Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Essential Being is Center-less yet Includes the Personal Vantage

My experience, or knowing of whom I am, is not exclusively as a center of awareness, located in this body. While there is clearly a vantage point from this body—which is based on the five senses as known by the function of personal consciousness, the fundamental function of this body—that is not the whole story.

Simultaneous to that personal vantage point of knowing or experiencing from here, there is the experience, or more accurately, knowing of who I am, as center-less. These occur at the same time.

Some people claim to have come to a point where there is no sense of self, or personal vantage point, it having somehow vanished completely. While I don't deny their experience because I don't know their experience, so I don't say they are being untruthful, in my own experience, that is not the case. The so-called personal sense of self—which is based on the fundamental experience of personal consciousness, which then knows thoughts, emotions and the five sensory mechanisms of experience—is an appearance that comes and goes, like a wave in the ocean, never the same, appearing and then vanishing completely. While simultaneously, the knowing that I am aware and center-less, not centered anywhere, and includes and knows all of those personal functions, is obvious and present at all times, unchanging.

This is an all-inclusive view and does not deny the appearance of an ephemeral, personal self, nor does it insist on the necessity to get rid of any personal self. All is included—essential being, which is aware and has no qualities whatsoever, and is center-less, being timeless and dimensionless, and the so-called personal appearances of consciousness, thoughts, emotions and the five sensory mechanisms, which create the personal vantage/experience.

So this does not deny our humanity or find a need to transcend our humanity. It does not need to transcend self or kill the ego or anything like that.

Essential being is prior to—meaning it is, before, during and after all of the personal experiences—and knows the fleeting personal experience as well as itself and includes everything, unconditionally.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Aware is your essential nature and points to freedom

One of the most common devices of teachers on the path is to tell people to look within, or go inside, something along those lines. But I think this can be misleading and confusing. It gives the impression that you are inside somewhere. This is exactly what we have to stop believing. You are not within anything. Whenever I tried to do that on the path I only felt claustrophobic. Even if it brought some peace or bliss it was still limited to body/mind. And also to look within makes you think that you will discover SOMETHING. But the NO-THING that you are cannot be found within, or anywhere in fact. The idea of ‘looking within’ just supports the idea of separation.

What is needed is to momentarily let go of idea, feeling or sense that this form is the center of our existence. And to then recognize our true, center-less existence. It is about allowing attention to be free and open instead of 'self-focused'. When this “my body/mind is the center of my existence” idea is dropped then it is known that I am not ‘in’ anything. This is when you discover the ultimate joke. There is a sense of limitless existence, unattached, un-centered, instead of the feeling/sense of self-focus. This points to freedom, who I truly am. Here there is no dimension, no time. Just here, now, eternal. So simple and so obvious.

One way to recognize this is to have a look at the idea that, ‘I am aware’. In that sentence it appears that there is an 'I/self' who is 'aware'. Aware is used as an adverb. This supports the belief that we are centered in a body looking outward and being aware. But instead of using aware as an adverb what if we make the word 'aware' synonymous with the word 'I'? I and aware are not different. Or, aware is who I am. This stops the mind from creating the idea that there is an ‘I’ who is ‘aware’. This way we let go of this body as the center from where we look outwardly and there is just that which is freely aware. Unattached to body, not centered inside, but free. Just one seamless aware which is both and neither inside nor outside the body. This will instantly take you out of the belief identification with mind and body. It is a simple and immediate way to recognize what is true, here and now, so obvious. It is not seeking, it is finding. It is not a path and it takes no time. It’s more like a light switch. First it is dark. You throw the switch. And then it is light. It takes no time.

But the problem comes because almost no one wants this absolutely utter simplicity. Mind will say, ‘This can't be the holy grail, it can’t be this simple’. That’s because there is nothing to get here. No experience, no bliss, no ecstasy, nothing special. No flashing lights or explosions. But this is where freedom lies. This shows you immediately, in no time, that you are already essentially free. This recognition is the door to liberation. In fact it is liberation itself. And when you see this you know that you can either value what is free, here and now, or once again identify with this body/mind and instantly create the claustrophobic limitation and suffering that that identification brings. This is an effortless means of inquiry. Whenever you find yourself identified with thought just stop and recognize that 'freely aware is who I am'. And let that free you from the limitation of identifying with body and mind.

