Here

What is my goal?

To be a natural human being, free of the insanity the ego and conditioned-pain and destructive patterns and self-limiting thoughts, and free from the energy of seeking and wishing to be different–in short, to be free of fear and its effects.

How is it that I am not free right now?

In the last year particularly there has been a release, a shift. I feel more at home, easier, lighter, less resistant, more honest with myself and others. I feel healthier, I sleep much better, I eat better, I don’t experience episodic depression and anxiety in the way I used to. I relate more openly with people. Some emotions have gone away or I no longer take them as personally as I did before; emotions such as regret, remorse, uncaused sadness.

Perhaps the only complaint I have, in practical terms, is that my life is a little dull. I haven’t made the effort to re-engage.

Life is very good.

But.

There is still some resistance. There are still some mental conflicts.

There are specific fears which come up…insecurity of the future, the need for approval and validation, and others.

Sometimes my reactions are unconscious—in those times I have the feeling that whatever I am thinking or doing or feeling or saying is not natural but motivated by reactive patterns. Recently, an egoic emotion of anger came up because I did not get what I wanted from someone—and this is something I thought I had released a long time ago. It surprised me.

In the quietest of times, I can feel a subtle hum of anxiety in my body.

Overall, I cannot report that I am completely satisfied with life.

How will I know when I am free?

When life is lived in satisfaction and the need to ask this question disappears.

I do not expect that all the things which I consider negative or confusing or binding will go away—maybe they will. I expect more that there will be no resistance to whatever is happening.

What am I doing about this?

At this point, not much at all. I recognized a little over a year ago that the original problem is fear—this was big.

Fear damages all of our mental structures (ego, pain-body, beliefs, and so on). Life is experienced in the mind. All sensations and perceptions and experiences are in or of or through the mind, and when mental structures are compromised by fear, nothing can be certain, not even our frantic efforts to fix ourselves.

With that recognition I was able to let go of a five year spiritual search.

This release brought about a shift, a great delight, acceptance, understanding, and a renewed wish to re-engage in life. A great deal of resistance fell away.

Now, things have settled a bit. I don’t know what the next step is but experience has taught me to be patient. It will be clear soon enough.

So what’s my spiritual practice?

My spiritual practice is neither.

When I remember to, I bring attention to the sense of I AM, or very simply, the ordinary sense of me (as suggested by Nisargadutt and Ramana, and very cleanly clarified byJohnSherman). This is effortless now. I see that what it feels like to be me is constant and has always been the same. I see that the sense of me is really awareness, presence, stillness.

I try to be aware whenever I remember. I try to fall back out of conditioned thoughts and emotions to a quieter place inside, and allow and observe.

I use the release technique whenever I feel harsh emotions.

I am patient.

This website

I started this website to share my journey. Honesty and authenticity developed over time. In the beginning years I had a great wish to help others—but that energy has dissipated with the realization that though the basic problem of fear is universal, everyone’s insanity and recovery is highly individual.

Now, I write what I want…I want to be honest and authentic and relevant. Much has changed—I know I should re-organize the website and the books…oh well.

92 thoughts on “Here

  1. Glen

    You will never be completely “free”, because it’s not binary. Like everything else in reality, it’s continuous, and “free” is only in reference to the bounds of what you’re measuring.

    Like the nature of e (natural logarithm), understanding the nature of freedom is freedom in itself, because you don’t have to be limited in your perception of freedom, and you don’t have to worry about how free you are/aren’t.

    There is always more freedom.

    And that is amazing.

  2. Phil

    I agree, with Glen, working toward a goal is not what you should aim for. It’s the journey that counts, not the goal.

  3. Stephanie

    Nice to hear from you again, our journey’s seem somewhat parallel. Fitting back into “reality” seems new, somewhat exciting but not. Being aware of the Observer aspect of self is helping. As I notice what’s going on around me it is easier for change to happen quicker than ever before. I don’t experience anger, not to say I won’t in the future, but now I seem to have allies around me, whisperings from Self, to just observe it. It’s pretty cool too!!

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Good to hear from you too, Stephanie.

      It’s always good to observe where we are. The mind is not a good instrument to evaluate itself, but still it’s a pretty good exercise to try to honestly see where we are. (Honesty and self-evaluation are both mental processes, therefore, not completely reliable). For me, in recent times, the critical humps were the recognition of fear and the recognition that what-is-doing-the-looking is me/constant/presence/awareness.

      I do experience anger–in fact it seems I experience a broader spectrum of emotions than before. But the quality if different–there isn’t as much resistance, and when there is, it is quickly recognized and released. And there are some emotions that I have not experienced for some time now–emotions like regret, remorse, depression, and certain types of sadness.

      I hope you’re well!

      k

  4. Mikkel

    Hi Kaushik

    I was writing a long reply, but realized how little it had to offer anyone and decided to delete it.

    I feel that Im no longer able to distinguish the meaning between seemingly contradicting thoughts. Freedom or suffering – whats the difference? If suffering is that which we want to avoid, the question is if avoiding isnt just another way of wanting. Like replying “no” is really just another way to say “yes”. Which seem to make awakening appear a bit pointless.

    But I think it isnt pointless at all – well, I didnt choose awakening myself – but I believe that there is a lot going on in the ego at least, and that there really only is the ego, or the force of PERSON, as Ramana came to realize upon his imaginative death experience.

    Where did this concept of nondualism come from in the first place?

    I believe that if a thought comes up, its because it has a reality as a thought. People just make the assumption that the concept of nondualism is ORIGINALLY seperated from their idea of it, which it can never be truely intented to be as a thought, and to deal with the thought, which is the only thing we can, one should try to realize that it is just the presence of yourself.

    I spent 80% of my awakening process in the delusion, that I was aware of something to some extinct, that my mind adressed as nondualism or higher suffering, and that I was at the same time aware that nondualism was not in my mind but only possible in the distant future – blocking me from looking at myself, and instead trying to torment my mind in any possible way in order to confront what I thought I wasnt able to ignore and at the same time not aware of yet. An infinite process of torture and selfdestruction that nearly killed me.

    Its important to equate nondualism with the idea of it, because thats the ultimate truth, and that is the practice of mind syncronization, the only goal of the mind. Developing happens outsite the mind, and there is no point in developing just for developments sake. Its not our business at all.

    I dont know if this is helpful to everyone. Perhabs some people need to realize the opposite, that they are pushing something away, that they are already sensing underneath. Both problems are solved by looking at yourself.

    The re-engagement with life is as full of preconsidered associations as is the idea of suffering. Boy, I guess this is why Im not a poet but a composer. I dont have much interest in writing ABOUT things, but just writing THINGS. Creativity is always there as the reality of you, the difference is wether we feel empathy with ourself or not. Everyone are composers, some just cant write notes. Creativity is all the doing, also the inner doing that we sometime overlook, when we become physically very “inactive”. I personally find the moments that are most physically inactive to be the most active and dramatic ones. All this inner drama is really the substance of life, and its so easy, because there is always more. There is so much substance, so much drama in every moment.

    The reason why composition is so natural is that sound is everything. The motion of the nervous system and motion of sensory impulses are altogether just frequencies.

    Take a look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMecgRPAiKU

    This is Charles Ives´s composition Three Places in New England written around 1911-1914. Ives was one who really knew that the sound “transcription” of a memory is more than a portrayal but something directly in contact with presence.

    Ives often have very complex rythmic meters and many simultanous rythmic layers, resulting that there is no sense of pulse. I think the reason why pulse is so radically different to listen to than complex rythm and why pulse is so dominant in popular music is because pulse is predictable to the mind. When there is no sense of pulse, the mind have no chance to prepare for something, even for a second, and you are basically hearing something quite unprocessed.

    Hope you enjoy!

    Mikkel

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Thanks for the link, Mikkel.

      I agree with you–I would say the most critical step for me was the letting go of the spiritual framework. Words like non-dualism and awareness and so on just no longer have the meaning that they did for me, and there is also the recognition that they never had any real meaning, they pointed to nebulous concepts.

      I just try to report my experience authentically, and to do that I use words and certain assumed concepts, and of course people who read interpret it from the rules of their own experience and terminology and knowledge and concepts. So it can never quite be right.

      Simplicity in writing is the best way. Simple sometimes is difficult.

      Hope you are well!

      k

  5. Ralph

    Hi Kaushik,

    Can it be that this “I” that needs approval or has insecurities is the very one that keeps you in bondage ?

    … perhaps this “I” that still struggles is not the real you ?

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Ralph,

      There is no struggle. Did you get the impression from the article that there is a struggle?

      k

      1. Neerav

        But there is still mental conflicts and resistances – those are of the remnants of the ego. A spiritual awakening (non-dual awareness) experience is the first step towards returning Home to God because now, you know who are you are (God-Self) and who you aren’t (ego-self). As I said in response to one of your other blog posts, keep both perspectives in mind to help you as a spiritual seeker, and not just one or the other. That is what I am doing and it works. All the best to you on your spiritual journey!!!

        – Neerav

  6. Ralph

    Yes, when you said ” There are specific fears which come up…insecurity of the future, the need for approval and validation, and others “.

    but No when you said ” When I remember to, I bring attention to the sense of I AM, or very simply, the ordinary sense of me (as suggested by Nisargadatta and Ramana, and very cleanly clarified by JohnSherman). This is effortless now. I see that what it feels like to be me is constant and has always been the same. I see that the sense of me is really awareness, presence, stillness.
    I try to be aware whenever I remember. I try to fall back out of conditioned thoughts and emotions to a quieter place inside, and allow and observe “.

    In a way , the struggle can be used as an alarm clock that tells us that we have lost the present moment are are caught up in the mind.

    Good to see that you are doing well !, Kaushik .

    1. Kaushik Post author

      That’s great, Bill, nice and simple.

      I’ve found that all forms self-examination have led to looking at the sense of I AM.

      And helping others (which for me has been mostly human conversation) has been indispensably helpful to me.

      Thanks, I hope you are very well.

      k

  7. Liara Covert

    Love this perspective. Appreciate what it feels like to be okay with spontaneity. As you recall the feeling of having no obstacles or doubt, what flows speaks for itself. Questions answer themselves before they arise.

  8. Alex

    Dear Kaushik,

    nice to read from you again. For me it sounds very profund and well matured what you describe.

    Yes be patient, just do exactly as you describe it. Stay at the sense of ‘I Am”, empty yourself totally of all imaginations you still might have somehow and hidden deep in the unconscious . Even about enlightenment, God and all the spiritual stuff (remember Meister Eckhart who said “Please God relief me from God’).

    The divine will come through, natural and spontaneous. Why? Because it is our natural state.

    Love, Alex

  9. Kate

    I’ve just finished reading The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. He gets to a place very similar to what you describe here and, as has been your experience, he gets there when he gives up searching. Per the book, the goal is to reach a constant (or nearly) state of “satori”, a deep awareness that athletes experience when they’re performing. It’s a wonderful feeling that I’ve experienced when driving very fast-complete stillness of the mind and yet aware of everything at the same time. Amazing.

    I find myself searching even though I know that what I’m looking for is in this moment, the Eternal Now. Why? Because the “Now” seems a little dull compared to the drama my mind can generate. It’s not easy to enjoy wholesome food when you’ve become addicted to processed food. Maybe it’s just about weaning the mind off of “junk food”.

    I also struggle with questions. Is there such a thing as evil? Does the world need saving? etc. They start to drive me crazy until I meditate on “I don’t know”. It sounds as if you have gone past this point, lucky you.

    What makes my experience harder (and easier) is that I’ve been having paranormal experiences. I know I’m energy as I can feel my chakras swirling, I can feel the energy of everything around me. I’m still a little disconcerted by it. I lie in bed in the dark and see lights moving around me. I can see, describe and communicate with the dead relatives who are often with people; all this has been a challenge in itself, considering that I was a atheist before this started. Still, I know that I’m not alone. Nobody is; there is so much love surrounded each one of us.

    How long do you think it would have taken you to get where you are if you’d just done the few things you have said that actually worked? When you practice mindfulness, being in the now, does anything actually change?

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Kate,

      Well, I’m still developing the understanding of it, so I’m not quite sure what happens with seeking energy. It seems that we have the first insight (what’s wrong is wrong inside, I am not at home in my life), and we go off on a spiritual chase. And during the chase, sometimes there is great attachment to particular practices and knowledge and terminology and concepts and lifestyles.

      And at some point there is a great release. This happened for me when I realized that there is only one problem, and the problem is fear, and fear compromises our faculties so that nothing can be right. And since this is the only problem, there really isn’t any need to accumulate understanding or practices.

      Is the seeking necessary? Is it something we have to go through? Or can we just skip that step?

