…the sheer and utter relief of having finally detached from the habit of “thinking” was absolutely beautiful.
The part that surprised me the most was that the “ego” doesn’t disappear at all. It doesn’t die, because it never lived. Rather, my false belief that a thought was myself vanished. It was this belief that the ego was me was what was causing all this tension and suffering, not the ego itself.
A huge part of the lingering ego I experienced was obsessed with trying to be “still” or trying to remain only the “witness”, yet as soon as I realised the witness is a thought too, it popped like a bubble and I was just here, without cause, without effort.
To make a long story as brief as possible; I suffered from extreme anxiety of death, and was manifesting all kinds of things wrong within the body like tumours, etc. I wanted rid of the mind, and so turned to self enquiry. I watched many Mooji talks, and read I Am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. I practised being the “witness”, learning to simply watch and not get involved. Self enquiry became the total focus of my life, I didn’t half-ass it 😂 After around 3‒4 months I had my first awakening experience. This was about 2 years ago now. After that, I continued to enquire, knowing I was not “awake” yet I had experienced freedom so there was no longer any doubt, simply a matter of “cleaning house” and allowing that awareness to see through all my illusions I still felt tied to. My practise was very simple, I simply questioned my thoughts, watched how I acted, and kept asking myself “am I this?” whenever thoughts or suffering appeared.
I continued watching Mooji on YouTube, and various others, though it was Mooji and Nisargadatta Maharaj who appeared to resonate in ways others didn’t. I would re-read I Am That over and over, and it seemed each time I understood the words more and more. The first reading of it felt like I was just reading elaborate nonsense 😂 though now I read it and it appears as though Maharaj is speaking with perfect clarity and being very direct and obvious as possible. Over the course of two years, I experienced several more awakenings, each one wiping away huge chunks of the ego-thought construct. Eventually, a few weeks ago, it was like the final penny dropped, and I saw this entire play had been my imaginary self. I imagined my own realisation 😂 what a joke! I was left with nothing, and what a glorious nothing it is.
Eventually the only mental habit left was the witness thought…
Finally, spontaneously, it dawned on me that that witness point too was imaginary, and I didn’t have to “anchor” anywhere, I had nothing to fight, nothing to lose. I finally surrendered to be nothing, and it was initially like a bottle of champagne being uncorked. All this energy and expression I had been bottling and trying to suppress exploded out (I had experienced this before after awakenings) yet i was never corked again this time. Now just free-flowing, always flowing out, never ending champagne 😂
Absolutely no fear whatsoever. It just doesn’t happen at all without the “I” thought present. There’s nobody to be afraid.
My self enquiry practise was a deliberately very simple one. Nisargadatta once mentioned to take on the role of the witness or observer and to watch and learn the patterns and habits of the mind, and this I did. By consciously taking the role of witness, I was able to watch and question my thoughts, and often the question “is this thought me?” was enough to expose the thought as a phenomenon, as from the witness position it was inherently clear that I was watching thought arise and fall only. The thought then became irrelevant, it wasn’t my self, and that after all was what I was ultimately looking for. Whenever the thought then arose again in future it was simply ignored/discarded, it no longer mattered because I had already experienced and confirmed that it was not myself, so its impact ceased completely.
Meditation was helpful initially, though the practise did not last long. I found it worthwhile initially because it was a tool that allowed me to experience myself free from the storm of mind. I would meditate infrequently during the initial 4 month period of self enquiry, but once the initial awakening moment had been experienced and my true nature confirmed in my heart, if only for a short while, meditation was abandoned. Exactly why it was dropped, I do not know. I can only say it served its purpose as a tool/practise during the time of need for it.
Speaking from my own experience, I found enquiry much more useful a practise than meditation simply because I was actively exposing and deconstructing the mind and it’s conditioning, whereas meditation, though beneficial as it allowed me to experience true nature, did not deconstruct thought. Meditation I found to be passive; beautiful and relaxing yes, but it was enquiry that was my true weapon.
Enlightenment is perfectly and easily attainable. It is after all only recognition of what you already are. It only takes earnestness and dedication. If you half ass it then thoughts will create trap after trap after trap. Use your weapon, your conscious awareness. Understand your own mental habits and they will be destroyed, no thought can win against the gaze of your observing awareness. All thoughts fall. Channel your frustration, make everything work for you, use it as a driving strength. You are not a victim to anything, you are the source of all this and more.
The “ego” is naturally afraid of the void, for the ego cannot exist there. But you are not the ego, you ARE the void. What appears as something frightening to your unconscious mind, is actually a triumphant homecoming to YOU… To the ego, the void is frightening, dark, destruction. Yet the void is simply you, you are already that. Once free of the egos perspective, you will come to realise that the void, yourself, actually feels beautiful, expansive, open, indestructible, blissful, shining forever like a sun that never goes out.
