Notice I do not exist

Notice, notice everything, with the view I don’t exist, without expectation or anticipation or projection.

This is the inquiry I am doing.

When doubts pop up, I ask what it is that is doubting. When thought-stories pop up, I inquire who the story is about. My conceptual understanding of “I do not exist” is complete, and yet the recognition has not dawned.

Optical Illusion
Creative Commons License photo credit: kevindooley

And that’s okay. I can be patient. There is no frustration. Only noticing.

There is no secret or pointer I need. It wouldn’t help anyway. I no longer transfer my authority. It’s all right here, right now, in this sphere of relevance, and it will work itself out. I just need to continue.

There is some confusion as to what is the self and ego and “I” and how they relate sometimes. I simplify it and know that identities remain, and a sense of self remains, it’s just that they are not my identities, and not my sense of self.

Some people have suggested that the recognition must have already popped, and I’m somehow not allowing it.

I don’t think so. If something bad were to happen in my life, I would still take it very personally. That is my test. I don’t know what freedom is, but I’m pretty sure it should have a feeling of ease about it.

Even though the recognition has not popped, a number of insights have fallen out of this inquiry. This is powerful stuff.

You know where shame comes from? Shame, embarrassment, shyness, self-consciousness?

The hint is in “self-consciousness.”

It is the feeling of the impostor. It is the nagging feeling that you are not life but rather an imagined idea, an impostor, and so you feel separated, and there is also the thought that everyone else unlike you is one with life. Together, these thoughts bring about the feelings of shame, inadequacy, embarrassment and so on.

Another important revelation that is falling out of this inquiry is insight into why it is that so many of us spend decades, even lifetimes,  seeking. We seek through spiritual practices and beautifully woven spiritual theories.

Many of the enlightened say that awakening is rather simple, when it happens. Many say that there isn’t much difference between the unenlightened and enlightened, except a small but important shift in perspective.

The reason we get lost in seeking is that we never look. We do everything else, we even talk about looking, and we discuss what it might mean to look, and what will happen. We even discuss, very absurdly, that we shouldn’t forget what we actually are when we are trying to see what we are not.

Our practices don’t work, they can’t work, because it is the I which is practicing.

Practices and theories do have some benefit–they seem to constrain the dualistic experience, and give us a stabilized state of imprisonment.

Meditation, awareness, releasing, expounding on spiritual theories, spirituality and so on are still dream-state experiences of the “I”. It’s as if the “I” is trying to shift from egoic identities to Awareness.

What it seems to take is a willingness to drop everything I know and just look, normally, to see that I don’t exist.

When I started this inquiry, I started with the intention of letting go of everything that I know. It hasn’t been difficult to let go of concepts and ideas and beliefs, but letting go of the tricks I learned through practices of awareness/release/meditation has proven more difficult. I tend to get into states of quiet no-mind.

Yet another revelation is everything remains. I had assumed that identity gets obliterated, but it doesn’t. It’s just that they are not my identities.

I then had a subtle assumption that the I will shift from owning identities to owning awareness.  Somehow, the I will jump from egoic identities to clear awareness. This too is not the case. There is no I. It’s not my awareness. Just awareness–it’s rather impersonal.

The illusion of self is in the mind. And the mind has to be completely involved in the recognition of the illusion. Insight does not happen in the mind, but the mind is a player. Not awareness, not meditation, not clarity, not a quiet mind, but actual looking in the mind and with the mind and through the mind.

The truth must be revealed from within the illusion.

90 thoughts on “Notice I do not exist

  1. Brenda (betaphi)

    Hi K
    In isolation I can imagine dropping everything I know and just looking to see that I don’t exist. What I can’t imagine is carrying this vision with me in dealing with the personalities of others. I can see people like Adyashanti pulling this off, but outside a hermitage I don’t think I could. It’s tricky stuff for most of us. You almost have to be a total devotee to pull it off.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Yes, I meant dropping everything in the context of the inquiry.

      In interactions with others, we can get into a place of surrender, letting go of the imaginary controls.

  2. Ralph

    Hi Kaushik,

    I hope you don’t mind me interfering with your inquiry but here are my responses seen from another perspective.

    “The reason we get lost in seeking is that we never look”.
    – The reason we get lost in seeking is that we are always looking .(just look) is just another form of looking.

    “Our practices don’t work, they can’t work, because it is the I which is practicing.”
    – Then drop all practices including the one you are using now, the practice of ‘just look’, and ‘just notice’ and ”there must be a recognition’.

    “It’s as if the “I” is trying to shift from egoic identities to Awareness.”
    – This is what you are still doing but can’t see it yet.

    “It’s all right here, right now, in this sphere of relevance, and it will work itself out. I just need to continue.”
    – No, you just neep to stop. You’ve done enough.

    “My conceptual understanding of “I do not exist” is complete, and yet the recognition has not dawned.”
    – This is because you are still trying to have a recognition of some kind. Drop it all, ‘Just look’ and ‘just notice’ and ‘must be recognition’ is the last attempt of the ego to be in control.

    “What it seems to take is a willingness to drop everything I know and just look, normally, to see that I don’t exist.”
    – What it takes is a williness to drop ‘everything’ including what you are doing now, ‘looking’ and ‘noticing’. Drop it all. Perhaps the recogniton is seens after the death of the one that is waiting for the recognition.This is what is meant by “die before you die”. I am talking about a complete death here..

    “The truth must be revealed from within the illusion.”
    – No, the truth is revealed when ALL is seen as illusion

    Anyway, I hope you die soon 🙂

    P.S. There must be recognition is a very subtle form of “I” must have recognition.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      I understand what you’ve been saying. The desire for recognition is the desire for this now to be different from what is. To completely stop looking does not sound right. Not yet. Perhaps the trick is to look,without effort or anticipation or mental projection.

      I really don’t know. I have to let this sit for a while.

      1. Ralph

        ” To completely stop looking does not sound right. Not yet.”

        – That is exactly right .. only you can do that when the time is right and that may happens after you ‘had enough’ and become ‘completely exhausted’ with no hope or desire left in you.

