False Promises and the True Nature of Enlightenment by James Swartz

Enlightenment is not some that should be promised and many spiritual teachers seem to lead people astray. Instead, we must change our belief systems and enable ourselves to be fully conscious in the present.
This is a segement of james swartz talk at watkins books


Buddha & Enlightenment – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

When Lord Buddha got enlightened, he was silent for seven days…he didn’t say a word. All the Gods and the angels got worried that he is not saying anything. They pleaded him to say something, because what he says will benefit people for ages to come.

Lord Buddha came 2,500 years after Lord Krishna, and if he doesn’t say anything, what will happen? One of the Gods, Lord Brahma went to Buddha and said, “Please say something.”

Lord Buddha then said, “Those who know it, you don’t need to tell them. For those who do not know, there is no point in telling them because they are ignorant. Any amount of telling them will not be of any use. They are in the small mind.”

Then the angels told Buddha that there are some who are in the middle; they know a little bit and yet, they don’t know a lot. When they hear you, they can move towards the higher truth. Thus, they convinced Lord Buddha, and then he started speaking. He travelled all over India and spoke for 32 years. In those days, there were no airplanes, otherwise he would have come to Japan also. His only intention was to bring compassion and inner peace to the people of the world.
Each one of us have a ‘Buddha’ inside of us.

If you ask me, “Is it possible? Isn’t it too difficult?” The answer is – yes, it is possible and no, it is not too difficult.

The formula is:
1. Having clarity in mind, purity in heart, and sincerity in action.
2. Keeping a smile and doing meditation.
3. Seeing life from a bigger perspective.

We have been on this planet many times; life is much bigger than just a few incidents. We should not let our mind get stuck in events, incidences and people. We have to sail through them all, and then our smile will be stronger. Otherwise, you get one phone call, and all your joy goes away. You cannot afford to be like that. When you expand your mind and shift the context for your life, you become so strong, stable, solid and yet, so soft. Then there is nothing that can shake you
Source: Wisdom

Shawn Nevins ‘The Way Of Subtraction’ Interview by Iain McNay”

Published on 24 May 2018
Shawn Nevins ‘The Way Of Subtraction’ Interview by Iain McNay
Shawn is author of four books including ‘Subtraction: The Simple Math Of Enlightenment.‘ In the foreword he says, ‘This book answers the question of how to find out the answer to who and what you are beyond any shadow of a doubt.’ His spiritual search ended on December 28th 1999 having started 7 years earlier. During that time he meditated for thousands of hours, fasted, prayed, retreated, met spiritual teachers, and never gave up.
His primary teacher was Richard Rose but he also spent time with Bernadette Roberts, Douglas Harding and others. His breakthrough came when he read through a transcript of a talk by Franklin Merrell-Wolff.
Shawn’s story has many ups and downs. His sincerity during his search shines through and his many realisations on his path are tangible.

Is There a Shortcut to Enlightenment? ~ Igor Kufayev

In this introduction Igor Kufayev speaks of the necessity of energetic transformation irrespective of the chosen path to self-realisation

Awakening and Enlightenment – Arjuna Ardagh

Many people may wonder: Does this process of Awakening Coaching lead to Enlightenment? Before we can answer this question, we have to have some reference for what this word “Enlightenment” means. It has been used quite freely in English in the last forty years or so, generally to refer to some kind of absolute state of arrival: the final destination in the journey of evolution.

I have had an opportunity to talk to many people over the years about this word, and I can report to you that there is no shared agreement at all about its meaning, or about who would qualify as “Enlightened.” Since not everyone agrees about what the word means, or even if it means anything at all, we have to accept that it is a concept to which we can attribute whatever meaning we choose.

The important thing about concepts is not so much whether they are true or false, but what effect they have on our lives. What happens to the quality of your life in this moment if you install the “Enlightenment” plug-in into your belief systems?

People often pin this word on to certain predictable figures, either living or dead. In recent years some of the recipients of this projection have been Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Bhagwan Rajneesh (Osho), Amrit Desai, Werner Erhard, Baba Muktananda, and many more.

