A Gentle Honesty

Awakening humbles me.

A strange thing about awakening is frequently we feel we are very conscious, but then life throws something at us and we react in the same conditioned way we always did. It’s a humbling experience, and that’s the point of it.

A year ago I had severe and debilitating anxiety. It was bad enough to have anxiety at all, and this particular bout was especially severe, but on top of that I was upset that I could have anxiety at all. I had thought. with awakening I had overcome depression and anxiety. I had seen the light of Truth—how is it possible that I could have anxiety?

credit: accent on eclectic

That was the point of the experience. Humility was my learning. And the anxiety led to the discovery and refinement of a very effective release technique, so in retrospect, everything fell neatly into place.

The thing that trips us up in our journey to be natural again is that we are not always able to see the obstacles. This is of course why they are obstacles. We are not able to see, for example, that even after we have the insight that we are not mind, we continue to cling to mindstuff. With an awakening insight, the target of our chase changes, but it’s still the same old chasing. We now chase spirituality or teachings or traditions or particular ideas and fixed views. Instead of money and power, we now may be chasing ‘beautiful’ ideas of Oneness, bliss, enlightenment, immortality, positive thinking and so on. The ego is actually ecstatically happy that we’ve taken on this awakening thing. It’s looking forward to that time in the future, when it will have enlightened superpowers to manifest its desires instantly. It loves all concepts and views about awakening.

The ego of course can never awaken. Awareness is already awake. All we need to do is shift attention, but the clinging to concepts and views prevents this simplicity.

In the middle way, the Buddha tells us essentially that no view can be right. The Buddha’s “Right View” is no view.

So why do we cling to these obstacles? Possibly, it’s because we are not comfortable with uncertainty. How do we live while awakening? How do we make decisions? What is “right”? If you’ve had an insight or an awakening experience, that’s wonderful, and you may be sure you’re finally on the right path, but the bills don’t stop. Life does not stop while you are transforming. Relationships, breakups, loneliness, children, parents, family, friends, sickness, addictions, recidivism, fatness, wrong careers, wrong circumstances, money problems, insecurity—it all continues. Frequently, awakening itself brings about or exposes problems.

I’ll write more about my awakening symptoms and experiences in other articles, but briefly, starting two years ago, I have experienced awakening insights, deep emotional turmoil, a series of revelations, all of which are irrelevant and meaningless now, a period of very high energy and activity and involvement, effortless and rapid weight loss, an easy cessation of addictions, followed by severe anxiety, then later recidivism, detachment, apathy, inactivity and weight gain. As old drivers fall away, I have lost interest and motivation in many of the usual things. My career as a software director is gone. Some friendships deepened; some went away. The strong intellectual drive to figure it all out through beliefs and concepts is gone. I don’t have financial security, in the conventional sense.

There have been uncomfortable realizations about myself and my past. Anyone who has known depression and anxiety, knows that the rough tumbles can turn a depressive into a pretty good liar. Depression breaks relationships, careers, health, and life itself—and in desperate attempts to hold it all together, the ego turns to lies and manipulation.

But through all of this, Life inexorably moves on. It does not stop and politely wait for us to be fully expanded.

So how do we live while awakening? That’s a whole another article, and I’m working on it. I don’t have any clever answers except sharing my experience may be helpful, to you and to me.

Getting back to obstacles, what I’ve found to be very helpful is gentle honesty. I was fond of calling it radical honesty—to highlight that it is not something we are used to. But radical suggests a brutish approach, and a strong inflexible approach does not work. The ego will immediately take over.

I’m not talking about honesty in the conventional sense. Generally, when we think honesty, we think honesty with others. That’s important, and that develops naturally with awakening. What I mean by gentle honesty is honesty with oneself.

It’s a gentle, compassionate honesty which allows us to see what we are right now, right here. Any sort of judgment will work against the honesty. There is no need to analyze. There is absolutely no value of right or wrong, good or bad. It’s a gentle, honest noticing.

Often, I write against the type of ideas that have to do with positive thinking, optimism, intentional manifestation and the like. I don’t want to take away or shoot down people’s beliefs. But such strategies are frequently co-opted by the ego to serve egoic intentions, so it becomes difficult to distinguish between egoic desires and true inspiration. These strategies can also be used by the ego to deny or cover up true feelings. Depression and anxiety, for example, are a result of covering up rage. If our thoughts and feelings are negative, forcibly shoving them under the shaggy rug of positive thinking is not gentle honesty.

