Sunday, December 27, 2015

No Worries

There is no need to struggle to be somebody.
You are not a body. You are not a mind.
You are that which is beyond the body and mind.
Beyond anything you experience.

The struggle was over before you were born.
Because you never were born.
You were there. Watching the birth.
Without expectations

You were and are always well. Just watching.
The myriad forms are just dancing.
Being here. Being there.
Then gone.

Nothing to worry about. Nothing to capture.
Nothing is really happening.
So just enjoy.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Enlightenment is Knowledge

Are you your thoughts, feelings, actions? No. You are that which experiences those objects. That which experiences the varieties of the body-mind is the essential subject, and that subject is beyond those things. The subject is awareness. Realizing that you are the subject, awareness, is enlightenment.

Enlightenment may seem personal as it frees the body-mind from identification with the body-mind. But, enlightenment is not ultimately personal, as awareness is impersonal. We all take our existence via awareness without ever realizing it. Waking up, or realization, adds nothing to awareness, but it frees us from the body-mind. Enlightenment is simply the knowledge that we are awareness, and not the body-mind we mistakenly identified with. Enlightenment is the knowledge that frees us from attachment to the body-mind.

The body-mind remains, but it no longer takes itself to be real. It is only an appearance in awareness. That freedom from attachment brings a lightness to our being, a loss of fear, and a loss of suffering. It becomes clear that the body suffers and dies, but awareness does not. It simply changes form.

Awareness is simple. It is obvious. It is pervasive. It is all there is. But this doesn't mean that the realization is easy, or that anyone can have it at will. There has to be a burning desire for freedom, and there has to be a search for knowledge rather than experience. Experience may follow, and the enlightened may change, but it is knowledge that is the vehicle.

For the knowledge to take place, there needs to be a means, and the means is Vedanta. Thousands of years of teaching Vedanta has revealed that certain qualifications in a person are necessary to absorb the teaching.  James Swartz in his teaching provides these qualifications.

1. You need a burning desire for freedom.
2. You need to be open to being taught.
3. You need to have come to the conclusion that life is a zero sum game.
4. You need to see that joy is not in the object.
5. You need to realize that you need knowledge of who you are, not more experience.
6. You need to be willing to practice discrimination.

Once you have come to the end of your rope, and your ego has been softened up enough to have a little humility, you may find yourself in agreement with these qualifications. You will realize that it is not another experience you need to set you free. It is understanding that you need. Understanding that comes from knowledge. And that knowledge comes from being taught. Enlightenment is not an experience. It is understanding produced by knowledge. And the knowledge is that you are awareness, nothing more, nothing less.

When you are ready to hear this, you will know that it is true. And when you know that this is true, the teacher will appear. Before this point, you learned a lot, but you weren't ready for the true teacher. But when you have these qualifications, the right teacher will be obvious. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Lens of Awareness

Is the lens of the projector showing a movie affected by the images passing through it? No. Is the screen on which the movie is projected affected by the film? No.  Are  the characters on the screen really separate from each other, or do they only appear to be separate? Are they not all just light? Any separation of the characters is just the play of light. So, does anything really happen on the screen, or is it just dancing light?

Awareness is the movie screen of our apparent lives. Our senses provide the framework that makes us seem separate from all the rest. But everything we think and feel is nothing but awareness. We are dancing in the light of awareness, one substance playing with myriad forms. We are aware, and the separateness we feel is also in awareness. Existence is knowing we are aware.

We are Awareness. Nothing more and nothing less. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Advaita Vedanta Sets You Free

I came to James Swartz teachings because I wanted to be clear where I was going. I knew there were too many half baked, unclear, descriptions of enlightenment. I had been searching for the Truth for many years, and I finaly realized that without knowing with absolute certainty what Moksha, or enlightenment was, I would never have a true means, or direction on how to get there. 

It became absolutely crystal clear to me that I needed to get to the root of where the idea of enlightenment came from. I became only interested in who originated the knowledge of enlightenment. I knew that I needed to know their understanding. Only then would I have the goal clear! My search for the originators would take me to India and the original revealers of the knowledge. 

In that search I discovered James Swartz. What was absolutely appealing was that Swartz taught in plain American English the original teachings. I didn't need to learn Sanskrit, I didn't have to read old English or modern partial knowledge and misinterpretations. I could get the original revelations in video talks. What a Godsend!

Swartz is correct when he says that not many will come to his teachings. That is because you have to be done with experiences, including chasing bliss. You have to want the truth; the kind of truth that sets you free. The Advaita Vedanta taught in plain English according to the original revelations set me free. 

