Robin Williams – Life and Death

I had the great good fortune to be the student of an enlightened teacher in this life. I witnessed and experienced (and witness and experience) unfathomable expressions of light and truth that have no parallel words from the perspective of our little-mind-nut-brains. The depth and wisdom that comes from an enlightened person moves your consciousness, and this happens just with their presence, their spirit (you can also glean it from their words, their books, their talks). Many times what happens after a person has studied with an enlightened being is they try to “lock it in”. It’s hard not to want to convey the profound, beautiful realizations and teachings that were witnessed and absorbed. But as soon as the students lock in the teachings (or their limited memory of them, or their spin on them), as soon as the experiences become standardized stories, then there’s suddenly a possibility that they solidify. That means, the cosmic and spiritual experiences become owned by the ego – by the little mind of our rational brain systems. Which then tends to have a smothering effect on the eternal light and the possibility of the boundless awareness that was originally conveyed by the enlightened teacher. Then religions are born.Then dogma is spread. Then loss of truth. Then pain, which is the state of this planet.

Sometimes in this world, there’s a shooting star. They burn bright. They burn true. They’re not necessarily enlightened, as a Buddha, but they find their Dharma – their purpose, their duty in life, and they live it. They tap into their destiny and that brings power to their lives. This can (and is supposed to) happen to all of us. But we get so distracted. Our hearts get broken, we identify with our emotions and assume that we are as limited as our emotions are. We solidify our emotions into our personalities by identifying with our emotions, instead of just letting them pass through, with honesty. And so rarely on this plane do we encounter someone who is truly living their destiny.

Robin Willrobin williamsiams was a shooting star. I once saw him perform live, and I can say, after having encountered full blown enlightenment in the form of my teacher, that Robin had more light shooting out of him than any other human being that I have encountered, other than my enlightened teacher. He was in a line-up of a dozen other comedians for this particular show, and no one even came close to his presence. He was light-years beyond them all. His heart was completely open – huge, generous, and his mind was lightning speed. And it was clear that he was there for one reason – to make us laugh. And boy did he. He was surely a person who was living his destiny.

We tend to think in black and white terms as humans: darkness and light, good and bad, holy and evil. But the more you traverse the pathway to enlightenment, the more you realize, we’re everything. The issues that we humans have is that we believe the illusions that condition us. And within that conditioning is a human agreement called morality. And then we name good and bad, right and wrong. We label each other. But really, there are only good and bad decisions. A good decision is one that takes you towards the essence of the truth within. A bad decision is one that takes you away from that. Once you start making decisions that take you away from truth, you gain a momentum that keeps you seeing things in darker terms. Or conversely, once you start making decisions that lead you toward truth, you gain a momentum that keeps you seeing things in light terms. That’s karma.

One of the characteristics of “evil”, or, the tendency to make decisions toward illusion instead of toward truth, is that it has as its root attribute the need to dominate and control. And at the root of “good”, or the tendency to make decisions toward truth, has as its root attribute NO need to dominate and control. So, who on this planet has gained control? Those who have the need to dominate and control, and so usually, those who are entangled in and moving toward deeper illusion. (and the nature of illusion is ignorance, or we could call it stupidity) Is that going to make for an enlightened planet? Having power mongers in control? No! And yet, those who are not power mongers would never seek to control, therefore, it’s not the intelligent who are running the show around here.

So we all suffer, one way or the other, at the hands of power mongers. It’s interesting. Even someone like Obama, who probably started out with a lot of bright, positive intent, just by the nature of the position he’s in, has to now deal in the realms of power. He has now become one of the power mongers. There’s no way to avoid it. And someone of his integrity, try though they do (like Jimmy Carter), cannot correctly and honorably wield all that power without engaging with the power mongers – the rich corporations, the rich countries, the power-mongering politicians, etc, without becoming a player and using power to manipulate and control – even if it’s for “the betterment” of humankind.

And what about all the “good” individuals, those who don’t care about having power and control over others? They’re out there. Maybe half the planet consists of those types of souls. They’re doing awesome things individually – art, dance, music, science, writing, creating, loving, enjoying, being kind. Who knows. They’re out there. But they’re definitely not in power. They are definitely not running this planet. And if they were given the opportunity to wield power, no doubt, they would become fixated by power. It’s hard not to be allured by the shine of power. I speak from experience.

One thing I’ve learned about power is that you don’t know what you’ll do with it once you have it. You can be a monday-morning-quarterback, but until you’ve been given the opportunity to wield power, you have no idea what you would do with it. And if your whole life hasn’t been set up to purify your nature, through meditation and mindfulness, then it’s very hard to wield power selflessly. Even with meditation and mindfulness, the aspects of personality and ego become amplified and blown up with the tremendous power that is unleashed through meditation, and it’s very easy to crash and burn. That’s why real paths, especially Fast Paths to enlightenment are usually called The Razor’s Edge.

So then, back to Robin Williams. Here’s this guy who has light, intelligence, heart, compassion, and he’s up there on stage giving it away with style and panache for one purpose – to make us laugh. To bring joy. And he did – to so many in this world. He did more for this planet than most politicians, or self-serving movie or music stars, or dogma spreading religious leaders. He brought laughter to our hearts. Laughter is such an awesome way to crack the personality open and let light in. And he had brilliant light. Our souls were awakened and tickled by him. And he did this often and everywhere. He held back nothing. He gave it all. This isn’t to say he was a saint, at least in human terms. He wasn’t a goody-two-shoes. He was real, open, honest, loving, kind, compassionate and truthful in his commentary on the human condition.

How could a person with that much heart and sensitivity not be painfully aware of the horror on this planet? And how could someone so open survive all that he felt, that he allowed himself to feel? He was a hero, because he did feel all that he felt, and still offered what he offered. They say, if you worked closely with him and you had a little sensitivity, it was impossible not to be aware of his pain. Yet most people who claim to have known him and to have been his friend acted surprised that he died the way he did. That he suffered the way he did.

Go back and watch any of his movies. There’s the unbridled joy, but right along-side of that joy is deep pain. There’s no missing it. In general, we ignore and dismiss the pain we encounter in others. We don’t want to see it, we don’t want to face it. We don’t want to deal with our own pain. That’s why we drown ourselves in distractions. And though he was a good actor, it was in his eyes. The awareness, the wakefulness – the acceptance of both the love and joy, and the ugliness and horror.

