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Misconceptions About Enlightenment Or “Waking Up”.


Misconceptions About Enlightenment Or “Waking Up”.

If you think that enlightenment, or “waking up” is an impossible dream that only “happens to” Indian saints or yogis, preferably long dead ones, after many lifetimes of rigorous spiritual practice, or that it is a state where the character is perfected and the “lucky one” rests in a permanent state of bliss, beyond anger and other emotions, bestowing grace and good deeds on all around, especially the poor and suffering, think again… or preferably, don’t think at all – throw out all of these concepts and any others you might have. As Wayne Liquorman (Ram Tzu) once said, “Bring me your dearest held beliefs and with any luck you will leave without them.”

Enlightenment is a bit of a loaded word. It has been used so much that it has built up a massive encrustation of concepts, which lead people to believe a plethora of things about it that stop them from attaining what is not actually a huge accomplishment of the personal self, the ultimate ego trip, but quite the opposite – it’s our basic, essential nature, which, once realised, seems the most blatantly obvious thing that we cannot believe we ever missed.

Ramana Maharshi said two wonderful things that are relevant here, firstly: “You impose limitations on yourself and then make a vain struggle to transcend them,” and secondly: “We think that there is something hiding reality and that it must be destroyed before truth is gained. This is clearly ridiculous… A day will dawn when you will laugh at your past efforts. What you realise on the day you laugh is also here and now.”

Just stop here for a moment, read those quotes again and ponder them properly before you read on…

It has always been “here and now”.

Let’s look at specific misconceptions about this much-misunderstood “state”…

People actually “get enlightened”.

Yes, you read that right. Now, suggesting nobody ever got enlightened seems like an odd opener in a piece on enlightenment, but I think we need to start with this basic misunderstanding, perhaps the one that all the other misunderstandings come from. Nobody’s small ego, or personality, or whatever we feel ourselves to be when in dualistic consciousness, ever “woke up”. What happens is that consciousness wakes up to itself, or rather, that which is eternal and omnipresent is no longer obscured by the false beliefs of the small ego. Nothing actually changes, but what always was is realised to have been there all along. Aargh! I’m trying to explain here what nobody has ever actually managed to explain in words since the dawn of time, so let’s move on to what it’s not…

(Note: I’m going to just go with the limitations of language and still say that “people wake up”, just to prevent the awkwardness of language that happens when people try to squirm around the subject and take on that awful Advaita-speak. Let’s just admit that language is rubbish and get on with it.)

It’s the highest attainment possible for a human – the end of the road.

No, not really. It’s more of a subtraction than an addition. There is no great attainment; more of a letting go of all the rubbish that the mind has constructed. It is very common to hear people saying that their first impression was, “Is that it?”

The actual “common or garden” basic awakening to “what is” certainly is not the end of the road. It’s merely the beginning. Anyone who thinks it is the ultimate has either not awakened or is newly awakened and stunned by it. As time goes on there are far more unfoldings, perhaps way more fulfilling than just the awakening, such as the opening of the heart. That is where the real magic starts.

Awakening itself should never be held in very high esteem lest it is missed/chased away for decades with overzealous seeking.

It is nothing more than a return to sanity. Once there, the real journey begins!

It’s very rare.

Again, no. Maybe it has always been so, or maybe we just have better communications these days, but it seems that there is a tide of people waking up. There is a theory that as the general consciousness of the planet gets less dense, it is easier for individuals to have such a realisation. The internet is absolutely full of people, ordinary people, who have clearly had such an experience and they are sharing it in many and varied ways, all of use to somebody, somewhere. There may very well be a certain percentage who have gained some intellectual understanding only and still decide to speak about it, but most seem to be totally genuine. Judging whether anyone is genuine or not is extremely difficult and a waste of time, usually based in our own preconceived ideas about what an awakened person “should” be like. If they speak to your heart, just listen, even if they wear a suit instead of a robe.

You will be omniscient/omnipotent.

Quite the opposite more likely. You might be confused and disoriented as if you were recently born into a strange new world. You may very well realise the unity of all things, but the workings of all those things on a relative level become even more of a mystery as the old dogmas and conditionings of your small ego disappear, and you realise that you know very little for sure at all. Life might be rather confusing for a while, but after some time, as you surrender more fully to “what is”, that lack of understanding makes life into a fascinating journey of discovery.

You will develop special powers, or “siddhis”.

Perhaps, in time… or perhaps not. Also, such powers or abilities are possible without awakening. Although many awakened people have developed such abilities, either before or after their awakening, it does not in itself guarantee any such abilities any more than it guarantees that you will instantly become a world-class concert violinist.

If you have an interest or aptitude for such things, nature will probably take care of it automatically.

All your problems will be over.

This is a classic misunderstanding. Sometimes your problems increase enormously. Some people have breakdowns, get very ill, or go through enormous upheaval emotionally, financially and otherwise. Mental hospitals are probably full of people who were having an awakening, but due to the west’s misunderstanding of such things, they are treated with drugs instead of encouraged to surrender to it. Often it can take many years for the awakening to make any sense or integrate into everyday life. For some it has been such a shock that they have been almost incapable of doing anything for some years. Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie spring to mind. Even Ramana Maharshi sat around for 26 years or so before he started to talk about it.

Once the state stabilises, because you are not living from the perspective of the small ego, even if there seem to be problems they will not be perceived as any more important than anyone else’s problems, so in that sense there is a huge shift, but the apparent problems can remain.

