker” even as we read.

Life is full of contradictions. I prefer to refer to them as “divine dichotomies.” A c is when two apparently contradictory truths exist simultaneously in the same space. For instance, the idea that stillness speaks.

Everyone who has done any kind of contemplative work in her or his life is aware of this dichotomy. From stillness can come the loudest voice, the grandest message, the greatest wisdom.

Now comes a book that is not a book, to express and demonstrate this dichotomy fully and wonderfully. Its title is (aha!) Stillness Speaks, and its author, Eckhart Tolle, is the person who gave us The Power of Now. I call this “a book that is not a book” because this is not a tome that takes us from one place and drops us off in another. It is not a story with a beginning and an end, nor is it a treatise with an outline and a pathway of logic that takes us from here to there.

Stillness Speaks (New World Library, $17.) is nothing more — and nothing less — than a series of thoughts. These are ideas that have occurred to Tolle. I suspect these ideas have occurred to many people. For most of us, however, these wonderful wisdoms passed through our minds and kept on going. Tolle remained still enough to notice them. He recorded them in his moments of clarity. And he has placed them in print.

But a word here, please. Do not expect this book to track with any kind of logic. Its purpose, as I alluded to before, is not to take you to any place, to convince you of any idea, or to show you anything in particular. Its purpose is simply to allow you to be with the wisdom and the insight, and then to allow you to see for yourself where — if anywhere — that takes you.

“In other words, if you are looking for food for thought, you won’t find it, and you will miss the very essence of the teaching, the essence of this book, which is not in the words but within yourself,” Tolle writes in his introduction. “The words are no more than signposts. That to which they point is not to be found within the realm of thought, but a dimension within yourself that is deeper and infinitely vaster than thought.”

And so, Stillness Speaks is a gentle journey, one that could take you to a spectacular and very special place of new awareness and deeper understanding. Yet one that leads nowhere in particular.

Tolle is very much aware that it is in the nowhere that the everywhere exists, that it is in the nothing that everything is found. This is not an easy concept for most people to grasp. It becomes easier through visiting these entries, placed under headings such as “Beyond the Thinking Mind,” “Who You Truly Are,” “Acceptance and Surrender,” “Relationships,” “Suffering and the End of Suffering.”

The trick with Tolle’s work is to not think about it. Most people, the author says, are lost in thought. The idea is to be out of your mind and into your experience of exactly what is happening, right here, right now.

This is what we are invited to do with the material in Stillness Speaks. If we think about it, if we begin to analyze it, if we start to argue with it or try to “figure it out,” we’ll become lost in thought. No one gets anywhere trying to figure out a sunrise. A sunrise is something you just be with. And you get from it whatever you get from it. If you try to analyze a sunrise, the experience the sunrise has for you will go away.

Stillness Speaks feels to me like a sunrise of the soul. Thinking about it, analyzing it, will make it go away. Even writing this review of it has been difficult for me, because the more I say about it, the less I say about it. So I’m going to stop trying to talk about what’s in it, and talk just a bit more about what experience it produced in me.

Peace.

Joy.

Aliveness.

Serenity.

Excitement, again, about Life.

Happiness.

Sureness, and a sense of having something confirmed that I felt I knew, deep within me.

Oneness, unity.

And, not the least of my feelings,gratitude. Tolle has given me a peek into his mind, and thus into my own. His words reminded me about the sacred place that exists between us, where we mix our being and share our common essence and produce our collective experience. His “book that isn’t” allowed me to venture forth more solidly, more confidently, and more joyously to play my individuated role in our co-created reality. Stillness Speaks has enriched my life.
Source: Eckhart Tolle


Published on Jan 1, 2017

Sruti is a spiritual teacher who writes about finding God within an experience with an uncommon and painful illness called Interstitial Cystitis. She has been interviewed on the Buddha at the Gas Pump talk show on YouTube about her experience of spiritual awakening in the midst of intense pain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atG0z…

This ongoing and chronic condition challenged her to stay present with daily pain and to look further inward for answers. In an extreme moment of pain, in which consciousness began to fade, Sruti experienced the erasure of all that clouds over the earliest source of vision.

She watched as one by one the layers of the mind, the body and feelings disappeared before her. She asks the question: Who is the One that Can Never Leave You? With whose vision are we seeing when the lights are going out? Has this early vision ever known anything at all?

Sruti’s book, The Hidden Value of Not Knowing
, is available as an audiobook and an eBook online at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IBZFPIM
The book can also be ordered in print form: http://www.blurb.com/b/7133487-the-hi…

For more information about Sruti please visit http://www.srutisangha.org

Category
People & Blogs


Published on Jan 1, 2017

Adyashanti Egoic Desire in Spirituality Retreat Talk 2009
credits to Rio Jeffery on Facebook


Published on Jan 1, 2017

Also see https://batgap.com/shunyamurti/

Shunyamurti is the founder of the Sat Yoga Ashram, located in the misty mountains of southern Costa Rica. The ashram includes a wisdom school (Sat Yoga Institute), a research and teaching division on creating self-sustaining spiritual communities (Premaculture), a new approach to healing and transformation (Atmanology), and a meditative retreat center open to people from all over the world. Its mission is to accelerate the transfiguration of human consciousness and contribute to the spiritual renaissance that is fermenting now on our planet.

