The Enlightenment Experience

The Enlightenment Experience For those ready to awaken, The Enlightenment Experience is a series of gentle, easy practices that help you breakthrough to this profound state of being.

We think as adults that we know what life is, what we are, what our bodies and the world are better than a two year old ...
Fully Alive Course

We think as adults that we know what life is, what we are, what our bodies and the world are better than a two year old child does, like the one in this picture. But we're wrong, because we live separated from life, from the world, from our bodies and ourself by our thoughts about these things. The two year old doesn't, at least not nearly as much as we do.

The two year old is more open and free. He experiences the moment more fully. He is far more alive.

The amazing things is we can be fully alive again too. It's not too late for us. We can experience life fully open and fully alive without thoughts getting in the way and limiting our experience of life. When we do this we realize, that even at the age of 70 or 80, we still have the same energy, enthusiasm, awe and vitality we did when we were two years old. We are still just as free, open and alive. No matter how much our thoughts, beliefs, opinions, knowledge and memories of past experiences have beaten us down, tied us up and limited our world and our life, we can regain all of it. We can open to all of it. We can become fully alive again.

exercises, practices and experiments to experience being fully alive again


Welcome to the Present Moment
My friend Steve says, "The present moment is the least visited place on earth." He's right. None of us can ever be separate from the present moment. But because our full attention is always on our thoughts, we're completely unaware of it.

Even while sleeping, our dreams are made of nothing but thoughts. As soon as we awaken in the morning, we begin our waking dream. "Oh, yes, that was just a dream. This is real. This is my bed. This is my room. And this is me. This is what I need to do today." We go from a sleeping dream to our normal waking dream that we're very familiar with. There's a familiar bed, a familiar room and a familiar me. We don't consider the waking dream a dream. We call it me and my life. We call it reality.

We don't realize that at any moment we can shove a stick into the spokes of this spinning bicycle wheel and bring this entire dream to a screeching halt. Even if we realized this, we probably don't want to do it. It's frightening to give all this familiarity up and enter a world that is always unfamiliar, that is always completely fresh and new and continuously changing, to enter reality.

Welcome to the Present Moment
If we decide to surrender this dream when we wake up in the morning, we become aware of the present moment. This bed is no longer familiar. This room is no longer familiar. I am no longer familiar. Everything is completely fresh and new, vividly alive and changing in every moment. It is so vast, so full, so complete, so continuously changing, there is no way to create a concept about it. Reality, the present moment, outshines all concepts completely.

If we don't immediately try to figure it out and makes sense of it, meaning make a concept out of it, we can rest in this "least visited place on earth". In the midst of this constant change, this ever fresh and newness, this vivid aliveness, there is also a great sense of permanence, of stability. We are, after all, encountering Truth. The longer we remain in this awareness without being triggered back into a thought-world, the more familiar it starts to become, in a very different way then the familiar thought-world, but still familiar, comfortable, comforting, wonderful. It is, after all, Truth, reality.

The Mind is Insatiable
It is always trying to figure out and understand everything. It is never satisfied. It is never fulfilled. It is never content. Because we've led our entire life through the needs of the mind, we have a strong habit energy to continue this pattern. This makes it very difficult for us to ever be aware of the present moment. And, in the chance that we are (such as a profound spiritual awakening), to remain here without reverting back to attempting to create a concept about it.

That takes practice. It is like letting go of an old habit and substituting a new more healthy one. The new habit is being present, which we do by letting go of the thought-world and not immediately creating a new one.

At any moment it is possible to do this. The present moment is always here. Truth is always here. It may be deeply hidden behind our thoughts about it, about the world and who we are. But it is always here. It is always available. All we have to do is let go of this waking dream for just a moment to realize it.


To be present is to be free of thoughts.
To be free of thoughts is to be present.


