The Enlightenment Survey

Greetings Pilgrims! Inspired by a comment submitted on another page by ‘Rosco’ (moved to below), I realized that this was a very interesting question, perhaps the only question of any real significance.

That is: If ‘Jed’ claims that it takes 2-3 years to go from unenlightened to enlightened, then- “How’s it going for you”? Jed also claims that it took himself about 10 years to ‘get the hang of it,’ whatever that means!

Here is Rosco’s comment:
“Are we at the point where we can test Jed’s postulation that enlightenment takes no more than 2-3 years? All the adherents who are enlightened shout “YEAH”!!!

I don’t mind going first so here is my report:

Nea! after about 3.5 years. I reckon this date from the time when I realized that, not only was I full of shit, but that the spiritual path that I had followed for 30 years was my worst ego-addiction! That path led somewhere valid, but in my grubby little hands, not ‘to’ liberation. Major psycho-spiritual break for my ego. Since then I have gone thru relentless transformations, and been blessed with a great capacity for going home, to a degree, and for a limited time periods, but certainly not, “abiding non-duality”, as Jedso so nicely puts it. So I guess I’m some kind of spiritual retard.

Personally, I would love to hear what others have experienced (for all the good it will do me!).
Brian (Moderator)

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73 thoughts on “The Enlightenment Survey

  1. I came across Jed’s book ‘Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing’ and read its self-evident truth, having awakened 581 days earlier over a period of 67 days.
    Although the final 67 days took 68 years, now there are no more questions, just timeless existing; sometimes have to put the discarded identity coat back on to socialise or to add a comment here!

  2. From the time I began practicing (Fall of 2012, circa October), to the time when I reached full non-dual awakening (December of 2013), it took about, well, that much time.

    So I guess about 1 1/6 years, or one year and two months.

    Since then, post-awakening, integration has been much more painful, and generally more deadly than anything I had experienced pre-awakening, pre-awakening was just trepidation, fear, urgency and existential angst (to become true, remove false, etc)

    Now it’s like I’m consolidating everything, and the sex issue keeps popping up

    The two events that were most marked in my practicing period were:

    A Christian rebirth event (variously described by me in emails to people, on an Internet forum, and in a notebook for my own writing)

    and

    Visions of the being the Buddha, replete with “Tathagata-powers”

    The latter was very final, it seemed like a definite shift

    Since then (Dec. 2013), it has been roundabout 1 2/3 years, so, baby steps, I guess

    I did message Jed back when he had a Facebook, but that account is gone now (both mine and his apparently)

    Cheers,

    JJ

  3. Well, Gary I actually started one in June 2011 but never published it (and I can’t remember why!). Maybe it’s time. Send me your FB identity via email to Jedblog1@gmail.com and I will hook you up and we’ll see where it goes. (we have to become FB ‘friends’ before I can make you a member)
    Brian

  4. I am very impressed by the sincerity and integrity of the people who come to this blog. I only wish there was a real-time interactive version of this ala face book!

  5. I am not enlightened but I’d say I’m in pretty good shape. Being awakened beats the hell out of not. I was a seeker from age 19 to about 27 in which time I had some life changing spiritual experiences but without much integration. I completely abandoned seeking for about 25 years. About 3 ½ year ago spiritual attainment suddenly again became the organizing principal of my life and continues to be. I quickly had a series of terrific shifts or transformations followed by related life upheavals. I have entered some version of that “post-spiritual” period so brilliantly described in another piece by Brian. I have recently had a significant incremental awakening and that’s boosted my faith in what I’m doing and makes up for a lot of the prior doubt and discouragement. Presently my process is most closely approximated by Adi Da’s Way of Radical Understanding. He’s always been a major figure for me, but there are others.

    I would say that yes, this is a hard path. Spiritual life does bring you to your knees, but I wouldn’t trade the difficulties for anything. They’ve been worth the trouble.

  6. ‘I’ have discovered that the true nature of reality is infinitely more profound than the human mind is capable of comprehending and therefore incommunicable. There is no symbolic noise anywhere in the universe, or collection of symbolic shapes that can ever communicate the truth of reality.
    All that can be pointed out is the obvious un-truthfulness of the untrue. What is untrue? It’s not true that the sounds emanating from someone else’s larynx as interpreted by your conditioned brain have anything to do with your real identity. It’s not true that the sounds in your head that constitute your ‘beliefs’ have anything to do with reality.
    Whether Jed McKenna is real or not is irrelevant. Truth is truth. The ‘story’ of the teacher is unimportant. What is important is what the ‘finger’ (the teacher, the story) is pointing at.

  7. I had an awakening 3 months ago but as an atheist I had no idea about the spiritual connation and was overwhelmed by the places it took me. Since then I’ve been reading what I can on the internet and came across Jed’s books which bored me. Of course it’s about truth. You don’t need three self-indulgent books to state that. But what is it? Why do I suddenly meditate for hours every day and feel like my brain’s being rewired. The changes are transformative and I can’t imagine experiencing this and not having strong feelings of love and compassion for all living things but then I’m not a New York WASP with an instinct love for a caste system.

  8. Shambala,
    For myself, as an ‘unenlightened person’ with an overachieving Bullshit Meter, I have to admit that I find your confession (“So I don’t know if I am enlightened”) as being the most compelling one on seen on these pages.

    I haven’t the slightest idea who among all the people have weighed in here as to who is and who isn’t enlightened, but I like your style. Bullshit Meter didn’t even blip! What a relief! LOL!

    When I was an Adidamer back in the 70’s our guru used to speak of ‘Divine Ignorance’ as the ultimate state, so probably as a result I resonate deeply with the ‘not-knowing’ disposition. Thanks
    Brian

  9. Spot on with onralctrebor. I love this bit especially…

    “Yet, no matter how much your character might think it doesn’t have needs, it does, and this drives the story. And what else are you going to do with eternity stuck with no one but yourself to keep you company than start playing the game again, but this time consciously.”

    …As I had to come to terms with it and totally relate to it. Especially with putting the person suit on. The experience and process wasn’t fun for me and I didn’t go all the way in that I didn’t experience the experience of everythingness/nothingness that my truth realised friend had. However, my process continued on without me having to emotionally annihilate my identities. Somehow gently gradually I’ve realised it. The process was 2 years and putting back on the person suit took 3 years so I can “relate” to others from a person human level. I am now enjoying the fruits of this realisation and that’s really to consciously play in this game of life and have a great time.

    So I don’t know if I’m truth realised or not. All I know is that I can relate to what’s been posted here by people and have realised that all along I was searching for my self and when I found that, realised it does not exist. Lol. It is so true the saying that all is enlightened and no one is enlightened.

  10. My ‘truth realization’ took just about two and a half years. From what I used to affectionately call my Golden Day (the moment I realized that truth existed) to the moment I stepped through the door that isn’t a door I chased the one truth relentlessly. Funny that I thought the one truth would make me into some sort of god.

    I was riding in the passenger seat of a car and was looking out the window when it hit. It was like a switch was somehow flicked in my head. I could see what wasn’t truth. I remember looking at my hands and then the driver and whispering something about it all being fake.

    I was dreaming. I knew it beyond a shadow of a doubt. I was dreaming that I was a person. The world around me was not there. It’s the set of the play that we use to act like people. the universe stopped at the end of my senses and what I was experiencing was really nothing at all.

    For the next month I was overcome with joy, love, and relief. Joy that I was one. Love for everyone because we were the same person just playing different roles. And relief because I was done. No more pressure to be something because there was nothing to be.

    about three quarters of the way through an old friend gave me Jed’s first book after I described to him what I was experiencing. Ironically it was the first time I’d ever heard of Jed’s brand of enlightenment. or maybe it had just been the first time I’d really HEARD it. Either way I knew the moment I’d began reading it that this was what I was experiencing.

    Though the ‘in your face’ truth realization began to fade I still see it in a passive way. I put my person suit back on and eventually decided to jump into it with both feet. Twelve years later I see what Jed meant by taking it taking about ten years to get the hang of. Its a strange time.

    For starters, you don’t know what to make of others. They aren’t real but they are just as real as you are. You are one person pretending to be many and this can be confusing for your character in the beginning when being forced to socialize. I remember trying to tell others the truth and was eventually ostracized by all but my closest friends and family. Though I didn’t care my character did.

    Also, there’s nothing to do. I am truly done. Nothing is wrong, nothing needs to be fixed, and there is no good or evil. While not boring it does create a situation. Yet, no matter how much your character might think it doesn’t have needs, it does, and this drives the story. And what else are you going to do with eternity stuck with no one but yourself to keep you company than start playing the game again, but this time consciously.

  11. Thanks your reply letranger.
    The impossibility of the subject-object world had been realized, there is no doubt in this, but dissolution as you explained have not happened, although I had glimpsed the void and its inevitableness. So it very well might be that I am in the limbo state of Chezero’s “almost-realized”.
    On the other hand, it is weird, but is like if what is needed to do is written into a cosmical plan, an universal DNA that I seem to follow naturally. It also feels totally natural the way I perceive the world, how it could be so different before? Everybody is destined to this, it cannot be any other way.
    Self must die completely, so true nature -whatever that is- is able to emerge as the only real reality. This is not a belief, it is a freaking burning certainty. But yes, “further” seem to be appropriate.
    It is good to write these lines, it is very good and soothing, thank you.

  12. A simple question for Tony: Can you distinguish between “ascension” and “dissolution”? Although Jed doesn’t directly make this point (Zil Chezero does) “enlightenment” is not the same as “truth-realization”, or as Jed calls it “untruth-unrealization”. Enlightenment is a consequence of truth-realization, but can occur without truth-realization (which Zil Chezero calls “almost-realized”). Jed makes it clear that one is not “done” until one’s individual consciousness dissolves into undifferentiated consciousness (Nisargadatta and Osho make the same point, as does the Tao: there is no “returning” or “reunion” except in dissolution). This dissolution is not an enlightened way of perceiving the world (which Jed calls abiding non-dual awareness or ascended consciousness), but the disappearance of the world (often described as “falling into the void”). To paraphrase Jed, the world is an “untruth” that disappears when it is “unrealized”. The only “truth” that can be “realized” is the “underlying reality” of “nothingness”. If dissolution has not happened, then one is not “done”. In Jed’s immortal words: “further”.

