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Most of my life, the underlying operator in my life has been an outlook that “life is out to get me”.
This has shown up in countless ways and affected every area of my life. And the truth is, this is what I was fighting against for so many years…still do in many ways, actually.
That fight is the source of misery. It pits me against life, me against me. And no matter what, I lose. I am doomed. I cannot win that fight. So I live in constant terror as long as that is how I am living.
A lot of self-help and New Age teachings – and even cognitive behavioral therapy – suggest that belief shapes our lives. And it is true. But what many go on to propose is that the remedy is to counter belief with different thoughts. (And yes, I know that is not true as a complete generalization. But it is a popular idea thrown about in the spiritual and self-help marketplace.)
I tried that for a long time. I tried thinking different thoughts. I tried affirmations. For a long time I actually carried notebooks with me and would write affirmations in every spare moment I had…while waiting in line at the bank, while waiting for a bus, etc.
“I am a beloved child of God. I am one with God. I am loved, loving, and lovable.”
I’d write stuff like that hundreds of times.
But underneath, I still believed myself to be separate. I still believed life was out to get me. I believed that I was a victim.
It wasn’t at the level of thought that this basic orientation and belief existed or exists. And so, at least for me, countering it with a gazillion different thoughts wasn’t going to work very well.
In fact, it was kind of like piling shit on shit to cover up the shit. Not a nice metaphor, but then again, it’s not a nice experience.
I was brought to my knees by this futile pursuit of winning – obliterating an old belief with thought and will power.
I lost completely. I finally had to admit that I was powerless to force change.
Not only was I powerless to force change…I didn’t even have the wisdom (at least not at the level of thought) to know what change was good change.
I had to admit that I was scared. I was confused…but there was something that I was intimately familiar with that had access to what I did not.
Rather than trying to force my will and dominate over life, which I perceived to be fundamentally out to get me, I had to do something different.
What was and is asked is nothing short of complete surrender.
For me – and I will go so far as to say that almost certainly for you too – surrender is not merely an idea. It is not just something we can wish for. It is actually a posture.
Imagine that there is a dog who is fighting with another dog. The dog is entranced by the fight, and you cannot get the dog to back down.
You have to physically intervene. And you have to restrain the dog until he or she submits, surrenders.
You know when the dog has surrendered because of the posture.
We may not like this image. We don’t want to think of ourselves in these terms. But we are like that dog. We have identified as this thing that is threatened by life. And in our fear and panic, we are at war with life.
This generates a frenzy. We are caught up in it. We cannot see clearly. We believe our thoughts, which only reinforce what we believe, which is that life is out to get us.
As long as we aren’t surrendered, we cannot see clearly. We only see the hallucination.
How do we surrender? It is a posture. It is stillness.
How does one become still? I can only tell you how it has happened for me.
I released the chronic tension – the armoring that I unconsciously used to protect myself from life.
In this state of surrender, it is not that I create peace or earn peace. Peace is already here. But I am only able to recognize it in this state of surrender.
If you are in a frenzy, caught up in hallucinations…if you do nothing differently, you will continue to do the same. That has a momentum of its own.
Like the dog fighting, we must intervene. We must intervene by letting go of the posture of defensiveness or offensiveness.
Maybe it is because I am an inferior person, a weak person, a bad person. But at least for me, this has been the only way.
I have had to let down that guard and surrender completely over and over and over again. Every time I am afraid. Every time I see that I am acting as though life is out to get me.
I won’t tell you that every area of my life has completely transformed into some kind of perfect bliss. That wouldn’t be true.
But many areas of my life have changed radically. And without the overlay of new thoughts or constant effort to change things, what has happened is that the old belief simply doesn’t have anything to stand upon.
Without that foundation, it crumbles. It becomes clear that what is false is false.
The idea of me and life as separate things at odds with one another dissolves. But this is not generated by the overlay of more thought. This becomes clear in the absence of the posture of defensiveness.
I want to feel good.
I bet you do to. It’s natural to want to feel good.
But I don’t always get to feel good. Neither do you. And it’s practically guaranteed that you and I will feel bad at some point in the future, even if we’re feeling great now.
If we are staking our okayness on feeling good, we are dooming ourselves to frequent bouts of non-okayness.
Okayness is more important than feeling good.