Shunya became aware of yoga at an early age and was immediately drawn to it. He also wrote poetry, which became a meditative process of discovering from where words and thoughts arose in consciousness. He studied many forms of yoga, including classical Ashtanga Yoga (guided by Baba Hari Dass), spent ten years in a formal Raja Yoga monastic order, as well as intense practice of Buddhist and Taoist yoga, Kashmir Shaivite tantra, Sufi and Christian contemplative prayer, and Kabbalah. He integrated quantum physics, systems and complexity theory, and the non-physical dimension of martial arts into his approach. He underwent initiation into shamanism, including the use of entheogens. Shunya has practiced law, was an investigative journalist and foreign correspondent, a political scientist, earned degrees in philosophy, drama, and psychology, practiced hypnotherapy (and all its permutations, including past life regression), Jungian dreamwork and Lacanian psychoanalysis.

Shunyamurti’s life-long quest for truth and the power of healing and transformation has brought about a deep understanding of the structure and dynamics of the ego, the latent capacities of the soul, and the radiant healing power of the Supreme Real, the One Self. He now functions as spiritual guide, retreat leader, and yogic research director of the Sat Yoga Ashram.

A few years ago, while doing research for my Ph.D., I met a woman who had a profound personal transformation following traumatic experiences as a soldier.

The woman (whom I will call Jenny) was in the Canadian military for 10 years, undergoing a great deal of stress and suffering. Towards the end of the 10 years, she began to feel depressed and burnt out and was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). She felt that she had completely lost her sense of identity. As Jenny told me, “There was just me, on the couch, doing nothing, because I literally couldn’t do anything. I was forced to see my failure. And I had no idea who I was anymore.”

However, after about a year of medical and psychological treatment, Jenny became relatively functional again and sought out alternative treatments to help her further. After a couple of years of deliberate healing and growth through various therapies and treatments, she began to experience a shift. She had powerful ‘awakening experiences’ in which, as she describes it, “the world looked different. It was alive. It was infinite aliveness. Everything was bright. Even the space between everything. The colours were incredible and the flowers looked happy.”

Soon this developed into a state of continual well-being, in which she felt intensely present, with a strong sense of connection to nature and other human beings. Jenny summarised the shift she has experienced as follows, “When you’re present all the time every day seems full. A day seems to last for such a long time…I used to look to possessions as a way to feel better but now I don’t need to feel better. I don’t need things. I can have them, but I don’t need them.”

This is a powerful example of what I call ‘post-traumatic transformation.’ PTT (as I refer to it in short) is similar to ‘post-traumatic growth,’ when people develop in a positive way in the aftermath of traumatic experiences. However, in ‘post-traumatic transformation’, the change is more radical, and usually occurs suddenly and dramatically, in the midst of intense psychological turmoil. (I wrote about my research in my recent book Out of the Darkness.) The shift is so dramatic and so life-changing that it is often described in terms of a ‘spiritual awakening.’

The shift is often related to a diagnosis of cancer, bereavement, intense stress or depression. However, in recent years, I’ve become aware that the intense stress and turmoil of combat may be a trigger for the shift too, as it was for Jenny.

Cases from the First and Second World Wars

At the beginning of the First World War, a young aristocratic German man named Karlfried Graf Von Durckheim believed it was his patriotic duty to fight for his country. After his privileged upbringing, the horrors of the battlefield were a massive shock. He lost count of the number of deaths he witnessed, and the number of times he came close to death himself. However, the close proximity of death triggered a transformation in him. It made him aware of a deeper, spiritual part of his being. As he wrote, “When death was near and I accepted that I also might die, I realized that within myself was something that has nothing whatsoever to do with death.”

This was the beginning of a lifelong spiritual journey for Durckheim. After the war he renounced his family property and inheritance, and began to study eastern spiritual texts. And later, after the Second World War, he came across many examples of a similar transformation amongst those who had lived through its horrors. As he later stated, “There are so many people who went through the battlefields, through the concentration camps, through the bombing raids…[who] were wounded and nearly torn in pieces, and they experienced a glimpse of their eternal nature.”

One example of this I came across recently in my own research was a man called J.H. Murray, who spent three years as a prisoner of war during the Second World War. While enduring the terrible deprivation of a German concentration camp, Murray had a powerful awakening experience. He wrote about it for the first time in a memoir towards the end of his life:

As I climbed upstairs, to the dormitory, I became aware of an extraordinary sense of joy. It suffused mind and body…I had stepped out of time into timelessness…I remember seeing through the windows the barbed wire fence with its sentry towers, and the prisoners in the compound, all and each transfigured by a beauty that glowed through them, engulfing all as if from another place. Its intensity had a new dimension, so that never afterwards could I bring myself to speak of it, or write down the experience until now, when I know that my life nearing its end.

After this experience, Murray wrote letters to his family, saying that he was “happy and thoroughly well.” They thought he must have gone mad, but he told them that “I have not lost my reason, but all worries, anxieties and frustrations.” He described experiencing “an undivided mind, inner stillness, self-realisation, and a fullness that I never believed possible.”

More Recent Examples

A few years ago, I published a book called Waking From Sleep. which is a study of awakening experiences such as Murray’s – moments in which our normal awareness seems to expand and intensify, and we become aware of deeper (or higher) level of reality, and perceive a sense of harmony and meaning. Last year I received an e-mail from an American man who said he had had such an experience as a solider in Vietnam in 1968. His combat base came under heavy attack, with major casualties, and he was sure that he was going to die too. As he described it:

At one point after carrying yet another severely wounded Marine to a waiting chopper something happened to me…I came out of myself. I expanded infinitely. I disappeared. It didn’t last long but it was the most powerful experience I’ve ever had. From that moment my anxiety disappeared and I knew that everything was alright, no matter if I lived or died. The Battle of Khe Sanh lasted 77 days. I felt peaceful for the remainder of the battle. I was not wounded in those 77 days although according to Ray Stubbe in Valley of Decision we had over 2,500 Marines wounded and over 800 killed. I’ve spent the last forty-seven years trying without success to replicate that experience. I even died on an operating room table. Nothing has come close to my “awakening experience” at Khe Sanh.