      I don’t know for sure, but it seems to me that it isn’t necessary. We have to see that what happens in awakening seems to be independent of practices and knowledge, though they do seem to have the effect of getting us started and providing some comfort during the process.

      And this is why I like the “sense of I AM” or John Sherman’s “look at you” technique. It’s a technique and it doesn’t require you to get better at it, or to make it more abiding. It doesn’t require knowledge or concepts. It doesn’t require any movement to change–you don’t have to be more present or more spiritual or more knowledgeable or more compassionate.

      And so seeking is not required for something to happen.

      And something does happen, but it’s not easy to describe. For example, just as you do, I’ve had similar questions pop up in my head. And I’ve found that I have not answered the questions, but the questions are disappearing.

      I have no experience with paranormal stuff, so I can’t really comment. I’ve found myself to be much more open to “unusual” things like paranormal or channeling etc. The universe is full of patterns I don’t understood. But I don’t have a strong interest right now in exploring that stuff.

      Your last questions are interesting. How long would it have taken if I did what I suggest today from the very beginning? It’s hard to say, but I think what I say today would not have gotten through to me five years ago. I was full of resistance and ego.

      I don’t really practice mindfullness. I don’t really practice anything. I look at the sense of I AM when I am urged to do so, which lately has been rare. When it’s necessary, I use the release technique to let go. That’s really about it. Everything else happens on its own.

      k

    2. Neerav

      Kate,

      Those “paranormal experiences” are called Siddhis. They are supernatual and mystical powers that are temptations. All enlightened spiritual masters warn not to get personally involved in them, and just to observe them and thier effects as a detached witness. They occur as a result of heading into higher spiritual consciousness/awareness. Stay focused on the goal or returning home to God – don’t let them distract you or take you away from Him.

      1. kate

        Hi Neerav,

        I’m not an expert on the Eastern religions but it seems that you are of that mindset. It’s very different from my view of things. I don’t believe that becoming enlightened in this life will lead us home to God although it’ll probably get us closer. I believe the spirit goes through very long evolution and, although that can probably be shortened, I don’t think there’s a shortcut. Personally, I’m in no hurry.

        My goal is to achieve what I set out to achieve in this life. I believe this means, simply, being and expressing who I truly am through the personality, talents and abilities I chose to have this time around. What stands in my way, as I see it, is the conditioning of my past and the pain and fear that it has caused. Being psychic is not a distraction; being able to communicate with Spirit has given me amazing insights that have helped me heal certain parts of my psyche.

        We all have “psychic” abilities. Some call it their intution or their “gut”. We are spirit and we all operate as spirt to some degree, In my family, we have more ability than average, just as some families are more aritistic. I didn’t seek to be psychic–in fact, it was terrifying at first–but I am learning to understand and control it. It’s a very useful ability and, for me, it has only helped my everyday life and my spiritual development.

        1. Neerav

          Hi Kate,

          Enlightenment “is” realizing God as not only your true nature, but of the true nature of all things in His creation, so it is a returning home. What the Spiritually Enlightened/Self-Realized saints, sages, mystics and avatars in all of the spiritual traditions of the world have said is that God is not just realizable in future as a transcendant Diety, but realizable while you are alive in the here and now. God is descriptively immanent “and” transcendant. Yes, I am of eastern religion, but I have also studied practically all of the spiritual traditions and to some degrees, all of the major religions of the world (mainly eastern ones, but now I am reading about Christianity and Judaism with a lot of interest). In fact, I really wish not to be labled as the religion that I belong to, let alone the label of being “spiritual”. Both are hinderances to one’s spiritual journey back home to God.

          Actually, in reading some of these posts and Kaushik’s blog post, it seems to do spiritual practices without any goal in mind, though it is pretty obvious what that goal is. The reason – undermine the ego. The ego is the source of what is known as “sin” in the Western Religions and “karma” in the Eastern Religions. It is what keeps you away from God. The main problem here, and I believe kaushik did hit on these points, is that you have to make sure that there is no sense of “doership” that is associated with the ego…….that is, “I am spiritual” or “I am devoted to God” or that “I am doing spiritual practices or such and such spiritual practices” (unless someone asks you what you are up to nowadays and have to give a truthful answer). The ego can and will reform around spiritual concepts and form what is known as the “spiritual ego”, which is the last attempt to hang onto its dear life. Be wary of this as a spiritual seeker!

          You have goals in life, but make sure that is not your ego trying to take over you as the “spiritual ego”, otherwise, it will make things impossible, if not difficult, especially if that is Enlightenment/Nirvana/Salvation/Self-Realization, etc… Wishing you all the success for your spiritual pursuit!

          – Neerav

          1. Neerav

            And those that I mentioned before…….Enlightenment/Nirvana/Salvation/God-Realization………what one wants is the experience of that – to abide in such a state as described by those words, and not the words themselves.

            See…….this is where Zen Buddhism will come in handy nowadays. =)

            – Neerav

  10. sgoung

    I am new to this. letting go of a 40 year spiritual struggle/pursuit is my first step to freedom. Thank you.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Good to hear. If you’re looking for help in letting go, the release technique on this site is good, as is John Sherman’s website.

      k

  11. Dark Warrior

    Kate, nearly the same thing happened to me after reading Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior. The experience is called Kundalini energy release. After I finished the book I began meditating, ate healthy food, drank tea, did some light yoga stretching, exercised every day, and read more philosophy and spiritual stuff. Before I knew it I was completely mesmerized with the otherworldly energy moving from the base of my spine into my brain. The experiences can be very strange. Read about Kundalini Shakti energy release. I didn’t know about Kundalini until years after the experience, so I lost my mind a bit, as in became totally lost in the experience, consumed by bliss and inner ecstacy. It’s intense. Please read as much as you can about Kundalini if the experience ever starts to damage your life in any way. I’m sure you will be fine of course. Everyone has a different experience with Kundalini, I had a lot of out of body experiences and lava hot inner heat in my chakras, spine and brain. Lot’s of resistance was knocked down and literally “burned” through. At one point the inner warmth in my brain felt like I was going to go insane or die. It would have been an excellent time to surrender, let myself be afraid and relax into the fear of death. I resisted and held on for dear life, didn’t relax, and it stopped. After that it gradually decreased and I slowly descended into hell where I still am, lol. Don’t know if any of this helps but I felt it is really important to relax no matter what happens because then it will pass.

    1. kate

      Hi Dark Warrior,

      I did think I was having a Kundalini awakening at first but I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t that for me. I have a friend who is experiencing what you describe–poor girl. I never had the energy go up my spine and never had feelings of bliss. I just feel energy:my own and that of everything around me. When I meditate, I can feel swirling energy by my third eye and sometimes at the crown. I’ve discovered that I’m just feeling my own chakras.

      I did go a little crazy for a while. Mine was brought on my large doses of anti-histamines and melatonin–long story. As terrifying as it was, it left me certain–beyond all doubt–that I am so much more than this physical body.

      I know what you mean about hell LOL. More and more I see grace coming into my life. Everything is good but I’m sad and afraid a lot of the time, for no apparent reason. Getting angry and frustrated with myself doesn’t help. My old mode of operation–fight through with willpower–hasn’t worked. I’m just muddling my way through it. It helps to touch into the “real” me, to touch into the unconditional love of my angels./sould mates and to take their advice: be loving and patient with yourself.

  12. Alex

    Dear beloved ones,

    the way to our own self is just too easy, too simple to be believed, that we just miss it. This beautiful human mind comes in the way by trying to figure it out and it desperately want to understand something where nothing is to understand.

    All questioning and all thoughts comes from the personal mind and we miss totally that any answer, any knowledge that we gain, that we believe is second hand.

    All believes, everything you think to know, when you trace it down it is second hand, someone had said,
    someone know, we have read, heard, seen or even worse some who is awakened have said and know something what is likely to be believed, but does it help, do we then really know?

    When we are honest with ourselves we have to say no. Period, there is nothing we really, really know.
    There is just this one tiny little thing, that somehow we know that we are. Just a feeling, a sense that we somehow in some way exist and that’s all there is, that is exactly the one and only thing we really know.

    When we finally find this there is just one thing left to do, to stay with just that what we got,
    there are questions arising, good but do they really matter any more? They are like clouds in the sky, they appear and disappear, in an other minute, day, week… other questions arise and more answers will come to bring up more questions, endlessly. But the questions and answers are totally relative, or, in other words empty.

    But this tiny little knowledge of ones own being with it’s sense, that is the doorway to our own self.
    That what is all questions and answers, all things and no things.

    Then we realize that we where never separate of it, never got lost and never had something to find.
    We realize that all the knowledge we thought we gained where in reality a hindrens to find ourselves,
    a wall of imaginations that makes it impossible to find out the vastness and nothingness of what we are.

    So, how to find out, in other words how to let ourselves being found? By emptiness, dropping all opinions, all imaginations and believes of good and bad, god and hell and for some most important of all spirituality.

    We just stay with this sense of “I AM’.

    Nothing more is needed, anything more it might be a nice or an awful experience, sensation, body experience, you name it, comes in the way of realization. When we drop all of this and just stay with with the “i am” as often and as long as we can (thats all there is to do), the One that we are will reveal itself and through us in all beings.

    Not because of any gain or loss, of getting something or being someone but being It, naturally.
    We all are It already and we have ever been, nothing has ever changed in all and no times.

    Love and recognition to all beings,

    Alex

    Ps: Rest in natural great peace this exhausted mind,
    Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thoughts
    Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
    In the infinite ocean of samsara.
    Rest in natural great peace.

    — Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

    If you like there is a nice recording of this with music by Richard Page, just google ‘ rest in natural great peace’

  13. Kaushik Post author

    Kate,

    I don’t want to interrupt your conversation with Neerav; but you said something I feel is gets to an important point.

    You said “My goal is to achieve what I set out to achieve in this life.”

    If the goal is to be a natural human being, without the insanity of resistance, then there is no need to run after spirituality. It’s all right here, in the human realm, without having to resort to God and Enlightenment and Consciousness and so on.

    There is nothing wrong with the pursuit of spiritual ideas and practices. For some people, like me, it has even served the function of exhaustion, the place from which I realized that it was never about chasing spirituality–it’s much simpler than that.

    It’s exactly as the Buddha said, the basic problem is the dissatisfaction of life. Spirituality immediately run in the wrong direct in trying to find satisfaction for us in beliefs and practices and terminology. But we don’t have run after satisfaction. All we have to do is address the dissatisfaction, the fear of life, directly.

    And that can be done simply by looking at the sense of I am.

    No spiritual words or theories or practices are necessary.

    1. kate

      When all this started, I became so angry because it seemed that I’d have to become spiritual to find my way out. I’ve avoided dogma my whole life but I became so confused and desperate that I was willing to “listen” to anyone who might have a solution. The more I read, the more confused I became. Luckily, I found your site 🙂

      1. Kaushik Post author

        Glad to hear it! I was angry too for a while for having wasted five years on spiritual seeking…but then again it’s all part of this great mysterious adventure we call life.

    2. Neerav

      All dissatsfaction arises from the “delusional” ego, because of its mistaken identity with the body/mind/world. That is actually all of the spiritual concepts and practices of the different spiritual traditions aim towards getting rid of in the first place.

      Looking at the sense of “I Am” is a spiritual practice emphasized by Sri Nisargardatta Maharaj. But remember that “I Am” has to do with beingness of the body/mind, according to him. Looking at “I Am” should help you realize the truth of “I Am” and go beyond it. It is the sense of “I” and “I Am” where the problems of existence lie in the first place. It is one of many spiritual practices out there, such as the practice of “self-inquiry”.

      1. Kaushik Post author

        Neerav,

        I cannot debate all these wonderful spiritual concepts that you are interested in. Because they have nothing to do with I talk about.

        What I say is very simple. If your objective is to be a natural, sane human being, free of the insanity of resistance and suffering, then it’s very simple. Recognize that the only problem there ever was and is, is the basic dissatisfaction of life. The Buddha called it dukkha.

        This problem can easily be eliminated by looking at the sense of you.

        That’s all.

        On God and consciousness and spiritual traditions and spiritual practices and beingness of body/mind and going beyond–I have no interest. Those are only necessary if the objective is to be spiritual.

        Those are not necessary to be a free and natural human being.

        1. Neerav

          Hi Kaushik,

          Concepts and spiritual information are useful as guides, but not attachments to them thereof, which can be a hinderance to any spiritual seeker. By practicing them actively, you can avoid getting attached to them. Looking at the sense of “you” is looking at who is suffering…….suffering that one has a consicous choice “not” to have. What you are doing makes perfect sense to me.