Deep down inside, we all know that feeling bad will not last forever. (Deep down inside, we all know that feeling good will not last forever, either.) In other words, we know that “this too shall pass”.
But we can live with that.
What we cannot live with is non-okayness. If we have a sense that life is not okay, I am not okay, nothing is okay…and it never will be okay…
…we cannot bear to live like that.
So here’s my long-winded point: many of us frequently mistakenly believe that okayness and feeling good are the same.
They are not.
Okayness is what is always the case.
It isn’t about feeling good. It isn’t about things going my way. It isn’t about my life lasting forever. It isn’t about people liking me. It isn’t about the survival of the species.
You can recognize it in an instant. Right now, let go of the tension in your forehead.
Quickly, before you jump to the next thought, just note that in this one instant, it is clear that okayness is all that is happening.
Only in the next second when we grasp at the next thought can we believe that okayness depends upon anything. In this one moment it is clear that okayness is unconditional.
I will die. You will die. We will experience pain, doubt, fear, and loss.
Okayness is unconditional.
There’s a story that I read years ago. I believe I read it in a collection of Papaji transcripts. It is about the lion who was raised as a sheep. (Or it may be that he told the story as a lion raised as a donkey. Either way works.)
To be honest, I didn’t really understand it at the time. But recently I was reminded of this story during a group call, and as I shared the story I saw how potentially useful it is for anyone who is interested in knowing their innate freedom.
A farmer finds an orphaned lion cub. He hatches the idea to raise the lion cub with his flock of sheep to guard them. As the lion grew, he believed himself to be a sheep.
One day, an older, wild lion came upon the flock. He intended to catch one of the sheep to eat, but when he saw the young lion with the sheep, he forgot all about his interest in the sheep.
The wild lion chased down the young lion. The young lion trembled and cowered and said, “Please, please Mr. Lion, don’t eat me!”
The wild lion roared with laughter. “Eat you?! Why on earth would I eat you?”
“Because I am a sheep,” said the young lion.
The wild lion shook his head in disbelief. “You are a lion! Not a sheep.”
The young lion would not be convinced. Finally, the wild lion led the young lion to water and showed him his reflection.
Here’s why this story is so useful.
When we believe that “I am such and such,” we are like a lion who believes he is a sheep. The lion is always a lion regardless of what he believes himself to be.
Beliefs cannot limit our innate freedom. But our beliefs can feed into a vicious cycle of contraction. We contract, which reinforces the limited sense of ourselves, which leads to more contraction in an effort to protect ourselves.
Like the lion who believes himself to be a sheep, we believe ourselves to be limited to some idea of ourselves. At the core, we believe that we are unworthy or that something must be fundamentally wrong with us.
Life is constantly offering us the invitation to wake up from the trance and to rediscover our innate freedom. In effect, everything is that invitation. And this is like the wild lion chasing down the young lion.
But because we have mistaken ourselves to be this contracted, separate thing, we perceive life as a threat, just as the young lion wrongly perceives the wild lion as a threat.
Imagine for a moment that you have believed yourself to be a sheep all your life. And now it dawns on you for an instant that you are not a sheep. You are a lion. Imagine how audacious it would feel to throw off the false identity as a sheep and to accept your lion nature.
If you really imagine yourself in that scenario, you might notice that it’s uncomfortable to throw off the sheep identity and accept the lion nature. The sheep has to be safe. The sheep has to stay with the herd. The sheep survives by being anxious and running from perceived danger.
The lion, on the other hand, is not constantly preoccupied by these things. The lion is free to be audacious. He doesn’t have the same concerns as the sheep.
But if you have believed yourself to be a sheep, when you throw off the sheep identity, you are likely left with this residual insecurity. There is something wonderful about your lion nature, but you can’t yet shake the sense that being a lion is too free…that you need the herd, safety, anxiety.
So you keep flip-flopping between sheep identification and flirting with lion nature.
This is what happens with us, I feel. We catch a glimpse of our inherent freedom. We recognize that we are already free to be ourselves without making any effort. It is wonderful…and it also feels terribly insecure. So we contract once again, re-affirming our contracted, separate sense of identity.
But that contracted state is a state that comes and goes. It is something we have to maintain and protect. Like a lion who has to pretend that he is a sheep.
Meanwhile, if we let go of that tension, it becomes perfectly clear – like a lion seeing his reflection – that we are inherently free.
