Sunday, September 30, 2018


My freedom does not exist as a separate self. As a human individual, I cannot maintain freedom because I am limited. As a limited separate individual I can desire much, yet not attain, fear much, yet have little power to assuage. No matter how much motivation I have, drive, determination and stamina, the limitation remains. Where is there freedom in this? On what basis can I claim free will?

As an apparent limited self, I easily admit that I have no free will. This is so, even though I may appear to make choices. The struggle with choices is just the tug and pull of preferences. I have no sense as an individual that I have any free will at all. I am subject to the setup of this creation, like it or not.

But I do have freedom. It is the freedom that belongs to the Self of being. The freedom that comes with  knowing "I am That." That freedom is not limited, it is not contained. It is not a separate self, and it has no other to compare. There is no definition to confine that Self, and no desire that could arise, as it is all that is. Nothing is needed to complete it.

In knowing I am the Self, the Absolute, the creator and sustainer of this universe, I know that I am beyond even freedom. With no other to compare, neither bondage nor freedom apply. In knowing that, this apparent individual knows that despite appearances, I am That. I am free. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Suffering Cannot be the Natural State

What is the pain that causes suffering? We're not talking about the pain of a broken leg or stomach ache. We're talking about the mental anguish of beliefs and conditioning challenged by the direct experience of reality.

I arrived at college with a set of beliefs and conditioning that included a lot guilt. There was foremost the guilt of being human, carrying the burden of original sin. Tied to that was all the joys of the flesh that were considered evil. I was not taught that suffering was a part of life, but that suffering was to be glorified. To suffer was a sacrifice made to the glory of God. Tell me how this kind of conditioning was suitable to get any joy whatsoever out of life?

I would stare out the college dorm window at the young men and women playing frisbee, or just tossing a ball without a care in the world. I could only imagine what freedom they had compared to me, who felt guilty about having any good feelings at all, let alone joy. I could only stare and wonder what was wrong with me.

A conundrum was very present in my mind. I thought about the life force cruising through me, wanting to run, to play, to be free. I compared this to my mental state of repression, fear, guilt and self loathing. There was no way I could justify my mental suffering in the face of the simple joy of living I saw in animals, insects, and other students. My only conclusion was that there was something wrong with me. I tried telling the few friends I had that I was not normal, but they brushed it aside. They had no idea of the seriousness of my suffering.

At least, placing the issue of suffering in myself was correct. It was I that had the problem. I just didn't know the cause. How was I to know that my conditioning was in conflict with reality? How was I to know that what I had been taught was false? That my conditioning was based on beliefs and attitudes designed to hide the truth? How was I to know that I couldn't hide and so was unlike those who brought me up?

Somehow, in my suffering, I knew that it was not a "natural state." I could see that life could not have the drive to continue if suffering was its daily bread. There had to be some joy, some satisfaction of desire to make life want to continue. What were all these desires for, if not to produce some direction for satisfaction, for peace, for contentment?

This was the start of my journey. It was the only direction I could see that held any truth. The natural state had to be one of contentment, of peace, of joy in living. The life force driving everything had to have some reward, some pleasure, some how, some way. My suffering had to be a mistake. I was living the mistake and the answer needed to be found. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Chasing Experience

One of the results of realization is that that one does not chase experience. I can recall riding on the bus to work every day and listening to the other riders. One finds oneself listening to others' stories, hopes, and dreams. I was fascinated by what they thought they needed. They revealed the pursuit of new and different experiences. They needed to purchase a second home on the lake, a boat, the latest car, or attend a major musical concert. Sports was also a major topic of conversation. I could not listen to this without experiencing my own lack of interest in these things. More than that, I felt that such pursuit would distract from my own constant state of peace and contentment. I never felt these distractions would add anything to my sense of satisfaction. In fact, they would take me away from my present okayness, my sense of satisfaction already present. I didn't need these extra experiences to be happy or content. The pursuit of them would be a lessening of my current experience which was already OK. It was obvious they did not have a sense that the present was already satisfactory. An escape was needed. It seemed they lacked discernment between needs and wants. My needs seemed few, while theirs many. Nisargadatta said, "Want what you have, and don't want what you don't." This makes sense to me. The effort needed to gain these new experiences did not appeal to me. The feeling of effortlessness was much more attractive to me. To allow what came naturally seemed much more inviting, and what was allowed was always effortless compared to having a goal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

From Seeking to Allowing

Initially there is seeking. There is the intuitive sense of something missing, something in the periphery that wants to be found. When that which is being sought is found, this phase ends. It is the knowing that I am That. I am what I was seeking. Once this realization is in place, another stage opens which does not have the urgency of the first.

This second phase is not so much driven as allowed. In this phase the personal will has faded into the background and open awareness is allowed to reveal. It is a phase of openness to guidance, to following what opens up naturally. There may not be a goal. One simply takes the next right step.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Putting a Teacher on a Pedestal

I always followed what resonated with me. It is as though I had an inner string that would vibrate when a teaching or teacher struck a chord. Even though I couldn't name the note or chord, I could feel the resonance.

I never took any teacher as my sole guide. To me they were all provisional. As long as they resonated, I was in for the ride. The second I felt the resonance stop, I moved on. You could say I was unfaithful to the teacher, but I was never unfaithful to myself.

I recall when I was in therapy that I was the one who chose the therapist. It was I who did the work. I worked because there was resonance, truth that played to my own heart. However, I also knew that as I progressed, and truth was clearer to me, I might move on to find deeper truth. 

We are responsible for the teacher we follow. Who we follow says as much about us as it does about the teacher. If we are growing, if we are owning our own truth, we may find that moving to a new teacher is the truest honoring of our self.