His was a lifetime of giving everything. He came here to fulfill his destiny. We all are here for that purpose, but he really did it. And then, when he was done, he left on his own terms. And we, in our limited agreements of morality, say, “Oh, poor Robin. If only I’d known.” What? What if you’d known? What would you have done to alleviate that pain? Could you have changed the world? No, of course not. Or, “Oh, poor Robin, that it came to that horrible end.” No – not poor Robin. He lived it completely, with the truth of what’s here – the pain and the laughter. He didn’t try to pretend that it wasn’t here. He was aware of it. And you know that from his humor. He was done doing what he needed to do and it was time for him to go.What more did he have to give? He was spent.

How many of us could really say we’re doing what we came here to do? Why are so many trying to hold on for a longer life? To watch more tv, drink more wine, have more sex, have more vacations, when underneath that is that pain we don’t want to look at or deal with? We’ll die with all the unconsciousness we live in, and that will bring a shocking, surprising experience of horror – to suddenly have to face all that was ignored in life. All the focus we spend distracting ourselves keeps us from fulfilling our destinies. It keeps us from experiencing what’s true. On some level, we know there’s something we should deal with before we die, but we really don’t encourage each other as a society to be honest. Instead, we encourage each other to be fake – to wear more makeup, get more procedures, go on more diets, luxuriate in money and everything it buys, pretend that loving our family will make us good, that it will make everything OK. But it rarely does. We ignore the pain, and also the love. Robin came here to fulfill his destiny – he didn’t ignore the pain or the love.

He was awesome beyond belief, yet he didn’t have a way to clear out the pain of this world. He saw it, he felt it, he took it in, he grieved for it in his own way. Then didn’t have a way to clear it out. There is a way to untangle the pain and be infused with the light and love of the cosmos. That which is the energy in everything is something we can be aware of and tap into. If we looked under the surface of our limited lives, we’d see that the root cause of suffering is our attachment to desire. Once we really get that, we can do something about it. We can meditate and move beyond the bounds of our egos.

Everyday, I’m grateful that I’ve learned to meditate. No matter what happens to me each day, no matter what pain or joy I experience, no matter how much love or horror I see in and around me, I know I can go home, sit down, quiet my thoughts and allow the light and power of eternity to wash through me. It’s an inner shower. Sometimes it’s blissful. Sometimes it’s a struggle. Underneath it is a framework of true love – beyond the silly, sappy, convoluted idea of human love. Sometimes I dissolve into the awareness of the cosmos. Sometimes I have to keep ignoring the doings of daily life. But whatever happens, I’m renewed. I die a little death – each time I meditate and go beyond the limitations of ego.

Once years ago I was driving home from work. I was in my little pod of a car, knowing that I was heading home to shower and meditate. The knowledge of that meant that whatever crazy, limiting, painful or victorious things were happening in my life, I could go home and expand my being into the whole cosmos, and gain perspective on my little ant life. I knew I would be shoved out of my comfort, out of my hopes, out of my dreams, and into ultimate reality, which has no bounds, no thoughts, no opinions. I knew I was heading home to reset my life and to laugh at myself – at my limitations, at my dramas. And so there I was, at a stop light, and I happened to look into the car next to me. There was a middle-aged woman. She seemed pleasant but unhappy and drained. Her reality hit me like a sledge-hammer. I could feel how she was tired from work, and was in her car heading home to life with the family with no options for something different. To screaming kids, to the prospect of cooking dinner, possibly to dealing with a husband who wasn’t necessarily supporting her. She had nothing to look forward to. And although as a parent, family and children can lift you out of the humdrum in the sense that you love them, theoretically, in the practical day to day workings, it’s tiring and thankless. I could see that this woman had no options.

That day, something shifted in me. A kind of a subtle realization that has become a boat of gratitude, sailing me across the transitory dramas of human existence. I became extremely grateful that I got to go home and dissolve out of my silly bounds and into intelligence, and then bring that back, to whatever degree I can, into my life and the decisions I make towards inner truth.

If meditation gives you anything, it gives you options. Options to expand yourself outside of your stifled life. I’ve learned to not trust my thoughts, because they’re transitory. To not trust my opinions, because they’re the solidification of limited thoughts into a thicker personality form. Meditation allows you to proceed through life trusting that life is bringing you what you need – to learn from, to grow from, and in ways that are continually surprising and mind blowing. It’s the ultimate antithesis to a power-mongering life. Instead of dominating and controlling others, you’re using the awesome power from your meditations to dominate and control your wild, random thoughts, your unruly emotions, your limiting opinions. You’re using your power to grow and evolve, to love more deeply, to subtly move toward everything that you’re made of – the greatness of existence – beyond ego. Humility is at the root of this – without it, there’s only amplified ego, which suffocates the light.

So I recommend meditation to anyone who feels ready to go beyond their limitations. Meditation brings you in touch with who you are today. It gives you the strength and grace to accept who you are right now, and yet gives you the perspective and realization to keep moving into deeper wisdom, deeper love, deeper joy. Robin Williams is one of my heroes because I truly believe he did so much for this planet in our time. He opened our hearts and made us laugh.

I believe Robin’s death was a statement on humanity – it was a wake up call for all of us. He sacrificed so much – every day, every time he performed, to show us, we can find our destiny and live it. I wish he had come to know meditation. But if he had, he may have still been here, making himself laugh quietly instead of what he did – make all the world laugh uncontrollably. If you knew Robin, my guess is that he distracted you with all of his love. I’ll bet he meant to do that. He did that for all of us. I hope we can make a gesture back to him by loving light and making meditation a part of our offering to this world. I honestly believe it’s the highest gesture we can make as humans – to live in truth and offer the power of the cosmos through our little lives of loving and seeking truth.

Good luck on your journey into the truth! May the forces of existence funnel into your mind with laughter, love, compassion and the strength to live your destiny.

To learn more about meditation, check out

Rama Talks

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Innocence

babybirdWe tend to associate innocence with childhood. Yet, as you go deeper in meditation and proactively practice mindfulness, meaning, you keep letting go of the illusion in your mind, of thoughts, ideas, emotional pits, opinions and limiting states of mind, as this trend of letting go gets stronger and gains momentum because of your self effort with silencing your mind in meditation, a beautiful thing starts to happen. You become innocent.

