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How To Be “Never Better”

The other day, someone asked me, “How are you?”

As usual, I replied, “Never better.”

And she said quite seriously, like someone looking for a solution, “Tell me how.”

This was the first time that I had gotten that response. It made me want to tell her how. And it started me thinking.

I am a piano teacher. As such, I am used to providing immediate, successful solutions to people in need of them. Adjust a hand position, use a practice method, or perceive a musical pattern, and problems vanish quickly and easily.

Why not be able to do the same on this other topic? What is the quick, easy technique for how to be “never better”?

I can tell you how NOT to do it. That would be to tell yourself something, such as, “I shall remember that life is total fullness at all times,” or “I am going to keep saying ‘never better’ because then it will become true.”

This is how not to do it because that would just be your thoughts talking to your thoughts.

I am not “never better” because I tell myself to think that way or to say those words habitually. When I say, “never better,” I am giving a current report on my true state of being.

So how to be never better is to know your true state of being.

And I can tell you what your true state of being is NOT. It is not your current circumstances.

Circumstances are “what’s happening”, or “my emotional state”, or “today’s health report”, or “a series of events I feel caught in,” and so on.

Being is not those things. Being transcends all of those things.

To transcend all of those things means to be independent of all of those things.

Being doesn’t depend on circumstances. It is the ultimate generality: no matter what is, being is there.

Your true state of being is the aspect of you that is there at all times, no matter what.

So then you need to know how to know the aspect of you that is there at all times.

Answers From Silence has a chapter called, “How To Be Enlightened.” To summarize: recall different times in your life, first a few years ago, then a few years before that, then a few years before that, and so on.

Afterwards, notice that there was something there, something that did not change with circumstances, a part of yourself that was being the same all the time—which means a true state of being.

And it took no effort to be in that state.

That’s because there is no technique for being. Being is automatic. Without trying to be, you are. There is nothing to do to make it happen.

And then there is no “how”.


Why I Am “Never Better”

If someone asks, “How are you?”, I reply, “Never better.”

And sometimes they ask, “Why?”

Meaning, “What wonderful thing happened to cause you to feel so good?”

The answer might be a little surprising.

First of all, no particular wonderful thing happened that caused this.

And if there were, something wonderful could go away or else turn into something that is not wonderful. And that would invalidate “never better”.

Answers From Silence says, “Happiness always changes into something else.”

And, “Don’t ask me if I’m happy. Ask me if I’m indestructible.”

That doesn’t mean indestructible as if my body wouldn’t bleed if scratched, or indestructible as if I never catch a cold, or indestructible as if I have no emotional sensitivity.

It means that this identity has gone beyond cause and effect and has nothing to do with changing circumstances. Instead, it identifies with changelessness and is the same in all circumstances. Therefore, indestructible.

Second of all, this isn’t about feeling good.

Answers From Silence says, “I don’t have to feel happy to be happy.”

This is saying that there are two kinds of happiness: “feel happy” happiness, which is a byproduct of circumstances, and depends on cause and effect; and “be happy” happiness, which is a byproduct of the freedom from cause and effect, and depends on nothing.

Beyond cause and effect there is a beyond-happiness happiness.

And then there is no “why”.


Oneness—And Beyond

Oneness, sometimes expressed as “I am one with everything”, is often spoken of as the state of a person who is experiencing spiritual enlightenment.

There is a flaw in the mathematics of this.

Answers From Silence says, “It’s not oneness, because that’s a number and it implies a distinct unit. It’s more of a zero-ness. No, more of a -ness.”

One is a number that delineates a thing.

But the enlightened experience includes the experience of boundlessness.

When there is boundlessness, there are no boundaries.

When there are no boundaries, there is no delineation of things.

When there is no delineation of things, there is only being, in its infinite potential.

Being is the “-ness”.

Enlightenment is identification with being.

Being is the aspect that every thing in existence shares with all other things. The being that is in one place is the same as the being that is in all other places.

The real deal is that it’s not Oneness, it’s Sameness. “Being is the same everywhere” would be a better phrase than “I am one with everything”.

