Because we have it backwards.
Notice the way we approach awakening.
You get an insight. Then you take on practices. You meditate, you practice awareness, you practice presence, you observe thought, you release, you loosen attachment to beliefs, you try to understand acceptance, you read, you memorize, you practice, you seek.
photo credit: jdxyw
You try to understand why you feel dejected and confused, you wonder why you feel this way if you’re awakening…
The conventional spiritual wisdom is that you allow and be patient and continue with love. Continue practice and some day with grace you may awaken.
But these days I’m wondering if this is all backwards.
The core delusion is the self.
Rather than get into theories or intellectual arguments or spiritual practices, what if we tackle this directly?
We think honesty (self-honesty) is accurately acknowledging the truth about what is going on inside us. But what is going on inside us is a contrivance, and this is what makes self-honesty so tricky.
Self-honesty can be developed but it must start from that place where you say I know I’m fooling myself. It must start from that place where you say that my beliefs are an invention. And you are completely open and willing to see that.
Whenever I think of how we lie to ourselves, the example that comes quickly to mind is a woman who has been chasing spirituality for two decades. Every once in a while, she will claim to have “arrived.” She will say she can see through her ego or she can see serendipitous signs around her or she has had some advanced revelation about the meaning of karma or she will say she has finally achieved inner peace. And yet the fear in her is palpable and the me-stories still abound–there are stories of suffering and spiritual achievement and generous charity–and there is great need and reaching for spiritual validation. This woman is and has been in a long existentialist crisis, and yet has managed not only to repress this truth but even to claim great spiritual achievement.
It all falls apart occasionally, as it must, and then of course she goes to “deepen” her spirituality, and the whole insanity cycles over again.
The thing is she is not really different from all the rest of us seekers.
The resistance to awakening shows up in many different ways. It can be intellectual–all sort of arguments can come up. How does this fit into my view of the world? How does this reassure my beliefs?
Resistance shows up as putting off the inquiry, claiming the need to know more.
Resistance can be in the form of lying to ourselves. Resistance can come as fear of awakening–my god what will I be if I am not me, what about my hopes and dreams and achievements?
Resistance can even come in the form spiritual practice–spiritual practices like accumulating concepts and meditation and gratitude and acceptance and so on.
And through all this seeking we forget one thing.
We forget that all of these things which we do and learn and practice and argue about, are for and by a self which does not exist.
A dog chasing its tail.
With looking at this, for a few days, I was confused. I fell back to the meditative sort of awareness, where the mind becomes very quiet. I realized that this is not inquiry. This is just a quiet mind.
So in the past few days I have been looking more actively. That is, looking with the mind, thinking about it, rolling it over.
You do no exist. You are an imagination of “your” mind. There isn’t you and your.there is no “your mind.” It’s just a mind.
You are a recursive thought, thought thinks there is a thinker. Is there a thinker? Or is there just thinking?
There was no you when you were born. A mind and body were born.
How did the you come to be?
You come to be from thought itself
I fully understand this logically. But insight is something else, not just logical understanding, and I don’t have that yet.
And I do understand the dangers of rational understanding. For most of my life, I was rationally convinced that the world was what my perceptions and my thoughts told me it was. I was rationally convinced there was an executive “me” which ran the whole show, with unconstrained choice. I was rationally completely convinced and confident in my intellect. So to find out that thoughts and beliefs represent a small and unreliable part of reality was a bit of a shocker.
And yet, in this case, I think that a rational understanding is important. With a rational understanding, continued inquiry will inevitably lead to insight.
You do not exist.
In the articles in the series tagged “You do not exist” I write about seeing through the delusion of self. I write about my experiences, as they unfold.
A while ago I realized that seeing through the delusion of the self is a critical part of awakening, and I discussed this on this excellent Tolle forum, where there are a number of awakened members.
Through those discussions, I learned of Ciarin Healy and his forum (www. ruthlesstruth.com). The people on the Tolle forum were doubtful of Ciarin’s site. They felt there was too much contention and the method is not complete.
I visited Ciarin’s site and read his blog and forum. And indeed, the culture on his site is different–some people may find it shocking.
Nevertheless, I did see clearly that the basic technique is valid. It is compelling, direct and unrelenting.
Interested in exploring it further, I’ve had some conversations about it with a number of people, including Ciarin, and Bobby from honestyonslaught.blogspot.com/. Both have been very helpful. And in general people on that site and adjunct sites have been helpful.
Some people claim that this technique leads directly to enlightenment. Others are not so sure.
I can’t really make any judgment on that since I’m not enlightened.
Whether it’s enlightening or not, I think seeing through delusion of the self is an important part of awakening.
And so I encourage people to do this inquiry, even though my own experience with this technique is not complete. I will continue to explore it and share my experience here.