The innocence of childhood is based on not knowing. As children, we don’t know what it means to be responsible, to make decisions, to choose how we will live in this harsh, greedy and violent world. It’s natural and easy to be innocent as a child because most parents try to protect their chbabygiraffeildren from harm with the unrealistic expectation that kids will then, “be themselves” – be innocent. They create a bubble for their children to grow in, which is suppose to stave off the harmful, ugly aspects of life. And, to some degree it does. But it also creates an insular bubble of unreality – or, of the parents’ limited view of reality. A bubble that is built out of the egos of the parents. However they see life, whatever is the parents’ view, is the nature of the bubble the parents will build for their children. So, although the child is innocent, open, a blank slate, what is being written on their slates is their parent’s “everything” – their love, their conditions, their expectations, their fears, their desires, their ideas, their opinions and most deadly, their limited and limiting states of mind. And the child is then raised in a bubble that is directed by these desires, ideas, fears, opinions and unspoken states of mind. And the innocence is lost. And if that wasn’t enough, then puberty hits and anything that was pure gets sullied by the raging desires driven by hormones and a need to fit in and be accepted.

What is innocence? It’s a pure experience, babymonkeywith no filters. And that’s very scary for most people because it means you feel everything, and in feeling, the fear is vulnerability. But, what’s interesting about the process of enlightenment is that as you’re exerting self effort, as you’re using your will to go beyond illusion and ego, using it for evolving instead of using it to manipulate and gain power over others, as this is happening, you are becoming more and more powerful. When a person is on a true path, that path is referred to as The Razor’s Edge. And one of the reasons is that you are gaining power, more and more all the time, through meditations that are unleashing energy and knowledge within you.

babyelephant So, how do you use that power to keep allowing the unraveling of ego delusions? How do you keep from using the power to get what you want, to fulfill your desires? How do you control the power and not use it to bring yourself or others down? It’s a real dilemma. It can take a lot of experimenting, which will bring much crashing and burning, but hopefully, huge learning opportunities.

babysealEither way, if you finally get to the point where you have a pure heart, where you see through unjaded eyes, you’ve gotten there with tremendous force of will, tremendous exertion of ego restraint. And with that, you will now have the understanding, wisdom and power to live in innocence because you are extremely strong, more so than most human beings. By this time, you’ve learned about and merged with the essence of love. That’s what makes an enlightened being so powerful.

All the effort and strength, all the restraint and will, all the focus and determination, and mostly, the deep, committed silence of love to go beyond thought brings tremendous unleashing of light, energy and purity. padmasambhava2Enlightenment is the ultimate innocence.

For more understanding of the enlightenment process, visit Rama Talks, a site that gives free talks by an enlightened teacher.

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Going Beyond Illusion

There is only one thing that keeps us from enlightenment – illusion. Our own illusions, the illusions of friends, enemies, society and the planet, that we become absorbed with or aligned to. And so the conclusion to be drawn is, if we’re not enlightened, then we’re living in a self made limited reality, prisoners of our illusions. The personalized structure of illusion is what is referred to in self discovery terms as ego. The ego is a set of hardened fixtures that have developed within each of us – so subtle, so invisible, that we don’t even know we’re seeing life through the warp of these limiting structures, these filters. We assume anything we feel to be truth. We assume any judgments we make to be truth. We assume our ideas and opinions to be based on truth. And all of this is generated from our desires, attachments and the ensuing expectations. And yet, we continue living as unenlightened beings, not ever questioning the authority of ego. We feel that if our hearts have a “good” intent, then we’re “good” people – as if that somehow alleviates the need to really look at our own egos and question the ego’s authority. And that attitude seems to pardon us from taking responsibility for that fact of our own unique egos and how they shape us, how they continue to keep us in a fixed, judgmental mode, and how they define our existence on this planet.

Ego is something that’s almost impossible to see. We can intellectually acknowledge ego, and assume that if we’re meditating, we’re going beyond ego. And that certainly is the key – it will help. When meditation is taken seriously and done with extreme abandon, it can melt our egos down to nothing – to a state of emptiness. In this state, we are free from limiting thoughts, opinions and emotions that although they continue to move through us, don’t stick because we stop believing in them. We no longer believe in their “reality”. But, there is still a process of mindfulness and ruthless self honesty that has to go hand in hand with meditation to ultimately go beyond illusion entirely.

Enlightened teachers most certainly shine a light on ego and expose it to their students, when the student is willing to “see”, to be hammered with truth. But, even with an enlightened teacher around, it’s rare for a student’s ego to actually let them see their own ego. It’s so easy to rationalize every dislike, judgment, idea. That’s one of the tricky, subtle issues with ego. If it’s not utterly exposed and melted away, it will forever control the mind and actions, the opinions and judgments, of even the most avid seeker, without the seeker even being aware of how ego plays out in them.

Ego is the structure that drives our actions as human beings. It encases our desires – attractions and aversions, and carries out their orders, according to what will best fulfill the ego’s needs. Ego is formulated through the conditioning we receive growing up, and then through our responses to life’s enticements and challenges. For example, if we go through something that was fearful, it creates huge rivets in our being that formulate our realities to the point that we view life through the warp of those fears. We create responses, ideas and feelings that generate opinions about that “thing”, that person or situation that we have perhaps come to abhor, and then that gets built into the structure of ego, making it that much thicker, that much less pliable, that much stronger. The fear and our response to it gets so integrated into our view of reality that it drives our actions and future responses, creating an even greater wall of illusion that hides the truth of enlightenment from us. It keeps us in ignorance. It keeps us in illusion – it keeps us locked in that past moment, and in the self we were when the fearful situation occurred. But rarely can we see or acknowledge that, because we’re so busy hating the person or thing that caused the fear. We lived through one moment of “distaste”, and were so affected by that moment, that we keep carrying it – out of context – through our lives, without questioning the fact that it was only valid for one moment, and has no dent whatsoever on the ultimate truth. We formulate an opinion which we continue to live in – a moment out of the context of eternal truth. Now, consider that same process in terms of things you got pleasure from. Getting praised, eating, sex, cars, money. Or in terms of things that angered, depressed or offended you. And you can see how the ego keeps getting built up to become a stronger encasement that eventually becomes a straight jacket around our true selves – around our spirits.

Then how is it that it becomes so prominent as to define and control the lives of humans, what are the perceived benefits of ego? It gives us a sense of definition. It’s in a continual process to give us a sense of confidence, even superiority. But it’s a false sense of confidence – as if our personality forms are what we’re made of. If we have a cool personality, then we feel accepted among our peers. If our personality is authoritative, then we feel powerful. If we have a nice personality, then we are perceived as being good. But all these are superficial sensibilities and breed a false sense of self. This identity with a false sense of self is what keeps us down – versus developing confidence in our eternal nature – the true, wise part of ourselves.