          – Neerav

  14. Bill Cass

    Kaushik Watching your changes are inspiring and uplifting. I have changed as well. I am experiencing less emotion and I began wondering what is happening. I was getting concerned about the lack of emotion yet I am taken by beauty and purity. I lost all those pesky questions that have no answers. I am left alone with my thoughts. No God, no guides, no concerns and little to release. It is like a void yet beauty and purity are powerful and I find tears streaming down my face at the simplest things. I had thought that bliss was about feeling good all the time but perhaps bliss is something that has less to do with feelings and more to do with peace of mind. Thank you for your words and the responces. I see that our journey’s are different yet alike. We are learning and arriving all at the same time.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Excellent!

      It’s a good day when we realize that beliefs and practices and knowledge have nothing to do with it.

      It’s the place of self-reliance.

      I’m very happy to hear it.

      k

  15. William Veasley

    Kaushik: I am a new-comer to your blog and I enjoyed your writing! ( :
    I would say that my life has been filled with up’s and down’s. I have had my times where everything seemed like it was going perfect and I have others that seemed like they couldn’t get any worse.
    I think that my worst days were when I was a follower and not in touch with my inner-self. I do a lot of meditation on a regular basis and that seems to help more than anything, but I have to stop worrying about being different and just simply be myself.
    By being myself, I am being different because there is only and will only be one of me on this earth.
    I like what you said about being aware and examining your feelings/situations. There is no need to try to control things, but just examine them for a better understanding. Understanding what we all need.

    Best wishes,
    William Veasley

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi William,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      I am not at a point where I can definitively say to people to do this and not that. But I am where I recommend to people to explore. Explore the “look at the sense of you” technique. Learn how to release; that’s come in very handy for me. And as you say, be aware of the inner atmosphere, without attempting to control or change.

      I hope to hear more from you.

      k

  16. William Veasley

    Kaushik: I think that it is good that we explore because without knowing ourselves then what can we change that will really help? We might make changes, but will they really be for the better?
    I try to examine events and be more aware when they happen. By meditating I prolong those events in my mind to examine excatly how I felt. At the end of the day, I just want happiness, love and peace.
    Those only come from within ourselves.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      William, yes, you’re right. What we want is an inner peace–I like to say I want to be a free, natural human being. We want this because we know it is possible. And the only problem is a basic fear of life, a basic and early sense that something is wrong. This is the small but constant anxiety in which we form, and so nothing can be certain. It can’t be about making changes, because as you point out, all our efforts to change and improve, even our spiritual efforts, always happen in the presence of the basic fear of life and its effects.

      The “awareness meditation” you do is helpful. Check out the “looking at the sense of you” technique as well.

      k

  17. Kate

    It’s interesting what you say about our efforts to change. When this (my dark night) started, I worked tremendously hard to fix the problem, mostly because I found the pain and anxiety almost unbearable. At one time I was seeing 4 therapists and doing several things myself–inner bonding, shadow work, etc. My spiritual teachers kept telling me to slow down but, at that time, the idea of surrendering to anything or going with the flow was alien to me.

    Some things have been helpful. The main thing has been the development of compassion for myself. It is only with compassion that we can face our shadow sides and accept our humanity. Through acceptance, old behaviors fall away, as has happened a lot to me, much to my amazement. We come here to learn and then we are so harsh with ourselves because we haven’t learnt yet.

    The other thing is patience. I read the other day that wisdom comes slowly so we need to give ourselves time to grow. You can’t force a bud to open. It’s hard when you’re in pain so releasing helps. Sometimes, I just hold and comfort myself as I would a child.

    Then, there is finding your eternal self below the noise of your mind and the peace that comes from that.

    I try not to see this process as separate from my life as I did in the beginning. It is not something to be quickly fixed so that I can get on with life. I’m no longer waiting for this to be over. Neither am I trying to push my life forward. I just go with what feels right every day. There is an easy flow to life; things are pretty smooth. I’m slowly learning to trust.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Kate, what you say is true. It’s patience, trust, intuition, the letting go of the idea of a permanent fix (it shows up in me as a feeling of not-done yet). All of these understandings and wisdom–compassion, acceptance, patience, learning, openness, awareness–all of these are helpful.

      But why do we need any of these in the first place? We need it because we have a basic fear of life, and all our mental constructs are formed in this context of fear. We experience life through the mind, through perceptions and senses and emotions and memory and beliefs. But all of these are formed in the context of fear.

      We need to learn patience and acceptance, because there is resistance in us in the first place. Why is there resistance? Because our minds have formed in the context of fear.

      It’s a little like positive thinking and affirmations. There is nothing wrong with trying to be positive, but we can realize that the need to be positive only comes because there is negativity in us. So trying to be positive might be helpful, but the real trick is to be rid of the negativity.

      I like your last paragraph especially. This process is very much an integral part of life, but in the beginning it felt to me as sort of an academic exercise, something separate and theoretical. And “no longer waiting for this to be over” is something I am learning only recently.

      Thanks, Kate.

      k

  18. Bill Cass

    “but the real trick is to be rid of the negativity.”
    So true K. Releasing the negative is done by first noticing the negative thought then releasing it. It is very progressive when we shine the light on those sneaky thoughts that come right in unnoticed. Notice them and they become something you can release.

  19. Kaushik Post author

    Hi Bill,

    Yes, very true, negative thoughts and emotions can be released. Here I was referring to the general negativity, the hum of anxiety which is the fear of life and which comes to us very early in our lives. It is in this mental environment that all our thoughts and experiences and beliefs and emotions form. And it is because of this inner atmosphere that we are motivated to seek.

    We can eliminate this basic fear by simply looking at the sense of I am. the sense of you.

    Thanks, Bill.

    k

    1. Kate

      Hi K,

      Is “looking” enough? I know people who’ve meditated for years and who are still a mess. I “look” and it’s wonderful to see who I truly am. I hope that looking will eventually lead to a persistant sense of wholeness and peace. I do think, though, that there’s a danger of doing a spiritual bypass.

      In the past month or so, I’ve started to see some significant changes in myself. What seems to have made the greatest difference is that I was finally able to face a few terrifying childhood memories, which I’d repressed. The degree of terror that I experienced over the few days that they made their way to the surface is stunning. I was sure I’d lose my mind (Thank God for Xanax LOL). We forget how small and powerless children feel and how that affects their perspective. Since then, though, my anxiety is way down. I also understand, for the first time, why I behave in certain ways and I’ve been able to have compassion for myself, for that little girl who did the best she could in an awful situation. The behaviors, all coping mechanisms, have now started to slip away.

      I know, because of meditating and sensing myself, that what I seek is already here. It’s obscured though by the harsh conditioning of my childhood, which was very abusive. If I didn’t actively work on healing my past, would I end up in the same place as someone who meditated, “looked”, and released emotion without analysis? Possibly. Maybe the approach we take comes down to personality.

      I know, because I “look”, that what I seek is here already. It’s the sun hidden behind the storm clouds. We can quiet our minds and brush away the clouds but, it seems to me, that we need to change the thoughts that create the clouds in the first place.

      I’m curious to hear what you think

      kate

  20. Joshua Tilghman

    Kaushik,

    Glad I found this blog. Our experiences have been very similar. The practice that you speak of here has been a great sense of comfort during intense stress. It’s also just as enjoyable when I am out fishing. The more we learn to do this, the more meaning life has in all its moments, both positive and negative.

      1. Jen

        Hi Kaushik,
        I’m also glad I found your blog, its incredibly supportive and comforting. I’ve been reading through it over the last couple of weeks.

        I’m deeply into what I sometimes think is a ‘dark night of the soul’. At other times I think I’m suffering from a bout of anxiety/depression caused by a 5 year string of stressful life events which seemed to happen one after another, leaving me with less and less energy with which to ‘recover’. I also seem to have elements of a kundalini awakening going on, but those symptoms could be from extreme stress. After researching both, I’ve learned that both cause the same symptoms.

        Writing has been something which I’ve consistently done my whole life, mostly by keeping a journal, but even the ability to find solace through expressing myself in this way is falling away and I’m struggling to write this comment.

        Even though you now only write what you want and for your own benefit, I think that perhaps the approach of giving up the desire to help other people, is in fact more helpful through its deeper authenticity.

        For me, being able to read words which I can actually relate to, from this strange and very misunderstood place is incredibly valuable and even with the vastness of the internet and a multitude of ‘teachers’ out there, I still find it difficult to find a sense of connection.

        I’m starting to come to terms with your approach that the ‘problem’ is just a basic fear of life, which started to develop from a very early age through the process of mind. I think I’m understanding this and seeing its process at work as it happens.

        For me, the physical or biological action of fear, felt in my body has been the foundation of everything I have ever done my entire life…I’m starting to see this. My life has been a series of choices, mostly unconscious, chosen for their potential to relieve some of the constant anxiety of life which is always there.

        Desire has really only been for things with a potential to relieve or distract from fear for a time, with nothing ever working for very long.

        Nothing, and I mean nothing, is working at the moment. I have been misdiagnosed, over the years with various psychological illnesses and have medications available to me. But nothing has ever helped for longer than a few months, eventually causing more problems in the long run. So these days I take nothing to relieve my ‘discomfort’.

        For me, the hardest part of going through this ‘process’, is having to do it while still being part of the ‘normal’ everyday world and having to function and keep up with responsibilities among people who don’t understand and most likely could never really understand, unless they had some direct experience themselves. Its very hard to stay strong in a positive, hopeful perspective, when all around me, is a very negative reflection of my feelings and behavior, telling me that something is wrong and its been going on for too long, and isn’t it time……

        I see the concern and good intentions, but don’t know how to explain that going shopping for a new rug isn’t going to fix me this time. I do need a rug for our floor, by my limited energy is better spent on grocery shopping so we can keep eating. Almost everything has lost its former meaning and seems quite pointless.

        Mr. K, I hope you continue with this blog.

        Thank you
        J.

        1. Kaushik Post author

          Hi Jen,

          Welcome! And thanks for your open and honest comment.

          I’ve come to see depression/anxiety as a logical consequence of the fear of life. Anxiety/depression is the opposite of love; it is self-hating thoughts; but really, it goes back to the basic fear of life, which comes to us early and makes us feel separated from our own life. It makes us feel that we are under constant threat. This is the inner atmosphere in which all our mental constructs form. And so, to me, it’s not surprising that in people like you and me, it gives rise to depression/anxiety. It’s actually surprising to me that not every human being is depressed or anxious.

          Writing is a wonderful outlet. I kept hand-written journals, and twice in my life I’ve lost them. It didn’t matter–I’ve never had the urge to go back and read. It’s the writing that’s important, not the record, and you will find as you write, with some time and practice, the writing becomes more and more authentic.

          Yes, I know what you mean about the abundance of viewpoints out there. The internet is wonderful in that now more than ever there is more awareness of the kind of things we talk about here. But it can be confusing, with so many viewpoints and practices and ideas and theories out there. What is striking is that if we are honest about it, nobody so far has been very clear about this.

          What actually happens? Why are human beings the way we are? It isn’t natural to us–because clearly a few rare people have escaped the cycle of suffering. Why does this happen? What exactly happens to them?

          Unfortunately, there are plenty of viewpoints on this. So you must use your intuition and your own life experience.

          The way I have to come to see it, there is and ever was only one problem. It is the basic fear, the fear of life which comes to us early in our lives, and one of its immediate effects is to make us feel that we are separated from our own life. We hold our life at arms length, afraid and unsure.

          I also think the “looking at you” as suggested by Nisargadatta and Ramana, and very cleanly clarified by John Sherman, does the job of uprooting this delusion.

          Why? Well, I’m not completely sure of the mechanics of it. I think it is because you, the feel of you, the sense of you, is as basic as we can get. Bringing attention to this feeling of you, just momentarily, does the work.

          What you say about desire and diagnosis and medications is also true in my experience as well. And yes, you’re right, it’s hard to reconcile awakening with our daily challenges. In real life, there are very few people, if any, who understand the journey we are on. I’ve also found as I move along that I am less and less motivated about the conventional ideas of success and money and career and so on. This is a sane thing to happen, because what could possibly be more important in life than our experience of it, but still this journey can tend to isolate us, and sometimes that does feel uncomfortable.

          I understand how you feel. But you have no choice. When there is the understanding that there is another possibility, that life can free of fear and illusion, well, then we don’t have much choice except to be compelled to explore.

          Thank you, Jen.

          k

          1. Jen

            Hi Kaushik, and thank you for your reply, its such a relief to have found someone who not only really ‘gets it’ at the deepest level, but can communicate so honestly and accurately, well for me anyway, the way you write resonates.

            You wrote ” It’s actually surprising to me that not every human being is depressed or anxious.”