The Bad News and the Good News
The bad news is, although you make think you know what I’m talking about, you don’t. In fact, if you think you do, you most certainly don’t. Truth is a living reality. It cannot be understood with thoughts. Even the most profound, interesting, mind-blowing and enlightening thought is still just a thought. It is not Truth nor can it ever be. I am talking about Truth. No words can ever describe it. No thought can ever capture or understand it. So the bad news is, if you think you understand what I’m talking about, you don’t. And you never will. It’s important to understand this. Then hopefully you will stop trying to understand and simply let go into the experience I’m pointing to.

I’m always interested in observing people going over my words in an attempt to understand them or sometimes to disagree with them as if they understood them. It amazes and tickles me. These are just words. I use them to point to Truth as best I can in each moment. But they are not Truth nor can they ever be. Because they are just words and not Truth, I have no attachment to them at all. They are simply a tool, and not the most effective tool, to point at something that is beyond words: Truth.

The Good News
The good news is you have never been apart from Truth for a single moment at any time in your entire life. You ARE Truth and Truth IS you. But until you can let go of your attachment to thoughts, to knowledge, to beliefs, including and maybe especially your spiritual knowledge and beliefs about Truth, about presence, about God, about enlightenment, you can never experience what Truth, presence, God, enlightenment actually are. It is actually your thoughts, beliefs and knowledge that are keeping you from this direct realization, from True Understanding.

Our Training
When we begin on a spiritual path, we do what we’ve been trained to do in every other area of our life. We learn, we read, we study, we ask questions, we inquire and we seek. This is especially true of those who are intelligent and have been rewarded by society for this intelligence. Many on the spiritual path are like this. I certainly was. Because I had been so successful “figuring things out” in every other area of my life, I assumed that enlightenment would be no different. It took me at least ten years to finally accept that it was very different. It was not a thought, not a concept, not a belief and no knowledge could ever get me there. Instead it was the freedom from all thoughts, all concepts, all beliefs and all knowledge that brought me to the direct experience that everything I had been seeking had always been right here in every single moment. And that’s very good news. That’s wonderful news.

I’m not here to give you more knowledge, more things to believe in, more spiritual thoughts and concepts. There are infinite sources for this. Thanks to the Internet we have access to all our minds desire or can handle. Instead I’m telling you that all of these are not a path to Truth, a path to awakening, but obstacles to it. I’m here to help you let go of these obstacles so you can discover the Truth that is always right here and now, Truth that you have never been, nor could ever be, separate from. You may have heard it said, “You are what you are seeking.” As long as you hold this as a concept or belief, you cannot understand what it is pointing to. If you can just for a moment let go of all thoughts, all concepts, all beliefs, all knowledge, it will be completely clear. And you will be very happy.

It’s Not Easy. And It’s Easy.
Because of our lifetime conditioning to perceive the world and ourselves through thoughts about them, it takes some practice to let this conditioning and attachment go. Every true spiritual experience we’ve had is just this momentary freedom from thoughts. Usually we quickly assemble some thoughts about the experience to explain it to ourselves and others, which is why we’re not still having the experience, why we’re no longer aware of life beyond concepts. But it is possible to extend this freedom, to spend more time before the mind is triggered to understand or make sense of it. There are many simple practices that help us experience life free of concepts. Since the experience of Truth, of awakened consciousness, is not a concept, belief or knowledge, we must experience it directly. The longer we remain free of concepts, without the knee-jerk reaction to return to them, the more comfortable we are in this freedom and the more we realize the great benefits of it. We call this living awake.


Awakening Is Not An Experience
Experiences, like thoughts and feelings, come and go. They are not permanent. Even the most profound spiritual experience does not last. And, if you are aware, you can clearly see that all experiences are constantly changing even within the experience. This is Truth. And what we awaken into is Truth. We stop living in illusion and live in ever deeper realizations of Truth.

Many people confuse profound spiritual experiences with awakening. They are not the same thing. Spiritual experiences are good. They are teaching us something. All of life is teaching us something. All of life is leading us toward awakening. Spiritual experiences are like opening a crack in a door and peaking in. They show you that life is not what you thought it was. There's a whole lot more that you were completely unaware of. Profound spiritual experiences can be very humbling. They teach you that you don't know anything, that all your knowledge was just illusion. They can lead you toward Truth. They give you the trust coming from direct experience that there is something more. And they give you the motivation to surrender illusion in order to explore this further.