The sameness throughout the diversity of all that exists is the sameness of being, not the sameness of things.

You can count the things that exist.

Being can’t be counted.


(Read more about Being here.)

The Meaning of Being

When a certain celebrity came to my hometown a couple of decades ago, I had an exciting opportunity to be with him as he spoke to a group of people. But as soon as I took the last available seat in the room, I was urgently called away by someone. Her reason for interfering turned out to be something that I considered unimportant. Meanwhile, upon returning, I had lost my seat to someone else and was turned away.

I resented this combination of events. It burned me every time I that I thought about it for years afterwards.

My perception was that three things were bundled together: the presence of the celebrity, my desire to be in that room, and my meddling friend’s agenda. How they totaled up was that a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime opportunity had been taken away from me.

I had added these events together and arrived at the conclusion that something unfortunate had occurred.

But what had really happened? Nothing. At least, not to me.

In the fullness of being, and when being is the self, nothing ever adds to or takes away from the self. And nothing ever happens that is a comment on the self, or that puts a dent in the self, or that labels the self. In fact, there is a sense that nothing ever happens, because the fullness of being brings timelessness along with it.

So, simply, three separate things coincided. I was there. The celebrity was there. My friend was there. In the playground of time, in the timelessness of our being, we brushed up against each other.

As Answers From Silence says, “Meaning results from one thing connecting with another thing. In timelessness, there is no duality, no ‘one thing’ to connect with ‘another thing’. Therefore, in timelessness there is no meaning, and there is no need for meaning.”

When a friend dropped her forkful of egg salad in a restaurant, she felt stupid and said to me, “You can dress me up but you can’t take me anywhere.” My only reaction was to start cleaning up. I reassured her, “It doesn’t mean anything.”

Two plus two doesn’t equal four. It equals two plus two.


The Triumph of Enlightenment

A loyal reader sent in this question: “When injustice seems to triumph, how do you handle it as an enlightened person? So many crazy things go on in the world every day. Please comment.”

Before answering the “how do you handle it” part of your question, let’s look at the ”as an enlightened person” part.

What is it to be an enlightened person? It is to know the truth of who you are.

Who are you? At your inner core, as your Enlightened Self, you are simply being as pure consciousness.

A person has boundaries. Enlightenment is unboundedness. A miracle of our human existence is that as persons we have the capability of experiencing enlightenment.

And as an enlightened person, you are still human. You still have human reactions and emotions.

Things that happen can still provoke a reaction in you. Seeing injustice triumph can make you feel a negative emotion. Seeing justice triumph can make you feel a positive emotion.

But an enlightened person knows that she is not her emotions. She also knows that she is not the world of phenomena that triggers those emotions. She knows who she is.

Emotions change and phenomena change. They have no impact on her changeless Enlightened Self.

Which brings us to the “how do you handle it” part.

In the arena of activity, do what needs to be done. If you see injustice and can effectively do something to correct it, then do something.

But perhaps your question comes from a feeling that you can’t do anything about it. You want to change something unjust that happened and you can’t. You want to prevent all future injustices that might happen and you can’t.

What we all want, all the time, is for outer to match inner. With every action we take, we have an inner intention and we want it to have an outer reflection. We are always trying to make the world in our own image.

When outer doesn’t match inner, we experience distress, frustration, and anger. Like when something unjust in the outer world doesn’t match our inner sense of justice.

Perhaps your question means that you want to hear something that will make it match. “If I could only understand how injustice can triumph, I could reconcile all this.”

There are lots of explanations for the grand and sometimes hidden designs behind confusing events in the world. Answers From Silence is full of them.

For example: “Everyone is on their path of enlightenment, and everything that happens in a person’s life is their path of enlightenment.”

Understanding can help. But enlightenment is not a philosophy. It is the living knowledge of the truth of who you are.

And when that knowledge lives in you, nothing that happens in the world can compromise, endanger, damage, negate, extinguish, or triumph over your Enlightened Self.


