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.

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.

Forever

Our

Centerless Center

Dissolves

Vanishes

Into Its

Centerless Center

Never To Be Found

Never To Be Lost

Never To Be Ever

Never To Be Never

Again

Forever

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.

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.

This Too Shall Pass II

‘This too shall pass.’ This common phrase has been around for a long time, its origin attributed to, among others, early Persian poets, the Bible, Judaism, and various Western and Eastern philosophers. A version of it can be found in most world cultures and for good reason – it’s a starting point for a true understanding of the nature of experience. If we pay any attention to what’s going on around us, it’s obvious that all things come and go. Some things take longer than others to arise and pass away, but the rise and fall of all objective experience is inescapable, and many of us base our life’s actions on this inevitability.

We usually say ‘this too shall pass’ when we find ourselves in an unpleasant situation, one we’d rather avoid or not experience at all. It might be physical like a sickness, or psychological like a bad mood. Whatever it is, we assume it is I, the personal self, who says ‘this too shall pass’. But the personal self consists solely of passing attributes. Try to name one characteristic of the personal self that doesn’t come and go and you can’t. The body-mind is comprised of thoughts, images, emotions, sensations, and perceptions of the world. All constantly changing attributes, coming and going, appearing and disappearing like colorful fall leaves floating down a mountain stream.

So if there is no personal self, who or what is actually saying this?

Whoever or whatever is saying ‘this too shall pass’ cannot itself be passing, otherwise how would it know anything was passing? It’s like the difference between sitting on the edge of a stream watching the leaves drift by and being one of the leaves.

Identify that within you that never comes and goes, that is ever-present and aware, and you have found your essential being. Although that isn’t quite true, as your essential being was never lost in the first place, it was just mistaken for a drifting leaf. But once you discover this unchanging element of being within you, within all of us, it can be said with assurance that this understanding shall never pass.

A Fruitless Attempt

‘Are we not wasps who spend all day in a fruitless attempt to traverse a window-pane while the other half of the window is wide open?’ ~ Wei Wu Wei

Gap In The Clouds

We experience thoughts coming and going, but after one thought disappears and another one arises there is a gap. Where are we in this gap between thoughts?

Do we, the one who is aware of thoughts coming and going, disappear when a thought disappears and the gap appears? No. We are still here, in the gap. So we could now say, ‘I am the gap.’

But there is no gap.

To say that we are the gap between thoughts would be like saying that the sky is a gap in the clouds.

Just as there is only the unbroken continuity of the sky, sometimes obscured by the clouds, but never not there, there is only the unbroken continuity of the presence of awareness, sometimes obscured by our thoughts, sensations, or perceptions, but never not there.

Now ask yourself, who or what is it that notices the thoughts, gap, clouds, sky, and awareness?

But before you answer, here’s a hint: there is no ‘who’ or ‘what’.

Don’t Name It

We all have feelings. We feel happy, content, peaceful, angry, sad, depressed, bored, lonely, anxious, etc.

What is a feeling, really? Most of us accept feelings as part of our essential nature, but is this our actual experience?

All feelings are temporary, coming and going in the empty, open field of awareness, the source of our being. Rather than name these feelings as good, bad, or neutral, and reacting to them in some way, don’t name them at all.

Go through a day without naming or labeling any of your so-called ‘feelings’ and see what happens.

If you do this, go through a day just experiencing feelings, observing them as they come and go without naming them, you will find that what you considered a previously uncomfortable feeling is nothing more than a temporary appearance in awareness that does not affect the unchanging, knowing presence of awareness itself.

And you are this awareness. You are that. All feelings come and go in you, awareness, but you do not come and go with them. Things happen in you, not to you.