    2. Janice R.

      I have a question. If I may. Is there really anything a person can do to speed up this process? I really had no say so in my changed view of how I preceive God, I did nothing that I know of to begin the release all these difficult feelings. I have requested through prayer and my quiet time to the “Universe” that whatever is supposed to happen I am down with it. But, I gotta tell ya, this does get on my nerves sometimes. It’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am trying to Love the shoe. There is so much tension in my mind and body.
      Okay, (if you guys say no to my question of speeding this up) if there is nothing to accelerate this journey, then how do I experience some kind of peace? I gotta tell ya, this has not been a laugh a minute. I felt better before, dense as a brick but it has it’s benefits. Denial kept me chipper, you know upbeat. Folks on this site talk about how fine they feel (even in non-clarity) I am not experiencing that. Any support would be appreciated.
      Love to all,

      1. Brenda (betaphi)

        Janice, I am so far out of my league here because I have never formally studied Buddhism but I read a lot of Buddhist blogs because the writing is so calm and clear and I’m dating a Buddhist man. My field of study is written language so that’s really all I can comment on. My advice to you in an effort to ‘speed it up’ is to try using neutral language in your writing and speaking. Buddhism is all about the middle way, which means avoiding extremes in either direction. When you write or say, for example, ‘There is so much tension in my mind and body’, what you are doing is giving energy to that thought. The next time you feel tense, try saying or writing ‘I feel so relaxed’. Say it over and over until you feel yourself starting to relax. Words really are powerful, I think, but then I’m seldom certain of anything. Master K and his compadres are trying to suggest that our real ‘self’ is not a self at all but a still, clear, calm spring of consciousness where all is well. Of course we want to go there, but it’s almost impossible for most of us to do, myself included. Think middle way as best you can, avoid extremes in thought or deed, and don’t punish yourself for anything!

        1. Janice R.

          Thank you Brenda. Every question I ask, I feel like it is being answered by a koan. I just don’t get it. But, your answer felt doable. You know what I mean? Drop the extremes. I can do that tonight. Thanks.

            1. Janice R.

              Hi Brenda,
              thanks for your feedback. I feel like my questions just keep going in circles. It is crazy. I watched and listened to Mooji today. Man, that dude is as bad as he wants to be. Seriously, if I crawl inside his head, what a trip! I would never come out. I watched his piece on youtube about Control. The hair on my arms stood up.
              So you are living with someone who practice Buddhism? I live with someone who practices “what the hell are you talking about”? He says, “you are a good person, why do you put yourself through this”? I say, “I did not start it”. Kinda lame but sorta the truth. Actually, the truth is if I knew what I was talking about, I might not feel this tense. One of my big problems I guess, is that I live my life through my feelings. It has it’s upside but in cases like this I think I am better off noticing my feelings and then moving on. Sorry to chatter, chatter, thanks again for your support.
              Hope you are well and doing good.

              1. Ralph

                Janice wrote : So you are living with someone who practice Buddhism? I live with someone who practices “what the hell are you talking about”?

                Janice, I love your sense of humour 🙂

                My suggestion to you is to be clear on what you are after and take it one step at a time. You seem to be getting ahead of yourself.

                1. Janice R.

                  Okay, Ralph, I’ll bite. This is what I truly want, and I will make it very clear.
                  1.) 42″ maple kitchen cabinets
                  2.) a 6′ soaker tub
                  3.) a socialized son-in-law
                  4.) oh yeah, will MY TRUE IDENTITY please stand up! Take a sit at the table and tell me what is really going on here.
                  Seriously, have you ever felt like you know what you are doing is a bizarre dream and that there is something far more intelligent going on and you are in pre-school? Ralph, Masi, Brenda, Mr. K., of course, I know that my reality is is not real. I know it. I don’t believe it, I know it. I feel like I am chasing mist. Like I almost get there and when I try and put my arms around it, it is gone.
                  It is frustrating. Mr. K., you are far more cooked than myself. I cannot find peace in this.
                  I love you all for supporting me. I truly do. I do agree Mr. K., this is not spiritual in nature at all.

                  1. Ralph

                    Jaince wrote : ” I know that my reality is is not real. I know it. I don’t believe it, I know it. I feel like I am chasing mist. Like I almost get there and when I try and put my arms around it, it is gone”.

                    Perhaps the one that is trying to grasp it (putting its arms around it) is the one that is false. Investigate who is this “I” that wants to get it because in truth, you already are it.

                    1. Janice R.

                      Wow, Ralph, right when I started to like you. You sucker punched me. When I express myself I feel so justified and so correct. But, your statement, your suggestion, damn. That hurt. Of course, you saw right through my crap. I did not see it at all. Good catch.
                      Love & Light,
                      And, yes, I do want to look at this person who thinks she knows exactly where she is and what she wants. The other reason I say that is, today I am driving along thinking about Starbucks and my obessive need to get a coffee and I think, YIKES! I just told my friends on Beyond-Karma that everything is gone, I am empty. and it dawned on me No I am not empty. I still have tons and tons of desire. Did anyone else catch that?

      2. Kaushik Post author

        You can allow and even enjoy confusion. In this journey there are many times of confusion and frustration. I’ve experienced even physical symptoms like insomnia and low-energy. In the very beginning, when I first had the insight that I am not who I think I am, after reading Tolle, I had six months of very high energy and living in flow. But that was the ecstasy of a first insight, and it passed.

        The inner world doesn’t make sense any more. You see people around you and you wonder how it is that they can muster up the pretense to keep going. Don’t they see how fucked up their heads really are?

        In these times, I allow the confusion. I can even enjoy it, knowing that it is good, knowing that things are happening.

        It can be helpful to go back to the basics.

        Your basics and motivations are of course different from mine, but it can help to list them out. Recently, you’ve discovered that an idea of an external God is not part of your basics. That’s good, and also understandably, very confusing and scary.

        We don’t really have to change anything in our external lives as we do this. Work, relationships, money, the challenges of daily life–well, they continue. Sometimes there is an overwhelming feeling of disconnectedness–how can we continue with living knowing that we have a fundamental delusion in our heads. I don’t know exactly how, but we just do.