But useful as those experiences are, and they are useful, they are not awakening. They are just pointing towards awakening.

For 40 years I would go on spiritual retreat at least once a year. I almost always had a profound spiritual experience on each retreat. But, not long after the retreat was over, this experience would seem to fade. At first this was very frustrating and I didn't understand why. Eventually I understood that all experiences fade. That is their nature. They are impermanent.

I read every spiritual book I could get my hands on and through many of them a deep resonance and experience would come. But these too did not last. They were impermanent. And I still was not yet awake. But I was heading in that direction.

At some point these experiences lasted longer and longer. But still they were not permanent. No experience is going to be permanent. That is not the nature of experience.

Retreats, meeting with teachers, reading books, meditation, spiritual practices, all of these are useful, all of these are leading toward awakening. But it was not any of these that actually helped me walk through that door rather simply peeking through a crack in it. It was life itself. It was paying attention to what life was and is presenting in each moment, without the interpretation of thoughts, beliefs, spiritual knowledge, past experiences. The retreats, years of daily meditation, teachers, books and spiritual practices helped me to let go and pay attention. The profound spiritual experiences that completely "blew my mind", totally wiped away all previous thoughts, taught me to pay attention from a mind that was open and not knowing. In this way I learned to listen, to see, to pay attention. And in doing so, life taught me what Truth is. It taught me and teaches me in every single moment. That is what it is to live awake, free of the constraints, limitations, distractions and distortions of the thinking mind.

Everything is Impermanent
One of the things you learn when you pay attention is that everything is impermanent. Everything is changing all the time, moment by moment. At the same time, there is something that never changes and is completely unaffected by any of the constant changes. Both constantly changing and never changing at the exact same time. It's not a concept that the mind can wrap itself around and create a concept out of. But Truth is like this. It is beyond concepts. The thing that never changes is not an experience, a thought, a feeling, a body, a spirit, matter, energy or anything else. And yet it is also not separate from any of these things. Again, it's not something the mind is going to be able to understand. Much of what life shows us is like this. It is Truth, but Truth is not something you can create a concept out of and have it remain Truth. Thoughts change Truth into illusion. If you want to experience Truth, you must leave it as it is. Let it show you. Let it reveal itself. It always is.

What About Peace, Love, Contentment, Freedom?
True peace, love, contentment, freedom are not experiences. They are actually the absence of experiences, the absence of illusion.

Peace is the absence of the experience of any conflict, inner or outer. When conflict is no longer experienced, what is left is this great infinite peace. True love is the absence of the experience of separation. When this illusion is gone, what is left is a pervasive unconditional love. Contentment, what we might call happiness, is the absence of feeling need or incompleteness. And freedom is the absence of any type of limitation, boundary or constraint. These are not experiences. They are just the absence of ignorance. When the illusion of a separate self identity is gone, all other illusions crumble and great freedom, peace, love and contentment are what are left. We give this state names and can label them as experiences, but they are not. They are just the absence of illusion.

Spiritual Experiences
Spiritual experiences are wonderful. A crack in the door to Truth is still a crack in the door to Truth. That's not a small thing. But don't be attached to them. Don't hold them as a fond memory of when you were once awake. Yes, it felt wonderful. It aways does. But it's just a crack in the door. Nothing more. Use it as a motivation to keep opening, to keep surrendering, to pay attention on a deeper level, less obstructed by thoughts. Then let it go. More experiences will come. You can be sure of it. Don't cling to the old ones. It will just make it more difficult to notice the new ones that are already happening.

The past is the past. It's not real. It's just a memory. The future is just imagination. Life only happens right here in this moment. Truth only happens right here in this moment. Pay attention. It's all here for you. Nothing has ever been hidden.


The Way of Truth

Where love is needed,
I am a lover.

Where inspiration is needed,
I am a muse.