The “Mr. Enlightenment” Interview, Par...

Dear Readers:

This is the final follow-up to the article on this website titled, “The Mr. Enlightenment Interview”, where Rose Rosetree asked me questions that were posed by readers of her blog. “Mr. Enlightenment” is what she playfully decided to call me.

If you don’t know and are wondering what this is all about, please take a look at this link.

I am taking the remainder of the questions from Rose Rosetree’s blog buddies and answering them here in the order that they appeared.

As I did in Part Two, I aim for giving the shortest and most direct answers.

However, full elaborations of many of these are addressed by the articles at this website and in my book, Answers From Silence. You can read parts of the book at this website under Excerpts.

If more than one person asked the same question, I answered it the first time.

Here goes!

Renee: Why you??…Why not…me??

JC: That is one of the main parts of my message. I never expected it to happen to me in this lifetime. But it can happen. It does happen. It could happen to you.

Jim Curry: Is Enlightenment a condition cut out of a single cloth? Or can a person be partly Enlightened or Enlightened in one area while still lagging in another area?

JC: Enlightenment only pertains to one area, which is the area of consciousness.

Jim Curry: Or does the same new condition imbue all aspects of the person’s activity and understanding?

JC: Consciousness imbues all aspects of activity, therefore enlightenment imbues all aspects of activity. As for understanding, that can be a mental abstraction. Therefore, I wouldn’t choose the word “understanding”. I would instead say that enlightenment imbues all aspects of knowledge.

Jim Curry: Have you noticed that very few Enlightened people gather about themselves whole communities of similarly upgraded persons?

JC: To my understanding, historically there have been many communities of like-minded spiritually-oriented people who have gathered together.

Jim Curry: Suppose a person who would like to be Enlightened shows up at an enlightened person’s doorstep. Is it possible to transfer the condition through some sort of (perhaps unexpected) educational process, or is this something that must be done all from the start for each person?

JC: I believe it must be possible to transfer the condition.

Jim Curry: If, indeed, it is possible to help people along, then why have we never seen that happen on anything like a great scale?

JC: On a great scale, people first have to want to show up at an enlightened person’s doorstep.

Jim Curry: Even Jesus seemed to have trouble getting through to twelve guys. It should be clear enough that they didn’t all “get” it (Judas, for example) and that the rest didn’t get it all (not both Peter and Paul were right on all points—not possible, they disagreed a lot). Please explain this.

JC: You can begin communication with people only at their own level of understanding.

Suzanne: I think Jim brings up an excellent point. If Darshan, the concept of becoming Enlightened by being in the presence of an Enlightened person, is true — then why doesn’t it happen more often?

JC: People aren’t willing to surrender more often.

Suzanne: In your experience, are you able to influence other people just by being around them?

JC: Yes.

Suzanne: How do you keep your peace with the pace of other people’s evolution?!

JC: I accept where they are. Everyone is on their path of enlightenment.

Jim Curry: Physical exercise means that we place measured stress on the physical body in order to elicit adaptive changes—which come from the unseen wisdom of the body itself. Our work just knocks on the door, asking the body to improve itself. It does the work. Is there an analogy to enlightenment? Can we place adaptive stress so that we get closer to enlightenment—can we exercise in some sense toward enlightenment as we exercise toward the Boston marathon?

JC: I don’t know whether there is an adaptive stress analogy to enlightenment.

Jim Curry: On the other hand, are there unhealthy stresses we can self-impose that delay enlightenment?

JC: Yes, and your common sense will identify those. But your path of enlightenment is comprised of every moment and event in your life. If there’s a delay, it was part of your path of enlightenment.

Jim Curry: Is the exact reverse true, i.e. if instead of imposing stress, if we impose some sort of reverse-stress—some flavor of pleasure—can that get us nearer?

JC: Make transcending a daily habit.

Jim Curry: Is there any sense in which becoming Enlightened makes it more awkward or more difficult to function in ordinary life? Is it in any sense a mal-adaption?

JC: No.

