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Having A Higher Purpose—And Beyond

Sometimes people discover a higher purpose to live for.

When this realization arrives, it’s a turning point. It provides the answer to formerly perplexing questions. It brings direction to your life, and guidance for choosing action, and a sense of deeper satisfaction.

Having a higher purpose means that you feel that you are part of something greater than yourself. When you have a higher purpose, you are willing to subordinate your personal concerns, and your life doesn’t orbit around your own wishes and preferences.

This is like, and yet unlike, the enlightened experience.

Enlightenment also creates the effect of shedding personal concerns and of being moved by something higher. But the mechanics of this are subtly different from those of having a higher purpose.

When you enlist yourself in service to something greater than yourself, the distinction between you and the greater something remains.

In enlightenment, you actually just stop being yourself. And then the greater something becomes you and lives through you.

How the stopping happens is that identity shifts to eternal Being. You aren’t “you”—your life story, your personal concerns, your wishes, your preferences—any more. Instead, eternal Being.

At that point, shedding personal concerns and being moved by greater forces are just by-products of the identity shift. They are not the main event. The identity shift is the main event.

And then a higher purpose has you.


Answers From Silence: An Interview

Answers From Silence was published in the Czech language by the Eugenika publishing house in the Slovak Republic last week (August 24, 2012). If you know someone would enjoy reading this translation, please find it at this link:

In connection with this release, the publisher asked me to answer some interview questions. Here is a selection of them:

EUGENIKA: According to your opinion, why don´t some people desire spiritual growth, enlightenment, wisdom, etc. at all?

JEFFREY CHAPPELL: Answers From Silence says, “Everyone is on their path of enlightenment, and everything that happens in a person’s life is their path of enlightenment. The only difference between some people and others is that they know this.”

If some people don’t desire enlightenment, they are at a stage in their growth of consciousness where it is their path of enlightenment to focus on other matters. But even if they don’t realize it, those people are also on their path of enlightenment.

E: Do you think that even people who have existential problems can attain a mystical level of understanding?

JC: Yes, this level of understanding is available at all levels of experience. Because spiritual growth is the reason for everything, existential problems would exist for the purpose of spiritual growth.

These questions share a theme. The theme is the obstacles to enlightenment. In Question 1, people aren’t interested in it. In Question 2, people can’t rise above existential problems to find it. But the only real obstacle to enlightenment is an unreadiness to give up the old identity, bound by time and space, for the new identity, which is eternal. People will find reasons not to yield to enlightenment even when they are on the brink of enlightenment.

E: You are a musician. How is this fact—and music as such—connected to your sensitivity toward the spiritual dimension of life?

JC: I am not sure that being a musician automatically makes a person more spiritual. But it is true that music is an invisible force. It is the sound of feelings. It puts the soul in order. And it reflects the state of mind of the musician. Because of these intangible but real attributes, you can say that music is very spiritual.

E: Can you imagine being a homeless person, instead of a well-received musician, and still think the way you do? Or, if you would lose everything right now and become homeless, would that influence your beliefs and enlightened attitudes?

JC: Enlightenment isn’t a way of thinking, or beliefs, or attitudes. It is knowledge of who you are. This identity is invulnerable to circumstances. If I lost everything right now and became homeless, it wouldn’t change my changeless identity. Only the circumstances would change.

E: What do you think about entheogens (special chemicals altering consciousness)?

JC: Many states of consciousness are possible. An altered state induced by an entheogen would be one possible state of consciousness. But beyond all states of consciousness there is the unaltered state of consciousness, which is pure consciousness. This is the parent of all the other states of consciousness. It is changeless while they are temporary. The ultimate would be to experience this.

E: What do you think about the origin of life and the universe, even the origin of the Creator/Creative force itself? Do you think we might get to know this “secret of creation” in the afterlife perhaps?

JC: What you know depends on your state of consciousness. Through interaction with your own Enlightened Self, your consciousness can grow into cosmic awareness. Then you can get to know life, the universe, and the Creator/Creative force from that viewpoint.

E: An enlightened person accepts everything and craves nothing. But what if someone wishes to be enlightened and at the same time still has some concrete, human desire which is still not being fulfilled, and he/she just can’t stop desiring it (e.g., desire for a beautiful love relationship, or whatever)?