One possible outcome of pinning this word onto another human being is that when they turn out to have some very human characteristics, we feel disappointed and betrayed. There have been many teachers from the Orient in recent years whose followers have put them on a pedestal. Then later it was discovered that the teacher was preaching celibacy but actually having sex with underage girls. Or the teacher was presented as a monk with no possessions, but was actually amassing money in Swiss bank accounts. There have been all sorts of discrepancies like this. The teacher only falls because they were set up above the human condition. You have to put somebody on a pedestal in order for them to fall off. This is one consequence of the “Enlightenment” myth.

We also can explore what this concept does to the quality of this moment. Generally, when most people speak of “Enlightenment,” they speak of a future state, or the state of another person. “Just now, I’m not Enlightened, but in the future, or that person up on that podium there, that is Enlightenment.” What does that do to your experience of the present moment? If you hold a concept of a better future, or of somebody who is better than you up on a podium, what does it do to your experience of now? To your capacity to love?

If you make your life about getting to be “Enlightened” later, then your attention is not on what is going on here in your life now. It can easily become another kind of ambition.

Recently, I took a train from Vienna to Munich.
It is a spectacularly beautiful ride, through the Austrian countryside. My organizer had bought a Second Class ticket for me. Everything was perfectly good. I had a table in front of me. There was a place to recharge the computer; the dining car was nearby. Everything was fine. Then I went to look for the bathroom. I stepped into the next carriage, and I found myself in First Class. The seats were leather and reclined a little more. “Looks good,” I thought. I asked the conductor how much extra I would have to pay to sit here. 40 Euros more. Not bad. Then I walked a little further down the carriage. I found a private compartment. This was not just First Class, it was VIP Business Class. You get your own little light; the seat reclines all the way back. “Fantastic! I have to sit here.”

Life is always like that: there is always an upgrade. You can upgrade your seat, you can upgrade the RAM in your computer, you can upgrade your car, your house, your job. You can even upgrade your husband or your wife. In fact, for most of us, our entire life is about upgrades. These are the symptoms of the generic discontent we suffer from in Western countries: always wanting more, and different, and better.

As I was standing in the Business Class compartment of this Austrian train, thinking how fantastic this could be for me, I stopped. “Arjuna,” I said to myself. “It is perfectly fine where you already are. It will make no difference to your enjoyment of the ride to sit here. The views of the mountains are already stunning.” I went back to my seat in Second Class and thoroughly enjoyed my train journey.

Enlightenment is the ultimate neurosis of upgrade. You can drive yourself crazy thinking, “There is something wrong with me as I am. I’m having thoughts. Oh, my God, now I’m having negative thoughts. Now I’m thinking about ice cream. I’m having feelings in my body. I’m having feelings down here, in my groin. I need to become Enlightened.”

The possibility is not that you fulfill the fantasy of the upgrade, but that you go back to your seat and enjoy the ride of your human life. We are not talking here about an idea of Enlightenment, or about becoming better in any way. Awakening is different from that. It means to really see things as they already are. Not to upgrade, but to recognize that this moment is already perfect. What can you see just now? What can you hear? Who is close to you? Who could you reach out and touch or kiss? There are so many blessings, so easily overlooked in the stampede for more, and different, and better.

This moment is already perfect as it is; it does not have to change. It is being experienced by consciousness, which also doesn’t have to change, because it cannot change. It is infinite. For the shift we are talking about, we use the word “awakening.” It ends with “I–N–G.” A moment of awakening is always now, and now, and now. No brownie points are awarded, no certificate is issued. When we put “E–D” at the end of a word, like “EnlightenED,” it becomes about a state; it refers to a moment of graduation, an event in time. “Back in 1991 I became Enlightened.” Congratulations. But what about now? This moment is a moment of awakening. Only this moment: all else has been forgotten.

So awakening is not the same as “Enlightenment.” It needs no fancy capital letter at the start. It is part of ordinary life. It needs no pedestal. I have done a lot of research on this over the last twenty years. When people fall into awakening in the way that we are describing here, into a recognition of that which is experiencing this moment, the word “Enlightenment” just evaporates; it has no meaning, in either the present or the future. If you ask someone, while they are resting as spaciousness, “Are you enlightened?” they generally just laugh. It doesn’t mean anything. If you ask, “Are you trying to become enlightened?” they laugh again.

