“Death is the end of the illusion” – Eckhart Tolle
The good news is that you don’t have to wait this long to realise that we have always been the One Self, in whose presence the play of all Life appears. It is being recognised by human beings the world over, one by one and is known as the Collective Awakening.
The yearning to be happy is something we are all familiar with. The search begins in the world, where people and things are sought after as objects of fulfilment, in order to satisfy our apparent needs. This is fine but at some stage a fatigue will set in because of this reliance and strain to maintain. It is good as it serves as a force to push us inward for answers.
It is inevitable and when that happens, we have the opportunity to stop looking for the source of happiness to be somewhere ‘out there’ and look for it inwardly and the purest, most direct method is to find out what ‘I’ is.
Self Enquiry is like Holy espresso, so why not wake up and smell the coffee?
When it is discovered that we are not that which is changeful but unmoving Conscious Presence, all pain and delusion falls away. It is the Ego that dies.
The final kiss is seeing that it is just a living recognition. We have always been the One Infinite Self.
This is Moksha, True everlasting Freedom.
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In my own case, the spark to be wild and free was imbedded from a young age. When I was a child I loved the forest, its benevolent animals and the silent mystery of the trees. The surrounding landscape of hills and woodland filled my tiny self with wonder. I was a brave little lamb who wanted to be an Elf, leaping from tree to tree or a heroic soldier surviving the elements.
Such is the happiness of youth.
Then I grew older and went to school. The uniform felt oppressive. The introduction of rules, punishment and the tired procedure of ‘prove to me, you’re better than that’, dimmed my eagerness and strengthened my resolve to be a rebel. My wanderlust of youth, twisted into bitterness as I recoiled into the safety of a mutinous crowd of friends, that would soon be expelled or ‘asked to leave’.
This was the rise of my middle finger. A well known expression of “F the system”. I felt some freedom in this non conformity against the so called ‘oppressors’, however small and short sighted.
Amazingly, I passed my exams and moved to a different college to complete my final two years as a teenager in education. There was no uniform, offering some respite, only this time it with the children of the elite who didn’t exactly resonate with my hooligan mentality, making me feel even more alienated and angry.
Why can’t all these people understand me?
(Why can’t I understand myself?)
My only friends were a gang of Germans I would fight with in kick boxing class, 3 days a week for 2 years. A bleeding nose was cool. In vain I thought joining the army would honour my family, especially my grandfather who was a pilot in World War 2. There was a sense of freedom in feeling tough, walking alone and dedicating my life patriotically to England.
Rooted in conceptual identity, this morsel of freedom left no room for honouring myself.
Thankfully, Life threw me an apple as an old school friend invited me to join him travelling to Peru and Australasia for a year. He saved me. I felt a huge wind of change conversing with fellow travellers and learning to surf. The exposure to different cultures and free spirited people was like opening the curtains, to light up a dark room. I began to relax, loosen judgements and felt eager about life again. Most refreshing.
The physical freedom to travel where I wanted, coupled with the expansion of attitudes and the reconnection with nature opened my angry little self up and gave me a whole new take on life. After that, I moved to Canada to learn mountaineering.
For 5 years, I honed my mental strength on rock towers and spires across North America. From red hot canyon walls to frozen pillars of ice. I learnt about myself in huge new ways by controlling adrenaline at 1000ft, conquering fears and pushing physical movement beyond my limited belief.
Broad freedom was enjoyed when roaming the continent ‘under the radar’, meeting alternative communities, visiting Burning Man, romances in the wilderness and feeling more connected to the landscape than ever. All of which had this underlying sense of purpose in adventure.
These modes of expression were ways in which I learned about myself yet every phase came to end.
It happened during my fifth season on the climbing migration. My bubble unexpectedly burst, as my world of plans and assumptions came crashing down in the midst of an ending relationship. I was left with that same old feeling of unworthiness, being lost and yearning to be happy. It arose again with ever greater ferocity as I felt more alone than ever.
As fortune would have it, I met a friend in Thailand who wanted to see a mutual friend in India. I didn’t have any other ideas, so we went together and it was a month later, in the holy city of Hampi that the long awaited answer came from the Grace of a Guru . He pointed me to the root of all suffering.
Mental Identity – The Ego.
If I am not the ego, not the mind then Who am I ?
For a short time the mind procrastinated by saying ‘I am this, I am that’, identifying with the story of being an evolving soul on on a journey but it was eventually seen to be another identity in spiritual robes.
The inward looking was revealing some sweetness here and there but the cloud of thoughts still seemed too strong, too important. However, the sense of being beyond just flesh and blood was stirring something deeper. It was good, mostly ideas but they were not to last long.
This phase served as transforming the mind from a purely physical perception into a spiritual one. It’s still mind, still identifying with form and concepts yet something deeper was calling.
I still felt I needed workshops, ceremonies, energy work and so on as some part of myself still tried to hold on to improving identity instead of shedding it.
Inner space was starting to hatch but it wasn’t until I completely fixed the attention on ‘What is the seer of all forms? What is ‘I’?’, did the demon of ego begin to kick and scream.
The power of the enquiry brought all kinds of fears in the form of painful relationships, fear of family disconnect and the sense that I’d be some lost boat out in the ocean alone. The mind manifested all kinds crazy ideas in an attempt to grab my attention and resume my victim identity but a voice in my Heart kept saying
I felt a sense of dying a bitter sweet death as the ego had no oxygen left to breathe, yet ‘I’ remained. Jesus on the cross came to mind during the dark hours of dawn when I couldn’t sleep and watched the sunrise in tears.
An anchor held me inside the Heart and continued to ask “In whose presence do all these feeling and forms appear?”
Can the seer Itself be seen?
In observing and not feeding the energy of personality, something slowly burnt off giving rise to a subtle joy and intense yearning to finish it off and to be free forever.
Seeking the Truth was another beautiful expression until the realisation came that if there’s search, then there’s a sense that something is missing. We have always been That, whole and complete.
A natural silence arose and the sense of separation carried on dissolving.
The Self, formless and eternal, in whose presence all this show is performed. Apparently separate people and objects serving only as expressions of the Infinite One.
Identity, seeking and the journey back to Oneself is seen as a dream that felt so real by our power of belief but still what a dream.
Only by stepping into the shadows can you turn around and see the light and return to it consciously. This is the way the Self learns about Itself, continues the Divine Play of hide and seek yet remain untouched.
We are That. Total Freedom. Unborn, unbroken, The ever perfect Being.
The door to yourself is open. Step into the light of Pure Joy, Happiness, Compassion and Freedom.
Wake up Now, this life is a miracle.
Just Be Yourself and Enjoy.