Where to go from here?

When you see that the you you take yourself to be is a fiction–when you actually recognize this, not just agree with it–what happens is…nothing.

Nothing actually changes. The old patterns of fear and emotions and delusions remain firmly in place.

Well, not firmly. You still get caught up in fearful and self-ish patterns but you see the fiction of it, you start seeing the whole thing as a drama, and that does bring some clarity.

East is the New North
Creative Commons License photo credit: hoshi7

But these embodied patterns and delusions–they don’t come down like a house of cards. I kind of expected to feel the whole thing crumbling down, you know the way they demolish old buildings with sequential explosives.

That didn’t happen.

Why the hell not?

Well, I’m not sure. There is more to go. More to explore. As Jed Mckenna says, “further.” Keep looking.

This whole awakening thing has been a wild ride. I’m glad for it–it couldn’t have been any other way. And after the wildness of the ride, I realized that awakening comes down to two things: internal observation and internal honesty.

To say that to someone may not be particularly helpful, because it isn’t enough, but as a personal sutra, it makes a succinct, satisfying kind of sense to me.

I run this website and write about awakening, but I don’t talk about it much in real life. I mean where do you start a conversation about awakening? Most people don’t see it.

And yet many do. People are more sensitive than we believe, and the subject does come up, often in unlikely circumstances. If it’s a general conversation, I tell people to start with observing their thoughts. Don’t analyze, don’t figure it out, just witness. Observe. And go read the Power of Now.

People will sometimes give me a blank look. And I know some people are thinking, well this is the kind of crap that you’d expect from an Indian guy. Hehe.

But a surprising number of people will actually consider it. Some will come back months later to ask more about it.

People in pain are often very sensitive and open. In the days that depression and anxiety had a real hold on me, I noticed that depressives find one another. You sense it in another person, and when you learn to be honest about it, it’s surprising how many people will open up about it. We find each other.

It works the same way now with this awakening stuff. People find one another. Recently, a co-worker sought me out–he was in pain because a beloved pet had just been put down. I’m not sure why he came to me; he didn’t know about the website. This kind of thing happens all the time.

When people are in pain, they are open, and so it’s easier to get through. And I tell them about releasing, because of all the techniques I recommend, releasing is the easiest and has the most immediate benefits.

Some of you who are reading this may not agree that releasing is an easy technique. That’s because you haven’t actually tried it. You might have read about it, perhaps read about it over and over again, and you might agree or disagree with it intellectually, but you probably have not given in to the experience of it. You are trying to control. You are trying to mentally understand.

It’s a simple thing, really. Releasing feels very natural for the simple reason that holding onto pain and stress is so very unnatural. But the ego will jump in and object, and say wait a minute, before I try this, I need to understand more. Why does it work? How does it work? Will it take away all my emotions?

But still, even the people who won’t try it are lucky, because when they’ve had enough unease in their lives, they know what to come back to.

What I’m doing now is exploring this no-you thing. That’s why I haven’t written much on the site. I don’t feel that I’ve had anything big to say yet. Still exploring.

Really, it’s quite a conundrum. Having seen through the fiction of self, why doesn’t the whole internal structure of fear and delusion collapse?

This is not full liberation. Seeing the no-you is a critical step. But there is more.

And I wonder if the more has to do with surrender. Is that the next step?

Surrender is one of those spiritual words which make me suspicious, like karma and oneness and God and unity and consciousness and so on. These concepts are repeatable and people love to throw them around, but as pointers they are utterly meaningless, and worse, for most people they are obstacles.

And so when I say “surrender” I’m not talking about some bald-headed spiritual concept smelling of incense.

To understand what releasing is, you have to surrender. You have to surrender enough of your intellect and ego and objections to give it an honest try. You have to be humble and honest and willing and dive in to the experience. You can’t abstract it, you can’t intellectualize and you certainly can’t spiritualize it.

That’s what I mean by surrender. Maybe the next step in the no-you thing is to surrender to it. To give up intellectual control, to give up the need to understand, to be honest and hold this very, very close.

The fiction of the self is damned pervasive and persistent. It’s everywhere, in every concept and emotion and thought.

Even just thinking about the no-you reifies the fiction of you. Who is thinking about the self? What story is the self weaving around the concept of no-you and what it means and how close it is to enlightenment?

You can get carried away in it, and then you catch yourself, and you bring back focus, and you recognize the fiction all over again.