You might know my 2005 book, The Translucent Revolution. I asked everybody I interviewed these same questions: “Are you enlightened? Are you trying to become enlightened?” Out of the 170 people I interviewed, nobody said “yes.” They either laughed and said, “I don’t even know what that means,” or they laughed and said, “No.” People were neither claiming it as a present state, nor seeking it as a future state.

People who taste awakening cancel their subscription to this concept. They cancel their subscription to this idea of trying to make this human being perfect. Awakening means not only to drop into a recognition of the awareness that is experiencing this moment, but also to drop into an easygoing acceptance of the way this human animal is, which may be in some ways imperfect. It may have its health issues, it may become forgetful as it gets older, it may be irritable, it may have cravings for things, it has its desires. There might be some interest in training it to behave in an acceptable way, one that is more pleasant to other people; but to try to make this animal perfect is dropped as an unnecessary effort.

From Better than Sex by Arjuna Ardagh.
Source: Arjuna Ardagh

 How Rupert Spira Moved Towards Enlightenment – A Spiritual Awakening Process

In an interview with conscioustv nonduality teacher Rupert Spira explains what steps he took in order to realize his true nature / enlightenment. His realization was that there is absolutely nothing that he can do; already and all the time he is/was consciousness or awareness that is looking at itself.

Rupert Spira shares his views and experiences related to
Non-duality, Ceramics, Meditation, Advaita, Vedanta, Consciousness and Awareness.

‘The discovery that peace, happiness and love are ever-present within our own Being, and completely available at every moment of experience, under all conditions, is the most important discovery that anyone can make.’

‘To believe that I, Awareness, share the limits and the destiny of the mind and body is like believing that the screen shares the limits and destiny of a character in a movie.’

Rupert Spira’s Homepage:


The Secret of “Who Am I?” Enquiry! Eckhart Tolle

Published on Mar 27, 2018

In this video, Eckhart Tolle tells who you actually are at the deepest level!

Concept Of Enlightenment – Eckhart Tolle 

Eckhart Tolle talks about the concept of enlightenment.

Adyashanti – What Is Enlightenment?

Many people think that enlightenment is an altered state of consciousness. Actually, what we perceive every day through the distorted lens of ego is the truly altered state — we see things that don’t exist, we believe things that aren’t happening, and we live in a false world of our own creation. In this direct and practical satsang, Adyashanti opens the door into the clear seeing that is our natural state of enlightenment.


The bestselling authors of How God Changes Your Brain reveal the neurological underpinnings of enlightenment, offering unique strategies to help readers experience its many benefits.

In this original and groundbreaking book, Andrew Newberg, M.D., and Mark Robert Waldman turn their attention to the pinnacle of the human experience: enlightenment. Through his brain- scan studies on Brazilian psychic mediums, Sufi mystics, Buddhist meditators, Franciscan nuns, Pentecostals, and participants in secular spirituality rituals, Newberg has discovered the specific neurological mechanisms associated with the enlightenment experience–and how we might activate those circuits in our own brains.

In his survey of more than one thousand people who have experienced enlightenment, Newberg has also discovered that in the aftermath they have had profound, positive life changes. Enlightenment offers us the possibility to become permanently less stress-prone, to break bad habits, to improve our collaboration and creativity skills, and to lead happier, more satisfying lives. Relaying the story of his own transformational experience as well as including the stories of others who try to describe an event that is truly indescribable, Newberg brings us a new paradigm for deep and lasting change.

Andrew Newberg, M.D., is the director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania. He is one of the founders of the new interdisciplinary field called neurotheology. He is an associate professor in the department of radiology, with secondary appointments in the departments of psychiatry and religious studies, at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has been featured on Good Morning America, Nightline, Discovery Channel, BBC, NPR, and National Geographic Television. He is the co-author of Why God Won’t Go Away, Born to Believe, and The Mystical Mind.

Mark Robert Waldman is an associate fellow at the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a therapist, the author or co-author of ten books, including Born to Believe (with Andrew Newberg), and was the founding editor of Transpersonal Review. He lectures throughout the country on neuroscience, religion, and spirituality and conducts research with numerous religious and secular groups. His work has been featured in dozens of newspapers and magazines and on syndicated radio programs.