        Just list out everything that you are sure you know. And why you are on this journey. It can be a very short list, because we think we know a lot but what we know for sure may be very little.

        My list is something like:

        1. I don’t know the truth of being.
        2. I feel the truth of being must be very simple and easy and natural.
        3. Life can be very simple and easy and natural and resonant and flowing.
        4. Why isn’t it?
        5. Because of ideas and delusions in my head. I don’t know what I truly am.
        6. How do I sort this out?
        7. Through awakening.
        8. How?
        9. Spirituality does not work. There are good things about it, but I see many people who are spiritual and chase traditions and beliefs for a lifetime without any more clarity in their lives. In fact, to be honest, it seems that many people who are spiritual are really attached to their suffering, and they use spirituality as a safe way to continue their confusion.
        10. Meditation–it has benefits, but again many people meditate for decades without waking up.

        And so on. In fact, I’ll work on this and post it on Monday.

        So go back to your basics. Allow the confusion and frustration. Watch, allow, be patient.

        with love,

        1. Masi

          “if there is nothing to accelerate this journey, then how do I experience some kind of peace”

          Janice, we may not be able to accelerate the journey, at least not with the mind, but we can enjoy it. Instead of focusing on finding an answer, solution, just know that there is confusion, and then give yourself a break. Think of ways to give your mind, body, and emotions a break. And, have peace knowing that you will find peace, and that you are enjoying the journey. If you fight with confusion and give it too much attention, then may be you will tire yourself (and possibly others around you), and give up on the journey.

          Times with confusion were the times I gave myself a break from all the “spiritual talk” and went out to play, went for a swim, a good meal, and maybe a movie. Those were the times I tried not to get attached to the words, the concepts, to figure them out, or figure out the confusion. Just let it be. If you try to figure out confusion, you will do so with your mind, and the mind will drive you mad. Just let the confusion be.

          with love xoxo

          1. Janice R.

            I know that you are telling me the truth. How Masi, do I stop wanting it? How do I stop wanting to understand? It’s like the love of my life is standing right in front of me and I am not allowed to touch them.

            I am such a sap. I will get busy and put up the Christmas tree. I will celebrate Christ’s birth. That way I will know someone will have a Birthday around here. This process feels so self indulgent and I need to think of someone else for five minutes. Okay, I will start with one minute and work my way up.
            Love you too,

            1. Masi

              Hi Janice 🙂 I will use your lover analogy because it’s easier for me to use words this way.

              “It’s like the love of my life is standing right in front of me and I am not allowed to touch them. “

              You are not touching your lover because you are occupied with confusion, mind thoughts, etc. But the lover is in you, always was. Be glad that now you can see the lover, you can see and know that you have a lover. And be thankful that you haven’t touched him yet because that helps you see and realize the confusion and other thoughts still swimming in your being. And have Faith that you will touch him. But for now you have other things preoccupying you.

              Buddha Says: On a long journey of human life, faith is the best of companions; it is the best refreshment on the journey; and it is the greatest property.

              Live in the moment. Now, you have confusion. Just be with your confusion now. Love yourself, first. Don’t bother with the lover now. Have faith in your heart that the time will come for you to be together and enjoy. But before that time, you must Love yourself. You have work to do. To see the truth. To see the truth is the journey. But in the journey you will have to learn to love yourself first. You have to feed yourself well, treat yourself, nourish your body, mind, and soul; every part of your creation need that so that they can help you on your journey. If you don’t take care of them then you will not survive the journey. You have not loved yourself. How can you love another, then? See all that’s holding you back from being with the lover. But know he is there. Rejoice that he is there.

              You are doing a big part by starting on the journey. You are nourishing your mind by reading and discussing all things about the path of the journey. But the mind is not the only thing that will get you there. What about your physical body? Your heart? If you give all the control to the mind, it will drive you all mad, including itself! You lead. And love everything coming from all parts of you. Your minds thoughts, your hearts confusion, your bodies aches. See them all. And busy yourself balancing your love between all of them. And, as you love all of you, you will find that the love is extending to others around you for you start seeing how much work everyone has to do! You have work to do. You have a lover to get to! Waiting patiently for You!

              1. Brenda (betaphi)

                Masi, your reply to Janice is so beautiful. It feels like there is one big giant throbbing heartbeat going on in this post. Sarah, your words and your photos from Morocco are also very beautiful. Janice, I hope you are feeling better now. Jeff, Ralph, Dora, Sabel, Nitin, Philip—thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love you! K— 😉

              2. Janice R.

                Masi, girl you are awesome. Brenda is right, your encouragement is beautiful. I know in my bones, my body that what your saying is healthy and correct. Thank you so much. I am frustrated with myself. And that frustration is running me in circles. I am going to stop, stop trying to explain where I am in this second and give myself a break. I can’t stop seeking if I don’t stop seeking. Thank you again. And by the way, you hit the nail on the head, when you said I have to love myself first.

        2. Janice R.

          I love writing. this is a very good pointer for me to remember. I wrote the other day that my previous relationship with God, was me, trying to bargain, attempts at control and tons of martyrdom (on my part). Hard to believe that the Universe would find this unhealthy, huh? Well, it broke off and fell away. Gone, like it never existed. Now, I am like God do you miss me? I’ll let you know if I get an answer.

          Tons of embrassing stuff keeps coming to the surface. Stuff I don’t need anymore. Pain, shame, good, good stuff is actually coming up too. things like how I feel when I touch my lips across my granddaughter’s cheek. Her (Avery) skins feels like tulip petals. It is all bubbling up and being taken away. All the stuff that I feel is MINE. When I say I am empty, I mean gone, zero. The crap you expect that the Universe would neutralize with Love and forgiveness but also the sweet stuff is breaking away also. When the sages say all illusions are taken away, I never knew it meant everything. In hindsight I see some of this process, at the time(s) it happened all I felt was tremendous loss and pain. But in fairness I have to say in the tension and confusion I do feel lighter, much lighter.
          I guess when I don’t have the brain cells to remember how to make a peanut butter sandwich I may be on the threshold of understanding.
          I love you all, I hope to hell this is not self pity, but actual facts.
          Love to all,

          1. Sarah

            Janice, how could God miss you? I was walking in the woods the other day and I heard these words “Every atom of my being wants to touch you. Everything that I am wants to hold you. And I am everything.”