  13. I have to say that I became fully awake while reading Jed’s Enlightenment book. It was the culmination of two and something years of intense preparation, reading, long walks and focused thinking.

    I started as a Buddhist on-line learner and picked a bit of everything. I was fascinated by the Madhyamaka theory of reality (phenomena need to be both fully caused and not inherently existent) and by Dzogchen and Chittamatra teachings on the nature of mind. Once it was logically and clearly established for me that everything our senses provide became just appearances taking shape inside the space and light provided by mind, I’ve got interested on paths that concentrate its efforts on the understanding of awareness or conscious experience without all the ritualism and guru devotion required by higher Buddhist practices, since where I live I do not had access to them to start with. So I begun reading authors that made a big impact on my development like Alan Watts, Fred Davis, David Loy, Roy Melvyn, James Swartz, Goran Backlund and over all Greg Goede to whom I owe a huge lot in all this. But it was while reading Jed McKenna when everything happened.

    I was walking on the street totally immersed and concentrated on contemplation about something he said in the book when instinctively I stared up to watch the mountains that surrounds the city where I live and all of a sudden the mountains, the streets, the cars, the people, the trees and everything else were right inside me or better said they were just inside because there were no me to account for what I was experiencing. It was just pure conscious experience totally free of object and subject. To my perplexed amazement I came to realize in that very instant, that there was nobody observing the wholeness of the scene and that there never really was, it was just being there as a whole with no differentiation, just the experience of being totally conscious. I finally realized what the word “that” means in the phrase ” I am that”.
    I had to notice that I became literally breathless while experiencing my awakening and had to make a real effort to recover my breath.

    There was no bliss or rapture experienced and I did not feel perfect in any way. I was just aware of truth and as Jed describes, totally abiding in non-dual experience. It remained like that ever since and I cannot foresee in any possible way that it might change into what it was before. Is like getting to realize that someone has been lying to you and that you been living deluded into believing the lie, but once you know it is a lie there is no way to believe in it again.

    I did not became immediately egoless and still I am not but feel totally certain and aware that ego or self doesn’t exit. I believe it will take some time to adapt to this new paradigm.
    My physiological imperfections are not gone away but somehow I can see now where they are and what their origin is, so I had developed this strong wish of working diligently in getting rid of them for good. Still lots of work lying ahead but I am really enjoying this.

    I wrote a short email to Greg Goede telling him about my enlightenment and asking him questions about other people conscious experience and how Greg’s own conscious experience and teachings could actually point someone into awakening. This is what he said:

    “….Ha! That’s an easy question! Who says there are actually two, three, four people? Even one person? You don’t have to think that persons, teachings, books, insights and enlightenments are real? Why not think of it all as a cosmic dream, a divine comedy? Who says it needs to be explained? Or even can be explained?? :-).”

    Paradoxically I had not the wish or the urge of telling anyone close to me like my wife, family or friends. They would probably think that I became a narcissistic idiot convinced of some crap that I’ve been reading through, so I will stay like this and try to help everybody around me to become a better person. That is all there is to enlightenment from my perspective, I hope my experience could help others in their search.

  14. Shambhalla: he experienced being everything, and also pure nothingness- just the abyss.

    Nitya: Yes!! the way I worded that (trying to be poetic :-/) is “Our eyes are the apertures for the universe to look through and a “personal” awakening is what is experienced when (through your own eyes) the universe withdraws its projection from the world and realizes itself within your own body/mind and your former sense of a separate self is replaced by the Emptiness of Pure Awareness which can be perceived and experienced as the Ground of Being from which all things arise and into which all things dissolve.” I’m calling the “nothingness” Emptiness and when I say experiencing that Emptiness as the ground of being from which all things arise and into which all things dissolve- that is my way of saying “everything”!!

    Shambhalla: He said the whole process is like killing yourself bit by bit and watching yourself fully consciously doing it.

    Nitya: Yes again- that was what I meant when I said….It was achieved by surrendering everything- even the will to live and it was very humbling. (We spent 30 hours surrendering what we thought of ourselves so it was like watching ourselves annihilate ourselves)

    Shambhalla: With the ego, he describes it as a jacket that you put on when you need it, and take it off when you don’t need it.

    Nitya: Yes- i see it more like having a personality that I can put on and take off in order to function in the world.

    SHambhalla: My suggestion is pick a role, and play it to the fullest.

    Nitya: Yes- from Pure Awareness- all roles are seen as part of the Divine Drama!!

    My and your friend’s experience seems to be the same even though we are wording it differently!!

    🙂

    Beautiful!!

  15. Hi Nitya, it sounds like there are probably more layers you will need to uncover. My friend who’s seen the truth (he calls it truth realised, not enlightenment) said that towards the final layer he experienced being everything, and also pure nothingness- just the abyss. He said the whole process is like killing yourself bit by bit and watching yourself fully consciously doing it. Coming back from the process it took a while for him to see the tree as a tree again or a bottle as a bottle. With the ego, he describes it as a jacket that you put on when you need it, and take it off when you don’t need it. I can relate to this even without going through the process fully, and to be honest, I haven’t even experienced any of the mystical experiences people talk about. However, I can see the truth and perspective in all things and it have to consciously pick a role or perspective to take on in order for me to relate to someone or for them to understand me. If someone says, he killed that man, that’s wrong. From a vast perspective, I don’t see it as wrong or right, but then I have to pick the part or role I would play as I interact with that person- it could be the ‘wrong’ part or the ‘right’ part. With this existence, the play is around duality so you kinda have to go with the guidelines.

    My suggestion is pick a role, and play it to the fullest. There really is nothing to DO. Just BE. I read this statement from one of my early book teachers 20 yrs ago. I thought I understood it, but I did not truly understand it until I went through uncovering the layers of untruth.

  16. Brian,
    Thanks for the reply. My personality itself (even before any type of “alleged” Awakening) is not fragile by any means. The original feedback was taken and received easily. There really are no expectations- just an attempt to begin to relate to others about this. And I knew you meant that I was claiming Enlightenment. I am actually claiming that Awareness has become aware of itself- within my own being…and it doesn’t seem neccesarily like an “end of the road” thing but there was definitely a major inner shift that happened and it could be more of a beginning of some sort.

    When I left the guru, I went into a grief process that took almost 3 years to process. Having been addicted to alcohol and drugs for 15 years and then becoming sober- it seemed to me (and my therapist) that I had simply replaced one addiction for another. Putting down the religious addiction was way more difficult and intense than the alcohol or drug addiction.

    Yes- the ego is also “cunning, baffling and powerful” which are words to describe alcohol in AA. When saying “I am awakened” – from my own mind, this seems like ego to me. But the ego can’t awaken- only surrender. The ego can now serve Pure Awareness- if it will. And the ego can gradually dissolve. Because it doesn’t exist anyway- just like no one can find a container that holds thoughts.

    The one thing about the ego that does seem to make sense (from my personal experience and from observing others through the years going through this process) is that a fully developed, functioning and balanced ego will surrender itself willingly when the time comes. That is not to say that it will not try to sneak back in there out of habit etc.

    Just had not conceived in any way what that would be like. I was expecting a satiating feeling (probably because my drugs of choice have all been satiating). But it was not satiating at all. The pure emptiness was vast and it is truly Samadhi with eyes open, talking and walking around. Not what was expected at all.

    The idea of awakening layers does make sense too.

    When working with myself and others- it does seem like what is happening- rather than a “waking up” from “something” is more like a revealing of something that was already there- just clouded. As the layers of clouds are dissolved- the clear sky of awareness is revealed. So-there very well could be more layers that I don’t know about. My friend and I have another trip planning for November and at that time we will see if another opportunity seems to come up which would create a type of support for “removing more layers”.

    I know this is your blog and I certainly don’t want to come here and cause any discomfort for you in your own space. At the same time, it is pretty difficult to find people to discuss this with (people that have an understanding) and people that can be civil- even when confronting one another. So- it would mean a lot to continue to get feedback from you and anyone else here if that seems like a possibility.

    When I was meditating daily (for 3 years) there were only occasional times when there would be a natural “falling into” Awareness sensation. Now- almost at any time on any given day, I can lay down on the sofa and experience an incredible peace that the Awareness brings. It is obvious that this isn’t “caused” by meditation, but that the Awareness is present and stopping the daily life to lay down on the sofa just reveals it.

    When it comes to practices, the actual practice of meditation seems to be a metaphor for the entire “awakening process” because it is a letting go process.

    About a week after “the Awakening” there was a voice in my head that said “this is a result of the practices”. Not sure what that meant or if it was just ego, but it didn’t seem like it. I would say that having the body and mind get accustomed to the process of letting go to everything is the best practice.

    The original list that I posted of all the things that were surrendered can be looked at and taken lightly. But it is obvious to me now that the reason this took 29 years for me is that I had a lot to let go of and the ego is happy to (on a daily basis) create more potential things for me to grab onto.

    One of the practices that were going on- without much effort preAwakening was withdrawing labels and projections. Any time there was a thought “that is” and followed by a label which would make this something to avoid or pursue, the inquiry would be done. Eventually it was seen that no object has any absolute inherent quality. Each object is holding the label or projection that each person projects onto it. And the ego sees it as something to avoid or pursue which keeps me feeling separate from anything and everything else.

    As I let go of these labels and withdrew projections (one at a time) from anything and everything- that seemed to open up a space for Awareness to be experienced.

    Simply put- If there is a drive to pursue or avoid something based on a label or projection the mind can place on an object- let that go.

    Yes- I can still say “no” in the moment to anything or anyone I am not resonating with- but there is no need to place a label or projection on it any more and that type of practice makes it difficult for the ego to remain intact.

    Peace,
    Nitya

  17. To Nitya
    If there’s one thing I’ve been sure of for a long time is that I’m in no position to assess the state of being our consciousness of any individual (including myself!). So let it be said at the outset that I really don’t have any idea where you, Nitya, are at with all this.

