How to Meet Yourself: …and find true happiness By Dennis Waite

A work of popular philosophy from an Eastern perspective, this analyses our perennial search for happiness and explains why we can’t find it in modern lifestyles, pleasure or fame. It enlists the help of polls by sociologists, findings of evolutionary psychologists, historians, philosophers and others, as well as drawing on personal experience and examples, to show that true happiness is to be found in realizing that we are not separate from everything else-whether people, objects, or happiness itself.

Dennis Waite has previously published The Book of One (O Books), and is recognized as a world authority on Advaita, maintaining the largest website on the subject. He lives in Bournemouth, England.

Click here to browse inside.

Questions and Answers
Dennis Waite

Enlightenment

Q. I would like to refer to the notion that enlightenment requires a path that leads to it, which you have discussed before. I do not want to argue for or against this, and I do not know if I’m about to present anything new on this. I just have this feeling that it is simply ‘horses for courses’. There are going to be some who do see themselves on a path heading towards an endpoint or goal. Then there are going to be others who may have been on a path for a while until they realize that they are already what they are searching for, and that they always were. Furthermore, there might be some who never knew of any path or anything called enlightenment, who one day find that they are ‘no longer in Kansas anymore’.

So, there are many ways to ‘skin a cat’, and yes I do feel sorry for all these cats. The point is that I do not know what good it makes claiming that one way is better than another. I would rather people make up their own minds, instead of being influenced by experts in a particular field.

A. All that you say may be true to some degree. The bottom line, however, is that enlightenment = Self-knowledge and Self-knowledge is prevented by ignorance. So the ONLY way to attain enlightenment is to remove the ignorance. This is a mental activity and a still, perceptive mind, able to exercise discrimination etc. is the one most likely to succeed. An approach is needed which cultivates this condition of mind and simultaneously provides knowledge appropriate to removing the ignorance. Traditional Advaita is such an approach. Some other “paths” do not provide either.

Q: Is enlightenment personal?

A: This question arises as a result of the mistaken concept that there are individuals who are not currently enlightened but may become so at a future time.

In reality, there is only brahman and it is obviously not meaningful to speak of brahman becoming enlightened – brahman IS unlimited light, consciousness etc. And in reality, there are no persons, egos or individuals – no one who could become enlightened.

At the level of the apparent world, there appear to be jIva-s as a result of Atman seemingly being limited by ignorance. Why this should be the case is not a question that can meaningfully be addressed. The mechanism by which this confusion is resolved, however, is to bring in knowledge to eliminate the ignorance. When this occurs, it can be said that it is now understood (at the level of mind) that there never was a separate individual. This process is called ‘enlightenment’. So it is not altogether meaningful to speak of the person having become enlightened (but then, if anyone has become enlightened, it has to be the person)!

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (IV.4.19) states that “It is only through the mind that the truth can be realized.” And when so-called realization occurs, it is seen that nothing has actually changed. It is simply that the mistaken view of a “world” and “separation” has now disappeared.

Hence the expression of Sri Poonja (?): ‘Nothing ever happened’ or the Zen term: ‘the gateless gate’.

In another one of those frequent examples of ‘synchronicity’, I read the following extract last night from David Carse’s book ‘Perfect Brilliant Stillness‘ in which he addresses precisely this question (his material is specifically not copyrighted, in case anyone should wonder):

There is a sense in which there is no ‘awakening,’ no enlightenment, because there is no ‘one’ to awaken. Who would this be? Who is awakened?

‘Me,’ david? Of course not: david is a dream character, an idea, a fiction; not the dreamer, and therefore obvi­ously cannot awaken. There is no ‘david’ to do anything, including awaken.

Or is it ‘Who I Really Am’ that has ‘awakened;’ Presence, Awareness, All That Is?

But of course Awareness has never been asleep, has no need to awaken to anything; Awareness is always already All There Is.

Clearly then, there is no one to awaken. ‘Awakening’ is only an analogy, a concept, a pointer. The seeker commu­nity tends to take it literally, but like most analogies it only takes you so far.