Test it out. Don’t just take my word for it. Release the tension in your head right now. Don’t grasp at thought.
As long as you don’t re-contract and grasp at a thought, your inherent freedom is perfectly obvious.
This may feel vulnerable. It may feel exposed. It may feel uncomfortable. But this is freedom. It is always already here. You only need to recognize it.
Recently somebody wrote a comment on one of my blog posts stating:
It’s good to have a bit of a break from the tyranny of thought, but be honest, all activity in life triggers thought as a function so the depressing rumination will always win in the end – the best remedy is money as any non dual teacher will admit, because then you have more time to sit around ‘ being what you are’ or whatever
When I read this, I felt sad. Here’s why: I was incredibly desperate for a long, long time. I felt increasingly hopeless as nothing I did seemed to help. I was experiencing panic attacks that would frequently last for hours every day. I was terrified to go anywhere or do anything.
I searched so hard for answers. I attended satsang after satsang. I read book after book. I meditated like nobody’s business.
It is so easy for us to believe that we alone suffer – that nobody else can truly understand. That was how I felt at the time. Because truly, it is hard to imagine that anybody could suffer that much.
But many of us do. The human capacity for suffering is unbelievable. It is heartbreaking.
I know that many people suffer tremendously. Some people who read this blog suffer just as much as I once did.
If you can open your heart and mind to realize this, and to also realize that I also suffered as much as you, you can also hear that there is another possibility available. It is something you can choose. And I can point you in the right direction to choose it.
I know something now that I did not know then when I suffered in that way. What I now know is that suffering is not caused by circumstances. Nor is it caused by feelings. Nor is it caused by thoughts.
Suffering is caused by one thing. It is caused by one’s attempts to escape from one’s feelings, thoughts, and other inner experience.
That attempt to escape (or protect yourself) is a physical tension. You hold physical tension chronically. And that chronic physical tension is the only thing that maintains suffering. Suffering cannot continue when you stop maintaining the chronic physical tension.
The main point of tension is in the head. In the forehead. In the eyes.
And that is something that we have a choice in.
We have a choice. You have a choice. I promise you this is true.
Release that tension, you will see that what I am telling you is true.
When you release that tension, you see that you are free. Thought doesn’t control you. Thought cannot harm you. It never could. It never did.
Your can know this directly. Let go of the tension in your head now.
Will you tense up again? Almost certainly.
Does this glimpse of your freedom mean that you’ll forever cease to believe that you are imprisoned? No.
But it does prove through direct experience that you are already free.
Take me up on this offer. See for yourself.
Now here’s the beauty of this. Contrary to the commenter’s suggestion, you do not need to sit around to be what you are. You don’t need to retreat from a normal life.
Instead, your normal life becomes the opportunity for discovering your freedom regardless of circumstances.
I homeschool my three children. I work full time on a home-based business. I socialize with members of my community. And in addition to that I blog, make videos, and meet one-on-one with people interested in discovering their inherent freedom.
In the context of my normal life with normal stresses – bills, health, disagreements, etc. – I have a rich playground for endless discovery of my inherent freedom.
You do too.
I don’t get lots of time out “to sit around and be what I am”. Instead, I get endless opportunity to be what I am – inherently free – in the midst of a full and engaged life.
You have the same opportunity.
No money is required for this. It is completely free. I am giving you the answer right here. I’ll state it again: release the tension you use to armor yourself. Particularly in the forehead and eyes. Continue to release that tension. Allow your every experience without that tension, and you discover directly that you are already free.
That is the beginning and end of it.
Most people won’t believe me. Most people believe it cannot be that simple.
It really is.
Most people will argue that it won’t work for them.
It does work.
Most people will overlook it even after they have a direct taste of it.
I did that. I sat with a self-inquiry teacher in Santa Monica, California. He guided me to discover this truth for myself, directly. And I overlooked it for another decade as I continued to suffer.
But this really is the answer.
Even if you and I never meet. Even if we never exchange an email. Even if I never know of your existence…I want you to recognize your inherent freedom. I want this for you more than you can know.
It’s not because I’m some kind of saint. Far from it. I’m not a great person.
The reason I want that for you is entirely selfish. It is because I remain connected to that young man who I was – the one who suffered, who was lost, isolated, and terrified. And he won’t let me forget. He keeps me honest. He reminds me that we’re all connected. He reminds me that anybody who is suffering like that now is him.
