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Lessons on Living a Life Un:Limited

Providing insight, perspective, and support to you as you make your way along the spiritual path

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Lesson 48 – What Are You Without “I”?

on Sep 30, 2016

If you are reading this Lesson on your computer, you are almost surely sitting down. Great. Spend the next 5 minutes, even better, 10 minutes, sitting and asking yourself this one simple question:

“What am ‘I’ without ‘I’?”

It doesn’t matter if this question makes sense to you or not. Just sit down for the next few minutes and puzzle over it. Don’t try to figure it out. But sit with it, examine it, let it work its way through your mind.

“What am ‘I’ without ‘I’?”

Look. Really look.

“What am ‘I’ without ‘I’?”

Keep looking. Keep asking. Keep sitting.

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Lesson 47 – Why You Can Benefit from Reading Spiritual Books

on Sep 26, 2016

Spiritual books can be very, very helpful to you along the journey. Not every­one has access to a teacher of whom you can ask every question you have, and even if you did, sometimes the teacher may not explain something in a way that makes sense. Thankfully, you have access to hundreds of good spiritual books.

Well, to be honest, you have access to thousands of books, and with the Inter­net, you have access to many thousands of additional writings on various spirit­­ual topics. The trouble is, most spiritual writings are complete crap. The ease with which we can access spiritual books is directly proportional to the ease at producing a spiritual book (or other writings). So, one must be very cautious when picking books to read.

Which brings me to the only reason to read any spiritual book, and fortunately this reason will help you to weed out the lousy books in a hurry. And the reason is: to strike a note of resonance within you to that which knows the Truth. You see, you already 100% know everything you need to know about Truth. It is not only within you, it is what you are. You are the Truth you are seeking.

So, you read spiritual books not to learn about the Truth but to awaken the Truth you already are. You are after resonance, a stirring of something vital within you, not facts and fancy words. Therefore, the only books worth reading are the books that strike a cord within you, that awaken something vital within. If a book leaves you flat, no matter how “enlightened” the author, then put it down and move on to the next book.

It really is that simple. Just remember resonance and you won’t go wrong.

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Lesson 46 – Watch Comedians Often

on Sep 22, 2016

No, I’m not joking. Comedians do something that few others do: they tell the unvarnished truth. That’s what makes them incredibly funny most of the time. They look at life, notice how utterly ridiculous it is, and then they talk about it in a way that you can’t miss the hilarity of it all. So, watch comedians often.

My suggestion: head over to YouTube and search for a variety of comedians. You’ll get to see some of their best routines that way, and it is absolutely free, of course. While you are laughing, notice what they are saying, notice what they are revealing about human life and how you go about it living it. Remember, Mr. or Ms. Comedian is talking about your life. Pay careful attention.

As for which comedians to watch, well, that depends a bit on taste and a bit on your tolerance of profanity. Some of the best can’t utter a sentence without a well chosen four letter word. That said, I think Chris Rock is one of the best commentators on life and how we live it (yes, he is a bit misogynistic, but that’s a different discussion!). There are also comedy shows like Family Guy that really have a lot to say about human existence. Honestly, I think you could wake-up quickly if you watched Chris Rock, George Carlin, Louis C.K., Richard Pryor, and Family Guy and really paid attention to what they are saying. It isn’t the comedy, it is the commentary that is the key.

So, have fun and learn something. Life really is as absurd as comedians make it seem. Open to the experience, sit down and meditate afterwards, and see what happens. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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Lesson 45 – Spiritual Teachers Who Say They Are Special Are Full of Shit

on Sep 18, 2016

There is no such thing as special. Period. I know it is supposed to be a good thing tell children they are all special boys and girls, but when adults tell them­selves and others they are special, look out! There is a world of trouble brewing.

It is so very simple: all is One. There is the appearance of separateness, the appearance of me different from you, but in fact all is exactly and unalterably the same. One, one, one wherever you look. So how is it possible for there to be a special person, a better person, a unique person who is different from and superior to all the rest?

I’m sorry to inform you, but if a spiritual teacher is as awake as he or she claims, then he knows that he is completely lacking in any sense of special­ness. He knows he is as ordinary and simple as anyone and everyone. He can’t help but know it because it stares him in the face everywhere he looks. He can’t avoid it, he can’t escape it. To be awake is to know beyond question that one is the same.