What has happened is more like this: in the dream, in the case of the dream character ‘david,’ All That Is stops pretending that ‘It’ is asleep. What has always been awake lets the misunderstanding that there is some one to be asleep and some one to awaken, fall away.

That is all. And the dream continues, as before. The misunderstanding has fallen away, but the misunderstanding was not real anyway, so what has happened? Nothing. The character ‘david’ now knows he is only a dream, not ‘real;’ knows it is all a dream. But even this dream character’s ‘knowing’ is part of the dream, part of the unfolding of the script of the dream for that dream character, and nothing has happened. The dream character goes on being the dream character.

Q: Can meditation bring about enlightenment?

A: Meditation is a valuable rest for the mind, providing some welcome freedom from thoughts. But the point to bear in mind is that the root cause of all of our problems is ignorance and the only thing that can remove that is knowledge. Experiencing a still mind is nothing more than an experience. Even an ascetic who goes into a cave to meditate for days at a time will come out and be no more enlightened than when he went in – just thinner!

Meditation is of value when the mind is very active. If thoughts, objections, problems, ideas etc. are continually being thrown up, the mind is not going to be receptive to knowledge – a still mind is sAttvika. But nothing can take ‘you’ (the ego) anywhere, whether to enlightenment or hell, because ‘you’ do not exist. Who you really are must already be ‘enlightened’. The problem is simply that there are thoughts that there is a separate entity that exists and is not enlightened. These thoughts (ignorance) have to be shown to be mistaken. This involves the mind, paradoxically. New knowledge is input, from scriptures or a teacher, and reason shows the previous notions to be false. Obviously this process cannot happen in the absence of mind.

Hence, meditation could never itself bring about recognition of Self; it can only help prepare the mind to be more receptive to the knowledge. In fact, meditation (dhyAna) is not even part of the traditional preparation of Shankara’s Advaita ( sAdhana chatuShTaya sampatti). It is the seventh of the eight steps of aShTA~Nga yoga.

Q: I went to a satsang a few weeks ago. At the end of the last session, someone came forward to ask to be accepted as a disciple (at least I think that was what was going on). The teacher put his hands on the man’s head and there was a moment of quiet. I wondered if you could explain what the implication of this ritual is?

A: Regarding your description of the satsang, I do not actually know the teacher or his writing. I have heard that he does have a strong presence but you should be careful not to be taken in by this. The way in which anyone ‘presents’ themselves is part of the nature of the body-mind organism. This is obvious in the case of a deep, commanding voice for example, which is clearly dictated by the construction of the larynx etc. But things such as self-confidence, persuasive power, oratory ability etc. are all learned or conceivably inherited characteristics and have nothing at all to do with non-duality. I cannot imagine what he was doing in respect of the ‘laying on of hands’ but this could never achieve anything other than simple physical reassurance or comfort. If someone makes a habit of this one would have to assume it was an affectation to encourage guru worship – hardly something which could be interpreted as authentic. All of our ‘suffering’ (or whatever you want to call it) is the result of ignorance and ignorance can only be removed by knowledge. Knowledge cannot be transferred by touch unfortunately!

The Myth of Enlightenment: Seeing Through the Illusion of Separation ~ Karl Renz

Whether you meet Karl Renz in person or through this book, the encounter will leave you with a radically different sense of yourself. Karl’s unique ability lies in exposing the beliefs we’ve built our lives on, beginning with our root sense of individuality. Our current predicament is the result of believing ourselves to be something other than what we really are.

This self-imposed limitation causes our incessant searching and suffering. Throughout these dialogues Karl unceasingly brings us back to the truth of our real nature by helping us recognize the fleeting and impermanent nature of the self we’ve come to believe in. Even momentarily seeing the truth of who we really are immediately frees us, if only temporarily, from these self-imposed limitations.

Karl’s purpose-if we can say he even has one-is to reflect our own divinity, which he skillfully and uncompromisingly expresses throughout the pages of this book. By realizing the implication of his words, we can live life to its fullest and experience the boundless freedom that is our essence.

