Reclaim the “I AM” in Your Thoughts

Your thoughts are “yours” only because you have made them so. In other words, from the infinite number of thoughts in creation, you are calling some thoughts “mine”. When you do, those thoughts become a part of your story, your history, your false identity.

The “I AM” feeling in you does not need to be attached to anything to exist. In fact, the “I AM” feeling is Real you. To reclaim that Real you, all you have to do is observe a thought that you feel attached to or feels like “mine” and then bring the “mine” part to yourself and let the rest be. The thought might fall away or still remain – that does not matter. What matters is that you would have recollected a fragment of yourself from a thought.

A thought – your attachment to a thought as “mine” to be more precise – cannot survive without you giving it attention. In other words, a thought cannot survive unless you extend your Self, your “I AM” into it. When you pull back the “I AM” what remains is the empty shell which you may or may not “use” in your daily life. What’s important though is that you would have detached your false identity from that thought. In other words, you have prevented your Self from falsely identifying with yet another thought.

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The Best Answer is an Unanswered Question

Through schooling, parenting and social exposure, we have been conditioned to resist not-knowing. That’s why, not-knowing feels uncomfortable. So filling the not-knowingness with anything – and I mean anything – is more acceptable to us than the void, the not-knowingness. This might be a good thing for our professional or vocational development, but not for knowing our true-self. Thinking that we have “figured out” the answers shuts us off from real Knowing and keeps us trapped in our mind with the stuff that we have collected.

Questions allow us to open up to the natural state of our Being. That’s why, in inquiring into our true nature, our true identity, a question is enough. There is no need for answers. When we let a question stand on its own and not hanker for answers, we open up our mind to welcome a new thought, a realization, an insight or perhaps even the dissolution of the question itself.

That’s why, “I don’t know” is a good answer to settle into as acceptance of not-knowing is another form of openness.

When we ask a question and settle into not-knowing, the answers that do come are more revealing than the intellectual answers. The answers may come in the form of thoughts, of course, but they may also come in form of events, experiences, feelings or further ease with dissolving into the not-knowingness.

A popular term in the U.S. when we describe a knot-it-all is “s/he is full of it.” Well, we are all full of it, one way or the other. Unless we allow ourselves to settle into not-knowing and the comfort and ease with which we allow that not-knowing to deepen.

This is why the inquiry of “Who Am I?” has such power. The question is asked not to know the answer intellectually, but to open ourselves up to get in touch with the intuitive Knowingness that already knows the answer. The trick is to not frantically search for an answer but letting the question – and the void that follows it – remain. That’s the skill. One way you will know that you are progressing inward is not by how fast the answers come but how long you can wait – BE – without getting an answer and by how much comfort and ease you feel as you sit in that un-knowingness.

This is why faith is so powerful. Not the faith that comes from belief, from the stuff that our mind is filled with, but the faith that Mother Theresa or Gandhi demonstrated. The faith that comes from comfort and ease of not knowing the answers. So much so that that not-knowing has become a deep, relaxed, refreshing, liberating Knowing. The not-knowingness has become so comfortable that it has become a new Knowing, so to speak. Which is why such beings will often be unable to explain their deep, unwavering faith. More precisely, they have no need, nor the desire, to express, verbalize or explain their faith.

When we use intellect, we can’t answer a question without concepts, as language, even thought, is made of concepts. That’s why the best answer to the inquiry into that which is concept-less is an unanswered question. Inquiry into the nature of Real is about receiving concept-less answers. The paradoxical thing is that when we make an inquiry without hankering for answers, they flood in in many forms, events and experiences. In other words, we are given opportunities to live the answers, experience the answers and realize the answers.

A final thought. When answers do come, it’s important not to form concepts around those answers and make an “end” out of it. Of course, we can use them to communicate our finding to others and ourselves. But we can’t let ourselves get bought into the belief that those concepts are the final answers.

Because when we think we have figured out the answers, we stop asking questions. And when we stop asking questions, our learning stops. Our opening into Beingness stops, to be more precise.

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That Which Runs Your Heart Can Also Run Your Mind

One of the fears many people have when they pursue enlightenment is that they would turn into a weird-looking, strangely-behaving person when they “get there.” That they would forget who their children are and would end up leaving them. That they would not ever want to “work” again and would not have a career. That they would become poor or homeless. So they stay stuck in their fears, not letting go of their false identity, regardless of the many spiritual practices they may be following.