JC: Each desire you fulfill clears the way for your next desire. The final desire is for enlightenment. Therefore, ultimately every desire leads you to the desire for enlightenment. Because of that, there is no conflict between the desire for a beautiful love relationship and the desire for enlightenment. To believe that finding enlightenment requires renouncing earthly love is a mistake.

E: What do you think is the best contribution to the world these days?

JC: The best contribution these days is to accelerate the growth of your own consciousness and to teach others what you know.


Having A Spiritual Experience—And Beyond

If you are someone who is evolving spiritually, you might feel that you are a human being who is having a spiritual experience.

And then there is a step beyond that.

There is a bit of wisdom circulating these days. It is a reversal. It says that we aren’t human beings having a spiritual experience. Instead, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

And then there is a step beyond that.

Before I tell you what that step is, consider the following.

While working as a healer, my friend Rose Rosetree experiences her work as “a blissful surrender to co-creating with God”. Outside of that special situation, she reverts to experiencing her “human ego-centered identity”.

Rose told me that she enjoys the dramatic game of being human. She has challenged me to change her mind about continuing to play that game and instead to just go for enlightenment 100% of the time.

I would respond that the part about “co-creating with God” is a case of mistaken identity. Another reversal will clarify what the true identity is.

It’s not that you co-create with God. It’s that God co-creates with you.

And then there is a step beyond that.

It’s not that God co-creates with you. It’s that God creates you.

And then there is a step beyond that.

It’s not that God creates you. It’s that God is the only one who is really there, and the only one who has really been there the whole time.

And then there is a step beyond that.

It’s not that God is the only one who is really there. It’s that God is the only one who is really here.

By “here”, I mean inside of you, looking out at the ever-changing vista of creation.

In the ultimate reversal, the ever-changing vista of creation includes a person who has your name.

So the step that is beyond “I am a spiritual being who is having a human experience,” is to give a name to that spiritual being and to give a name to that human being.

Answers From Silence says, “Anyone could complete the following phrase with their own name: ‘I am God having the experience of being __________.’ ”

Fill in the blank.


Success and Happiness—And Beyond

What is life about? Is it about success? About happiness? About getting what you want?

Well, yes, of course, it is about all of those things. From a certain standpoint. And I sincerely wish you the best with that.

But then there is a mystery to it. What is life about when you are unsuccessful, when you are unhappy, and when you don’t get what you want?

Answers From Silence says, “It’s not whether you have a good time. It’s whether you become aware.”

So, it’s about awareness. No matter what is happening. Even failure, unhappiness, and frustration are part of your path of enlightenment.

Just when you think you are being diverted from your desired destiny, it turns out that you are exactly where you need to be. Becoming aware is the prize.

However, this is not the popular idea of “it’s the journey that counts.” (Read about that here.)

Instead, this is to say that when you are distracted by the common measures of success, happiness, and getting what you want, and when you reject the other very real pieces of your life, then you miss an opportunity to grow in awareness.

There is just such a golden opportunity in every moment that passes. Especially the moments that seem difficult or incomprehensible.

When those arrive, try this phrase: “This is my path of enlightenment.”

And then you can experience what it is like to allow wholeness to happen.

You can also ask your Enlightened Self what it is that you are supposed to become aware of. Answers From Silence includes a how-to for this.

And remember, even when you have less success than someone else, even when you haven’t yet achieved the happiness you dream of, even when you didn’t get what you wanted, one thing remains true.

You are in first place on your path.


This Will Change Your Life

“This will change your life.” It’s a phrase that you hear in advertising all of the time. The question for me is, why is this supposed to appeal to people? Don’t you like your life the way it is?

Apparently not. The advertiser’s assumption is that you are dissatisfied for some reason. You feel stuck, overlooked, disadvantaged. You need a change. Their product will be that change.

The customer’s assumption is that this change will mean catapulting into an arena of living that was previously inaccessible, with a big boost in positive benefits.

I’m open to that possibility. It can happen.

And it sounds like some people’s idea of enlightenment.

People want to know: Are you suddenly luckier, richer, more successful?

