The thinking process creates the fundamental illusion of a separate sense of self. Not just "negative" thoughts. ALL thoughts. Even ones that make us feel good. Even "Spiritual" thoughts. Any process that distracts one from present awareness, which is the undifferentiated true self, is a reinforcement of the fundamental illusion. This includes any thought process that focuses on the past or the future, as well as any type of seeking that is "outside" the self.
Spirituality at its core is about dispelling what is false/illusionary and revealing that which is true/real.
This columns sole purpose is to direct all that read it to that which is true. If you’re game for such an endeavour, I encourage you to read with both an open mind and sincere heart. Any genuine search for truth must come from a place of objectivity and honesty. This may not be an easy thing, however. The vast majority of humanity is very deeply mired in the illusion. And chances are that you are one of this vast majority. This may not sit well, but I am not interested in telling you what you want to hear; I am only interested in revealing the illusion.
It is important for you to not just read what the illusion is, for understanding gained from direct experience is a deeper understanding than that gained from conceptual formulations alone. Here is an example of what I’m talking about:
The dictionary defines “repeat” as: to say or utter again (something already said)
This column relates “repeat” as: see repeat
One is defining, putting into a conceptual framework, “repeat.” The other is giving you the experience of “repeat.” I’m sure you would agree that the experience of is a deeper, more real, perspective.
And this is important. It’s important because most of us are experiencing life at the more superficial, conceptual level. Let me show you.
The following exercise will give you the direct experience of: 1. Spirit. 2. The source of every single problem you encounter in your life (the illusion). Not only that, but the source of every single problem that all of humanity has suffered since the dawn of time.
Did I mention this is important? Please, I implore you, take part in this exercise sincerely, honestly, whole-heartedly. Okay, here it is:
Close your eyes and watch your mind for as long as you feel comfortable doing so. Do it now.
Welcome back. The average human has 40,000 thoughts each and every day. Another exercise:
Once again close your eyes and watch your mind, but this time stop your thoughts. Simply don´t think. Do it for as long as you can. Do it now.
Unless you have engaged in training the mind in the form of meditation for many years, you will have noticed that your mind is a mish mosh of disjointed thoughts popping in and out at random. It is this uncontrollable thinking mind that is the source of all suffering. You can’t even stop for more than a few seconds! If you’re honest and objective about it, shouldn’t this be more than a bit disconcerting? It is obvious that our mind is directly related to our subjective experience of reality/our life. Heck, it is our subjective experience. If your mind can be accurately described as disjointed, uncontrollable, random… what kind of an experience are you having?
You are experiencing the dictionary version of reality/life. The thinking mind labels, defines, and describes reality. And while your mind is putting energy into that process, you are missing out on the fuller, deeper state of direct experience.
Human consciousness is experiencing reality through the veil of thought. And herein lies the illusion. You see, the thoughts you have about yourself work in the same way that they work about everything else. All the various labels, definitions, descriptions, from which you derive your identity are not what you really are.
Your ego is what you think you are. And those thoughts create the illusion of a separate sense of self. In order to dissolve the illusion and experience your true self directly, the thinking process needs to be transcended. There is no way around it.
Let’s now go back to the exercise and approach it from a bit of a different perspective.
Again, close your eyes and watch your mind. This time, simply pay attention to the space between your thoughts. Do not try to do anything with your mind or thoughts. Simply be acutely attentive to the space, the stillness, between thoughts. Do it for as long as you are able. Do it now.
The space between your thoughts is your true self.
Now the mind is going to try to reject this. What is it that we are inquiring into? Well, it’s the very thinking mind that is doing the inquiring! So if I ask you to transcend your thoughts and abide in direct experience, what I am asking the mind to do, essentially, is commit suicide. The ego, the separate sense of self, believing it to be real and alive, will quite naturally fight death. So what will result is that you will think that, without thoughts, you will cease to be! Of course this is nonsense. Did you blink out of existence when you noticed the state of non-thought? No. What you did was peer behind the veil, to catch if only a short glimpse of Spirit; of God Itself!
And that’s it. Spiritual practice is simply abiding in that state transcendent of thought. It is that state which is your true, real self. Again, your mind will try to reject this notion as false or irrelevant. It will do its darndest to keep the illusion alive; to keep those thoughts a-churnin’. However…
When you notice yourself thinking, simply abide in that awareness. You will find that state to be that from which All arises and that to which All passes. All sensations and thoughts arise and pass to that state of pure awareness/being. It is the source. And it is the same source of everything. You are not that which arises and passes. At the core of your being you are the absolute potential from which All arises and passes.
So, the longer you are able to abide in that thoughtless state of being/awareness, the more the illusion of a separate sense of self will dissolve and the more you will have the experience of Reality, which has been described in such terms as: Unity Consciousness, Nirvana, Bliss, Divinity, Heaven.
I implore you to give this a try. What I am showing you is nothing less than the most direct, powerful, efficient way to realize your true self, your enlightenment. Simply be aware. Be aware of your thoughts and observe with keen attentiveness to that state from which they arise and to which they pass. It is here that your true self abides. Always… here... now.