    I also realize that challenging you based on the words you used to try to portray something as complex as a human being is entirely unfair, or should I say, impossible.

    Furthermore, I don’t believe you came to this blog with the intention of being critiqued by me or anyone else. So by all means, feel free to ignore everything I have to say. Sometimes I like to rant.

    For myself, no longer having a guru as arbiter and authority figure relative to my state of consciousness etc. I am well aware, keenly aware, that I’m in a very dangerous and precarious position due to the almighty cleverness of the ego.

    It’s been noted by far greater people that me that as each awakening layer presents itself, the Subject invariably feels that they have broken through to the absolute. If I recall, that’s what the content of my article “misplaced ultimacy” was about.

    So I’m happy to accept, for whatever that’s worth, that you are enlightened and will happily leave you to go in peace free of harassment by my niggling doubts and comments. On the other hand, one of the greatest things my ex teacher taught me was to be absolutely suspicious of the ego and its conceits. So I have to confess, I’m hardwired as a suspicious motherfucker!

    There’s a great book about all the layers and levels of samadhi called “Nirvanasara” that nobody in their right mind likes, but that you might enjoy which to some degree focuses on this very issue. You might enjoy reading it.

    Thanks for brightening up my day,
    Cheers
    Brian
    P.S. I corrected a typo in my first comment to you: unenlightened sb enlightened,

  18. Nitya
    I just noticed that I made a big typo – so I corrected it for posterity. It was the line ” me claiming to be “unenlightened”, and you claiming to be unenlightened” ( should be = enlightened).
    Brian

  19. I am enjoying reading these comments from the blog and reading people’s journey and the fact that we’re all searching for the same thing. I’ve come across JedM mainly because I have a friend who’s gone through the truth realisation process a few years ago. Being a seeker of truth as in what is this really all about? I attempted to go through the process and it was quite challenging and painful. To cut it short, I got to the top of the mountain, saw the view and the process of falling down that I would have had to go through, and said, “no thanks” for one or two reasons. I had to then re-attach the labels and identities back on so I could at least find pleasure in the existence I have now. Two years on and what I’ve come to realise is that I don’t have to be “enlightened” because in actual fact I already am or am not lol depending on where you’re seeing it. While knowing that I don’t really exist, I am grateful and amazed by the wonderful experiences (good, bad, exciting, boring, whatever) that I/We have created for “our”/”my” own enjoyment.

    There are many reasons why we seek this enlightenment experience. For me, it was purely because I want to know the truth and put a puzzle together. For others I feel that what we are really searching for is liberation from the emotional, mental, physical, whatever concerns we’re currently experiencing in our lives. Going through the truth realisation process without jumping off the cliff will give you a wider perspective and some degree of detachment. However, “our conscious” awareness is still focused on this existence hence still governed by the same rules and laws of this existence so whatever situation you’re in you’d still be bound by them. I’d say work on healing/ changing the way you think, believe and behave now and your life will change.

    The truth is, you don’t have free will, you only think you do. You are not the one controlling the vehicle that you’re driving, it only appears that you are. And from what I know of my friend who is truth realised, he can’t be bothered “helping” others through this process unless they’re really serious about it and it also depends which stage they’re at, coz in his opinion, everything is the way it is. It’s all perfect really. Again, depending from which perspective you’re seeing this. 🙂 And I do agree with him.

  20. Brian- thanks for your reply. I have done a lot of reading of your site and have enjoyed it. You are very articulate and some of the people who have posted have said some profound and inspiring things that I have enjoyed reading.

    This “new Awareness” is a bit strange and my personality has been an extrovert. Some of these basic qualities have remained. Having shunned all communities in the past after feeling that they were traps, there is still an interest in using words and connecting with others. In fact, one of the first thoughts that came into this mind after this recent “Awakening” was about the importance of connections with others. Don’t really know what it means, but the thoughts that followed were basically “what am i going to do now?” and the answer that came (within my own mind) was- “take care of the body and honor vital connections with others.” The only actions I have taken since has been in service of either of these two.

    In response to your comments- yes, i had the intention of (what I call) “waking up” and had pursued that for many years. However, I had abandoned all practices 13 years ago and was living in (what you call) the Awakened state without any practices or pursuit. I considered myself and agnostic. I had basally given up on more because life was so good and flowing very well.

    Then these spontaneous experiences started happening when I was in school to become a Life Coach. One day after a powerful Voice Dialogue session with my Coach, I went into Samadhi (which had never happened before unless during my days of pursuit I had been at a meditation retreat and then only after 2 to 3 days of meditation). I went to the Mall to get some exercise and the Guru (from India) appeared physically in front of me in the Mall. (I had left the Guru around 13 years before that day in the Mall and wasn’t keeping up with him at all.)

    It was interesting on some level, but there was no interest in resuming the former path, so I let that go. But other spontaneous things started happening. When my friend suggested there may be a way for us to “bust through” I figured let’s give it a try.

    I didn’t mean to imply that I attained enlightenment by way of my will. It was achieved by surrendering everything- even the will to live and it was very humbling. About 30 days later, I was plunged into an ecstatic state of sobbing for about 15 minutes while I was in the bath tub and the thoughts were “there is nothing I can do for myself.” and “there is nothing I can do for anyone else” I felt another level of surrender happen and it seems (for me) that surrender has been the key. And here I am- (my body/mind/ego) offering to help others when I have already realized “there is nothing I can do”. It’s crazy!

    I have been coaching a few individuals and there are some awakenings happening. At this point, it is simply about vital connections with others and honoring that.

    Having a business that I have been operating for 25 years, I am not having to charge for coaching since that doesn’t seem to be appropriate at this time.

    I agree with you. It doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with practices or will. I now see the practices (pre Awakening) as creating a foundation within the life to support the Awareness- when it happens and (post Awakening) to continue to make any adjustments needed in the life to support the Awareness.

    Peace,
    Nitya

  21. To Nitya Ananda
    Thanks for the fulsome description of the wonderful process you are going through, I’m sure many people will find it very interesting. The rhetorical irony that what I’m about to say is not lost on me – me claiming to be “unenlightened”, and you claiming to be unenlightened enlightened, yet me challenging you about what I confess, I have not attained! But here it is:

    The only doubt about your representation for me is in how you described the layers of release unfolding in your life as being initiated by your intention to be free, culminating in your “attaining” enlightenment. Further, you go on to suggest that you are now offering this process of intentional self purification (for lack of a better term) to others so that they may attain liberation.

    You are implicitly stating that you can attain enlightenment by way of will and intention. I have serious doubts about such a proposition. I’ve had a growing conviction over the last few years that nothing could be further from the truth. When the “divine” aspect of me decides to liberate me, I’ll be liberated. My experience teaches me that all my intention and efforts in that regard have proven to be a grand folly.

    That’s all I have time to say right now except to wish you the best of luck in your life.

    Sincerely
    Brian

  22. Enjoyed reading all posts!

    I am going to share my journey to Enlightenment by using Brian’s labels of Benighted, Illumined, Awakened and Enlightened.

    My spiritual search began in the 70’s when using LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. I was in the benighted state during this time.

    Realizing the drugs and alcohol were probably not a good idea long term, I entered therapy in 1985. For many years of earnest self-discovery, I remained in the benighted state.

    Found a Guru in the mid 90’s and had my first real (drug free) experiences which plunged me into an Illumined place for 5 years. This wasn’t very comfortable long term since it was accompanied by a significant disenchantment with the world that would come and go.

    The next phase involved an effort to manifest a stable existence in the world and that resulted in moving me to an Awakened state in the late 90’s.

    Basically lived in the Awakened state for 13 years until a good friend (who had read Jed’s work) suggested there was “further to go”. She was an important player in my life during the Illumined state, and we have stayed close since then, although both remaining in the Awakened state.

    I had been starting to have these spontaneous Samadhi experiences during the summer of 2013, so I was curious to see what she had to say about the “further to go” idea.

    We got together in November 2013, and something seemed to be sparked a bit, but it didn’t change much overall- just launched me deeper into the Awakened state.

    Then, in May 2014, we met at the beach and sat on the balcony looking at the Gulf for 3 days- only going inside for food, bathroom and to sleep. The entire time (about 30 hours total) we did inquiries and systematically went through everything step by step…. exposing each object (list below) to deep inquiry and vowing to let it go- surrender it- if it was part of duality.

    To us that meant- did it have a beginning or will it have an ending. Or does it have an opposite? If either of these could be applied to the object, we surrendered it.

    There came a point where we could no longer identify who we were based on everything or anything we thought we were all our lives up to that point.

    This is something I have written to try to explain in my words what this is like. (I’m using Awake and Awakening in the way Brian uses Realized and Enlightened)

    Our eyes are the apertures for the universe to look through and a “personal” awakening is what is experienced when (through your own eyes) the universe withdraws its projection from the world and realizes itself within your own body/mind and your former sense of a separate self is replaced by the emptiness of Pure Awareness which can be perceived and experienced as the Ground of Being from which all things arise and into which all things dissolve.

    Once Awake, however, you realize that there was never a projection and you were never separate!

    The Realized or Enlightened state has been constant since then. I am still self-supporting and functioning very well in the world. All of my relationships are thriving and a few have improved due to the loss of ego.

    Here are a few metaphors I have used to describe the indescribable:

    There is an audience sitting in a theater and there is a huge lifelike Dragon on the stage. I am standing behind the stage. I can see the faces of the people in the audience. They are horrified. However, from this place, I can see the two by four structure holding up the dragon from behind. Although I am moved by the fear on the faces of the people in the audience and I understand their fear, from this vantage point, it is obviously an illusion. That is how all of life is from this place of Awareness.

    My mind has been like a Hard Drive computer and for my entire journey; I have been downloading Software onto the hard drive…Self-Awareness software, Spiritual Practices Software, My Personality Software etc. Upon Awakening, it was as if the Software was removed from the hard drive. At first, it seemed very strange because I could still access anything (although the need or interest in accessing any of it had dissolved). Even now, there is still an incredible emptiness in the mind, but there is no dullness- like before in the Illumined state. Quite the contrary, all of life seems to be pulsating!