I know this bit about surrender is rather vague, and I don’t like being vague, but this is where I am.

53 thoughts on “Where to go from here?

  1. Mikkel

    Another pointer with having surrendered would be psychic ability, not only a little but absolute awareness. That says quite a bit about what it would really mean to surrender and how unrealistic it seems for a living person.

    On the other hand, what is duality? No one could possibly exist without awareness, so maybe we are already aware even of every details of tomorrow, just without the ability to conceptualize it.

    What does it mean to become aware, when we already are? Is it more like becoming able to let the awareness shine through concepts to correspond with other concepts?

    I feel like being a nutshell only waiting for the nutcracker, but as long as Im still a nutshell, I cant stop being a nutshell. Fear is essential. Thats why Im not sure what releasing is really about. What is the purpose of it?

    As you describe, I have also become very inactive. For a long time. I dont have so much else to say. It seems that everything keeps coming to this point and now the last spiritual book have been written. There are no more questions. Just fear shortly interrupted by sex.

    Take care,


    1. Kaushik Post author

      When I say fear, I mean generally the psychological emotions of anxiety, feeling of lack, worry, compulsive thinking, feeling of void, and so on. These emotions are caused by the basic fear of separation and the fiction of the self.

      The emotions can be easily released.

  2. Brenda (betaphi)

    So nice to read your words again, Kaushik. I’ve been practicing surrendering and releasing and it does leave me rather unmotivated to think deeply or write much. But that’s ok because life doesn’t have to be lived constantly striving. I like what you said about how effortlessly we find others with similar interests and needs. Like Mikkel I too am interested in the psychical and the magical. That’s another whole world of potential exploration. All the best to you.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      There’s more to explore. Just have to wait and allow and it’ll coagulate so I can articulate….

      Good to hear from you. Hope you’re doing well!

  3. Nitin

    Namaste Kaushikbhai,

    Perfect Title ‘Where to go from here?’

    Since I am unemployed last Oct 2010, I am torn apart which way & how to live/survive in rate race ? 1) Work hard day & night and stay after my desire of goal (which most of the modern gurus suggest, make a goal, focus, aim and work hard !!) OR 2) let life go as is, go with your luck, what ever come in your way, be desire-less and be happy what you get.
    I am Not sure. All this talk and discussion were nice when I had income, felt that I had some higher knowledge by participating in discussion ( I am sure, most of the readers are financially ok.) but now it’s take new turn when I am seeking badly income to survive.
    Yours Let-go/Release method is good as long as it take away once emotional burden immediate and control over it, but then some times it’s feel like loser (ego hurt, kinda fox’s story that grapes is savory) what is the aim ? to become emotion-less, fear-less & desire-less ? To be desire-less is desire, isn’t it? Just like No-thought mind is the kind of thought !! Who we kidding ? May be we all going in circle where deeper we search deeper we lost. I am really confused. And at the end, we all end-up surrendering once intellectual.
    Some time I feel like don’t do any thing, not read any do not follow any, and don’t look for any answer/conclusion, live like those less brained person and be worry free.
    Actually I had thought to write some thing else when I had read it yesterday and end-up writing some mixed feeling, it’s beauty that we can write here and exchange, Thanks for allowing…!

    Namaste and Cheers.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      1. I was unemployed for an extended time as well. Unemployment brings up all kinds of fears and questions about security and self-worth, and so on. It brings up the question of the practical aspects of awakening. How can awakening help me if I don’t have a job! All this high-minded gabbing is nice when we are warm and safe and secure–what about when I don’t have a job and have obligations and bills, or what if I am in Japan or Libya right now? What if I’m poor or caught in an abusive relationship or lonely or disabled or depressed and so on…

      It’s difficult in the beginning to resolve the seeming conflict between awakening and the practical aspects of living. This is because we have the subtle or overt expectation that awakening will somehow make the practical aspects of our lives easier, and it will fulfill our desires more easily.

      But if this is what we really want, it’s better to fool ourselves with the Law of Attraction, or to delude ourselves with spirituality.

      Awakening is about truth.

      In my experience, some aspects of my life have gotten more difficult, not less. But my ability to live through these difficult times has increased many-fold, simply by using simple awareness and release techniques.