I’ve recently been reading a great book called Aftershock by the UK journalist Matthew Green, which is largely an investigation into cases of PTSD in British soldiers. However, the book also describes some amazing awakening experiences during battle, and the long term spiritual growth that these led to. Green tells the story of a man called Gus, who fought in the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina in the 1980s. One day, while waiting for orders on the battlefield, Gus had a life-changing experience. As Green describes it, “As he waited for the order to advance, he felt an inexplicable sense of euphoria, as if past and future had dissolved and his personal fate was no longer of the slightest consequence. He was witnessing history, yet touching the realm of the timeless.” Gus suffered PTSD after the war, until he discovered meditation, and realised that he didn’t have to identify with his traumatic thoughts and feelings. He became a Buddhist, and in 2007 he returned to the Falklands Islands, and left a small statue of the Buddha at the site of one of the major battles of the war.

These experiences are paradoxical on many levels. It seems incredible that the brutality of war should be associated with such states of inner peace and harmony. And in a more general sense, it’s paradoxical that states of intense stress and turmoil should be so closely related to states of joy and liberation. It’s almost as if joy and despair aren’t opposites, but are somehow symbiotically related.(This relates to the question of why such experiences occur during or after combat, or in other situations of stress and turmoil. I don’t have space to offer my suggested explanation here, but see my book Out of the Darkness for details.)

In the meantime, I’ll soon be beginning a formal research project on these experiences. So let me know (in the comments section below, or by e-mail at essytaylor@live.co.uk) if you have had a similar experience, or know of others who have.

Steve Taylor, Ph.D., is senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University, UK. He is the author of several books on psychology and spirituality, including Out of the Darkness. http://www.stevenmtaylor.com
Source: AWAKEN

I remember hearing that spiritual prayer of acknowledged gratitude over and over again while I was growing up. And I certainly heard the nuns say it. As a child, I loved the sound of that phrase because it was a phrase that seemed to hide a great jewel of wisdom. It was a type of treasure chest made of simple words that when strung together communicated a powerful truth. “Except for the grace of God go I.” It was apparent that those words conveyed some sort of profound meaning because I noticed how the nuns would nod their heads in a type of collective agreement after one of them uttered that phrase. Eventually I let go of my mission to crack through the deeper meaning of this phrase and got on with the business of growing up. I was about eight-years-old when I made that decision.

That phrase exploded out of the dust of my mental archives in my early thirties, right on time you might say. It was just one of those days, really, that starts out gorgeous but ends up being a game changer. That day was made for walking. So that’s what I did. After a few hours, I got an iced-tea and sat on a bench to check messages and all that sort of thing. I didn’t pay any notice at all to the guy who sat on the bench a few minutes later. Why would I? But, as I was about to find out, certainly noticed me.

He asked me if I would get him an iced tea. One glance told me he was homeless or en route to that crisis. I asked him if he wanted a sandwich, so long as I was getting him a cold drink. He did. I turned to leave as soon as I gave him his meal but then he said he hated to eat alone and would I mind just sitting with him. I was uncomfortable as all get out – I mean down to the pit of my stomach. But I was in a familiar park and it was day light and I knew I could run faster than him…so I figured, ugh….okay. UGH

He took one bite out of his sandwich, one gulp of his drink and said, “I know you want to get the hell away from me. I know you are uncomfortable as hell right now. You don’t know me or anything about me. I’m a veteran. The war in my head won’t stop. I just try to find quiet places now. That’s all.”

My heart hurt. I could feel the pain in my chest explode. My eyes filled with tears and all I could hear in my head was, “Except for the grace of God go I.” I could have been sent to harm others or to face some type of horror. Or I could have witnessed nightmares early on, but I did not. I sat next to him and felt the whole of my life reshape itself into a simple but deeply meaningful prayer of gratitude and one of grace for the other. It is these moments, these tiny encounters that just show up out of nowhere, that are the purest expression of God in the small and present details of your life. This man changed my life. I have looked for him many times in the park near my home and have never seen him again – not to imply that he was “not of the Earth”. We have yet to cross paths again, but I hope it does happen.

Through him, I entered into yet a deeper mystery about life but with so much gratitude about each day of my life. This is one of my own prayers:

I never know where I will find You or how You will speak to me. Some days it is through new person and other days it is through a new experience. Each day I become more aware of something I did not understand or realize before. I knew I should be grateful for all that I have but now I realize I should also be grateful for all that I do not have. For I do not have traumatic war memories and I do not have scars from being a refugee and I do not have the fear of a homeless person. I am grateful for all I have and for all I do not have. If I am grateful for having been spared a suffering, give me the grace to help those who are suffering. Amen”


Published on Dec 29, 2016

A conversation about orgasm and the loss of the separate self.


Published on Dec 28, 2016

Find out more at http://www.amodamaa.com

The promise of the perfect relationship and the dream of ultimate fulfilment through another. It is a fantasy of the egoic self.