    Another quality to this Awareness is that most anything that was formerly seen as a practice (meditation for example) and needed effort is now happening naturally and easily. This applies to many of the practices that had been pursued throughout the journey.

    I am a Life Coach and am already working with people who have been on the path for many years in an effort to see if the process can be stimulated for them in any way!

    I hope this gives confirmation for anyone questioning their own experiences and hope to those who “seemingly” haven’t been Enlightened yet.

    Peace and Love,
    Nitya Ananda

    These are the objects that we inquired into and released within a period of 30 hours that spanned 3 days.

    thoughts
    beliefs
    ideas
    mind-sets
    emotions
    inspiration
    knowledge
    culture
    judgments
    roles
    concerns
    control
    fear
    memory
    labels
    concepts
    expectations
    attachment
    aversion
    honesty
    lies
    conflict
    solution
    closure
    details
    understanding
    validation
    teaching
    learning
    insights
    teachers
    avoidance
    striving
    grasping
    questioning
    bliss
    time
    past
    future

  23. The 3 biggest barriers to awakening are: 1. Not knowing what it is (and going for something else) 2. the belief it should take a long time to achieve or it is unreachable 3. Using an ineffective technique to get you there.
    1. Jed defines enlightenment as “Truth Realization”. In Zen this is also called Kensho or Satori or “seeing into your true nature”. I like the term “Direct Experience” which means a perception or deep insight of one’s true reality that involves no via such as logic, feeling, affirmation, psychic sensing, For a brief moment of time you come into union with your true nature and you suddenly know who you actually are. Enlightenment is often mistaken as blissfulness, some kind of mystical experience of connection to everything, messages from God, kundalini energy releases, etc but these are not it. Awakening is characterized by coming to consciousness if your true self akin to walking into a room and turning the light on. Its instantaneous. You were previously in the dark and now you see everything. You are conscious whereas before you were not. Sometimes these direct experiences can be very deep or shallow. The next step is to “live” fully from this experience or to embody it. One might call this “enlifenment” or cultivating this through more spiritual inquiry more direct experiences, meditation on one’s “knowingness” of oneself to strength the awareness (rather than using mantra, breath, or whatever focus that is used in meditation.
    2. The belief that is should take a long time is part of the dogma of many of the ancient religions traditions. And if we believe this, guess what…it will take a long time. Awakening can happen at anytime and to anyone, even to people that have not done any form of spiritual practice. Often people who want to increase their chances of enlightenment get involved in a spiritual practice that contains the belief it should take a long time and they end up impeding their progress because of the belief.
    3. If we want to awaken we should understand how consciousness (knowingness) naturally evolves in ordinary life and concentrate our efforts in that direction. If we examine life to find out how we become aware we will see that understanding evolves as the result of relating to others. This is easy to see…does not a lot of self-awareness occur in our close relationships? Its also true that a lot of injury occurs in this realm. So if we can create agreements where people can feel safe to open up to what is “true” in themselves, communicate authentically with each other and at the same time get them to inquire into the question “Who am I” and relate what arises in consciousness, the path to awakening is accelerated. This is what might be called the East/West approach: the self-inquiry of the east in the Zen tradition or of Ramana Maharshi with the relationship psychology of the west. This method is revolutionary and is described in the book called Awakening the Guru in You. It does not take years for this to happen and in actual fact, can occur in a retreat setting over 2-4 days! I challenge you to let go of this belief that awakening takes years. That is dogma and it will get in the way. Be open to it occurring at any time…even right now!

  24. I like ol’ Jed. He reminds me of Peter Marjason’s stuff. I’m not sure these guys are enlightened
    like Ramana, Nissie, U.G., Anandamayi Ma. . . etc. But they make me feel good about
    EVERYTHING. That’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.

  25. This is Adyashanti’s alter-ego. Subtract Iowa as a red herring and view the characters as compilations of individuals met while satsanging, advising and otherwise teaching and you have a central character (Jed) who agrees straight down the line with Adya.

    He also uses many of the same terms and even quotes Adya again and again. They prefer and revere the same authors…..it goes on and on.

    Jed says what Adya would say if he could talk openly. This is the stuff he would tell an enlightened friend in confidence.

  26. Thanks Dan, and welcome. I enjoyed your clarity and felt you may have articulated my POV better than myself, although i can’t remember what I said, and of course, couldn’t be bothered to go back and read my own contribution (too boring, reading your one’s own posts, I guess!).
    Thanks,
    Brian

  27. Greetings. New to the site. Haven’t commented here before but felt inclined, saw the question and I scanned through many of the comments. As I answer I want to say up front I am using “me” and “my” but I fully realize this is convention and the functioning of/in this “dream”. I know that I am not a separate person, though “Dan” continues on with may of the same behaviors. Also that I exist as this present awareness or alive presence. Nondual awareness, yep, sounds right. On the other hand, there can be a “getting up in character” as Jed mentions, where it becomes what use to feel like identification. (note Jed’s many comments like, “I hate California”, “I’m not immune to the tears of young girls”, etc.) Not a problem post awake but does occur.

    As I didn’t read all comments in this string, may be repeating what others have said. My understanding of the question is, Jed said it takes about 2 years to become enlightened after you take what he called the “first step”. The question here seems to be, do others experience this process that way. It seems that unless you think you are awake and can say in retrospect if your journey followed suit with Jed’s description, your extrapolating from where you see yourself along the pre-awake process. A number of the responses seem along those lines.

    My experience was something like this: 20 plus years of varied self exploration practices, many detours and distractions during that period, complete uncertainty whether I was a candidate for realization-but at the same time an inability to stop searching. No clear decision to “burn my life down” as Jed often references, but over about a year or two at the end you could say there was a shift toward abandoning any personal outcome of life other than waking up. Much more serious process, more focused. Then your done searching. It’s clear your not a seeker anymore, looking somewhere else for answers. “This” (present experience) is your answer.

    But not done adapting, “getting the hang of it” (whatever that actually amounts too). Jed talks about that (10 year) period, and that seems true from present experience. Something curious about Jed’s references to his early post-awakening is, he references being done for a while and (possibly misquoting a bit) “moping around with caterpillars dreaming highly fictionalized dreams of being a butterfly”. He knew he was fundamentally different from others, but didn’t realize he was enlightened. There was a period of realizing the two points I made at the beginning of this post, but not being sure what this meant for some months. I can speculate, but not now……

    adios!

  28. Hi J

    I really like your comment:

    “you are the absolute truth; you do not exist; you are everything.
    you are the partial relative truth; let’s get some food.
    [kind of like n.m. in between wisdom and love… on a good day.]

    all you can do is put your human suit back on and play with paradox. if you are so inclined…”

    …Very apt and it’s what I’ve realised after playing around with this ‘stuff’.

    Knowing this and knowing where to look helps with easing the challenges that we face in this existence. There really is nothing to do. Just play your role in this game to the best that you can. 🙂

    Nina

  29. greetings. this isnt meant to be flippant or coy, but… the premise of your query is flawed: there is no one to report back the truth of enlightenment.

    you are the absolute truth; you do not exist; you are everything.
    you are the partial relative truth; let’s get some food.
    [kind of like n.m. in between wisdom and love… on a good day.]

    all you can do is put your human suit back on and play with paradox. if you are so inclined…

    thanks for playing around with it here.

    -j

  30. I would like to ask Jed McKenna a direct question. Does any one have an idea as to his email address.
    Don’t joke about this… Please help!
    Elvira

  31. My conclusion is that enlightenment is the process of becoming aware of in which ways you are unaware.

    It is not an it and there is no more to it…
    However sometimes I miss the journey and striving towards the achivement of something extraordinary so much that I manage to fool “myself” for shorter períods of time into beliving that there really is an “other side” thats higher and better than were I am at this moment. Haha it gets pretty wierd this life thing sometimes doesnt it 😉

    Namaste

    /Robin

  32. It’s interesting to read the comments and feel the comfort of other’s whistling in the dark too…it’s dear and comical all at once. I stepped off into space years ago….thinking it better than being eaten alive by the tiger at the edge of the cliff…consequent ventures back into the world have been curious….it’s like taking a walk in a neighborhood in early evening, seeing families moving about in their homes engaged in their lives– all “normal” stuff–but knowing it will never be you in that scenario again…each lit up window is like a tv channel playing a program…anyone of those screens could blink off in the next second as if they never existed at all….I could do the same and may already be dead for all intents and purposes of society at large, whatever that means. The only meaningful (if there is such a thing) relationships are with my animal friends. We don’t need words or ideas to share experiences that are sweet and present…one of my best friends is a hawk that drops by for a meal when it’s cold…I keep meat for him, he no longer eats my chickens…and it all works out fine. The universe really is playful–every so often I find myself taking things seriously and into my experience drives a little white bus with bold black letters, kid you not

    Maya’s Transportation
    If none of this will matter when you’re dead…why let it bother you while you live? Pointless is okay…figuring it out is mental masturbation….if it’s fun, why not…if it’s torture…okay too….wandering through the layers of stuff is just a distraction from life & death….maya’s fun little game…

  33. @ Elizabeth… thanks for the link. @ everyone else. Thank you for your posts. Un-enlightened here. Until earlier this year had never heard of “spiritual awakening” and never checked into “enlightenment”. I grew up “New Age” (bygones Helden), thought we were here for karmic purposes, try to live and let live, be the best you can be, etc. I started channeling a number of years ago and my guides started talking about “Being” and letting go. What the heck? I had no clue. Fast forward..(no longer channeling) I had an issue last spring and was trying to find some music that would help me feel more settled when I came across an audio about the ego by Eckhart Tolle, listened to it and it hit home. Got his books, read about awakening. My curiosity was aroused and I started searching, trying to apply what resonated and have read a lot of books by a lot of people since I first came across the term. Just finished Book 1 of JM’s trilogy. (If there is no point to life, bummer. Seriously.) Enlightenment is still not a goal but I also know I can’t go back to how I was. So the reading and the self inquiry and the search to know the truth will continue. Luck to all.