Finding our enlightened state | Andrew Newberg | TEDxPenn
How does the brain function during prayer, meditation, and trance states? Andrew Newberg has conducted hundreds of brain scans of people during these “enlightened” states and found unique patterns of brain activity. He has surveyed 2,000 people to find the essential elements of the enlightenment experience. With these findings, Andrew aims to help people find their own enlightenment, an experience that can radically change and improve your life.

Andrew is the Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University and Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. His research has been published in prestigious scientific journals including JAMA, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, and Frontiers in Psychology, and featured in Newsweek, Time, and the New York Times. He has appeared on Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, as well as movies including Bill Maher’s “Religulous”; and “Awake: The Life of Yogananda.”

The Role of Kundalini in Evolution | Michael Bradford

Wars, revolutions, terrorism and other violent upheavals have been a constant feature of human civilization since the dawn of recorded history. In our current scientifically advanced age, the consequences of this aspect of human behavior have become far more serious. With the advent of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, the very survival of our species is now in doubt.

In this presentation, the role of Kundalini in human evolution will be examined. In light of this, it will be shown how knowledge of this divine power will not only be the solution to this dilemma, but will guide humanity into a glorious future that we cannot even imagine at present.


Michael Bradford has been involved in research on Kundalini for more than 35 years. In 1977 he traveled to India where he spent six years serving as a volunteer worker for the Central Institute for Kundalini Research, founded and directed by the late Pandit Gopi Krishna. Michael has been a board member of the Institute for Consciousness Research (I.C.R.) since it was founded, and has been Director of Publications during this time.

In 1985 he began working full time as an IT consultant in the data processing field, and retired in March 2014. He began studying Vedic astrology with Hart DeFouw in 1995, and in 2003 founded his own vedic astrology practice.

Michael’s website:



In my role as a spiritual teacher, I meet an incredible variety of people who seek truth. Some of these people have been longtime seekers, some have sat with countless spiritual masters, and others are curious newcomers. They are young, old, and everything in between. They are from all walks of life. I have met yoga teachers, therapists, artists, entrepreneurs, firemen, builders, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and many more. Although I teach primarily in the Western world, I also receive numerous emails from people in other parts of the world, such as Africa and the Middle East. What unites this broad spectrum of people is the burning desire to discover that which is deeper than surface reality. What does it mean to awaken in the midst of ordinary life?

Certain questions come to the forefront of the dialogues in my meetings over and over again. Mostly they are questions about the relationship between awakening and the body, love and intimate relationships, money, work, and creativity, as well as questions and concerns about the suffering of the world.

In my role as a spiritual teacher, I meet an incredible variety of people who seek truth. Some of these people have been longtime seekers, some have sat with countless spiritual masters, and others are curious newcomers. They are young, old, and everything in between. They are from all walks of life. I have met yoga teachers, therapists, artists, entrepreneurs, firemen, builders, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and many more. Although I teach primarily in the Western world, I also receive numerous emails from people in other parts of the world, such as Africa and the Middle East. What unites this broad spectrum of people is the burning desire to discover that which is deeper than surface reality. What does it mean to awaken in the midst of ordinary life? Certain questions come to the forefront of the dialogues in my meetings over and over again. Mostly they are questions about the relationship between awakening and the body, love and intimate relationships, money, work, and creativity, as well as questions and concerns about the suffering of the world.

Traditional spiritual teachings have all emphasized the cultivation of an inner state of stillness that awakens us to the truth of our being-nature. And they say this is achieved by turning away from worldly activity. While the recognition of our essential nature as this being-ness is indeed the foundation of awakening, what was relevant thousands of years ago is not so relevant today. It seems that a transcendent experience of enlightenment is not enough these days; people need guidance and support in embodying the light of awakened consciousness in every aspect of their lives, as fully functioning human beings in the modern world with all its complexity.