If you don’t think you are honest with yourself, you’re in a wonderful place. If you think you rationalize, you are in a wonderful place. If you feel lost, you are in a wonderful place. That’s a good place to start. Intend a gentle, honest noticing, and from here, it will develop.

Once you have the insight you are not your mind, everything you do will be right. It cannot be otherwise. Your attention is shifting. Thought is losing its grip on you. The past is losing its grip. Your attention is shifting to the Truth of existence, and everything you do, think, say or experience will help you expand. If something happens that feels contracting, it is temporary and there is a reason for it. So relax. Einstein said it’s insane to keep doing the same thing over and over when you know it hasn’t worked. So when you have doubts or a feeling of self-indulgence, remember you are trying something new.

Release, and you will feel better right here, right now. Be Aware, and you will know Truth.

A gentle, easy honesty can help.

Your turn. What is your experience of honesty? Does self-honesty come easily to you?

47 thoughts on “A Gentle Honesty

  1. Srinivas Rao

    Very interesting post Kaushik. I think this idea of gentle honesty is really powerful and can restore a sense of peace of mind in our lives. I’ve spent the last 5 days literally surfing 6 hours a day. While I sat on the beach at times I would think “MBA, Berkeley degree, etc and now I’m just sitting here on the beach doing nothing.” Then I realized despite all their money, accomplishment and success, some people would be really envious of the way I was living. For me the ocean is what gives me the greatest sense of release and relaxation that I’ve ever discovered in my life. Looking forward to your next few posts.
    .-= Srinivas Rao´s last blog ..How to dwell on the past in a productive manner: your accomplishment board =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Srinivas,
      Yeah, it took some practice to develop self-honesty. It’s easy to rationalize and fool ourselves with beliefs and concepts. The only thing that really counts is direct experience. Gentleness helps.

      It’s wonderful that you are doing what you enjoy, and that you’ve found something that gives you so much joy. Joy comes from presence, and I imagine surfing is a great way to be present!

      K

      Reply
  2. Dayne | TheHappySelf.com

    Love that phrase, “gentle honesty”. Also, one might add to that, “gentle acceptance”. As a person who has suffered with chronic anxiety and bouts of depression, I know how easy it is to slip into those states of mind when we are not fully present, or do not fully accept things as they are. Acceptance alone has helped tremendously. It is when we fight and resist, and we are not in a state of gentle honesty that we get in trouble.

    Be honest with yourself and how you feel, and the rest will take care of itself naturally.

    Thanks for the great post!
    Dayne
    .-= Dayne | TheHappySelf.com´s last blog ..How to Free Yourself From The Inside Out =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Dayne,

      You make an important point. Self-honesty and self-acceptance are tightly related, as we develop one, we develop the other. I empathize with your anxiety and depression; I’ve had the same experience, and perhaps depression/anxiety is the spirit’s way of telling us there is a higher possibility. Releasing has helped me shed anxiety, permanently, and as you point out, it really is about accepting, being gently honest, and being present. Releasing gives us a comfortable technique to do that with.

      “Be honest with yourself and how you feel, and the rest will take care of itself naturally.” Beautiful.

      Thanks for contributing!

      k

      Reply
  3. Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord

    I notice whenever I resist something, there’s a truth wanting to reveal itself within me. As I read some of what you wrote, I felt resistance rising, which for me is a good sign.
    Something I’m understanding and accepting more and more is the idea that ego is as necessary as non-ego. I have to believe that if God didn’t want us to live ego-driven lives, we wouldn’t struggle as much as we do. On the flip side, I also believe God wants us to be awakened from ego. In those two contradictory states, we have oneness – with God and with everything.
    I thought you made a great point when you talked about how, after awakening, we have to step back into our everyday lives. Ill-fitting as our minds and bodies may seem, it’s why we’re here.
    Thank you for writing in such a way as to stir me up a little. I appreciate it!
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last blog ..Must Reads: Bloggers I Love =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Megan,
      What a wonderful comment! My experience of resistance is the same as yours. When I first read Eckhart Tolle, years ago, I was vaguely offended. I wanted to argue with it. I’ve learned since then to simply notice resistance. That’s all that’s needed.