Having a heavy load of fundamental Christianity was lightened by the knowledge of Advaita Vedanta because Vedanta and Jesus aren't saying different things. The problem was that the people around Jesus could not understand what he was pointing at. They felt the power of it, but the understanding was not correctly grasped. 

Advaita Vedanta worked its knowledge and freed me of the bad Jesus theology I had absorbed. Vedanta calls Awareness "The Shinning One." As Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." His followers did not realize he was talking about the shinning one, Awareness. 

Jesus claimed he had eternal life and whomsoever followed him would also have it. He was speaking of Awareness. Unfortunatly, Jesus called Awareness his Father. He was using a metaphor that wasn't grasped. It was an excellent metaphor, but it was not understood. It wasn't the means of knowledge that Advaita Vedanta provides. 

Jesus said, "Ye judge after the flesh; but I judge no man." Who can do that? A person cannot. But when one realizes that one is Awareness and not a person, all persons are seen to be that. Everyone is essentially OK. They too are Awareness. From Awareness all are one, one essence, neither good nor bad. No one is above another. 

James Swartz makes if very clear that the original Vedanta teaching on enlightenment, moksha (freedom), is knowledge. It is knowledge that sets you free because you already are Awarness. It is only understanding this that sets you free. 

Awareness is fundamental eternal knowing. Everything in this universe subsides into, and cannot exist without awareness. Understanding that the light of everything is Awareness, is the truth. Therefore, one is is already free, already eternal, already complete, already unconditional love.

With this understanding you are free from striving for virtue. You are already pure and free. You only need the knowledge that sets you free. As Nisargadatta said, "Understanding is all." 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Enlightenment Is Freedom For The Person, And From The Person

Think about the word "somebody."  Broken down we have "some," as something in existence, and "body, a type of form." From this it may be seen that the "I" that develops as a person is a conceptual being. The "I" refers to the body's feelings and thoughts as a result of experience. As this collection of thoughts and feelings is logged into memory and referenced, it coalesces. This becomes the "I" character, the "me." Now we have what we refer to as a person. This is the diagram, the design, and the origin of the person. 

This person then is a conceptual being, conditioned in many ways, and changeable as well. It is not a tangible, or permanent thing. It exists entirely in thought. This is why non-duality refers to the "apparent" person. 

Once it is seen that the person is a concept, changeable and impermanent, one may begin to question if that is really who one is? The body, although more solid, is also impermanent. We are made of these two impermanent aspects, the body and the conceptual "I." When this is really seen, one can begin to question if a person is a real thing. Can it really be who you are? 

If reality is that which does not not change, the person can be seen as something appearing in reality, because it changes. As awareness of the body and awareness of the personality is seen, who is the seer? If you can see the character and the body, can you be those things? Who or what is seeing them? Perhaps the Awareness that sees the person and the body is who, or what, you really are. 

Reality, that which doesn't change, is the container of the person. Reality, as awareness, knows the person and the body. That awareness, the screen upon which the characters play, is the true essence of all that is. That is what you are. If a shift in identity takes place, and one sees oneself, not as a person, but as essence, that which is everything, the person is no longer taken to be the real "I." One then knows, "I am that."  

If I see myself as a body-mind, then I am limited. If I see myself as that which is everything, there is freedom. The person that was, is now free of the limited conceptual character, and free of the limited body. Body and mind are still there, but they are no longer taken to be who one is. 

There are apparently enlightened people. In other words, the knowing, the understanding, is known by a mind that used to think it was a person. That body-mind knows that the person was only an appearance in awareness. 

The enlightened person, an appearance, knows that it is only an appearance, that in reality, it is that, awareness, that silence, that is everything. The former identity of the person is seen and known to be unreal, impermanent. So even though the words are coming from a body-mind we call enlightened, that apparent person knows that it is the Awareness, the Stillness, in which everything appears. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Can a person be enlightened?

There is much confusion around the question, "Can a person claim to be enlightened?" The confusion starts because enlightenment is the revelation or understanding that one is Awareness, not an individual person. When a person awakens and realizes he is awareness and not the the body mind, the apparent person and the body still remain. The body and the personality did not go anywhere! The only change is understanding. The person was awareness all along and just didn't realize it.

Obviously there are two points of view, the view from Awareness and the view from the body-mind (jiva). The realized person is likely to say they are neither enlightened nor unenlightened, because from the point of view of Awareness, enlightenment doesn't apply. However, the body-mind (jiva) does have the knowledge, and can therefore be said to be enlightened.