      2. Releasing will not make you emotion-less or desire-less. That’s the ego’s fear. The ego will say yes, these emotions and fear are not pleasant, but they make me who I am and I don’t want to lose them. If you look deeply, what the ego is doing is defending its right to suffer. The ego need not worry, nothing will ever take away its right to suffer.

      It’s difficult for the mind to conceptualize what releasing really means. It’s difficult for the mind to accept that emotions are easy to release, because the mind wants to believe that emotions are unassailable and make you who you are, so they are absolute. But they are not–they are not what you are at all; emotions are just thoughts associated with body sensations. You are much more than that.

  4. Laurie

    Hello Kaushik,
    Could these old patterns of thought, emotion etc be thought of as being merely organic, which they are. These old patterns were imprinted on the brain at some stage like a tape recorder. and the brain being the organ it is just does what it does. Its clearing these tapes, memes and not overwriting them with more bullshit that seems to be the problem
    I personally experienced disfunction and trauma at an younger age and not knowing how to think and that being backed up with strong emotion made it stick, not only that it can become interconnected with other thoughts etc, to form stronger patterns in the brain. And it is all bullshit. All it is is an organic pathway in the brain that we take as being real.
    Consciousness, psychic ability, or what ever else there is, is nothing more than what we are capable of doing. And when it does get to the stage when the brain has been cleaned out and freed up and you realize what is true, you wouldnt give two shits about that either

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Laurie,

      Yes, these are embodied patterns. I call them grooves sometimes. “overwriting” them does not help at all–in fact that is why I speak out against things like positive thinking and spirituality and so on. People simply replace their delusions with other delusion and desires. They try to “overwrite” their conditioning with a different sort of conditioning.

      What I was exploring is that once we see that the “I” that I thought I was does not exist, why don’t these old patterns fall apart? They seem to have momentum.

      Eckhart Tolle describes in his foreword how he say through the I. When he saw that he was not two people, him and this other self he could no longer live with, he was free.

      But seeing that you-do-not-exist does not lead to freedom directly. There is further to go.

      On psychic ability–I’m not dismissing it. The universe works in ways I don’t understand, so there may be something to it, and perhaps awakening frees up psychic powers. I don’t know and until it is my direct experience, it is only conceptualizing.

  5. Jovo

    I think that question “where to go from here” carry in itself anxiety-“Truth is a pathless land”
    Just BE,that is enough-everything that you need,will come in right time.

    Best wishes for you!

  6. Jovo

    I think that there is something in all of us that we can call “sorrow of humanity”.
    As far as i can tell,that is a feeling of not be understood,lack of real relation with people who can understand you,who can understand your “path”. Every real relation assume instant insight of your feelings,your emotions,your thoughts-without that,real close relation cannot be obbtained,and that for sure makes you feel lonely in your “mission”. State that we talk about here should be natural and accesesd to everyone,but as we know that is not the case,some detachment and fogginess must be on our path.


    1. Kaushik Post author

      Right, not everyone gets it. I didn’t until about five years ago, and that was only because of a fortunate accident. I read the Power of Now when I was in emotional pain, and so I was open.

  7. Jovo

    Yes,i read Power of Now too,but for me,it take time to accept it fully.
    It first began with insight on the life of other people arround you,but next you realize that it must be “implemented” on yourself first!

    Right now,i have too difficulty to explain people your new views and insight. I can see clearly that my life changed-not in positive or negative way,just changed. For me,ever single thing that came inside my head put the question:”how it begins,what that means”? and naturally,release of falseness come into place…
    Example,i work as sound editor on feature films-beleive me,there are much of time that i just CANT keep on work,and thats because i see clearly that movies by itself are manipulation,a limited point of view of just one man,director,in which we suppose to believe… On the other side that very moment,i am aware of neccesity of further work on that movie,or the other-that is what i do for living,and my anger for manipulation stop.
    Next,i was having very much difficulty with the Ego of other people-there is something inside of us that is changed,and people can feel that,but in most times,cannot explain what it is,and react with the Ego,in strongest form-anger.

    Its not easy,but there is no turning back-when you grasp meaning of time,difficulty as such dissapears,and we just keep going,new every day…

    Proccess is ever-groving.

    Cheers,for all of you!

    1. Kaushik Post author

      It’s difficult to explain to other people. Because most people will just mechanically dismiss and go on to the next thing. People think they have free will but they are completely enslaved by the grooves in their minds.

