Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Gift of Disappointment

If you are in a spiritual teaching or practice, or following a teacher, you will at some point be disappointed. The teacher is going to let you down, betray you, or turn out to be only human. The practice is not going to lead to the promised result.  It’s inevitable that this disappointment will happen. The sooner the better.

The gift of disappointment is that we finally see that what we were hoping for, what we were relying on to deliver us to freedom, isn’t working. This is a profound  recognition. It also happens to be true. No one, no thing, can take you to freedom. There is no practice, no teaching, no technique, no teacher who can give it to you. Once this is seen, you are on the threshold of the ultimate recognition – that you already have it. You already are the awake awareness and ever have been.

When we’re looking to external experts or systems, that keeps us looking away from the immediacy of what is already present. We overlook the aware beingness that is ever clear and present as our true nature. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Constant Presence

What you are must be constant.

This is so obvious that we often overlook it, but, whatever it is that we are, it must be ever present. What we are does not come and go. An easy way to investigate this is to begin by noticing what fluctuates, what comes and goes. You can immediately verify that appearances are transient. Appearances include thoughts, bodily sensations, and emotions.

Take a moment to confirm that this is so. Thoughts only last a moment. Emotions arise and subside. Sensations appear and disappear.  Notice what is present before the thought, sensation or emotion appears, and after it subsides. There is something (which is not a thing) that is constant in the presence of all of the appearances and disappearances.

Look into that which is not fluctuating. Be curious about it and really look. This kind of looking is intuitive, not thought based, and results in immediate recognition of the truth.  

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thoughts Are Not a Problem

Question: When I am caught up in my thoughts, how do I return to the awareness that watches the thoughts?

What I would investigate first is the idea that you are caught up in thoughts. Who is it that is caught up?  Is there a separate entity (separate from awareness)?

Take a closer look into the reality of the situation. You are ever present as the awareness of thought. Otherwise, how could you know that thoughts are happening? You can confirm this in your own experience by looking directly into the truth of it. If you look closely, this will become clear. Any sense of a separate self needs to be investigated thoroughly. Put it under the microscope; look right at it until you see for yourself that there is no separate entity. It's only a collection of thoughts that are arising to you, the awareness. All thoughts, including the thoughts about a separate self, are arising to you. You are the all-seeing awareness itself. Now. Always.

What is often hidden in this kind of situation is the idea that "I shouldn't be thinking". This idea is the only problem (not the thinking itself). It is based on the assumption of a separate self who gains and loses presence/awareness, and that thinking is an obstacle for this fictional self (preventing it from getting back to awareness). The idea that I shouldn't be thinking causes a resistance towards thought and reinforces this sense of the separate entity. 

Thoughts are not a problem. They arise and subside in you. All the while, you are the constant knowing presence of all appearances (thoughts, sensations, events, etc.).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

See For Yourself

After years of spiritual endeavours many do not find the lasting peace for which they are seeking. It is hard to believe that we can spend so much energy, time and money on teachings, teachers, retreats and other spiritual experiences and still after years (in some cases decades) still not ‘get’ what we’re searching for.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can stop seeking right now. No further understanding is required. Just stop and take a really close look at what is already here, already so. What you are must already be present. Take a moment to pause and investigate this truth. One clear, simple moment of directly investigating your present reality is all that is required. Let it be this moment.

Can you sense the subtle reality of your own beingness? Now. Not after you’ve cleared your karma, healed your wounds, uncovered all of your false concepts. Right now. Take a look to see what your actual reality is. It is so obvious and familiar that we overlook it. Yet what we’ve been looking for is right here where we are as our own beingness. One useful pointer is to notice the undeniable fact that you know that you are. Somehow you know that you are here now. The way that is known is through your own ever-present self as the aware presence. You are the knowing, the awareness itself.

One of the reasons this is overlooked is that we have read such spectacular accounts of people’s awakenings in spiritual literature. We imagine so many things about what it will be like when we get it. This leads us to search for the imagined fantasy of ‘awakening’ instead of what is plainly here.

Another reason is (for those following a teacher) we are referring to an external authority. We may overlook that hidden in this is the belief that the teacher has it but we don’t. Once this concept is believed we delay or avoid the direct investigation that leads to the end of seeking.

The bottom line is that we must see this for ourselves. Direct investigation is required. No one can do it for us. Any external search for something is an avoidance of this investigation. Ironically, the end of the search is ever available and only takes a moment of examination of the facts.