And things like: Do you see colors better? Can you control traffic lights? Do you know who is on the other side of the door knocking before you open it?

Answers to these kinds of questions appear at this website in the articles “Ask Your Enlightened Self” and “The Mr. Enlightenment Interview”. Chapter 7 of Answers From Silence also has a lot of “that was then, this is now” information in it.

But positive benefits, sensory enhancements, and psychic abilities are not the essence of the matter. The essence of the matter is identity. Answers From Silence says, “Enlightenment is the shift of identity from that which is bound by time and space to that which is eternal.”

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

This will change your life because you are getting closer to enlightenment every second. Your life just changed. And there, it just changed again. And there, it just changed again.

In the time it took you to read this, you approached enlightenment just that much closer.

And when enlightenment happens, the biggest change of all to your life takes place: it isn’t your life any more. Instead, universal consciousness lives through you. And then the phrase, “This will change your life” ceases to be applicable.

When your sense of who you are changes, your sense of ownership changes along with that—the new you is the new owner. If the new you is eternal, unbounded, and all-inclusive, then ownership of just one single life completely fades away like the light of a torch next to the sun.


The Map Of Enlightenment

What good is it for somebody else to be enlightened and to tell you what it’s like? Wouldn’t it just be better if you were enlightened too?

Well, yes, it would.

Until then, what is the real value of a scout bringing you a report on how the territory looks up ahead?

The value would be that you would know what to look for. You could anticipate and recognize the features of the territory as you came upon them.

But the scout’s report could never replace your own direct experience. Effectively, it would be the equivalent of a map.

A map is not the territory. You still need to visit the territory to really know it.

Or do you?

Answers From Silence says, “The truth will recognize itself. You are not learning the truth nor discovering the truth; you are remembering, when it resounds in you. You have the truth in you and it wakes up when it calls to itself and you experience it.”

Therefore, hearing the scout’s report does actually give you some degree of direct experience. It’s the glow that you feel when the words of the description sink into you, and you recognize the truth in them.

They point the direction to what lies ahead.


Your Peak Experience—And Beyond

There is a phenomenon that is fairly common among people who are on a path of spiritual seeking.

What happens is that they find something.

What they find is a sublime, spiritual peak experience that seems like the greatest experience they have ever had.

But then something else happens. A mistake.

The mistake is that they think having the peak experience is the goal of their spiritual seeking. So they start trying to duplicate it.

When they can’t duplicate it, they experience frustration, unhappiness, and disillusionment. They might even give up on spirituality.

The correction to this mistake is to know that a sublime peak experience is just one possible effect of spiritual seeking.

An effect comes from a cause.

What you should seek is the cause, not the effect.

The cause is aligning yourself with eternal Being.

What you want to duplicate is the cause, cause, cause, over and over. No matter what kind of temporary experience you have.

The cause is the treasure. The effect can end up being a distraction.

Answers From Silence says, “All that is yours comes to you. Go about your business and if something good happens, that’s good, and if not, just keep going about your business.”

The business of spiritual seeking is alignment with eternal Being.

Whatever else happens is just part of the scenery.


First-Hand Enlightenment

Consider the following statement:

“The world is just maya—it’s all an illusion.”

It’s one thing to remind yourself of this concept and to appreciate it on an abstract level.

It’s another thing to see through the illusion and to speak about it from first-hand experience.

Somebody, sometime, did have that first-hand experience and did put it into those words.

You might repeat those words with a feeling of authority because they are ancient and widely accepted, or because you heard them from a source that you trust.

But tradition and consensus don’t substitute for first-hand experience of the level of perception from which the statement is made as a descriptive observation.

The point of this cautionary tale is that the truth of one level of consciousness may not operate on another level. Attempting to mix the aspects of different levels—in this case, the level of the intellect and the level of cosmic consciousness—can be, at best, ineffective and confusing.

Because if the world is all an illusion, why does your knee hurt so much when you bang it into the corner of the table? And as you rebound in pain, does it help to tell yourself that your knee, the table, and your pain are all just an illusion?

If you answer “no”, then I appreciate your honesty.

If you answer “yes”, then you have seen through the illusion. In fact, you won’t have to tell yourself anything when knee meets table corner.

And it will still hurt. But it won’t be your pain.