So take a look. Let go of that armoring – the tension in the head. And while you’re at it, let go of your expectations of what that should look like – what the experience should be.
Just be willing to continue to let go of the tension. And I promise you, sooner or later you will see for yourself.
Here’s the recording of the public meeting from April 13. I published it on YouTube, so for those who have trouble understanding spoken English, you can turn on the closed captioning and you’ll get the auto-generated transcript, which will allow you to read it rather than listen.
Humans are capable of a tremendous range of experience.
But when I say “experience”, what am I really talking about?
It’s a lot of sensation, isn’t it? And the sensations can have a huge range of qualities and intensities and so forth.
Calm, energetic, big, small, contracted, expansive, stable, unstable, etc.
If you just feel into your experience, isn’t it true that what we’re talking about is just a lot of sensation, and that sensation has a vast potential for variation?
Hopefully we can agree on that.
We experience sensation. And at any given moment, sensation has some different make up – the qualities, intensities, etc.
I’ve been struck by how interesting it is that most of my life, most of my energy and focus has been consumed by trying to manage my experience so that the sensation remains within an extremely tiny range of qualities and intensities.
Calm and stable? Yes, please. Contracted, but not too much! Just enough to feel safe.
If the experience gets out of control, out of that tiny range of what is acceptable, out of habit, I’ve doubled down on my efforts to control.
Which is curious, isn’t it?
I’m willing to bet that you can relate. Because I believe this is the human condition.
We squander our lives trying desperately and futilely to manage our experience – to keep it dialed in to the range of what we deem acceptable.
From my perspective, this is very useful to recognize. Because otherwise, what happens is, I’m going to keep going round and round for a long time, doing this painful dance of trying to keep my experience constrained to the acceptable range.
It is a painful dance because on the one hand, it is exhausting and isolating and horrible to work so hard all the time to constrain experience. Plus, it is depressing because I cannot be fully successful. So I am frequently suffering anxiety because I can’t hold things together well enough. I don’t have enough power, enough control.
By on the other hand, whenever I relinquish control, while I may experience some relief, sooner or later, I freak out! Because, of course, my experience is unconstrained. I may suddenly find that I am experiencing a sense of big, open, energetic, buzziness, whereas, what I have deemed acceptable is small, contracted, calm, silence.
So that freaks me out. I try to re-gain control. And once again, I am stuck with the exhaustion, isolation, depression, etc. of trying to control.
Round and round.
The merry-go-round of misery.
But that’s why this is so useful to see. Because what happens is, I let go, I notice how I hold on, and I let go…then there is this freeing up of experience, which suddenly may include all kinds of sensation that isn’t “acceptable”.
Yet if I expect this and am willing to continue to allow it, I may get to rest from the painful dance. Just for now. I’m not saying forever. I’m just saying that if I expect that letting go will very likely yield discomfort and fear – sensation outside of my acceptable range – and if I am willing to continue to let go anyway…then right now, in this moment of letting go, in the moment of discomfort and fear, there is something new possible.
That something new is to rest.
If I’ve oriented myself all my life based on my idea about what sensation is acceptable, then when I let go, it may seem like I am failing. Failing because my experience is outside of what is acceptable.
But if I continue to let go any way…in this moment I am free of the artificial constraints.
During the winter of 2008-2009, I was waiting. Desperately waiting.
I sat in my unfurnished apartment in southern Vermont – literally sat on the bare wooden floorboards – waiting for enlightenment to strike me.
I read Tony Parsons books and Bob Adamson books and Nisargadatta transcripts.
And I tried to make my mind blank. I tried so conjure what I imagined I had understood all these people to be talking about.
I was desperate because I didn’t feel that I could stand the suffocating misery of me and my life any longer.
I was between waiting for enlightenment and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Truth is, I had been waiting in much the same way for most of my life. With slightly less desperation, but the same basic waiting.
Waiting for whatever I imagined was going to save me from right now and from the future – from all the unwanted thoughts and sensations and so forth.
From all the fear and discomfort.
Are you waiting?
As an experiment, do this: notice how you wait. And when I say “notice”, I mean simply observe, feel into, inhabit the experience directly. You don’t need to think about it. Just inhabit the experience.