      The ego, in current conventional spirituality, is lambasted as a despot. It’s true that, with its partner the pain-body, it cause us and others no small amount of misery, but with expanding awareness and release we see the ego is just a concept, and it is our own creation, and it is necessary. The ego does not go away; with awakening, it is seen through.

      Thanks for expanding the discussion in a wonderful way!
      k

      Reply
  4. Lisa (mommymystic)

    This is my favorite of the posts of yours that I have read. It’s that whole ‘before enlightenment – chop wood and carry water; after enlightenment – chop wood and carry water’ zen parable idea. I love the phrase ‘gentle honesty’, I think this is so true. And what Megan wrote about recognizing resistance as it arises and seeing that as a good sign. This is how I am working with daily life these days, trying to honestly recognize resistance when it arises, whether it is with my kids, or reading someone else’s blog post, or in meditation or whatever. I think of each moment of resistance as showing me a ‘knot’ in my consciousness, and recognizing each knot is the first step in untying it. I think this is the great gift of actively living in the world, as opposed to on retreat in a monastic setting. I think the latter has its place, but its easy to get ‘stuck’ because you aren’t challenged. This was a big theme of my own late teacher’s, and although I have often wished I had a more monastic lifestyle, I think as I get older I am coming to recognize the beauty and value of this every day path, and the opportunity the resistances it triggers offer me to awaken. Namaste-
    .-= Lisa (mommymystic)´s last blog ..June/July Month in Review =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for the very kind words!

      Both you and Megan have pointed out that the gentle, honest noticing of resistance can open up the world for us. This is what both awareness and releasing are about: a gentle healing.

      I agree about monasteries. The best teacher we have is an engaged Life!

      I love it when comments expand the discussion from different views. Thank you!

      k

      Reply
  5. Liara Covert

    Being completely honest with the self is a process that seldom happens overnight. The exercise of complete self-disclosure brings alignment between conscious and unconscious realms of the mind. To progress in steps enables growth, healing and renewing of core energy.
    .-= Liara Covert´s last blog ..Relate to the butterfly? =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Liara,
      Yes, you’re right. It can be a gradual process of releasing, and honest develops with experience. Fears can come up. At some point, it seems to get spontaneous and natural.

      Thanks for a great insight.

      k

      Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Dani,
      My experience is the same as yours. Self-honesty is difficult in the beginning, but as you point out, it develops quickly with awareness and presence. Releasing–particularly releasing fears–has helped a great deal. I think often we are not able to be honest with ourselves because of our own fears.

      Thanks!
      k

      Reply
  6. Ashima

    Excellent perspective for often in life, we all experience ‘awakening’ but too often just brush it off or do not pay attention to it because as you rightly said, our “conditioned” reactions takes over.

    Now, how do we begin this wondrous path of self awareness… the here, the now moment? Ha, herein lies the “rocky” path, for the ever shifting, swinging mind ferociously ensnare and entangles you, drowning you in its hypnotic alluring abyss of buried treasures called mesmerizing memories, or teleporting you to a distinct future! It does it serenely for its unflinching, ignorant and willing victim – YOU! Therefore, there are many methods for which to “watch or become aware” of our thoughts – which essentially propagates mind for all its entirety! Methods that if done with conviction and dedication changes you within and reflecting its changes on your physical self called the body!

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Ashima,

      You’re so right. As you point out, there are many awareness methods. We can meditate, observe thought, be gentle awareness, abide in the gaps between thoughts, be present…and so on. Many of us are afraid–we feel we are not ready or we don’t have time or it will be too hard.

      But it does not have to be dedicated or hard effort. We don’t have to meditate. Do the technique that’s the easiest. We don’t have to sit down and meditate. Simply observing gently, whenever we remember, is enough. As we observe, the gaps between thoughts develop and expand, we realize this is very natural.

      What has helped me greatly, is to release, along with expanding awareness. Releasing helps us feel better right away. It helps release negative emotions, rationalizations, limited beliefs and so on.

      At some point, the whole thing seems to take hold, and then effort is released, and if we can get out of the way, it deepens on its own!

      Hope you’re well! Happy raksha-bandhan!
      k

      Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Jonathan,

      You always bring up excellent points for discussion!

      The essence that we are, the awareness that we are, is already positive, joyful, loving, compassionate, intelligent and capable. When we don’t feel that way, it’s because we’ve covered up our true nature with rubbish.