Excerpt
“You are that which is prior to any kind of peace or conflict, prior to every sensation, perception, or concept. All this appears and disappears within you. Longing and seeking are also part of these appearances. You don’t need the fulfillment of any kind of seeking in order to be what you already are. For this, nothing has to come and nothing has to go. You yourself are the fulfillment.”
—Karl Renz


Karl Renz is originally from the lower Saxony area of Germany. He studied agriculture before focusing on art and music. Toward the end of the 1970s, Karl had a profound shift in consciousness that awakened him to the realization of immortality and dissolved the concept of a separate self. Since the 1990s, he has responded to numerous invitations to hold dialogues and meetings throughout the world.
Karl Renz – Enlightenment in 70 seconds.wmv

Jonas Elrod’s Wakeup – the film

Jonas Elrod was leading an ordinary life until he woke up one day to a totally new reality. He suddenly could see and hear angels, demons, auras and ghosts.

The documentary movie WAKE UP follows this fascinating story of an average guy who inexplicably developed the ability to access other dimensions. Physicians gave him a clean bill of health and were unable to provide an explanation. What was it? Why was it happening to him? One thing was certain for this 36-year old man – life as he had known it would never be the same.

With his loving but skeptical girlfriend by his side, Jonas crisscrosses the country as he searches for answers and delves deeper into this thrilling world of the phenomenal and spiritual. Along the way, he encounters an amazing group of religious teachers, scientists, mystics and spiritual healers who help him piece together this intricate puzzle.

Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee & Jonas


The film shows how all of us can search inward for our own peace and happiness while contributing towards a positive shift in global consciousness. WAKE UP is a call to consciousness to everyone who sees it; an invitation to accept that there is more to this life than meets the eye.

This are series of uploaded video clips of the film Wake up showcasing interviews with many renowned scientists, teachers and spiritual leaders such as JZ Knight, Sufi mystic Lllewellyn Vaughn-Lee, Stephan A. Schwartz PhD, Gary E. Schwartz PhD, Abdi Assadi, Zen Roshi Joan Halifax and Roger Nelson PhD.

Stay tuned, continue viewing the video clips – they are more than 30 over of them.

A Closer Look at Wake Up By Ruth Baron
Oprah.com

Jonas Elrod and Mara Evans
In our interview with the filmmaker Jonas Elrod and his girlfriend, Mara Evans, we find out why spiritual awakening can come over a slice of pizza.

When Jonas Elrod began seeing angels, demons, auras and ghosts that were invisible to those around him, he turned to scientific and spiritual communities to find out why. His investigation, documented in the film Wake Up, which has its premiere October 16 on OWN, turned into a larger search for meaning and inner peace. We checked in with Jonas and his girlfriend, Mara, to find out more about the film, how their lives have changed and how anyone can enter the spiritual world.

Oprah.com: Jonas, in the film, you attempt to tap into your inner consciousness while also seeking a global or universal connection. Can we talk about what “consciousness” means?

Jonas: I guess you would call it the spirit, or source, or guide. I would say—this may sound incredibly blasphemous to some people—but we’re all part of God. So I try to stay conscious and aware and treat other people as if they were God, as if they’re me.

Oprah.com: How have your beliefs evolved since you started working on this film?

Jonas: One thing that came through to me is that I am not afraid of death. Consciousness, spirit, soul, whatever you want to call it, certainly survives. That was always, like for many of us, a huge fear of mine.

Mara: We’re going to be afraid of things in life. I’ve learned to separate being afraid from being sort of nervous. That sounds like such a slight, little thing, but it can really make a huge difference in how you make choices in your life. For me, that’s meant dropping the constant need to question Jonas and every single person he ever interviewed, and every single fan who comes up and talks to him.

Oprah.com: What was the process of coming to terms with your fears and doubts like?