  34. I’m gonna leave one modest little comment in this thread: anyone who has truly awakened wouldn’t bother posting online about it. Here or anywhere else. I’m sick of the smart-ass “Zen remarks” and the cute stories pulled out of context which are–I guess–intended to be ways to brutally cut through the “illusions of others.” If you’d like to actually educate yourself on this topic, begin by reading _The Story of Chinese Zen_ by Nan Huai-Chin, and pay attention to *degrees* of realization. Not being truly informed is what messes up Western “seekers” and inevitably sends them into the currently-popular personality cult.

    All sorts of emotional, spiritual or (especially) mental experiences are being constantly mistaken for pure, clean, clear Zen understanding–including the teachings of the Maharishi, that giggling little rabbit Eckhard Tolle, and the so-called “Course in Miracles” which is standard New Age jabber. Flip through the pages to the end: you are god, you can do & get anything you want & you cause your own illnesses. In a nutshell, there’s the credo of the “New Age” that’s been around since the ’60s. Ho-hum. It’s not Zen. It’s not enlightenment. It’s self-interest.

  35. Fuck yeah!
    2 years ago I finally sat down and meditated for the first time. I had been thinking about it for some time before but I was really scared, sensing that I was going to die at the end of the road. But my life was already ending, body and mind all fucked up (suffering from burnoutdepression), so I figured that I had to try something different. And I decided that I just wanted to know the truth, inspired by a youtubevideo with Jed McKenna quotes. It was an awful day. An honest day. And I had a tourch up my ass, making me determined in my decision. I had of course no idea what I was getting myself into but I figured that a “divine voice” that was leading me would guide me, ´cause it said it would. And it gave me love, security and loads of bullshit along the road to here, and now it´s as dead as this woman that´s playing here.

    Anyway, after “the big decision” I was facing fears a couple of months, isolated myself from the outside world. Then this divine ego Maya guided me to love, convincing me that I had to move and get some new friends now that I´d forsaken my old life. New, loving friends that could help me develop. So I went on a huge detour with kundaliniyoga, mantrasinging, hugging hippiefriends, witchcraft and all sorts of “divine light-expreriences”. The last detour was that I started “A Course in Miracles”, still guided by the divine ego voice. And I used it to be able to hear that voice even better, ´cause it was really important to not listen to the voice I identified as myself and instead to the great divine speaking to me! I was now identifying the divine voice as Jesus Christ or Holy Spirit, believing everything that could make me a better me with more “light and love” to spread (which I was now thinking was the goal, along with “dropping my defenses” so the light, soft voice of big ego could decide. But I really wanted this revelationthing the course was talking about, the ultimate experience. It sounded sooo good. And one day, it was. I experienced reality. Of course there was no I there, but when there was I just tried so, so hard to print in to my mind that it was only this I wanted, nothing ells. I sat and just collected all the firepower I could find in me to “break the bubble”, for now I knew that it was just a shadowlife I was living and that nothing here was worth going for, not even the comfort of the “god” I had “been one” with in light and that was guiding my every move. But still, there was an I there so I still had no clue, but at least I knew it. The experience just helped me gather firepower to shoot me out, for I didn´t want to be a person anymore, dreaming a shadowlife.
    I want to make clear that I thought that I was the dreamer, dreaming the dream, even though I´d been without my self and all fake gods.

    A few weeks afterwards I wanted to take psilocybin mushrooms, which I´d taken many times before. The divine said no but I just did it, aware of that I was only dreaming anyways. And then it came to me, quite undramatically, while watching some trees and stuff, that it was just meaningless symbols, that I was a meaningless symbol myself. That I wasn´t the dreamer of the dream, that there was no such thing as “me”, dreaming or not, in illusions or reaching reality or following signs or a spiritual path, God or Satan. There was nothing to interpret, it was just meaningless. It was the greatest news. So there is no I, experiencing anything. Just an illusion experiencing an illusion, it´s all the same and it´s nothing. It´s fucking awesome, who would have thought! We´re so obsessed to find the meaning in all this, to find ourself, but all the time the seeker is just the illusion it´s seeking in. You just have to laugh! And facing your fears, they all turn to something to just laugh about, like me in this. How funny! It brings about memories! hahaha

    You have to be a crazyperson to want the truth. Are you insane? Go for it! Face every fear, peel off your skin, smash the godhead and be free. But no one in their right mind goes for that 😀

  36. The partner is the movie that would follow the graduate, there isn’t such a movie. Where can I contact Gary?

    The whole enlightenment thing points to a lot of well “things”

    Let’s see,

    Jed never talks about his disbelief in God, does he?

    He also says “God” and “He” not as man or woman but as MAN in general
    He also says he is not separate from the Universe, this one is so simple that it is incredible how we miss it.

    It might be heading towards the “I am god” realization, which is very hard to put in words and even explaining it would make you outright insane to another. So why explain it?

    Too lazy to be ambitious,
    I let the world take care of itself.
    Ten days’ worth of rice in my bag;
    a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
    Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
    Listening to the night rain on my roof,
    I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.

    Zen Master Ryokan

  37. Has anyone read SW?

    luckymoron says:
    July 27, 2011 at 12:42 am
    Hi,
    Not sure if this is the right place for a question, but I couldn’t find an appropriate thread for that. Feel free to move this post.

    In Spiritual Warfare, ‘The Partner’ is mentioned. Could someone please tell me to which movie (or book?) this refers to?

    Thank you.

  38. Yes. Listened to Jed for over two years. Found the Ruthless Truth site (now changed to Liberation Unleashed, more polite :-). Took three more days. Gateless Gate. I’ve done that for a few other people now. Still posting on Facebook on Enlightenment NOW and SIE. It’s been about three months now. Learning, learning, learning. Got the last direction from someone on a post on this site, hey, those guys are nuts but go look, kind of thing.
    Thanks to Jed as well as life experience, the spiritual structures got a good kicking and I was ready to accept that last push. Thanks so much to this site as well for the company, and the elegant writing of it’s founder. Just thanks, really. Elizabeth

  39. By the way, I know that was a “pretty” post. Ugly, desperate, fearful, raging, these have been represented along the way as well. When cultivating a friendship with death, there are no boundaries. However, they are faces that appear and disappear, like ghosts they waft about and try to scare me. HA HA! Their power to distract is waning daily, it is like a buzz in the far-off background…..

  40. I don’t think it really matters, this “am I enlightened” question. Who wants that? Where this entity seems to be “headed” has not yet been named, and if it has it is now obsolete. This ever evolving happening, Life living itself in this manner, cannot be grasped, it’s the trying that makes us crazy! I am a mother of four children, now all grown, and they were my best teachers. Born as no-mind, they then rapidly absorbed the rules of the game to invent their egoic roles; it was so amazing to watch. I tried to mirror as best I could the emptiness inherent in them instead of the world’s insanity, but the world is so fascinating, isn’t it? Like being let loose in a huge amusement park!

    The term enlightenment has become filled with all kinds of airy-fairy new age and heavy religious spiritual connotations and feels like an anchor around the neck, who needs it? I like freedom as a word, especially when I see it exhibited in nature, birds and clouds and trees, etc. There is profound awareness there if you just stop and be quiet. That is it for me, the stopping, the stripping away that continues daily. To stop and just SEE! Before the thought arises, look at THAT!

    This is a path that unfurls as I walk, so no one can show me the way, they can only describe their own experience. Whether that is helpful, I don’t know, a person can get addicted to reading about the experiences of others and never take the first step themselves. For me, it is like a treasure hunt, a bread crumb trail of clues leading the way. Maybe it continues forever! Maybe life is itself expanding its understanding of itself as it looks through these eyes in endless fascination! I don’t know, but that’s what it feels like sometimes. There is no resting place where it ends, just the death of whatever you thought was separate. Enlightenment is a movement, a happening, not a place or thing, if I was going to use the word at all. It unfurls like a bud flowering.

    I also think you could probably find every possible experience under the heading of enlightenment, and all experiences would be describing a phase of it, so both being nothing and everything are included. It is all inclusive, nothing left out. But beyond the conceptualizing of that, because mind stuff is left behind. Descriptions become laughable at that point. But humans keep coming together to attempt the description, which I think is the mind’s last ditch effort to keep some semblance of a story going. If not, what then? Oh boy, now it gets really interesting!

    I am continuing to explore what this stopping is and how far it goes…..there is no end to HERE!

    Love,
    Suzen

  41. Yes. I’ve been melting down for about four months now, and my gut feeling is that of being stuck. Feels like I can’t go back, but can’t move forward. I automatically crank out pages and pages of stream of consciousness writing, dealing with the big questions. Very bizarre, but I’ve the clear certainty that I’m on the other side now.

  42. What is enlightenment?
    A BIG problem with the Jed McKenna books is that he projects an image, an unrealistic image, of what an enlightened person is. There isn’t any opportunity to scrutinize the authenticity of the authors claims of himself. He is like the Wizard of Oz hiding behind a curtain, saying that he represents enlightenment that we should all seek after. The problem is that the Wizard of Oz isn’t what he has projected himself to be and most seekers that have read these books are searching on the dream-world of the yellow brick road of unrealistic expectations. If anyone of us would have the opportunity of watching the curtain come down, and the real Wizard of Oz was revealed, disappointment would be met just like Dorothy and her companions. But wait, not all is lost, Dorthy did wake up from her dream, which included the dream of the Wizard of Oz (Jed). Don’t get me wrong. I think the Jed McKenna books can be a fantastic spring board of self-inquiry but it can become a trap of endless frustration, hope, belief, and everything that Dorothy and her companions experienced.