      Awareness methods helps expand awareness so we can come out of the thinking mind into presence. Releasing, helps release the layers we’ve built up from the past and negative emotions and limiting beliefs. In my experience, it doesn’t help much to analyze.

      Thanks for bringing that up!

      k

      Reply
  7. Kaizan

    Really nice post.

    I think it was really interesting that when you had the anxiety, you said you were upset that you “could have anxiety at all”.

    I can totally identify with that. A lot of my stress arises from thinking that things “should” be a particular way.

    I noticed a friend saying the other day “I shouldn’t be responding like this”
    When we tell ourselves what “should” happen instead of acknowledging what “is” happening, we create stress.

    Gentle honesty really is the key!

    Thanks for a motivating post.
    .-= Kaizan´s last blog ..How to Eat Less – and Still be Happy =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Kaizan,

      Thanks. Yes, there is a lot of “shoulding” in us. In Stillness or deep meditation, if we look, we can observe a subtle moment-to-moment shoulding. At that level it is a lurching for the next moment. In my experience, when I simply notice this, it goes away.

      Thanks for visiting and the insightful comment!

      k

      Reply
  8. Avani Mehta

    Your article reminded me of Byron Katie’s book ‘Thousand Names Of Joy’. She speaks about this in almost her entire book. Whenever you think things shouldn’t be this way … you are resisting what is. When you accept what is … there are no problems. Whatever state you are in, that is the state you are supposed to be in for this moment. The moment is perfect. The moment IS.

    Here are a few lines which I loved from the book:

    No one is permanently enlightened; that would be the story of a future. There’s only enlightenment in the moment. Do you believe a stressful thought? Then you’re confused. Do you realize that the thought isn’t true? Then you are enlightened to it. It’s as simple as that. And then the next thought comes, and maybe you are enlightened to it as well, and maybe not.
    .-= Avani Mehta´s last blog ..Tap Into The PowerHouse Of Negative Emotions =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Namaskar Avani,

      Byron Katie is wonderful, isn’t she? I love the way she brings it all down to ground, without getting too fluffy or mystical, so people can relate. Her message is so simple: don’t believe your thoughts; they are not you.

      Here’s another quotation from her I like:

      The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.

      Thanks for an insightful comment!
      k

      Reply
  9. Mark

    It is all a process. Awareness creates self honesty however as you stated the insidious ego will cling to and attempt to control whichever direction we choose. The ego is inclined to say, you want to spiritual that is okay, I will assist you in your chase and I will be glad to show others how spiritual we are. Of course the true spirit, our authentic self is not interested in the chase nor is it interested in the accolades and opinions of others. Awareness is the key and we must be wary of the egos attempts to regain control.Great post!
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..The Beauty of Your Own Backyard =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hey Mark,
      Yup the ego can be quite clever. What you describe, Leonard Jacobson calls the “spiritualized ego.” Many come to spirituality to wake up from the delusion of ‘me’ but strangely, this story just merges into a story of advancing the ‘me,’ and then we worry about how spiritual we are, how we are advancing, and how well we are doing with this awakening thing. The ego loves all this stuff.

      Still, this is exactly what some of us need in our journey.

      It’s all a fascinating, beautiful mystery!

      k

      Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Jonathan,

      There are specific methods for releasing. Some people find great success with EFT. Others with the Sedona Method. I have a technique that works beautifully. All release techniques, you may notice, are really just about accepting, fully feeling, making space for, and then letting go. It’s been my experience that as we practice release, it becomes easy, natural and instant. You can learn more about it from this article “How to release big and small emotions” and the “Awareness and Release” book.

      Reply
  10. Ariel

    What a beautiful post, and so true.. Even once the symptoms of awakening begin to arise, we still have to somehow do the normal life stuff. Illusion or not, abiding in the absolute or not, resting as awareness or not, life still goes on.

    I really appreciate your look at honesty as gentle honesty as opposed to radical honesty. I’ve looked at this as well and it seems that the self-honesty is more beneficial when it comes from a place of openness, vulnerability, and almost admitting what is here and being okay with it, rather than trying to beat yourself over the head with your perceived honesty.
    .-= Ariel´s last blog ..The Will to Live =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Ariel,
      Yes, once we get into the flow of awakening, life still goes on, and often this brings about confusion about relationships, money, health, careers, and all the rest.