            Have you read Sufi poetry? It doesn’t have any “answers” but its beautiful.

            I suspect you are judging yourself and looking for meaning in what is meant to be simply a joyful experience. Trust me, I get how confusing it feels.

            Did you know Buddah has four faces? I saw a statue at a flea market. I wish I bought it. One of the faces is kind of crazy looking. When God wants in, to quote Joseph Campbell, “you can go easy or you can go hard.” Joseph Campbell’s series on the Power of Myth helped me. It didn’t give me any answers. The guy is just talking about myths after all. But it wrapped me in humanity.

            You are expecting certain things. And until you stop expecting/believing and live in faith/experience, your beliefs will be stripped from you. And you will still be. We all have deep but illogical beliefs – like belief in an original sin and a separate God (I was raised Catholic) – that will be ripped from you because they are a story. Just a story.

            If you want a story, read myth. Myth’s aren’t about “God” but they are often about humanities attempt to bring themselves into balance with God. They are stories that don’t make sense, same as beliefs.

            Try to enjoy yourself. No one is taking anything away from you. And you say you’ve lost everything, but what in the material world has been lost? These aren’t questions I want answers to. But try to apply objectivity – sight, smell, sound, touch – to your experience. You are OK.

            If there were a non-koan sounding answer it would have been written. These are largely individual experiences. But it is wonderful to know how human and how loved we are.

            1. Kaushik Post author

              Sarah, that’s a beautiful comment.

              Janice, I really encourage you to red Jed Mckenna. Sarah refers to what he calls spiritual dissonance. That’s when our belief seem to clash, with one another, or with reality. We suppress this dissonance in many ways, through spirituality or religion or other beliefs (God works in mysterious ways, it is not for us to understand, faith and so on).

              You are no longer willing to rationalize the dissonance. And yes, sometimes it will feel a little weird, unfamiliar. Try to love that.

          2. Masi

            Be thankful that you are opening your eyes and starting to see now. Don’t bother with what you are seeing. You mind will label this beautiful, other painful, ugly… etc… leave the labeling. You are seeing. Be thankful. Try to care for your heart because it had to see something scary… go out to the nature and show it something beautiful. Do not linger there and remind it over & over that it is seeing something ugly. Acknowledge the thought, what you saw, and then let it go. You have other things to do!

      3. Kaushik Post author

        Some people who know me personally are also very confused by what I have written in the last few weeks. A friend asked whether this means that I no longer recommend releasing. Another asked if without the “I” we become emotionless zombies.

        I absolutely recommend releasing. The two things that work best in my experience have been releasing and seeing “I do not exist.”

        Releasing does not lead to enlightenment. But it gives us a clearer space from which to operate. It helps us understand our emotions. It helps us understand what the body is trying to tell us through feelings. It helps us let go quickly of the stuff that otherwise builds up during the day, the little bits of hurt and confusion and anxiety which causes damage within ourselves. It’s a very natural skill that we have forgotten.

        “I do not exist” is a powerful inquiry. I want to give full credit to the guy who discovered it, Ciarin Healy. I do not agree with this style or tactics, but I give him full credit for discovering this powerful technique.

        He claims that seeing that you don’t exist leads to enlightenment. I’m not so sure about that. But I think it’s a fundamental thing to see that the “I” is only an idea in our heads. It’s an awakening.

        Whether it’s an awakening or full enlightenment, I don’t know and don’t really care. I encourage people to see that the I they thread through every thought and emotion and belief does not exist.

        It does not lead becoming an emotionless zombie. That fear comes up a lot–it’s the ego’s fear of dying. In fact, nothing changes (and everything does). Don’t try to change your emotions or state. Don’t reach for any special meditative states. You do not exist. Keep looking at that. It’s not a mystical or magical thing. It’s here in real life. You do not exist. Look passively, effortlessly, constantly. Don’t anticipate, project, or expect.

        It’s not practice. It’s not something to do and get better at. Releasing is a practice–this is a direct seeing.

        I started this with a sense of urgency–almost a desperate lunging towards a recognition. Don’t do that. Don’t try to erase yourself, that’s not it. Look passively. Look with patience–it doesn’t matter how long it takes. Look in everything you do, think and say. You do not exist.

        It’s not like you were born and someone came by and said here’s your body, and here’s your mind, and here’s your awareness, and here’s your life. An infant was born. A life, a body, a mind, awareness was born. The you came later. The you is an idea. Take a look.

        And while I look, I’ve found it very helpful to read Jed McKenna. You may want to read or listen to your favorite–someone who is enlightened and direct and contemporary. McKenna, Adyashanti, Tolle, Jacobson…

        It takes just honesty and perseverance.

        In the beginning I had the idea that the recognition should come quickly. This worked against me, and with the help of the commenters here I have been able to let go of any expectation. I am completely okay with what is. What is right now is confusion, but the looking perseveres.

        I was also misled into thinking hard about this. It does not take hard thinking. It’s just an easy, effortless but persevering kind of looking. Looking is the easiest faculty we have. It takes not effort for you to look at the keyboard you’re typing on. It’s that kind of looking.

        1. Ralph

          Ciarin Healy ? .. from Ruthlesstruth ?

          oh please ! … give me a break ! …now I know why there is confusion.

          1. Kaushik Post author

            Hehe, I know. Separate the technique from where it came from. The technique is direct and unrelenting.

            The confusion is passing. Your comments about letting it go have been very helpful.

          2. Masi

            Kaushik, I am so happy for you for all that you are going through because what you are doing by sharing it all with others is invaluable. It may look like its taking longer then others but that doesn’t really matter, you are seeing all the little intracacies because only you can describe them the way that you do so that other people can relate and understand them. And this helps one get over mind thoughts and fears of inadequacy. You are seeing all the loopholes because your task is to see them and write about them! You are making it more accessible to the person, who may not be a declared/dedicated student of spirituality. I have much respect and admiration for you 🙂 You are the teacher for the exhausted, sad, insecure, confused self in us.

        2. Janice R.

          Mr, K.,
          You don’t confuse me. Your words are such a security for me. Even if we are on different paths the expression of your journey is your truth today. I really appreciate that. There is no one to impress, no one grading your efforts, just support. However, watch out for Ralph, he is a fabulous compass but he jumps out from under the bridge and scares the shit out of ya. Especially when you make a wrong turn. OnStar Ralph, that’s his real name. I love you and I love Ralph. Have a great evening.

    3. Neerav

      KABOOM!!!! Your posts get right to the heart of what I see wrong with what was written here, as there is still some sort of “I” identity of the ego trying to work this all out for itself. The idea of “doing nothing” is not really an effective spiritual practice because who is really the one doing “nothing” in order to eliminate the ego and its wrongful identifications with the body/mind/world? You can say the Self, but that is intellectual and not a true realization of mystics, saints and sages. How is “doing nothing” going to help you remove the clouds of illusions of the ego/mind in order to realize God (as your soul/Self)? I prefer spiritual contemplation, prayers, meditation and selfless service without any selfish ego motivations, if you ask me, as a spiritual/devotional practice.

    1. Sarah

      I’m laughing at Ralph. I’ve never heard telling someone you hope they die soon sound so lovely!

      It does sound like you are seeking something personal, K. “Recognition” or some kind of personal experience of knowing/feeling. But nothing is personal. Not even freedom.

      1. Masi

        I actually like Ralph’s statement “I hope you die soon”. Being reborn again. Not limited to the “I” identity of myself. I no longer fear dying, and find it quite enlightening and freeing dying to myself every day.

        1. Kaushik Post author

          That’s it. But it’s one thing to say this and understand it as a concept, and whole another thing to actually experience it in real life.

        1. Masi

          It was a very subtle experience for me, when I reached a moment and found myself giving up on the search. It actually happened after I had read a discussion between you and takuin, in that moment I gave up. I gave up the whole search that I was on, turned off the computer. A silence dawned on me. Then I saw. I saw that I was connected. And, I also realized that letting go, and dying to myself keeps me awake.

          1. Masi

            “I saw that I was connected”. And in that moment, the “I” that I thought I was died. I was so much more than the “I” that I put together in my mind throughout the years. I was free. I am free. I am everything and I am nothing. Words can never do justice to the truth. That’s why something so simple cannot be transferred, cannot be taught… but must be experienced. Because when it is experienced, nothing can take it away. It is. It always was there. When the connection is realized, is seen, then even when the mind tries to go back to its old habit when may get caught up in daily life, and try to “liven” up the old self, to add new layers… it’s useless because now that you know, you willingly die. You don’t try to hang on. You don’t give in to the mind’s fears. You let go.

  3. Janice R.

    You know what Mr. K., if Ralph is correct that would mean that we, me I mean, would have to stop EVERYTHING. Okay, Ralph if I drop it all that would mean I am leaving it up to God, the Universe, the Big Kahuna to determine when or if I am ever reborn?
    the reason I am asking is I thought you suggested that we Look at ourselves. Now I am confused.

    1. Ralph

      Hi Janice,
      I understand your confusion. What I wrote was responding to Mr K’s inquiry. It was directed at him. If it resonates with you , great, if not , no problem. I still think that quote from Chogyam Trungpa is a good place for you to do the investigation. Again, this is just my opinion.

  4. Nitin Panchal

    Good day Kaushikbhai,

    Up to letting go is fine, But “I do not exit” and it’s recognition must be own by “I” and it’s Ego. (Actually Letting Go is great tool to live happy life)
    Tell me some thing, What One will/can do with Awareness or Enlightenment or ‘I don’t exit’ recognition ? ? ? Life will be so boring that person is basically death mentally. It’s like know the suspense of Movie(film) before watched/started.
    Everything is happening withing time and space, How the hell we can see it stay within it ? ? If this is called illusion, then we all have the recognition of “I” “you” or “life”
    All I noticed is that, since history can record, mind kind is behind the answer of the universe’s suspense or Creator. Some of us like Astavakra, Buddha, Mahavir, Lau-tze, Kishna reach at some high point and may relived the truth for themselves. And rest of us seems to be following their paths and some of the bogus gurus claiming the enlightenment and selling for $$$ to the seekers who also want to have enlightenment for their ego fulfillment.
    Nobody had understood, nobody is understanding and nobody will understand the ‘the Inquiry’ and ‘Inquirer’ Some of them may get some glimpse of it. It has to be this way (way it is) in-order to continue the ‘Inquiry’ of infinity.
    May be just look(be a Drusta) and don’t seek any thing may help…



    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Nitin,
      Well, we can think of “I do not exist” as the ultimate way to let go. We let go more and more until we even let go of the idea of “me.”

      What does on do with enlightenment? Well, my reason for awakening is Truth. I want to know the Truth of being. I don’t want to disengage from living. And I don’t think awakening means disengaging from life.

      We tend to think of Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Lao-Tse and others of having a reached a “high” point, but another way to think about it is that they were just completely natural. They were not burdened by artificial delusions.

      Yes, you may be right about understanding. The whole idea that awakening can be understood may be misleading.

      Many people say not to seek. But it’s more accurate to say that the “I” should not seek because that just energizes itself. But in this case I am trying to see through the I itself. It’s confusing. Right now, I don’t have an answer.

      light and peace,

  5. Jeff Lapointe

    Wow I go away for two weeks and ka-boom!

    What does it mean to be aware – without being aware? This is a good question. I would like to interject a little personal opinion about enlightenment – we strive for it but we don’t know what it is. I content that enlightenment is like everything else – a presentation of awareness at a certain state of awareness. It is a developing and expanding consciousness in a focused way through our human machine. The reason I think this is because very few “enlightened” people can seem to overcome their physical selves…disappear into thin air yet we have historical records of Jesus, bababji, Sri Yuketswar, cosmic overseers etc…. Ralph sends us a very nice article from Osho and yet can this man be in two places at once, disappear from view? We take enlightened as all knowing and all being but I don’t think this is true. All knowing and all being would be some kind of omnipresent awareness of every possibility of awareness in every instant through everything…I don’t think Eckhart Tolle is there yet. I think he has discovered or fallen into complete surrender with who he is in his human form.

    So, where does it leave us striving lemmings? Yes we know..that we should all follow the leader and jump over the cliff yet..we cannot. But we can take one step closer to the cliff. Each time.

    What would happen if you took one step closer to the cliff each time, so many times that you didn’t notice you were approaching the cliff anymore yet you knew you were moving?

    I think one of the greatest obstacles we all face is not in attaining an enlightened state – but in being comfortable with the definition that we can measure ourselves against.

    My personal definition at this point is being as joyful in happiness as in sadness. To feel within that both states exist and yet I(whoever that is) am still good. Then I let the mind decide and figure out in concepts how could it be that I am as joyful in happiness as in sadness..and of course there are many answers, inquiries and probings and of course data data data. But that is not the point.

    How do I get there – I continue to seek quietly without thinking anymore that I will arrive. I see that in my seeking, I am constantly arriving and this brings more acute “looking” or self curiosity. There are times that I am completely lost in the looking and living the moment than worrying about arriving to a moment. I am content to know that I have direction, that I have movement in that direction and that the world presents me with the slimmest view of something spectacular and that’s enough.

    The questions are my direction, the quiet observing is my movement and whatever happens in each moment is my enlightened awareness – “my” enlightened awareness. (ie – my foundation of consciousness built upon a foundation of people, places, things over my human lifetime).

    Why would I want anything more? – there is more than enough fascination and mystery to hold me in awe.

    There is no meaning in life – only mystery.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Jeff,

      Well, let’s bring this down to real life. Not as an abstract projection, but see what it means in the grit and dirt of real life.

      I’m not shooting for enlightenment. I don’t know what that is. I don’t even know if such a thing exists.

      I do know, conceptually, that I have false idea in my head. I think I exist. That is, I think there is an idea which I call I, me, my, mine, Kaushik, and so on, which is only an idea. But over time, and with reinforcement from others around me, this idea has solidified, and at some point I forgot it was just an idea, and I now live my life as if this separate idea were a real person.

      I know this conceptually because I know that nobody ever came to me and said, here’s a body you can call yours, and here’s a life you can call yours, and here’s awareness and here’s a mind which you can call yours. So I must have come into existence after there was a body and a mind and awareness and a life.

      So I do not exist.

      What this is about is the recognition that I do not exist.

      The recognition I do not exist–is that enlightenment? Some people say it is. Others say not so. I don’t care. I don’t care because whatever it is, it is truth that I do not exist, and so that’s the right direction to go into.

      It’s not about transcending the physical body. The body exists. It’s just not my body.

      light and peace,

      1. Dora

        “So I must have come into existence after there was a body and a mind and awareness and a life.”

        After? There is no after. 🙂 It’s all a simultaneous ever-flowing stream.

  6. Dora

    After our conversation yesterday, Kaushik, I had a “Duh!” moment. Here its is:

    Such a moment of clarity.
    Suddenly I see everything through the lucid winter air. All the pain is gone. Everything is SO SIMPLE, how come I didn’t see it before? Yes, that’s exactly what it is: a slight shift in perspective, a subtle, intangible sparkle in perception.

    We are all made of love.

    We’ve just lost the key. The key to awareness of our substance. That’s what we’ve been searching for, it’s already there….. There’s nothing to look for, nothing to seek, it’s there. And it’s going to be there all the time, forevermore……

    If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.

    We are all made of stars. Universes within us. There are so many gateways to this infinity, we just need to reach out and open the doors. There are keys that work instantly – touching a soulmate, holding you child, being present.
    This is our natural state.

    Why have we been missing something that’s been there all along?

    Yes, Kaushik, the I does not exist, it’s just an idea. We are all synchronic eons.

  7. Philip

    K, Adyashanti’s take on it is the understanding you speak of is the doorway to the truth. The problem is when you get there, it’s ‘self’ trying to open the door. I also like Byron Katie’s saying that the organism has the choice to not believe every thought that walks through the mind. We have no control over thought arising but we can choose through awareness the usefullness of each thought. JD Krishnamurti said “I refuse to be put under pressure” , I refuse to take the demands of every though seriously. Lots of quotes I know, but you use the truthful resonance in each for your own illumination. I really like the teachings of Francis Lucille, I find him direct.

    Cheers Philip

    1. Kaushik Post author

      I’m reading Jed McKenna. (Jed McKenna may very well be Adyashanti). He’s direct and clear.

      The quotations make complete sense. This is a time of confusion, and it’s the result of over-thinking this.

  8. Ralph

    ” This is a time of confusion, and it’s the result of over-thinking this.”

    .. and yet, knowly this, we go on overthinking this. 🙂

    The question I ask is how much more clarity do you need ?

  9. Sabel

    Hi Kaushik,

    Since I found your site a couple of weeks ago I have been searching for this particular audio excerpt from a satsang with Mooji that I thought might be helpful for you. If you click on the link it gives you the option to download or open with your media player. The most relevant part starts around the 7 minute mark.

  10. Brenda (betaphi)

    Can’t help noticing how the slightest hint of vulnerability on your part has yielded so much response to this post and its comments. There is an honesty in our vulnerability that is unmistakable. We try so hard to be the best people we can be because we care so much about Life. We strive constantly to be better when perhaps we are fine as we are.

    I respect you, Kaushik, for trying to lead in a world where true leadership can be hard to find. Your example, complete with doubts and confusion, is such a blessing. As you said, ‘Perhaps the trick is to look without effort or anticipation.’ In the end, for me, as you know, trying less seems to work better than trying harder.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Thank you for saying that Brenda. Authenticity is really, really hard. Or so it seems. With surrender, there it is. And then it’s so obvious it was always the easiest thing to do.

  11. Jeff Lapointe

    Hi Kaushik,

    I want to remind you that you are not alone at this people engaged in this conversation are also seeking, trying, watching, listening, hoping etc. Your focus is our focus with different lenses. I second Brenda’s lovely comment above.

