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#3924 - Tuesday, June 15,
2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz
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Today's feature is based on Colin Drake's e-book, Beyond the Separate Self, which may be further investigated at http://nonduality.com/btss.htm
Awakening is Not an Experience
I recently received a query from a long-time Christian reader of my book who said that he is yearning for the experience of awakening. Here is my reply, note that all of the quotes (the indented passages) are from Beyond the Separate Self:
It should be noted that awakening is not an experience but a realization (or recognition) of a deeper level of being than mind/body. As I say in the book:
The problem is that enlightenment, freedom, moksha, liberation, nirvana, call it what you will, has been described in such glowing terms that we expect it to be an ecstatic, unforgettable experience. Whereas the realization, that at a deeper level than mind/body one is awareness itself, may seem so obvious as to be nothing special. The consequences of this realization may lead to ecstatic experiences, but these should not be confused with the realization itself. However, if this realization is cultivated so that one becomes completely identified with awareness itself, then this is enlightenment, freedom, moksha, liberation, nirvana.
This realization is achieved by direct investigation of one's moment-to-moment experience (see chapter two) which reveals this 'deeper level'. Before this investigation is attempted one needs to take note of this advice from chapter one:
This is not a question of belief or imagination but of discovery by direct investigation, and for this to be effective we need to put aside all belief systems and acquired knowledge concerning who we are at the underlying level beyond thoughts and sensations. The only knowledge of this that is valid is that which is revealed to each one of us by direct experience. The easiest way for this direct experience to occur is by enquiring into the nature of experience itself, and for this enquiry to be effective we need to start from the position of believing and knowing nothing.
However I realize this negation of previous acquired learning may be difficult for you to achieve, so if you find this impossible let me try to put this into a more Christian context. You just need to slightly redefine your terms in such a way that previous concepts will not act as a barrier to your investigation:
God - The Absolute, or Ultimate, Reality which underlies the whole of creation.
Soul - The deeper level of being than thoughts/sensations (mind/body).
Heaven - Identifying with this deeper level of being, which leads to (comm)union with the Absolute.
Hell - Identifying with mind/body, which entails negation of this Absolute.
Awakening - The realization of 'the kingdom of heaven within you' (identification with this deeper level) followed by the cultivation of (and committing to) this realization.
I would recommend that you carry out this investigation at least three times daily, using chapter two as your 'template' until the realization becomes established. As you do this take note of the prequel:
Each step should be considered until one experiences, or sees, its validity before moving on to the following step. If you reach a step where you do not find this possible, continue on regardless in the same way, and hopefully the flow of the investigation will make this step clear. By all means examine each step critically but with an open mind, for if you only look for holes thats all you will find!
Once you fully 'see' what is being said by your own direct investigation of your moment-to-moment experience then you can move on to the later chapters. This direct 'seeing' may lead to ecstatic 'experiences', but also may not:
These experiences vary greatly from person to person and are ultimately irrelevant as the recognition and realization of ones own essential nature is the crucial factor for attaining freedom.
I hope this is of some help, Love, Colin
P.S. Even after my first 'awakening' I have followed the process I outlined to you. I have found (and so there's nor reason to assume you won't too) that it leads to further 'discoveries', life becoming 'lighter' and less 'heavy', and an undercurrent of joy and peace. In the long run this is more valuable than any ephemeral experience.
~ ~ ~
Beyond the Separate Self, by Colin Drake is from Nonduality Publications. You may read more excerpts and the index at http://nonduality.com/btss.htm
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