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Monday, March 28, 2011

Radical Emptiness ~by Adyashanti

To the extent that the fire of truth wipes out all fixated points of view, it wipes out inner contradictions as well, and we begin to move in a whole different way. The Way is the flow that comes from a place of non-contradiction—not from good and bad. Much less damage tends to be done from that place. Once we have reached the phase where there is no fixed self-concept, we tend to lead a selfless life. The only way to be selfless is to be self less—without a self. No matter what it does, a self isn’t going to be selfless. It can pretend. It can approximate selflessness, but a self is never going to be selfless because there is always an identified personal self at the root of it.

Being selfless isn’t a good, holy, or noble activity. It’s simply that when there is no self, selflessness happens. This selflessness is very different from having a moralistic standpoint. When action is selfless, it tends to do no harm. It tends to be the salvation, the secret alchemy that awakens and removes conflict. It’s a byproduct of not having a self. It just so happens that reality is overflowing with goodness and love.

This is radical emptiness—where everything is arising spontaneously. There is no more need to discriminate with the mind between what seems to be the right thing or the wrong thing to do. In ego-land it’s helpful to have an ego that can discriminate between right and wrong, but at a certain point, that’s not what you are operating by. You are operating by the flow of the Tao, which is a higher order of intelligence. You don’t need to intellectually discriminate anymore because the Tao discriminates without discriminating; it knows without knowing; it moves without moving. There is no sense of being enlightened or unenlightened. Since there is no self, there is nothing to be enlightened or unenlightened. 

We can talk about enlightened beings and non-enlightened beings, and conceptually that has a use. But when there is no self, when there is radical emptiness, the whole enlightenment thing is sort of irrelevant because reality has become conscious of itself, which is enlightenment. That’s what is often missed. People believe that enlightenment is an improvement on reality, like becoming a super human being or God-knows-what. But enlightenment is when reality is awake to itself as itself within itself.

~Written by Adyashanti

Formless Existence-Consciousness: Sri Ramana Maharshi Dialogues

Q: When a man realizes the Self, what will he see?

A: There is no seeing. Seeing is only being. The state of Self-realization, as we call it, is not attaining something new or reaching some goal which is far away, but simply being that which you always are and which you always have been. All that is needed is that you give up your realization of the not-true as true. All of us are regarding as real that which is not real. We have only to give up this practice on our part. Then we shall realize the Self as the Self; in other words, 'Be the Self'. At one stage you will laugh at yourself for trying to discover the Self which is so self-evident. So, what can we say to this question?

That stage transcends the seer and the seen. There is no seer there to see anything. The seer who is seeing all this now ceases to exist and the Self alone remains.

Q: You sometimes say the Self is silence. Why is this?

A: For those who live in Self as the beauty devoid of thought, there is nothing which should be thought of. That which should be adhered to is only the experience of silence, because in that supreme state nothing exists to be attained other than oneself.

Q: What is mouna [silence]?

A: That state which transcends speech and thought is mouna. That which is, is mouna. How can mouna be explained in words?

Sages say that the state in which the thought ‘I’ [the ego] does not rise even in the least, alone is Self [swarupa] which is silence [mouna]. That silent Self alone is God; Self alone is the jiva [individual soul]. Self alone is this ancient world. All other knowledge’s are only petty and trivial knowledge’s; the experience of silence alone is the real and perfect knowledge. Know that the many objective differences are not real but are mere superimpositions on Self, which is the form of true knowledge.

Q: As the bodies and the selves animating them are everywhere actually observed to be innumerable how can it be said that the Self is only one?

A: If the idea 'I am the body' is accepted, the selves are multiple. The state in which this idea vanishes is the Self since in that state there are no other objects. It is for this reason that the Self is regarded as one only. Since the body itself does not exist in the natural outlook of the real Self, but only in the extroverted outlook of the mind which is deluded by the power of illusion, to call Self, the space of consciousness, dehi [the possessor of the body] is wrong. The world does not exist without the body, the body never exists without the mind, the mind never exists without consciousness and consciousness never exists without the reality. For the wise one who has known Self by diving within himself, there is nothing other than Self to be known. Why?

Because since the ego which identifies the form of a body as 'I' has perished, he [the wise one] is the formless existence-consciousness. The jnani [one who has realized the Self] knows he is the Self and that nothing, neither his body nor anything else, exists but the Self. To such a one what difference could the presence or absence of a body make?