Ego keeps us aligning to the small “I”, as opposed to the big “I”. In Zen, it’s called Small Mind, versus Big Mind. Small mind is identifying with the limited, ego oriented small mindedness that is constantly busy becoming more small and petty by generating chatter and thoughts, which create emotions, which create feelings, which create opinions, which create judgments, which define how we live, what decisions we make in life, what desires we chase after, what distasteful experiences we run away from, and ultimately, who we are. These are the components of ego. But this is a prison. It may provide a sense of security “oh, I’m defined. Therefore, I know where I stand. Therefore, I have confidence. I have an identity. And I can use that identity to align to others who are like me, and who live by similar definitions, and who make me feel safe and accepted.” But it’s also smothering to the spirit – it strangles the possibility to find and live in truth beyond self reflecting perceptions.

And then, there’s Big Mind. But in order to get to that, one has to be willing to abandon the ego. And even with “seekers of truth”, this is a very hard thing to do because we become attached to ideas of how light plays out in us, of what it means to be high, of how we’re evolving into more sensitive beings. The light of our meditation starts intertwining with our egos – we feel better, we feel happier, we feel higher. But we still define ourselves by the judgments and opinions we hold of ways of being, states of mind, other people, or other paths, and we do it with a sense of our own “rightness”, so that it becomes intrinsic to how we see life. It’s difficult to step away from these ideations that form our realities – that give us our unique window into life. We can’t even see that we’re looking out of a window. We assume what we’re seeing is life, but it’s only a small, limited view. In sanskrit, this is called maya – illusion. It’s not illusory in that it’s not happening (in this dream reality). It’s illusory in that it’s extremely limited, and the limited ability to see keeps impacting our decisions, and keeps us locked into our limitations. But, we don’t know that. It takes powerful meditations, and the perfect light of truth that the presence of enlightened teachings can provide to shine the light on it, so the seeker can see it for what it is. Limiting ego. Illusion.

And even when a seeker is sincere about going beyond ego and illusion, there are still the subtle chains that keep them locked in based on their judgments and opinions. When a person has opinions, about anything, then they’re locked into their view. And that view is short of an enlightened view. For example, through the years of having close range to an enlightened teacher, I often heard read-outs of the consciousness of a student or students. But, because human nature is what it is, many times those hearing the read-outs took it as a pronouncement – a judgment – a sort of death sentence that they assumed the teacher was making about the student being observed. It’s the ego that takes that stance: If my teacher is saying that person is bad, then they must be horrible, and I must be better than them. And we become very attached to those ideas because it gives us a sense of definition, a chisled idea of who we are. But, it was a detached read-out by the teacher in regards to the transitory state of mind a student was in. When the student’s consciousness changes to a high state, the read-out might be one of honor. That too wasn’t a pronouncement of ultimate greatness. It was simply a way for students to learn – what is high consciousness, what is lack of consciousness, and definitely, what not to model after. The teacher does that with all students, though ones closer in get it in more pronounced, crushing ways. All the students are people who the teacher loves – who the teacher chooses to work with – who the teacher works on as individual Dharmic projects. When onlookers take the teacher’s detached read-out as an excuse to judge the person being observed, they disrespect the teacher, their choices, and their work.

I heard read-outs of many of my friends, and realized rather quickly, it was a way for me to learn about consciousness because it’s very easy to see it when it’s outside of yourself. On the other hand, when I was given criticism, it was always an ego-shattering experience, but my teacher was always close at hand to lift me up with love and compassion and show me another way. When I was esteemed, I had to learn how to not let my ego become inflated, because it didn’t mean I was better than anyone else. Only that I had been in a decent consciousness for that moment. They weren’t judgments on my teacher’s part – they were simply observations – related only to the transitory moment. When they were critical,  it was only in  reference to the stubborn personality traits that were formulated into ego. Meanwhile, my teacher continued to focus on the eternal nature within each of us, which then allowed us to focus on that in ourselves. We learned to have confidence in that, instead of the superficial attributes of our personality forms. It’s a true gift to have someone in your life who loves the eternal in you and rejects your illusory personality form.

Illusion is a tricky thing. Our egos are keen to hold onto ideas of what we like and don’t like so as to navigate life fueled by the engine of desires. Our egos keep us locked into ideas of who we are, what we want, and what we deserve. Also, we key off of others and we create scorecards – of who is good, who is bad, how much better or worse are they than us. And we measure ourselves against these scores. It’s ego – wanting to create it’s own limiting context for us to feel we are good, we are better, or conversely, that we are bad, we are horrible. And, because it’s based on illusion, we’ll never feel truly right, truly at peace, truly free. We’ll always be caught up in the warps of ideations, opinions and judgments, and we’ll use them to continually justify our view to ourselves and anyone else who will listen.

Is there a way out? Is it possible to actually even comprehend the ego if there’s no enlightened teacher sitting directly in front of us? Yes. There’s a way out. But it takes a colossal amount of courage, self honesty, humility and love. It’s tough, but doable. Here’s an approach, simply “a way”, based on the experiences of a student who’s been through the ego ringer and converse judgment ringer on many counts:

1. See the ego for what it is – our whole set of ideas, judgments, and opinions about anything and everything.  Any thought, any idea, any emotion, is limited – it’s short of enlightenment. If you have a thought or an idea, then there’s no enlightenment there, because enlightenment is beyond all thoughts, all ideas, all opinions. They’re meaningless in the face of eternal truth. Of course, we’ll always have them. But, like the ocean – we can choose to jump in or not – we can choose to believe in them or not.

2. Be willing to question the authority of ego. It runs deep, so deep that our own ego can’t be identified outside of our idea of ourselves. So the trick is to let go of our ideas of ourselves. See that we’re not our personality form, and that our ideas, judgments and opinions belong to a limited personality form, that binds us to illusion, which blocks out the possibility of enlightenment.

3. Be willing to see eternity in each person. That’s what enlightened teachers have done and taught throughout history. Jesus hung out with thieves and beggars. He didn’t necessarily see the do-good church goers as righteous – as they saw themselves. He saw the possibility of truth in each person, and focused on that eternal aspect. We can do that too, but it takes an effort. It takes being willing to let go of outdated, transitory and judgmental views of anything or anyone.

4. Meditate and find innocence – each day. Find the purity of understanding that comes from the Source. It’s beyond thought, beyond judgment, beyond the limitations of ego. It’s where ultimate truth is, it’s where we all come from and go back to. Any thoughts or ideas about anything or anyone will keep creating Results, instead of taking you back to the Source. As Rumi says, “Be Source, not Result”. Live in the heart of existence by continually washing yourself clean of limiting ego – of thoughts and judgments. Continually hit the reset button on your inner state of mind by meditating. Thoughts will always be there, but the trick is to not allow them to stick, because they only build up expectations, emotions, judgments and opinions that shape you and lock you in.

