Throw Away The Mask

Remove the mask of the personal self and reveal your original face.

Remove the mask of separation, division, and delusion, the mask that says I am this, I am that, you are this, you are that.

We hide behind a mask of mistaken identity. We think that we are individual selves with our own particular conditioned beliefs, often sitting in judgement of who or what is right and wrong.

Take off the mask of the ego, the separate self, and reveal your original face, your inherently intelligent and compassionate original self of pure awareness. For what are you at your core other than the knowing presence of awareness, experiencing all things, but yourself not an experience?

If you look at your awareness, that which observes the coming and going of all things but does not come and go with them, can you find any limits or boundaries? Can you find a place where your awareness ends and someone else’s begins? When asked, are you aware, we all answer yes, and this awareness is the same for everyone. We don’t each have our own individual awareness. Just as a wave on the ocean has no distinct border between itself and another wave, our assumed individual awareness has no distinct border between itself and another’s awareness.

There can only be one limitless and timeless awareness, not two. Challenge yourself to identify anything that has come from outside of awareness and you will discover the impossibility of this occurring. Where would it come from? Just as a wave doesn’t arise from outside the ocean, no object or appearance can arise from outside of awareness. And if nothing can arise from outside awareness, we, all things, must be made of it. At the core of our being, at the core of all that exists, there is only the unnamable stuff of awareness, and we are that.

Just as a wave is a unique manifestation of the ocean, you, I, we, are each a unique manifestation of this timeless and limitless awareness. Be this, as this is the truth of your, our, effortless being, before the mask of separation was inadvertently, innocently, placed over our original face, obscuring our view of reality.

Throw away the false mask of anxiety and doubt, paranoia, division, and fear, and expose the one true face, our one original face, the all-embracing, loving, compassionate, luminous faceless face of awareness.

Our actions in the world will reflect this clear and open understanding.

Skyless Cloud

You don’t have to go far to discover your essential being. In fact, you don’t have to go anywhere. Does the sky have to travel to find itself?

We think and feel that we are an individual self, a body-mind housing its own personal awareness or consciousness, viewing the world through its five senses. But this is not our actual experience.

Try to imagine a skyless cloud – a cloud without a sky. Or to put it another way, can an object appear without space? Not possible.

Now try to imagine a cloudless sky – a clear blue sky. Easily done.

Isn’t it true that the sky exists without clouds, but clouds can’t exist without the sky?

Now try to imagine you, as an individual self, without the aware knowing presence that has been with you, unchanging, since you were a child. Can you remove this awareness from your body-mind? Can you take away the aware presence that knows that you exist, that says I am?

If you answer yes, you are contradicting yourself. You would have to be aware to know that you have taken away the awareness that says I am.

Just as the sky exists with or without clouds, awareness exists with or without the individual self or body-mind. Clouds appear and disappear in the sky, but the sky doesn’t appear and disappear with them. Thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions of the body-mind come and go in awareness, but awareness doesn’t come and go with them.

Now ask yourself, when a cloud appears in the sky, where does it come from? Does it come from outside the sky? Could it come from outside the sky? Obviously not. Where would it come from?

Then ask yourself, when a thought appears, where does it come from? Does it come from outside awareness? Could it come from outside awareness? Obviously not. Where would it come from?

Just as a cloud must be made of sky, the individual self or body-mind must be made of awareness. And if you look at the qualities of awareness no limits can be found. It never begins or ends and is ever-present. And this being the case, there can only be one. Where is there room for two in the infinite and eternal?

Identify with this unchanging, limitless, ever-present awareness and relax into the cloudless sky of our collective being. With this recognition, you, I, we, will effortlessly share the peace, love, and happiness that resides in and as the centerless center of our original self.

Whatever Happens

Whatever is happening is happening in awareness. Not to awareness.

As individual selves, we think things are happening to us, but that is not our actual experience.

When we identify as separate selves, then yes, things happen to us that make us feel happy, angry, inspired, or depressed. But when we look for the self to which things happen, we can’t find it. All we find is a conglomeration of ever-changing thoughts, images, memories, emotions, bodily sensations, and perceptions of the world through our five senses. These are all temporary qualities, and therefore can’t be considered part of our essential nature.

The only thing that is not temporary in our experience is awareness – that which knows all experience but itself is not an experience. Experiences come and go, but awareness does not come and go with them.