Notice that waiting requires effort. It requires strain. It is a posture that you have to work to maintain.
Now, see what happens if you simply stop waiting for a moment.
Just be really curious to find out what it is like right now if you stop waiting for a moment.
If you’re not waiting…if you’re not straining…what is happening?
Don’t look to thought for the answer, by the way. That would require more waiting, more straining.
To find out, you have to release the attempt to get an answer.
The next thought may say, “But this isn’t the answer! This is blankness! This is boredom! This is uncomfortable! This is stupid! This is a waste of time!”
And if you grasp at that thought, you’ll likely grasp at the next. And the next.
And then you’re just straining again. Waiting.
Without straining to grasp the next thought. Without trying to get an answer. Without attempting to secure your future safety or okayness or enlightenment…
…what is the problem?
There’s no waiting. No problem. Just open, unbounded aliveness.
Thought will say “So what? What does that do for me? It doesn’t help me.”
Are you sure you need help? Just a half second ago wasn’t it obvious that there was no problem?
Only when you grasp at the next thought is there an apparent problem.
Only then are you waiting. Waiting for life. Waiting for okayness. Waiting for permission to be fully. Waiting to know the answers. Waiting for relief.
It’s a joke, by the way. And here’s the punchline: you’re waiting, but in truth, there is no outcome other than the inevitable cessation of waiting. That’s it. You can wait and wait and wait. But you don’t get a greater prize because you waited longer.
The prize is already the case. The prize is the ungraspable.
So don’t grasp. Seriously. Don’t grasp. To grasp is to strain. To grasp is to wait.
Don’t grasp. Not the next thought. Not anything.
Let life be.
And don’t grasp at non-grasping. Don’t wait. If you grasp at non-grasping – if you create some imaginary future perfected state of non-grasping – you are grasping, and you are straining. You are waiting.
The next thought…let it be.
Chances are, you’re grasping again at thought – trying to figure out if you’ve understood this correctly, if you’ve arrived at the desired destination.
That’s waiting. Waiting for life. Mistakenly believing that you cannot fully be, fully breathe, fully inhabit this experience until some future conditions are met.
But when we do that, we just wait. Life is this right now. It’s fully here. We don’t have to make any effort for it.
Ironically, the effort we make – the striving to attain something, fix something, figure something out, hide from, or whatever else – the effort we intend to bring us closer to life, to give us life, to help us be more alive – that effort only serves to produce this state of waiting. Purgatory.
There something that I’ve learned, though. And I don’t proclaim to live in a perfect state of remembrance of this. But I’ve learned it and experienced it over and over and over, and as far as I know anything to be true, I can give you my word that this is true.
You cannot force yourself to be effortless. Though that is almost always the first thought that comes to mind – the impulse to do something to fix the perceived problem. But you can become aware of how you make effort. And that awareness instantly reveals that you are not defined by that.
That is a discovery of freedom. A discovery, not a creation of. The freedom is already here. We only discover it to be already the case.
Don’t put off the discovery. And don’t dismiss the discovery too quickly.
Just pause for a second.
Pause all the effort.
Don’t make even the effort to grasp at the next thought. The thought that tells you what the problem is. What the solution is. What you are. Where you are. Who you are. Why you are. What you need to do. Why this isn’t enough.
Don’t make that effort. Just for a second.
Don’t move to grasp at anything.
The point is not that grasping needs to be the new problem – one that you need to solve by forceably not grasping.
The point is just that if you are still for a moment…and particularly if you observe how you grasp so that you can voluntarily cease grasping for a few more moments…you see clearly that all that you’d mistaken yourself to be – all the stories, the problems, etc. – is stuff happening in the space/aliveness that you are.
Put another way, I’m talking about the direct, felt, realization that you are not dependent upon thoughts, stories, problems, sensations, or any of the things that you had previously mistaken yourself to be defined by.
This is not a negation of those things. It is not a denial. It is not to say they are not real or that they do not exist. It is not to say that you should ignore them. It is not a commentary on them.
It is more like zooming out infinitely, and noticing that you are unbounded aliveness.
I’m not talking about another thought that says that you are unbounded aliveness. I am talking about the direct realization. And it’s not a complicated thing. It’s very simple. It is very mundane. It is not some psychedelic experience.
It is just what remains perfectly obvious when you are still for a moment. Don’t grasp.