      You’re absolutely right, self-honesty from a place openness and vulnerability, without checking it against the progress of awakening is most beneficial. That, like many other aspects of awakening, is not difficult, because it’s rather natural, and it’s not easy, because the ego fights it–it is delicate.

      Thanks for a very insightful comment!

      K

      Reply
  11. Brenda

    “But through all of this life inexorably moves on.”

    “What I’ve found to be very helpful is gentle honesty.”

    “Such strategies are frequently co-opted by the ego.”

    These lines are bold-worthy, Kaushik, or indentable, like you did with the Byron Katie quote. Would add a tiny bit of extra interest to your most interesting article yet. I am enjoying watching your writing evolve into something that so many people respond to. When you respond to Jonathan’s questions in particular (here and elsewhere), your voice is at its clearest, like a master teacher’s.

    Your release instruction has helped me so much. Your intention to help others is so obvious. Keep reminding us of the simple things we can do to live more authentic lives. Gentle honesty and gratitude to you!
    .-= Brenda´s last blog ..Simple Signs =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Ah, such kind words Brenda. Yes I feel a change is coming about. I’m so glad the release method is helping.

      Thank you so much!

      with love, k

      Reply
  12. Gilbert Ross

    Hi Kaushik,

    Nice post! It is really true that sometimes our goals of transformation, bliss, emlightenment, etc, are hijacked and taken over by the ego even if this might appear counterintuitive. As long as we attach and identify ourselves with any idea, the ego takes over. This may also happen to spiritual masters and teachers who after their profound transformation and dissolution of their egos they re-started identifying themselves with their new role of spiritual leaders after sometimes – hence the rebirth of their ego.

    I think that the ego never really ceases to be and I also think that this should not happen anyway because despite its negative and self-destructuve traits, the ego has still a lot of positive functions and it is a life force in itself. How would beings survive and evolve in this current reality if it wasn’t for the ego? To think otherwise is to be nihilistic which is also a self-defeating argument.

    however the ego should always be kept under check. i think this is where your idea of gentle honesty comes in. Probably it is the best way to keep a balanced co-existence with our egos.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Gilbert,

      Thanks, you’ve summarized it very well.

      That’s a good point about spiritual masters egos hijacking their purpose. Someone asked Eckhart Tolle about that, and he replied that it’s very possible that can happen. I believe that may have happened to Osho. I read Osho’s earlier books and find them to be very gentle and compassionate and incisive. But at some point, his identity as a spiritual leader solidified.

      The ego is not bad–any bad thoughts about the ego are of course the ego discovering itself. It’s a tricky thing. Gentle honesty keeps the balance.

      Thanks for the insightful comment!

      k

      Reply
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  14. Janice

    this website is changing how I feel today. I suffer from (sometimes) extreme anxiety and exhausting depression. I have been to many therapists, tried sedatives, and worked a 12 step program for years. But, I have a strange question, do you have any insight on being raised in a home with parents who were incredibly depressed, my Mother committed sucide when I was 24, I am 53 now. My father was violent. I am not making excuses but could I have inherited their behaviors through that enviroment? Sometimes when I am very angry I just freeze or start crying. Have a very difficult time breathing, etc. I know there is a genetic link to the depression, anxiety. But, am I carrying their shame, anger and making it my own? Sometimes when I even think about living without the anxiety I think, well then, my Mom will be totally gone then. I know I sound nuts, but for some reason I trust that I can be honest with you and your friends. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Janice

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,

      Thank you for your honest comment.

      First, I’ll say that as I was releasing anxiety and depression, I did not ignore conventional medical treatment. So please note, nothing here is a substitute for medical advice.

      After twenty years of anxiety episodes, I was chagrined to discover that releasing anxiety was actually rather simple. What’s not simple is the readiness to try it. As I said in the article, I’m not sure how the shift from not-ready to ready happens.

      It’s important to understand that an emotion is a pattern. It is an association of thought and body-sensation. Look at any emotion with awareness, without thinking about it, and you can see that it is thoughts plus body-sensations. Nothing more. We reify emotions but in actuality they are just thought + body-sensation. In emotions like anxiety, this association becomes an energetic feedback loop between the two, getting stronger each time.

      Also understand there is resistance to letting go. Our emotions may be negative and they make us feel horrible, but they are after all, our emotions, and they give us identity and familiarity. It’s important to understand that emotions are something we have. They are not us. By letting go of anxiety, you will not be letting go of your Mom. It is good that you recognize this resistance.