Rupert Spira, author of “The Transparency of Things,” speaks here with Paul J. Mills of UC San Diego about the concept of non-duality, or advaita. They explore the idea that there is no separation between the self and the universe — and how understanding this basic truth will lead to greater wellbeing. Series: “The UC Wellbeing Channel ” [1/2017] [Health and Medicine] [Education]


Published on Dec 27, 2016

https://www.scienceandnonduality.com/

We are always living at the edge of the unknown, whether in ordinary experience, scientific knowledge or spiritual realization. In the realized condition, there is certainty that we know, but we also know that there is a great deal more we do not know. It is clear that we live on an island of knowing in a sea of mystery. We are at ease living with the mystery of reality, for it gives us the opportunity to discover greater ways of living freedom. We will talk and dialogue on the skillful means of utilizing the edge of unknowing to delve into the mystery, revealing greater and deeper knowledge. Our realization deepens and expands, without having to reach an end, for the edge of the unknown is the ever-lasting call for greater realization.

Hameed Ali (A. H. Almaas) was born in the Middle East, but at age 18 he moved to the USA to study at the University of California in Berkeley. Hameed was working on his Ph.D. in physics, where he was studying Einstein’s theory of general relativity and nuclear physics, when he reached a turning point in his life and destiny that led him more and more into inquiring into the psychological and spiritual aspects of human nature. Hameed is the founder of the Diamond Approach ® – a spiritual teaching that utilizes a unique kind of inquiry into realization, where the practice is the expression of realization. This inquiry opens up the infinite creativity of our Being, transforming our lives into a runaway realization, moving from realization to further realization. Almaas’ books include: The Inner Journey Home, Essence, The Pearl Beyond Price, Luminous Night’s Journey, and The Unfolding Now.

Karen Johnson
participated in the development of the Diamond Approach with Hameed Ali since 1970’s, She has been teaching in the US and Europe for 35 years. She has an MA in Psychology, and trained as an artist and dancer. She has an interest true spirit of scientific investigation based on the love for truth. The underlying truth that manifests through the beauty and order of the physical and spiritual universe has been a motivating force in her life. http://www.ridhwan.org


Published on Dec 27, 2016

What is non-duality? What do we mean by consciousness? Does it really exist? What is reality? Is there any thing “out there”? Why don’t we see consciousness in the material world? What do we mean by “I”? Why is any of this important?

From the deep pools of Eastern wisdom, to the fast-paced rapids of the West, Peter Russell has mastered many fields, and synthesized them with consummate artistry. Weaving his unique blend of scientific rationale, global vision, and intuitive wisdom, Peter brings a sharp, critical mind to the challenge of self-awakening. The next great frontier of human exploration, he shows, is not outer space, but inner space — the development of the human mind. He has degrees in theoretical physics, experimental psychology, and computer science from the University of Cambridge in England, and has written ten books in this area, including The Global Brain Awakens, Waking Up in Time, and most recently, From Science to God: A Physicist’s Journey into the Mystery of Consciousness.


Published on Dec 27, 2016

What is oneness? How do we connect with others spiritually? How do we realize oneness? Finding an answer to all these questions would bring harmony, love and joy to all of us, because we would be connected to the Source, to Truth. Spiritual teacher Adyashanti says that we don’t have to be enlightened in order to understand oneness. A great and important step is to realize oneness on an logical and philosophical level. For this he takes the example of ‘tree’ and shows how a ‘tree’ is not only connected to everything in the universe, but that is it is everything in the universe.

If we want to realize oneness or experience oneness / unity with the cosmos we have to realize what Unity / Oneness actually means. ‘Unity isn’t just a nice. It’s not a better belief system than separation. It has nothing to do with a belief system,’ he says. ‘The experience of Unity is the whole universe now experiencing itself.’ ‘The universe is actually your intimate companion, it’s more than that. It’s your intimate Self.’ So, if all beliefs drop – even the belief in oneness – we realize unity consciousness and see that separation is an illusion. We then can experience harmony, connectedness with others and oneness with everything. We can see what personal and unhealthy boundaries we had and we can stop searching for oneness.


Published on Dec 27, 2016

Also see https://batgap.com/rick-archer-at-ber…

I was hesitant to put this up, because there’s more than enough of me on this site, but a few wise friends encouraged me to, so here it is. I gave this talk at the Open Circle Center in Berkeley, California on October 24, 2016.

Points discussed include: “Can knowledge of nonduality be systematically organized, tested, explained, and predicted? Science has not devised instruments capable of detecting the nondual nature of ultimate reality, but spiritual traditions discuss it extensively, and numerous followers of these traditions (and of no traditions) claim to have experienced it as their essential nature.

This experience is commonly termed “awakening” or “enlightenment”. Is there a “scientific” consensus among these people? Are they referring to the same thing? Is there just one awakening, or are there many degrees of it? Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian mystical traditions tend to assert the latter. If there are many degrees or stages of awakening, do they culminate in an ultimate stage we might term “enlightenment”, or is there no ultimate? When one’s essential nature has been clearly and abidingly realized, has one reached a terminus, or do refinement, clarification, and other facets of development continue?

If we see spiritual development as never-ending, will we be forever chasing the dangling carrot, or can we rest in our true nature, the seeking energy having dropped off, and yet acknowledge that compared with what might be possible, we are relative beginners? Many spiritual teachers make statements such as “This is it. You are That which you are seeking. Realize this, and you are finished.” Is such advice helpful, or does it short-change spiritual aspirants?” How might spirituality benefit from science, and vice versa? The consequences of science meddling with Laws of Nature without understanding the field in which they reside. The importance of understanding on the spiritual path. The seeming epidemic of spontaneous awakenings.