Jonas:
It’s not an overnight thing. This took a lot of internal work and a lot of stumbling and struggling to see it. I think my biggest answers came when I quit looking outside and was able to sit alone with my thoughts and meditate and look inward. I make jokes about this. This could have been a really short film; I probably could have just meditated in my living room for a couple weeks, and that could have been it.

Mara: I guess it’s a little bit of faith, but when I would be really confused or really skeptical, I was able to let it go because I remembered the first miracle I had, which was meeting Jonas, and [I remembered] how deeply I love this man. When you have that concrete base under your feet of loving somebody, you’re like, “Okay, these little birds that are running around my head up here annoying me with these questions, I do not have to have an answer immediately—or have an answer at all.”

Oprah.com: Mara, what advice would you give someone who doesn’t have Jonas’ ability to see things but who still wants to tap into her inner consciousness?

Mara: I think by simply asking the questions and being willing to go on the journey, and willing to be inquisitive and curious and explore, is enough nourishment to start to feed something on the inside of you that will start a connection with something bigger than yourself. It doesn’t have to be this extraordinary firework kind of thing.

Jonas: I always emphasize that you could run a marathon and have that be your truth. You don’t have to see spirits running through the living room to get to these places. Anyone can meditate. Anyone can pray.

In our interview with Jonas Elrod and his girlfriend, Mara Evans, we find out why spiritual awakening can come over a slice of pizza.

Oprah.com: You interviewed so many different scientists and spiritual leaders for the film. What mistakes did you see people make as they tried to tap into their consciousness?

Jonas: I met so many great people who helped point me in the right direction, but also it was up to me to arrive at that truth, and the only way I could do it was literally turning inside because those answers are in each and every one of us.

Mara: Pride can start to be an ugly thing sometimes within people. I feel like the danger zone is when you’re setting out on this journey to find something bigger than yourself: The swamp areas that you can fall into are things like being too prideful about what you’re doing. “Oh, look at me. I’m going out on this safari, this soul safari, and look at my amazing hat while I’m doing it.”

Oprah.com: Mara, even though you don’t see the same things Jonas does, you also have an awakening in the film when a Buddhist monk tells you what your name means. Can you two talk about that?

Jonas: It was beautiful. And almost kind of hilarious—I had worked for years and years to come to this place, and she had this shift eating a piece of pizza. It took five minutes, and it was very profound for her and very real.

Mara: A lot of people walking on this planet hike to the tops of the mountain seeking all of these answers, and then there are people who are like, “I don’t really have a whole lot of questions, and I don’t really need a whole lot of answers,” and that’s totally okay too. With my own awakening, you see in the film, I’m eating a piece of pizza, and all of a sudden, this lighthearted little joke takes this huge nosedive down into my heart and into my soul. So, it’s okay if you don’t feel that you need to go to the peak of the mountain in order to find exactly who you are. You might find it over a slice of pizza like I did.

Oprah.com: Do you live your lives differently since you’ve finished the movie?

Jonas: I have rituals. I meditate, but I don’t wear robes or burn incense with 300 candles in the room. I just keep the spiritual at the core. It doesn’t mean I talk about it all the time, because no one really wants to hear that constantly. But when something good or when something challenging comes up, I rely on the inner voice that I hear, instead of taking it personally. Anything that happens that we call bad, I understand that it’s there to help push me forward, not to pull me back.

Mara: Internally, I feel more calm having this whirlwind of a spiritual experience. I find that life is just as hard. In the past year, I’ve lost my father. I’ve lost the family farm that I grew up on. I’ve lost my precious uncle. So much loss has happened in my life in the past year, and I’ve handled it. I never imagined what life would be like on this planet without having my father in it. But I’m finding that concrete base, and that love in the relationships that I’ve built up, because of Jonas, because of my new perspective. No matter how hard I feel life shaking me, that concrete base is still there.

Wake Up was directed by Jonas Elrod and Chloe Crespi and produced by Steve Hutensky. Learn more at WakeUptheFilm.com

Printed from Oprah.com on Saturday, February 16, 2013
© 2012 Harpo Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

%d bloggers like this: