The you that you think of as you (and that thinks of you as you, and so on) is not you, it’s just the character that the underlying truth of you is dreaming into brief existence. Enlightenment isn’t in the character, it’s in the underlying truth. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a dream character, of course, unless it’s your goal to wake up, in which case the dream character must be ruthlessly annihilated. If your desire is to experience transcendental bliss or supreme love or altered states of consciousness or awakened kundalini, or to quality for heaven, or to liberate all sentient beings, or simply to become the best dang person you can be, then rejoice!, you’re in the right place: the dream state, the dualistic universe. However, if your interest is to cut the crap and figure out what’s true, then you’re in the wrong place and you’ve got a very messy fight ahead and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.
Look at the ways in which people so easily lie to themselves. Look at the lies in you.
Recently I had a comment-conversation with a blogger who believes people need to be “warriors” and not a “wussies.” After that interesting beginning he quickly devolves into fluffy ideas of “wealth abundance” and “self-empowerment” and how not to procrastinate and so forth, all bundled up in a sort of mindful-marketing package. When challenged, he came up this doozie: he says he had already achieved a highly mystical state where he simultaneously existed and did not exist, but decided to come back to corporeal existence to teach the rest of us about wealth abundance, and other such crap.
This is someone whose dishonesty has extended into egotistical fantasy–and, I don’t really know how to reach people like these. This is not the first time this has happened, and this is why I now rarely comment on other people’s blogs. I can be very direct, and that’s not what people want. A similar confrontation happened about a year ago with woman who was and might still be a popular spiritual blogger. She does not want to awaken to truth; what she really wants is only positive validation for her continued spiritual accumulation.
The blogging community tends to create this incestuous pockets of bloggers where bloggers leave agreeable and reciprocal comments on one another’s blogs. That happened here in the beginning and for that very reason I stopped writing for a few months, and it worked. The comments here are now sincere and open. Every once a while someone jumps in hoping for reciprocity, and every once in a while, I am inspired to be a little too direct.
In the blogosphere, there is quite a bit of this repeatable nonsense, but this tendency to embrace and promote fluffy concepts is of course nothing new. It is exposed beautifully by Shakespeare in the character Polonius, who is fond of giving wise-sounding advice which is ultimately useless and toxic.
Polonius is rampant in the fluffiness of spirituality and self-improvement and the blogsphere.
Perhaps this is why many awakening and awakened people distance themselves from the conventional affairs of humanity. Egos can be very exhausting.
And this is the mechanism of dishonesty.
I don’t mean dishonest in an judgmental sense. It’s not that people want to be dishonest. It’s just that most people have given into to the dishonest mechanism in the mind which automatically runs away from truth.
When you’re alert to it you can actually see the lies in the people’s heads. You can see how the lies seem to have an autonomous life, separate from the actual being, and how these lies multiply and defend.
As Jed Mckenna says, cut the crap.
Develop stark honesty. Develop courage. Challenge yourself.
It really isn’t that hard when you have the willingness.
And that’s what it takes, a willingness. You don’t have to be smart or special. Just willing.
I had not been willing to look for a long time–it was suffering which made me willing. But once willing, it’s surprising how quickly self-honesty builds up.
In the unawakened mind, the tendency is to bolt. The mind wants to run away. I did too–I remember the desperate feeling of wanting to bolt when I was at ten-day Vipassana retreat a few years ago. I remember the angered dismissal I felt when I first read Tolle.
The unawakened mind wants to run away from truth, towards fluffy concepts and validating identities and familiar routine. It does not want to be challenged by truth.
People run away in different ways. Some people react with anger; some with fear; some dismiss; some flock to familiar beliefs; some embrace fluffy concepts.
This is dishonesty–this is the mechanical mind mechanically running away. Watch for it.
Truth is honest looking.
Not believing, not ideas, not spiritual accumulation, not ascetic practices, not building up validating spiritual identities, not the fluffy-pretend compassion of spirituality, not platitudes, not clever sayings, and certainly not the unquestioned fantasies of the blogosphere.
Just honest looking.
Develop the skill of observing. It’s not a difficult skill to develop because it is the most innate skill you have. Noticing.
Observe thoughts, as a witness, and thoughts diminish, and the true nature of thought is apparent.
Observe emotions. Allow them, invite them, don’t be afraid, make space for them, and you will understand the true nature of emotions. And you can easily let them go–this is releasing. It’s easy when you actually look.
Be alert to fear-bodies–when any sort of fear or negativity or pain comes up, just allow and watch, Allow the fear or anger, make space for it in the body, make even more space for it, and watch, and the truth of embodied patterns becomes apparent.
As you observe, you begin to see that the lies in your head have a seemingly-independent, slithering life of their own. It’s easier to see it in other people at first. Look for the lies, look at how the lies live a separate life. The lies teem and breed and multiply, slither and defend and attack, in reaction to stimulus from outside and inside.
True compassion is the ability to see that people are not who they seem; people are what is behind the autonomous, undulating blob of delusions that they have created and identified with.
Seeing that the you which you think you are–seeing that this you does not refer to anything–this seeing comes from simply observing. Looking.
The mind creates the idea of you as a way to explain the mystery of existence. Existence exists, awareness exists, a mind-body exists, but the you is just the creation of the mind which is desperate to explain the mystery of experience. Life is completely self-contained in this moment–it does not need a you.
Agreement with any of this is useless. Take a look. Actually look. Honestly.