It is false to speak of realization. What is there to realize? The real is as it is always. We are not creating anything new or achieving something which we did not have before. The illustration given in books is this. We dig a well and create a huge pit. The space in the pit or well has not been created by us. We have just removed the earth which was filling the space there. The space was there then and is also there now. Similarly we have simply to throw out all the age-long samskaras [innate tendencies] which are inside us. When all of them have been given up, the Self will shine alone.

Q: But how to do this and attain liberation?

A: Liberation is our very nature. We are that. The very fact that we wish for liberation shows that freedom from all bondage is our real nature. It is not to be freshly acquired. All that is necessary is to get rid of the false notion that we are bound. When we achieve that, there will be no desire or thought of any sort. So long as one desires liberation, so long, you may take it, one is in bondage.

Excerpt from Dialogues of Sri Ramana Maharshi from the Book 'Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi' by Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Storyline of Me & My Life - Egoic Sense of Self ~by Eckhart Tolle

You can be so aligned with this moment that thought is no longer needed and you haven’t gone to sleep and you are more awake than you would be if you were thinking; just an alert presence. We could call it the awakening of intelligence.

When you are aware of the gap between two sentences or two words there’s a gap in your thought stream, because you’re paying attention to the gap of stillness. And that is the new state of consciousness that is now emerging on the planet; emerging in you. A state in which you are no longer trapped in mental noise and a state in which you no longer have a sense of who you are in the mental noise in the head.

You don’t derive your sense of identity any longer from thought, from the story that your mind is telling you who you are, the story line of me and my life. We are going beyond that narrow, confined, personalized sense of self, which humans have lived in for so long.

So, it’s a shift in identity that’s taking place here. Humans have been trapped for many thousands of years in an egoic sense of self. And that consists of an accumulation of mental content. Humans have been a content based species. That means deriving the sense of who they are from the content of their mind. 

Your Name (Basket of Content) The Mentally Derived Sense of Self ~by Eckhart Tolle

Whatever the mind accumulates from an early age, it begins with your name. Your name, I call that the basket into which further experiences, further content is thrown and in which it accumulates, and then, that basket (that is the basket, is the name that you are, that your parents gave you), that becomes the receptacle for experiences that are accumulated, knowledge that is accumulated, successes, defeats, sufferings, relationships; all those things gradually form a whole that is the me, that is the mentally derived sense of self.

I just ask you for a moment to imagine that you don’t have a name, what that feels like. If you don’t know who you are on the level of concepts. Let’s just, for a moment, if that is possible, imagine that, that basket doesn’t hold together anymore. What is there if you are not the name and that which is accumulated in that receptacle? And, of course, a name is just sounds that come out of your mouth. If it’s not pronounced it’s an image in the head and that’s me. And what is there when that goes, so you can’t remember your name, and your comfortable with not knowing your name? Then the experiences that have been accumulated, all the conditioning doesn’t quite hold together anymore. It’s still there, but it’s not a me. Things have happened, where this form is things have happened to this form, but it’s no longer a person there, simply a field of awareness, which is what you are.

And, the story you have been telling yourself in the head of who you are becomes unimportant. It does not give you an identity anymore. You don’t derive your sense of self anymore from the story in the head, which is accumulated experiences, accumulated knowledge, and a sense of self derived from that accumulating, content of the mind.

And every experience is content, everything that happens to you, some experiences become stored up. They become part of the accumulation and they strengthen the sense of self. They are accumulated to enhance the sense of self. So, when you live in that way, from a fictitious sense of self, you are always looking for things to enhance your sense of self, to strengthen it, or to protect it, that sense of me; because, some of the content you might lose, or you want to add to who you are. The sense of not being complete is an essential ingredient of the fictitious sense of self.

Everybody has that. And everybody interprets that as a personal problem. That very sense of not being complete becomes part of who you are and who you are striving to be; haven’t arrived yet. And, even those people who are even being told by the world that they have arrived have the feeling that they haven’t arrived yet; and, there’s something wrong, the world must have gotten it wrong. Their telling me that I’ve made it and I can feel that I haven’t made it. 