  43. Hi Nina,
    Echart Tolle has some good stuff to say about these topics in his book ‘The power of Now’ My wife’s view is that this process seems to be the same for women as men and not particularly more difficult or easier. Tolle on the other hand seems to think it is easier for women. With the relationship and children thing – we have children and engage in what we call a conscious relationship – which basically means we both try to be as aware as possible and to take personal responsibility for what we are feeling as opposed to blaming the other party for it. This accelerates the letting go process. We still do the blame thing from time to time if particularly triggered but it gets easier as time goes on. This process seems to be much easier if both parties are on the same path but generally it’s not advisable to try to force someone into this . With children (and any other responsibilities in life) letting go internally does not in any way abdicate your responsibility to take action in the world externally. Nor is it necessary to abdicate said responsibility in order to let go. It seems to be more difficult to do this process in the marketplace( with a family, kids, job ect) as opposed to a cave( retreat, ashram ect) but in doing the double major you get to be in the world but not of it.

  44. Hi,
    Not sure if this is the right place for a question, but I couldn’t find an appropriate thread for that. Feel free to move this post.

    In Spiritual Warfare, ‘The Partner’ is mentioned. Could someone please tell me to which movie (or book?) this refers to?

    Thank you.

  45. Hi B and themanformerlyknownasakash,
    Thanks for clarifying my questions.
    B – what you’ve described appears to be similar to what my friend has experienced and likewise, he also said that some stop at that stage. There are traps involved along the way. But he did say that there’s further to go and you’d just know when the final realization happens. My questions around this have already been clarified by him.
    One thing I notice as well is that there appears to be a number of people on the net claiming to be enlightened and it’s hard to see which ones are true especially for one who is unenlightened. It doesn’t appear to be as rare as it’s supposed to be? From what i sense, i think it’s a difficult thing going through the process and removing the layers.. Hard to do especially if you’re actively involved in the world.. And if you’re not involved, sometimes you could be stuck for a while piercing the final veil? My friend experienced this until the final thing just ‘clicked’ then he saw the full final truth and was totally in sync with source. But I’ve clarified this as well and just check it against what I now see as final true enlightenment.
    themanformerlyknownasakash – thanks for giving me the names of the female teachers. Can I find them through google? I’m interested to know how women handle the process, especially those that are in relationships and with children.

  46. Hi Nina,
    My experience is that about the same number of either sex are interested in this path. Of the half dozen or so that I hang out with regularly that are awake or waking up – most of them (2/3) are women. It does seems that quite a number of people who wake up aren’t interested in the whole teacher/internet publicity thing and prefer to carry on their lives as befor. Chop wood and carry water and all that.
    It may be that a lower percentage of women are interested in getting on the internet and commenting or doing the guru thing. This is just a theory however. If you want to look at some female teachers you could start with Isira, Gangaji and Amma.

  47. I went into the NOTHINGNESS/EVERYTHING-ness, but its more like just being, and being 24/7. Yet because of the search, the process, there was the inclination to know if this is it, etc. I see that some stop, and being-ness, does have an aspect of nothing/everything, but the next bit I found, was about not manipulating what one is, call it consciousness, whatever. Not doing a thing, not controlling ANY aspect of what ONE IS, or how one functions, goes against the known habit of what one feels one is, and what one must do to survive.. This sneaks up on you, The effect of not doing a dam thing, registers the fact that you are not manipulating what one is, and in a sense, begins to blow this thing apart. It really is a come see for yourself, and cannot really be described.

  48. Oh, I have to mention that Richard Rose did mention the ‘everythingness’. He said that in waking up, some people get stuck in the ‘nothingness’ (where you see that there is only ‘one’ experiencing everything and the others don’t exist). Then he said you have to go ‘beyond’ it, further, and then you experience being everything. Then of course, you go beyond both and be just is.

  49. Hi themanformerlyknownasakash,
    Thanks for responding to my query. My awakened friend actually just recently explained this to me, so I kind of understand what he meant conceptually. Basically while he was in the process of waking up, all he felt was nothingness. And when he ‘flipped’ over to the other side (become source), he experienced being everything. He said that this was when he felt ‘connected’ and ‘in sync’ with source. Then while on ‘that’ side he can focus on being nothing, and he can focus on being everything/eternity/for all time (the ‘everything’ he explained to me was the relative world, the illusion.. and he did say that the ‘reality’ of the source is the nothingness. Then while he was ‘flipped’ he went beyond the nothingness/everythingness and just be is-ness, and his old self is totally gone forever. As to how long it took him to wake up, he started reading about truth/advaita for 3.5 years but the waking up process took about a year out of those 3.5 years. He’s actually the one who referred me Jed McKenna’s books and also Richard Rose. The interesting thing about him is that he’s also very talented (if you could call in that) in navigating through the spiritual realms (can see energy/affect it, can talk to ‘higher’ beings in other dimensions and even godheads in other dimensions/worlds, can travel inter-dimensionally, is psychic, can talk to beings that exist in the ethereal/spirit world, can talk to beings that look after ‘places’ here on earth, etc). But he did say that they’re all not real anyway so he had to let them go when he was waking up, and he lives a much simpler life now doing really mundane things.

    One thing that piques me though and I’m noticing it, is that there aren’t many women who are interested into realising truth. I don’t read much about them on the internet, it’s mainly men. I am a little bit miffed that it seems to be ‘easier’ for men to do this as they seem to be less emotionally attached to things than women are. It is a bit of a challenge, especially for mothers.

  50. Hi Nina,
    The experience of being nothing and everything seems to be a pointer/ descriptor to awakening. A way to describe the experience. However having experienced this does not necessarily mean you’re awake. I had similar experiences that were not related to the awakening process. There are a large range of experiences that can occur when you’re awake and lack of separation between all things and emptiness seem to be one of the common ones. I haven’t personally experienced the eternity thing in this space as my current perception of time seems to consist of now.

  51. Can I please ask B and others who realized the truth.. Did you ever experience being everything and being nothing at the same time, and also felt eternity? I’m wondering cos my friend who realized the truth experienced all these. He said when he saw the final truth he ‘flipped’ on the other side and that’s when he experienced being All and nothingness, then he went beyond both. I’m wondering cos none of the books I’ve read nor Jed said anything about experiencing being everything. Also the way he sees things now is different, that everything is perfect and also he can sense the energy/force in all things. Apparently when we realise the truth or become enlightened, we become perfectly in sync with the source, with the universe. Thanks in advance for any responses.

  52. Okay. Ive been at this for about 9 months, but got the asterisk part about 4 months ago. That is the truth realized part. Ive been interested in working out what the hell is going on here, for quite some time. Id experienced glimpses, states, etc, but nothing lasted, nothing was really true, instead it just fueled the notion that I really know what to do, I obviously am waiting, things perhaps aren’t bad enough, or some other fictitious reason as to why Im not living this thing and free etc.
    I knew I was going around in circles, and I knew i was full of fear, full of second hand everything basically, knew i was somewhat different, and new that EGO, aka fear and control, had me screwed. I knew I was full of it, but had moments of truth, and it would all come crashing down, but Id maintain the image of having it together, but ultimately, I was plagued by what i call the 5.00 AM dread, that got more intense, more longer, and for some reason, I followed a link about some JED guy, who in my egotistical way, I thought Id check out, and see if he also knew as much as ME, yet what i read, was simply. Dont feed it, and it will die. Id read something similar via JK, who said, can you not judge and condemn what surfaces, and make that a movement type inquiry, but not judging and not condemning, is you doing something, hence this for some reason, hit me where i needed to be hit. I read more, and it resonated more, and I just got honest. i knew I was afraid of life, afraid terribly of death, dying, heaven hell, everything, reading the papers, the vile brutality of kids dying of starvation, murder, rape, and what is not there to be freaked out about, and going around pretending all is good, well it aint, and I dont quite know where this honesty came from, but I just hit a point where I had to do something, and UNCONDITIONALLY SURRENDERING< come what may, seemed the only thing to do.
    I had to deal with a voice, an entity, that seemed to freak out, if I didn't do a thing with respect to the SHIT it would tell me. IF that aint terrifying, you know, having a voice in your head that appears to be about making you scared, making you freak out, keeping you imprisoned, into a safe known prison, well that was the situation, that was the thing I had to face, and did face, and 4 or 5 months into it, whilst rambling intermittently to someone via email type messengers, I discovered the asterisk part of things.A better way of stating that, would be to state that such matters became apparent, and is called the truth realized part, but that aint done, yet it very much is like a bomb. Everything goes up in smoke, yet remains, and yet it aint done, ITs more about when one has surrendered so much, that the entwine of belief and unquestioned habit, gets somewhat unraveled some, and it isn't some holy grail place. It is certainly not BLISS/LOVE and JOY, and I was welcomed at this point, suggested that further was a something I needed to forget about, but at that point, I realized, well how the hell do i know that they themselves haven't stopped. aren't caught up in a layer, THE MATRIX, is indeed a good eg here. not that we are like that, but the layer part, that it could be further, so at this point I had to keep on going myself, and i did, and i realized, that there is no turning back, that in a sense there is no real further than this, but it aint done, there is still parts of self, parts of emotion that may get triggered, and the only way through that, is to feel it, and let the fucking thing die, and it takes time, and is painful, as one has held on to so much, and to the point that one doesn't even realize. Dense layers of energy is indeed a good description, and all though this truth realization is indeed a something that becomes apparent, and does so, when the notion of YOU controlling any part of you, is somewhat put aside, and slowly slowly something somewhat expected by this time, becomes clear, its not a thing in egoic control, quite the reverse, but it really is as Jed aptly puts it. "Well that was kind of dumb" but its a hell of a thing to know, but its not done, letting the fear, and there are many, go up in smoke, and then learning about real potential, the 10 year bit that JM stated about, well, in a sense I'd have to say, it is about learning how this place really works, which in a sense, id imagine could be done without the asterisk part. that becomes apparent, and it really is kind of dumb.
    I am somewhat reluctant to post this, but hey, I haven't read many people who have admitted this stuff, and I too am a quiet, and not at all interested in becoming known with this thing, kind of a guy,

  53. How I arrived here
    I can only pretend to know
    I cannot say for certain
    So I sit and wonder
    Is this a place of rest?
    I sense that the great ones
    Have gone further
    Into the dark mist
    But your Presence
    Has consumed me
    Transforming this blood
    Into gratefulness
    So for now there seems
    Nothing else
    Climbing further
    Seems to hold no interest
    So I’ll sit here
    Halfway up the mountain
    And fade into the view

  54. Hi all. I’ve enjoyed many of your comments. As someone who has dealt with a great many of the questions, insecurities and “dark places” that the spiritual quest sometimes seems to entail, I feel a kind of bond with you all. You’re my counterparts undergoing the same unfolding in many different ways. I have to say though, that I’m not sure the question of “how long does it take?” is really a relevant or useful one. I won’t bore you all with the “you’re already enlightened speech; there’s nothing you have to do”. But I also have to say that just as you’re not enlightened yet, you are also not not enlightened. Even the term enlightenment itself begins to look like a less than useless qualifier the more stillness and clarity that I find.

