Last year I gave up a HUGE habit. I gave up seeking and looking outside myself for answers.
I gave up seeking because I discovered that, over the course of the last 40 years, I had found what I was looking for.
Strangely enough, I didn’t know it until after signing up for a 45-day online class last year called The 45-Day Challenge—a much condensed version of something called The Finders Course, which used to take 6 months to complete.
I hadn’t done a spiritual workshop in 15 years. After “the awakening” in 2007 I thought I was done with all that. But something pulled me to it. (I mean, I had to do something in the midst of the first lockdown.) The upshot of the class was I received a new context for what I had discovered years ago about who/what I really am (and who/what we all are) … an unspeakable, indefinable, indescribable awareness … a vast non-physical conscious Presence that, left to its own devices, shows up as pure Love (usually accompanied by a quirky little Buddha smile that arrives of its own accord.)
The thing that had confused me ever since 2007 was that there was still a personality left after the awakening—a personal side to “me” that still showed up. My memories and history, my thoughts and ego predilections … even though I now knew from experience that those things weren’t “me” at all, much of the time those things still ran the show.
I didn’t realize I was a Finder because I was still dealing with the backwash of time. All the old identifiers—even though recognized for the illusions they are—actually take time to settle down into useful tools rather than unconsciously taking center stage, playing out as the “self.”
I also didn’t realize it because 1) We are trained from infancy onwards to look outside of ourselves for information, support and for Truth, because God and Truth are OUT THERE somewhere. Never mind Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven lies within.” Within is the LAST place we feel safe looking.
And then 2) the whole concept of enlightenment is so fucked up and confusing, with multiple experts shouting from the rooftops that you can get “it” in a weekend workshop. That you can get “it” from taking drugs. That you can have “it” if you just meditate long enough, do enough yoga and learn how to shut your mind up long enough etc etc etc.
Unfortunately, the truth is, you can’t “get” it, you can’t “have” it, and you can’t “attain” it, because the acquisitive “you” that hungers after enlightenment in this New Age equation is an illusion.
It’s the Cosmic Joke of cosmic jokes.
Am I enlightened?
I hear people ask “Am I enlightened?” like it’s something they could miss—like it’s some idea they’ve been told and couldn’t quite grasp or hold onto.
You can’t miss it when the illusion of the personal self is revealed.
You can’t unknow the Truth once seen. But in the aftermath of total obliteration, you can, apparently, get confused because the Real Self is still operating through a body that holds the engrams and the habit of personal identity. The mind still contains the habits of thought of the ego.
Fortunately, you can instantly tell if you’re operating through the ego or the Real Self, because the habitual thoughts of the ego are based in “facts” and fear, complexity and contradiction, comparison and doubt—an endless maelstrom of confusion that goes on and on and on with no relief in sight.
In comparison, the Real Self is simple. And certain. Utterly unmuddled and unflustered. Imperturbable. Peaceful. Absolute.
The problem is, the Real Self is SO freaking simple it escapes our notice!
If you can still the mind for 5 seconds, the Aware Presence using those eyes and ears and body of yours is obvious. Something is noticing the room around you, the sights and the sounds. Something is taking in the information. It’s not thinking about it. There’s simply awareness of what is.
This Aware Presence hasn’t changed since you were born. It’s the exact same Presence looking out of those eyes when you were ten years old, having a quiet moment of wonder, looking at the stars or a sunset; the same Aware Presence looking out those eyes as you sat in a classroom or watched your own baby take her/his first steps.
It’s the same, wordless, voiceless shining Aware Presence staring back at you from the brilliant eyes of every young child.
Look at the picture accompanying this blog. Can you doubt the Presence in that baby’s eyes? The lively Awareness? It has no words to speak. No ideas to express. But it’s there. Ever-present. Obvious.
If you can stay with this Presence—the Presence that is You—for a minute, just sitting, being aware of your spacious awareness, you’ll notice a thread of Love starting to ease into your heart. And if you just keep quietly sitting with that warm feeling in your heart, paying attention to it, the Love grows and grows.
That’s it. That’s you. The Real You. The Aware Presence of Love that is the foundation of everything that is.
The Real You knows where to go and what to do and what not to do. It can navigate these dark times and expand and grow and shine a much-needed Light into the world. If allowed.
Just be still.
Just sit, being aware of Being aware.
Tune into your heart.
All the answers are there. All the peace. All the certainty.
Forget all the fancy teachings and meditations. Forget all the words in all the books. Ignore the people insisting they know the way for you to go. For God’s sake, ignore ME.
The Kingdom of heaven is within.
That’s all you need to know.