Charlotte Joko Beck Photo

Enlightenment Is Not Something You Achieve

My dog doesn’t worry about the meaning of life. She may worry if she doesn’t get her breakfast, but she doesn’t sit around worrying about whether she will get fulfilled or liberated or enlightened. As long as she gets some food and a little affection, her life is fine. But we human beings are not like dogs. We have self-centered minds which get us into plenty of trouble. If we […]

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Hand Touching Water Photo (Self-Enquiry Article)


Self-enquiry simply means to enquire into yourself to find out what or who you are by placing investigative attention within. When undertaken correctly, there is direct experience of the natural state, of the Self. Self-enquiry is intellectual in the beginning, because there is a partial technique that needs to be understood. At the outset of self-enquiry, it is necessary to make an effort to abide in the Self. This results

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Waking Up in the Now

Turning Away From The Now In the egoic state of consciousness, we continually turn our attention away from the fullness of the moment to the products of the egoic mind: thoughts, desires, and feelings. The ego is entranced by its thoughts and desires and the feelings that arise from them, and it has little interest in anything else. And yet, who we really are is not the ego but something

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How Things Exist - Image

Everything Comes from the Mind

Everything comes from our own mind. Since everything is merely imputed and all imputation comes from our mind, everything comes from our mind. All appearances happen by labeling; whatever appears to us happens by labeling. Again, all the appearances of life come from our mind. The appearance of a friend comes from our mind. Before we label “friend,” there’s no appearance of friend. Because someone loves us or does something

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Moonrise Image

What Do You Know?

I know what I know. The knowledge is 24 karat. It is elemental, every atom of it like every other. It is cut with nothing, diluted with nothing. It is seen not through any lens. There is nothing in me that is not knowing. I am not separate from knowing. There is not a knower and a known. I do not know anything that you do not also know. Here

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What Is This “I”?

“Rest in natural great peace this exhausted mind beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thought like the relentless fury of the pounding waves in the infinite ocean of samsara.” —Nyoshel Kempo Rinpoche This Person Called “I” When we meditate, doing the relatively simple task of noticing the sensations that arise from breathing, uninvited, an incredible display occurs. At times this mindscape is beautiful and harmonious, at other times chaotic or

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Spiritual Maturity

Until the last century, the theoretical framework of Advaita Vedanta was preserved and presented mainly within the esoteric spiritual teachings of India. Traditionally, these non-dual teachings were not imparted freely. An apprenticeship of twelve years’ service to a spiritual teacher or guru was customary, after which the guru determined if the student was ripe to be introduced to the non-dual perspective. While this might seem extreme in this current freedom-of-information

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The Art of Enjoying Life

The higher spiritual teachings are often more vertical than linear. They invite us to be enlightened right now rather than pointing to a goal in the distant future. The Eastern tradition of sitting meditation goes back thousands of years. The purpose of it is to stop our linear mind, which is constantly going in all directions, and to initiate a vertical ascension, and immediate transcendence. Basically, it signifies enlightenment right

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The Art of Non-doing

If we look carefully, we can see that everything in existence is in motion, besotted with the will to become. This is particularly true for human consciousness. The human mind has become a reflection, even a caricature, of universal movement. While to be endowed with active intelligence is natural and positive, when we become subjugated by our own compulsive thinking, we lose our connection to the basic goodness of being

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Celtic cross

I Am Therefore I Am

Expansiveness When I was a child, I would sit in bed at night and contemplate how the universe could be infinite. How can something go on forever? I would envision how there might be a brick wall in space where the universe would end, but then I would ask what was behind the wall. I would have to stop thinking about the whole idea because it would literally blow my

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Ramana Standing

The Question of Effort

In Light of the Teachings of Ramana Maharshi Is the Self, is it ever attained?” . . . “Can you ‘realize’ the Self?” . . . “All are Self-Realized” . . . “Be as you are” . . . “Be Still and Know that you are God.” These statements were made on different occasions by the sage Ramana Maharshi. At other times the Maharshi has said, “Grace is always there

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Remembering Allan W. Anderson

July 18, 1922 – March 11, 2013 Allan W. Anderson was a distinguished Professor of Philosophy at San Diego State University from 1962 until his retirement in 1985. During that time, Prof. Anderson taught and mentored students by actively engaging them in a quest for truth that ultimately pointed back within themselves. One of the books that Dr. Anderson often used as a classroom text was I Am That, the