So the question arises, ‘Is this a practice that has a future goal?” The answer is that it is a very simple inquiry that can show what is true now. It points to the ultimate joke, that, 'I am not this body, or inside this body, I am free.' It is already liberation itself; however, if one still wants more… experience, self-identification, suffering, then it will seem too ordinary, simple and obvious. This recognition is the essential foundation of liberation. If one is truly authentic about being free then once this is recognized one will come to believe less and less in the amalgamation of self-identified thoughts, feelings and sensations as who I am exclusively. I don't say it is a path, because it is true in every moment already. As the saying goes, ‘The path and the goal are one’. So this should not be used as a tool for some enlightenment in the future, but simply as a recognition of what is true now, that who you are is freedom itself already. This inquiry points to freedom now.

As Ramana Maharshi says, 'Abide as the Self.' But, without calling it Self, just abide as your essential free nature... simplicity itself, freely aware, here and now. No-thing. Unidentified, yet alive. This should not be used as a path but as a way to recognize what is eternally true now, over and over... and always. See again and again what is true, that you are now, and always have been, free.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Feelings and Emotions

"Trust your feelings." "Just go with what you feel." "You don't express your feelings enough." We've been trained by our cultures and societies to think this way, that how we feel is an indication of truth or wisdom, or in some way indicates how we are doing or what we should do. But is that really so? Have we questioned this? It is very important to recognize this misunderstanding and to see the confusion and suffering it causes.

People have been trusting their feelings since the beginning of history and look what a mess it has gotten us into both on a personal level and on the level of world separation. Hitler certainly trusted his feelings, a little too much obviously. Okay, that is an extreme example, but what about you? Have your feelings always been trustworthy? Has going with your feelings always brought a desired and beneficial result? I venture to say no, certainly not in my case anyway.

Feelings are fleeting appearances triggered by stimuli either within this body mind organism or coming from outside of this body mind. They are naturally arising events, but in no way are they an indication of intelligent action nor do they indicate anything about us.

I am not saying that emotions are bad or should be denied. Nor am I saying that they should be gotten rid of. They are a perfectly natural and normal human appearance.

But, living at the whim of your emotional and feeling life is clearly bondage. When emotions are pleasant we think we are doing well. When they are unpleasant we think that something is wrong with us. This is the seesaw ride that keeps us in confusion and suffering. Even inherent in pleasant emotional states is the deep knowledge that they will end, and this causes clinging and attachment, not wanting them to end and fearing that they will. But they will end. The nature of all appearances, without exception, is that they appear and disappear. No appearance is eternal.

Why not be free of emotions? I'm not saying to not have emotions. Free of emotions means knowing who you are, your essential aware nature, that is before, during and after the appearance of emotions, and enjoying that, knowing that you are fine, no matter what your emotional state is. It means not being tossed around like a twig in the ocean just because the fickle waves of mind are active. When you know yourself as the vast ocean what does it matter what a few waves are up to?

So, how can we come to know this freedom in our own experience? Simple. Just let whatever is appearing appear without caring one way or another, and simultaneously notice your essential aware nature, that you are aware. Just don't care what is going on in your mind. In that moment you will begin to recognize what freedom is.

Freedom is your essential nature and it is not dependent at all on circumstances — physical, emotional or mental.

Try this for some time. When an emotion is arising, good or bad, just stop focusing on it for a few seconds and recognize that you are aware. Don't expect the emotion to change. Just notice your essential aware nature, that you are here, present, aware and that regardless of what you think or feel, all is well. Just notice, that's all. Soon you will begin to trust in that more than you trust in how you feel. You will begin to realize experientially what freedom is. It is who you are already. You come to know yourself differently than you had before.

You are already free, you just think that the ups and downs of your emotional life indicate that you are not. Find out if that is true. Check it out.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Freedom is not an experience

Freedom is not an experience. It is not dependent on how you feel—good or bad. It is not even dependent on always recognizing your essential nature at all times. It is knowing without doubt and being convinced that who you are, essentially, is free.

Up till now in life you have trusted your experiences, especially thoughts and emotions, to indicate how you are doing. This is just how you were taught.

It is a matter of just letting all of those thoughts and emotions be as they are, because you know you are free. And if you are not convinced that you are free then just keep letting them be anyway and keeping noticing your essential aware nature, while they are appearing. This will convince you.