Ask yourself, does awareness, the knowing element in all experience, happen in a thought, or does thought happen in awareness? This is easy to confirm one way or the other. Which comes first, a thought or awareness? Thoughts are continually coming and going, but that which knows them doesn’t appear and disappear along with them. For just a moment, sit quietly and observe a thought entering your field of awareness, lingering for a moment, and then leaving your field of awareness. You, that is, your essential being of ever-present awareness, exists prior to, during, and after a thought has appeared, lingered, and disappeared. And this is true for all of the temporary qualities of the body-mind, or so-called separate self.

These observations being irrefutable, we can only conclude that our essential being is awareness itself. And if we investigate the qualities of this awareness, no limits or boundaries can be found. It is therefore infinite and eternal, and we can’t each house our own private infinite and eternal awareness. Where is there room for two?

You, I, we, are this one and only awareness. So as you move through this temporary life form as a body-mind, remember that all things happen in you as infinite and eternal awareness, not to you as a limited separate self. And with this revelation, happiness prevails.

Whatever happens is happening in awareness, not to awareness. This is very reassuring, in fact, completely liberating when you are established in this realization. When you are having a difficult time, don’t worry. Just as a violent thunder and lightning storm leaves the sky unchanged, untarnished, and unharmed, similarly, awareness, our essential shared being, is untouched, unchanged, and unharmed by whatever is happening in it.

To Beat A Dead Horse

We beat a dead horse over and over – wake up, Wake Up, WAKE UP! – and still the horse is dead.

As a spiritual seeker we beat our heads against the illusionary wall of separation over and over, hoping that some time in the future we will wake up, Wake Up, WAKE UP! But still we are dead to our true nature.

The separate self, the body-mind, the ego, seeks the happiness as proclaimed by sages, past and present, and goes to any means possible to find it. It seeks it through possessions, relationships, substances, thrills, or meditates, prays, chants mantras, surrenders to a guru . . . and is never satisfied. It might find momentary relief in some of these experiences, but all experiences come and go, which leaves the separate self in an endless and futile quest for relief. Relief, as it turns out, from itself.

The separate self cannot find the happiness it seeks because the separate self doesn’t exist. There is no ‘me’, as we have been taught to believe, to do the seeking in the first place.

The separate self is a body-mind made of flesh, sinew, and bones, housing thoughts, images, emotions, and sensations, perceiving the world through the five senses. All these attributes are continually changing, forever coming and going, and therefore can’t be considered real in the truest sense.

For something to be real shouldn’t it be ever-present and unchanging?

What in our experience is ever-present and unchanging?

The only thing ever-present and unchanging in our experience is awareness, that which knows experience but is itself not an experience.

Once this aware-presence at the core of our being has been identified, ask yourself, can anything exist outside of this awareness? Does anything in our experience enter our awareness from some other place? Does a cloud enter the sky from a location other than the sky? And, strictly speaking, awareness itself is not a place. As it is ever-present, it is not limited to one particular location in time or space. It is beyond, or prior to, time and space, and therefore infinite and eternal.

Where in the infinite and eternal is there room for two?

Awareness is all there is.

If awareness is all there is, everything must be made of awareness. There is no horse, no self, no other, no thoughts, sensations, or perceptions, no world, no galaxy, no universe. There is only awareness and its infinite manifestations.

So now, for the two hundredth time, let’s beat on one more dead horse: the idea of ever-present awareness. We have come to understand that awareness is all there is, that nothing comes from outside of awareness, that everything is made of awareness, and finally, as awareness is the source of all things, it wants for nothing.

Now let’s take our neti neti stick of discrimination and with one pure stroke beat the concept of awareness into oblivion . . .

. . . and vanish into the full emptiness of the centerless center of our shared being.

I, Awareness, Cannot Be Followed

I, Awareness, cannot be followed.

To follow someone or something infers that there is something to obtain from that person or thing being followed. That they or it inspires you in some way and moves in a direction worth pursuing. It also assumes that there is someone to do the following.

We play ‘follow the leader’ as children. We’re encouraged to continue the game as adults. We follow a religion or a philosophy, a spiritual teacher, a political leader or a revolutionary. We sing songs about following, e.g., ‘I’ll Follow the Sun’ and ‘I Will Follow Jesus.’

We follow our thoughts. Actually, we’re obsessed with following our thoughts to the point that, for the most part, we live in a fantasy world created by them. We follow our passion, our bliss, our dreams, Don Juan’s ‘a path with heart’, and Buddha’s ‘Middle Way’.

But I, Awareness, cannot be followed because I am not going anywhere. I am unmoving. And I have nothing to give you because I am nothingness itself.