      Janice, the resources I suggest to you are:

      http://www.beyond-karma.com/how-to/how-to-release-big-and-small-emotions-release/
      An article called “Talking to Fear” which I have not posted yet but I will send to you on email
      Awareness and Release (ebook)
      The Sedona Method (book)
      The Power of Now (book)

      On email, you asked me whether the books are on CD. I get asked this often now so I know I should do this. I’m working on two books and soon I will look into making audio.

      Thanks, Janice for your openness. I hope this helps.

      with love,
      k

      Reply
  15. Janice

    Dear Kaushik,
    Thank you so much for your words of experience and resources. I read other folks postings and I think WOW! they are so far along and I have so much to understand. I am still at the point where I have to tell the truth all the time for any help at all. Whenever I gloss over something or talk myself out of the feeling, I get right back to where I started. Talk about old patterns, I feel like I have felt this way since Jesus left Chicago. I am looking forward to your email. I am hungry for alternatives to the way my life is today. One more question, please, this resistance thing, is there a way to prepare myself for the shift of no resistance, or is it a gift of grace?
    P.S. I love the comments you made about the fear of letting go and why should we when there maybe no joy in that state as well. That verbalized fear/feeling made so much sense to me.
    Thank you for your time and consideration today.
    Janice

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,

      You should have the email by now. Let me know.

      Yes, it’s common to feel that others are farther along. Others get why can’t I? This will never happen for me. I’ll always go around in circles. You’ll also feel that you are farther along and then life will throw something at you to remind you you still have stuck patterns. This is how it goes. There is an ebb and flow.

      The important thing is to get into the flow of it.

      The Power of Now is a beautiful book. In the very beginning Tolle points out that the dysfunction is our deep identification with thought. By thought of course he means broadly the mind, including thought, emotions, beliefs, judgments and so on. Tolle also points out that once we’ve understood this basic dysfunction, we really don’t need to understand more.

      On resistance–yes it takes a readiness. My readiness came with misery. It’s just a willingness to accept that our view of life has been very narrow, caught in beliefs and thoughts. From the conversations we’ve had, I would say you are more than ready.

      Peace,
      k

      Reply
  16. Janice

    Okay, now you really have opened the floodgates. If I am not my beliefs, my mind or my judgements about my non-perfect body, if I am not the poster child for anxiety and depression, who the hell am I? Seriously, next you are going to tell me that I am not my religion or that I am not supposed to be a martyer. When I wasn’t looking someone turned me into a maryter. (that was supposed to be a joke). Has anyone ever reported an identity crisis with this path of awakening? Okay, okay, I get it I don’t have to be afraid, if I do feel fear I can acknowledge the fear and make space for it. I can practice the release technique also, I have choices. WOW, I have choices. Can you tell that I have been reading your ebook? I stopped for a break when I came to the article on stopping.
    But, I have to say your writing, and life experience is incredibly interesting. Your honesty is the backbone of how you relate to people (and probably yourself). At first, I thought your strength was your answers. But, your wisdon is not your power. Your power is how honest you are and that gives me curious hope.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Janice,
      Thank you for the kind words!

      Yes, it’s all a case of mistaken identity!

      Honesty is very freeing. It starts with gentle honesty with ourselves. And the rest develops. And that’s what I would say about awakening. Once we start, it develops.

      I am glad you are enjoying the book. My writing style has evolved considerably since I wrote these books–I suppose it’s time to rewrite.

      Take care my friend,
      k

      Reply
  17. Janice

    Dear K,
    I would not change a word.
    I love it the way it is.
    Simple instruction. If you do a re-write please keep it easy to read and understand.
    I am still chewing on yesterday’s words. I like the taste in my mouth.
    Love & Light

    Reply
  18. Janice R.

    Dear K,
    I am reading this post about gentle honesty and frankly I am not as far along as the previous posters. I do not feel peace, joy or release. I think that through my beginning of awareness that some feelings and information is coming to the surface that are very uncomfortable. I am trying to be gentle and truthful, but my stomach hurts and my chest feels tight. I have come to realize that I am a very judgemental person and I am trying my best to stay in the moment accept that it is, and release the feeling/information. I have rarely not judged my feelings or emotions so this is very new to me. I don’t seem to be having problems with releasing, or even allowing the information to be there, it is the accepting and not judging the information that is so difficult for me. It feels like I want to cry and I keep pushing that feeling aside.
    Any words of wisdom? I would greatly appreciate any support.
    Thank you,
    Janice

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,
      My experience was similar to yours.