5. Work hard at seeing your opinions as fibers in the net of ego that holds you down. There’s nothing wrong with having thoughts or opinions – we all do. It’s a matter of not believing in them. See them for what they truly are – passing clouds that keep the light of truth from scorching the ego away. Let them go. Don’t hold onto them. What if you have an opinion based on the past, of someone who’s completely changed? What if you continue living in that view. It generates karma, it hurts yourself and others, it traps you in old states of mind that putrefy the heart and mind. Old views are ego pillars.

6. If you find yourself being judged by others, whether it was ever valid or not, just cling to the truth in your own heart. You can use others’ judgments as a momentary read-out, but once you’ve learned from it and moved on, let it go. Take on the Zen attitude of “Oh, is that so?” This comes from an old Zen story of a monk who lived in a monastery, who was visited by people of the town, including a certain girl. She became pregnant and didn’t want her parents to harm her lover, so she accused the monk, assuming that he would be left alone. But the parents were outraged and got the town to join them in taking down the monk. They came after him, wanting to string him up. When they accused him, he said “Oh, is that so?” They threw him in jail, ready to execute him. The girl and her lover felt so guilty, that they came forward and confessed. He was released, and the parents came to him, contrite and apologetic, to which the monk replied, “Oh, is that so?”. He knew who he was. He didn’t have an ego that was keying itself off of other people’s views of him. Use the difficult experience of being judged to become more aligned to truth, to eternity, to your eternal self. Use the accusations of your detractors to see that their view of reality is limited, and use it to inspire yourself to go beyond your limitations, their limitations and the limitations of ego altogether. In the end, you’ll thank your detractors profusely for making you stronger. For pointing out both their issues and illusions and your own, to the point that you can see your illusions for what they are – transitory and false.

The earth is in the trouble it’s in because of these twisted, warped views of ourselves and others. As long as we harbor them deep within and allow them to paint our view of reality, we lose. We fight over our opinions, over getting what we want, and we allow our judgments to spur us on toward greater hatred.  But when we see our illusions compassionately for what they are, we forgive ourselves, we forgive others, and we cling to the Big I of eternity – the Big Mind of Zen. We discard the view that the little I imprisons us in and we feel compassion for those who are driven by the ignorance of illusion. Anytime my enlightened teacher criticized a person, any time he gave his students a hard time, he was addressing the Little Mind – the monkey mind in us, that is created out of ideas, judgments and scorecards – the personality form – all fueled by desire and attachment. The more to heart a person took the chiding, with the love that came with it, the more they transformed. Given the transitory nature of the personality, it turns out, his criticisms toward his students were also transitory. His criticisms were addressing the human condition that we were aligning to – not our essential selves. And each person that he chose to work with had the capacity to transcend ego and limitations. We all do. It’s our inheritance as humans. The gift that’s always inside of us, that can be unlocked through meditation.

So remember, your criticisms and those of others are also transitory. They’re based on what people have seen or experienced in each other’s personality forms.  Consider Milarepa – he got so justifiably angry at people who tormented his mother and family that he rained hail down upon them and killed them. Yet, he became remorseful and wanted to go beyond his karma. He sought enlightenment from a teacher who in turn tormented him by giving him slave labor to work off his karma. He did as his teacher asked him, and he became enlightened in one life. Who cares who was judging him! He certainly didn’t! So, don’t hang on, whether you’ve made the judgments, or they’ve been made against you. Either way, holding onto them will only limit and define you. There’s another way. Milarepa figured it out – you can too.

Dig deep into yourself for eternal truth and allow it to open you up to the eternal in everything and everyone. You’ll see things more truly for how they are. You’ll find truth, beyond the ideas and opinions that create illusion, and you’ll be less controlled by ego. It’s a much more enlightened approach to life. Good luck!

To learn more about how to achieve enlightenment in this life, feel free to listen to                                                              Free Dharma Talks by Rama,                                                      an enlightened teacher who lived and taught in America in our lifetime.

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Enlightened Mind – What is Higher Consciousness?

Consciousness is ineffable. It simply is. It’s the isness of life. It’s what we can see when we notice something other than our own delusional reality. Delusional in the sense that, when we’re caught up in our own dramas, we become so absorbed in the cloud of our thoughts and emotions, that we can’t get to anything outside of that cloud. Have you ever been in a cloud? Like, when you’re flying, or hiking, or driving, and suddenly you’re overtaken with the cloud? You can’t see anything. Not anything. You’re inside of the cloud, and it’s as if there’s nothing beyond the cloud except what you project to be there. We know in our minds that there is something other than the cloud, but we can’t see it. And we become so fixated with moving carefully within the cloud since we can’t see what’s around us. We forget that there’s something actual outside of the cloud besides our projections. That’s what I mean by being caught up in our own delusional reality.

So then, is consciousness being aware of that which exists outside of our self absorbed view of the world? And again, most people don’t think that they’re self absorbed. Yet, most people don’t question the authority of their view. They live within the bounds of it with no idea of why they suffer, why they’re usually unhappy, or flat, why their lives don’t seem to be fulfilling. They have a view – it was formulated by their conditioning, their experiences, their likes and dislikes, their desires. And all of those things hammering at their minds, chiseling their mind into their own personal view, which becomes a set of understandings that life is perceived through, makes their view smaller and smaller – and warps it. So again, is consciousness being aware of that which exists outside of our self absorbed view? Not necessarily. If you’re a news reporter, just because you’re digging for the dirt of other people’s limitations, or outlining the chaos and violence of the world and reporting on it, that doesn’t mean you’re aware of consciousness – maybe even less so. Being aware of others’ dramas and limitations, of the violence and chaos that stems from human illusion, doesn’t mean that you’re aware of consciousness. You’re highlighting the outcomes – the symptoms of what the Buddha called The Nightmare of the Day, but never digging for the source of the issue – the root cause. (which the Buddha outlined as attachment to desire)

So then, back to the question at hand – what is consciousness? A question that can’t be answered, but we can point and hint, and perhaps it will offer an inkling. Perhaps we could say that consciousness is caring about having an awareness of the eternal. Part of the issue of being caught up in a limited view within ourselves that is based on our dramas, thoughts and emotions is that it keeps us locked into a physical awareness. And as we all know, the physical is transitory. Whatever exists in our physical world is ever changing. Our bodies, the plants outside our house, the ocean, the politics of our time, the people around us. Everything is changing. Everything is heading towards death. There are always ups and downs, highs and lows, all based on how life is mapping to our expectation of how things should go. And when we’re locked into that physical sensibility, it becomes impossible to see the true nature of existence – beyond our ideas, opinions and dramas. And within that physical view, what drives us? Our thoughts, ideas and emotions drive us. And the cycle continues to our death.