In my new book Embodied Enlightenment I speak directly to the new paradigm of awakening that is emerging amid challenging times today. What is needed now is not more of the ancient spiritual wisdom passed down through the ages, but a cutting-edge conversation that acknowledges this wisdom as the foundation of awakening and then goes beyond that to include a dialogue about topics traditionally excluded from spiritual teachings. Some of these topics and questions include: What’s the difference in the way awakened consciousness is expressed in men and women? What happens to sex in awakening? Is there such a thing as an enlightened relationship? Does physical well-being matter in awakening? How do we live selflessly in the modern world? How can money and spirituality be friends? This is uncharted territory. What is coming alive in the minds and hearts of those I meet with is an increasing helplessness in the face of escalating world horrors and a desire for personal empowerment and spiritual awareness. There’s an urgency to end the insanity, both within and without, and to find peace in our hearts and on earth at last.

Enlightenment or awakening (I use the terms interchangeably) is no longer a secret reserved for mystics, nor a luxury indulged in by privileged westerners seeking to become “more spiritual.” Awakening is a necessity if we are to survive and thrive in a world gone crazy with ego’s voracious appetite for “me” and “mine”. To rise above this erroneous identification with form (“my body”, “my thoughts”, “my feelings”) and recognize the eternal truth of an inner dimension of formlessness is to evolve out of ego into an enlightened consciousness. But if this enlightenment is to be of any use, it needs to come down from the mountaintop and get its hands dirty in the marketplace of human affairs. It’s in the darkest places — where it hurts, where there is fear, where we are triggered — that we either choose to succumb to the reactive mechanism of ‘fight or flight’ or have the courage to rest deeply in an unbounded openness that brings an end to the war both within ourselves and within the world. It’s right in the midst of political opinions, religious dogma, social rights and wrongs, and in the push and pull of intimate relationship that we are offered the opportunity to awaken out of the dream of separation.

Many spiritual seekers who experience a glimpse of enlightenment believe the world is an illusion. While this is true at the absolute level of pristine emptiness prior to form, the attempt to transcend the world and its messiness often leads to an “existential numbness” that is mistaken for spiritual liberation. There’s no real peace in this, but a subtle and pernicious war that perpetuates both inner and outer conflict. If awakening is to be more than just a state that comes and goes, if it is to be an ongoing reality with a very real impact on our everyday world, there must an intimate meeting with the depth and breadth of feeling that arises in response to the vicissitudes of our human experience. In other words, the light of awakened consciousness must filter out from the mind into the heart.

It’s right in the midst of the raw tenderness of the heart — those places where old patterns of withdrawal, closure and self-defense may have a grip on us — that the cloud of denial and avoidance can be transformed into the clarity of unbounded acceptance. It’s right in the midst of revulsion, regret, shame, and horror that we are called to surrender to what is here as the naked truth of our experience. When this surrender happens, over and over again, eventually the heart overflows with the light of awakened consciousness which then pours into the belly and comes to rest in an uncompromising embrace of both the waves of phenomenal existence and the ocean of inner stillness. It’s at this point that enlightenment is embodied. And it’s at this point that a new world can be born.

Embodied Enlightenment is an invitation to discover this new world … by devoting yourself to living the truth of your awakening in every aspect of your life. It’s an unending invitation because the embodiment of enlightenment is not static but an ever-deepening intimacy with life itself. If you are willing to wholeheartedly embrace this invitation, then perhaps this book will support you in the fulfillment of a life lived in the infinite openness of awakened consciousness.

Don’t Chase Enlightenment, Discover Freedom as the Open Hand – Amoda Maa

In this video, Amoda invites you to stop chasing enlightenment as a sudden “happening” and instead turn your devotion to knowing yourself – and knowing life – as the openness that is always available, right here and now.

Enlightenment Truth | How to Recognize an Enlightened Being? | Advice from Lord Sri Krishna!

Qualities of an Enlightened/Self-realized Being as explained by Lord Sri Krishna. Greatly focused on revealing the hidden spiritual and psychological truths in Bhagavad Gita to modern minds.

The Vedic understanding of the Path to Enlightenment

Ayurvedic Expert Dr Suhas Kshirsagar and Deepak Chopra discuss obstacles and means to Enlightenment from the point of view of Vedanta and Ayurveda.

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