      I’ve found it helpful to be get just one point across and be patient. For example, generally I tell people to observe their thoughts, without interfering or trying to change them. Just watch. You might get a blank look when you say this, but it will surprise you how many people will actually go ahead and try it. Or, tell people to read the Power of Now.

      If the person is pain, has anxiety or is dealing with a specific emotional problem, I tell them about releasing. These people are generally open and will listen.

  8. Nitin

    Good day Kaushikbhai,

    Thank you kindly for the encouraging words and explanation. I need it.
    And Totally agreed with your sentence:
    “But if this is what we really want, it’s better to fool ourselves with the Law of Attraction, or to delude ourselves with spirituality.”
    I will keep it up with releasing it and witnessing it.
    Thank you again.

  9. Janice R.

    Good Morning Mr. K.,
    What happens to my passion for this journey when my journey is not going according to my plan?

    When my life demands that I have faith in this process, I instantly react with anger, fear and victim mentality. the letting go, the releasing of the anger, fear. I did for a minute and found an empty space and it scared me too much.

    I love this site. I think it helps more people than any of us realize. I am glad you shared again, Mr. K.
    P.S. I should of been enlightened by now, but, I am not going to bring it up.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      My first insight was upon reading the Power of Now, and I recognized that I was highly identified with my thoughts and emotions, and breaking away from this identification is liberating, not scary. When I had this insight I was highly energized. I felt this was the biggest thing that had happened in my life.

      And it was. And since then it’s been a ride. I decided to take time off from work and traveled, and I wrote, and eventually started this site, and continued exploring awakening.

      But the high energy lasted only about nine months. Then there was a long period of detachment and confusion and isolation. I was unemployed for a long time, so I had the luxury of detachment.

      Later I realized that I had expectations of awakening. I thought it would make me free and likable and fulfilled and immune to usual barbs of life. And because I have the gift of articulation, I can share with others through writing about it.

      It didn’t exactly turn out that way. It’s hard to know how it will all unfold, but I don’t think about how it will be in the future any longer. I no longer have overt expectations. It would be dangerous and arrogant to say I don’t have any expectations. I think subtle expectations remain. For example, I yearn for the day when I am completely free. I feel when I am completely free, the problems that I think I have now, will not disappear, but will seem trivial in the broad and free perspective. I may not wrong about that–but this is still an expectation.

      Awakening is about truth. It’s about knowing who your really are.

      It’s not about changing. It’s about seeing what is, the false and the true, in us.

      Change of course happens. And as we become clearer about truth, change happens in the right direction.

      This is not to say that awakening doesn’t help with the practical aspects of life. That’s the whole reason for exploring this. The essential question is always: is there enough joy and peace in your life? Because there can be.

      Awakening certainly has helped me in the practical aspects of my life. I don’t have anxiety episodes any longer. And when fear or anxiety do come up, I can release them easily. I don’t have depressive episodes in the way I used to. I still get the physical symptoms of depression, like lethargy and sleep problems and trouble with concentration and memory, but without the psychological unhappiness and sense of futility which goes with depression, these physical symptoms are easily managed.

      And there are aspects of life which awakening hasn’t improved and I expected it to. I still struggle with weight issues. I don’t quite know what to do with my life. I am no longer motivated with the same sort of things that “successful” people are motivated with. I am not energized about work or money or approval or a full social life. These motivations have receded and though they were false motivations, they did lubricate life in the society we live in. Without these motivations, I feel like I’m on the fringes of social living. I have addictions and habits which I would rather not have.

      These problems aren’t solved.

      And yet my ability to handle these struggles has increased many-fold. I had some difficult years recently, and I am very glad that I had developed the skills of releasing and awareness.

      I have enough experience with awakening now to know to allow, watch and be patient. I don’t know have specific expectations any longer. I do still yearn for complete freedom, and there probably still are subtle expectations of the ego.

      It’s part of the reason why everything on this site is free. I rely on donations to defray the costs. I have a job so I don’t need to make money here, and taking away the expectation and obligations helps me be authentic.

      And so it comes down to a matter of what we expect from the awakening work that we do. It’s not wrong to have expectations–it’s in fact the whole reason to awaken. So we can be free. And in complete freedom, there is joy and peace.

      But I think having specific expectations, that this journey should unfold according to some sort of mental plan–this can be an obstacle.