            I used to be confused by this too. But just lately I seem to have developed a kind of sensitivity and I’m starting to detect or kind of see that most people actually do have anxiety and depression, but just below the level of their awareness, its what keeps most people doing all the things they do, so that these feelings wont emerge into their awareness. When I manage to keep still, which isn’t very often, I see this, when I do, its just another thing I find very disturbing about life and humanity.

            When I think back to the brief periods of my life when I’ve been free from anxiety and depression, its been when I’ve been caught up in a lot of external, future oriented, excitement producing activity. In other words, I’ve been blocking out my present moment experience by projecting my focus onto some imaginary ‘reward’, which of course never arrives in quite the way I imagine it. At the moment, I can’t find anything which would feel rewarding, apart from an absence of this awful state which I seem to be in, but the ironic thing is, this state itself is a kind of all encompassing absence, I can’t see anything beyond it.

            The ‘looking at you’ method does actually help, temporarily. I’m also not sure why, but think it might have something to do with creating a sense of stability and constancy of ‘something’ in place of all the other things which are falling away, even if that ‘something’ is just a constant awareness of some very uncomfortable sensations. I’m not sure though, another thing which is constant at the moment is doubt. So I’m doubting if relying on any method or technique of anything is actually such a good idea, how do I know I’m not just creating another illusion to hold onto, which then has to be let go of?

            You wrote “but still this journey can tend to isolate us, and sometimes that does feel uncomfortable”

            I struggle with this a lot, but when I really look deeply at what’s making me uncomfortable, its not so much actually spending more time away from other people, being isolated, its that the things I am telling myself about being isolated are increasing my fear and anxiety.

            I actually like it when I know I’m going to have a whole day when I will be completely alone and don’t have to interact with anyone, then I can focus completely on just being myself moment to moment without being triggered by external expectations. I create enough of my own external expectations in my own mind, so I’m not completely free, but at least I only have to deal with my own stuff. Maybe the sense of isolation comes not so much from actual reduced contact with other people, but from a lack of real connection and understanding on this ‘road less traveled’

            From reading your blog, I think I understand correctly that you were a single parent, but that you children are now adults. If this is right, maybe you could share some insights about something I’m having a problem with.

            I’m also a single parent with a daughter who is right on the cusp between child and adult. Of course I’m struggling with letting go and my changing role, but more than anything I feel incredibly guilty for not being able to be a ‘normal’ parent for her.

            I’ve worked very hard over the years to keep up a facade of normality the best I can, for her benefit, but its been incredibly stressful. She is actually a very happy and emotionally balanced person, doing a lot better than most of her friends, but I still feel like I’m letting her down by not doing all the things that most people do. Peer pressure and a need to fit in is so important to teenagers and having a ‘strange’ parent just adds to the pressure, but I can’t keep up the facade any longer, I just don’t have the energy, I need to let go and find out who I really am, but the guilt is overwhelming.

            I also feel guilty for ‘worrying’ my parents who are in their 80’s, neither of them understands why I don’t just do what everyone else does. Both of them are very anxious people, but they are completely in denial about it and avoid facing it with constant activity or other distractions.

            How are you doing these days? Are you still enjoying a decrease of ‘negative’ emotions and have more of a sense of peace? Have all of the things you have let go of, stayed away?

            J.

            1. Kaushik Post author

              Hi Jen,

              Yes, I see that same, that everyone lives in a constant usually low-level context of anxiety. All we have to do to see it is to be still, and bring attention inward. The being still part is difficult for most people. I remember the first time I meditated, I wanted to run away. This in itself is a hint. But even for “advanced” people, when we draw attention inward, we can feel a sense of anxiety, a bodily energy. This is an effect of the original fear of life.

              “The ‘looking at you’ method does actually help, temporarily.”

              Yes, in the looking, there can be a sense of peace. But that’s not its purpose. And you’re completely right, that any kind of practice or technique is ultimately dualistic, ultimately they are an attempt at exerting a mental experience.

              The looking technique is meant to be a momentary thing, something, if the theory is correct, eliminates the original fear of life and start off the process of healing. Why it works in this way, I don’t really know, but I do have enough confirmation that it does do something, and so I continue with it.

              The only other “techniques” I employ now are noticing and releasing. Noticing, just non-judgmental awareness, which becomes a natural thing to do. And the release technique, which is also not a technique, just a natural process that we have forgotten.

              I think I prefer these three for the very reason that you mentioned, that relying on a method or technique or practice or knowledge is indeed creating another illusion. The looking is a temporary, momentary act, and the other two are a natural ways to be which we have forgotten.

              And still doubt, as you point out, can come up. Which is perfectly okay. Doubt (like confidence and self-honesty and belief) is a mental process, a mental construct. We can notice it and let it be. You might find that no matter how serious your doubts are, you will not really be able to stop any of this at this point.

              About the isolation–well, yes it’s not comfortable. What I experience are periods of isolation, very low motivation, insomnia, low energy. Perhaps these are the physical symptoms of depression (the psychological sense of dread and futility in depression is gone). Or perhaps, it’s just natural, that in healing and recovery from the fear and its effects, that we would feel this unnerving types of emotions, like the foundation has been knocked out from under us.

              Yes, it is a struggle. It’s not what others expect of us. There is a loss of interest and motivation in the conventional ideas of success, and yet nothing else has replaced it. The isolation sometimes strikes me as weird–how strange that this is the journey I’m on? Still, there is no choice in the matter, and if there were, I would still choose this, because what can be more important than to be natural, complete, integrated, alive human being, and feel that deeply?

              I would be happy to talk about my parenting experiences and so on–you can contact me by email by using he contact form in the about page.

              “How are you doing these days? Are you still enjoying a decrease of ‘negative’ emotions and have more of a sense of peace? Have all of the things you have let go of, stayed away?”

              Yes, indeed. I’m doing well. I felt a critical letting go about a year and half ago–when I saw that the only problem there is, is the fear of life. It’s the original fear, the fear when consciousness wakes up to itself, the fear of being human, and strikes us early. In seeing this, I was able to let go of “seeking” and effort and the struggle to try to understand and so on. I saw the problem; now I want to find a direct solution, and I think the “looking” might be that.

              So, yes, much of resistance has fallen away. But I don’t feel done yet.

              Thanks, Jen, you’ve brought up some very perceptive points.

              k

              1. Philip

                Its seems in the Non-Dual community (very loose term) that there is this emphasis on experience, that somehow awakening or liberation is or is required to be accompanied by this peak experience or sense of oneness etc and so on. When it is realised that that which is present and aware ie that which is looking out through these eyes, that which is one’s natural state, is already liberated and free then all human experience can be seen, in all it’s limitation for what it is, a reality/illusion delivered through a programmed mind. No human experience can be anything more than the movement of mind, but that which knows human experience, the ultimate subject is always as it is, unaffected by what happens and totally enlightened. Liberation from the human perspective is when the mind gives up trying to fix things and lets it be. The illusion of control, authorship, doer-ship, desire for things to be different etc is all tied up in this concept that the mind believes to be true and what the mind believes to be true is experienced as reality.

                1. Kaushik Post author

                  Hi Philip,

                  Good to hear from you again.

                  Yes, I agree. Life is experienced through the mind. And I also see that there is no doer, no volition, no control–all these are an illusion. I also agree about trying to fix things, because all our attempts to fix things are done in the context of a fearful mind, and they are very much a part of the insanity and resistance.

                  Even if everything is an illusion, the one thing which is not an illusion is the thing which senses all of this. We know that something which experiences all of this exists, and we know that with a certainty which is not provable but nevertheless indisputable.

                  The looking at you, is really looking at this indisputable sense of existence. This deliberate touching of attention to the only thing which we can be sure of exists, eliminates the delusion of fear. And the recovery starts and can take a while.

                  “…that which is present and aware ie that which is looking out through these eyes, that which is one’s natural state…that which knows human experience…the ultimate subject…”

                  What you refer to with these words, this indisputable sense of existence–I’ve found that it is clearer to call it just “you” or “me.” In non-dual circle the impression is given that the subject is something we might have to practice or understand to think about or differentiate. It’s not. It’s just you.
                  k

  21. Polly

    Dear Kaushik

    Thank you for this site, and for all the responses it stimulates. It is comforting to hear of people who have let go of the goal of spiritual enlightenment. And also to hear about how others are coping with this ‘crazy world’ and the mystery of life.

    I too like writing now and then, and I wondered if you had any thoughts on an idea I’ve been mulling over. I hope I can explain myself well enough. At the moment I have moved away from seeing the basic fear of life as a problem. I mean, as something to be eliminated. Instead I’d like to share a couple of thoughts.

    Firstly, as physical beings we constantly process sensory stimuli and are drawn towards one stimulus over another, for whatever unique reason. Therefore we are perpetually in a state of awareness of that which we desire and that which we don’t. So, whenever we are in the mind set that this physical world around us is all there is, we experience it with a sense of love and fear simultaneously.

    Secondly… We will naturally develop coping mechanisms to deal with the feelings of fear. I see ‘conditioning’ as the process of developing these mechanisms. However since ‘life’ is an experience of continuous choices, no matter how well one copes, the awareness of the desirable and undesirable will never go away.

    So the only option (which I suppose is probably just what most people here are saying in some way!) is to become aware of the way you have developed, how you’ve learned to cope and what it was you had to cope with. Which ends up with you being the observer of your life, being aware of painful feelings, but being less and less absorbed in, distracted by or driven by them.

    Well, its a bit late and my mind is slowing down, so I’ll stop there.

    Thanks again

    P

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Polly,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I think you are on to something.

      I too have been thinking about the problem of fear. To call it a problem, can be a problem. It creates a split mind effect, where one corner of the mind recognizes the problem, and another corner wants freedom from it, while the entire mind is still affected by it. It creates mental conflicts.

      I think what you are saying is that love and fear are simultaneous and in the present. So even if we are able to eliminate the original fear and heal form its effects, as long as we believe we are separated from life itself, we will react with fear to some situations. And perhaps that is what is meant to be.

      And perhaps that is true. I don’t know. I feel that when the original fear and its effects are healed, the sense of separation goes away, and we are no longer subject to fear and its effects in the same way. This is the awakened state.

      And at the end what you say is what I recommend. We can learn to notice. We can learn to release (which is noticing, allowing, and the letting go just happens). And I think the looking at the sense of you, does do something. I think it resets the context of the mind.

      That’s about where I am. And I do see what you are saying. I’ve been thinking about it too.

      Thanks!

      k

      1. Polly

        Hi Kaushik

        Thanks. Your words made a lot of sense, and I have enjoyed thinking about them on my walk just now.

        I think what I feel like saying is in some ways re-iterating what you said, but still I feel compelled to share it. But first, I wanted to work out why I felt resistance towards the words ‘original fear’ – I think its because it reminds me of ‘original sin’ and as someone who seems to have an innate resistance to religion, I was struggling to feel comfortable with it. So once I realised that, I felt more able to explore this concept.

        Eventually it came to me that perhaps original fear is the anxiety which is created as an individual internalises the concept that they are mortal. The conditioning we receive and the way we receive it will determine the form and extent of this anxiety.

        Love and fear are simultaneous, natural mechanisms of physical beings, but perhaps these become less manageable the more we exist in line with the principle that we are mortal (if that is what our conditioning encourages). So I agree that it is the process of being released from this state (of trying to control life using the methods learned through conditioning so we can be happy and not die), that brings us back to feeling awake, and away from the anxiety of mortality (original fear?).

        Hmm that seems to be a long winded way of saying do you this original fear is just fear of death?!

        But one last thought about conditioning. My current theory is that each time we use words we are contributing to our sense of duality and mortality. I went along to a pagan moot a month ago, thinking that this surely might resonate with me a bit, but it didn’t, and I later realised it was because of the use of words to focus on that which I feel is indefinable. I mention this because it comes into my feeling that the ‘problem’ of conditioning occurs when it moves away from awareness of immortality.

        Basically the conclusion I’ve just come to is that depression and anxiety can be linked to the strain of going along with ‘normal’ social behaviour which in effect denies that we are anything more than physical beings.

        I’m not sure I’m completely happy with how I’ve expressed myself, but I’d better stop I have small people to attend to!

        P 🙂

        1. Kaushik Post author

          Hi Polly,

          It’s funny–I was writing another reply to you at the same time. I deleted it as I didn’t think it was any clearer than the first.

          Yes, words are not it and they can restrict us.

          I am not religious and am not inclined towards religious institutions. I grew up in a Hindu culture, so I suppose I don’t relate “original fear” with “original sin”. But I do see that in most religions there is an essence of truth before it is mangled into beliefs, and along those lines perhaps “original sin” did mean original fear at one time, and then with age and reiteration took on the judgmental and religious connotation it has today. Just a fanciful idea.