Certainly meditation, real meditation, not the new mainstream diluted idea of meditation, but real meditation – silent, profound, powerful, transformational, energizing, quieting – can take you into a direct experience of the eternal. It can take you beyond the physical awareness of life on earth, of life in a body, of the prison of human condition, and move your self, your being, your consciousness, into eternal awareness. But, what about after meditation. This is where most seekers get snagged. A person can have a beautiful, high, meditation that brings a profound sense of expansion, but it’s also important to decide, to be committed, to bringing that silence into every aspect of living. That’s the hard part. I know many people who have beautiful meditations, then as soon as they get up from meditation, they go forward with only a physical awareness, as if the meditation hadn’t happened. And in that physical awareness, they suffer; All the ups and downs of life, which are inevitable, sweep them away.

It’s so easy to cling to the idea that life will happen as we expect it to – but it never does. The more attached we are to how it should work out, the more disappointed we are when it doesn’t. It’s actually sheer insanity – yet, it’s how the human condition works. And then, as humans caught in the human condition, we always come back to our miserable, suffering selves. And, as is the case with so many humans, happy to shotgun that misery onto anybody and everybody we come into contact with, especially those whom we purport to love. But there’s a way out of this, as the Buddha and many other enlightened teachers have pointed out. It’s meditation and mindfulness.

So then, back to consciousness. It is the stuff of life – the essence of existence. We touch upon the eternal if we work hard in our meditations. But then, how to be in a high consciousness throughout the day. It’s not hard, but it can seem impossible since no one around us is doing it. The world certainly doesn’t care about being in a high consciousness. The world doesn’t even care to know what consciousness is. But, once you do know, that’s not enough. The real trick is caring. To care about being in a high consciousness is the first step to being able to live in a high consciousness. To care about having an awareness of the eternal throughout the day. To make that decision, and then be committed to it. This is the trick. When you do this, your day becomes filled with moving your awareness away from the transitory and into the eternal. You then see eternity in nature, in the sky, in the ocean – that’s easy, but eventually you begin to see it in the people you interface with, in human ingenuity, and even in human illusion.

Another interesting thing happens when you become committed to caring about having an awareness of the eternal. You also begin to assume responsibility for your life. To see who you are, how you behave, how you respond to life’s challenges. If you’re focused on the physical, then you’re constantly drowning in your ideas, emotions, opinions, upsets and irritations – of life, yourself and others. And these ideas breed expectations – about how people should conform to your views and expectations of reality – but they never do. Then emotions form in response to life not going as you want it to. Frustration, anger, disappointment, depression. And yet, if you were to take responsibility and realize that no one can control you – your responses, your views, then, you can control your responses and not be driven by the delusional emotions that happen out of uncontrolled responses to any given scenario.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re at work. The workers next to you always give you a hard time. It’s upsetting. You don’t appreciate what they’re doing. You begin to hate them, to be frustrated and angry. You start grumbling and complaining inwardly – it makes you miserable – and you blame them for making you miserable. Then you want to quit your job and find another. It’s not that that wouldn’t be warranted. But, what if you assumed responsibility? You would look at the situation as a challenge. You would realize, you can’t change them, but, you can change how you respond. Once you come to this realization, you can begin to look for solutions, instead of wasting time and energy complaining, which inevitably leads to becoming miserable and drained. When you see life as presenting you with challenges that it’s your responsibility to deal with, then you begin handling things with strength, humor and purity. Then life can become a fun, silly strengthening obstacle course, instead of a series of irritations that cause you to become your lowest and worst self.

When this happens, you begin to realize that your thoughts, ideas, emotions and opinions are meaningless, in relation to the essence of existence. Eventually you see them for what they are – barriers to truth – the ultimate truth – the truth beyond delusion. But you have to care about having – care about linking into – eternal awareness, in every waking moment. It’s called Self Effort. Most people, even people who meditate, are very attached to their ideas and opinions. They’re attached to their moods, their expectations. And because of this, no matter how well they meditate, no matter how good they sound, they won’t make progress towards dissolution into emptiness – merging with the core of existence, until they start caring about cultivating an awareness of the eternal in everyday moments. So, here is a recap of the steps to higher consciousness:

1. Recognize the difference between having an awareness of the physical and an awareness of the eternal. The best way to gain to this understanding is through meditation. Real meditation takes you out of being locked into a physical, transitory, dualistic view of life and into an awareness of the eternal, which gives a sense of expansion and oneness – the true nature of reality, beyond your own contrived, ego structure of limited views.

2. If you love the experience of expansiveness, light, emptiness and freedom that comes from meditation, then you must DECIDE that you want to LIVE with that awareness. To bring it into your life beyond your moments of meditation. This is called mindfulness.

3. Once you decide that living in a high consciousness matters to you, that is, living with perspective, insight, wisdom, joy, love and wakefulness, then you rally all of your intent to become COMMITTED to having an awareness of the eternal throughout the day. Otherwise, you will be forever locked into the limited, constrained views which hold you prisoner to the ups and downs of the transitory physical.

4. Part of being committed to caring about awareness of the eternal is ASSUMING RESPONSIBILITY for all the moments – easy and challenging – that life puts in front of you. Assuming responsibility means that you acknowledge your role in being where you are. For example, you chose your current job, so it’s incumbent upon you to accept your lot in life. You made the choice to take this job, now it’s up to you to deal with each situation with acceptance, strength and enthusiasm – with the knowledge that it’s your challenge, to handle as you choose. When you do this, you don’t get trapped in your out-of-control emotional responses to everything. Instead, you accept each challenge with the full bore of your being. The strength of living this way gives you power to see beyond the transitory and to live with awareness of the eternal.

5. Realize you can’t change the behavior of the people around you. You can’t make your co-workers go from being jerks to being wonderful. So wasting time complaining is just that – wasting time. But you can control your response – and that’s the power that each of us has. We can control our response, our behavior, our consciousness.

We can choose to live in a high consciousness that keeps us moving into more expanded awareness, which gives us a greater perspective, which gives us insight to make more creative choices, that keeps our life flowing into an ever deepening awareness of truth.