No matter what appears, pleasant or  unpleasant, 

don't attend to it.
Just don't attend to how you are feeling, whether good or bad.

Place no value on it either way.

In that moment notice that you are aware,

not only aware of the feelings,

but aware of whatever is appearing here and now.

The feelings are just one appearance in millions of appearances 

all happening now.

They are all appearing to you.  

 Your essential nature is aware.

Aware of all of it.

So don't focus in on or attend to however you are feeling.

Let attention be free and open,

and see that all is included,

and that your experience is not limited to a particular emotional state.    
            In doing so, you will begin to notice that you are free.

  Whether you feel good or bad,

simultaneous to that,

you are freely aware.

Attend to that, your essential




In doing so at all times

by abiding as such,

 you will become convinced

that you are free. 


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Ground of Knowing

You are here, before, during and after all appearances as the ground of knowing that knows all of the changing form and data. Your essential nature knows itself, and all that appears in, to and as itself.

What almost all seekers do is look to the experience as that thing. For example, a wonderful mystical experience that is far different from our normal conscious experience. When this happens it can be quite exhilarating and compelling. We can feel that this experience is akin to enlightenment or something like that.

But, as with every and all experiences, it appears, stays a while and then vanishes, leaving no trace. Then we may be left with a sense of lacking something or of disappointment. So we long for that experience to come again and last forever, but it never does.

With unpleasant experiences we have the opposite desire—that it leaves and never comes again. So we may fear or shun possible future unpleasant experiences.

But what is here before during and after all of those experiences? You are here as the ground of knowing, that which doesn’t come and go and knows all experiences. Coming to know this aspect of yourself is a shift of knowing, from being ‘lost’ in appearances to the relief of knowing yourself as essentially untouched by experience.

All appearances, pleasant, unpleasant, ordinary or extraordinary are equal in that they appear, stay a while and then vanish, leaving only you, ever here and ever the same.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sadness and Suffering

Q: I have been thinking about "all things will pass"...which I understand, but if things do pass, such as my father's death, but it still is with me in an emotional way, are you just pointing to the physical part of this saying, and what do the words really mean...if something does pass but it stays with you, then what would you call that?

I believe this to be in memory but you do reference this saying a lot and I'm not nit-picking, more of trying to understand more about it so I have a better idea of this concept.

A: No, I don't mean just the physical part. All emotions pass as well. In fact, if you just have an honest look, you will recognize that that emotion comes and goes, and in fact, is mostly not present. You will think of your father and then sadness will appear. A little while later you are immersed in work and it is not appearing. Or you are enjoying a sunset, or laughing at your partner's jokes, or having a bad nightmare or beautiful dream at night, watching TV, or just thinking of nothing in particular.

So, in that way, you can see that no appearance is permanent. And, in fact, that sadness is never quite the same each time. Sometimes it is strong, sometimes mild, sometimes crushing, sometimes sentimental or nostalgic, sometimes sweet and tender. It is not a static fixed thing that is permanent. In a year it will be less. In ten years even far less. So, it is not permanent, it passes. In fact, it is mostly not appearing at all. See that for yourself.

We have created the concept of continuity, that something that appears in our mind remains there, like in the subconscious. But that is only a belief. That belief causes a lot of suffering. But just as in nature, appearances come and go—wind comes and goes, the moon comes and goes, rain comes and goes, winter, spring, summer, fall—this is natural and it is just the same for your thoughts and emotions. They are natural appearances too.

But, there is something that is present during all of those things I mentioned above. Guess what that is? Yep, YOU. Your essential aware nature. That is always present in all of the moments of sadness or joy. You would never know any of those experiences without your essential aware nature being present. It is because of YOU that anything is known.

So, when sadness for your father arises, it is a natural appearance and perfect as it is. In that moment just notice your essential aware nature, that you are aware. This helps in not getting into too much of a "poor me" story. Instead, it shines the light of wisdom on the story. In that moment you will know the sadness is impermanent. That is wisdom. Getting into a poor me story and believing that it is permanent or continuous causes suffering. Without that, the sadness arises and passes in its very natural flow. It is just an appearance passing on by.

Sadness is natural. Causing it to linger around for a long time by building up a story is something we have learned to do. But it is not necessary. And, it is not necessary to think that if you don't dwell on this sadness for a long time it means that you don't love your father enough. That is another learned and false belief.

