Updated: Oct 3, 2020
(Even from what you think you know about enlightenment?)
There’s a kind of ironic cosmos joke being played on us - those of us who have chosen the “enlightenment” or presence path. Presence has the capacity to truly free us from ego-based, self-limiting beliefs and bring us directly into living in peace, love, compassion and wisdom. But just as the ego can be programmed to believe just about anything, it can also become programmed around these teachings.
If you are new to this path, please read my books called “Reflections of the One Life” or “Living Realization” both available on Amazon. Most of all, please read the last chapter of my book “Love’s Quiet Revolution, The End of the Spiritual Search.” These books and that last chapter were designed to speak to never letting the fresh insights and realizations around presence become stagnant second hand knowledge, things that we regurgitate as memory rather living and experiencing directly. That chapter was written when I was clearly seeing that debates about religion and spirituality are actually not coming from religion or spirituality. They are coming from ego.
I also recommend the following list of teachers that I remain open to endorsing as good and balanced resources for this subject: anything from Jeff Foster, Adyashanti, Greg Goode, Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle. These teachers all have different approaches. But I know many of them personally and I can assure you that they all have in common one very special thing: They tell the truth in the sense that they rarely claim to be enlightened.
As Adyashanti once said, sooner or later we wake up out of our awakening so that we don’t even hold onto our own ideas about what has happened to us or what that means, all so that we don’t become broken records regurgitating endlessly the language of nondual or other spiritual teachings.
Nobody has the right teaching
Nobody has the right teaching. Good teachers merely act as guides to greater clarity. In a recent blog, I expounded on this idea of never claiming that one is enlightened, and instead focusing on awakening as a spectrum, where we each carry a different degree of clarity and freedom from ego along the spectrum. Check it out here. If you resonated with it, you may find yourself “done” with any teachers who do not acknowledge that clarity exists on a spectrum and that there is no static fixed state called enlightenment or even liberation. I mean…come on…nonduality prides itself on the insight that nothing in reality is fixed.
We can’t push people into becoming interested in these subjects. That would be just more proselytizing and bible thumping. Haven’t we had enough of that? And yet it can feel like wanting to scream from the top of a mountain, “Hey, all humanity, you don’t have to suffer anymore, we now have inquiry.”
But people are only ready for this work when they are ready.
You can scream from the top of that mountain all you want, but some simply don’t have the ears to hear it yet.
So Now What?
This means we can surrender any attempts to make inquiry into a religion or even a belief system. It is merely in invitation to explore whether your conditioning is who you really are or is there a TRUE SELF behind it all. Isn’t that worth investigating? Yes, but it's not worth pushing on people. People must be drawn to waking up on their own.
Whenever anyone of us feels a strong need to convince, push, or argue with someone who can’t hear what we are saying about the enormous and transformative effects of enlightenment or inquiry, why not go into inquiry ourselves to see where all that convincing energy is coming from. Most likely it is coming from fear, control, or helpfulness. These kinds of emotions are some of the driving forces behind cults and religions. So we are doing exactly what many people hate that cults and religions do.
What is being offered here is an anti-cult movement, a simple place where people can safely go to investigate and dissolve away the living past that continues to sabotage their futures.
Spiritual seekers stand within a relative power imbalance. We look to those teachers who stand above us appearing larger than life and seemingly very clear spiritually and who claim to be fully liberated. If we perceive that the teacher has very few unresolved human issues and truly seems free, we feel naturally drawn to that teacher via our own deficiency story that draws us to people who we think can fix us. But in time, if we slowly start to see the human issues of that teacher, the stuff that still gets triggered, we are finally given a wider and more realistic view. If a teacher cannot actually own his own triggers (BE TRANSPARENT), then you can rest assured that this teacher has not worked with shame skillfully (and may be voiding it) and therefore cannot claimed to be fully awakened because shame is a big part of ego. You may find other teachers who dismiss the need to discuss trauma or deficiency (or may be avoiding it). Rest assured that both science and our independent studies as the Kiloby Center for Recovery are pointing more and more to the fact that to really live in the present moment, one must resolve these deep strands of conditioning that keep pulling us back into ruminating on past and worrying about future (which is where all the suffering resides because painful emotions and sensations are connected to negative past and future thoughts).
Beyond the teachers I’ve recommended above, personally I trust Kiloby Inquiries (KI) facilitators the most. I tried everything in the world through the years of my seeking days and nothing brings me greater clarity than KI. These certified facilitators of KI know how NOT to run a session just asking someone to rest as awareness the whole time. Although that approach is simple and direct, many nondual teachings rely too much on this practice, which often fails to reach the deeper conditioning hiding below the radar in the unconscious. We corrected this mistake with the Kiloby Inquiries. Resting in awareness is definitely a key component of KI. But awareness is not the REASON for all the human sticky ego issues we experience nor can it be the best anti-dote to suffering all by itself. Why not? It’s a one-sided approach that doesn’t always fully acknowledge that our suffering is programmed into the phenomena that come and go in Awareness (thoughts, emotions and sensations) and that within this phenomena lies the experience of suffering. So to stick around nondual teachings who focus only on coming back to awareness can feel half-baked. Because awareness turns on the proverbial light of our being so that we can see and feel more directly, it can lead to a resurgence of old trauma once hiding below the surface but now arising in the thoughts, feelings and sensations that carry the past with them. Those old thoughts, feelings and sensations join together with present circumstances to create a current traumatic response. As this happens over and over in a person’s life, it can be quite debilitating, leading to PTSD symptoms that can be very disruptive in one’s life.
Bottom line: resting as awareness, by itself, is just not enough in most cases to uproot these deeper strands of conditioning. If one doesn’t address these deeper strands through skillful inquiry, something will always feel less than free about your existence. We can turn anything into dogma, even the denial that there is such a thing as bypassing is a kind of dogma. The belief that trauma has nothing to do with whether you become liberated is a false myth. Bypassing happens, but only with everyone!! Turn away from teachings or methods that do not look at awakening as having to transform all levels of your being – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. When we include all those components in our awareness, rather than bypassing (avoiding) them, we finally start to heal in a holistic and fundamental way. It becomes easier to drop addictions and obsessions. Traumas get resolved. It becomes easier to not feel the need to react when you are triggered. It becomes easier just to remain in your own inquiry process instead of trying to change all the people out there who are triggering you, which as many of you know, doesn’t work very well. Most of all, it brings an unshakable peace, compassion, love and simplicity to life.
In a sense, when we start to resonate with nonduality, enlightenment teachings, or self-inquiry as the right path for us, we begin to see that most of our suffering is not contained somewhere out in the world. The pain is within us, from past trauma and programming by parents and society. From that pain, we see a world that comes straight from our programming. We are literally each watching our own subjective version of the world, made largely from our subjective conditioning. We are watching a programmed TV which we call “mind.” There is no objective world. It’s the mind that says what’s out there. Without mind, when sitting in meditative silence, there is no “out there.” What we are really seeing are thoughts, emotions and sensations that give us a PROJECTED subjective MOVIE in our minds. That’s not reality. That’s looking at reality through the veil of your programming. Without deconstructing this movie, we are destined to continue in the existing program, which leads us back to the endless cycle of seeking, suffering, self-sabotage, and self-destruction in our lives
Are you ready to be deprogrammed, even from what you think you know about enlightenment or liberation?
For more info on this balanced approach to freedom, you may contact Scott Kiloby for at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For information on training with Scott, click here.