One of the most important tools that can help us enter the world of enlightenment is deep questioning about everything. If Albert Einstein had not questioned the laws of gravity he never would have discovered the special and general theory of relativity, which basically describes that gravity isn’t what Newton described as an apple falling to the ground but rather it is a curvature of space-time.
Questioning is key to enlightenment, but instead of questioning gravity or physics, we’re going to question everything. Particularly, we need to question ourselves. The most important question to ask ourselves is: “Who are we?”
Who we are has to be permanent. It cannot be something that changes, because if it were something that changes then who we are during our dreams would be our reality. But we wake up from our dreams so that can’t be … Read More »
As human beings we can suffer so much. Yes, there are joys in this life, but often with joys come pain. We just go back and forth between the thrills or excitements and then the suffering and pain that follow these highs. It’s as though with a high comes a low.
These emotional roller-coasters are often most seen in teenagers. They might fall in love, deeply in love, and think that they have found their soul mate. You might talk to them a few days, sometimes even a few hours, later and they are caught up in the deep, dark recesses of pain and suffering because something is wrong or amiss. Perhaps their boyfriend or girlfriend didn’t call them back, or they heard through their friend something sinister, so their soul mate becomes their bitter enemy. We might think this is … Read More »
#42 Enlightenment-Pure Awareness & Nonduality End Mental Suffering
What is perhaps the most important thing we can do to wake up and discover who we are is to ask ourselves “Who are we?” But is it knowledge and having the right information that enable us to wake up? Is it having a secret mantra so that we know who we are? Is it having a mystical experience so wonderful that it awakens us to the truth and reality of who we are?
No. It is really none of these things, although they are all important and wonderful experiences that we can have. But what I believe and have discovered to be the most important aspect of discovering who we are is silence.
If we’re new to our search for enlightenment, the most important thing we can do is be still. Instead of engaging with the world around us or with … Read More »
Desires cause us suffering and don’t work because anything that we choose as a desire is based on that which isn’t permanent. That which isn’t permanent leads to discontentment. Even though the desires may be fulfilled, later we’re going to seek new ones again. We’ll want something else and this endless cycle of desire and satisfaction, desire and satisfaction doesn’t work because we’re seeking that which is impermanent. If we truly want to find the ultimate fulfillment of all of our desires, then there needs to be an understanding that we don’t need anything, that what we desire we already have, and we already are.
If we can see that we don’t need anything then in a way we are desire-less. We are also free. We always are free but our desires interfere with this freedom. We desire this and that, … Read More »
Let us explore why self-identification causes bondage and how we can be free of it by identifying who we truly are.
I don’t know if you ever saw it but there was a movie once made starring Arnold Schwarzenegger called Total Recall. A large part of the movie revolved around the character discovering who he really was. He went into a machine that created an alter reality for him. But was this alter reality who he was? Or was he really just another person before he walked into that room?
As we watch the movie we see Arnold’s character go through a lot of emotional trauma trying to figure out the answer to “Who am I really?” We all want to know who we really are. I think that like Arnold in that movie, we just keep searching until we find who … Read More »
#41 Enlightenment-The Paradoxical World of Spiritual Enlightenment
Though I was born here in the United States my relatives from my mother’s side and some of my father’s relatives came from Holland. I think because of my ancestry I’ve always been attracted to Dutch painters. One of my favorite painters in the world is Rembrandt. One of the things that Rembrandt loved to paint were pictures of himself. He would create self-portraits or have paintings where he inserted himself into the portrait.
I’m sure Rembrandt was a very wise person and perhaps there was a part of him that was trying to teach his audience or viewers about who we are. His work is a good example of who we are, actually. Our lives are being painted as we live them and we are the painters of our lives.
At the deepest level, however, there is just a painting and … Read More »
Let us take a good look at the question of who we are. What is equally as important is knowing who we are not.
As humans we have an incredibly strong tendency to identify circumstances and ourselves with labels. When events happen we say “I am…” (fill in the blank). For example, if we grow up and experience a few instances when we do something to another person, perhaps if we’re angry, we then identify with that anger and other people label us with it. We start identifying ourselves as an angry person.
This may continue for weeks or years until we start doing something about our anger, and then we change. We are no longer an angry person anymore. Rather, we might be kind or gentle. Who we are changes when we use labels. Yet, as we live life, these labels … Read More »
#40 Enlightenment-What Shakespeare Can Teach Us About Spiritual Enlightenment
To solve any problem, we first have to go to its source, the ultimate source of ourselves to discover who we are. Our minds can think of two possibilities: we’re being or we’re non-being. But, because the mind is part of this enquiry, it is limited. It is incapable of going beyond itself and yet who we are is beyond the question of being versus non-being.
This is where meditation can assist us. When our minds are in a state of quiescence, such as when we quiet our minds during meditation, we revert to a more natural state. It is a state of non inquiry and a state of beingness. As for non-beingness, we reach that state when we sleep.
The ultimate self, who we are, is beyond both states because both are part of time and space. They’re therefore also impermanent … Read More »
As we journey through life we spend a lot of our time in the pursuit of things which we believe will bring us happiness, joy and peace of mind.
For example, when I was at Princeton working on my Masters degree, I had a friend who was really in love with a woman and he felt that if he got her to marry him, he would be in a state of eternal bliss and happiness. What happened was that he did end up marrying her. About five or 10 years later I called him just to see how things were going. Life was going on and he was doing okay, but his deep passion and love for his wife had clearly dissipated. He still loved her, but her bringing him bliss had clearly gone away and he was in pursuit of … Read More »
#39 Enlightenment-The Greatest Mantra-I Am The Supreme Reality (part 2)
#39 Enlightenment-The Greatest Mantra-I Am The Supreme Reality (part 1)
#38 Enlightenment-Spiritual Enlightenment is Found through Earnestness & Silence