See in your own experience that everything arises and passes, appears and disappears. And that if you recognize your essential aware nature during its appearance it takes on its very natural rhythm and just passes by without causing any harm. When you do this you will see that you are on to the next experience and emotion very quickly. And that too shall pass. But you remain always, aware.

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Q: It is taking me a while to "get it" so to speak. The more I recognize awareness, the more I see more opportunities to do it. I don't really know sometimes if I am doing it "right". All I know to do is just relax my mind from having opinions about everything that happens and getting caught up in my thoughts and emotions. I trust that if I keep on (and at this point I could never turn back anyway) I will finally see my true nature.

A: Thank you for writing. Every time you stop and notice that you are aware, you are noticing your essential nature. We, including me, have been taught to believe that it will look like something—bliss, god, energy, silence, ecstasy, magic powers, or whatever else. No wonder it is so hard for us to accept the utter simplicity and obviousness of what we are, since we are looking for something so grand, when in fact, it just looks like whatever is in this moment.

That simple recognition is not only the doorway to the kingdom, it is the kingdom. You will come to know that more and more. That is why the suggestion is to just keep coming back to that simple recognition again and again. All true teachers offer this same recommendation. No need to worry about having opinions. I have opinions too. That is just what mind does. It's a total relief to not have to care about what this crazy mind is going to come up with next.

Do you know what freedom is? It is not a state. It is just a doubtless knowing that you are free. That's all. And that will come about naturally by continuing to abide as your aware nature, even when opinions arise. If it was a state then it couldn't be freedom, or your eternal nature, because all states change and all states arise and disappear. So, how can we depend on those and why should we give them undo importance? As long as you are looking for a state, even if it is very subtle, like silence or peace, you overlook that you are already free. And you are always present, through all states. Check that out for yourself and see that you are always present, no matter what appears. That is how you will come to know that you are free.

Q: Wow! What a great response.

There is so much in your email that I see now that I was doing that I really didn't realize. I forgot that I don't have to worry or give any thought to opinions...

I have searched for many years (20+) for a teaching that would deliver me from fear. I have been looking for something that would banish fear from my life. Only THEN would I feel free. Only then would I know real freedom. I want to walk the earth completely fearless and help others. It seems now that goal is not possible. Maybe it is about not fearing fear. I don't know. As I sit here writing this I notice that I am aware and that awareness is not afraid. But something seems to be. Well, I feel that things will take care of themselves as I keep coming back to recognizing that I am aware.

A: It sounds to me that you are doing fine. I completely understand when you say, "I have been looking for something that would banish fear from my life. Only THEN would I feel free. Only then would I know real freedom." We have all been taught to believe that certain conditions indicate that we are not free, and that the ultimate set of never-ending-perfect-conditions will make us feel that we are free. But as I know you know, those conditions will never come. But you are always here, eternally, through all conditions. As you noticed, there is something that seems to be afraid, but you are aware of that. I think you can definitely trust that by continuing just as you are doing, with full commitment to your essential aware nature, all is and will be fine.

Here is a very small investigation to try. Just remember back to when you were young—seven, five, twelve—just in a very relaxed way remember yourself back then and see yourself looking out of those young eyes. Try to remember a scene from your childhood from your perspective. Place yourself there. Try it now.

 It was you looking, exactly as it is you looking now. But, every cell of your body has died and been replaced by new ones. So, that means that this must be a completely different body from the one back then. How can that be? You must not be this body. So who are you then? 

You are here then and you are here now and you are here many years from now when your body is eighty. You have been enjoying the show the whole time. But the show is so convincing that we come to believe that we are in the show, not just in the audience. That is all you need to trust in, that you are eternal, aware, that which has been watching your whole life's events, including the growing and changing of your body. This is where your perfect health and fearlessness lie.

Essential Mind

The essence of mind is empty. It is synonymous with true nature and is the natural default human condition. What we generally call mind is actually the content—thoughts, emotions, sensory objects. Whether these things are present or not, essential mind remains untouched and unmoved. We are taught to value the content of mind, not the essence. This is why there is suffering and confusion. The content is in constant change and flux, birth and decay, so there can be no security or stability in valuing that. The true mental and emotional stability is already attained and is found by valuing the essence of mind, which is empty, free, clear and stable at all times already. Whatever the content is doing doesn't matter at all. Come to know the essence, empty mind. This is peace.