And then you read about people who have everything, fame and fortune and good looks and then they can’t stop drinking and they need to go to one psychiatrist, to another. Have they made it? And, in our culture they are showing us examples of, “You too can achieve that!” And everybody, yes, and everybody swallows that. And then the message that is there and the culture is that, “Yes, you can make it, because look at those people, they made it!” If you meet them you will realize that they haven’t made it at all. And some of them actually will come. They read the book. There’s some famous people who loved The Power of Now, because they saw very clearly that what the world was telling them was not true, otherwise they would never have read it. What for? If you’ve made it you don’t need spiritual transformation. So, it is wonderful, a few of those people who have achieved all possible worldly success realize that’s not it either and I still do not know, basically, who I am, and I wake-up in the middle of the night in a state of dread and anxiety, and my relationships are continuously in chaos.

To see that the attempt to complete yourself, to find a more complete and  more fulfilled sense of self on the level of the story, that attempt is futile, because on the level of the story that you are telling yourself in the head of who you are, you are not going to make it. No story has a happy ending. A few false happy endings such as a wedding. That used to be the traditional happy ending on films and plays, but we all know that’s a false happy ending. There’s no happy ending, because all of your achievements are going to dissolve and you’re going to die, and then no matter how many millions that you have in the bank, it becomes meaningless.

And, what is left of every story is the two inch gap between your date of birth and your date of death on your gravestone. The dash that contains all of the sufferings, all the drama that was part of me and my story. And, somebody derived their sense of self from all of that. They thought that was who they were. It’s sad. They never realized who they are. They were trapped in a fiction, their sense of identity, trapped in a fiction for a whole lifetime. Maybe, if they were lucky, shortly before their death, or on their death bed, the whole story collapsed and something else emerged. And, that happens occasionally, occasionally as death approaches, maybe it’s only a few minutes or a few hours away, there’s suddenly, and some people who have been sitting with a dying person have reported that in certain instances something shines through suddenly.

The Death of the Self (The Me) ~by Eckhart Tolle

Some people, who have been sitting with a dying person, have reported that, in certain instances, something shines through suddenly. It’s almost a light that comes through, and that happens when the mentally made sense of identity, the fictitious sense of identity, dissolves, because it heavily obscures the light of consciousness that is underneath, and it can happen shortly before death, that fiction dissolves and suddenly it’s like a flowering and there’s an enormous light shining through as if a flower had just opened; and, it could have opened before, but it opened, and only a few minutes before death, but at least it opened. One could say that the purpose of that life is fulfilled.

But, the message here is that you don’t need to wait for your death approaching before you can know who you are beyond a mental image of who you are. You don’t have to wait for death to approach, because you might not get it even then. You may be trapped in that image even as you die and that means that you would die in terrible, terrible fear and anxiety, because that image is dying, the me is dying.


So, you’ve been trapped in a suffering sense of self and the suffering has become so acute that something within you said, “This is too much. There must be something else. I cannot go on like this.” I’m saying this because it happened to me. So, it looks as if you had chosen to come here and that’s fine, that’s one perspective on it, but really, you were driven here because you want to die. You want to die that death of the self. The little me in the head, because that’s not who you are.

~by Eckhart Tolle (Source: The Flowering of Human Consciousness dvd)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Higher States of Consciousness ~ Deepak Chopra