To learn more about enlightened mind and living in a high consciousness, click here to hear Rama’s teachings on Enlightenment: Rama – The Lakshmi Series

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Living for Light

Light – experiencing, seeing, loving, melting in, being transformed by – Light. It’s what we live for. It’s what we love. It’s why we meditate. Light. We don’t talk about it much in this world. In English, there’s really no word for it. It’s the essence of existence, the force of energy moving through us, animating life. It’s the all encompassing, ecstatic, silent, boundless, effervescent sparkle that shines throughout the cosmos and in our hearts. But it’s so buried in this world, with the hustle and bustle of life, the subtlety of our inheritance as humans to experience light is lost to the hum-drumness of everyday coping, seemingly out of reach. But it’s not. It’s what we are, it’s what we’re made of. Yet, as humans, we’ve lost touch with our ability to access it.

Buddhas throughout time have figured out how to live in it. They call it oneness, thatness, isness, beyond the self, beyond thought, beyond the illusions of the human condition, Satori, Nirvana, God, Truth, All-pervading awareness. It’s impossible to put it into words. The small minds of humanity are too limited to comprehend it – how could there be a word  or words to contain it. And, these same Buddhas have taught that it’s in our nature, therefore, it’s a matter of recognizing it within. And with this recognition comes liberation – from the trap of ego, desires, attachments, illusory dreams and fantasies that setup our expectations which eventually all come tumbling down in profound disappointment.

So then, HOW – to recognize our Buddha nature and experience liberation? It all comes down to experience – having experiences in light. Meditation, mindfulness, sublime moments of awareness of the still center of being – the essential core, the Source. When we live for light, the moments of experience in light inevitably follow. Not necessarily at will, or consistently at first, but living for moments in light – perfect moments of extraordinary … well being, clarity, omnipresence, focus, abandon, love, dispassion, eternality… opens up doorways, it engenders possibilities.

What does it mean to “live for light”? To start, it’s grappling with and coming to terms  with  what matters most to you. It’s easy for us humans to get sucked into the gray, dull ratrace of day to day living. It’s the operating system of desire – we want something, we get it, we want more, we become satiated, we want something else, we get it, we want more, we become satiated…on and on it goes – desire, attachment, aversion – it’s the human condition. But, having moments in light starts with deciding to have them – deciding that living in light matters more than anything else. And trusting that when that matters most, the rest of life, whatever is presented, will be illuminated by that light. When there is light, it’s easier to see what’s in front of you.

Having light in your life doesn’t mean that everything works out according to some fantasy or set of expectations. It means that whatever you’re faced with, you’ll be able to SEE, to have the situation lit up, your mind lit up, your heart lit up. Your ability to make decisions about the best way to proceed allows you to keep going further, deeper into light, into greater states of sublime awareness, which continually give you more light and perspective. It becomes a matter of how to have a graceful dance with life, whatever life presents, instead of, how much more can I get, how can I best manipulate this situation to work for me, how can I fulfill my desires, how can I ensure my expectations are met (only to clobber yourself and everyone around you when they’re not). That’s an unhappy way tolive. It’s life on earth. But, there’s another way, and that’s living in light.

It starts with meditation. When thought stops, there is something at the core of us that is hidden by all the thoughts we have. When those thoughts are stopped (or ignored), we experience that essence that we’re made of, the essence that animates us. The more we practice stopping our thoughts, the more we experience the truth of who we are. But, it doesn’t end there. After we meditate, we practice mindfulness, which means, we continually remind ourselves that our thoughts are random, out of control, and not representative of anything truthful. Instead, they are representative of how we were conditioned to think, how we’re continually conditioned to live, how we’re conditioned to respond. Thoughts generate emotions, and those emotions cloud us, they cloud our ability to see truthfully, to perceive light. We miss out on the depth of true feelings, insights and wonders within ourselves, and give it all up for the sake of emotions. These emotions create feelings that we act upon. Perhaps feelings of indignation, fear, shame, superiority, inferiority, on and on. But these are clouds that keep the light out. If we deal with these emotions, and become expert at expressing them, it may “seem” healthier, but it’s a trap because we allow these superficial emotions to paint our reality, which becomes warped and delusional. If we don’t deal with these emotions, avoid them, don’t confront them, they become twisted and repressed, also warping and deluding our sense of reality.

When we take the time to grapple with what really matters the most to us, if we decide that light, the truth of who we are, the essential core of existence, is what we want to experience, then we make a commitment. To live in light, to redecide every morning when we sit down to meditate, to use the light of our meditation to proceed through life with self honesty, the decision to allow light to illuminate the way toward brightness, love and silence, to illuminate our egos, foibles and desires. It’s not a matter of repressing those things, it’s more a matter of allowing the internal light of awareness to shine into our moments so that we can see – see when we act from ignorance, desire, selfishness, manipulation, frustration – and then bring our will to bear in stepping it up, in not believing in our thoughts and emotions which stem from these limitations. It’s not about having a set of religious rules of conduct, but rather allowing the internal light of truth to shine into everyday moments so that our path through life will be illuminated. We can see how our thoughts and emotions formulate and drive us, and we can simply decide to go beyond them, since we practice generating light everyday in our meditations. Living in light is living with the possibility of illumination at every turn.

To learn about meditation, mindfulness and enlightenment, follow this link to hear Dharma talks by Rama.

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Perspective

Perspective is something that is challenging to get. Perhaps this is why people on the earth don’t have much of it. Even if we do get it, it’s hard to keep it when life presents us with surprises and difficult situations continually. Yet, to have perspective is a sure way of being happy. With perspective, you know who you are, where you are, what’s around you and what’s important. You know how you fit into the scheme of things. Perspective is worth everything, yet hardly touted as one of the richest commodities of the human experience.

Perspective makes it easier to see priorities in life, and thus, easier to make decisions, even complex and heart-wrenching decisions. It’s inspiring, fun, necessary to go to the top of a mountain to be able to see everything clearly. It can give us a sense of the vastness of life and how our little ant lives are somewhat meaningless in the larger scheme of things. Meaningless in the sense of our personal dramas, schemes, disappointments and hurts. What matters is living with truth, gusto and enthusiasm. Yes, we matter in the sense of living the best life we can – a life of integrity and love – and we do impact the world, not only with our actions, but our thoughts, our gestures of kindness or hurt. But, we don’t matter in terms of thinking the universe spins around us. It doesn’t. Perspective gives us that understanding.