Remain still and I am there. We are there. Move through your daily life and I am there. We are there. You cannot lose me for I am everywhere, in you, as you, of you – the essence of your being, of all beings, as I, infinite and eternal Awareness, am the source of all manifestation. I is we. We is I.

You want to follow me, but how do you follow yourself? In what direction do you move to find me, yourself, who is everywhere, everything? Can a cloud follow the sky? The cloud arises in the sky, from itself, and dissolves back into the sky, into itself. So in essence it is following itself, from itself, to itself, knowing only itself.

And the irony of it all, which was established thousands of years ago by the sages of old, is that you, the follower, are an illusion made up of ever-changing thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions – there is no you to to do the following in the first place.

I would suggest that you ‘un-follow’ me, but for all the above reasons that’s not possible either. Now, as you like to say, you’re caught between a rock and a hard place. But, funny thing, there are no rocks in my world, nothing hard, as there is no matter in the truest sense – all is a manifestation of me, emptiness. I, Awareness, am the stuff of all things.

So from my perspective I would say that you’re caught between a cloud and the sky.

Now what do you do? What can you do? There are not two answers.

The Only Thing That Is Constant

‘The only thing that is constant is change.’ ~ Heraclitus

Change of all perceivable things is inevitable. As Heraclitus said, up becomes down, in becomes out, day becomes night. But to say that the only thing that is constant is change is not quite accurate.

Stop for a minute and notice your experience. Notice that your thoughts are always changing, your sensations and feelings are always changing, the sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells of the world are always changing. Yes, there is continuous change, but when you look deeply at your experience you discover that change is not the constant.

Ask yourself, what knows change? What is it that is aware of the change in all objective experience? Change is constantly happening, but by its very definition change itself is not constant. Isn’t something that is constant unchanging?

There is an unchanging element to all experience. What is it?

Who or what is it that notices anything? Identify that within you that observes the coming and going of all things but doesn’t come and go with them, the constant, unmoving, and unchanging aware presence that is the source of our being, the essence of our being, the background of all experience, the I that knows that I am.

This is it.

Change happens in this aware presence, or awareness, whose very nature is changeless. When is it ever not present? Does any experience affect it? It’s always the same regardless of what happens in the body, mind, and world – it is nameless, placeless, unmoving, all embracing, limitless, and timeless. And how do you find this awareness? By not looking. By not not looking. By simply being, no effort involved. You are because Awareness is.

Once you have identified this unchanging awareness in yourself, in all beings, as there can only be one that is limitless and timeless, and begin to live your life in harmony with this discovery, your essential self is less and less obscured by the ever-changing experiences of the body, mind, and world.

And finally, just as the sun shines brilliantly in the sky whether there are clouds or not, so to will your essential being shine brilliantly regardless of what happens.

And all will be brightened by your presence.

This brings to mind the final verse from the Ten Bulls of Zen:

10 bull.jpeg

Barefooted and naked of breast,

I mingle with the people of the world.

My clothes are ragged and dust-laden,

and I am ever blissful.

I use no magic to extend my life;

Now, before me, the dead trees

become alive.

(http://www.deeshan.com/zen.htm)

All You Need To Discover

All you need to discover is the limitless, timeless nature of awareness – that which knows the coming and going of all things but doesn’t come and go with them.

Discover this and all your questions about the meaning of life, the truth of existence, enlightenment, awakening, or liberation will be answered.

Simply look at what in you exists prior to any appearance in the body, mind, or world. Or even more simply, notice that whatever you are aware of you are not.

You are the awareness or consciousness with which all things are known. Because your nature is limitless and timeless nothing can exist outside of you.

Recognize this limitless, timeless element of your being and experience freedom from the bondage of the body, mind, and world, and in this recognition experience the one true experience, your essential self, whose nature is one of unbounded joy.

How do you recognize the limitless, timeless nature of your essential being? Look at that within you that is aware, or awareness itself, and see if you can find an edge or boundary to it. When you firmly establish that there is no end to awareness, in other words, it is infinite, then see if you can discover a time when it is not present. When you firmly establish that there is no time when it is not present, or, in other words, it is eternal, you are home free.

What else do you need to know? This discovery, recognition, understanding – the infinite and eternal nature of awareness or consciousness – dissolves all separation between self and other, you and me, subject and object, this and that, and reveals the indivisible nature of all experience. All things are made of the same stuff – consciousness if you’re a scientist or pragmatist, awareness if you come from a philosophical or spiritual background – and therefore all of our actions spring from the reverence of this oneness and promote nothing but peace, love, and happiness for all beings, all things, and all worlds, inner and outer.