Since consciousness is the basis of all reality, any shift in consciousness changes every aspect of our reality. Reality is created by consciousness differentiating into cognition, moods, emotions, perceptions, behavior, speech, social interactions, environment, interaction with the forces of nature, and biology. As consciousness evolves, these different aspects of consciousness also change.
Although every spiritual tradition speaks of higher states of consciousness it is especially in Vedanta that we find such a structured map of these stages of development. The average person only experiences three states of consciousness in an entire lifetime. These are deep sleep, dreams, and waking state of consciousness. The brain functions measurably different in each of these states. Brain biology and brain waves show precise and different characteristics between sleep, dream, and waking states of consciousness.
Spiritual practice or sadhana begins the process by which an individual transforms his or her consciousness from these three common states of consciousness into “ higher states” of consciousness. Through of any of the four primary yoga practices (the yogas of being, feeling, thinking, doing) the mind is led past its conditioned states to its pure unconditioned state. Beyond the first 3 states of consciousness are the following four states: Soul consciousness, Cosmic consciousness, Divine consciousness and Unity consciousness. As each state of consciousness unfolds within us, it opens us into a newer more expanded reality. Let’s discuss each of these in turn:
Soul consciousness is the state we experience when our internal reference point shifts from body, mind, and ego, to the observer of body, mind, and ego. We experience and cultivate Soul consciousness when we meditate. This observer is referred to as the witnessing awareness. During meditation, a person begins to identify with this aspect of the Self which is beyond thinking and feeling, (the silent witness), and then he or she begins to feel more calm, centered and intuitive in daily life. As the authentic core of oneself solidifies, there is less emotional drama in their lives. Relationships are more loving and compassionate and one finds a deeper more caring relationship with the environment and nature. With the experience of the silent witness, the biology will also reflect greater balance and the activation of homeostatic mechanisms. Meditation has been shown to lead to the reduction of stress markers, slower heart rate, lower blood pressure, enhanced immune function, and orderly and precise self-repair mechanisms. Those who practice meditation are less prone to sickness.
Cosmic consciousness is the state when soul consciousness gets stabilized and the witnessing awareness is present all the time in waking, dreaming, and sleeping states. This state of consciousness is sometimes described in traditions as being both local and non-local simultaneously. The silent witness Self is unbounded, but the body and the conditioned mind is localized. In the Christian tradition the phrase “to be in the world and not of it,” describes this flavor of Cosmic consciousness. In this state, even during deep sleep, the witnessing awareness is fully awake and there is the realization that one is not the mind/body, which is in the field of change, but rather an eternal spirit that transcends space and time. The most remarkable aspect of this state of consciousness is the knowledge of one’s nature as timeless and therefore no fear of death. Although Cosmic consciousness is not the pinnacle of enlightenment, nevertheless it marks the critical transition from an identity bound to a conditioned life, to a life of freedom in self-knowledge.
Divine consciousness is the expansion of cosmic consciousness where the ever-present witnessing awareness is experienced not only in the silence of the Self, but also in the most abstract qualities of nature and the mind. Dormant potentials such as the awakening of the nonlocal senses (referred to in Sanskrit as tanmatras) begin to be experienced. As the individual mind starts to access these unused realms of the psyche, they will activate extraordinary spiritual abilities previously thought to be unattainable. These include experiences such as knowledge of past and future, clairvoyance, refined sense of taste, smell, sight, touch and hearing, control over bodily functions, heart rate, and autonomic functions. In other words, objects are experienced simultaneously on a gross sensory level and subtle more abstract level. Appreciation of life from this more refined perspective represents the real engagement of the heart and love as the engine of spiritual growth at this stage. By experiencing the patterns and deeper connections that underlie external diversity, we find our soul is stirred by a profound sense of beauty, awe, compassion, gratitude and love. The integrating power of these qualities brings together the polarized world of Cosmic consciousness which is divided between the Self and non-Self.
In Divine Consciousness this harmonizing and synthesizing power is felt as the presence of Divinity in our heart. Wherever one goes one feels the presence of the Divine. The Vedic seers would say in Divine consciousness, God is not difficult to find, but impossible to avoid. At this stage, there is an even greater conviction of the immortality of existence, not only as nonlocal consciousness, but also in the knowledge that you are that enduring presence of divine love. Divine consciousness also brings a deeper experience of liberation, as the external sensory world is no longer seen as a kind of spiritual exile which the soul must endure, but rather the world is a manifestation of the beauty, and love of one’s consciousness and therefore integral to one’s spirituality.
Unity consciousness is also referred to as Brahman consciousness. It is a state of consciousness where the ever-present witness is not just recognized as the core Self of one’s existence, it is now perceived as the primary reality of every experience. You, as the observer, are that pure consciousness. The process of observation is also that consciousness. And the object of observation is that same pure consciousness. The culmination of enlightenment is the knowledge that consciousness alone exists, that is all there is , was, or ever will be. That oneness, or unity, dominates awareness even as one engages in the same mundane details of life as before. One ceases to identify with an individual body-mind apparatus and sees the whole universe as one’s physical body. Of course, there is a personal body and there is a material universe, experienced through the senses, but they are now cognized to be incorporated in that one single reality of consciousness.
Dormant potentials previously mentioned are now fully operative. There is the ability to heal and transform others and everything is experienced as miraculous. A flower is seen as a flower but is also experienced as rainbows and sunshine and earth and water and wind and air and the infinite void and the whole history of the universe swirling and transiently manifesting as the flower. In other worlds every object is seen as the total universe transiently manifesting as a particular object. And behind the scenes one can feel the presence of the same ever-present witnessing awareness that is now in both subject and object. Unity consciousness is the ultimate level of freedom from fear. It is characterized by an abiding sense of joy and peace. There is no “other” outside of oneself to be afraid of, and the constant dance of unity masquerading as diversity is seen as the blissful nature of life itself. All of creation is seen as the play of consciousness or leela.
This state of enlightenment is sometimes compared to the drop of water that is experiencing itself as the ocean, knowing that it was the ocean the whole time. You and God are now one because there is no you left any more. Sometimes when people try to conceptualize this by projecting their current sense of self into Unity consciousness they are afraid that in losing their old identity they will lose their existence, memories and individual perspective. But the enlightened person doesn't see it that way. They understand that personal identity was an illusion to begin with. They realize that nothing real or valuable is ever lost on the path to enlightenment. They are experiencing their original identity but only now recognizing it in its completeness and its full glory. This state is of course described in the Vedantic tradition but is beautifully captured in the following verses from T.S. Elliot:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Source: Alliance for a New Humanity at http://anhglobal.org/en/who
Orion Nebula Image by Mr. Physics - Foter.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Conversation with Wayne Dyer ~ by Ellen Mahoney