Art by Samuel Farrand

Art by Samuel Farrand

Throughout the ages there have been notable luminaries of humanity that have experienced a transformational harmonization initiated by the vectors of human becoming. We can look up to these sages for inspiration that will cultivate courage, will, and determination to experience an inner transformation of our consciousness. Although there are quite a few individuals that we can look to for sage-like guidance, these ten both ancient and present-day teachers will be focused on here, each with a message they streamed into the global mind in their own unique way. Let these words spark a shift within that will change the very way to see reality.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh

When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce.

Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument.

That is my experience.

No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding.

If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.

Heraclitus

Heraclitus

The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny – it is the light that guides your way.

It is wise to listen, not to me but to reason, and to confess that all things are one.

From out of all the many particulars comes oneness, and out of oneness come all the many particulars.

Pema Chödrön

Pema Chödrön

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know…nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. Maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. But what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.

If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. it just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.

Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu

If you understand others you are smart.
If you understand yourself you are illuminated.
If you overcome others you are powerful.
If you overcome yourself you have strength.
If you know how to be satisfied you are rich.
If you can act with vigor, you have a will.
If you don’t lose your objectives you can be long-lasting.
If you die without loss, you are eternal.

Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi

The attempt to destroy the ego or the mind through practices other than self-inquiry is just like the thief pretending to be a policeman to catch the thief, that is, himself.

Self-inquiry alone can reveal the truth that neither the ego nor the mind really exists, and enable one to realize the pure, undifferentiated being of the Self or the absolute.

Having realized the Self, nothing remains to be known, because it is perfect bliss, it is the all.

Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo

An aimless life is always a troubled life. Every individual should have an aim. But do not forget that the quality of your aim will depend the quality of your life. Your aim should be high and wide, generous and disinterested; this will make your life precious to yourself and to others.

Whatever your ideal, it cannot be perfectly realized unless you have realized perfection in yourself.

Tenzin Palmo

Tenzin Palmo

This endless film show is being played in our mind – moment to moment mind states – and that is projected out in front of us as our external reality. Now as long as we are fascinated by the movie in front of us, then we believe it and we become deeply involved in what appears to be happening. But if we look back and realize it’s just a mind-show that we are projecting, then even though we can still enjoy it, we are not going to be totally devastated if it’s a tragedy or completely engulfed if it’s a romance. We know it’s just a movie.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti

We seek happiness through things, through relationship, through thoughts, ideas. So things, relationship, and ideas become all-important and not happiness. When we seek happiness through something, then the thing becomes of greater value than happiness itself. When stated in this manner, the problem sounds simple and it is simple. We seek happiness in property, in family, in name; then property, family, idea become all important, for then happiness is sought through a means, and then the means destroys the end.

Can happiness be found through any means, through anything made by the hand or by the mind? Things, relationship, and ideas are so transparently impermanent, we are ever made unhappy by them…Things are impermanent, they wear out and are lost; relationship is constant friction and death awaits; ideas and beliefs have no stability, no permanency. We seek happiness in them and yet do not realize their impermanency. So sorrow becomes our constant companion and overcoming it our problem.

To find out the true meaning of happiness, we must explore the river of self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is not an end in itself. Is there a source to a stream? Every drop of water from the beginning to the end makes the river. To imagine that we will find happiness at the source is to be mistaken. It is to be found where you are on the river of self knowledge.

Thubten Chodron

Thubten Chodron

Is it possible to eliminate our anger forever? Yes, it is, because anger is a false mind, an attitude based on a misconception. Anger is generated when we project negative qualities onto people and things. We misinterpret situations so they appear harmful to us. Absorbed in our own projections, we mistake them for the qualities of other people and get angry at what we ourselves have superimposed on them. The tragedy is that we’re not aware of this process, and mistakenly believe the rude, insensitive person we’re perceiving really exists out there.

Source: Shift

Paul is the founder & director of SHIFT>, a conscious evolution guide, author of The Creation of a Consciousness Shift, intentional evolutionary & celebrator of life working to provide an integral role in the positive social transformation of humanity.


A senior Buddhist teacher offers six fundamental body-based meditation practices that show the reader that enlightenment is as close to you as your own body.

Many of us experience life through so many conceptual filters that we never recognize the freedom and joy that are inherent in us—and are in fact the essence of who we are. We can grow old not realizing that one of the most powerful tools to escape the painful knots we tie ourselves in is, literally, at our fingertips: our body.

Here, Reggie Ray cracks open the shell of the mind-body dichotomy and presents six fundamental body-based practices that connect us back to who we really are. These practices cut through the mental fabrications through which we experience our world and lead us directly to the richness of living a fully present, embodied human life.

DR. REGINALD “REGGIE” RAY is the co-founder and Spiritual Director of the Dharma Ocean Foundation, dedicated to the evolution and flowering of the somatic teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. He is a lineage holder in the tradition of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Reggie is the author of several books–including Indestructible Truth and Secrets of the Vajra World— as well as and audio programs–including Mahamudra for the Modern World. He makes his residence in Crestone and Boulder, Colorado.

LOOK INSIDE

Reggie Ray ‘Finding Realization In The Body’ Interview by Renate McNay

Reggie Ray ‘Finding Realization In The Body’ Interview by Renate McNay.

The transcript of this interview is available to view here.
http://www.conscious.tv/text/89.htm

The transcript of the somatic meditation is available to view here.
http://www.conscious.tv/text/90.htm


Published on Dec 25, 2016

Imagine yourself having a peaceful mind, because you’ve learned how to stop overthinking?! In this video spiritual teacher Roger Castillo speaks about the power of I AM. He refers to the Indian Advaita Master Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj who put a strong emphasis on the remembering of and the abiding as I AM.