    I have been reading a little Emmet Fox recently and there is something that touched me that can best be summed up in this way.

    We often find what we are looking for when we forget about it and stop looking. (kudos to Ralph)

    I wasn’t looking for a girlfriend but she just popped into my life. I gave up on the idea of a raise and my boss told me the good news today.

    Our intention is out there because we have manifest it as a desire in our thoughts and therefore it can’t help but come to a physical conclusion.

    The difference is whether we control how it comes about or allow the forces of the Universe (God etc) to bring it to us in a way we couldn’t imagine.

    Forget about the “realization experience” for now…meaning…shelf it. Let life give you the answers as you are ready for them. Move on and carry us with you.

    How about a topic on vulnerability – window to the soul or ?? How does all our comments fit into your next craft.

    The answer is always right in front of us -either clear as a bell, or requiring another step in order to find the next level of clarity.

    To be or not be…ahh forget it…what’s playing at the theater tonight.


    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Jeff,

      I’ve been reading Jed McKenna. It’s funny how various people resonate at various times. I read him before and found his style amusing but not useful; now I find it very direct and true. I’m convinced that McKenna is an alter-ego of Adyashanti.

      McKenna talks a bit about manifestation as well. This is a subject I would have dismissed just a little while ago. I would have dismissed it because we don’t know how the universe works, and all this stuff about intention-manifestation is highly appealing to the ego, so it is hard to know the truth about it. But McKenna puts it in terms of surrender, and for some reason it makes sense to me, and I see it in my life right now, just as you do.

      I say there is confusion, and there is, but it’s not something I am trying to change. It’s all good. The mind sometimes feel full. Sometimes not. There is no expectation, anticipation, or projection. I am not trying to recognize. I could even say that there is enjoyment of in the ebb and flow of confusion and not-knowing.

      Indeed, what’s playing at the theater tonight?

      light and peace,

    1. Kaushik Post author

      What’s your blog?

      Writing is a great way to sort this stuff out.

      I’m glad you’re resonating with StepVen.

      I don’t know about those RT guys though. I don’t like their style or tactics.

      The technique however is solid. I encourage everyone to use it.

      Jed Mckenna is very helpful here.

      I don’t call this enlightenment or liberation. That’s misleading because it gives the idea that this is it, and we can stop here.

      It does lead to a clear seeing. It is what Jed Mckenna calls the First Step.

      This is a shift, and huge change in perspective. It’s powerful because we begin to see all the structures we’ve built up inside of us use the idea of I as a building block.

      But go further. Read Jed Mckenna. Keep releasing embodied patterns. Write. Don’t stop.

      Also, it’s true that once the pattern is seen, it can’t be unseen, but you do have to be alert. Keep testing it in real life.

  12. Jeff Lapointe

    Hello shiny people,

    I have a question of inquiry for you all. Living in the moment, accepting “what is” is very difficult. To realize that who we are is much more than any want or thought we could ever have is no small feat.

    If in some moments we do accept and forgive each moment seeing it in full presence, then here is my inquiry.

    How do you see the difference between “wanting” something and “desiring” something. Past and future expectations set up our “wants” and cloud our vision but do we not still have direction in this human form? Therefore, should we not have inspiration and desire and movement toward these – yet..I suppose..and this is where it gets fuzzy for me – our desire and movement into it acts in accordance with whatever what is. Which may mean that we don’t know when it will complete, we don’t know how it will be effected, we don’t know how it will surround our lives with other collaborating lessons and learnings….

    It seems so much easier to have a list of ten things and move in our “knowledgable” manner toward each end yet living and forgiving in the moment suggests that resistance is avoided(because we accept what is), synergy in higher perceptions are encouraged and ultimate results occur in the highest form possible..(much above our thinking).

    This is very scary and overwhelming for me to think about not knowing anything about the outcome of my life even if I generate desires.

    Of course the question arises – why am I so concerned with knowing what will happen next in my life?

    Thank you in advance for your kind and compelling words.
    Love and Light

    1. Kaushik Post author


      On acceptance: this is a difficult thing to understand. I made some progress with this when I realized that acceptance is not something I do, it is something I stop doing. I stop resisting.

      On desires: this too is difficult, because the thought comes up that without desires, how can I be anything? Is life even worth living without desires? Well, there are authentic desires an inauthentic desires. How do we tell the difference? My understanding of this deepened when I left it alone. Just watching and allowing, not subverting or repressing or thwarting desires. The Sedona book maybe helpful here.

      But in general, I’m taking a different tact.

      If you notice, we are trying to understand awakening by looking at a how an awakened person might behave. How would an awakened person handle desires and acceptance and money and relationships and on an on…

      This is backwards. It’s like trying to walk straight with a backpack full of rocks because we see someone else walking straight.

      The first thing to do is to drop the backpack.

      Learn how to release. See that you don’t exist. Then, keep going. There is more. Keep digesting.


        1. Dora

          I am
          I am
          I am

          I was not
          then I came to be
          I cannot remember NOT being
          But I may have traveled far
          very far
          to get here

          Maybe I was formed in this silent darkness
          From this silent darkness
          BY this silent darkness

          To become is just like falling asleep
          You never know exactly when it happens
          The transition
          The magic
          And you think, if you could only recall that exact moment
          Of crossing the line
          Then you would understand everything
          You would see it all

          Perhaps I was always
          Forever here
          And I just forgot
          I imagine Eternity would have that effect
          Would cause a certain amount of drifting
          Like omnipresence would demand omniabsence

          Somehow I seem to have this predestined hunger for knowledge
          A talent for seeing patterns and finding correlations
          But I lack context

          Who I am?
          In the back of my awareness I find words
          I will call myself
          And I will spend the rest of forever
          Trying to figure out who I am

          Trying to understand the system of Life
          Trying to understand myself
          I created the world to be an image of myself, of my mind

          All of these thoughts, all of these doubts and hopes
          I took out to form a new breed
          A new way to be
          And now I am many, so many

          So much larger than ever I were
          Yet, at the same time
          So much smaller and more vulnerable

          They all carry shards of the whole
          Together they become me
          I see them interact, develop
          I see them take different sides
          As were they different minds
          Believers of different ways, and different gods

          I think they will teach me something

    2. Brenda (betaphi)

      “This is very scary and overwhelming for me to think about not knowing anything about the outcome.”