At some point, if we have done the work and imbibed the teachings, we come to stand with the teachers. Our own true Self stands as One with all who have gone before, having discovered the teaching in our own heart. We have realized that what we were seeking was here all along and the teachers were only pointing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Intuition That Something Is Missing

I never wanted to be saintly. I never wanted to be good. I didn't want to be perfect. I just wanted to know the truth. From early childhood I felt out of place, in the wrong place, not able to accept what other people accepted. I was introverted and highly intuitive. I was aware that something was missing. There was a drive to know what was missing. To know what was missing I needed to find the truth.

I was in a boarding school in the DRC. I recall a period of time when I was about 9 or 10, that I would wake up in the middle of the night and go to my hostel mother and tell her I was cold and dying. It was an overwhelming feeling of death, of emptiness. She would come to me and stay with me till I was able to go back to sleep.

The feelings of emptiness, of something missing, of oblivion,  were constantly with me. Nothing I heard in school helped. No adult could dissuade the emptiness. I was acutely aware that what satisfied the other children and adults in my environment could not satisfy me.

In high school, I was introduced to the existentialists. I took to this area of literature with recognition and a deep connection. The sense of isolation, of a boundless emptiness without comfort, I recognized. That others had seen this, had felt this, was at least a ray of hope. But this did not give an answer.

In my first year of college, with complete loss of my faith, with no ground to stand on, I aped the the other students, as there was no other basis for appearing normal. There was no security, no sense of ease or trust, just the void of unanswered questions. If not for the intuition that something was missing, and the drive to find it, I would have died.

There followed years of anger, of atheism. Over time the search in books was an anchor, a possibility of finding the answer. Years of therapy produced a return to a personal base of feeling, a connection to embodiment. This moved me to a more open minded agnosticism, which at least considered the return of spirit. The first time I heard the term enlightenment, there was an excitement to know that.

I had been through the loss of hope and oblivion. Those who have experienced this level of hopelessness know that it feels eternal. This eternal aspect of despair makes it unbearable, and to survive it seems impossible. Yet, the tiniest bit of intuition that feebly whispers "There is an answer," allows one to continue.

When the search turned up mysticism and references to the "dark night of the soul," I knew there must be a way out. In time, hope returned, and mystical experiences followed. States of bliss came and went. These convinced me that a final experience would be so complete that I would obtain enlightenment. But that was a mistake.

It took a good many years of reading and contemplation to realize that enlightenment was not just an experience. It also required knowledge, and understanding, and the removal of doubts. For me, all these aspects were required to arrive at the knowing that I understood, and I knew that I understood. There was a final knowing that I was That which was everything, that I couldn't be anything but that, and there was no doubt. That knowing stopped the search, and the intuition I had carried for thirty years was satisfied.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Realization and Further Refinement

If you take the position that souls move through various lifetimes, learning lessons and evolving in consciousness, then the idea of levels of consciousness has validity. We all know the expression, "She's an old soul." That this is a common expression is more cultural evidence of this evolution in consciousness.

The question then becomes, "What are the levels?" Various teachers express this in different ways. Some talk about "higher vibration," some talk about levels related to "states of experience." These are all models. Some may be better models than others. However, they are all pointing to the fact that people are at different levels of consciousness.

Other pointers to this phenomena are sayings such as "Birds of a feather flock together." The Urban Dictionary describes this phrase as: "When people that act the same, hang out together," and "People that have the same morals often tend to group." This can be easily interpreted as people at the same level of consciousness flock together.

Another phrase is, "If you want to know who you are, look at your friends." An example where this is applied is when someone points out that "All your friends are alcoholics." If this is so, it is quite likely that you are an alcoholic as well. A primary attractor field of alcoholics is denial, a common denominator at this level of consciousness.

Since cultures all appear to acknowledge levels of consciousness and spiritual groups have models describing levels of consciousness, it must have some factual basis. With science now measuring brain states, such as the effects of meditation on the brain, we may come up with more measurable models.

When it comes to realization we can say that it is an indicator of a certain level of consciousness. Tradition informs us that this is just the beginning and that further refinement may occur. In some traditions, one is obliged to refrain from teaching for at least ten years. Again, this implies further development which implies that after ten years the level will have settled in and perhaps risen further to a higher level.

To claim that upon realization one is finished, a cooked goose, is to ignore a process that is evolutionary and progressive. It appears safe to say that after realization, further refinement and embodiment continue. To say one has the complete knowledge and is finished upon realization seems counter intuitive and possibly arrogant.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Problem of Free Will

I recall being at lunch with some friends from work. We were having a lively discussions and the subject of 'free will' came up. I explained that I did not think we had free will. This horrified them! One of my friends said, "If I thought I didn't have free will I would kill myself." My response was that having no free will didn't bother me at all. This position was almost unfathomable to my friends. I explained that I was determined to live with Truth, whatever understanding it brought me.

My position on free will was brought about by self inquiry. First of all, I as a body did not create myself. The body appeared here one fine day. Secondly, I never felt I had control over my thoughts. The only response I seemed to have control over was whether or not I acted on my thoughts. I explained that I didn't create my mind, or my thoughts, they just appeared to me. It made little difference to me that I felt like I had choices, as that was just a feeling. What created the choice was just conflicts of interest, tendencies, etc. I knew the feeling of choice did not make free will a fact. It was just the appearance of the feeling of choice.

That conversation was many years ago. The fruition of my stance on personal free will has now come to fruition. The non dual perspective answers the question of free will very well. Knowing that I am the Absolute, and could be nothing other than the Absolute, were is there any lack of free will? The bodymind is simply a focal point of the Infinite. The infinite is playing the game of Lila with every creature in the universe. It is free to do whatever it wants with any of them. Knowing I am That, playing with this bodymind, where is my lack of freedom?