Sunny: One of the main purposes in our life is to become Enlightened. But how can I recognize my purpose in life (other than the Enlightenment one)? How do I know what I am supposed to do in life? Which job, mission, purpose am I supposed to undertake?

JC: The one that suits your abilities, that brings you joy, and that contributes to the lives of other people. Chapter 1 of Answers From Silence is all about this.

Carol: Would you allow some of us empaths to merge with you? Could we get a feel for Enlightenment by doing that?

JC: Go ahead.

Jordan: Jeffrey, do you ever get sick?

JC: Yes.

Jordan: Do you think it’s possible or at all likely for an Enlightened person to become seriously or terminally ill?

JC: Yes. But it would be experienced as an illness of the body. The self would be unaffected.

Jordan: What is bad, icky STUFF anyway?

JC: Energy configurations.

Jordan: Where does it come from?

JC: It comes from the past.

Jordan: Is it just the unknown and distortion?

JC: It is mistaken identity.

Jordan: What do you perceive at the farthest edge of your consciousness?

JC: Consciousness.

Jordan: Where do you experience limitation?

JC: The experience of self has a quality of limitlessness. But the physical environment has limitations. Solid objects can’t occupy the same space, for example. But I don’t mind.

Station: Hello, can you please describe the dynamics of your shift from pre-enlightened to enlightened?

JC: It was accomplished by interacting with my Enlightened Self until I merged and became my Enlightened Self. Chapter 6 of Answers From Silence traces this step by step.

Station: Is it simply a matter of a shift in perception?

JC: No. It is a shift in the perceiver.

Station: Do you subscribe to the common belief that the purpose of human life is to “learn” and “evolve” spiritually?

JC: I used to, but “purpose” seems like a different issue to me now. Everything is whole and self-contained. Therefore, I would now say that the purpose of human life is to be human life. The purpose of learning and evolving spiritually is to learn and evolve spiritually.

Station: If so, how did you arrive at that conclusion?

JC: Before now, “the common belief that the purpose of human life is to ‘learn’ and ‘evolve’ spiritually” was the best working model for interpreting human life and spiritual evolution.

Station: What about other forms of life (animals, plants, single cell microorganisms)?

JC: Same answers.

Amanda Flood: I would like to ask about the experience of being ‘in the moment’. Can you describe it?

JC: It is an experience of fullness and of completeness.

Amanda Flood: Sometimes I will have times of being in the moment when everything is just love. It’s an incredibly gentle feeling and feels timeless. I had put it down as just another ‘consciousness place’ but it seems from what Rose has written here and elsewhere that this (or something similar) is characteristic of enlightenment. Is it characteristic?

JC: Yes.

Amanda Flood: I’d also like to know if it’s something I should be cultivating?

JC: No. You should cultivate the cause, not the effect. Aligning into timelessness (cause) is what you should cultivate. Don’t try to duplicate an incredibly gentle feeling when everything is just love (effect).

Heather: I believe that Rose has previously mentioned that it is possible for ALL humans to become Enlightened…but is it truly possible for everyone to obtain this level?

JC: Yes. But now would be a good time to put the word “obtain” to rest. Accurately speaking, enlightenment isn’t an obtaining. It is a giving away. As I said in Answers From Silence, “Enlightenment is a bargain. The trade-off is: give up everything you have. In return, you get all of it back, plus everything in the universe.” And, “You don’t obtain enlightenment. Only God obtains enlightenment. You don’t become God. God becomes you. Then it is God who is living your life, thinking your thoughts, feeling your feelings, etc.”

Heather: I understand that not everyone would choose this path and therefore it would not be a possibility.

JC: Also from Answers From Silence, “Everyone is on their path of enlightenment…The only difference between some people and others is that they know this.”

Heather: But if I worked hard enough to get rid of my STUFF, is it possible?

JC: Yes. And it’s also possible that it could happen even before all the hard work was done.

Heather: Or, for some of us, is it not possible in this lifetime?

JC: Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it is not possible in any lifetime as long as you take ownership of that lifetime.

Grace: Do you find that since you’ve become Enlightened that you have fewer problems in life?

