When you rest deeply in the Unknown without trying to escape, your experience becomes very vast. As the experience of the Unknown deepens, your boundaries begin to dissolve. You realize, not just intellectually but on a deep level, that you have no idea who or what you are. A few minutes ago, you knew who you were-you had a history and a personality-but from this place of not knowing, you question all of that.
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The mind wants to land, to fixate, to hold a concept, but the only way you can be really free is by not fixating. That's part of true maturity, and it's one of the hardest things for spiritual people who have had true and powerful revelations to go through - to accept the degree of surrender needed to literally let go of all experience and all self-reference. Even in great revelations, there is almost always something that wants to claim, "I am this." Every time you claim, "I am this", you just claimed another sense perception, thought, emotion, or feeling.
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When we really start to take a look at who we think we are... we start to see that while we may have various thoughts, beliefs, and identities, they do not individually or collectively tell us who we are. [And yet] it is astounding how completely we humans define ourselves by the content of our minds, feelings, and history.
Human beings have a drive for security and safety, which is often what fuels the spiritual search. This very drive for security and safety is what causes so much misery and confusion. Freedom is a state of complete and absolute insecurity and not knowing. So, in seeking security and safety, you actually distance yourself from the freedom you want. There is no security in freedom, at least not in the sense that we normally think of security. This is, of course, why it is so free: there's nothing there to grab hold of.
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Trying to maintain a pleasant state and avoid an unpleasant state is actually the cause of sorrow. When you stop resisting, you see that what seems frightening is actually the absolute beauty of reality. When you see that everything is a momentary display of reality, then you stop resisting it. Resistance hurts, only every single time. Love is the state of nonresistance.
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When you stand in your own authority, based in your own direct experience, you meet that ultimate mystery that you are. Even though it may be at first unsettling to look into your own no-thingness, you do it anyway. Why? Because you no longer want to suffer. Because you're willing to be disturbed. You're willing to be amazed. You're willing to be surprised. You're willing to realize that maybe everything you've ever thought about yourself really isn't true.
As you peel it back, in the heart of nothing, that is love. You are what you are seeking. Life is a set up so that each of us can actually see in ourselves the truth for ourselves. What gets taken away are all the exterior means we thought we wanted love to come to us. You have the choice to notice the perfect set up to see love is exactly what you are.
The question of being is everything. Nothing could be more important or consequential-n othing where the stakes run so high. To remain unconscious of being is to remain asleep to our own reality and therefore asleep to reality at large. The choice is simple: awaken to being or sleep an endless sleep.
Do not think that enlightenment is going to make you special, it's not. If you feel special in any way, then enlightenment has not occurred. I meet a lot of people who think they are enlightened and awake simply because they have had a very moving spiritual experience. They wear their enlightenment on their sleeve like a badge of honor. They sit among friends and talk about how awake they are while sipping coffee at a cafe. The funny thing about enlightenment is that when it is authentic, there is no one to claim it. Enlightenment is very ordinary; it is nothing special. Rather than making you more special, it is going to make you less special. It plants you right in the center of a wonderful humility and innocence. Everyone else may or may not call you enlightened, but when you are enlightened the whole notion of enlightenment and someone who is enlightened is a big joke. I use the word enlightenment all the time; not to point you toward it but to point you beyond it. Do not get stuck in enlightenment.
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By identifying with a particular name that belongs to a particular body and mind, the self begins the process of creating a separate identity. Add in a complex jumble of ideas, beliefs, and opinions, along with some selective and often painful memories with which to create a past to identify with, as well as the raw emotional energy to hold it all together, and before you know it, you've got a very convincing - though divided - self.
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A spiritual teaching is a finger pointing toward Reality; it is not Reality itself. To be in a true and mature relationship with a spiritual teaching requires you to apply it, not simply believe in it. Belief leads to various forms of fundamentalism and shuts down the curiosity and inquiry that are essential to open the way for awakening and what lies beyond awakening. A good spiritual teaching is something that you work with and apply. In doing so, it works on you (often in a hidden way) and helps reveal to you the Truth (and falseness) that lies within you.
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The sacred dimension is not something that you can know through words and ideas any more than you can learn what an apple pie tastes like by eating the recipe. The modern age has forgotten that facts and information, for all their usefulness, are not the same as truth or wisdom, and certainly not the same as direct experience.
If you prefer smoke over fire then get up now and leave. For I do not intend to perfume your mind's clothing with more sooty knowledge. No, I have something else in mind. Today I hold a flame in my left hand and a sword in my right. There will be no damage control today. For God is in a mood to plunder your riches and fling you nakedly into such breathtaking poverty that all that will be left of you will be a tendency to shine. So don't just sit around this flame choking on your mind. For this is no campfire song to mindlessly mantra yourself to sleep with. Jump now into the space between thoughts and exit this dream before I burn the damn place down.