This is one of those instances, I think, when the mind needs a little educating.

You probably don’t know it, but you have already given up control of some of the most critical functions of your life. In fact, you have never had control over those functions in the first place. Your heart runs by itself. Your body temperature is maintained at 98.6 degrees F without your knowledge. In fact, some of the most incredible systems of your body already run by themselves, without needing intervention from you at all.

Don’t you think it’s better that you don’t control these functions? Can you imagine trying to make your heart beat perfectly every waking – and sleeping – moment of your life? Or trying to maintain your temperature? Or trying to run your neurological systems?

The Self, the larger part of you, the Real you is infinitely more capable than you – the mind-concept you – at running your life. When you accept that, you will have no qualms about letting your Self run your mind, because then you will know that it will work with the precision, perfection and clarity that you can’t even imagine is possible for you.

Just like your Self can run your heart better than you, maintain your body temperature better than you and manage your critical systems better than you, it can also run your mind better than you, manage your emotions better than you and guide your behaviors better than you.

You will pursue enlightenment not only because it’s a cool thing to do, which, of course, it is, but also because your life will run better when you have realized your true self. You will pursue it not because it’s a spiritual thing to do, but because it’s the most practical thing you can imagine doing, in the most nitty-gritty details of managing your life.

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What’s Enlightenment?

Often we progress in our self development far enough that we begin to think that we are enlightened. May be so. However, there is a good chance that we are not there, yet. It’s one thing to “think” that we are enlightened and another to “know” that we are enlightened or to live enlightenment.

One of the things that enlightenment implies is that we have truly transcended our unconscious beliefs. In fact we have no unconscious beliefs. And once we have achieved the stateless state, they either don’t form or if they do, they dissolve quickly.

Enlightenment also means that we will have “answers” to the following questions, and more questions like them. To the point where we have no need to ask these questions. Not intellectual answers but a deep, experiential “knowing” of the answers:

“How is it possible for the One to exist without there being Another?”

“What was there before the Big Bang? If there was Nothing, how did Everything come out of Nothing? If Everything came out of nothing, how could Nothing be Nothing? It must be Everything!”

“Why do we exist? Is it possible NOT to exist? What is existence?”

In the end, the Enlightened Ones have to live with the fact that language, even thought, cannot explain the Truths that they know. Because thoughts exist only in the dual universe, not in the Oneness where the truth comes from. They can only live that truth.

This is why Enlightened Ones don’t talk much about enlightenment. It’s not something to talk about. It’s to live it. You can try, but never will be able fully explain yourself.

And they don’t feel the frustration of not being able to fully express the Truth they know.

Often, when we think we have become “enlightened” we have achieved the state of constantly living in the Present. Or being permanently in a transcendent, meditative state. This is a skill and the more we stay in that state, the more joy we feel. The more connected we become to the One. The more One we become, that is. The more we realize we were never not One, to be even more precise.

Yet, this is a practice on the way to enlightenment, not enlightenment itself.

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“Give light and people will find the way.” ~ Ella Baker

You really can’t help anyone with their inner journey. Self-discovery is a lonely and a private process. The only way to help others is to give them inspiration to look within, to cast off their own journey, to find their own path to their own selves. You can do it one of two ways. The first way is to wait until you have found your light, your own inspiration, your own path. This could take a while. The second way is to help people find their light even when you have not yet discovered yours. The best way to learn is to teach. As you help people find their own light, you will find yours.

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I Write What I Need to Read; I Teach What I Need to Learn

One of the mysteries of my life is that ideas and inspirations come to me in the form of telling, explaining or teaching them to others, often with a strong impulse to follow through and put them to practice in my life. When I play these ideas out – in a speech, in a conversation or in a training session, for example – or write them out, I benefit from them the most.

I suppose this means that teaching comes to me naturally, even when I don’t know what the teaching is! The person who benefits the most from my writings and my teachings is me. I write what I need to read and I teach what I need to learn.

Until now, I have only written about Enlightenment in my private journals. However, I have noticed that when I am explaining ideas and insights to others, they have energy, vigor and power that are lacking when I am writing them to myself. That’s why this blog. But I also hope you find it helpful. 🙂

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