      It isn’t that you lack faith. It’s that you have the expectation, that by now certain things should have happened, and they haven’t.

      It might not have gone according to your mental plan, but still there is evolution. I can see it in your comments. You have evolved.

      You’ve already mentioned some aspects of your reactions. Anger, fear, victim mentality…This is big, it means that you have the awareness of your reactions. Now you can watch, let them be, and let them go.

  10. Jovo

    Hello K,i hoppe you are doing well.
    Thinking about this post,i think that everyone of us will come to that position and to that question sooner or later-because in awakening there is no plan,about anything,and we all are taught to have plan about everything. Its kind of “nomad” life,there is no security in the sense that is familiar with us and with our plan. There is no psychological future nor past,so we are “stuck with the fact”,stuck with what is.
    There are still old habitual thoughts in every single of us,and accordingly,there are such question in us… I think that is kind of “formating” for new way of life,like the hard drive on cpu must be formated sometimes for PC or a MAC.
    No expectations,no plans,no images,no nothing that we are accustomed to-it is like that,or we can drop our spiritual paths…which is not quite easy,if it is at all possible.
    Problem is next,i think-there is nothing in or outside ourselves that can serve us like a mark,that can tell us do we go in right or wrong direction. It is in our very nature,our very being,and having full trust in us,will lead us in right direction. There are times when we are willing to go further,there are times when we are not,that is quite normal human behaviour. Just like you said,rest in Awareness,everything will come in right time.
    There is interesting poem from my country on that subject:”If you know that you was flying out of Solar system,and been faster than time and spend some time in Light,and in some future you forgot you own hat,who can take that part of biography from you? You ask,what is the purpose? Your willing to go. You ask,where is the end? On the end of your very question. When you shape your very tough,you will shape eternity”.

    Thank you,K

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Yes, good point. We are conditioned to plan, by the way society functions today. So it may seem a little awkward to face up the truth that there is no psychological future in awakening. The mind cannot conceive of what it is like to be free. It’s not about change, and yet change does happen.

      Thanks, Jovo.

  11. Janice R.

    Hey Mr. K.,
    Thank you so much for sharing. I always appreciate your level of disclosure. It has always made me feel free to try and be as honest as I can.

    To stop smoking cigarettes has been uncomfortable to say the least. However, I have noticed that if I am willing to put myself in an uncomfortable position, (withdraw & emotions) I do learn a lot about myself. I learned from your release techniques that I may feel uncomfortable but I will live through it. I have always been a big medicate my feelings kinda person. Do not run from the feeling just allow it to be, accept and, am I willing to release? Yes. Exhale.

    Releasing cravings, releasing feelings, releasing expectations, all of these to the best of my ability has been much more difficult than I ever expected and much more rewarding than I expected. My day to day life has gone much simplier, smoother. Developing healthier boundaries has been slow but improving. All of this happens in this exact moment. This is not meant to sound “self help”, it is not. Now in this moment. Inhale…..exhale. Sometimes it is that simple for me.
    Love & Light,

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Quiting cigarettes is a complex deal. There are physical, emotional and social aspects to smoking and quitting.

      I quit a few years ago.

      My advice is to get all the help you can. Releasing will certainly help with the emotional aspects. Look up rational recovery–this is an aware approach to kicking addictions. Use patches, gum. Medication is fine, if it will help you through the rough spots. Support groups can help.

      Take advantage of anything that will help.

      1. Janice R.

        Thank you for your encouragement. I hope this site continues to thrive. It is a great spot for folks. You have been wonderful to all your visitors.

  12. Mikkel

    I already read the article about how to release big and small emotions, and Im not saying that you cant do a release technique. I even do it already, though Im not sure how it works. I merely wonder if making any kind of perceptional priority in your life is absolute liberation?

    Fair enought, one can learn to release all his emotions. What about all those out there who cant. I dont want someone to go out and save them with knowledge, because that wouldnt be reality. Thats why I find release technique suspicous. I dont doubt that it works. It doesnt matter if it works or not.

    I find much more meaning though, in inactivity.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      This is a common fear, that releasing is somehow about getting rid of emotions completely. It isn’t that all. It’s simply that when you are aware of the truth of your emotions, you can easily let go of the false emotions which take hold in many people. It’s about seeing the truth and ceasing to hold onto emotions such as anxiety and worry and insecurity and fear and so on.