      When we have the insight that we want to live consciously, rather than in reaction to conditioning and the ego, we start practices to be more aware. And immediately, the mind rebels. The ego does not surrender easily. We come face-to-face with some of the things you point out: fears, judgments, guilt and so on. I have experienced the emotional turmoil, anxiety, detachment, doubt, low-energy, apathy and more.

      A gentle inquisitiveness and gentle honesty are important. They are gentle so the ego doesn’t take over and in this way we can see where we are. You don’t have to worry about developing this honesty because from your comments, you are already able to see where you are.

      The answer is always to rest in awareness and allow whatever is happening. Resting in awareness simply means to notice, to be a witness, without analyzing or judging or labeling. These short moments of awareness, with practice, become longer and automatic.

      In times of emotional turmoil, there are a number of techniques which can help:

      1. Letting go, or releasing is important. With practice, we see that all of these practices are actually about letting go. I just wrote an article about how acceptance is not something we do, but something we let go of doing.
      2. Metta meditation. This is simply sending out feelings of love. At any time during the day, simply send out feelings of love to yourself, to others who you think have hurt you, to those who you think you have hurt, to loved ones, to everyone.
      3. Forgiving, gratitude, and acceptance can be important paths for many.

      Please let me know how it goes.

      with love,
      k

      Reply
  19. Janice

    Dear Mr. K,
    I have an update and a giant thank you for you. I was in a meeting at work on Thursday and it was the same thing, over and over. Another “task force” was in the making to “fix” another systems problem. As a group we have been working on this system for over two years!! How long can anyone or group CQI (continuous quality improvement) a department, of five people? I was at my wits end. I spoke up and said “why do we never tell this particular department that they do anything right?, why are we constantly telling them, they have yet another problem?” We have overhauled this department 3 times in two years. The majority of the group expressed a rather negative reaction to my reaction to create another task force idea. (stay with me for a second, I know this sounds confusing). Anyway, the task force was developed and the meeting was closed. As a result, in a 24 hour period, I relived the scene in my mind and body probably 75 times. I kept going back to your supportive words and techniques and still I kept reliving it. But, I kept feeling fear (they don’t understand me, and anger, they don’t agree with me) Yesterday at the end of the 24 hour period I asked myself do I want to carry this burden all weekend? NO, so I went to all three of the folks on my team that had the huge negative reaction and spoke with them individually, I expressed that I was angry and felt totally isolated and embrassed that the team sent a one line email to an employee that had prostate cancer surgery. We need to look at the entire situation not at just is wrong with their process at work. All three listened, two agreed and one had no reaction to my comments.
    Mr. K, do you believe that I made a conscience choice to handle my feelings and beliefs? I actually was honest with me, (as much as I could be at that moment) and honest with my Leadership team? I chose to be responsible with my situation and today I feel a 100 times better. thank you so much, I KNOW that what I learned from you about being responsible for my feelings, beliefs and reactions played a big part in how I handled this situation. This was a huge breakthrough for me. I am responsible for my feelings. You are helping me understand this and that there are methods to take responsibility for myself. I am just starting to learn this from you and your writing. Thank you,
    Janice

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,
      It’s difficult to comment on any particular situation. In this situation, you became aware of your feelings and thoughts, as awareness, and that’s the important thing.

      When we become aware that we have a choice every moment to live as awareness or to live as an ego, life can get a little confusing at first. We begin to question our thoughts and emotions and beliefs, in an analytical way. We wonder, was this the right thing to do? What would an awakened person do?

      The process of awakening is a process for most of us. It will ebb and flow. When there is confusion, allow it. We simply try to be aware, and we try to put together short moments of awareness, until awareness becomes automatic.

      Don’t bring on the additional angst of worrying about what you have already done. Allow your intuition.