So, when you look around the spiritual world, you have a quick and dirty test of all spiritual teachers. The real ones never claim anything of themselves. They often have a humility that is startlingly refreshing, not the awkward shy kind of humility, but the kind that comes from a depth of Silence that needs no boasting.

In a world of spiritual specialness and enlightened beings and holy ones, remember that they are, in the end, no different from you and me. We are just One, always and forever One.

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Lesson 44 – You Can't Go Wrong Loving Others

on Sep 14, 2016

It’s a funny thing: for all the various ideas, beliefs, understandings, theories, etc., about spirituality and spiritual awakening, there is one that is not only paramount but almost always unsung. And it is: Loving other people is really what will make or break your journey.

It is simply too easy to get too abstract and “out there” when searching for God, seeking enlightenment and awakening. We look for great experiences, miraculous healings, and the like. But right here, under our noses in fact, are all these wonderful, amazing people that we overlook entirely. And accepting them, allowing them, appreciating them, having compassion for them, and loving them will do far more for your “enlightenment game” than all the techniques and mantras and chants put together.

So start now. Think of someone, ANYONE, and notice the distance between you and them. Notice your judgements, your critiques, your angers and upsets. Or notice how little connection you feel with them. But notice that there is a gap, a lack of love, and now take a step to fill that gap.

Try simply allowing them to be in your experience. Then accept them. Then feel gratitude or compassion for them. Then see if you can muster up the tiniest bit of love for them.

I promise you, this little bit of love for someone else will work wonders in your life and experience. And bring you that much closer to knowing Truth. Because, in Truth, this seemingly other person is in fact exactly what you are, and in a very real sense, they are you. So how about giving yourself a little love?

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Lesson 43 – When You Are Clear You Have No Problems

on Sep 10, 2016

When you are clear, there ARE no problems. When you are clear, all is as it should be. There is complete harmony in the world and an obviousness to all things you do.

Whenever something isn't working out or doesn't go as planned, it is because you are not clear. You are in conflict in some way.

When you are clear, Heaven and Earth align to bring about an often magical result. “It just works” (to steal a marketing slogan).

Getting clear is easy. Simply look closely at what you believe about a given situation. Are these beliefs true? Do they correspond with reality? Or are they illusory, untrue, out to lunch?

Odds are extremely high (as in 99.99% certain) your beliefs about the situation are pure fantasy. Do you want fantasy or reality? That's your choice.

Drop your illusory beliefs and all will become crystal clear. And then things will flow in ways you cannot imagine. Just get clear!

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Lesson 42 – The Mind Will Present You with a Thousand False Problems

on Sep 07, 2016

Problems! You think you’ve got problems! I’ll tell you all about problems…

Problems seem to be very real, meaningful and important. They sometimes pound at your door, insisting you pay attention. They ask for your worry, your concern, your anger, your agitation, your fear and anxiety. They feed on your emotions and your investment in them.

But all problems are nothing more than false dilemmas. Every last one, when properly seen through, will reveal that while they insisted they must be solved, in fact, they didn’t need solving.

None of them are true. None of them need to be solved. Your job: to see through them, each and every one of them. And then simply do whatever is most obvious to do.

I know it’s hard, I really do. I’ve been there. I get caught in them from time to time. But NONE of them are true. None are real. None require you to do any­thing overt to solve them.

Life, The Universe, whatever name you wish to use, has an amazing way of taking care of itself (and you, too). As you see through the false dilemma, you will often begin to see actions to take that prove beneficial. You may find problems literally vanish into thin air. You will sometimes get amazing insights, clear guidance even, as to the direction to turn, the way forward. But none of these seeming “answers” will require your solutions, your efforts, your emot­ional chaos. Life takes care of you, always, even when it appears to not do so.

Begin to recognize all problems as false dilemmas, and put your efforts into seeing through the false. You will be amazed at the results.

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Lesson 41 – Faux Awakening

on Sep 02, 2016

Many have experienced what can only be called a faux awakening. Just like a faux finish, a faux awakening only seems like the real deal. But alas, it is not.

One can experience a genuine seeing, a glimpse behind the veil. That much of the process is real, is true. A glimpse of truth, a brief moment of knowing, and voila! For that moment, all is as clear as can be.

But then what almost always occurs is the ego regenerating itself. Like a broken record, it comes back playing its relentless tune of untruth. And here is where the faux awakening will occur. The mind, the ego, will co-opt that genuine moment of awakening and then reach an obvious conclusion (obvious for a mind, that is). Namely, that “I” have experienced awakening!