    It seems more and more to me that thirsting for enlightenment is like a being a fish who is pretending to die of thirst in the ocean. (that’s pretty good…have to tweet that one). But seriously, I don’t mean that in a flippant or nihilistic way. Believe me, I know how real this whole Maya can seem.

    I guess mostly I just wanted to say hi to you all; to wish you all as much peace as is possible.

    With love and respect to my counterparts.

  55. Hi Brian,
    I wrote some material down on this process as a guidebook to people who are walking the same path. I thought it may be useful as I could have used it when I was starting out.
    In terms of time here’s an extract from the blog
    http://awakeninginthemarketplace.blogspot.com/

    How long does it take.
    Good question. One of the interpretations of Patanjali in his yoga sutras has a good comment on this.
    ‘Success is rapid for the hotly impetuous’
    In my first waking up experience seemed to take a few months to arise. However I committed everything to the process and burned everything that didn’t help me (family, friends, reality ect). If I’d know what I was doing I may have been able to stabilise the state instead of retreating back into the dream. However I don’t regret my path as the rout I have travelled has allowed me to learn compassion. It seems that it is possible to wake up without using the heart. This can result in a person with a sword only philosophy.
    My second waking process took a while longer.
    I started hanging out with my first awakened teacher about 8 years ago and I hung out with him for about a year. I then spent a couple of years hanging out ’by myself’ then found out my current teacher had woken up(I had got to know him while we were both hanging out with the first guy). So I would catch up with him in a process called ‘satsang’ or mindfulness meditation as often as once a week but initially more like once a month.
    I hung out with this guy and still do about once a fortnight. He has a bunch of other people going through the same process.
    My second waking up process occurred in 2008 for about a month or so after I shifted a major pattern with the assistance from my friend who was helping me with this work.
    At the moment I am sliding in and out of the awaked state on a daily basis so I can see a more permanent change occurring but I am not sure when this will happen. So all up to get to this point has taken about 8 years.
    My original teacher woke up in about 2 years and my current one in about 5. I know of others who have taken many times longer and less. My guesstimate for people waking in the marketplace would be the average is between 1-10 years with an average around 5.Here is the thing. It takes as long as it takes. You may not even accomplish it before you die. It might only take you a month. As stated above ‘Success is rapid for the hotly impetuous’
    Generally when you say you’re willing to pay the price there is a part of you that does not agree
    There is a point you hit in this work if you follow it far enough where you get to say ‘OK – I’m willing to pay the price- whatever it is…’ …..and mean it.
    Success is a rapid as your commitment.

  56. Hi all, I’m new to JM’s books, in fact still reading Book 1. But I’ve been a seeker for 14 years now. In all that time I wasn’t after enlightenment, I just wanted to live a better life ‘the highest most wondrous version I could ever imagine’. There were lots of life challenges that spurred me on and polished me spiritually. But a few months ago I was reading a channelled book that made me question my current beliefs. I didn’t know where to getthe next information, there didn’t seem to be any available (or maybe I didn’t know what it was I was looking for or where to even look for it). Then I got in touch with an old acquaintance of mine just to touch base where he’s at with his spiritual learning. This person I must say is not your ‘normal’ person. He’s very skillful in that he can communicate with the ethereal spirit world, can communicate with beings that look after places, he’s well travelled dimensionally (this used to be his pasttime ‘traveling’ to other dimensions/universes), can see energy and affect energy, remembered many of his ‘past’ lives etc. So anyway he told me that he found what he’s been searching for all his life- he found the truth. Through my communications with him I learned that realizing the truth or enlightenment is not what I believed it to be (bliss, ecstatic, one consciousness experience). In fact, how he described it was a bit depressing. He said it’s like slowly killing yourself and watching yourself die. He had to remove all the crap and layers until there was nothing left of ‘him’ (including those cool abilities he had, he said they’re not needed for enlightenment he had to let them go). When he saw the ‘final’ truth, he flipped over the other side and experienced being everything and being nothing at the same time, the nothingness was total desolation, it was forlorn knowing only ‘you’ exists and no one else nothing else everything was an illusion. Then he went beyond the nothingness/everythingness experience- I don’t really know how that would be like conceptually. He said that after he’s seen the truth his old self is gone, only the Source running through him simply. He’s still adjusting to ‘living’ in this reality and he did say that it’s becoming harder for him to care or ‘buy in’ to this. He also said everything is perfect the way things are. No purpose, nothing to achieve, nothing to do- this is from a realized person’s perspective. He found it hard to explain things in words at first but he’s getting better at it as I ask him lots of questions and it makes him observe people and things around him so he can try and explain ‘truth’ to me. He referred me to Richard Rose and gave me JM’s books to read. I’ve decided to work on removing my layers bit by bit and who knows, one day I might see the truth. Even if I’m not meant to be enlightened in this lifetime, I’d like to at least remove as many if the layers as I can. My friend says that I’m now at the top of the mountain and the next thing to do is jump off it. I’m still at the top of this mountain deciding if I could really let go of many things- I’m a mum you see, of two little boys…But I can work on it little by little until one day I’m ready to let go of everything… 🙂

  57. Eddie,

    Thanks for sharing the quote from the Course of Miracles. That quote puts more of a positive spin on Linji’s words, “If you meet the Buddha, kill him” and, “Bodhi and nirvana are hitching posts for donkeys”. I prefer the Course of Miracles quote. Thanks.

  58. Gary, thanks for the Jed quote – I haven’t read it for a long time now. The thing about it that so resonates with me is it feels utterly free, free of any idea about anything, any path to anywhere, any difference about anything. And it reminds me to let go of the struggle to find ‘it’ somewhere else.

    In response, I’m moved to quote the most lucid description of what surrendering into reality is. Ironically, it can be found in A Course in Miracles (Lesson 189, paragraph 7), a book I otherwise find entirely undecipherable:

    “Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with holy empty hands unto your God.”

    Different language, but a similar effect on me.

  59. Mark
    I often feel the way you describe, although oddly enough, usually NOT in the context of spirituality itself but when someone in the world strikes me as heroic for truth and freedom. It may be a mine worker or an artist or even a politician but wherever it happens……. I know how you feel. I guess that experience is one of my favorites in this life.
    Brian

  60. To be honest with you I was reading the comments from Post-Spirituality and got a little choked up inside. When I see such sincerity with truth seekers something melts all around me and I am left feeling softness and allowable vulnerability within myself. To be honest with you I was really moved by some of the comments. I struggle with discussing doctrine but when such heart is shared, I melt. It is like coming across a beautiful young women who is your soul mate and knocks the breath at of you. Then when I read the comments from The Enlightenment Survey, I had to surrender to it all and posted my comment. I was drawn in by all the beauty and lost myself. Thanks for creating your website.

    Mark

  61. Here is Jed’s “description” of what enlightenment is. It does not create anything , no object or image to kneel before.

    You will never achieve spiritual enlightenment.
    The you that you think of as you is not you.
    The you that thinks of you as you is not you.
    There is no you, so who wishes to become enlightened?

    Who is not enlightened?
    Who will become enlightened?
    Who will be enlightened?

    Enlightenment is your destiny – more certain than sunrise.
    You cannot fail to achieve enlightenment.
    Were you told otherwise?
    Irresistible forces compel you. The universe insists.
    It is not within your power to fail.

    There is no path to enlightenment:
    It lies in all directions at all times.
    On the journey to enlightenment, you create and destroy
    your own path with every step.

    No one can follow another’s path.
    No one can step off the path.
    No one can lead another.
    No one can stop.

    Enlightenment is closer than your skin,
    more immediate than your next breath,
    and forever beyond your reach.

    It need not be sought because it cannot be found.
    It cannot be found because it cannot be lost.
    It cannot be lost because it is not other than that which seeks.

    The paradox is that there is no paradox.
    Is that not the damnedest thing?

    Jed McKenna

  62. Thanks Mark, I enjoyed your comments immensely!

    If I had to summarize in a single sentence what I have gleaned about ‘spirituality’ after all these years, it would be “I don’t know.” I want there to be an absolute knowing – perhaps in the form ‘Enlightenment is this’, or ‘Enlightenment is that’, or ‘this person is enlightened’, or ‘that person is enlightened’ – in order to alleviate the discomfort of not-knowing, but nothing I do seems to change things. So I guess I will have to be content with not knowing…. until maybe one day I will. Who knows?

  63. I dearly love all four of the above comments because there is so much rich authenticity in each. There is sincere speaking from a honest heart-experience.

    I personally think the question of “are you enlightened” seems to be flawed right from the get go. What exactly is enlightenment I must ask myself in order to be able to answer that question. Can an unenlightened person really define what enlightenment is to chase after that answer? I think even Jed said something like there is a lot of caterpillars walking around preaching about what it is to be a butterfly. Can a caterpillar define what a butterfly is? And I am wondering if a butterfly really knows if it has been transformed to what it has become? I think putting a label out like “enlightenment, are you or aren’t you”, is misdirected energy. Abiding non-duality sounds interesting but what exactly is that? Since duality is an illusion what else can there be but abiding non-duality even while we are deluded in the dream of duality? Does illusion have precedence over reality or is it the other way around where reality rules and is what is? Personally I have dropped the notion of enlightenment and seek a daily personal growth of continual surrendering and transformation to an undefined higher calling of living. Each day we are confronted with worshiping the Golden Calf of illusion or tasting the Moment of Manna set before us. It is a continual process of leaving the addiction of the Golden Calf of illusion to the reality of this very moment of what is. When one takes the BIG step, in this magic there is a constant decrease of illusion while there is an increase of what is. I think John the baptist said, ” I must decrease but He must increase”.

