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Self, Souls and Different Levels of Reality

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Q: Is there a logical proof that all souls are multiple personalities of the same self, and of what therefore  to do?

A: What an interesting question. I am not a logician, but I will try giving an answer that might intrigue you.

All there is, is truth. What is, is what is! However, not all truths are equal as some truths are small and some are big. A purely conceptual thought, like say a mythical creature with seven heads and purple polka-dots all over its furry body is a very small truth. It only exists in my head (and maybe in yours now too). Physical objects have more truth or reality, and in my view, the soul has even more reality. The sense that we are all one is an even bigger truth.

I define the truth as whatever opens your heart or sense of being and quiets the mind. A smaller truth has the opposite effect. That is not exactly a logical definition, but it is an effective way to sort the many truths we encounter in life by how true they are, or in other words, how big a truth they are.

So back to your question. Let's propose three different truths and see how they measure up:

1- We are separate individuals and when we die, that is that.
2- We are individuals with souls that continue on after we die and then reincarnate in a new body.
3- We are all one soul that incarnates in all of the bodies throughout time.

Which one opens or relaxes your awareness the most fully? Which one quiets your mind the most? Just try them on like you are trying on a piece of clothing and see which one fits the most spaciously. That is the truest conclusion. And by the way, this is always contextual and includes what fits with all of your other beliefs and experiences, so what is true for you at this point in time may be different than what is true for someone else, or for you at another point in time.

There is a fourth possibility:

4-All three truths above are true simultaneously at different levels of experience or reality.

So, depending on your perspective and where you are looking from, you can experience yourself as a completely separate being with little or no fundamental connection to other people. Or with a shift in perspective or where you are experiencing your self from, you may then sense that you as an individual continue through space and time beyond the time of your birth and death. Then with a very big shift in perspective, you may experience that you are one with all souls and all expressions of life as a whole. However if all of these perspectives exist simultaneously, then you will also be able to shift back into a smaller perspective and experience your self as a completely separate and seemingly purely physical entity. For example, that is likely to happen if you have a tooth drilled at the dentist with no novacaine!

There is even a level of truth or reality where all of the above is seen to be a dream and completely unreal. At that level, there are no bodies, no souls, no one infinite soul and nothing ever happens. Even this empty level of truth can coexist with the other levels, so it still might be a matter of your perspective in the moment.

There are lots of wonderful metaphors for this idea of simultaneous different levels of truth, including sometimes contradictory truth. One is how on a rainy day, you can look up and see a sky filled with grey clouds. And yet you can fly in airplane over that same spot and experience blue sky and sunshine. And you can even go up in a rocket ship and discover a black sky and a sun that never sets. And you can even continue out into the empty blackness of outer space beyond the distance at which you can perceive either the earth or the sun or even our entire galaxy! And yet all of these levels of the truth exist simultaneously, even if they might seem logically to contradict each other.

And then there can be lots of smaller truths within any bigger truth. Someone a few hundred miles away from you on the surface of the earth might be experiencing different weather, or even nighttime with no sun. Same level, but still very different truths.

In physics, it would seem that physicists are struggling with a similar dilemma as they try to sort out the different rules that apply to ordinary levels of experience versus a much larger scale where Einstein's theory of special relativity explains some very strange and different truths. Or they can explore the extremely small dimensions where quantum theory describes an even stranger set of rules for how things happen in this reality. Again, these different levels all coexist at the same time, even though there are radical contradictions between the different rules or theories.

How many levels you distinguish and where you draw the line between different levels is somewhat arbitrary, but I would invite you to also check out Timothy Conway's excellent model that proposes three different levels of nondual reality here: http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/3_levels_of_nondual_Reality.html 

As for what to do, that of course depends on what level of truth you are experiencing in the moment. Thankfully there are lots of different answers to that question also. If there were not different truths, and even different sizes or levels of truth, then it seems that this life would be unbearably homogenous and there would be little opportunity for endless debates and discussions on the internet! As it is, we can seemingly never be done exploring the truth from all different perspectives and levels, which may be just what consciousness as a whole is up to when it creates all these apparent individuals.