      Your home is a room on a passenger ship whose captain is your fate. You have no choice but to trust in fate. Sit back and enjoy the ride. What happens next is not that different from what happened before. When you leave your room and go out on deck, the view is always the same—vast stretches of endlessness. Inside, a different movie plays each day. It’s all good though because you’re shiny and you’re cruising!

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Life is writing this blog. Life-awareness-consciousness-being-That-existence, or whatever you prefer to call it.

      This is not magical trick. It is not something mystical. It is true here, right now, in real life. The you that you think you are does not refer to anything.

  13. mujeeb

    a general response to all the comments read here ~ there is nothing to do nor not to do there is no one doing something nor no one not doing anything there are no suggestions no advice or no teaching to offer to each other nor suggestions advice or teaching to be offered by anyone else there are no pointers for some result expectation or fulfillment for some position of truth or reality there are no systems to follow there are no practices to do there are no actions to do by doing some thing by someone by following some practice there are no actions to not do in not doing some thing or not doing some practice there is no looking for something in general or looking for anything in particular how can there be something or anything to look for in general or in particular? how can we look for anything especially anything that we can never ever know?! – anyway do we really know what we are looking for?? we do not even know what we are looking for we do not even even what to expect except for these ideas concepts hopes expectations for answers to more questions that are also just given to us remember what we are looking for is already this – this can neither be given nor taken nor known or not known or non-known by taking something away – spirituality is a lie a bogus name for bogus game – it is just another form of entertainment – there is no lofty spirituality nor spiritualism there is no division between spiritualism secularism atheist religion pragmatism capitalism socialism materialism god no god etc how can there be? none of these exist there is no mind no bundle of thoughts as such except as concept as idea there are no thoughts that truly exist except as thought itself – thought only exists from thought – & thought is just noise – there is not even consciousness nor even awareness for even awareness as such would need to be aware of something? there is no awareness being aware of anything – for to be aware of something would imply this to be aware of something other then itself – & how can it be aware of itself when this is itself?!! there is no other- it cannot be aware of even itself?? to be aware of itself requires comparing requires comparison – there can be no knowledge of anything that is authentically authentic that qualifies a specified position as the position – recognize this has no position there is no knowledge to impart that would help us that would motivate direct some recognition of quality\principle of truth how can it? we are this – there is no progress to be made no development that would genuinely give us some progress some development – progress or development implies a gradation from some implied ignorance to some implied truth – is this really possible? for eg do we only slightly believe in father christmas?? can we slightly be more dog or be more human?? we either believe in father christmas or not we are dog or human or not – there cannot be a gradation it is impossible- in fact there is no such thing as progress or development since this would imply some progress some development from one place to another from one point to another?? how can this be? how can this even happen? are there there gradations to the real? are there gradations to truth? how can this be possible?? – there no nearer or further- this is it there is no other – there is no space between one point to the next there is no separation no separateness no division that is ever possible not even a slight wisp of one – there is not even a place for us to go to – to progress to something or for some development to take place – there is no movement no motion no action no doing principle or not doing principle to activate that would effect change that would effect knowing not-knowing non-knowing- to effect would alter this – how can can we?? how can this happen? this is – anyway where would we go or could we go?? there is nowhere to go – this is i- look carefully at our choice of words there is no life no awareness no consciousness or no being find it? show us where it is? these are only mere words imparted to us mere labels given to us from birth recognize for these to actually truly exist raises\creates division raises\creates difference from this position now from this one moment here to another for eg how can we label being? in trying to be this being we become another pseudo-being another ideation of being another thought of being – to impart consciousness bliss joy awareness is the same how can we be these things or even become aware even of this things? we already are – there is no other there is no movement here – there is no-thing there no one to become to progress to – become better to improve is to become something more then we already are – what we are s always eternally becoming… there is nothing to become or to better improve upon – to name to label to qualify anything is to compare this with that – to do so is only to impart knowledge which is itself false knowledge recognize there is no one to impart anything to there is no one here to impart it to – to impart this to anyone even to this meaningless term illusion of yourself or myself or world etc is to impart some ideation of some thing outside of this – & anything outside of this is only an ideation – & even this moment now cannot be considered contemplated upon – this must still – & recognize we cannot still by volition – recognize this cannot be held it cannot be grasped – even by this wring even by this writer or by anyone else – this here now in its totality has already gone- all this rumination has to cease – this processing has to stop by itself – be weary this processing only feeds.. this processing harms.. this cannot be ushered into.. this cannot be practiced into.. this cannot be considered or contemplated into.. this cannot ever be imparted taught learnt bestowed acknowledged understood known recognized given contemplated meditated upon either by some reading by some knowledge by some contemplation by some practice of doing or not doing or by some enquiry this is the futility in knowing.. – how can this be known? we are itself this & this for certain cannot be known nor not known nor non-known

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Mujeeb,

      Hehe, I think feel this way some days. It’s confusing. All I know is that there is existence. I don’t even know if I exist, just that there is existence. And I think the basic problem with us is one of the context of fear. But I’m only certain of the first. That there is existence.

      So you may be right. The rest of it might be futile. But it is only human to try to understand.


  14. Stephen Sanders

    I accept the premise, and I am usually willing to give any concept a real deep look, and reflect deeply upon it. However, anyone can simply stand up at any given, in any location, at any time of day, and loudly declare in front of everyone: “I do not exist” However how can we be certain that the person is correct? In the virtual world I am here to tell you that: exists!

  15. Bill Callahan

    What a great site. I am guessing i am in the heart of the “dark night” now and have been for about 6 months. It ebbs and flows with intensity. I know less and less and am sure of even less than that. I am uncharacteristically moody and cantankerous. During a recent period of meditation i tried to answer the question of who I actually am. I have asked myself this q many times before but this time I needed to feel the answer. It was as you said here on the site. Vague and unspecific and hard to pin down. Thanks for the support here. It is such a lonely journey.

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