Connecting The Dots

Most of us feel a need to connect with others – our loved ones, our peers and neighbors, our community and co-workers, etc. Some of us feel a need to connect on a global scale, to be global citizens, setting aside our preconceptions and dogmas and connecting in some small way with the diverse cultures found around the world. But what actually connects us? Many of us think that it’s our common ideas and beliefs, our deep feelings for this or that, or our shared experiences. On the surface this seems to be the case, but is it?

To feel a need to connect infers that there is a ‘you in here’ to connect to an ‘other out there’. Two separate entities. But when looked at closely, no division can be found between a self and other, an inside or outside, here or there.

We can verify this by looking at our own experience, the only true test of what is real. If we rely on or blindly accept what others tell us we’ll never get the correct answer, never come to the same universal conclusion.

Just as all waves are made of water, all objective experiences, including that of our own body and mind, which includes all thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, are only made of the knowing of them, the awareness of them.

And does anything come from outside awareness into awareness? Where would this outside be? Can you find any boundaries to your awareness or consciousness, a place where awareness ends and something else begins?

We cannot find any limits to our own awareness because there aren’t any. And the same goes for everyone else on the planet. And this being the case, there can’t be more than one awareness, one consciousness. Therefore, all things must arise in awareness, and it follows that all things must be made of awareness.

There are no dots to connect. It’s not even that we’re already connected. It’s that you, we, I, are manifestations of one indivisible whole. We are all made out of the same stuff, just as all waves are made out of water.

Once this is experienced, understood to be irrefutable fact, all our actions rise from the limitless, unchanging, and indivisible source. And what is the one thing that has these immeasurable qualities?

Love.

Are You Experienced?

‘But first, are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have’ ~ Jimi Hendrix

We are all experienced. We live our lives one experience after another. We hopefully avoid repeating old experiences that were unpleasant and often seek new experiences to keep life interesting. We might even go to extremes, thrill seekers in search of the ultimate experience, one that will take us beyond ourselves, like feeling the adrenaline rush of skydiving or meditating ten hours a day to reach a blissful state. If we have a particularly powerful experience we may spend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to duplicate it.

Not only are we all experienced, we ourselves are an experience. For starters, each of us is someone else’s experience – the ‘subject/object-object/subject’ paradigm.

What is the nature of an experience, of all experiences? They are temporary events, arising and passing away. Experiences don’t linger, and the individual self is made up of experiences of ever-changing thoughts, emotions, sensations, and perceptions of the world.

The individual self thinks that it is experiencing all these experiences, but is itself an experience being experienced by something beyond itself.

What experiences all experiences, yet itself is not an experience, cannot be experienced?

There is an element of our being that is aware of all experience but does not share the ephemeral quality of all experience. What is this? Where is this? It can’t be named and it can’t be found, but is undeniably present at all times.

It is unquestionable that we know that we are. We are aware beings that know we are aware, but often overlook this fact and identify with the fleeting qualities of our ever-changing thoughts, moods, sensations, and perceptions. Identify with the unchanging, dimensionless awareness that is always with us and experience the changeless, formless, all-embracing source that we all share, as there can be only one. (Where is there room for two of something that is dimensionless and unchanging, infinite and eternal?)

This is the ultimate experience. No need to seek any further.

I, Awareness, Am Here To Simplify

Seekers of the truth can get easily sidetracked on the path towards liberation or awakening. I, Awareness, am here to simplify the process:

There is no process.

There is no path.

There is no liberation or awakening.

You are already what you seek – unlimited, formless, boundless, ageless, all-knowing, ever-present Awareness (some call me Consciousness).

But let me simplify that:

Nothing is unlimited.

Nothing is formless

Nothing is ageless, all-knowing, ever-present, conscious or aware.

Nothing.

No thing. Nothing with objective qualities can be considered real in the truest sense. That includes all concepts, opinions, positions, and beliefs (thought being the subtlest form of object).

I, Awareness, am the only ‘thing’ that can be considered real, as I have no boundaries or limits. I stand outside of time and space, or rather, time and space stand inside of me, as do all appearances of the body, mind, and world.

But again, I must clarify:

I, Awareness, am only a concept, a lofty idea, ideal, which sounds enticing but is only as real as a wave on the ocean or a cloud in the sky. Give up all hope of liberation. Reside in the emptiness that is my heart, and be eternally liberated, beyond time and space, beyond birth and death, beyond the beyond.

There is nothing to believe in, no opinion worth fighting over, nothing to find and nothing to lose.

Relax in the formless emptiness that is your, our, essential being and be forever . . . forever.