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There is a very Simple Secret to being happy. Just let go of your 'demand' on this moment. Any time you have a demand on the moment to give you something or remove something, there is suffering. You're Arguing with 'What Is' - Your demands keep you chained to the 'dream-state' of the conditioned mind. The desire to 'control'... is, ultimately, our unwillingness to just be awake.
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Silence and stillness are not states and therefore cannot be produced or created. Silence is the non-state in which all states arise and subside. Silence, stillness and awareness are not states and can never be perceived in their totality as objects. Silence is itself the eternal witness without form or attributes. As you rest more profoundly as the witness, all objects take on their natural functionality, and awareness becomes free of the mind's compulsive contractions and identifications. It returns to its natural non-state of Presence.
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Meditation is not something restricted to times of formal seated meditation; it is most fundamentally an attitude of being-a resting in and as being. Once you get the feel of it, you will be able to tune into it more and more often during your daily life. Eventually, in the state of liberation, meditation will simply become your natural condition.
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The Buddha's insight into the middle way is not simply about a balance between extremes. This conventional understanding misses the deeper revelation of the middle way as being the very nature of unexcelled enlightenment. The middle way is an invitation to leap beyond nirvana and samsara and to realize the unborn Buddha mind right in the middle of everywhere.
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If you think that people should be nice to one another, then byall means be nice. But when you project that belief onto thepeople and the world around you as if it were an objective reality,or worse still, as if it were their job to be nice to you, you putyourself at odds with what is, and suffering will surely follow.
All you have to do is say "yes." Don't make some big project out of it. Don't make some big deal out of it. Just say "yes." You don't even know what it means to say "yes," but you say it anyway. You'll never know what it means to say "yes," but you do it anyway. Freedom and Love arise when you die into the unknown mystery of being.
Many spiritual people are involved in a radical denial of what is happening. They want to transcend it, get rid of it, get out of it, get away from it. There's nothing wrong with that feeling, but the approach doesn't work because it's escapism in spiritual clothing. It's wearing spiritual clothing and spiritual concepts, but it is really no different than a drunk in the gutter who doesn't want to feel the pain anymore. When you abide and accept everything completely and fully, you automatically go beyond.
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Right now you can allow yourself to experience a very simple sense of not knowing - not knowing what or who you are, not knowing what this moment is, not knowing anything. If you give yourself this gift of not knowing and you follow it, a vast spaciousness and mysterious openness dawns within you. Relaxing into not knowing is almost like surrendering into a big, comfortable chair; you just fall into a field of possibility.
Can you imagine if you really let it in that you are not a problem to be solved in any way? Imagine you knew that anything that would tell you otherwise is just a movement of thought in the mind that says "Whatever is, isn't the way it is supposed to be." So the biggest act of compassion starts within. And when the self is no longer seen as a problem, this is called "the peace that passes all understanding."
Ego is the movement of the mind toward objects of perception in the form of grasping, and away from objects in the form of aversion. This fundamentally is all the ego is. This movement of grasping and aversion gives rise to a sense of a separate 'me,' and in turn the sense of 'me' strengthens itself this way.
Most human beings spend their lives battling with opposing inner forces: what they think they should do versus what they are doing; how they feel about themselves versus how they are; whether they think they're right and worthy or wrong and unworthy. The separate self is just the conglomeration of these opposing forces. When the self drops away, inner division drops away with it.
This one question-'What do I know for certain?'-is tremendously powerful. When you look deeply into this question, it actually destroys your world. It destroys your whole sense of self, and it's meant to. You come to see that everything you think you know about yourself, everything you think you know about the world, is based on assumptions, beliefs, and opinions-things that you believe because you were taught or told they were true. Until we start to see these false perceptions for what they really are, consciousness will be imprisoned within the dream state.
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Meditation is a teaching which offers you the possibility of breaking free of this egoic state of consciousness and coming into a whole new realization of who and what you truly are. And all this starts with the willingness to question. To pause for just a moment and realize that maybe you aren't who you imagine yourself to be.
The light of consciousness has no mind to change or alter anything. When you start to see the light that you really are, the light waking up in you, the radiance, you realize it has no intention to change you. It has no intention to harmonize. It has no agenda. It just happens. The Truth is the only thing you'll ever run into that has no agenda. Everything else will have an agenda.
The body is a sensing instrument of consciousness. Without the body and mind, the trees could not see themselves. Usually we think that we are looking at a tree, but the tree is looking at itself through us. Without this instrument, the tree does not get to see itself. We are sensing instruments of the Divine.