Where encouragement is needed,
I am the biggest fan.

Where healing is needed,
I am a healer.

Whatever is truly needed,
I am.

I do not try to do this
or clam any credit.
It naturally and effortlessly

I ask for nothing in return.
I am already complete.

If some need should arise
or is unconscious,
it too is naturally and effortlessly met.

This is the way of life.
This is the way of Truth.


What Awakening Means
To simplify: Awakening means freedom from a limited separate self, self identity. That's all it means. It has nothing to do with experiences, spiritual or otherwise. It has nothing to do with theories. I hope this helps dispel some of the confusion that seems to surround this.

For people whom this has yet to happen, many definitions of awakening are created in order to include whatever state of attachment they are in. This evidently creates a lot of confusion and complexity around what is extremely simple and obvious.

Truth is always simple. When you encounter complexity, it is the just the mind chasing around trying to understand what it cannot or refuses to.

For example, to the mind it is difficult, even seemingly impossible and maybe inadvisable to let go of self-identification. The simple truth is it's just a matter of letting go. Nothing more than that. :)

Know that whenever we surrender completely, Truth always remains. It is only illusion that falls away. It's okay to let go. It's advisable. :)


Emptiness and Unity with God are One and the Same
Emptiness is Unity with God. Unity with God is Emptiness.

In Emptiness, the realization comes that nothing that exists can have an independent separate self. Neither you nor anything that exists has an independent, separate, self-existing nature. This is a very powerful realization and goes against literally all of our conditioning. All of our conditioning dissolves in this mighty realization. This realization is Liberation, Nirvana, Enlightenment.

And the realization of Oneness with God is the exact same thing just with a different name. So Buddhists and Christian mystics have the exact same experience. They just call it by different names. In Unity with God, all sense of separation vanishes and all that is left is God. All that you see is God. All that you hear is God. All that you touch is God. All that you feel is God. All that you think is God. All that you are is God. Everywhere there is only God. The personal, independent, separate you must disappear for you to directly experience this. It must dissolve in God. This is Oneness with God. And this is also Emptiness.

The ways of getting to these great realizations may be different. But those are just means. There are many means for getting here. In Buddhism we call this experience Bliss. Christian mystics have called it Ecstasy. It is the same thing. This Bliss and Ecstasy are natural results of our completely stopping all resistance to life. Before this great realization, we resisted life.

The experience of an independent, separate self is a great resistance to life. I am here and life is over there separate from me. I will accept some things about life and not accept others.

This in a nutshell is the nature of suffering. When all of life is seen as God, we accept all of it. We love all of it. It's God, after all. How else can you respond to it. So resistance to life is over.

And the experience of this is complete relaxation, unconditional love and Ecstasy. When we realize there is no independent, separate, self-existing nature in all of existence, it is the same experience. Everything we see is not separate from me.

Everything we hear, taste, touch, feel or think is not separate from me. I and all of creation throughout infinite space and time are One. We also call this non-duality. Can you see how this is the same experience as Oneness with God?

The belief in either of these is not particularly helpful or not helpful. Belief is a concept and concepts are prone to interfere with direct experience. We can end up experiencing a concept instead of the real thing. On the helpful side it is useful for understanding what has happened when you do have this direct experience.

The story of the Holy Grail and all quest stories are useful. But at some point we need to realize that the point of all these stories is that the Holy Grail has always been right here. It has always been inside us. It was never outside at all. But we go through a long journey seeking before we realize this. Some people seek the Holy Grail in worldly success, fame, wealth, sex, sensual gratification, relationships or entertainment. When they realize it cannot be found there, they turn to spiritual seeking. And this is closer to the mark. They are honing in on something here. But this seeking itself blinds them to where the Grail really is.

Eventually, often after great frustration and struggle, after giving up on all their options, after finally giving up on this independent, separate seeking self, which was always the only thing blocking them from the Grail, the Grail reveals itself. And they realize the Grail is what they are and have always been. In that moment the perfection of all of life is clearly seen.


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