      Releasing isn’t about knowledge. It’s an innate skill, an experience, which everyone is capable of. People simply have forgotten that they already have this skill. It’s not a difficult or complicated skill. Everyone already knows how to do this, just as everyone already knows how to be aware.

      1. Mikkel

        Im just trying to be liberated, thats why I dont want to DO or NOT DO anything. I want to just stay with things.

        So releasing is something that already happens in everyone, without they knowing it? Like enlightenment? I keep thinking that there is no way to become enlightened other than what we already are, and that the best thing is to “take the whole package” of darkness in life. To deal with any condition there might be. Isnt that the idea of inactivity anyway? That when you really confront yourself with enought suffering, there is no more energy left and nothing to do?

        Or am I missing your point completely about releasing? What happens if you dont release? Is it inevitable?

        1. Kaushik Post author

          Yes, releasing is very natural. Everyone releases naturally. This is why people say “time heals all wounds” because eventually people do release. But people also actively hold on to or suppress their emotions. Releasing is natural; suppressing and holding on is not natural. The release technique teaches us to stop actively suppressing and holding onto painful emotions. When we stop, we see that it’s very easy and natural to release. It’s not even something we actively decide to do. It just happens, like breathing.

          Mikkel, you have a particular idea that enlightenment requires that you do not do anything, and leave everything as it is. What you say is true. We must “take the whole package.” We can accept and allow what is. I say this too. I say to be, allow and watch, accept, and be patient. I say to use internal observation and internal honesty.

          But this advice can be confusing when it is taken out of context. It doesn’t mean that you are powerless. It doesn’t mean that you have to avoid any sort of doing. In my experience there have been many things I’ve done and keep doing which are very helpful. Meditation, awareness, releasing, see-that-who-you-think-you-are does not exist, internal honesty, internal observation, reading the awakened teachers, and so on.

          All these are things we do. There is nothing wrong with that. Enlightenment is not inactivity.

  13. Jovo

    There is NO such thing as psychological security. It dont exist. That is most common trap that we all are fall into,and like everything else in our psyche,has very large number of forms and expressions,and everything else arround us says that there IS security-in our education,in our relations,in our parrents and in our very behaviour. Living in the present is ultimate security. So much things arround us are out of our control,our thoughts our wishes and so on-there is not even possibility to have such thing as security in psychological sense.

    Keep in touch Kaushik. Hope ou are ok.

  14. Philip

    Thanks so much for your continuing input.
    I really think there seems to be far too much focus on and inquiry into awakening in many circles these days, where it is seen as or looked to being some sort of achievement, Am I liberated?, or What do I have to do the wake up from this dream? To me it’s just more thinking and more conceptualised posturing. Nothing wrong with that, it’s a very interesting thing to do, but ultimately useless in any realisation. In realisation there is nothing to say, it is on the other side of words, it is just seen and that is that. The moment you begin to describe, prescribe, teach or comment on it, it is not, it becomes something else.
    “No-self’, ‘real- self’, ‘consciousness’, ‘awareness’ all concepts that maybe point to something, but even in that pointing there is delusion. Even in that attempt to pin it down, get some sort of vision of it is the illusion that that is it. Eckhart Tolle, bless him, speaks about this thing called presence like it was something you could step in and out of, a kind of enlightened state that could be turned on and off. This is simply not true or available to anyone who has not realised their true nature (so to speak) As Jed said it’s all just “truth talk in the dream state”. This is all there is, what is happening.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Yes, you’re right. I like the Jed quotation. Liberation can become an egoic goal. I think what we can do is be alert to it.

      One of my favorite quotations is T’seng’s “Do not seek truth; only cease to cherish opinion.”

      By opinion, he means opinions and beliefs.

      It’s about recognition, not accumulating knowledge or beliefs or descriptions.

  15. Philip

    The real juice in all of this is the putting of your ‘life situation’ second, in terms of importance. If that is the case what is of first importance? Just this now, what is happening now. The mind jumps in and says that is irresponsible, how will you get ahead or even cope if the life situation and its circumstance and issues are subordinate to this. Try it, against all resistance and objection, it is true freedom. Nothing exists outside this moment so why not give it a due primary import. When fully realised things become incredibly simple, but it all seems to still work.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Yes. The way most human beings are is literally insane. We have just accepted insanity as normal. When the first true insight happens, there can be nothing more important than awakening. There may be periods where life situations take up attention, but at least in my experience, the pull to be truth and natural is too strong to ignore.