Of course, almost inevitably, at some point, there will be a thought that identifies grasping as the problem. And a thought that identifies stillness as the solution. And a thought that will propose a strategy of restraint and vigilance as a means to reach stillness.
But that’s off the mark. Don’t fall for it.
That’s actually more waiting. That’s putting off life. Putting off freedom.
Whereas, what I’m suggesting is an open, curious, alive inquiry into present, unbounded aliveness.
See how quickly and subtly thought attempts to twist direct realization into a strategy that is actually just more waiting?
And when you see that, don’t make that into a problem either. Because that’s what happens.
And the point is not to remain forever still. Nor is it to sustain a feeling state that you now identify as unbounded aliveness.
That’s more waiting. Don’t fall for it.
The point is just the recognition. And if you can merely remain still and not grasp in this open, curious manner for just long enough, you must recognize.
I believe the trick is the “open, curious” part. If you are staring it down…that seems to have the opposite effect.
Staring it down…like you’re going to get something, like a cat waiting to pounce…that’s not open and curious. That’s actually more waiting.
Open and curious is that you don’t need anything to resolve. You’re not waiting to pounce. Pouncing would be a resolution…striking to kill.
Open and curious is not for a goal or particular outcome. It is ongoing. It is just open and curious.
You will re-contract. You will forget. You will become hypnotized again. That’s fine. Expect it. It’s not a problem.
So don’t turn any of this into waiting.
Right now. Seriously, right now. Be still in an open and curious manner for just a moment right now.
Don’t grasp for a moment. Right now.
And that’s it. Just be curious. Inhabit this experience for this moment without trying to get to the next. Without looking for a resolution.
Feel what it’s like to be fully. No waiting. The space to be right now. No grasping.
Just for this moment.
Let’s say – for the sake of argument – that what you want is spiritual enlightenment.
It sounds promising. The answer to all your problems. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want that?
Great. So we’ve established that you’re sane. You want the answer to all your problems.
Now, at first, you’re all gung ho. You’re going to get this enlightenment thing. You’re going to give it your all. You read lots of books. You start meditating. You go to a teacher who gives you a mantra. You chant “Hare Krishna”. You count with your mala beads. The whole nine yards. Whether the Hindu version, the Buddhist version, the New Age version, whatever.
After a while, you encounter so-called radical non-duality. And you hear “there’s nothing to do, nowhere to go, yada yada”. Something about this rings true. You really have been trying too hard. And you realize it.
Like all things, this will be co-opted by the mind as yet another understanding – another thing to protect yourself.
It turns into, “There is no truth. There’s only [my ideas about] what is. And anyway, even if there was truth, there’s nothing I can do to know it.”
This is the postmodern trap. Life is meaningless. There is no truth.
That is wrong.
There is truth. There is more than just my ideas about what is. And there is something I can do to know truth.
The trouble is that we look in the wrong way. We keep looking to thought to define truth. We keep thinking that understanding is the way.
Truth is immediate and absolutely intimate.
Grasping it with thought is like grasping the ocean with your hands.
You don’t need to grasp it. And grasping it only makes it seem impossible to know.
It is not impossible to know. You can know it when you stop grasping. Right now. The knowing is complete and instantaneous.
That is what you can do to know truth: stop grasping.
Of course, the next thought will attempt to give you or find a technique for stopping grasping. Which is just more of the same. More grasping.
But don’t believe the next thought. Don’t grasp it. Just remain still.
This is what you can do: stop doing. All doing is grasping. All movement is movement away from.
The doing you can do is not the usual kind of doing. Don’t consult thought. Don’t try to understand. Just look. Feel.
Notice that you are looking, feeling. You are aware. Don’t overlook that.
Remain still. An open stillness. It doesn’t matter what agitation arises. Just remain still.
Don’t believe the next thought. Believing a thought requires movement. It requires effort, grasping.
If you make the effort and move, you are grasping at the ocean. You will be disappointed.
Remain as the ocean. Remain still. Prior to thought.
This isn’t difficult. It is not special. It is absolutely mundane. It is the very basis of existence. It is plainly ordinary. Do not look for something special. If it is something that is not absolutely obvious and something so simple that you habitually overlook it, it’s not what I am talking about.
I really am talking about something that is always the case. You are aware. That is it. Don’t overlook it. Don’t complicate it. Don’t dismiss it.