      I hope this helps.
      k

      Reply
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  21. Bret

    Thank you so much for your website. I came across it today and I have read 4 or 5 of your different topics, several twice. For years I have meditated, gone to hypnotherapy, taken medication, prayed, looked to positive thinking, read the Secret, the Power of Now, written daily in a journal, written hourly in a mini notebook and now that I have come in a full circle, I understand these simple teachings of being in the now and noticing thoughts much better. Thank you for that.
    On the topic of being honest with ourselves, I also realized that meditation and being in the Now made me feel much better, and I found many other ways to feel better as well, but every time I used one of those methods TO feel better, it no longer worked. That is where accepting truly comes in. I realized that good and bad thoughts alike both worked to relax my mind and bring awareness, although many times I did not recognize it as being that. Through my depression and anxiety, I have realized that those good desires can be just as poisonous to me as the bad ones. Whatever it may be, it is an unnecessary and incessant drive to be or do something. I am glad that you have included this in your articles, it is important for people to often sit with, and detach from the positive thoughts.
    When it comes to feeling like we will let go of our desires and passions and drives and needs, that is best understood that once we let go, we realize the things that truly make us who we are; the things that we can never let go. We will stop wasting so much time doing things that don’t work and will become more in the flow doing what does. The journey, however, is tough. That fact is a difficult thing for people to swallow, I know it was for me. I felt like if I didn’t continue to pretend to my friends and family that I was OK that something bad would happen, that I would stop existing or would be forgotten or people would really realize the monster that I am. I have found the opposite. People have reached out, shown they care and although it never made anything better, I realized that they would be there for me when I was ready. The only thing that really changed was my honesty toward myself. I didn’t go out with friends anymore and didn’t really care that much because it was so painful anyways when I did. I didn’t text or call people back because it was too much to try to explain to them all I was going through or simply pretend it didn’t exist. I avoided people and situations that I knew would bring anxiety, fear and depression and I quit my job. Not much has changed since then, but my conviction is ever strengthened by the belief that things will get much, much better. Each new thing I learn about myself is only going to help, so I know that no matter how bad it gets, I have at least one more callous to strengthen me.
    I guess the point of all of this is primarily as a personal catharsis but also to possibly aide you in your follow-up article (if you haven’t already posted it). How do we become enlightened or awakened while still living life? I guess my personal answer echos your’s; life goes on. Once we accept that it will be hard at times, and realize that there will be situations where we will have no idea what to do but to put our best foot forward and most likely fail, we learn that people and situations that pass us by aren’t lost forever. I just ignored a call from a close friend an hour ago and, although I love her and want more than anything else to talk to her, I know that at times I am unable to and it is up to her to accept that. I know I would accept someone else who was feeling similarly. The last thing we want is to get at the end of our life, having done all of the things that we wanted to, and realize that we didn’t enjoy any of it. We may have done those things, but we were not really there. We didn’t have love or flow. Things COULD HAVE been so much better. I have felt that regret so much in my life that I have just given many things up for an unknown amount of time to find what I am looking for. I feel like I am starting to find it. If anyone else wants to obtain the things you write about, most likely some sort of personal suffering or sacrifice will ensue but it will be so much more better on the other side, as I am sure you can attest to.
    Haha, thank you for allowing me to use your site for my own confession.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Bret,

      Thanks for your open and honest comment. I’ve been wanting to reply but a reply did not come up until just now.

      You and I both have experimented and stumbled around and come to some recognizable clarity. I’ve read much of what you mention and tried out a few things.

      I think the effective techniques are about looking and honesty. The looking at the sense of I AM technique is effective, though I am not done with it and so don’t know where it will lead, but so far I’ve confirmed with myself that it does release resistance in us. That technique is all about looking, looking at you, something very ordinary. The only thing that’s extraordinary about the sense of you is that it is the only thing that is constant.

      The release technique I talk about here is very effective, and it too is about looking. Allowing, looking, letting go.

      And just simply being aware, falling back to awareness, brings in a broader intelligence. That’s a good technique.

      So why do we do the seeking? Can’t we just skip the seeking and go to what is at the source? Can we skip our attachment to particular practices and theories and spiritual knowledge and the rest?

      John Sherman seems to think so, and suggests his looking at you technique. I don’t know because I have already done the seeking, so I don’t know if this would have made sense to me five or six years ago.

      And to your excellent question: how do we live life while we are awakening?

      Well, where the spiritual tire meets the practical road–well, that’s a confusing place. I had the same questions. I haven’t found the answers; it’s more that the questions are disappearing!

      And so what I do and what I suggest is to look, with honesty, and live life in the way we are capable of living it right now. More simply, I don’t worry about it.

      Thanks, Brett, I hope to hear from you again.

      k

      Reply

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