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Issue #3198, Sunday, June 15, 2008, Editor: Mark
June 11, 2008
I am no longer burdened with the concerns of the world that you are.
I have no connection to that world. I see sights and hear sounds, and
all kinds of stuff goes on, but I'm not emotionally attached to any
of it. I walk around in your world, but it doesn't touch me.
I still see a framework within which things operate - objects,
bodies, actions, relationships - but what happens within that
framework is unimportant to me. I have no interest in what happens.
I just live. I get up, do a day's worth of stuff, and then it's time
to go to bed. And the next day I do that again.
And what I notice is: there is freedom itself, just being free. There
is joy itself, just being joyous. There is life itself, just living.
That's all. Not "me" being those things - those things being
themselves. Nothing, being nothing.
So how did this happen to me? How did I lose interest in the world?
How did I step out of this picture? How do I see only joy, only
Well, I stopped believing in the unreal. When I got a good look at
the intricate fabrication called "me" that I had been taught to build
and reinforce for many decades, and found it to be a fabrication, all
of the emotional attachment to events and objects and people was
Now, if you think this emotional attachment is what makes us "human,"
and you like that whole human experience of action and reaction,
desire and satisfaction of desire, read no further. The rest of this
essay will not interest you.
If, on the other hand, you find "humanness" to be the equivalent of
insanity, and seek the eternal peace and love that is promised by
every holy man and woman that ever walked the Earth, then maybe you
will be interested in what follows.
If what you want is out of this game completely - out of the
insanity, off the wheel of human suffering - then direct your
attention to one thing only, and that is: Is this - the separate me
that seems to be real - real? Am I real?
I don't know what led me to this inquiry inward, to the question of
the veracity of the sense of "me." Many things. Reading "I AM THAT"
and meeting John Wheeler really began turning my thinking around, but
it was just a bunch of coincidences that led me to those things. So
who knows? But I do know that the focus was turned inward, to the
question of "I" - not a psychological inquiry into what made me tick,
or what my obstacles to "awakening" were, but to the question of
whether there actually exists an "I" at all.
Up to that point, my search had been a normal one. The first twenty-
five years of it were focused outwards, on what could be gotten, by
me, for me, to end my pain. I was looking in the wrong place. Looking
outward only brings more of the same insanity. Something finally led
me to discover the final question: Am I real?
If it is found that "I" am not real, then all of the concerns I have
been wanting to be free of apply to no one! This is a radical,
drastic ending; it is not a palliative for the old mindset. This is
done in private, not in public. This is done alone, not in a group,
not even with a guru. This is really a solo flight.
I never did desire enlightenment. I never wanted some kind of
blissful state. I had enough "bliss" from all the bad habits I had
cultivated to get me through the day. I didn't need another
diversion. What I did need was to end the pain of feeling alienated
from my own source. It was this pain of feeling cut off that led me
on this journey. Millions - billions! - of people never face, feel,
or even notice that pain, and are never called to make this drastic
move. But when you feel it, it's got to be dealt with. There's no
option. Eventually, the pain will be eradicated at the root.
So what is the most noticeable thing about this, in my experience? No
thought. There is registering of sensory information, and there is
registering of some passing mental activity, but all of it is
immediately let go of. Nothing lingers from one moment to the next.
Nothing niggles at me, nothing needs to be planned or remembered. My
mind is at peace.
This is what I always wanted. I just wanted my mind to be at peace. I
wanted to quit wanting. I wanted to quit feeling like more was
needed. I wanted to stop. I wanted my mind to stop.
Is this what enlightenment is? I don't know. I know that I'm not
looking for anything anymore. I know that my day is filled with ease
and flow, and I see softness in the hearts of all people, no matter
what they project. I have no concerns and no worries. So whether this
is enlightenment or not is of no interest to me.
And in the three years that I've been writing about this experience,
the sense of a solid, individual person has been lessening. Now,
after three years, there is no more sense of a separate person at
all. Learning I was a separate "me" took time; the unlearning of it
also took time.
I still function completely normally. You wouldn't know the
difference. My closest friends probably notice that I'm not fearful
anymore, and I don't try to control things. They probably notice that
I rarely go anywhere, that I find pleasure in the simple things, and
that my life has become very peaceful. Some of my habits have
changed. But my life appears pretty much the same, from the outside.
What now? Can I tell you how to find out that you are not real? At
this moment, nothing like that is arising, but perhaps it will. I
don't think it's possible to tell another person how to begin or
conduct this inquiry. Yours is unique, it is intimate. It is your
business. What you need will come to you when you need it.
If I offer a pointer, it assumes that you are "ready" to hear it like
I was when I met John Wheeler. Otherwise, you'll just continue the
way you are going, and you'll distort my words into something that
fits your existing mental view. But just in case you really are done
with looking to your mind for solutions, this would be a solid
Ask, Am I real? Look for no other information. Ask no other
questions. Find out if you are real - that's all. If you are not
real, then the boundary between you and the source of all life is not
really there, is it? If the boundary between you and the source of
all life is not really there, then you would notice yourself as the
source of all life, wouldn't you?
- Annette Nibley
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