    What is enlightenment?

    When I was seventeen years old I had an out of body experience. I was in a room with some friends when all of a sudden I was spirit traveling. I traveled from another dimension without any substance into what we call space or matter. Even though I felt like I was everywhere I found my spirit-eye sweeping down like an eagle through zillions of galaxies until I came upon ours. I continued down until I saw earth and carried on in this decent when I saw a city, then a neighborhood, then a house, then a room, and then I saw me in this room with my friends. I (in the room) panicked knowing that “I” was not in my body. I freaked out and tried with all my might to bring me back home into my body. Then with a mighty force, I that was above, tunneled in like a tornado of swirling wind down into my body. The power was too much for my body to contain. It felt like my soul was seven Slinkys bashing back and forth off the walls of the room and myself as I ushered in. Then it all finally settled within and things were back to normal. All of this took place without any time taking place as when I came to it was the next word in a sentence a person was saying. I got up off the chair that I was sitting on stunned, and told my friends I need to go home. For years I never told a soul about this experience in fear of being labeled insane. Some people would claim enlightenment with that experience but I can’t.

    What is enlightenment?

    Then when I was nineteen years old I experienced what I call “the physics of spirituality” or “The Law of The Spirit of Life” through the teachings of the principles of Christ. The following is an excerpt from a writing I am working on that speaks about this moment; “I would have never dreamed that I would have ended up becoming a Christian, but that is what happened. The message of Christ mysteriously took on a whole new perspective compared to my childhood short-lived church days. I remember that night as if it was this very day. Everything I could see, the stars, galaxies, and even far beyond human sight and understanding, lit up with electrifying illuminating force, and in instantaneous unison this Omni-Present light filled my body, soul, and heart, as I was one with the all powerful authority of the Spark of Eternity, the Alpha and Omega. A veil was removed from my eyes and I was ushered into a heavenly mysterious domain here on earth. There were new laws written in my heart that inspired me to make daring decisions”. Some people would claim enlightenment with that experience but I can’t.

    That experience was met with the painful desolation of all content that sent me wandering in the wilderness of darkness for years. Many years of decomposing took place while I held so tightly to my shit. Then in August of 2009 I had a cathartic experience that was similar to the story of the chained man in Plato’s cave that walked out. This event was a climaxing accumulation and departure of my whole life. Some people would claim enlightenment with this experience but I can’t.

    I did read all the Jed books and they indeed were fuel that lit a fire within. They pushed me closer to continual surrendering and transformation to an undefined higher calling of living. I think though that using Jed’s description of what enlightenment is creates an object or image in one’s mind and then one tends to chase that image and misses the mark. It becomes a human belief like kneeling before a graven image. My heart-feelings are that each day is a day where the magic passage of surrender and transformation lies before us. That is it and it is an ongoing journey until we take the big plunge into the sea of death.

    So I concur with you Brian that spirituality is a work in progress when you said, “Since then I have gone thru relentless transformations, and been blessed with a great capacity for going home”. And Eddie I concur with you when you say, “And the problem with looking at others for their take on what enlightenment is, is that it takes me away from being who I am; from accepting that whatever I am is sufficient”. I concur with you Gary that Jed’s books are fuel for the fire like when you said, “Jed’s trilogy is an instruction manual on how to focus a spotlight, a guided illumination inviting and daring me-us to shine a light on the piles of unresolved thoughts, conclusions, beliefs and emotional bricks dragged around for a lifetime. I concur with you Carrie when you said, “And I don’t know if a visit to the oneness which occurred on a single day and appears not to be repeatable counts as enlightenment”.

  64. 2 to 3 years? Looking back, I can honestly say that it took at least 50. But then again, maybe it took no time at all since until about two years ago, I had never even given a second thought to enlightenment. I was raised in a quasi-fundamentalist christian home but had recently come to the conclusion that the existence of the god I had learned about was extremely unlikely. But I wasn’t sure. Since I was a very young child, I had had a lot of strife with relationships, beginning with my parents. I always felt that nobody had ever understood me and many times I felt that I just didn’t fit in.

    One Spring day about two years ago, I sat down at the table to have a cup of coffee. And for some reason that is not clear to me, I did something I had never done before; I wrote “Why do I have to be stoned to feel like myself?” on a post-it note, What then followed was the most amazing thing. I felt led somehow to quiet my mind, to “let go and let god” and to tune into a vibration that became increasingly clear as I was led through this process. As it went on, it felt almost like a rope was uncoiling inside me. As the rope uncoiled, the sound became more and more beautiful until it became the purest, most beautiful sound imaginable. And when that happened, I had the sensation of falling into a pool of absolute and unconditional love. And I knew at that moment that we are all one, we are all god and we are all love. I was able to repeat this two more times that day.

    I think this experience is notable for a few reasons. First, it is interesting that despite my early religious education, this experience had no religious overtones to it at all; I had the sense that I was tuning into something that is always there and is accessible to anyone who is able to tune in. Second, before this experience, I had never even heard of “Kundalini” and yet my “uncoiling rope” seems to be the same thing. Third, though I had heard of the word “Om” as a mantra, I had never meditated, didn’t know what a mantra really was and I didn’t know that “Om” also refers to the primordial vibration or sound. These are things I have learned in my quest to figure out what it was.

    I don’t know why this happened to me and I have spent the last two years trying to figure out how to get back to that place, without success. It has been frustrating to say the least. And I don’t know if a visit to the oneness which occurred on a single day and appears not to be repeatable counts as enlightenment. I hope so, but who knows? My guess is nobody knows. But I am content to know that none of the bullshit of this world matters and that alone has made my life a lot better.

  65. I am as enlightened as I’m going to get without being dead. OK, now that I’ve knocked that elevated state down a few notches I’ll continue. I am more acquainted, informed and comprehensive in seeing what’s true, then I could have ever imagined 3 years ago. I’m not fooling myself, and even though there was nothing quite like a tearing away of flesh or a suicidal assault that most describe in the enlightenment transformation, but rather a slow wilting away of me, giving way to a large space of loss and void that doesn’t need to be filled at all, in fact ending in a shrug and a so what sigh. This empty container state of me combined with a series of hard to fathom life events were timely, uncanny, and eerily accommodating but played like a symphony. Forcing me to look into my new cosmos for the first time. Jed’s trilogy is an instruction manual on how to focus a spotlight, a guided illumination inviting and daring me-us to shine a light on the piles of unresolved thoughts, conclusions, beliefs and emotional bricks dragged around for a lifetime. How the blood flowed when they were put to the side. A learning to see process much like a roller coaster ride, with slow climbs and fast descents eventually stopping at a place with no partitions. With joy and horror sharing the same table, and the weight of the spiritual hunt, chase and clinging to hope gone, it is unsettling. As Jed says, enlightenment can only be communicated indirectly, like what it’s not, and what’s it’s like, because there is just no it. So here’s my short story. Observations of human arrogance have always been strong with me along with nostalgic empathy for our human plight, which always appeared to be either a mutation or a joke; I remember the thought at 10. This monkey wrench observation has always been thrown into every thing. Every facet of what I thought life was about and what I am doing here was attached to it as far as I was concerned. Always messing up the works to smooth 1 + 1 answers but at the same time keeping me receptive and uncomfortable. Catastrophic life events also kept me fine-tuned and poised for better explanations, but for years I was content being glued to my seat in the waiting room. Then a dear friend suggested Jed and his trilogy. Devouring those books with certain paragraphs paralyzing me for days, laughing hysterically at others and feeling a change of heart rhythm with thoughts that I shared but never dared to inspect. Jed’s words went instinctive and with one door opening after the other and I’m here. Enlightened, sure why not. How lucky I was that this finger pointing to the moon talked to me.

    Gary

  66. Where am I at? What is enlightenment? Can it really only take 2-3 years to go from unenlightened to enlightened? These are questions I used to have a keen interest in. For around 7 years they were addressed while a devotee of a guru. His take was that by only surrendering to him, absolutely, could his freedom be reproduced in the devotee. Maybe. Others claimed realisation consisted only of getting rid of the false idea that one is not realised. Nice, but how is this accomplished? Often, practices were suggested that could take the aspirant from where he was to this seemingly other place called realisation or enlightenment. Makes some sort of sense, I suppose.

    About 3years ago, after decades of chasing this thing called enlightenment, I spontaneously began furiously writing in a bid to uncover what false god I was pursuing. A few months later Jed appeared in the form of his trilogy of books. Ahhh, ‘spiritual autology’ – was that what I was engaging in? Perhaps. But hey, 3 years later I’m still not enlightened! Ah, of course, I just wasn’t serious enough. Never was, otherwise surely I would have realised it by now. I was with the greatest guru in the world, had access to some great Indian sages and sat in satsang with a line of self-proclaimed enlightened beings. Hell, I even came across Jed and did the spiritual autolysis thing for 3 years!

    What I know now is that there is nothing I can do and no-one I can go to to reveal or show me how to get from here to there, because there is no ‘there’. Only here, now. Whatever I feel or think or do is exactly what’s meant to be occurring. No errors in any of it. Yes, I sometimes feel less than ‘blissful’; actually a whole lot less (which means I cannot be enlightened – enlightened people never feel shitty, right?), and other times I’m remarkably peaceful and happy (the true hallmark of enlightenment – I must be getting close). There is nothing I can do about either state. Reality just rolls on whatever I think about it and whatever I try to do to change it. That’s where I’m at. Or so I imagine.

    I reckon the only ‘problem’ is wanting to be somewhere else or feel something different. And the problem with looking at others for their take on what enlightenment is, is that it takes me away from being who I am; from accepting that whatever I am is sufficient. Every avenue to this mythical state of enlightenment has, and will continue to fail; every thought about the truth is nonsense, and every person who claims to be a living representation of this truth is to be avoided. That’s where I’m at right now.

    Who knows what I’ll be proclaiming about myself tomorrow? No-one sees me the same way I do, anyway.

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