Roger starts with explaining what ‘Abide in I AM’ means. ‘It means that there is a field of Being (Awareness) that exists prior to thinking. A field of Being that we are not particularly familiar with, because for our whole life we have lived as the thinker, as the doer, trying to control life through thought,’ Roger says. ‘And so, I AM means dropping out of that (obsessive) thinking into Being.’

If we want to learn how to silence the voice in our head or how to stop negative thinking, we need to understand why we give such a great importance to thinking and Roger shares his explanation. ‘We start off with this obsessive thinking, because deep down we think it’s good for us, deep down we think it’s going to take us to what we need, deep down we might think we can control life and we might actually get happiness through pleasure.’

Roger then shares his advice on how to step out of the thinking mind and achieve freedom from thoughts. According to him we can do this by the thought and realization of I AM, which drops us into Being, into our heart. ‘What I mean by dropping down into the heart is that the center of consciousness resides up in the head, because of all the thinking. But its home is actually the chest in the heart.’ He continues ‘When the thought I AM arises it cuts off thinking and if we can imagine that all off a sudden the center of consciousness is dropping into the chest area and that life is being seen not from the head, but from the chest. The reason it’s in the chest, in the heart, is that that’s the place where impersonal consciousness links into the human being and functions through the human being as personal consciousness.’ ‘And so in the heart resides the sense of Being, the sense of I AM.’

So, if we listen to Roger’s advice we can learn
– how to stop negative thinking and thoughts
– how to end obsessive thoughts here and now
– how to deal with a mind that is clouded by thoughts
– how to deal with stress
– how to deal with constant worrying
– how to use the power of I AM.


A definition of spiritual enlightenment or spiritual awakening is hard to pin down.

This is, in part, because “spiritual enlightenment” and “spiritual awakening” have been used in so many ways to describe so many things, similar to the way in which “love” is used to describe everything from a preference for ice cream to a merging with everything. And it is also because spiritual enlightenment and spiritual awakening are such rich and complex experiences that they are innately hard to define.

Some definitions are very specific and narrow. One such definition for spiritual enlightenment is the complete dissolution of one’s identity as a separate self with no trace of the egoic mind remaining. This sets the bar very high and means that very few people qualify as enlightened.

The opposite approach is to say that everyone is enlightened, that there is only awake consciousness. In this view, it’s only a question of whether this natural awakeness has been recognized or not. Of course, when a word describes everything or everyone, it loses some of its usefulness. If everyone is enlightened, then why even talk about it?

Combining perspectives on spiritual enlightenment

Perhaps there’s a definition that includes both of these perspectives, which recognizes that consciousness is always awake and enlightened, but the amount of awakeness, or aware consciousness, that is present in any moment can vary. This definition acknowledges that there’s a difference in the amount of awakeness, or enlightened consciousness, that different people experience or that one person experiences at different times but still suggests that the potential for full awareness or becoming enlightened is the same for everybody. If every apparent individual consciousness is infinite in its potential, then each can also be infinite both in its capacity to expand or awaken and in its capacity to contract or identify with a narrow or limited experience.

If all consciousness is made of the same essential awareness and light, and if everyone has an equal potential for enlightenment, then all expressions of consciousness are equally valid and valuable. Everyone truly is a Buddha or enlightened being, at least in potential. So defining enlightenment in many ways now makes sense, depending on what is being pointed to. One may use the word enlightenment to point to the state of self-realization beyond the ego or to point to the innate potential for this realization in all of us.

As for differentiating between the words enlightenment and awakening, “enlightenment” implies a more finished and constant state of realization, while “awakening” has more of the active quality of a verb and therefore suggests a movement or shift in consciousness. An awakening may be defined as a sudden increase in the overall amount of consciousness an individual is experiencing. There can be small awakenings and bigger awakenings. Not only does consciousness have unlimited potential for the amount of awakeness, but it also has an unlimited potential to shift in any way, at any moment. Consciousness can and sometimes does shift from contracted states of fear, anger, or hurt to expanded states of peace and joy in an instant. Unfortunately, it can also shift in the other direction. Consciousness has no fixed state.
What about the spiritual awakening happening now?

As it is being defined here, a spiritual awakening is a sudden expansion or shift in consciousness, especially a more dramatic one (we don’t usually refer to a minor realization as a spiritual awakening). Enlightenment, on the other hand can be used to mark a particular level of realization or awakeness, even if the exact definition varies depending on who is using the word, as it does with every word.

What really matters is what your awareness is doing right now. How is your consciousness appearing or shifting in this moment? Are you realizing more of your experience and Essence right now? Or are you contracting and limiting your awareness with thoughts and identification? Is any shifting happening from reading these words?

Enlightenment or awakening is a profound mystery, and the best definition may be found in the actual experience of your own shifts in consciousness. Just as it’s more nourishing to eat an apple than read about one, so it can be more rewarding to explore the movements of your own awareness than to try to understand these things mentally. While definitions of such things can be helpful, it can also be beneficial to not have too many concepts, which could interfere with your actual experience. It’s a good thing that language isn’t so fixed or defined when it comes to spiritual unfoldment. Maybe the best definition of enlightenment is no definition. Then there is only what is found in your own direct experience of awareness.

(The above is from the free ebook: That Is That: Essays About True Nature available here.)
The Flower of Spiritual Awakening (a recent blog post from Nirmala’s blog)

What are the causes of spiritual awakening or enlightenment?