The very nature of awakening is seeing through “I”, seeing through the seem­ing­ly solid self. In that moment of awakening, you know that you are NOT. You know there is no you, and no attempt to make yourself into a some­thing or a someone will work. You know your freedom is in your very dissolution.

But in the faux awakening, the true light of awakening goes from a living realization to a hollow memory. It becomes a thought, a belief, another bit of mental noise like all the rest. You see this very clearly while reading most of what is written about spirituality, awakening and enlightenment. A genuine moment of seeing, co-opted by the mind of a spiritual teacher, becomes a TEACHING, a philosophy, a belief system, a dogma, a theology. All the living vitality is gone, and what is left is just more mind generated garbage.

You can watch this process happening in yourself. Every time your mind tries to understand awakening, that’s the very process which will give rise to a faux awakening. Whenever you feel “I know all about awakening,” there it is again! The bottom line is you know NOTHING about awakening and never will. No matter how far awakening progresses in and through you, that which believes itself to be you will never know. And what you truly are has no need to know what awakening is. It simply IS and is awake to all of Itself.

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Lesson 40 – Nothing You Think About Enlightenment is True

on Aug 29, 2016

You won’t be the first person who has had a hard time wrapping your head around this simple fact. The reason nothing you think about enlightenment is true stems from the simple word “think.” Awakening or enlightenment isn’t about thinking or the mind. It is a realization by that which you truly are that you are beyond the mind, even beyond the body, even beyond everything in the universe.

It is so incredibly easy to believe or think or assume things about enlighten­ment. The world is filled to the brim with spiritual teachers, personal develop­ment experts, lamas, gurus, coaches, therapists, you name it, all talking about some form of the mind-thought-belief game. It is so tempting to believe that what you think or know about awakening is awakening. But it isn’t.

Please note: even the words you are reading right now aren’t true. They are representations, approximations, pointers toward the truth. But they aren’t the Truth. Never believe a word I write or say. Sit down for yourself and discover if what I say points you in the right direction.

The thoughts and beliefs, ideas and teachings, words of all forms, are merely pointers. Allow them to point, then sit down and let go. See what you discover. You’ll be very glad you did.

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Lesson 39 – Talking the Talk or Walking the Walk

on Aug 25, 2016

Let’s face it: most spiritual people, including most spiritual teachers, spend more time talking the talk of spirituality than walking the walk of spirituality (I include myself in this indictment, too). We spend more time preoccupied with questions like these:

What teaching is the best?

Which teachers are enlightened?

Which teaches are not enlightened?

Which teacher has the highest degree of understanding or clarity?

What’s the difference between enlightenment and awakening?

What are the various levels of knowledge or enlightenment or awakening or __?

Is there practice that will help me wake-up faster?

Will this teaching or practice help me get out of debt, make a million dollars, date a hot babe, and live 200 years?

As I’ve said before, and I will repeat again and again, you are never going to know, as in know with your mind, the answer to these questions. As a matter of fact, these questions as well as most spiritual questions, dilemmas, contro­versies, paradoxes, etc., may in fact have no answer, as in no answer what­soever. They may be mysteries. Or, more likely, they may be irrelevant and quite likely ridiculous.

You want to know the highest spiritual teaching? You want to reach the “pinnacle” of spirituality? Okay, I’ll tell you how to get there:

Sit down. Shut up. Look inside for who you are.

There. That’s it. Nothing much else to do. I know that you may not have the slightest idea what to do while you are “looking inside for who you are”, but to be honest, that’s okay. Use some of what you’ve read as a pointer, but for the most part, just shut up and LOOK.

Instead of wasting yet another hour or two trolling websites, perusing yet another book, debating your friends over coffee as to whether Ramana really had the answers, do what Ramana always told people to do: go find out who it is that is concerned with all this external stuff.

If everyone involved in spirituality spent a tiny bit more time on what matters most, the vast majority of these questions and concerns would disappear. Really. If you spent just 15 minutes each day looking, you’d be pleasantly surprised in a year how different the world looks to you. Really? Really really.

So close your browser, shut the lid on the damn computer, shut up and look. Who. Are. You?

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Lesson 38 – It's All God to Me

on Aug 21, 2016

The computer you are staring at – that’s God.

The words you are hearing in your head as you read – that’s God, too.