Perspective is something worth trying to get all the time. It’s something worth valuing, yet we’re not taught to focus on it and understand it, let alone value it. In our society, we tend to focus on money, having a “great” body, the accumulation of wealth. Yet it’s perspective that gives us the ability to understand what we’re doing and to appreciate what we have – or better yet, what we are. With perspective, we can use money well. Without perspective, money doesn’t satisfy – it doesn’t add to the richness of our understanding, whereas perspective does. With perspective, we know where to put our bodies – the vehicles of our experience, how to use our bodies to gain awareness. On the other hand, what happens when our great body starts to disintegrate, which it will? Having perspective gives understanding and acceptance.

Perspective keeps you grounded and balanced. It gives you the room to live in love, not just in a good moment when it’s easy, but in tough moments, when anger and frustration enter the picture. Perspective will give you the ability to combat loosing your head over scenarios that your emotions are perceiving as hurtful. With perspective, you’ll see that it will pass. Perspective allows you to hold the lessons of the past, and see into the future, past the hurts of the moment.

How do you get perspective in life? Meditation. How do you keep perspective? Mindfulness.

Meditation expands your mind into brilliant states of light, into existence, versus staying fixated on life’s dramas:

“Enlightenment exists within everything. There is nothing that can be separate from enlightenment. But when I talk about enlightenment,  I am referring to an experience, a journey – the journey to light. Enlightenment in this sense is a journey into cosmic consciousness – to be completely aware of eternity, to be aware not just of this moment or this world, but of timelessness, of space, of organic life and what lies beyond it.” Rama

To get perspective every day, when you sit down to meditate (with an enlightened teacher in your corner), you let go of thought, of attachment, of the desires that are pushing you and pulling you through life, and you allow yourself to move into silence. As this happens, you find yourself going more deeply into light, a kind of quiet ecstasy that comes from tuning into the natural state of existence. It’s always there, this light – in front of us, inside of us, but it takes turning our mind, emotions and desires off to notice it, and then to experience it, and then ultimately to merge with it. This is the practice of yoga – the process of enlightenment – realizing that we are eternity.

“And then there’s the experience of enlightenment – to yoke your consciousness, to join yourself to immortality, to, in this very life, be very aware of what lies beyond the boundaries of cognitive perception, beyond the boundaries of thought, reflection and self-awareness as seen through the personality.” – Rama – Enlightenment Talk (click to follow link)

If you do this in the morning, your day will start with insight, vision and perspective. You’ll go into your day with a brightness that will buoy you through all that life brings you. Whether you’re in an office or in construction or in medicine – whatever your job is. Then, after a day in the world, you come home, shower, maybe take a jog, and meditate. And you’ll find that whatever perspective you lost during the day will be easier to get back to. You formulate a good habit -meditation twice a day, in order to keep your life – mind, heart and experiences progressing into higher more expanded perspective each day.

To keep perspective, we practice mindfulness. This is the experience of staying alert, keeping ourselves from hanging out in negative mental states, and not allowing ourselves to get pulled into others’ negative states.

“Individual practice is to meditate twice a day, and then when you’re not meditating,  to groom your mind, to eliminate hate, doubt, fear, anxiety, negative thoughts, emotions and states of awareness that limit your consciousness, that bind you to a sense of self, of ego. This is the practice of mindfulness, of monitoring your mind all day and all night. It’s enjoyable to just simply remove things that make you unhappy from your mind, to clarify your emotions and to lead a happy and productive life.” Rama

It’s also helpful to develop strategies – ways of approaching difficult situations with grace. Something to help us remember that all scenarios, good, bad, happy, sad, challenging, frustrating – are all transitory. They pass. And it’s really our response to them that defines our lives. They’re going to happen. Perhaps we had unkind parents, whether they meant to be or not. We can spend our entire lives living a “response” to them, which binds us to the way they conditioned us. Or, we can choose to live another way – off their grid entirely, and to break the binds of their conditioning. It’s up to us. We each get to choose. But most people don’t know this.

“Enlightenment is a journey – a journey into cosmic consciousness. And meditation is the key to enlightenment. To meditate, to make your mind still and supremely aware, to penetrate the void, the essence, the substance, and go beyond both to what is referred to as the clear light of reality: clear in the sense that it doesn’t have a definite color; light in the sense that it’s not solid, yet it is, pure energy; reality in the sense that it is that which is most real, that which is actual, meaning it doesn’t change. It’s always here.” Rama

As we gain perpsective through meditation and mindfulness, we realize we can choose how to live, how to act, how to feel. With perspective, we can allow ourselves to transform into who we know we’re meant to be, into people who are aware of the beauty of life, the power of love, and the truth that is within us.

                                       To hear it from the source, visit                                  http://fredericklenzfoundation.org/The-Enlightenment-Cycle-C8.aspx

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Quote of the Day (from AmericanBuddha.com)

 

What is self?  Self is the mind viewing itself.  That’s all.  The mind stops viewing itself and turns towards infinity.  There is no self, there’s only infinity.  Whatever we view is what is.  The mind enjoys viewing itself.  You like looking in the mirror.  “Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the fairest self of all?”  Then you’ll see whatever you’d like to see.  As I said, bodies come and go, ages come and go, yugas come and go, eternities come and go.  Selves come and go.  As long as we remain self-reflective and keep looking at who and what we are, as long as we keep our analysis that way, then there’s no freedom.  We’re just trying clothes on in front of a mirror and admiring them.  We get tired of one, we put on another, but we remain the same.

It’s when the mind is no longer self-reflective and instead turns towards infinity – infinity is not frightening, unless you want to be frightened by it.  You can’t die.  Bodies come and go but your spirit is eternal.  You’re the stuff that life is.  Can’t be created or destroyed.  It just changes form.

To have the detached eye of a yogi, to look outward, to not be so self-reflective and to learn to step through the various viewpoints of consciousness that we call Yoga does lead to freedom.  It’s a step-by-step process.  It works.  It creates enlightenment, nonbonding states of reality.  That’s there to do and be if that’s what one seeks.  Or you can get caught up in the drama of religious study, the politics, the language, the frustrations.  You can get mad at yourself when you didn’t turn out how you thought you were, when you failed to complete the list of tasks you set up for yourself.

The tasks don’t matter.  All that really matters is, are you more free than you were?  Is that what you want to do?

The American Buddha (www.americanbuddha.com) site is dedicated to our Enlightened Buddhist teacher, Rama, and to sharing his spirit, teaching, love, and humor with students of enlightenment around the world.

To hear Rama’s talks from the source, visit:

The Frederick Lenz Foundation

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