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Your Spiritual Path—And Beyond

There are many spiritual paths. A very small list would include:

t’ai chi

Every spiritual path is a means for the development of consciousness and the growth of knowledge and experience. A spiritual path that works for you will be one that picks you up from where you are and carries you to the next level of your evolution toward enlightenment.

At this website I have written even more about paths.

And Answers From Silence says that “everything that happens in a person’s life is their path of enlightenment.”

This seems to be acknowledging the existence of spiritual paths and validating their value and necessity. And I fully support the beneficial results that you get from them.

And yet there is another aspect to the topic.

A path is something that you follow. It requires activity, and the activity unfolds in time.

Enlightenment requires no activity, and it is timeless.

A path leads away from your door. You must go out and track it and see where it leads you.

The enlightened experience is that enlightenment is everywhere. Therefore, enlightenment leads nowhere else. There is no place “to” or “from” it. There is only “in” it.

Seeking advice, my student Gideon asked me, “What path do you suggest that I follow?”

To which I answered, “You don’t need to follow a path. You need to sit still.”

They say that every drop eventually returns to the ocean.

Sit silently. The ocean will come to the drop.


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.


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.


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.


Your Life Story—And Beyond

I heard a woman talking about building her whole life as an homage to her deceased husband. She bought a house in the town where, before he died unexpectedly, he was planning for them to move. She has regularly spent time there with her children throughout their lives, “to build memories,” she said.

She spoke about these things always with grief, never with happiness.

This is a person who created a framework out of a past experience. She used it to shape her entire life and the lives of other people as well.

I would say that she is captivated by her life story. But that is not unusual. Many people are.

Of course, not all stories are mournful. There are a lot of them that are happy and uplifting. When people tell stories about their lives, the stories can have any kind of energy.

The point is not which kind of energy resonates in a life story. The point is that people often mistake their life story for their identity.

In the article, “Enlightenment: Why Bother?” on this website, I wrote about “the essential issue of enlightenment: a realignment of identity. Instead of being aligned to the story of your life, you align with eternal being.”

Your life story is not who you are. In essence, who you are is pure timeless consciousness.

The enlightened experience is consciousness established in timelessness. When you experience this, you won’t have the urge to repeat and re-live the story of some past event that made you feel vividly alive in either a positive or negative way.

It’s timelessness that spoils the life story party. Stories are about the past. Because the past is an aspect of time, it can’t mix with timelessness.

And there is something more beyond that.

The enlightened experience is that your life is not yours.

When your life is not yours, there is just life.

And then your life story also is not yours. It is just a story.

A stone falls into a pond. On the water’s surface, ripples spread out in circles, echoing, echoing, echoing, repeating, repeating, repeating.

The ripples tell the same story over and over.

Be the falling stone, not the ripples. Be the cause, not the effect. Dive to the depths. Leave your story behind you.

When you are captivated by memories, you forget the rememberer.


Are You Ready For Enlightenment?

If you were getting dressed to go to a party, you might spend a lot of time imagining and predicting how you want to look, what the surroundings will be like, what you will do there, who you will see and who will see you, how they will react to the way you are dressed, and exactly how you want things to go.

But what if you showed up and found out that the party had nothing to do with what you imagined, or with what your predictions were, or with the way you had prepared yourself for it?

Enlightenment is like that party. Some people know that they want to go to that party. They have ideas about what it’s going to be like. They are making a lot of preparations to get ready to attend it.

One way of getting ready is to work on yourself. You find ways to become a better person who is more deserving of an invitation to this party. Perhaps using resources from the self-help industry, you think yourself into a new perspective, or you re-order your priorities, or you process your old patterns and hang-ups.

You might even control your behavior to emulate that of a saintly person. You tell yourself to have fewer attachments, or to be free from negative feelings, and so on.

This could make you into a better person, and I sincerely congratulate you for that. And all it means is that you have become a better person. It’s not enlightenment.

Enlightenment doesn’t mean that you better yourself to the point of being enlightened. It isn’t the final improvement on the list of improvements. Enlightenment is a change of identity that comes through yielding to eternal being.

As long as you engage with your unenlightened self, your attention is on your problems. To be enlightened, you need to go where enlightenment is and dwell there.

Answers From Silence says, “Everyone has an Enlightened Self. It is the part of you that already is enlightened, already knows peace, and already has attained the goal of your evolution.”

Engage with your Enlightened Self. Then your state of consciousness rises to approach its level. Finally, you inhabit that level, and the difference between you and your Enlightened Self evaporates.

How to do this?

One way is to practice silent meditation. Then you are simply communing with your Enlightened Self.

Another way is to have an active dialogue with your Enlightened Self. You can find answers about your daily life, the meaning of life, and everything in between. Meanwhile, your attention is turned in the direction of enlightened consciousness the whole time. There is a “how to” section in Answers From Silence about this.

Eventually, you don’t have to go anywhere to get to the party. You are the party. And you bring it with you wherever you set your foot down.