The thoughts you are thinking as you read – still God.

The feelings you get as you read – God, again.

The chair you are sitting in – God.

Your car – God.

Your neighbor – God.

Your coworker whose very presence you detest with every fiber of your being – yes, he’s God, too.

Your dog – definitely God.

Your mother – no, not Satan. God.

That hemorrhoid that’s been bothering you for a while now – God.

The ego – nope, God, too.

The “illusory” world – God.

Anger, pride, fear, depression – all God.

Sex – still God.

It’s all God. Everywhere you look. Every thought you think. Every feeling. Every thing you love and everything you hate. Your fears and your frustrations. All just God.

What else could Oneness possibly mean?

Feel free to substitute a more spiritually neutral term like consciousness or spirit for God if that helps. But God evokes some powerful images and experiences if you’ve been raised in a Judeo-Christian culture.

But still… It’s all God to me.

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Lesson 37 – At the Heart of Every Problem is One Simple Word: “I”

on Aug 17, 2016

If you look very closely at all your problems, you will discover a very interesting little detail: in the midst of every problem is the person to whom it is happening. And that person is you. Or, from your perspective, me!

Take a moment to make a short list of your problems, your struggles, your difficulties. Notice that as you write them down, there is the central theme running through them, that they are happening to you. They are your problems. And that is why you call them “problems” in the first place!

All these problems and struggles are, right this minute, happening to many other people throughout the world. There are even not so pleasant things happening to others that are not happening to you. And those things don’t bother you in the least. Why? Because they aren’t happening to you!

Adyashanti likes to say, “No self, no problem.” And it is true. Without “me” at the center, there is literally no problem. You can see that clearly when you look at an issue that does effect you in any way. But it is even more astounding when you realize that the “self” that you thought you were doesn’t exist. There is no separate self, no “me,” and when that is fully realized, you literally have no problems.

Every time you get a glimpse of the startling reality of no self, you find for a moment your freedom. No self = no problems. You may be busy, you may have lots to do, but problems? Nope. What a blessing!

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Lesson 36 – Further

on Aug 13, 2016

In my experience, and that of many others, the real key to the spiritual journey is very simple: keep going. Just keep going. Jed McKenna summed it up very nicely with one word: “further.”

You just keep going. No matter how difficult it gets, no matter how many days have elapsed since your last time sitting, no matter how ridiculous it all seems, just remember: further.

Further.

Further.

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Lesson 35 – If Not Now, When?

on Aug 09, 2016

Journey back a few decades to the early 1980’s and say hello to a clan of young, idealistic conservatives who were totally jazzed by the election of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States. These young Republicans were giddy with glee at the election of their hero, someone who would lead them and their country to a new found glory. Those were heady days. So embold­ened by their “victory,” they adopted a slogan, a somewhat presump­tuous, arrogant saying that they were frequently heard repeating to each other and the media:

“If not us, who? If not now, when?”

I hope you will forgive me for borrowing from this almost evangelical state­ment, but I do understand where those young, ridiculous conservatives were coming from. And I would suggest to you that this attitude could serve you well on your spiritual journey.

For truly, if not you, then who? No one, repeat no one, can possibly save you, wake you up, enlighten you. You are absolutely, utterly on your own. It’s up to you!

And if not now, when? Seriously, my friend, when? When will you sit, when will you look, when will you do the deeds necessary to bring about real trans­formation?

If not now, when?

So get moving!

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Lesson 34 – Your Whole Life Is About Awakening

on Aug 05, 2016

Everything that happens to you from moment to moment happens because it has the highest probability of waking you up. I know that this idea might sound crazy, but there’s no getting around it. Your entire life has one agenda: awakening.

On my website, I’ve written a lot about not having much if any control over life. Anyone who is honest with themselves would agree. But does that mean life is just a random assortment of things happening to you? No, not at all.

I can’t say that there is an “intelligence out there” that is watching over you or making your life happen the way it is. That is far too deterministic and separate. You ARE Life itself, so the “intelligence out there” would have to be you. Whatever you really are, that is the intelligence guiding your Life.

But there is an order to it, a flow, a “divine path” if you will. It is a flow that is bringing you to see, little by little, moment by moment, that the mind is not you, that you are not separate, that you are everything and nothing simultaneously. You are Life. And this divine path we can call awakening. All things bring you ultimately back to the truth of your very being.

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