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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.


Positive Thinking—And Beyond

I was listening to someone talking to a group about how to accomplish a particular project. I was waiting to hear what simple actions to take in order to accomplish it.

I was still waiting when the speaker said that positive thinking was crucial for the success of the project, and for everything in life.

This would apply if you are at the point where you need encouragement in order to begin taking action, or if you are feeling discouraged as the action is in progress.

And it would apply if you are in the habit of self-defeat. Positive thinking might be helpful for changing that habit.

Positive thinking is also an invocation to the positive forces in the universe, attracting support for the success of your activity.

I definitely affirm anything that works for you.

At the same time, it seems to me that there are a few more nuances to the topic.

For one thing, there is the common, everyday experience of doing something that you don’t feel like doing. Inwardly, you experience resistance, but you still decide to do what you know has to be done. And you do it.

This suggests that you can perform action regardless of your inner experience, positive or not.

As Answers From Silence says, “Feelings and actions are separate dimensions.”

For another thing, if you accidentally tip over a glass of water onto your dinner table, you probably won’t take any time out for positive thinking in order to convince yourself to do what needs to be done.

In fact, taking time out for positive thinking at that moment would be superfluous. And it would reduce your effectiveness by sidetracking your attention.

Instead, you will act instantly to contain the spill. And you won’t do any thinking at all.

This suggests that there is a part of you that is always ready for action.

So it seems to me that there can be something beyond both “positive” and “thinking”.

Item: beyond “thinking”.

You are not your thoughts. You were here before they were.

There is a more fundamental self that is you. It is characterized by silence.

Thoughts orbit around that fundamental self. But they are not the definition of you. Nor are they the identity of you.

Item: beyond “positive”.

That silence is positive, but not in the sense of “I get what I want” or “I am in a good mood”.

It is positive in the sense of wholeness.

Wholeness means that nothing is lacking.

When you move through life having embraced the inner sense of the wholeness of the silent self, where nothing is lacking, then you are beyond the qualities of positivity and negativity that categorize events in the outer world.

Your experience might be something more like having God carry you in His two hands through each day.

Bonus item: beyond “invocation”.

When wholeness is there all the time, then you never have to summon it.


Enlightened Agreement

“I did read your book. Of course, I didn’t agree with everything in it.”

The spirit in which the person said this to me was that some things in Answers From Silence didn’t jibe with her own positions on various issues. She viewed the information in the book in the context of forming opinions and defending them.

It’s true that Answers From Silence addresses some controversial subjects, including abortion, extraterrestrials, sexuality, and God. Just click on the “Topic Listings” tab at the top of this screen to see the whole list.

But the things that I wrote in it were not arrived at by following a line of reasoning, by winnowing facts, or by building cases. I was not trying to represent the opposing side of an intellectual debate or to convince you to change your views to fit mine.

I didn’t write Answers From Silence for you to agree with it.

I wrote Answers From Silence in case the information could be of help to you. There might be a zinger in there that is just the thing you need to hear at a particular moment. Something that could clear your path or resolve your confusion. Something that will fit into the existing stream of your thoughts and divert them to a more fulfilling direction.

And I wrote it so that you would have a model of the interaction between a person and his Enlightened Self. The message of this model is that it can be done, and that you could benefit from cultivating the same sort of interaction. That’s why there are how-to instructions in the book.

Once you get going with that, I expect that you will find, as I said elsewhere on this website, that the answers you get from your Enlightened Self will be the best answers possible, tuned in to your greatest evolutionary need at the time of your asking, and phrased in the language that communicates the most clearly and directly to you about your question.

Then we won’t need to agree about anything.


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.

Being In The Present—And Beyond

There’s a lot of talk in the spiritual community about being in the present. It is regarded as a measure of the evolution of consciousness: if you can be in the present, then you have achieved a certain level of serenity.

It is true that being in the present has practical merits. If you are thinking about the past or the future as you perform action, then you are not fully focused on where you are or what you are doing. You miss out on totally appreciating the experience. And your action is less effective than it could be.

Being in the present is a welcome antidote to our multi-tasking contemporary culture. I don’t deny the validity of that. But the techniques that are offered for bringing you into the present have a few unstated premises that seem flawed to me.

One is that being in the present is an end goal. It isn’t. It is a way station.

As it says in Answers From Silence, “The present, like the past and the future, is an aspect of time. The present always changes. There is something beyond the present, something that never changes.”

Changeless, timeless eternity is beyond the present, the past, and the future. The end goal is to arrive there.

Another flawed premise is that you need to bring yourself into the present.

The problem with this was touched upon in the blog article at this website entitled, You’ve Got Enlightenment All Backwards. In order to bring yourself into the present, you have to mentally project another “yourself” that you are bringing. And the you that is bringing “yourself” is already in the present without being brought there.

What this says is that you should just stop before you do anything at all, and you are already in the present.

Another flawed premise about being in the present has to do with the use of the word “in”. If you are “in” the present, then it contains you, it confines you. Why settle for that, instead of being unbounded and timeless?

As it says in Answers From Silence, “I don’t have to fit in anywhere. Everything fits into me.”

If you say, “I am in the present,” then you’ve got it all backwards. Where you want to get to is, “The present is in me.”

And, ultimately, “Eternity is in me.”


“It’s The Journey That Counts.” Or Is It?

There is a wise, insightful saying in currency these days. You may hear variations of it such as, “It’s the journey that counts,” “It’s the journey,” or, “What counts is the journey.”

The idea behind the saying is this: if you only think about the goal that you are working toward, you may fail to notice, appreciate, and benefit from what you experience during the process of reaching that goal.

True enough.

Some people even say “What counts is the journey” as if it discounted the importance and validity of having a goal. In a switch of perspective, it turns out that the journey is the goal.


Wisdom often makes its appearance as a switch of perspective or even a complete reversal of thinking. This often yields a surprising burst of insight.

But to be surprising is not enough. To be valuable, such a switch also has to be true.

If “What counts is the journey” has been helpful to you, I have no wish to take that away from you.

Nonetheless, I would like to clarify something.

The journey is not the goal. Only the goal is the goal.

You may enjoy the ride to the next town to visit your friend, but don’t you feel good when you get there?

The point at which the goal is no longer the goal is when you fulfill it. Then it becomes your new environment.

I would say that you should not discount the goal in favor of the journey. If you have no goal, you won’t be able to fulfill anything.

As I said in Answers From Silence, “Uniting with your Enlightened Self is the completion of your quest.”

It’s really nice to reach the goal. And I’m sure you will.