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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...

Freedom by Gina Lake

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Here is a guest post from my wife, Gina Lake's blog where she posts frequent messages about living in the now. You can read much more on her website/blog at www.radicalhappiness.com

Even those who have little freedom physically, perhaps because of incarceration or health limitations, have a kind of freedom that can never be taken away. In fact, this kind of freedom is often discovered in instances of extreme physical limitation. When you are prohibited from living your life as you would like to, you discover that which is within you that is forever and always free-consciousness.

Your consciousness has never been bound by a body or by anything. Your consciousness--or Consciousness, which is what you really are--is only temporarily identified with your particular body-mind. This body-mind and the life it is leading is not particularly important to Consciousness. After all, Consciousness (Oneness) has manifested in every possible form and non-form for its own exploration and pleasure. How your particular form looks, what state it is in, and how your life is going is not an issue for Consciousness. It created it all and loves it all, just as it is. It intends to have exactly the experience you are having within your body-mind.

The beautiful thing about this is that this is not simply theoretical, but the joy that Consciousness is experiencing through you can be experienced by you, no matter what your circumstances are. If you are not experiencing it, that is only because you are not paying attention to it but, instead, to the complaints and discontentment of the egoic mind, which tries to define your life and your experience for you. Consciousness defines all experience as good and worthwhile. That is its truth, and it can be yours, not just in theory but in experience...

Beyond No Self

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Here is an excerpt from one of Nirmala's ebooks entitled That Is That that you can download the entire book for free 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...