          I think the original fear is the fear of being born human. It is the fear of consciousness waking up in a human body and mind. Perhaps the fear develops in us because it can develop in us. Perhaps we pick it up because everyone who is around us has it. Or it is as you say, the fear of our mortality, the fear of death. Or it is as Jed Mckenna says, the fear of no-self, the fear of oblivion. Or as John Sherman says, the fear of life.

          All these are plausible.

          There is no question that there is a fear. that We can feel one of its effects simply by being still and looking inside, and we can feel the hum of anxiety in us.

          The way I see it is that the basic question is, Is there enough joy in my life? Am I satisfied with life? If the answer is no, it is because I know that there can be joy and satisfaction which is unrelated to external events, and I am not feeling that because of the fear and its effects.

          So what you say about the fear/love and conditioning may be the case–that may be our natural way. If that’s the case, I think this original fear makes that process dysfunctional.

          “Basically the conclusion I’ve just come to is that depression and anxiety can be linked to the strain of going along with ‘normal’ social behaviour which in effect denies that we are anything more than physical beings.”

          Yes, I see the same thing in a slightly different way. I am astonished that every human being is not depressed and anxious. That seems to me the perfectly logical and direct response to a mind whose context has been shaped by the fear. That happens to some us. Others I think find a way to pretend out of it, and deflect their uneasiness into ideas of success, ambition, money and so on. And what you say may be what happens when the pretense falls apart. That’s how it went for me.

          One other thing I have realized recently is that we have to love the process. That’s not anything new; the realization of it is new to me. One way in which my insanity shows up is in the way I manage (and fail to manage) my weight. I’ve known for several years now that my struggles with weight are an exact reflection of my struggles in understanding life. I realized that the conventional ideas of diet and exercise are misguided, in the same way much of spirituality is misguided. It is not about control; it is essentially about giving up control. I have now enough confirmation that what can work is simply to eat consciously, eat when hungry, eat what I want to, and eat with pleasure and gusto. That works, but there is also a back-and-forthness to it which is frustrating. I have great success and then I seem to lose it. And I’ve realized that my thinking is still wrong on this. The important thing is to love the process, and not hold onto a specific objective. It’s more important to fully enjoy the process of becoming more conscious. And this, I think applies equally well to the thing we are trying to do here, which is to be a natural human being. You gotta love the process!

          k

          1. Polly

            Hi Kaushik

            I’ve written a couple of long responses, but I keep covering the same grounds, reiterating what’s been said already!

            Just a quick thought, that the question of joy in one’s life – this seems like a value judgement. I used to feel bad about not feeling happier. I’m more comfortable thinking that joy and sorrow are always there, but it’s the perspective that determines the experience. And the perspective is determined by conditioning. And conditioning is constantly reinforced by thinking and speaking… But here I go again! Leading back the the strategy I very much agree with – keeping it simple, being a natural human being and loving the process, when possible.

            P ;D

            1. Kaushik Post author

              Hehe, you’re right, words take us farther from it.

              I say to ask if there is enough joy in my life–I don’t mean joy as in the state of mind which is dependent on certain conditions (like getting what I wanted). That’s good too when it happens. I mean the natural feeling of having fully embraced life, when fear and resistance and insanity are absent. If grief or sorrow comes up, there is no resistance to these. I haven’t come up with the right words. But I do know that this is possible.

              I don’t think the mind is a problem. I don’t think thoughts or emotions or conditioning or the ego are inherently a problem. Absent of the original fear, all of these are the experience of life, and there is no need to judge or deny or resist any particular thought or feeling.

              Yes, keep it simple, look, notice, let go, be natural, love the process.

              k

              1. Neerav

                “I don’t think the mind is a problem. I don’t think thoughts or emotions or conditioning or the ego are inherently a problem. Absent of the original fear, all of these are the experience of life, and there is no need to judge or deny or resist any particular thought or feeling.”

                Given both what I have read about in spiritual books and have my own experience as a spiritual seeker, I cannot agree with this at all. Recently, a few times, whenever I have tried to do prayers or concentrate on other things, the thoughts in my mind, as well as the ego’s attempts to get me to identify with them, has caused me to be distracted, but thankfully, not discouraged. For a majority of spiritual seekers, it “IS” the mind, the thoughts/emotions/feelings/conditionings within (and of) the mind, and the ego’s attempts to draw one in to them that prevents them from realizing thier true nature (i.e. the Self); and spiritual teachers – past and present, say this as well. When you look beyond the mind and it thoughts, you get a glimpse of the Self, but the ego is still in the way. However, once you transcend the ego and permanently silence the mind, the Self is realized and abided in permanently and continuously. Spiritual seekers and teachers, past and present, realistically recognize the obstacles of both the mind and the ego, as well as their thoughts, emotions, feelings and conditionings.

                I, as a spiritual seeker myself, stand with those spiritual teachers and spiritual seekers, who see the mind, the ego, and thier mechanisms in this, more realistic and practical light.

                – Neerav

                1. Kaushik Post author

                  Neerav,

                  Digging in your heels and taking a firm stand with “spiritual teachers and spiritual seekers” is very much a movement of the ego.

                  Use your intuition and go about it with love and openness. This is an incredible journey we undertake.

                  In the present culture of spirituality, it is fashionable to demonize the ego and the mind. This isn’t surprising. Spiritual seekers are highly identified with the mind and ego. When they are told, and they are able to see that there is more to consciousness than just the identification with mind and ego, it’s a natural reaction to demonize the mind and ego.

                  There is nothing wrong with the mind or ego. Ramana and Nisargadatta and Tolle and Jed Mckenna and Anthony de Mello and Tolle and John Sherman have a mind and they have an ego. The mind is that through which we experience life. The ego is just thoughts and feelings about the self. There is nothing wrong with the mind or ego; what makes them troublesome is the fear.

                  It’s certainly useful to recognize the insanity of the mind and ego which are suffused with fear. But to hold the mind and ego as enemies is literally insane and I don’t mean that judgmentally. It creates a split mind, where one corner of the mind is trying to fight with the rest of the mind.

                  I love life. I love being human. My purpose in life is to be a natural and free human being, to fully embrace humanness, to fully embrace the broadest spectrum of human emotion, to embrace the peace which surpasses mental understanding. To do this, all we need do is eliminate the fear and its effects.

                  It’s actually simple. When the fear goes, whatever it is that you want you will be much more effective at finding. If you want enlightenment, you will find that you are much more effective at it once the fear goes. But just a little warning. The person in you who thinks he wants enlightenment does not exist.

                  k

                  1. Neerav

                    I am holding onto an ego position? Is that not YOUR ego that is saying that? Everything in your reply has ZERO spiritual truth to it. You also say that I am creating an ego duality by making the mind and ego as enemies. In NO way have I even done that………all I did was state a common understanding that had been taught by spiritual teachers to spiritual seekers through the many ages. It is YOUR ego that is perceiving duality where none exists, nor was implied either explicitly or implicitly.

                    The most ignorant thing that you said is that Eckhart Tolle, Ramana Maharishi and Nisargadatta have both a mind and and an ego. If that was the case, then they would not be Enlightened, would they? Unfortunately, you have not studied the various spiritual traditions, including that of the above three people to know that such is not only untrue but is utter nonsense. Then why would they be teaching how to transcend both the mind and especially the ego if they had both? That makes no sense. In fact, everything that I mentioned comes from a broad and deep study of the numerous spiritual traditions and both their teachings and techniques, in addition to not only contemplating their meaning at great depth, but have also applied them in my daily spiritual and devotional practices. I too have studied the teaching of the above-three mentioned people, in addition to others, which is why nothing in your reply neither manes any sense, nor does it have any truth or validity to it.

                    The last sentence shows the extent of your spiritual ignorance by engaging in the idiocy of nihilism by saying “the person in you who thinks he wants enlightenment does not exist”. If that is so then why follow the deep inner urge via the Self (the Presence of God within) to return back home to God via Enlightenment, which precludes the ego’s death as the doer? Why pursuit spirituality and God then? On the absolute level of God, there is no seeker of Enlightenment, as there is no doer of the ego, but on the relative level, such is the opposite. In fact, mystics, saints and sage who are Enlightened sees both perspectives as simultaneously true. The nihilistic philosophy that “you don’t exist” ot that “I don’t exist” as spiritual seekers/aspirants is DANGEROUS, and many spiritual teachers gave warned strongly against it and are themselves not teaching or emphasizing it.

                    Given the above, it is quite obvious that you still unfortunately have a lot of work to do as a spiritual seeker, even to get to where J am now

                    1. Neerav

                      Not to brag or boast, but it is pretty obvious that my knowledge and understating is both greater and deeper than yours. However, I have no self-interest in sharing my views and teaching what is true. I stand with Truth…….at this moment, I am not looking to gain anything from this except wanting to share what I have. On the contrary, the ego is a burdensome limitation, along with the mind, which is keeping me from returning back home to God via Enlightenment and would gladly surrender the ego and its burdensome load to God any day or whenever He asks me to do so.

                      You can go ahead and accuse me otherwise, but you are only digging yourself deeper into the ego’s clutches bu holding onto a positionality. I pity you out of compassion, and pray that you free yourself from the delusional ego soon.

                      Best,

                      Nerrav

                    2. Kaushik Post author

                      Hehe, I’m not quite sure what I said which set you off. I suppose this is one of the limitations of writing; the tone does not always convey. I truly had no intention of offending.

                      I don’t really know how to respond to what you have been compelled to write here. But I do want to clear up any misconceptions.

                      I am not interested in spiritual advancement. I am interested in being a natural and free human being, to fully embrace human life, to end suffering, which now I know is possible. You are completely right that I have not studied spiritual traditions and it is unlikely that I ever will, as what I know and say comes from direct experience, not from study.

                      I do not suggest the technique of “you do not exist”–it’s an exploration I tried and it is actually a valid technique in that it can be seen that the you in your thoughts does not exist, but it doesn’t really go anywhere from there, so I don’t recommend it.

                      And on the ego and mind, there is no need to demonize them. They are not an inherent problem; they are only troublesome because of the fear. But it’s good to be alert about the ego. That can be useful for example when the ego lashes out because it perceives that its spiritual advancement is being questioned.

                      k

                    3. Neerav

                      Ah, but you are still stuck in the ego’s domain……….hence, your statement that I am demonizing the ego and mind, which I am not doing or have not done. The mind and ego are seen as obstacles…….limitations that need to be overcome and transcended, so I have no idea why you perceive my statement as such. I just stated facts objectively and nothing more than that. No demonizing or judging anything on my part. I would really not give into the ego anymore, as its games are no longer interesting or relevant.

                      And who is thinking (and saying) that “I do not see the ego and the mind is the problem”? The ego. You just fell right into its trap. Without recognition of the problem, how then can you get free of suffering?

                      – Neerav

        2. Neerav

          You said: “I think the original fear is the fear of being born human. It is the fear of consciousness waking up in a human body and mind.”

          Yet, it is the “rare” birth of human being that enables one to attain liberation/salvation/Enlightenment, as per both Hinduism and the sayings of the Buddha. Also, Conciousness/Awareness cannot have any fear about anything…….that which is pure bliss, peace and love prior to birth, death and rebirth cannot have any emotions or feelings whatsoever, let alone, negative ones…….those are all associated with the ego. To say that Consciousness fears human birth is incorrect. It is the ego that has fears, pain and anxiety, not Consciousness, and this occurs only during one’s physical existence, and not prior to it. The ego exists in a quiescent state until birth in a physical body occurs, as it is the cause of one having to be reborn in the first place.

          As for fear……where does all the fear stem from? The ego. One’s true nature, that is, the Self (which is synonomous with God Himself), is beyond fear, anxiety, pain, suffering, guilt, etc…. The fear of things that occurs are all ego-caused. when looking at the “sense of I Am”, look at who is feeling these negative emotions, as mentioned above. Without studying any spiritual books by various spiritual teachers whatsoever, you will see that it is the ego. Then, in the spirit on Sri Ramana Maharishi’s “self-enquiry”, find out to what the source of the ego itself is, which is the source of the feelings and thoughts of fear, anxiety, pain, etc… The ego is narcissistic and delusional…….it’s primary goal is its own well-being via physical eixtence. When that is threatened, the ego brings up the aforemented emotions and thoughts in oneself. When the ego itself is threatened with non-existence (i.e. death) as you approach Enlightenment, the fear is FAR worse. Remember…….nothing that comes from the ego has any reality, let alone any truth or validity whatsoever. It is false!!!