Consider the miracle of a flower. What is it that causes a plant to flower? Does sunshine cause a plant to flower? Does lots of water? Or is it good soil? Maybe all of these together? Or is there really something more subtle in the nature of the flower itself that causes it to flower? Is it something in the DNA of the plant? Does that mean the whole process of evolution over eons of time is involved? What other factors might cause the flowering? Does gravity play a part? The season and the temperature? The quality of the light? (Some plants will not flower under glass or artificial light.) What about animals that eat the fruit and spread the plant? Or the birds or bees that pollinate the flower? Do they cause the subsequent flowering of the newly established plants? Are there even subtler influences? What about presence and love? The intention and attention of a gardener? And is the existence of the world of form itself necessary for a plant to flower? And what about consciousness? Is there an ultimate force that directs the creation and unfolding of all expressions of form that is behind the appearance of a rose or a daisy?

What if it is a combination of all of the things mentioned? And also what if they have to all be in the right proportion? Is that proportion different for every species of plant? Some plants need lots of water or light to flower. Others will die with too much water or light. There is a unique formula that is involved with the appearance of the simplest apple blossom and the most complex orchid.

When you consider all of these influences and even more that were not mentioned or can’t even be known or imagined, then it truly is a miracle when a flower happens. It is impossible to say what causes it to happen with any certainty or completeness. Yet, it’s an act of incredible grace whenever all of these diverse, subtle, and gross influences come together in just the right way for an iris or a bird of paradise to open its unique petals to the sky. Ultimately, if you trace all the factors back to all their causes, you find that everything that exists is somehow intimately connected to the cactus flower or dandelion in your front yard. We need a vague and powerful word like “grace” to name this amazing interplay of forces and intelligence. Obviously, to reduce it to a formula doesn’t come close to capturing or describing the vast richness of variables and forces at play. There is no formula complex enough to capture the whole mystery of a magnolia blossom…

Spiritual awakening is a kind of flowering of consciousness. When consciousness expands and opens into a new expression, we call that a spiritual awakening. And while there are as many kinds of awakenings as there are flowers, they are all equally mysterious. What is it that causes a child to start to awaken to the nature of words and language? What causes the awakening of sexuality in a teenager? How does one suddenly know they are falling in love? Or even more profoundly, how does one explain the birth of unconditional or divine love?

Finally, what are the causes of the most profound spiritual awakenings, where consciousness suddenly recognizes its ultimate true nature? Why does that type of flowering appear in one consciousness today and another one tomorrow? If the formula for a simple petunia is a vastly complex interplay of earthly, human, and even cosmic forces, then imagine how complex the formula is for the unfolding of a human consciousness into full spiritual enlightenment as one’s true nature. The good news is that we cannot and do not need to know the totality of the formula involved to grow some petunias, and we cannot and do not need to know the formula for spiritual enlightenment. Yet, we can be curious about all of the factors involved and even play with them to see what effects, if any, they may have in our individual experience of consciousness unfolding.

Sometimes the mysteriousness and unpredictability of the whole process of awakening leads us to shrug our shoulders and say it is all up to grace or to God. And, of course, that is true; and yet, does that mean there’s no place in this unfolding for our own actions? Is there a place for spiritual practice? What about meditation, self-inquiry, or study of spiritual texts? And how about devotional practices or the transmission of presence from being with a great teacher or master? We can easily become disillusioned with any or all of these activities because the results they produce are so unpredictable and varied, and it can seem simpler to avoid the question of their role altogether. Ask any gardener if it works every time to water and weed and fertilize a plant? Or does a plant sometimes fail to flower no matter how well it is cared for? But does that mean you never water or fertilize your plants?

At other times we can be overly convinced that our practice or inquiry will lead to the desired results, often because it seemed to work at least once for us, or for someone we know. The only problem with spiritual practices is that they occasionally work! Then we think that we have the formula and that every time we sit down to meditate or ask, “Who am I?” we will have that same experience of expansion or awakening again. That is like thinking you will always have a bumper crop of marigolds every time you plant them.

There is a middle way between denying the importance or role of spiritual practice and having unrealistic expectations that self-inquiry, meditation, or devotional practice is going to, by itself, cause an awakening. We can experiment and play with these processes, just as a gardener will experiment with different fertilizers or watering patterns to see what happens. It ultimately is all up to grace, and yet, what if grace works through us as well as on us? What if spiritual practice is as much a part of the mystery of existence as anything else?

Maybe we can hold the question of what role inquiry, devotion, effort, surrender, transmission, meditation, gratitude, intention, silencing the mind, study of spiritual books, involvement with a teacher or master, ripeness of the student, karma, grace, and luck play in our enlightenment with an openness and curiosity, instead of a need to define their roles once and for all. The flowering of consciousness in your own existence is as unique as every flower, and ultimately we are all here to discover how it is going to happen uniquely this time around. What is your consciousness like right now? How open is the flower of your awareness? Is it still budding or has it blossomed? Just as every flower fades and another comes along, what about now? And now? What happens this time when you meditate? What happens now when you inquire “Who am I?” How does it feel right now to open your heart with gratitude even if nothing much is happening? What impact does reading this article or any other piece of writing have on you? Every stage of a plant’s existence is valuable and even necessary for its flowering. Your experience is always adding to the richness of the unfolding of consciousness in this moment. May you enjoy the garden of your true nature, including when spiritual awakenings are blooming, and when spiritual enlightenment seems far away.

(From the free ebook: That Is That: Essays About True Nature available here.)

About Nirmala:

Advaita spiritual teacher, Nirmala has been offering satsang and spiritual mentoring in the U.S. and internationally since 1998. Nirmala offers a unique vision and a gentle, compassionate approach, which adds to the rich tradition of inquiry into our true nature. He is the author of several books, including Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate Self and Living from the Heart. In his books and mentoring sessions, Nirmala points to the wisdom within each of us, and fosters the individual’s own potential for spiritual awakening.