I hope this is helpful, although I would guess it all raises more questions than it answers :)

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Fatigue After Awakening

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Q: I went through 4 years of debilitating insomnia due to anxiety about being sleep-deprived the next day (a cruel vicious circle...and catch-22...), and then had a profound and complete awakening to the vastness of the present moment. Since then, however, a chronic fatigue has developed and continued unabated, and for the past 26 months I've been on my parent's couch in a drained, often exhausted, quasi-depressed state.

I haven't been able to resist what is, or avoid what I feel in the energy body, since surrendered, so in that sense, I have been at peace. Basically, I know all is well. But, my parents see me unresponsive, depressed, and fatigued, and are very worried and sending me to doctors.

I am doing herbal treatments for chronic lyme, and have had blood tests and everything is good and healthy. I'm physically healthy, but I think my energy body is fatigued and depressed. I feel strongly and deeply that this process is some sort of integration and transformation of the energy body, which uses all my energy, and thus requires me to "incubate" and lie on the couch. But, I suppose I can't be sure, that's why I'm treating for lyme. If you ever come upon some more information on this "awakening fatigue" situation, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd pass it on.

A: I am not sure if it is much comfort, but the kind of experience you are having is not uncommon, even among well known spiritual teachers. There are many levels of truth, so it is hard to determine what is really cause and what is effect, but a profound awakening does seem to have effects on the body. These effects are often more extreme when the awakening is sudden and profound as there is naturally a clearing process that happens before, during and after an awakening. When the awakening is profound, the post-awakening clearing process can happen more rapidly and dramatically leading to symptoms like what you are having.

And of course, it can also just be a case of genetic and/or environmental causes coming to the fore.

Here are some suggestions I can offer on different levels:

1- You might check out Monolaurin as a physical treatment for Lyme and other disease agents:

2- You might want to explore both psychological and even metaphysical clearing processes to help the process unfold on those levels. Here is a woman who lives near us who does shamanic healing: http://lorimorrison.com/

My wife, Gina Lake, has written a book about clearing called Getting Free that might have some useful info and exercises for you.

2- If at some point, you think you are able to pursue something fairly demanding, there is a center in Tennessee that works with the subtle body and Kundalini system, which may also be where this effect is arising from: http://kundalinicare.com/

3-You might experiment some with motivating in spite of the lack of energy just to see what happens. I wrote about this some in two blog posts:
The worst that can happen is you collapse again, or maybe you will find that the energy you are lacking shows up when you start doing things again.

4- As you seem to know, all of this is temporary and does not harm your consciousness. This is the largest truth and is a great comfort when approaches on other levels do not bear fruit immediately. Here is an article about this level of truth: http://endless-satsang.com/noharm.htm

I experienced some of what you are describing after my own awakening, so I have lots of compassion for what you are going through. Please do keep me posted as to how this unfolds for you.


Your Happiness Does Not Depend on Doing Anything....or on Not Doing Anything!

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Q: I just read your article titled "Motivation After Spiritual Awakening" (http://endless-satsang.com/motivation-after-awakening.htm).

I am suffering from the exact same situation. After 35 years of meditation, I seem to have entered a space of deep contentment and a loss of that ego that used to rule me. But at the same time, I seem to have lost that drive and motivation too. It seems to feel like "What is the use? When I already have such happiness, why bother to set goals and achieve more? All that leads to the same happiness again, so why bother?"

But then I followed your advice in that article and went deep into my happiness and I find that I have a deep wish for perfection in and around my life. This particularly seems to include perfection of my website which I have left half done due to lack of motivation. At one level there seems a deep need to complete that website and make it perfect, high-quality, productive and humming with health. On the other hand, there is no motivation to do the actual work. What do I do? I seem deeply mired in this conflict.

I would be really grateful  for your advice and help.