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Stephen Jourdain

This Life Loves You

Have you ever been walking down a street, and suddenly it’s not a street you’re walking down anymore, it’s The Street, and everything comes to you preceded by the definite article and shining, and an extraordinary melting, humming happiness is there, with the impression that centuries have gone by while you’re living this second, which will last forever? In the middle of the night, I awaken. The compartment is plunged

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Robert Powell

Remembering Robert Powell

1918-2013 Robert Powell was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After obtaining a doctorate in chemistry from the University of London, he pursued a career first as an industrial chemist and later as a science writer and editor in Great Britain and the United States. Robert’s exploration of spirituality began in the 1960s. His quest for deeper self-discovery led him to Zen and later to a number of spiritual masters including

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The Essence of Self

“You have no location in space. Space is in you.” I AM You, that part of you who is and knows . . . that part of you who says I AM and is I AM . . . I AM the innermost part of you that sits within, and calmly waits and watches, knowing neither time nor space . . . It was I Who directed all your ways,

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Ramesh Hands Up

The Essence of Enlightenment

The most important event in my life has been meeting a Self Realized Jnani—Nisargadatta Maharaj—in November 1978. It was through reading an article about him in an issue of The Mountain Path (the magazine published by Ramanashramam of Tiruvannamalai, South India) that I came to know of him, and knew instinctively that meeting him would be the most significant event in my life. He lived in one of the by-lanes

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Stephen Jourdain

The Irreducible Identity

Gilles Farcet: Certain teachings compare the awakened one to an actor—the actor speaks his lines, plays his role perfectly, is in love, betrayed, rich, ruined, knows happy occasions or tragedies, cries or laughs, and becomes the character he plays, all the while knowing that he himself is not Romeo or Orestes. Once the curtain comes down, he quietly leaves the theatre. Stephen Jourdain: Yes, that’s exactly it. There’s this strange

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Fruits of the Spiritual Journey

Openness It can be said that the divine itself is openness. In its wonderful ability to be open, we can learn from the flowers, which always incarnate this principle for us. A flower simply opens to the light and warmth of the sun and receives the moisture from the earth and the rain. Presence The inner journey also grants us the ability to be genuinely present to others in all

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Toni Packer

Effort and Energy

People frequently express dismay at experiencing endless streams of thought, even after sitting (in meditation) for many years: “Am I a hopeless case?” they ask. Or, “The mind is fairly quiet and spacious here at Springwa­ter, but when I’m back home there is new entanglement again.” Or, “How can I do it better, be more disciplined? I really have no discipline whatsoever. I lack a foundation, not having had any

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Frances Lucille

A Tornado of Freedom

What can we expect from our meetings? To learn not to expect. Not expecting is a great art. When you no longer live in expectation, you live in a new dimension. You are free. Your mind is free. Your body is free. To understand intellectually that we are not a psychosomatic entity in the process of becoming is a necessary first step, but this is not sufficient. The fact of

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Wu Wei

The Path Of Wu-wei

Those who study hard increase day after day, Those who follow the Tao decrease day after day. They keep on decreasing until they dwell in wu-wei. What does it mean to “dwell in wu-wei” and “decrease day after day?” In a society where “more” and “bigger” are better, the path of wu-wei seems as far as the edges of a receding universe. However, as more people begin to realize that

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Catherine Ingram

Stop Pretending

One day a six-year-old friend said to me, “Pretend you are surrounded by a thousand hungry tigers. What would you do?” I visualized the situation as he had suggested and, coming up with no viable plan of action, said, “Wow, I don’t know. What would you do?” And he replied, “I’d stop pretending.” In many ways, our usual pretending to be somebody, to prove something, to aggrandize some notion of

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Maverick Sutras

Maverick Sutras

When we lose our sense of wonder in life, it’s a sign that we know too much! It’s true. Wonder is always the first casualty of too much knowing, while it always thrives in the rich soil of not-knowing. Unfortunately, most people, when they suddenly realize that their lives have become dull, flat, devoid of wonder, look for answers. More knowing! This approach is like using gasoline to put out

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Gethsemani Encounter 1996

It is a warm Monday afternoon. The rolling hills of the Kentucky countryside provide a profound contrast to the California coastal desert, which I left just a few hours ago. Motoring along the road to Trappist, Kentucky, I notice a sign inviting us to visit the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, not too far from here. As we drive the time passes quickly, for my friend’s conversation is both lively and

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