It seems to confuse things when it is said that everyone is enlightened, because it is obvious that everyone is not. It might be more precise to say that "everyone is awareness, enlightened or not." As an enlightened person, I can say, "Yes I am enlightened." However, from the same mouth, knowing that I am awareness itself, I can say from that point of view, "I am Neither enlightened nor unenlightened. I am That." 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Why I Appreciate James Swartz Teaching

Having studied spiritual enlightenment for 40 years I ought to know the value of James Swartz' teaching. Having worked with a number of teachers, and having read and tried most everything, there was still a lingering doubt about who I was. I had had many experiences, very ecstatic, but they didn't last. And in truth, what exactly was the right experience that would mean I was enlightened. Wouldn't I have to know I was enlightened to stop the seeking? 

So my final quest came down to this: 

What exactly is enlightenment?  
How would I know when I got it? 

There were too many vague wishy washy, touchy feely, descriptions of enlightenment that really didn't define anything. It left gurus totally in charge because they could not pass on anything. They had no teaching. They just kept describing the experience from where they were. That's fine, and entertaining, but for me it was not enough. 

For one thing, I was always a very powerful intellectual. I was brilliant, but not stuck in logic, as I could listen to intuition, and experience. However, I was aware that it was my mind that wanted satisfaction, peace, and tranquility. It was my mind that was troubled and suffered. 

As much as I enjoyed the Neo Advaita teachers, and I do appreciate them, I didn't find them satisfactory. My deepest intuition told me that they were enlightened, that they were coming from that realized space, but my common response was that they were not helpful. 

I came to the conclusion that to bypass all the vague, undefinable experiential descriptions, I needed to go to the source. Who first spoke of enlightenment? Who originated the first teachings? What did they have to say? Well, the original teachings came out of India thousands of years ago. That was the source. So, if I was to satisfy my mind, then I had to learn from them. 

I was always attracted to Jnana Yoga. I could not fathom the idea that I needed to get rid of my mind. I didn't think the ego needed to be destroyed. But I did think the ego needed to loosen up and know its place. But I also knew that without a little respect for the person and the mind, I wasn't going to make it. 

After years of frustration, I came upon James Swartz and his teachings at I read his autobiography. Believe me, it was fun reading. He went through myriads of experiential states and epiphanies. Yet, after all those experiences, it is interesting and educational, that he came back to looking for understanding, not just experiences. 

Swartz was able to go to India and was fortunate to do studies with teachers who taught the original untainted Advaita Vedanta. He learned Sanskrit and read the original texts. This was what I was looking for! Someone who spoke and wrote in current American language and idiom. Someone who had a Western mind, and yet someone who studied the original enlightenment teachings. This appealed to me. I knew that if I wanted enlightenment, I would only know it by knowing what the originators said. 

I agreed with Swartz when he explained that it wasn't an experience we needed, but understanding. Not that experiences, especially good ones, were bad. They were just not enough. One needed to understand what the experiences meant. What they pointed to! And Swartz didn't poo poo the mind. 

He showed that the original teachings respected the mind, valued reason, and logic. Isn't it the mind that suffers? Isn't it the mind that needs relief?  What is it missing? What doesn't it understand? The mind needs an understanding that removes a basic, natural ignorance. 

The original teachings as presented by Swartz don't teach that you are nothing, that you don't exist, that there is nothing you can do. After all, real or not, there is a person who experiences suffering. And that person needs to be addressed. And it is that person's mind that needs to be respected and educated. Lastly, there is a method. This is not a pathless land.  

To my mind, if you want to know what enlightenment is, and if you want to know if you are enlightened, then you need to go to the source where enlightenment was first described and taught. That is what Swartz brings to the table. He is not charismatic. He does not have a big following. But, he knows what he is talking about. He does say that enlightenment is for the person because it is the person who is suffering, and it is the person who is mistaken about their true identity.

What it all boils down to is the understanding and knowing that one is not a person, an individual, but Awareness itself. Awareness is the source and it is Awareness that is experiencing the body. The original forest teachings used the mind, reason, and logic to bring students to the truth of who they really were. When that shift of identity happens, and it is understood that one is Awareness, then that is enlightenment. 

Maury Lee 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I'm not getting anywhere,
and I'm not going anywhere,
for you see I'm all ready here.

I never went anywhere,
and I never got anywhere,
because I was always right here.

The Self was always here,
and I never noticed,
go figure.

So can I be proud,
of all the fruitless effort,
squandered all over town?

To find myself,
when I wasn't really lost;
such a fool.

So here I am,
having never left,
or gone anywhere but here.