          – Neerav

          1. Nitin

            Hi Neerav,
            Wake up and say what you have experienced ?
            All spiritual studies and be A Pandiam is only good to boost the own ego, does not get one any where. I have no knowledge about any spiritual practice nor do I care about but I enjoy journey of self-inquiry where fear is the FIRE-WALL, it does not let you go through. In real life, Fear-less life may is not exist.
            I have limited knowledge to express myself, I may have not said what I want to say and you may take what you want to read & understand where i don’t have any control on it.. (hahahaha..)
            Mr. Kaushik has forgot to mention that “be honest to yourself” in other words, stop cheating !!
            DO NOT Get offended, it’s my view, no one have to take it.

            Cheer !!!
            (I have ego which make me write)

            1. Neerav

              What have I experienced? What I have been experiencing day in and day out……tremendous peace, joy and love…….as the ego weakens, this increases.

              As for spiritual study…….as I said to you before, it is only good if you apply this knowledge daily and not accumulate it and get in the attitude “I know”. Knowledge is power so as long as it is used for good…….that is, for ones spiritual growth and evolution. In fact, it has helped me a lot with my spiritual progress…….for example, I understand better how the mind and ego work and how to overcome them, and apply that to my daily spiritual practices. I also gave a deeper understanding of the spiritual path towards Enlightenment, the nature of Enlightenment itself, and the “true” nature of God, which, to any spiritual seeker, is extremely helpful. That is why spiritual study is indeed useful. The fact that it is nit something that

              1. Neerav

                The fact that it is something that you are not interested in does not give you the right in calling it ego inflating. In fact, is that not your own ego that is making such a statement, instead of recognizing that not all spiritual seekers are the same…….that some spiritual seekers need spiritual studies while others do not? It is your own ego that is making such a sweeping and inaccurate statement of generalization, instead of recognizing that true spiritual seekers would never let their egos rule over them. You claim to be sans ego, but it is clear, my friend, that you still very much are in its grasps, given the replies that you have made to me in the last few days. It should be clear that I am wasting my time in trying to share what I have with you, since you are too busy acting like you think you have found the way and make ignorant statements as if you think you know all.

                I can see right through you, Kaushik……..so far, I have managed to dismantle everything you posted in trying to “one-up” me up to this point in time. It is the ego that likes to try to win by trying to “one-up” other, including making statements that are false such as calling spiritual studies as “ego inflating”. A statement like that can be easily seen as pure arrogance, which is an indication of one very much having an ego, or at least, and inflated one.

                All I wanted to do is to share what I had……..what I know, with others so it can benefit them. But since you are too busy thinking that you have found “the way” (when, in fact, you have found just one of many ways to the same goal), I will leave you to face the karmic consequences of you ego-driven views.

                I pity you…….I really do. My heart right now is heavy with sadness in seeing you like this. I wish I could help you, but it seems that the opposite is needed in order to help you “wake up” from the delusional ego, which has you in its grasps. I too am in the ego’s grips, but I am working my way out of it day by day with good progress. That is why, over the course of the last year or so, I have been feeling progressively more peaceful, loving and joyous. I see the ego and mind as an obstacle to overcome, and, with the help of spiritual studies, which God has directed me to do in order to help me with my spiritual progress am succeeding in overcoming them. Though the ego in me is almost gone, it is still there, but not for much longer. I wish you could be where I am, but alas, you still gave lessons that nerd to be learner in order to grow further and become more peaceful and happy, inside and out.

                With that, I bid you a fond adieu and wish you all the best on your spiritual jouney. God bless.

                With warm regards,

                Neerav B. Trivdfi

                1. Kaushik Post author

                  Ok, Neerav. Again I am not interested in a debate but I am interested in clearing up misconceptions.

                  We all have a certain way of expressing ourselves, and I have mine, and my guess is that I have misspoken or you have misinterpreted or a combination of both.

                  There is no question that I have not yet learned to speak clearly of what I see and so I am completely willing to see that I may have misstated something, though it is not clear to me what that might be.

                  So allow me to try again. Please don’t take it personally. I am not attacking your level of spiritual advancement. I don’t really know what that level is, but I am willing to believe that is much higher than mine, as I am not at all interested in spiritual advancement. I am not interested in enlightenment.

                  I am interested in life. I am interested in becoming a free and natural human being, especially now that I have plenty of confirmation that this is possible and really not very complicated.

                  What I see as the basic problem in me and in humanity is the problem of fear. It is the fear which comes to us early, probably as consciousness wakes up in the human mind/body at birth. This fear and its effects are what set the context of the mind, and in most people, and in me, it sets up the entire context of life. This is the point of view from which we live life, and it’s no wonder that most of us see life as threatening, treacherous, confusing, anxious, depressing, separated, insane, resistant. And it is in this context that we look for and practice solutions. And it’s no wonder that solution do not work. People have been applying spirituality, practices, knowledge, religion, and every other human endeavor for thousands of years. When it is understood that fear is the basic problem, it is concurrently understood why all these methods have failed.

                  I also have plenty of confirmation that the ‘looking at the sense of you’ works. And so what I recommend to people is what is working for me: understand the problem of fear, look at the sense of you, learn to notice and learn to let go.

                  And that’s all. Nothing I say requires belief or non-belief. Nothing I say is spiritual or against spirituality.

                  If someone is inspired by spirituality or spiritual advancement or religion or the law of attraction or making money or ambition or success or simplifying their life or becoming a monk or anything else, that’s well and good. I would say if that’s what you want, do it with love and inspiration and openness.

                  If someone has discovered another way to eject the fear, that is well and good too.

                  I feel strongly that the only problem is fear and the solution is the looking. When I had read that Ramana said that all paths lead to the inquiry “Who am I” I felt that was a little arrogant. How could Ramana possibly know that all paths ultimately lead to the looking at the sense of self?

                  Today I understand exactly what he meant. The inquiry “Who am I” is the same as looking at the sense of you. And I understand why this works and I understand why all that we do ultimately is this but I cannot express it clearly. The touching of the only thing we can actually control, which is attention, and the only thing that is constant, which is the sense of you, has the effect of dissolving the delusion the fear.

                  This is what I say and this is what I am about.

                  There wasn’t any intention in me to question your spiritual advancement. I can in fact very freely say that you are probably far more spiritually knowledgeable and spiritually advanced than I ever will be or want to be.

                  k

                  1. Nitin

                    Very well said in simple & polite manner which I could not do.
                    In my opinion, one does not have to have spiritual knowledge to do self-study (Sanskrit word: Swadhiyay)

                    Like your statement:
                    “only thing that is constant, which is the sense of you, has the effect of dissolving the delusion the fear.”

                    Cheers as always !!

                  2. Neerav

                    Hi Kaushik,

                    Looking at the sense of me expreiencing the “fear of life” is a good step………but then, what after that once all of the negative emotions such as fear have been confronted and dealt with? You can’t just stop there! Yes, you feel peaceful, but even that peacefulness is fleeting because the source of the fear and other negativity is not yet gone. You have to root out the source of all of that permanently and then you are done. Dissolving the delusion of fear is one step, but it is not the final step.

                    1. Kaushik Post author

                      Hi Neerav,

                      The fear we talk about is not an emotion. It is an entire context of mind. It is what the Buddha called dukkha, an off-centeredness.

                      Ramana and Nisargadatta both recommend the looking technique. Ramana says to inquire “Who am I” and Nisargadatta says to “hold onto the sense of I am.” The looking at you is the same thing–it’s just clearer and easier to understand. The looking eliminates the delusion of fear and starts the process of recovery.

                      And if this makes sense, I suggest that people check out John Sherman–he has much more experience at this and his words are clearer. What I do here is report where I am as honestly as I can.

                      You bring up a good point. What if this is not the final step?

                      Then we keep going further if we want to. Whatever it is that we choose do, it seems to me we would much more effective at it as fully functioning and natural human beings, free of inner resistance.

                      I’ll go even further and say what if this wrong? What if this is an answer but not the answer? What if it is completely wrong, as I was about the practice of presence or the “you do not exist” technique? Well, then that’s what it is. It hasn’t been so in my experience or I wouldn’t recommend it; but I do recommend that people always leave room for self-questioning. You have to prove it or disprove it to yourself.

                      k

                2. Jen

                  Hi Neerav,
                  I’m not sure if you will be back or will read this, but I wanted to reply anyway.

                  At first, I also didn’t understand why you seemed so offended and…… personally wounded almost, by some of Kaushik’s comments. But then I figured it out.

                  You are obviously a VERY serious spiritual seeker. You must have collected some important and valuable beliefs from all the studies of spiritual teachers you have done in the past. You even have the ‘backing’ of past spiritual seekers. You have probably dedicated a huge amount of time, effort and energy to your practice, so its understandable you would become upset to read something which blatantly contradicts a commonly believed spiritual idea, especially coming from someone who appears to be functioning in the role of a spiritual teacher of sorts.

                  But Kaushik is neither a teacher or a spiritual seeker. I’m fairly new to this blog, but I don’t think anyone here is actually seeking anything or trying to get somewhere or become anything.

                  I mean, if you are a seeker, then you are seeking ‘something’. If you are a spiritual seeker, then you are seeking… what? To be more spiritual? What does that mean? Or maybe it means to seek ones own spiritual nature? True nature? Original nature? True self?

                  I’m not sure, but whatever it is the seeker seeks, two questions arise in me (who?) Who is doing the seeking and why? What is it that wears the the t-shirt which announces to the world “I am a spiritual seeker”? (and of course, why, why put on that one, rather than just a plain blue one or an old white one covered in stains)

                  Not that seeking in itself is inherently wrong, we all gotta start somewhere, and maybe that’s the whole point anyway…..something just doesn’t feel ‘right’, you’re not sure what’s wrong, or where it is, but its somewhere. So someone has to start digging around, looking for clues, a general location of this ‘thing’ which isn’t quite right.

                  The weird thing is, its often the very thing which isn’t quite right, which ends up sabotaging and hijacking the whole ‘process’. But that’s just the way it goes… has to go, its part of the process.

                  I used to be ‘spiritual’, maybe in some ways I still am, even though I don’t have a clue what it really means, but its better than being ‘nothing’. Do you know how much fear starts to come up when I really let myself see the reality of myself as actually ‘nothing’. Its like a red hot, hissing snake instantly snaps to attention and surges up towards my throat, threatening to choke the life out of me. All I can do in that moment is remember to breathe, sometimes I can’t even remember that.

                  ….and yes Kaushik is right, fear is at the core of all ‘this’. Fear drives ‘this’, fear is the energy which keeps this whole ‘thing’…… well….. whole. Fear is part of the energy which got me typing this comment. (because to see it as everything unfolding perfectly as it should, without input from me, had a slight flavor of my own annihilation)

                  So if you are seeking, what is it you are seeking? And why? Is what you are doing working to get you what you want? It seems to be because you have written that you have more love and peace and bliss…. or something like that. But your comments here don’t seem very peaceful or blissful…. so I’m not sure if I believe what you write about being more peaceful these days, but I could be wrong, you may have made incredible progress, I have no idea what you were like before you started your seeking.

                  My point in adding this comment is basically to suggest that this ‘debate’, has come about because of a misunderstanding. This blog is not about spiritual seeking, its about the opposite of seeking. Its about the elimination of something.

                  Neerav, you are playing the role of a spiritual seeker at the moment and that’s probably exactly what you need to be doing right now, but you are on the wrong blog. This is a blog for non-spiritual seekers who are in the process of dissolving fear based illusion. (I think, please correct me if I’m wrong Kaushik)

                  But then again, you did add some interest and excitement to the thread, so I hope you come back.

                  1. Kaushik Post author

                    Yes, good, this is it. Thanks, Jen.

                    I think the high emotions in this thread of comments inspires another article, in which I hope I can clarify. And I’ll give some thought to setting up a forum here–so people can discuss what they want to discuss with some freedom.

                    In the meantime, I’ll underline what Jen says: I am not spiritually advanced, I am not seeking enlightenment, whatever that means, I am not seeking spiritual knowledge, I am not a spiritual teacher.

                    What I want is the full and natural embrace of human life, especially now that I know it is possible. I try to say here what I have experienced as authentically as I can. I am completely fallible and I have been wrong and I too have dug my heels in at various times in the past. For example, on the “you do not exist” experiment, it turned out the technique does not go anywhere. And on the first reading of Tolle, I thought I had figured it all out. I was wrong.

                    And I think Jen is right. The seeking energy dissipates. I can’t know if this is a universal truth. It is how it happened for me, and it makes sense to me that it is a common occurrence. When there is strong attachment to seeking some higher thing, this will at some point dissipate. What is left is not exactly not-seeking, but something which definitely feels different. It feels less urgent, less frantic, less clingy, more…well, more human.