Mahoney: What's the payoff for living a life filled with excuses?

Wayne Dyer: There’s a payoff for everyone. The reason we hang on to self-defeating behaviors is because it’s easier not to take responsibility. If you’re blaming something or someone else for the way you are, then that person, those people, those circumstances or those energies, are going to have to change in order for you to get better; that’s most likely never going to happen. It’s also a way to manipulate other people.

Usually, making excuses is just something we can get away with, rather than challenging or changing ourselves. If you want to change and you want your life to work at a level you’ve never had before, then take responsibility for it.

I’m not saying that a child who was abused or beaten or abandoned made that happen, but your reaction to it is always yours. While you were four, you didn’t know anything other than being terrified and scared; you’re not four any longer. Now [as an adult] you have to make a choice and recognize that even the abuse that came into your life offers you an opportunity to transcend it, to become a better person and even more significantly, to help someone else not go through what you did.

Mahoney: What common excuses do people use in grappling with their conscience?

Wayne Dyer: Excuses are the explanations we use for hanging on to behaviors we don’t like about ourselves; they are self-defeating behaviors we don’t know how to change. In Excuses Begone! I review 18 of the most common excuses people use, such as “I’m too busy, too old, too fat, too scared or it’s going to take too long or be too difficult.” 

We spend a big hunk of our lifetimes contemplating what we can’t have, what we don’t want and what’s missing in our lives. What we have to learn is to put our attention and focus on contemplating what it is we would like to attract, and not on what is missing.

Source: A Conversation with Wayne Dyer by Ellen Mahoney, naturalawakeningsmag.com

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Acceptance & Surrender

Whenever you are able, have a look inside yourself to see whether you are unconsciously creating conflict between the inner and the outer; between your external circumstances at that moment, where you are, who you're with, or what you’re doing, any thoughts and feelings. Can you feel how painful it is to internally stand in opposition to what is? When you recognize this, you also realize that you are now free to give up this futile conflict, this inner state of war.

~Spoken by Eckhart Tolle

Karma ~ by Eckhart Tolle

Karma is the complete absence of conscious presence. And, so it’s automatic. It plays itself out. Karma is unconscious identification with these patterns that you have inherited; the conditioned.

Complete identification of consciousness with the conditioned patterns, so consciousness is dreaming. Consciousness is awakening. Consciousness is in a dreamlike state when your identified with the unconscious patterns and then you are condemned to rebirth.

In fact many times every day you are reborn into a reaction, an emotional, mental reaction. No presence at all. Just rebirth into some form. Or, your reborn into thoughts that arise and you completely believe in every thought and then you act from those thoughts and emotions and the action creates further reactions and the actions confirm to you that you are right.

The only thing that can free you of karma is the arising of presence.

~Spoken by Eckhart Tolle

Friday, March 11, 2011

“Realization Is Not Acquisition of Anything New,
 Nor Is It a New Faculty. 
It Is Only Removal of All Camouflage.” 
~by Sri Ramana Maharshi

Monday, March 7, 2011

Once the Grasping Has Dropped Away

Then it’s all of these levels of being that are freed up. Now, you have a mind to use, but the mind isn’t sticky. The mind doesn’t believe itself. The thought no longer thinks that thoughts are the most intelligent things in the universe, which is really an amazing thought in and of itself. It is actually an awakening to the fundamental reality and the fundamental reality has an unimaginable, infinite intelligence, and an infinite creativity, and an infinite love. They naturally pour forth from this infinite void.

~by Adyashanti