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Experiential Truth

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Someone wrote me the following inquiry:

Nirmalaji, please clarify the following:

1-Difference between "Self Realization" and "God Realization"
2-Is Self Realization a precendent to God Realization?
3-Difference between "Facts" and "Truth"

And here is my response:

I find the most useful "definition" of such terms is an experiential one. The truth is whatever opens your heart, and expands your sense of your own being. Simple facts may or may not serve this purpose. There is a free download of part two of my book, Living from the Heart, that explores this experiential approach to truth more fully here.

And again focusing on the experience instead of just a concept, I would ask you, What are you realizing right now? Everything is God and everything is your Self.  So in a sense every experience is an experience of realization of something about God and Self. The main question is will you accept and embrace the realization that you are having right now. When we give our attention completely to the truth that is being revealed in each moment, then the realization of the biggest truths takes care of itself.


Choosing in a Predetermined World

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Please feel free to contact me with email questions or comments that I will address in this blog.

Someone emailed me with the following question:

The greatest love, peace and joy I've experienced in life came from believing every day life had been predetermined before I was born. In other words I had no power to change anything. I was simply watching life unfold moment by moment. Life was wonderful...This was years ago....Now that I'm in control I'm very lost.....What does your heart say about this.....

And here is my response:

I would suggest that both perspectives are true, but the perspective of everything being predetermined is the bigger truth. Although I tend to think of it not as predetermined, but rather determined by the infinite intelligence of Being, which appears predetermined from our limited perspective.

And in that limited perspective of our everyday life, it appears true that we are in control or at least choosing what we do. Within the realm of our daily life, it is even important to choose and learn, grow and evolve the very best we can. We must act as if our choices matter, because at this level they do matter.

Yet at the same time, this much larger intelligence is unfolding life perfectly according to a divine plan that we can sense or intuit, but can't really comprehend. Again, the bigger truth is this divine intelligence that breathes our body, grows the trees, arranges the stars and galaxies and brings us to the exact experiences we are meant to be having right now.

So both are true. We must make choices and yet it is all just happening according to the plan. Or you could say that our choices are also part of the divine plan.

There is another dimension to all of this, and that is the potential to simply choose what is already so. When we do this, the two dimensions meet. We surrender our power to choose to the bigger truth of the limitless intelligence of Being. In a sense, all spiritual practices are a form of choosing what already is, whether it is a form of meditation such as just following the breath, inquiring into who you really are, or awareness practices that bring attention to the present moment experience. In every case, there is an invitation to surrender the effort to change what is and simply sense or inquire into what is already so.

This place where choice meets the deeper truth is a very ripe or fertile ground for an infusion of insight and understanding into our awareness. It is not that the spiritual practice makes anything happen, but it does put you in the most likely place for something profound to happen, including something as simple as noticing how beautiful and mysterious the moment to moment unfolding of life really is.

You may also find the article entitled What to Do When There Is No Doer on this website helpful as it addresses this question also.

Seeking Happiness

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Someone on Facebook sent me the following quote and followed with a question:

"I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…"--Dalai Lama

This is what i've been pondering on...."we all are seeking something better in life. " Do we seek because of a void or is it our nature to long for more, but then again that would be ego driven. Im probably over thinking...

And here is my response:

We do seek, first for something better, and then for a better or more spiritual truth because we are trying to fill the void or emptiness within. But both are doomed to failure because everything that we put in the emptiness and every experience we have is dissolved back into emptiness. Trying to fill the emptiness is like trying to fill a bucket with lots of holes. It never fills up no matter how much water we put in!

Eventually after massive amounts of failure, we get so tired of seeking and trying to find happiness that we finally just let ourselves experience the emptiness itself. What is that like? Is it a bad sensation? What is already present in the emptiness? What are the qualities of the emptiness itself? One of the many surprises you may discover is that joy or happiness actually flows out of the emptiness. Happiness (and peace, love, satisfaction, value, etc.) comes from the same source as the seeking!

We may not notice this for a long time because whenever we do get something we want, for a moment we stop seeking. And in that relative stillness, it is easier for us to notice the happiness or peace that is present in the emptiness. But we think that getting what we wanted made us happy since one follows the other, which reinforces our tendency to seek. And this reinforcement of the seeking means that the joy doesn't last or it is never enough. However, if you still are seeking or wanting something, including happiness, then usually the best thing you can do is keep seeking. The worst that can happen is that you will wear yourself out even sooner!

But it is also possible that you are already exhausted enough from seeking to just rest and let yourself be empty. And some joy, peace, or love may be noticed in that emptiness, or it may trigger another round of trying to fill the emptiness which will just wear you out some more. You can pay attention to the happiness when it does appear: where is it really coming from? Does getting something or knowing something really make you happy, or does it just allow you to rest for a moment? Does happiness or peace ever show up even when you don't get what you want, or when you are just still for a moment, or you just finally let yourself be empty? Eventually, you may discover you can trust the emptiness more than you can trust seeking.