                    I think spiritual teachers are around to give us ideas. And so I do take ideas and guidelines from people like John Sherman, Jed Mckenna, Nisargadatta, Ramana, Tolle, and so on. But I think we have to be self-reliant. What I say and do is based on direct experience.

                    I now see fear as the basic problem of humanity, and the looking as a possible solution (also noticing, releasing). I have positive confirmation of this but I’ve left room in it for self-questioning, and if it turns out this is not universal, I feel I am at a point where I can explore the next thing with equal openness and abandon.

                    k

                    1. Kaushik Post author

                      Well, I thought this conversation inspired an article, but nothing is coming up. It’s just not in my skill set to address the deep attachment to spirituality. Jed Mckenna does it very well in his first book.

                      The only problem with life is that we think there is a problem with life.

                      And this is not just a belief or thought, it is the entire driving context of the mind. So it doesn’t help to take on the belief that there is nothing wrong with life.

                      How this context manifests is highly individual. It shows up as the larger problems in humanity, the genocide and cruelty and prepestrous human institutions. And it shows up in our individual lives as insanity and confusion and resistance and separation from our own human lives. It shows up as anxiety and depression, it shows up as the conventional unexamined rush for success and control and wealth and security, and it shows up as desperate attachments to particular beliefs and practices, and it shows up as the strong desire to escape life through ideas of transcendence and enlightenment and so on.

                      To address the particular ways in which this resistance shows up in us is not within my skill set, and it’s not very effective any way. We don’t have to try to do or not do, believe or unbelieve, practice or stop practicing.

                      The thing that works in my experience is the bringing together of the two things we are sure of. You are sure of you. Even if everything is a delusion, there is something which notices that, and that is you, just the ordinary sense of you, the sense of existence. And even if we do not have any free will, the one thing which you know you control is attention. Bring together attention and the sense of you. Look at you, what it feels like to be you. This is what John Sherman and Nisargadatta and Ramana talk about.

                      k

                  2. Neerav

                    Hi Jen,

                    What a beautiful reply! I am so touched by your reponse. God bless you!

                    As to fear……I read this quote in Zen Buddhism: “All fear is illusion”. When you realize that fact truly, then you can live in peace and happiness……..even the fear of death, life or physical, emotional or mental harm disappears. All the best to you, as I hope you do find true peace and happiness in your life!

                    1. Jen

                      Hi Neerav,
                      I’m a bit disappointed you found my response so pleasing, but I’m glad you decided to re-visit this blog.

                      Not much has changed though, its like you and K are trying to have a conversation but speak different languages and have quite different world views, but don’t realize it. Well, I don’t think you realize it anyway.

                      As for me, well, I’m a bit beyond nice little quotes from Zen Buddhism. I don’t mean beyond as in better than or more advanced, I mean as in… they just don’t offer any protection or comfort any more.

                      There may be ‘some’ truth underneath the words somewhere, but its not my truth yet.

                      I also don’t think that ‘realizing’ that truth would be much help either, because that itself is just another mental concept.

                      “All fear is illusion”???? I’m sorry but these sensations in my body are no illusion. The nausea rising up into my throat… its happening. The sweat forming on my forehead… that’s real, I can feel it with my fingertips. The pounding of my heart, that’s actually happening and if I had the right equipment, I could actually measure it and prove that its rate had increased. The dizzy, lightheaded sensation which warns me I’m about to pass out… its real and it makes me hold onto something and take a few deep breaths.

                      …and all these sensations I experience in response to life are real and not particularly pleasant. So I don’t understand what some guy who sat under a tree was talking about when he said (if he really did), that fear is an illusion. Fear is our core survival mechanism.

                      Of course, that quote might just come under the general concept that ‘everything’ is an illusion, like as in trees and chairs and cars are all illusions too. But that really just means that there is no real reality in our human concepts of these things. Its our particular human frame of reference which gives them the meaning they have (to us in our particular human culture)

                      Before a baby has even the capacity for ‘desire’, there is the startle response and fear. So desire can’t be the cause of fear. A baby cries because of an automatic instinctive response to a physical sensation in its body. Fear of unmet physical needs for survival…. not desire for pleasure or satisfaction. Maybe some pleasure and satisfaction will come along with the action which meets those needs, but its the fear which comes first, prompting the attention seeking crying.

                      Maybe its our desire to escape from fear which causes suffering.

                      I don’t ‘suffer’ much these days when I experience physical pain like… I just hit my hand on a shelf pretty hard while putting something away, its bruised and swollen and hurts, but I’m not suffering… it just is.

                      But fear is something else, its a very successful warning system wired into our deep brain structures, it protects the body, ensures our physical survival. Its no illusion and its not going anywhere….unfortunately, in the human species, it seems to have gone a bit wrong.

                      Telling me that my fear is an illusion is emotionally abusive, its invalidation. Its what my parents used to do when when I was scared of the kinds of things kids get scared of. It didn’t help then and it doesn’t help now.

                      Unfortunately, fear is a natural part of being human and the more aware and conscious and awake we become, the deeper our experience of fear, as with all aspects of life.

                      I’m starting to realize that fear is never going to end, the desire to eliminate fear is a futile struggle. What may be needed is to make peace with fear…. allow it and accept it… awareness of what is…. including fear.

                      ….which would be fairly easy if I could go and sit under a tree for a few days. But I am a western woman, fairly well entrenched in a semi-typical western lifestyle with some responsibilities to other people who I’m not going to abandon, so I do the best I can.

                      Yesterday, that meant breaking my year long stretch of being medication free. I took a quarter of a Xanax because the events of the last few days had taken me to my physical endurance of stress and I had to keep going.

                      Over the years I have used a variety of legal and ‘acceptable’ methods of dealing with the ‘problem’ of human life, including emotional eating, alcohol, medication, extreme sensation seeking, shopping, and computer gaming….but none of that works any more.

                      I didn’t intend to become so specific or personal when I started this comment, its easier to just stick to the flowery quotes and spiritual theories, but honestly, what’s the point of that? It really doesn’t help anyone if I hide behind all the happy, peaceful bliss filled illusions of what all this is about.

                      Life is real, words are not. Once something is spoken (or written), it becomes immediately false…makes the whole business of communication quite frustrating really 🙂

      1. Jen

        Hi Kaushik,
        I was looking forward to reading a new article, but if nothing is coming up yet, then perhaps something else has to happen first.

        You wrote that Jed McKenna addresses attachment to spirituality in his first book and he does, in the context of an ego attachment to a spiritual identity. But in book three he goes much deeper into our resistance to letting go of spiritual beliefs from a perspective of individual evolution and the fact that we are really all still human children and need to become human adults.

        Book three is actually doing me the most good, but I’m finding it the hardest to read, very close to home for me and I’ve had to take a break about two thirds of the way through. I’m not certain its just the book, but my anxiety has started to increase again, almost to the point of panic at times, not completely a bad thing, but I do have to keep it together well enough to go out for bread and milk once in a while.

        You wrote “The only problem with life is that we think there is a problem with life.”

        and then… “and this is not just a belief or thought, it is the entire driving context of the mind. So it doesn’t help to take on the belief that there is nothing wrong with life”

        If I may, I’d like to expand on that in the way I understand it, please let me know if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick though 🙂

        The only problem with life is that we think there is a problem with life ‘out there’, when really the problem with life is ‘in here’.

        The problem arises when life makes contact with human and that point of contact is inside human within awareness. The problem which often arises as life and human interact is a sensation called fear or sometimes its called anxiety. Sometimes its talked about as stress. Apparently, some stress is good.

        For whatever reason, humans have evolved or been made to be fear based creatures… its the core instinct which has ensured our survival and its worked quite well, too well, we have not only survived as a species, but we have become like a virus spreading over this planet, a threat not only to ourselves now, but to the whole environment of the planet which has to support more than just us. Perhaps we are now even a threat to other parts of the universe with our ego created weapons of mass destruction all over the place, set to be fired with the touch of a button (or two) not to mention all our other technologies which mess with the balance of nature in ways we don’t understand, but we play around with them anyway, mostly for reasons related to money and power, courtesy of our fear based ego/mind structure.

        There is nothing wrong with life. The problem is inside each and every individual human. Not life out there in the surroundings, in other people, in the food we eat or which container we put our empty soda cans in. Not in what kind of car we drive or the kind of meditation we practice. If the problem is inside, where the rubber meets the road so to speak, then logically it shouldn’t make any difference how we arrange and change and play with and talk about anything outside of that very point of contact.

        The human created situation on this planet is the direct result of the internal situation inside of every individual human ever born. We have created the problem because we are the problem, or rather, the way we are currently set up to operate is the problem. Not our fault, but we are each responsible for fixing our own little bit of the problem because we can’t fix anyone else, so no one else can fix us.

        That’s exactly what John Sherman and Ramana and Jed McKenna and all the other ‘spiritual’ teachers are talking about with their teachings. Something very simple to say, but so very difficult to do that almost no-one actually does it properly and for long enough to get any results at all.

        The reason its so difficult is because the system we have to use in order to do this thing, is programmed to do exactly the opposite, for its own safety and survival. We have to use our own mind to de-program our own mind by turning it around from its comfortable, self protective state of having its awareness focused outward, to a very uncomfortable and scary state of being focused inward on itself…. and looking for the truth of itself, you or I or I am or Self or whatever you want to call it. The words don’t matter, what matters is doing it good enough and for long enough to actually find out what is really true about our selves, for ourselves… not what someone else tells us.

        Its much easier not to do it, and nicer too, especially when some of the truth we find isn’t so pleasant. Its much easier and more satisfying to ‘forget’ what we are actually supposed to be doing and fall back into our programmed mode of directing our attention back outward onto… the teaching, the guru, the studies, the master, what it all means, the theory of it all, the descriptions, the words and definitions… all the stuff of spiritually which is everything apart from doing what needs to be done.

        But its not completely our fault. If the ‘teachers’ would just stick to their 3 word teachings and then shut up and say no more, perhaps more of us would get it and not get sucked back into all the spiritual fluff and packaging to get distracted for another 20 years.

        But the fact that we are all so attached to our teachers and gurus really goes to prove the point Jed McKenna tries to make in his third book. We really are just human children, still needing surrogate parents to tell us what to think and what to do, rather than figure it out for ourselves by looking in the only place where truth is ever found.

        Apparently, most of us need to ‘grow’ up before we can even start the process of ‘waking’ up, and that’s another reason why some of us hold onto a deep attachment to spirituality for so long, its the last illusion we can wrap around ourselves and pull over our heads like covers on a dark night. Real life is not all bliss, peace, happiness and joy…. living happily ever after is how children’s stories end.

        I don’t recommend Jed McKenna’s books, they are not very nice and they are certainly not children’s stories.

        1. Kaushik Post author

          Hi Jenna,

          Thanks. I think that’s a good summary. We probably have different words and slightly different metaphors but I think we agree on it all.

          When I re-read Jed McKenna, I tend to read the first book and stop there. This time around I’m starting with the second book. And in reading JMK, it’s probably very common to feel the energy you are feeling right now. I feel it as well, it’s the direct, no-nonsense, sit down, shut up and figure it out kind of thing. And you also spot on that his writing can bring up an uncomfortable feeling, the feeling where we recognize ourselves as some of the obstacles he points.

          I feel very fortunate that I read JMK early in search. Maybe it’s because of him that I have avoided the attachment to a particular spiritual dogma and practice. But it can still hit us in subtle ways. I might have avoided the obvious kind of attachment, but I had absorbed certain words like awareness and presence and awakening and found that I never really questioned them. It was the realization of trying to eat consciously, that I found that I was not eating with awareness when I was trying to eat with awareness, I was eating with awareness when I stopped trying to be aware and instead ate with pleasure and gusto. And I understood the subtle nature of mental conflicts we create in ourselves during the time that I quit smoking, with Allen Carr’s help.

          John Sherman is very good at directness. To be direct and clear takes concerted effort. Because it’s very tempting to fall into the spiritual lingo. For example, I probably have about 200 articles on this site. I think if I read the earlier ones today, I would be angry at myself for naivete and fluff in those articles.

          “The only problem with life is that we think there is a problem with life ‘out there’, when really the problem with life is ‘in here’.”

          Yes. We have to look inside. It can be difficult for those of us who are caught up in life’s problems and responsibilities. I think I am lucky in this case because by the time I understood this, I had freedom and the time and motivation to pursue this and the isolation which resulted from this did not interfere with the practical demands of life.

          “The problem arises when life makes contact with human and that point of contact is inside human within awareness.”

