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How Do We Know?

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Self-realization is knowing who you really are. How do we know something? Is it enough to be told? Or is there something more that must happen for us to truly know something? And do we even need to be told who we already are? It would seem the easiest thing in the world to know yourself. After all you are right here. What could interfere with knowing this most intimate reality, your own self?

And yet from the very start we were not told who we really are, and instead were told something erroneous. We were told that who we really are is the body, mind, and personality. Not only were we told this explicitly, we were also reminded of it constantly by assumptions and implicit references to our body and mind as who we are. On top of that, we were reinforced for acting from our ego and personality. We were taught that good boys and girls do not do what comes naturally, but rather what their parents want them to do. And so we formed a false identity to make our parents happy. This was a necessary thing to do to get along and survive, and in the process we developed a lot of awareness and capacity to control ourselves and our own actions.

However, there comes a time when it is no longer necessary to control our actions in this way. It turns out that our true nature is actually quite loving and wise and careful. Even when our true nature acts spontaneously and a bit wildly, it is doing so in the context of its own great wisdom and perspective. So as we mature, our ego becomes a limitation and a distortion of our inherent wisdom and ability...

Beyond No Self

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Here is an excerpt from one of Nirmala's ebooks entitled That Is That available here.

The spiritual journey is a movement away from over-identification with the body and mind to the rediscovery of our true identity as infinite Being, and this can be two different movements. The first is dis-identification with the body and mind. Since identification is simply a movement of thought, dis-identification is simply a movement away from thought. The ego identification that we experience most of the time is the result of repeated thoughts about "I", "me," and "mine." That is all there is to it, but while we are thinking these thoughts the sense of self is contained in them. And since most of our self-referencing thoughts are about our body, our thoughts, our feelings, and our desires, the sense of self is usually contained in the body and mind.

Dis-identification from the thought form of the ego can occur whenever there is a deep questioning of the assumption in most of our thoughts that we are this body and this mind. Inquiry using the question, Who am I? can naturally weaken the assumption that I am the body and the mind. In fact, any deep questioning of our thoughts and assumptions can loosen our over-identification with thought, since so many of them are not very true. Experiences of no thought can also weaken the identification because in the absence of thought, there is an absence of identification. We all experience this when we get so caught up in what we are doing that we completely "forget ourselves."

Alternatively, directly sensing the presence that is aware of the thoughts can also dis-entangle the tendency to identify with the thoughts. The second movement of the spiritual journey is this recognition, or realization, of your true nature as presence or limitless empty awareness. It is a wonderful surprise to discover that everything that really matters in life, including peace, joy, and love, is found in this empty awareness. This emptiness is incredibly full and rich. It has intelligence and strength and compassion. Whenever we experience a deeper quality of Being such as clarity, peace, insight, value, happiness or love, it is coming from this spacious presence...

There Is Only Love

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Here is an excerpt from Nirmala's newest book, Living from the Heart. You can download a longer excerpt for free on the free ebooks page or purchase a complete copy in our bookstore.

Anything you or anyone else has ever done has been the movement of love. What shapes this movement of love is the sense of me. What we're always doing is taking care of the self, whether it is a small sense of self or a more expanded one. Whenever that sense of self is contracted and small, we take care of that me. And when it's expanded, we take care of that larger sense of self. All we have ever done is tried to take care of the self in the best way we know how, which is always a loving act.

But, of course, when our actions only take care of a contracted me, they don't take care of or take into account other things. For example, we might take care of our taste buds, but not our whole body. Or if we are so identified with a feeling that all we can do is take care of it, we may not be taking care of our whole Being. Taking care of only the taste buds or only the emotions is still a loving act, but because it's such a narrow way of loving ourselves, it can be neglectful or even harmful to other aspects of our Being.

We can be afraid that if we see love in everything it will mean we will allow rape, murder, and other horribly narrow ways of taking care of a small separate sense of me to continue. Yet in discovering that there is only love, the surprising thing is that our actions naturally become more loving. If we see murder as an evil that needs to be abolished without also seeing it's true loving nature, that's when it makes sense to murder. If murder is really bad, then it makes sense to kill someone who has murdered someone else. Or it even makes sense to kill someone before they kill us. It makes sense to bomb a country before it attacks us. But when we see the loving nature of even murder, we can respond to it in a way that doesn't perpetuate it...