      And yet, we have to be alert. Every intention is suffused by the ego. There many people who practice presence, as you describe, and there many who meditate extensively and skillfully, and many who have taken on ascetic spiritual practices and many who consider themselves spiritually advanced. But still, these people have simply replaced their conditioning. As Krishnamurti said, they have replace one known with another.

      We have to be alert and starkly honest.

  16. Ralph

    Hey Kaushik, how’s it going?

    I am interested in where you are at now after your many years of seeking ?
    What teachers, if any, are you following now or listening to?

    ..or have you ended your search and have no further questions ?

    Thank you.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      No questions.

      There is further to go, but it all comes down to self-observance and self-honesty.

      As far as teachers, the ones who I’ve resonated the most with are Tolle, Adyanshanti and Jed Mckenna. There are a few others, who I’ve listed in the External Resources page. Right now, I’m reading a little about Ramana Maharshi. A few years ago I had tried his “who am I” technique and didn’t quite understand it. But now it’s quite natural and effortless.

  17. Janice R.

    Hey Guys,
    Wondering how everyone is doing.
    I am going through a “quiet time”, not down or blue, but a more resting time. I have even been dreaming that I am having an awakening experience. Considering that I have no idea what that experience would even look like, it’s odd that I have created what I think is enlightenment.
    the major purging of feelings seems to have passed somewhat. That was kinda ugly for a while. Who knows this maybe as good as it gets. This may be my tip top functioning in this incarnation. See I don’t mean that in a negative way, but more of a it’s okay way. The struggling has stopped at least for a while. Who knows maybe I am in a “time out” ordered by the universe. And then I will be back in the throe of things.

    However, I love this site. It feels like home to me. Everyone is very unique and similiar at the same time. One of the most valuable elements to this site is that you, Mr. K. always present yourself to all as you. No matter what the topic is, no matter who shows up and shares, no matter what anyone’s responses are you are the same accepting, tolerant presence. In this area of life, it could be so easy to be swayed by the flavor of the day, by the newest and or most interesting personality. You remain yourself, through all of this. Good news, not so good news, I don’t know, I just know that you have been a blessing in my life. And I really appreciate you and this site.

    I hope you do not lose interest in writing on this site. You have been kinda quiet lately and I just hope you hang in. Even if you are angry, sad, disappointed, tired of hearing the whining from folks like me, keep writing. Even if your visitors, constantly correct you, keep writing. For some reason I don’t think you are supposed to be the superstar of this site. I think your mission is to provide the platform for all of this to take place. Of course, your evolution is important, I mean, how could this of started without your spark taking place and sharing your development.

    You did the “you don’t exist” thing until I thought I was going to (((scream))) and I did once but that would not stop me from coming to see what you are up to. We don’t all have to be on the same page and I don’t think you need to be anywhere different than where you are at, at this moment. What if none of us is doing anything wrong? I don’t love suffering either, but I am beginning to notice when i make it worse. I feel better when you write. Your articles force me to think. Examine my arrogance, etc.

    I got to go, it is beautiful outside and I have tons of chores to finish today.
    By the way, I DON’T REALIZE or UNDERSTAND THAT I DON’T EXIST. I may never get that.

    Love & Light,

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Janice, thanks for your as-always openness, and kind words.

      No, I won’t stop writing. I know it’s been slow recently. I realized that it all comes down to working up the courage to face yourself, inner observance and inner honesty. Many people don’t start because they don’t know they live in fear and delusion, many are afraid to face themselves, many others start and get caught up in spirituality or concepts or gurus–and so my advice is always, always to step back and question yourself and be aware that every intention is suffused with the ego. Heart techniques are not essential, but they can ease the journey–heart techniques like accepting, and compassion, and understanding that whatever we take offense at, is something we are afraid of within us.

      Tolle, Adyashanti and Jed Mckenna have been very helpful along the way. And of course there are others.

      After saying this, I wasn’t sure if there was anything else I can say.

      But there is. It continues. There is further.

      Right now, is a time of patient waiting, to see what unfolds.

      And this site is evolving on its own. You’re right, I’m not the central figure. No one is. It’s interesting to watch the evolution.