The recognition is done and final. There can no longer be any doubt. There is a certain sense of finality in this regard, yet the opening, the deepening of understanding appears to go on indefinitely. I feel I could never truly grasp or understand my entire self, at least not in this form. More and more understanding is revealed, yet this understanding seems bottomless, infinite. I could describe it like, a threshold has been crossed, a point of no return, and now a constant unfolding, a sinking deeper and deeper.
Whenever you wish it to, it can stop. The bullshit is only a train of thought.
Actions and decisions still take place but there is no “me” thought that is claiming ownership of any of it. This was one of the big surprises, that the outward appearance of a “somebody” with desires, hobbies, etc, going about their life continues. Responsibility for it is just let go of. It is only the imaginary construction of a “me” that believed he was controlling any of it, was responsible for, or was involved in any of it, disappears completely. Enlightenment is the total cessation of an “inward/outward” perception of oneself. The “inward”, the me who is narrating, desiring, speaking, etc, vanishes completely. Everything becomes both inward and outward simultaneously. It becomes one. But there is no person left to even acknowledge this, when non-duality arises, life just goes on, and there is no big “shift” or some great final experience. It is the end of the experience. It is the end of the thought-self that has been on the journey of enlightenment. This whole perspective of yourself as a “me” who has been self enquiring and “getting closer” etc just vanishes instantaneously. What’s left is pure shining awareness, a non-entity. This non-entity, living presence, simply IS. With no agenda, no interest, no needs, nothing to lose, nothing to gain. The whole great play of life simply arises and falls within this beautiful silent expanse of awareness, and this awareness is the real you.
The “I am” feeling that is referred to is simply the recognition of your own presence, of your own existence. You recognise that the ever-present one, you, are here, having the experience of this moment, right now. You know your self very well, you are not some distant, otherworldly, meta-physical, mystical holy grail that you don’t currently own/have and must somehow gain, you ARE it. The most familiar of experiences is the noticing that you exist and become aware of the simple fact that you are here. It is so overlooked because it is so obvious. Do not take the “I am” feeling to be the “I am” or “I” thought. That is just a thought image of yourself. You know you exist, just become consciously aware of that fact, for one moment.
Do not mistake emptiness as experienced as void in the sense that there is no experience or everything is reduced to nothing or life is somehow deadened. Everything becomes everything. Everything feels truly alive. Your sense of self permeates everything, love permeates the entire sphere of consciousness. There is a sense of emptiness, but another word you could use instead of emptiness cloud be love, could be heart, could be spaciousness, could be clarity.
I don’t want anything, and so I am blissfully at rest within myself. I reach for nothing, I want for nothing. Attention never leaves the self, peace has been found to be myself this whole time. You too are this. When you finally dispel the illusion that you are the “I” thought, you will find you are the presence that has been here this whole time, the background to everything you have ever experienced.
To centre oneself in the present, the self. It is the simplest thing yet the most overlooked. Constantly looking outside to mind, books, teachers, medicines for answers, when YOU are the answer. Bring attention to the self, to the present.
Enlightenment is when a state free from experiencing the illusion of personal identity, or ego, has arisen. That which experiences enlightenment is forever beyond all states and remains unchanged. All it takes is the constant recognition of that which is constant.
The experience of ones true state of total emptiness is indescribable, I can only use words to roughly designate the experience, such as pure contentment, peace, happiness, love, all of these are simultaneous with emptiness and with your own self. No personal experience can compare. No pleasure or fleeting happiness or excitement I have experienced before even comes close. Nothing I can say will compare, experience it for yourself.
I focused all my efforts to simply keeping my sense of self in mind and by questioning all thoughts that arose of their validity. Even simple observation of the behaviour and thought habits that I saw taking place revealed their mechanisms and patterns and ultimately their unreality. When a magician casts an illusion on you, you will be duped again and again until you simply observe how the illusion is made. Once this is understood, the illusion is rendered redundant and no matter how many times the magician may try to cast it, it will not have any effect on you because you understand how it was done- the power of the illusion has been exposed as unreal.
All illusions dropped. I stopped imagining whatever it was I was imagining. I just stopped.
It was my only goal. It must be your only desire, it is the only desire worth having, afterall.
It was absolutely nothing like I expected.
. But truth will only be seen when this seeking mind is gone completely. The mind that wants to understand is infact the obscuration itself. The very tool through which you are trying to understand reality is the very thing that must be given up in order for reality to be revealed in its absence. This is why it is said there is no path to enlightenment, no “way” to go. You already are it. All efforts must be dropped, all perspectives dissolved, all thoughts given up, all questions forgotten. Only when you finally rest in your natural silent presence will reality of universe reveal itself to you.
The you that is asking if it is doing good enough is just the idea of yourself you hold in your mind. You are not the mind, you are what is observing the mind, right now. You are what is hearing the voice in your head, not the voice itself. Turn your attention to this “I”, the true silent present “I”, and remain there and see what is revealed naturally.
If you think imaginary states are fun wait until you realise the fun of reality.
This page was first published on October 5, 2020, last revised on October 5, 2020, and last republished on October 14, 2020.