JC: Yes.

Grace: And/or if you do have problems, is it simply easier to deal with them?

JC: Yes.

Grace: Did you actively and intentionally pursue getting rid of STUFF (as Rose defines it) as part of your path to Enlightenment?

JC: Yes.

Jody: I was wondering if your body is more healthy and resilient post-Enlightenment?

JC: I’m not sure. But my periodontist said that my mouth was healing faster than expected after a recent tooth extraction that left no bruises or swelling. If that means anything.

Jody: If you do catch a sore throat or tummy bug or something, does that affect your inner state, your mood?

JC: No.

Jenny: Millions of people suffer from insomnia. Do Enlightened people get insomnia?

JC: I don’t know. There have been a few nights where I couldn’t get to sleep for an hour or more. I think it had to do with eating certain kinds of food in the evening.

Jenny: Jeffrey, how responsible do you feel for fixing other people’s problems? So many compassionate people make themselves feel guilty because they are not stopping to help every suffering person who crosses their path.

JC: I feel no responsibility for fixing other people’s problems. But I am always available to respond to a need.

Jenny: Do you stop constantly and bless random people all day long? Or do you set yourself a quota for each day? Or what?

JC: It’s happening automatically at all times.

Roma: If someone close to you does something “offensive,” rude, or abusive toward you… do you perceive it that way for even a moment?

JC: Yes.

Roma: Or does it not even bother you?

JC: If it occurs within a personal relationship, it bothers me at the emotional level.

Roma: And if it doesn’t bother you — how/where do you draw the line between remaining calm and peaceful, and protecting yourself from people who are trying to harm you?

JC: You should protect yourself when appropriate. Draw the line at reality. There is no value in injecting an unreal sense of calm peacefulness into a harmful situation.

Anita: I am wondering if being Enlightened is something that impacts you in a noticeable way or if it is almost imperceptible, a wonderful add-on to your life and something you might notice if you paid attention but it otherwise doesn’t create any big waves.

JC: It impacts you in a noticeable way that never leaves your attention.

Anita: Do problems with our government or more global ones, such as poverty in third world countries or the thinning of the ozone layer, still irk you in any way?

JC: Yes.

Anita: Do other people – aside from Rose Rosetree, of course – notice that you are different in some way, even if they can’t articulate exactly how you are different?

JC: Sometimes.

Anita: Do they do something like, “Wow, Mr. Chappell, you just seem to have a glow to you that not many other people have, an inner incandescence”?

JC: Sometimes.

Anita: Does life seem more rich and textured to you as one who is Enlightened – like sunsets are more beautiful, oranges zingier, music more delightful?

JC: Yes. Chapter 7 of Answers From Silence provides a thorough before-and-after comparison.

Anita: Do you live more in the Present Moment now than before you became Enlightened?

JC: I live in eternal timelessness. Because the present is an aspect of time, I don’t live in the present—or the past, or the future. I have released the present. See the website article, Being In The Present—And Beyond.

Anita: Do you remember when and how you became Enlightened?

JC: Yes.

Anita: Was it a Moment or something gradual?

JC: It was a moment. More precisely, it was a period of about 20 minutes. I was writing it down as it happened. This is found in Chapter 6 of Answers From Silence, under the heading, “This Is Your Enlightenment”.

Anita: What do you think your dharma in this world is?

JC: At this point, teaching.

Anita: And how were you able to figure that out?

JC: The first part of my life was spent with a single focus on performing classical piano music. The next part was spent diversifying my musical knowledge into all other areas, and I also wrote Answers From Silence. What remains now is to pass on my knowledge to others.

Anita: Do you have any advice to give to the younger generation?

JC: Bring your best into every situation.

Anita: What tips can you give to those of us who aren’t Enlightened about how to live life well?

JC: The reason you do the things you do is to feel alive. Drop the painful, unproductive ways to feel alive. There are better ways to feel alive. Find joyful, productive ways to feel alive.

Anita: Do you recommend we become Enlightened ourselves?

JC: Yes.