"Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It's seeing through the facade of pretense. It's the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true." ― Adyashanti
The Absolute Truth of Reality illuminates existence like the sun radiates light.
It is not kept hidden from anyone. It is not selective. There is no owner or regulator or secret keeper of Truth. No single entity or organization has exclusive access to Enlightenment. It is as accessible to you as it is accessible to all beings.
The only thing blocking you from basking in the glorious radiance of Absolute Truth are the obstacles in your way — the clouds in the sky.
The spiritual path then, the journey of self-realization, has absolutely nothing to do with adding or gaining anything. The direct path to true awakening is removing any obstacles that prevent you from standing naked in the loving warmth of the Reality of Existence.
True spirituality is the path and process of removing the obstacles, real or imagined, that prevent the Light of Illumination from being revealed to you.
The single and most fundamental obstacle that prevents you from realizing this already-existent reality is the illusion of the separate self.
From this one single seed, this core idea of separation, spawns the innumerable series of delusions, distractions, and obstacles that prevent Self-Realization as the Essence of All That Is.
The small self, the illusory idea of the ego, cannot survive the mature spiritual process.
The death of the ego is the only real death that is possible.
Because you identify so fully and completely with the narrative structure of the ego, the spiritual path is experienced as a death process.
The earnest spiritual seeker is in a death pact with themselves. They are on a suicidal mission. It is sacred seppuku, the ritual suicides known to Japanese samurai.
"Meditation is not the growth of ego, it is the death of ego." — Rajneesh
Nirvana, a term commonly used for enlightenment, the liberation from samsara (the endless cycle of birth/death), is translated as the 'blown out' state. You permanently extinguish the candle of the separate self.
This final death is total and complete.
It includes the death of: personal identity, beliefs, knowledge, history, time, relationships, subject/object separation. These are the core pillars of the ego/separate self.
A common way to spot a charlatan masquerading as awakened is whether they claim ownership, or personal completion, of this awakening process.
There is no individual who becomes enlightened. Reality awakens to Reality. Consciousness becomes aware of Itself as the Totality and Bedrock of Being.
In Hindu mythology, the veils of maya (illusion) are what, through avidya (spiritual ignorance) prevent this realization of the True Self. There are said to be tens of thousands of veils that one must burn through.
This is why the awakening journey is often viewed as a path or process. It can take earnest seekers many lifetimes to remove the veils that cloud the clear seeing of Self as All. Given this, it is best to take the most direct path possible.
The direct path of awakening is to fundamentally eradicate all obstacles that prevent the realization of the True Self as the Essence of All That Is.
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.” — Pema Chodron
Most individuals when confronted with difficult challenges (and the permanent death of the small self is a great challenge) find coping mechanisms to soothe and comfort themselves — the spiritual community is no different.
The slow death process of awakening is uncomfortable, to say the least. When the momentary pain of the path becomes overwhelming to the individual, they comfort themselves in myriad ways. Despite claiming that these are essential to their process, they are in fact nothing more than distractions or games.
Many coping/distraction mechanisms exist:
- Accumulation of Anchors. As the death process is inherently destabilizing, individuals will seek 'solid ground' by accumulating anchors that help comfort them. These anchors may take the form of the number of ceremonies they've done, crystals, trinkets, & clothing, fancy awakening stories, a multiplicity of spiritual techniques or methods, and much more. The act of accumulation is a distraction from the process, which is only concerned with removing obstacles.
- Comparison to Others. To comfort themselves, they may begin to compare themselves to those who are 'less awakened'. It doesn't matter where anyone else is in their process. Either you have realized the Truth of What You Are or you haven't. Comparison moves you no closer to Self-Realization.
- Distraction with Superfluousness. Individuals may distract themselves (spiritual procrastination) out of fear of safety. Distraction may take the form of pursuing peak experiences, altered states of consciousness, conscious communities, and more. It's important to note that these individual experiences may be truly beneficial in removing further obstacles, and it is up to the individual themselves to determine whether this is rooted in distraction or because it is the next aligned action on their journey of awakening.
- Self-deception/bullshitting/bypassing. There are many ways individuals can deceive themselves, creating elaborate narrative fabrications to avoid looking deeply at the next difficult step in their path. These mental fabrications may sound like, "I'm already done," "The path doesn't actually end," "I feel good enough,". All of these are self-deceptions and hinder further progress.
- Shutting down. Due to the immense psycho-spiritual pressure that comes along with the slow death march of the ego, periods of 'shutting down' may occur, sidelining progress because the mind-body-spirit complex lacks the present capacity or willingness to continue forward. These pauses are temporary but can cause many individuals to give up and stop seeking altogether. Shutting down may take the form of emotional numbness, lethargy, depression, persistent mental fog, or manifesting physical illness.
"Know yourself as nothing; feel yourself as everything." – Rupert Spira
There is a critically important piece missing from much of the general conversation around spiritual work and the awakening process.
It is easy to paint the blown-out, egoless state as dull, void, dark, disgusting, morbid, fatal, empty, and undesirable. Straw man depictions of impotent, celibate crazy people are thrown around willingly.
The missing piece of this conversation is that the Enlightened state, the blowing out of the illusion of the individual self, is glorious.
As Alan Watts said, "Reality is gorgeous. It is the plenum of total joy."
This state is full, vibrant, generative, vital, enriching, safe, and immensely powerful. The awakening of consciousness to itself enables the full strength, beauty, power, and grace of existence to become available. Reality itself is unlocked and allowed to rush through in all its glory, now that it is no longer being systematically filtered, judged, and commentated on by the artificial arbiter of experience.
The Sum Total of Being itself is not empty. It is pregnant with the infinite potential of the Unmanifested Love of God. It is the wellspring, the very source of all power, beauty, energy, and grace.
And when the time comes, where through willingness, commitment, and dedication, you come to the abiding realization of your True Self as nothing less than the Fabric and Nature of Existence Itself — you will know without a shadow of a doubt that there is no mistake you can make, no way you can fail; there is nothing you need for nothing can harm you, death is an illusion, and that everything that is made of Light is made of You.
This is your True Nature. This is Self-Realization.
This is your Birthright. Your original face.
It is available to you. Right here. Right now.
It always has been. For it is the exact context that the content of your life unfolds within.
All it takes for you to bask in the vast glory of the miracle of existence is to pull back the curtains. Blow out the candle of the small self, and bask in the Infinite, Immediate, Unmanifested Totality of your true God Self.
Any spiritual work you do outside of this realization is a distraction.
True Spirituality is Sacred Suicide.