SUBTLE SPIRITUAL TRAPS


"The only True Refuge from suffering is in resting in and as What we really Are. And This Refuge is already Here, we just need to Consciously realize it..."


THINKING IT CAN TAKE A LIFETIME (OR MANY LIFETIMES) TO AWAKEN ~ This is not True!!! What we really Are is already always Here in this moment, it is What is Aware of reading these words! It's also not in some faraway place that we need to strive to get to. Nor do we need to undertake rigorous practices or travel to exotic places to be What we Are, Here and Now. We simply need to Consciously realize it.

This realization does not have to be an arduous practice. We find EM&B to be a joyful practice because every time we Consciously Rest in and as What we really Are, we experience the Peace and Joy of our True Self. And This is Here right Now for all of us. 

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Take a moment...

Notice the beliefs about Awakening or Enlightenment that are appearing right now. And notice that there is a clear Presence that is Aware of them.

This Presence that is Aware of these thoughts/beliefs is Your True Self and it is here right NOW!

EM&B can bring us back to a Conscious Appreciation of This Awareness, again and again. The more we can hang out in and as This Aware Presence, the more we come to see that This is our True Identity. This is Awakening...

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THINKING IT'S NECESSARY TO AVOID BEING IN THIS HUMAN FORM ~ There are some spiritual circles that are all about realizing What we really Are and tend to discount being a person. In our experience, we can Know What we really Are and still participate in the world as a human being. This is a play where we are both engaging with the world and Witnessing it.

These Jeff- and Julie-characters will continue on for as long as they do and there is an ongoing, and more enjoyable, interaction with life through them. So, paradoxically, we find that we are more fully human, even as identification with this human form continues to lessen.

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DISCOUNTING OR OVERLOOKING THIS NOTHINGNESS ~ Sometimes people say to us that the Nothingness or Spacious Awareness they experience in meditation can't be "it", that can't be what they're looking for. We understand. My (Jeff’s) initial reaction to my first two-second glimpse of the Nothingness was "Who'd want that?!" My experience of Nothingness didn't match the extraordinary experiences of ecstasy or bliss that I had read about or heard about. So I totally discounted it. Later I found out that extraordinary experiences come and go. What I really Am is Here before extraordinary experiences, during extraordinary experiences and after extraordinary experiences. 

The paradox is that What We really Are is both ordinary and extraordinary. Ordinary because It has always been Here from the time we were born (and even before that), like a fish that doesn't appreciate the water that it is swimming in; and extraordinary, as the subtle and unconditional essences of Happiness, Freedom, Peace, Love and Compassion that are not feelings or experiences that come and go, but are qualities of What we really Are. These subtle essences are not affected by anything that is happening to this human form. This Nothingness isn't nothing, It Is Everything... It Is Fulfillment Itself. 

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DOUBTING THIS AWARENESS ~ Sometimes we may wonder "Am I really Awake in This Awareness?" We doubt our own direct experience of Spacious Awareness. In this case, we have reidentified with our mind. We don't even think to doubt our doubting. Doubt is just another subtle thought that seems to take us away from What we really Are. If this happens, we suggest that you look to see if you are Aware of that subtle doubting thought.

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Check it out...

Do you doubt that you are Aware in this moment? No matter what doubts appear, you can never not be Here as the Present Space in which they happen.

Do you doubt the above statement? What is noticing that thought?

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WANTING MORE ~ Sometimes, when we have just experienced a glimpse of What we really Are, we may have a thought like "I want more Awareness". The mind is never satisfied and always wants more. On the one hand this shows a beautiful intention. On the other hand, this is just another subtle thought that, if we obsess about it, takes us away from consciously experiencing This Spacious Awareness. So if such a thought should arise, just let it go and take the time, in this moment, to appreciate that you already Are This Spacious Awareness and nothing more is needed.

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NOT TAKING TIME TO APPRECIATE THIS PEACE  ~ There was a brief period of time when I (Jeff) would surrender (allowing everything to be as it is), which would lead to a direct experience of Peace. Then my attention would immediately go back to whatever I had been thinking or doing. At some point, I would wonder "Where did the Peace go?" Eventually, it dawned on me that perhaps after I experienced This Spacious Awareness, that I should take a little time to fully appreciate the Peace of What I really Am. It really is important to take some time to rest in and as This Spacious Awareness.