And don’t be so enamored of thought that you overlook the source and substance of all thought and the space in which thought arises, exists, and disappears.
Seriously, don’t grasp the next thought. It cannot give you what you seek.
You want the answer to all your problems.
Here it is. It answers all your problems.
Look from here. Not from thought. From what is prior to thought. What contains thought. What you are before you grasp a thought.
And this is instantaneous. Do not put it off. Don’t wait for it to happen in the future. It is right now.
Don’t look to thought to give you the answer. The answer is before thought. It is right now.
Let thought be. Don’t get involved with it for now. Don’t make it your enemy. Don’t give it another thought.
Fall in love with what is prior. What is obvious. And what is always here.
If you look for experiences that come and go, you will be disappointed. Don’t do that.
What is prior is always here. Simple. Simple. Simple. Don’t over-complicate it. Don’t consult thought.
Simply remain here.
But be gentle. Open. Relaxed about it. This isn’t about rigidity. It’s about recognition. You already are here. You cannot go anywhere else. Do you don’t need to force anything. You don’t need to scrunch up your face or grit your teeth.
In fact, don’t make any effort. See how much effort you make, and make less effort. See what is here. What is prior to effort.
Again, this is instantaneous. And it is complete. This “enlightenment” is 100%.
But…remain here. If you try to claim this “enlightenment” for yourself, you are grasping the ocean with your hands again. It is futile. And frustrating.
Remain still. Don’t grasp.
This “enlightenment” doesn’t solve problems at the level of the problem. It meets the problems prior to their existence. It welcomes all problems home to the source of existence.
If you want enlightenment to make you perfect and to make you feel good all the time, you’re grasping thought yet again. Don’t grasp.
Just remain here. Don’t claim this for yourself. All your life to come home to this. Allow your life to be welcomed by its source.
I’ve been struggling with finding the right words to express something that is in my heart and on my mind. I’ve written and re-written and thrown away many drafts of blog posts in an attempt to communicate this something.
And finally, I realized, I need to simply write it plain and simple. As plain and simple as possible.
Life is not easy. It’s painful. It’s tragic. And if you’re even the least bit willing – hell, even if you’re not willing – it will break your heart.
Rather than try to escape that, I propose to you that it is better to dive in.
Our path is the path of radical non-duality. I mean really radical non-duality.
Non-duality has become (in my mind) a bad word. It’s been abused. It has come to stand for intellectualization without heart. It is a bunch of soundbites: “no one”, “nothing”, “never happened”
Ironically, that’s not non-duality. That’s duality to the extreme.
I propose full contact, full immersion love instead. That’s radical non-duality.
That’s what it is to see the false as the false in the truest sense. Don’t stop short. Don’t settle for answers. Go all the way. Don’t stop. Life is freefall. Life is this right now.
You won’t escape it. Don’t waste your time trying. Don’t waste another moment giving attention to hopes of escape.
Turn and face the fullness of life with the spirit of love. Love so fully that you won’t turn away no matter what.
Whatever life presents, face it, welcome it, love it. The feelings you fear will destroy you, face them. See the face of the beloved even there.
There is nowhere you will not find the face of the beloved. But you have to see this for yourself. You cannot merely take my word for it. You have to experience it for yourself. So open your eyes. Open your heart. Open your mind.
Open means let all happen without grasping. Even allow the grasping without grasping.
Don’t waste this chance right now. Don’t pass this over. Don’t skip to the next thing.
Don’t waste your time giving attention to the next thought that promises salvation. Don’t give attention to the thought that says you can do something to make yourself special. Don’t move from the fullness of life that is embracing you and flowing through you and consuming you.
Let it consume you now. Right now. I mean it. Right now. Don’t skip this.
If you feel the impulse to write a comment or read something else or call somebody or whatever else… pause. Don’t move on to the next thing yet. Let this consume you. Let it have everything. It is the beloved, and it is infinitely beautiful and infinitely terrible. Let it have everything. Be totally exposed. Right now.
Wherever you are guarding, hiding, holding back, give it to the beloved. Fall hopelessly in love. With reckless abandon.
This is reckless. It is the most reckless thing.
There’s no way to control this. There’s no way to grasp this. There’s no way to capture it in thought.
So stop trying.
This life, which is all that you are, demands all of you and it demands full engagement.