A: Given your particular situation with your website, I would invite you to try the second approach offered in the blog post you mentioned. See what happens if you just start working on your website. Does the motivation kick in once you are actually doing the activity? Very often, motivation shows up once we are already doing something. Or does the internal conflict you feel get stronger when you just bite the bullet and start working on your website?

If the motivation appears once you are working on the website, then that would strongly suggest that it is a deeper motivation coming from your appreciation for perfection. Although perfection is not something we ever actually achieve, the desire to move in that direction can be an expression of our essential love for life and all its forms. Once the motivation is flowing, then your inner conflict should subside. This may be something that you need to repeat every day until the website is finished. In other words, even if you get motivated today by simply starting to work on your website, you may still wake up tomorrow with no motivation. Then you will just need to kick start the engine again by jumping into the activity of creating your website.

However, if you try this approach and push yourself to get started on the website, but then find that the inner sense of conflict just gets stronger no matter how long you stay at the activity of working on your website, that is a sign to step back and inquire more deeply into the beliefs or patterns of conditioning that are driving you to work on your website. In other words, if the effort to work on the website just becomes more and more of a struggle when you apply yourself to the task, then it is more likely that the impulse to perfect your website is coming from a more superficial part of your ego's conditioning. What do you really want? Is a website, or in particular, a "perfect" website actually necessary to finding peace and joy in your life?

You may also discover as you actually work on your website that there is a mix of deeper and truer inspiration and also some layers of your conditioning that are not as true or meaningful. In that case, you may feel naturally and effortlessly motivated by some of the actions you take regarding your website, and then find that other things you attempt to accomplish leave you feeling conflicted or dry and even less motivated to continue. By listening carefully to your own inner responses to each step of your process, you may be able to fine tune your goals and efforts to truly reflect what is most true for you now, and leave behind the expectations or demands that are activated in your ego by the process.

This obviously is something that you can also apply in any area of your life where there is an inner conflict around motivation. As long as there is no harm in trying, you can simply get started to see what you can discover about how true the motivation really is or isn't. A simple example is how often we do not feel particularly motivated to exercise, but then when we get started we feel inspired. And especially when we are all done, then we feel really good about it!

Finally, there is a little shortcut that can help you more quickly distinguish if a motivation is true for you, and also give you some of the energy and motivation you need to get started. The trick is to take a moment and imagine how you will feel when you are done doing a particular activity. If it feels good and true to imagine being all done, that is a sign that it is a true direction for you in that moment. It is like trying on a sweater in the store to see if it fits. You "try on" the experience of completing the activity in your imagination and if it "fits" and feels good, that is a pretty good sign that it will also feel good if you get up and get started doing it. Imagining it all done is often also in itself motivating, so in this case the motivation can start to kick in even before you start the activity. So, what happens right now if you imagine your website as all done and looking good? Does that increase your motivation and reduce your sense of inner conflict? If so, then why not get started?

Life is full of things that are not always inherently motivating like hard exercise, or doing your taxes, or maybe even the actual long, hard work of creating a website. But if you imagine how it would feel when you are finished, that can give you a truer picture of how valuable and worthwhile an activity is for you, and it can unlock some of the motivation you need to start accomplishing the task at hand. One caveat in using this approach: some tasks are so big and difficult that even when we imagine having completed them, it is not enough to overcome the resistance we feel to getting started. In those cases, it can help to break a large task down into bite-sized pieces, and imagine how it will feel to get them done. For example, you can imagine how it would feel to get a particular page of your website done. If that feels good, it can motivate you to get started doing that particular page.

As for your bigger question of why bother when life is already so full of peace and contentment, I would suggest that there are many levels of truth, and they can all be true simultaneously. What a blessing that you have found the true source of happiness that does not actually depend on what you do or what you accomplish. And at the same time, here you are, life is happening, and you will be doing something for the next few hours (even if that is just sitting on your couch). Why not  allow yourself to do the things that are the most inspiring and seem the most worthwhile? Your happiness still does not depend on doing them, but it also does not depend on not doing them!

I hope this helps :)

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