Published on Dec 23, 2016

Pain can bring immense suffering to all of us. Spiritual teacher John de Ruiter gives us valuable advice on how we can deal with pain and illnesses of all kinds wisely. In this video he is responding to a woman who is suffering from headaches. Whether it is headache, other physical pain or even chronic illness, John shows how to deal with it intelligently.
Basically, he advises us to open unconditionally and remain as who we truly are, the watching awareness / consciousness. ‘Open unconditionally, with and without headaches. The openness is you and the headache is what you have. Everything that you have can come and go,’ John explains. ‘You being what you really are, first, has nothing to do with what you experience, it has only to do with you.’ He continues, ‘Trouble of any kind doesn’t stop you or prevent you from entering your being.’

So, if we listen to John’s advice we can learn

– how to deal with pain and chronic illnesses
– how to deal with headaches
– how to enquire into and meditate on our true nature, which is awareness and how to remain as that awareness.
– how to be your true, authentic Self.

John de Ruiter is a Canadian philosopher and nonduality / spiritual teacher

Such heavy times we live in, and so paradoxical… for while we have enormous material prosperity, light-speed digital connection, and fingertip access to nearly the entire history of human knowledge, we are strategically divided and frightened, force fed by a propagandized media and entertainment complex, and under the influence of a cultural sickness that values death above life.

In a reality such as this, planet earth is too oft viewed as an arena of conflict rather than a sea of possibility, and in this age, the gravity of lower consciousness is mighty heavy.

An upward shift in consciousness is the only way for the human race to survive this dilemma.

But the shift is not something that happens once, then is complete forever. It is more akin to sailing the high seas in a one-man sloop, where constant attention must be given to the tautness of its sails, or else the vessel sets aimlessly adrift.

Whichever direction the human race chooses to go is always the direct result of the level of consciousness in which individuals and the collective move from. If we make decisions and take action when fear, anxiety, scarcity, stress, and anger are at the helm, then we are certainly doomed. Should we, however, approach our burgeoning problems with care, creativity and respect for life, then any righteous outcome is possible. And likely.

The catch, though, is while we can direct the power of intention to elevate the spirit and experience first hand the rewards of higher consciousness, the downward pressures of society tend to draw us into dis-remembrance, leading to unwitting abdication of our personal power, and hence spiritual depletion. In this way we are too easily swept along with the prevailing winds of popular hysteria, mindlessly indulging in lower frequency mindsets.

Consciousness is eternally dynamic. Often a mere passing glance at the right idea is enough to rekindle the desire to see the manifestation of the higher self. For this, consider the following requisites for avoiding today’s traps of lower consciousness.

1.) Breakaway From the Popular Narrative and Create Your Own

So much energy is lost in the pursuit of the popular narrative of reality. They call it current events because the ever-evolving story is intended to carry you, your thoughts, and your focus away, toward some frivolous destination. The juicy stream of drama and detail that surfaces in media is formulated to commandeer your attention and direct it onto the destructive and consumptive qualities of the human experience. Attention is a most valuable commodity today, too valuable to give away, in fact.

Abandon the mainline script, jump ship, and direct your focus onto the story you are creating about your own life. Turn off, tune out and reject that which does not serve you well, and in this way you may retain ownership of your conscious self, avoiding the pitfalls of the reptilian and hive minds.

2.) Disengage in Confusion and Conflict for the Pursuit of Clarity

So much of public discourse today is a mindless exercise in chaos, and argumentation has supplanted thoughtfulness and respectful conversation. Confusion is the order of the day.

When the waters of the mind are agitated and disturbed by meritless conflict it is impossible to maintain a course toward the higher self. Clarity is a prize, and any activities, or non-activities, which serve to narrow your focus onto the truly important aspects of life, like self-development, are essential to spiritual growth and happiness. If it does not directly affect you, let others fight about it if they choose, while you practice laughter.

3.) Cultivate Meaning and Mythology in Your Life

What gives purpose to your daily actions? What is your ruling myth? Are you following the archetype of the hero, the caregiver, the rebel? What stirs your heart and kindles your passion? Do you even know?

So much of the noise in our culture confuses our daily purpose, distracting us from our personal path, and unless we stay aware of and continually assimilate our experiences and attitudes, always striving to maintain a genuine reason for our actions, we we sink along with the mundane into frustration and apathy. A day lost is like a year lost, you can’t retrieve them again. Life is much more rich, and happiness comes much more naturally when accept the challenge of creating purpose for ourselves.

Without myth and meaning in life, we a free-floating in the void, and anything flashy that comes along will auto magically fill the empty space, for better or for worse.

Final Thoughts

Such divisive, brutal, and uncertain times demand that we take ownership of our own hearts and minds. When we do this, we naturally experience the joys of higher consciousness, and then, only then, are we able to be effective in the greater struggle to achieve balance and equity in our ailing world. To be a change-maker, you must first and foremost make positive and lasting changes in yourself.

Dylan Charles is a student and teacher of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, a practitioner of Yoga and Taoist arts, and an activist and idealist passionately engaged in the struggle for a more sustainable and just world for future generations. He is the editor of WakingTimes.com, the proprietor of OffgridOutpost.com, a grateful father and a man who seeks to enlighten others with the power of inspiring information and action. He may be contacted at wakingtimes@gmail.com.

This article (3 Things You Must Do to Avoid the Popular Trap of Lower Consciousness) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.
Source: Waking Times

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