When you get out of the driver's seat, you find that life can drive itself, that actually life has always been driving itself. When you get out of the driver's seat, it can drive itself so much easier-it can flow in ways you never imagined. Life becomes almost magical. The illusion of the "me" is no longer in the way. Life begins to flow, and you never know where it will take you.
To awaken to the absolute view is profound and transformative, but to awaken from all fixed points of view is the birth of true non-duality. If emptiness cannot dance, it is not true emptiness. If moonlight does not flood the empty night sky and reflect in every drop of water, on every blade of grass, then you are only looking at your own empty dream.
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We can't have an idea of what life should look like, about how spirit should be manifesting as our very life, because all of those ideas would just be products of the past - something we learned, imagined, or desired. Once again, we find ourselves back in the unknown - not in the idea of the unknown, but in the lived reality of it. It's the mind humbled, on its knees, with bare feet and free of the known.
Retreat is a response to the call of the heart-that call which beckons us toward reality, to the truth of our being, to that which is truly sane, really real and liberating ... When a group of people come together as a response to that kind of inward call, it creates a very powerful environment, where truth is held in the highest esteem and the reality of our being responds to that deepest intention.
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Spirituality does not require that you work hard toward achieving a result in the future as much as it requires you to be fully present, sincere and committed now, with absolute honesty and willingness to uncover and let go of any illusions that come between you and the realization of Reality.
It is good to remember that the goal of Buddhism is to create Buddhas, not Buddhists, as the goal of Christianity is to create Christs, not Christians. In the same vein, my teachings are not meant to acquire followers or imitators, but to awaken beings to eternal truth and thus to awakened life and living.
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Most people don't get out of childhood, or adolescence, without being wounded for telling the truth. Someone says 'you can't say that' or 'you shouldn't say that' or 'that wasn't appropriate' so most of us human beings have a very deep underlying conditioning that says that just to be who we are is not OK.......Most human beings have an imprinting that if they're real, if they're honest, somebody's not gonna like it. And they won't be able to control their environment if they tell the truth.
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If you tell yourself a sad story, the body reacts to that. And if you tell yourself a self-aggrandizing story, the body feels puffed up, confident. But when you realize it's all stories, there can be a vast waking up out of the mind, out of the dream. You don't awaken, what has eternally been awake realizes itself. That which is eternally awake is what you are.
When someone tells you, 'I love you,' and then you feel, 'Oh, I must be worthy after all,' that's an illusion. That's not true. Or someone says, 'I hate you,' and you think, 'Oh, God, I knew it; I'm not very worthy,' that's not true either. Neither one of these thoughts hold any intrinsic reality. They are an overlay. When someone says, 'I love you,' he is telling you about himself, not you. When someone says, 'I hate you,' she is telling you about herself, not you. World views are self views-literally.
In order to be truly free, you must desire to know the truth more than you want to feel good. Because, if feeling good is your goal, then as soon as you feel better you will lose interest in what is true. This does not mean that feeling good or experiencing love and bliss is a bad thing. Given the choice, anyone would choose to feel bliss rather than sorrow. It simply means that if this desire to feel good is stronger than the yearning to see, know, and experience Truth, then this desire will always be distorting the perception of what is Real, while corrupting one's deepest integrity.
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The joke of it all is that you are looking from your true nature right now without knowing it. If you would stop being fascinated with the contents of your mind, you would experience what I am saying. Feel your way into what I am saying rather than thinking about it. Only a self-concept looks and longs for God. Drop your self-concept and there is only God meeting God. Enlightenment is the restoration of cosmic humor.
What am I, really? The beautiful thing...is nobody can tell us what we are. Nobody can really tell us. Not in a way that's going to be satisfactory to us. Our true nature is self-authenticating. When we bump into our true nature, it authenticates itself. Something inside us knows. This...is what has been sought for, longed for, looked for. This is it. Usually, it's not what we expected...
Our illusions-the beliefs we hold on to-are the very doorways to our freedom. We simply have to enter through them without grasping or pushing away. We must not believe them, but we must not run away from them either. We need to see each moment of apparent bondage as an invitation to freedom. Then it becomes an act of love, an act of compassion, to stop running away.
It is easy to imagine that the Buddha, the awakened one, is something or somewhere other than here or that awakening to reality will happen sometime other than now. But as long as we continue to think in terms of time we will deceive ourselves. The you who is chasing enlightenment will never become enlightened.Instead of striving towards some distant goal that you will never reach, I invite you to stop and ask: How am I avoiding the enlightenment that is already present in each moment? How am I seeing separation where it doesn't exist?
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