          Yes. The fear comes to us early, probably when consciousness wakes up to itself in the human mind/body, at birth, or soon thereafter. The way I see it is that fear rises in us because it can rise in us. This wouldn’t be a problem if it comes and goes; but it becomes the context of the mind. We hold life at arm’s length because we think there is a problem with life. And that distance between life and us becomes the context through which we do everything; we learn, develop, feel, experience, live and breathe through this context.

          “The human created situation on this planet is the direct result of the internal situation inside of every individual human ever born. We have created the problem because we are the problem, or rather, the way we are currently set up to operate is the problem. Not our fault, but we are each responsible for fixing our own little bit of the problem because we can’t fix anyone else, so no one else can fix us.”

          Yes, exactly. And with this realization, I stopped telling people what to do. The way this problem and recovery manifests in each of us is highly individual. I think the only thing to do, if we want to help, is to tell people that the only problem there is, is the context of fear, the context of the feeling that there is a problem with life. And the solution is as Nisargadatta and Ramana and John Sherman say, look at the sense of you.

          And I tell people about the palliatives which have worked for me–like the release method, and observing what goes on inside us.

          That’s exactly what John Sherman and Ramana and Jed McKenna and all the other ‘spiritual’ teachers are talking about with their teachings. Something very simple to say, but so very difficult to do that almost no-one actually does it properly and for long enough to get any results at all.

          That’s a bit of a mystery. Nisargadatta’s and Ramana’s teaching of the technique has been around for at least fifty years. There is a lot said about those people, and the emphasis is usually on the spiritual stuff they said after they shed their fear and recovered. It would be an interesting statistic to find out, of the people who follow Nisargadatta and Ramana, how many have actually done the technique?

          I did try the technique from both, but I didn’t understand what they were getting to. This is where John Sherman comes in. His explanation of this simple technique is very clear and non-spiritual.

          The reason its so difficult is because the system we have to use in order to do this thing, is programmed to do exactly the opposite, for its own safety and survival. We have to use our own mind to de-program our own mind by turning it around from its comfortable, self protective state of having its awareness focused outward, to a very uncomfortable and scary state of being focused inward on itself…. and looking for the truth of itself, you or I or I am or Self or whatever you want to call it.

          Yeah, that’s it. We try to figure this out with a mind which is already affected by the fear, a mind whose context is already a context of running away. This is why we bolt. And as you point out, a fearful mind finds it easier to follow and practice spiritual ideas than it is to drop all those ideas and just actually do the technique.

          But its not completely our fault. If the ‘teachers’ would just stick to their 3 word teachings and then shut up and say no more, perhaps more of us would get it and not get sucked back into all the spiritual fluff and packaging to get distracted for another 20 years.

          Maybe that’s happening now.

          Apparently, most of us need to ‘grow’ up before we can even start the process of ‘waking’ up, and that’s another reason why some of us hold onto a deep attachment to spirituality for so long, its the last illusion we can wrap around ourselves and pull over our heads like covers on a dark night.

          And this is where suffering plays its role. We can pretend for only so long. As JMK said, it’s shocking we manage to pretend at all.

          “Real life is not all bliss, peace, happiness and joy…. living happily ever after is how children’s stories end.”

          Right, it isn’t. But this is what we want because we look at it from a mind which is already affected by fear. We look for ways to escape (transcend) life.

          We can realize that we’re not after that kind of happiness. We’re after the inexplicable satisfaction of life, regardless of whatever is happening. We don’t have to work at this. We just have to look, eliminate the fear and heal.

          Hehe, I think you should write the next article. You’ve pretty much said what’s on my mind.

          k

          1. Neerav

            Ah, but all satisfaction with life is indeed fleeting, just like life itself. One moment it is here, and the next, it is gone in a flash. It is because we desire satisfaction from life and constantly chase after it, we experience pain and suffering, including fear. The Buddha said that “Life is suffering” and that “desire is the cause of suffering” as per the First and Second Noble Truths. Trying to get satisfaction in life (minus basic survival) will only get you to into more unhappiness, fear and pain (dukkha) – you are only digging yourself deeper into the same hole that you are trying to escape from. How much harder do you want to make things for yourself?

            1. Kaushik Post author

              It’s a matter of words. I use the word satisfaction to mean the peace which defies understanding. It is not the dualistic emotion of satisfaction or joy or happiness which people chase through conditions and circumstance.

              I think you are analyzing what I say against spiritual concepts and spiritual words you know. That will not go anywhere. This will not fit into any spiritual dogma.

              Everyone has their path. My approach is one of direct experience. I don’t go far beyond what I can directly experience. This keeps my path clean and honest and simple and direct.

              I am very confident that I have answered some of the essential questions of truth for myself. I am confident I understand the basic problem of humanity; I am confident that there is no volition in the mind; I am confident that I know that even if everything is an illusion, the one thing which cannot be an illusion is the sense of existence; and I am confident that the solution must have something to do with bringing attention to the sense of existence. I understand fear and so I simultaneously understand why religion and spirituality have had no success. I do not depend on spiritual theories or spiritual practices. I do not even depend on self-honesty, as that too is just a mental process which is susceptible to the ego and to the fear.

              I see with crystal clarity that until I am completely free of fear and its effects, everything will be uncertain. Nothing can work. No practice or meditation or endeavor can possibly succeed. The first important step is to be free of the fear and to heal from its effects.

              I only have to know my very next step, and this is my very next step. And so I will explore this in the same way I have explored everything else in the last six years: I will bring this to its full conclusion and authentically report on it.

              My approach is not spiritual, it is not intellectual, it is not philosophical, it is not non-dual. It is one of direct experience and self reliance.

              My test for success is very simple: I want to be a natural and free human being, free of inner resistance.

              What I have to say will not fit any spiritual dogma. If you want to try to understand this, you will have to put aside your spiritual knowledge and assumptions. If you don’t want to try to understand this, that is of course perfectly fine.

              k

  22. Neerav

    You call the fear as “dukkha”, but the definition of “dukkha” is suffering. Fear is one of the effects or characteristics of suffering from life (as per the Buddha’s First Noble Truth).

    When you are just eliminating the fear (or any negative emotions), you achieve what amounts to a temporary state of peace, only for it to come back when life happens. Looking at the sense of “I Am” with respect to the fear (including that of life) is one thing, but going to the source of the fear…….to the core of that “I Am” and uprooting it for good, is what you have to do. That is what I meant when I said that looking at the sense of “I Am” is not the final step. Forget treating the symptoms just by themselves, you need to treat whatever is making you sick with its symptons and start healing yourself.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Neerav, we’re not talking about eliminating negative emotions or eliminating any emotion. We are not talking about temporary mental states. We’re not talking about treating symptoms.

      We are talking about going into the sense of “I am.” This has the effect of removing dukkha or off-centeredness or fear or suffering (whatever word you are comfortable with is fine). The recovery and healing can take some time.

      As far as whether this is the final step, you can easily prove that yourself. All I look at is my very next step and this is my current step. This was the final step for Nisargadatta and John Sherman and others, but if you feel there is more to it that’s fine, you can prove or disprove this to yourself. The actual technique is easy to do.

      k

      1. Jen

        Hi Kaushik,
        I replied to this post earlier today, but when I read what I had written, it seemed all wrong. It was just me complaining and whining, wanting something which doesn’t exist to do something which can’t be done. So I deleted what I had written and went and did something else.

        But now I feel like I have something worthwhile to add to this part of the discussion.

        You wrote that healing and recovery can take some time, but that for some people, this stage isn’t needed.

        I found that confusing because from my own experience, I don’t see how anyone could have such a complete and dramatic shift in perception about what the external world really is and not have to go through some kind of process of integration or re-adjustment in order to continue to function in an external world which now seems so completely different, but hasn’t actually changed. When absolutely everything which meant something, suddenly (or slowly) means nothing, leaving you with no real reason to do much of anything any more, how does a person hold it all together and keep functioning? How could there not be some further process needed in order to continue.. to keep the body alive, to keep a roof over its head and some food to eat….not to mention what you do with other people who seem to need or want something from you.

        …and then I read this:

        “The external searching is only one part of the story. The other part is the internal part; the slow, painful sloughing away of self, layer by layer, piece by piece. Self-debridement. Some layers of selfhood just fall away, some tear off in long strips or flabby hunks, and some have to be meticulously, pain-stakingly, surgically removed. All I really was, was belief, so everything I believed I now had to unbelieve. My new world was cold and bright and honest, but my old mind was still full of a lifetime’s accumulation of belief and opinion and false knowledge and emotional attachment – all the noxious debris and toxic waste that make up the ego – it all had to go.

        That’s a process and it takes time. The world might be annihilated in a flash, but self takes a little longer to burn away, there’s no bomb for that. There’s no pretty Latin phrase or Sanskrit mantra that annihilates self quickly or painlessly. There’s no realization or insight or epiphany that wipes away the false self in a flash. Those who claim to have awakened in a flash are the most deluded of all.”

        Those are Jed McKennas words from Spiritual Warfare, not mine, and then he goes on to talk about how he spent the next 10 years trying to make sense of the new world (a non-world) which he found himself (as a non-I) suddenly residing in.

        Unfortunately, there’s not much detail about that. I would like to read a book about those 10 years…. the adjustment, integration, destruction of self belief while still surviving and functioning…. there’s not much ‘out there’ about this stage, and I’m beginning to understand why.

        There is nothing pleasant or blissful or peaceful about this, its like walking through hell, knowing you can never go back, so all you can do is keep going even though there is no map, or guide or warm welcoming light. There is nothing and nothing to hang onto and no one who can help in any way at all because there is no one else.

        It might sound all blissful and loving and wonderfully warm and fuzzy…. the concept of everyone being one, there being no other. But the reality is actually quite terrifying until we get the hang of it…that’s if any of us ever do.

        Neerav said: “Looking at the sense of “I Am” with respect to the fear (including that of life) is one thing, but going to the source of the fear…….to the core of that “I Am” and uprooting it for good, is what you have to do.”

        Neerav, What is the source of the fear? and how do you ‘uproot’ it for good? Whatever you answer….. how do you know? Is what you write true?… from your own experience.

        Its very easy to recite the translated words of what someone from an entirely different culture apparently said, a few hundred years ago. It might make you seem knowledgeable, but its more helpful and supportive to me when someone shares their own personal experience and difficulties and struggles and what they found helpful, if anything.

        Its hard enough that we all have to walk this path alone, but when other people (including popular spiritual teachers) refuse to be honest or open about their own experiences, it just makes it even less likely that many of us will ‘make it’.

        1. Kaushik Post author

          Hi Jenna,

          Well, I think I share your emotional confusion. Maybe it comes from reading Jed Mckenna. He’s not the guy you want to read if you want to be comfortable.

          “You wrote that healing and recovery can take some time, but that for some people, this stage isn’t needed.”

          No, I meant the stage leading up the recovery and healing. I spent two or three years, investigating the usual spiritual stuff, presence and awareness and so forth, and I wonder if there is a more direct way. It feels to me that all that investigation led to the one recognition that the basic problem with human beings is that we are brought forth in fear. Does that recognition really need all the time I spent on it?

          On the rest, I agree with you. It’s a process. It takes time. And the thing you say that it can feel like suddenly everything I know is meaningless–well that’s already happened twice. And I feel like I am in the midst of it again.

          I wanted to write a another article, and I actually have it typed up, but I read it now and it’s utterly meaningless.

          It all feels so naive, like yesterday’s news, like a lie.

          You’re right. There is nothing peaceful or blissful about this. It’s a tough business. How do you do this, and go about the daily business of life? People who do this, are they independently wealthy? Are they homeless? Do they just take a complete break from being human for a while? And there is no way to turn it off. Sometimes it occurs to me–what if I just forget about all this and live a conventional life?

          It’s weird thing that we do, and I’m feeling the weirdness acutely at this time.

          “The external searching is only one part of the story. The other part is the internal part; the slow, painful sloughing away of self, layer by layer, piece by piece. Self-debridement. Some layers of selfhood just fall away, some tear off in long strips or flabby hunks, and some have to be meticulously, pain-stakingly, surgically removed. All I really was, was belief, so everything I believed I now had to unbelieve. My new world was cold and bright and honest, but my old mind was still full of a lifetime’s accumulation of belief and opinion and false knowledge and emotional attachment – all the noxious debris and toxic waste that make up the ego – it all had to go.

        2. Neerav

          Hi Jen,

          What I am pointing to goes deeper than what you are saying because you can make the fear disappear for some time and feel good, only for it to come back again when something else happens in your life. It is like playing “whack-a-mole” with fear or any other negative emotions. Why not just unplug and get rid of the machine itself if you are tired of playing the game? That is what I am getting at…….to permanently uproot and eliminate the source of all negative emotions, including fear. What is the source of that fear? I know what it is, but do YOU know what it is?

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