      On “you do not exist” you have to see that the you you think you are does not refer to anything. Take a look. In every sentence, every thought, every emotion, every belief, there is an “I.” But what does this “I” refer to? Yes, there is a mind-body-awareness-organism. It’s a mind-body-awareness-organism, it’s not your mind-body-awarareness-organism. That’s the realization.

  18. Ralph

    Hi Janice,

    I just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading your honest sharing. This is what it is all about.

    …. now, go get those chores done. 🙂

  19. Alex Kriz

    I really enjoyed this article. You have clear insights into reality which you express very clearly. I have experimented with your releasing technique and have found it to be very effective.

    However, I wonder if releasing can become an endless process. In short, I’m curious if the process ever ends – if you ever reach the point where you have cleared away all negative emotions. Any insight into this would be much appreciated.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Alex,

      That’s a good question.

      Feelings always happen–these are reactions or messages in the body and completely healthy in a functioning human being. Emotions are remembered patterns of feeling and thought, and these patterns are sometimes painful and unhealthy because we have suppressed them and they keep coming up painfully in reaction to what happens. In a sense, when we experience a painful emotion, we are experiencing the past–what Tolle calls the pain-body. We can learn to release these patterns.

      Can we ever reach the point we have cleared away all negative emotions?

      Yes, I think so. New feelings will always happen and if we are present, these do not turn into embodied patterns. And, we can continue to notice and release existing embodied patterns. Perhaps the end of releasing is what the awakened call surrender.

  20. Philip

    Hey Kaushik,

    The simplicity of this is totally obscured by the fact we are all looking for change, for something new, somehting other, something to extend, to push further into, something to get it. When the realisation is really to see that it was never lost, never not here, never not complete, never not separate, never not anything and only this. Self is just the fantasy or thought (same thing) that there could be and is something separate called me the person, a fanatsy of what a person might be if it could exist. It is in fact impossible and it is so simple to see this. In direct experience there is no me. Me only ever arrises after the fact as a movement or the illusion of movement, post experience and attaches to the memory of direct experience and colours the trace with me-ness.

  21. Kaushik Post author

    You’re right, Philip.

    And yet, most of us cannot just be the simplicity. It does take some effort in the beginning. After about four years of effort of releasing and awareness, I’m at point of simply resting in amness. What Ramana Maharshi says makes perfect sense now.

  22. Alex

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences Kaushik.
    Same here, no ending up in bliss and heaven, but keeping on going by remaining in the sense of ‘I’. All sort of thoughts and emotions are just a way of conditioning trying to establish itself again in opinions and beliefs. So ‘I’ stay just in this no-thingness of myself, living life as it shows up every moment. Is that the meaning of surrender?

    Love, Alex

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Thanks Alex.

      Yes, now it’s just abiding in source, in the amness of “I am”. I read Ramana Maharshi a few years ago and misunderstood what he meant when he said rest in “Who am I?”. I took it to mean that it’s an active investigation, an inquiry–I think many people misinterpret it this way because of limitations of the original translations. What he meant was more like self-abidance, as you say, staying in no-thingness. As we abide in the source, the snake becomes the rope, and the root delusion falls away. I plan to write more about this when my experience deepens.

      I think surrender is when we give up the effort of deluding ourselves.


      1. Neerav

        Actually, he did mention both resting in self-abidance AND also taking up the task of self-inquiry, but not as a mantra. This is from the book “Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharishi” by David Godman. If you don’t know what your Self is because it is covered by the ego (and its attachment to the body/mind/world), then how can you abide in it? That is where the self-inquiry process comes in to remove those obstacles to realizing the Self as your true nature.

        – Neerav

  23. Alex

    Yes Kaushik, also, same here, misunderstandings over and over for so many years.
    Today I would say as long as we are identified with thoughts and emotions, wrapped up in the intellectual mind a good way to make some progress on the spiritual task ( if something like this even exists ) is to find out what you are not. As Nisaragdatta Maharj’s teachings goes. When one has realized ones true nature lots of the teaching suddenly make sense. In the many years I was hunting realization, today I’m really not sure if there is even a way or a certain path. As you wrote above everyone can only understand to a certain degree. No way to get through this veil of thoughts and emotions from outside, one can only realize this by oneself investigating ones own mind etc. etc. But, who is doing this? Isn’t it the One looking for Itself? Never ever there even existed something like a separate self looking for anything.

    Love and bliss to all of you, Alex

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