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THINKING WE NEED TO EXPERIENCE PEACE TO KNOW AWARENESS ~ Sometimes when we have some intensely negative thoughts and emotions we may meditate, but we can't find the Peace. However, it is possible through EM&B to recognize This Awareness in which the negative experience is appearing. 

Turn your attention towards This Awareness that is always present and cognizant and keep coming back to It. When we experience This Aware Space of What we really Are, the strong negative thoughts and emotions may still appear, but resting in and as our True Self may take some of the edge off the intensity, allowing us to Rest even more, which can further calm the mind and emotions. This Pure Awareness is always Here... 

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ASSUMING AWARENESS IS PASSIVE ~ In order to Rest in and as What we Really Are, we may assume that we shouldn't engage too much with the world. However, Awareness Itself  is not passive. Awareness may seem passive because it is so Peaceful. However, the ego (I) can co-opt Peace as a way to not do anything. A thought can arise like "Oh, I don't have to/shouldn't do anything. I can/need to relax and just Be". In Truth, This Awareness is a higher Intelligence that may subtly call upon us to take action.

Sometimes I (Jeff) will ask "Is there anything I need to do or say about this situation?" and then I wait. Sometimes a response may show up immediately and sometimes it can take longer. It can often be subtle and I find it useful to remain in the Silence to get further clarification about what it is I am called to do or say. Sometimes I am called to do nothing, simply letting the situation play out as it will, and sometimes I am called to act.

Action and inaction both happen in This Space and cannot affect It in any way. 

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ASSUMING WE HAVE NO CHOICE OR CONTROL ~ Some "spiritual" people say that we don't have a choice about anything. Everything in our lives is simply unfolding and, we (as individual selves) have no control. So we may assume that there is nothing we can do to "wake up". We might as well just give up now and kick back with a beer because enlightenment is just for some special people.

The wonderfully good news is that we don't have any choice or control about whether or not to be What we really Are. This is our True Identity and we can never not be That. This Spacious Awareness is not affected by anything we have ever done or not done. 

However, paradoxically, it seems like we are making choices all the time. What to wear, what to eat, what direction we want to take in our lives, whether to walk the dog now or later... 

In this moment you even seem to have the choice whether to continue to read this or not...

And, ultimately, these choices are all just unfolding in the Space of What we really Are. They are choiceless choices, in a way; or another way to say it would be that choosing is simply happening. Even to just kick back with that beer. Rolling Rock or a pale ale? That choice, too, just happens.

However, we have found that the most profound choice we can make is to identify with the drama of this human character or to put our attention on This Spacious Awareness in which the drama is appearing. For much of our lives, we both didn't realize we had that choice because we were totally identified with what was happening to this character. Now, our choice is to rest more and more in and as What we really Are - this is our highest priority.

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THINKING EVERYTHING IS POINTLESS OR MEANINGLESS ~ If we believe that we are just the personal character, and that this character has no control over his or her life, then there is the possibility of slipping into the idea that there is no point or meaning to anything. However, this is just another way to get tangled up in thinking. What is Aware of the belief that life is meaningless?

From the standpoint of the ego, everything can be pointless or everything can have personal meaning. Either way it's just a discussion of the mind and there is no resolution on that level. The resolution is resting in and as This Awareness. The rest is mind-stuff and life is simply as it is and that is beautiful - it doesn't need to have some ultimate meaning.

This does not mean that we never try to change or improve things. See the previous section Assuming Awareness is Passive.


"resisting what is here = SUFFERING = desiring what isn't here"


NOT SEEING THAT AWARENESS HAS ALWAYS BEEN HERE ~ There was a time when I (Jeff) found it to be extremely useful to reflect back to when I was caught in some recent story or intense mind-storm (or even remembering some childhood experience) and ask the question, "Is This Awareness that is Here now, was It there then when I was caught in the story or at that time in my life?" The answer was always "Yes", even if I wasn't consciously Aware of it at the time. After much repetition, this question helped me to Realize that This Awareness is always Here...

This is what is to be discovered through your own direct experience. This is Enlightenment...