You will be all holy/saintly.

Not unless you were some sort of monk or supposed holy man beforehand. People tend to be exactly who they were before – the old saying “before enlightenment chop wood and carry water, after enlightenment chop wood and carry water” applies here. There are, and have always been, awakened people in all walks of life, of all characters. Okay, it can soften the personality as one is not so caught up in the importance of thoughts and happenings, but the basic personality will stay the same.

It brings perfect control of the mind.

Here’s another huge misconception. Waking up has nothing to do with the mind. Okay, it allows you to operate largely from a place that is beyond the mind so thoughts are not so bothersome, but the mind remains the chattering monkey that it always was. I forget if it was Papaji or Nisargadatta who was once asked if he still had the same thoughts as everyone else, and he replied, “Yes, but I just don’t believe them anymore.”

Initially it can be useful to meditate to contact the source that is beyond the mind, but when that source becomes your main perspective, thoughts become progressively less distracting.

You need years/decades/lifetimes of spiritual practice.

Hmmm… I’ve got to say that I just don’t know about this one, but somehow smell a rat in that theory. Now, on the face of it, there are loads of people who wake spontaneously with no spiritual practice at all. Perhaps they have had many past (or more likely parallel) lifetimes where they have sat in Himalayan caves and were just taking up where they left off, two inches from the “goal”, but maybe not. In the end it is all down to a moment of true surrender. Perhaps many years of spiritual practice prior to waking up can prepare the mind and physiology so the “transition” is smooth, or maybe that’s just down to luck or karma too. All I know is that another very common observation of the recently awakened is that it’s NOTHING like they had been led (or led themselves) to believe it was going to be like and didn’t seem to bear any relation to anything they had ever done to “try” to “get” there. Maybe that’s just due to the limitations of words in describing it and being of any help at all to the “seeker”.

However, all the spiritual writings/teachings that made no sense before, or seemed to point to the wrong thing, can seem crystal clear once you have awakened.

You become a teacher/guru.

You might, but then again you might not. There is very often a strong desire to shout about it and tell everyone, but this usually calms down in time. Many do become teachers, but for each one who becomes a teacher or guru, there are probably hundreds if not thousands who don’t and who go about their everyday lives quietly, maybe mentioning their awakening to a select few, or maybe not at all. It’s all down to personality how anyone reacts, not the awakening itself.

Since it is almost impossible to express what it’s like, or give anyone direct instruction about how to “get there” teaching brings its own frustrations, as Adyashanti explains so beautifully HERE.

Everyone will love you and be drawn to you.

Maybe, but probably only people who you haven’t met before. People who know you well are actually far more likely to be sceptical, critical or downright hostile. If you do tell a few friends what’s happened and any of them still accept you, you can be sure that they are true friends indeed, because due to the misconceptions most have about what waking up means, it can be a huge challenge to a friendship, or even a marriage. As far as they understand, suddenly here is somebody you’ve known for years talking like some sort of messiah.

If it was understood as the simple, easy, effortless, natural state that it is, it would be hardly mentioned and would not have much effect on whether people accept you or not. For example, it is far harder and a far greater “attainment” to become a teacher of, say, physics than it is to awaken, so why don’t people get told how full of themselves they are for spouting that knowledge to physics students once they qualify?

It’s strange, as often the most hostility one might face is from those who consider themselves to be “seekers” themselves. Perhaps it’s because they have built up even more of a convoluted wrong impression of the awakened state than most. It’s a shame really, as if they considered for a moment they’d realise that they would also face hostility if they attained their dearest held “goal” and told people about it. So what’s the point aiming for it? Crazy!

Any hostility towards the awakened comes purely from a misunderstanding of what the awakened state actually is, which is the reason for this article. In the meantime, luckily, stoning, burning at the stake and crucifixion are relatively rare, at least in the west, so the awakened can relax in the knowledge that the worst they will suffer is probably piss taking and criticism.

He/she can’t be enlightened because he/she drinks, smokes, eats meat, has sex, swears, hasn’t meditated enough, talks about it, gets angry, can’t fly, is a total wanker… (insert your own dogma here).

Interesting one this. It’s all down to our idealistic vision of the guru who behaves immaculately and has attained some sort of enormous “state” beyond the rest of humanity (when actually a lot of those “gurus” also do one or more of those things on the “disapproved of” list behind closed doors). Let me be really clear: IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PERSONALITY OR BEHAVIOUR. One cannot judge anyone’s state of consciousness from how they conduct themselves.

You will have no desires.

True and not true (yep, paradox again!). While it’s true that your desires for material possessions and power might (or might not) be lessened, another form of subtler desire can creep in, and to your benefit. Desire in the moment, the practice of following the next obvious thing to do, is very different from future desires consuming you and taking you out of the present. It’s like your desire window becomes narrowed down to leading you to things that are better for your evolution if perhaps less useful for filling your bank account with money or your garage with Ferraris. If you maintain a healthy desire for something that might seem “unspiritual” to most, that’s okay anyway, as it’s only the human mind that decides what’s spiritual and what isn’t (Rolls Royces are also made of God), and if you are really listening to your intuition, following such a desire might just lead you to a spectacular dharma. We are given desires for a reason: after awakening they might change, but desire in itself is neither bad, nor unknown to the awakened. The ego goes on as always… in the background.

There is a certain order to awakening according to (insert your own dogma) scripture/teacher/tradition.

The tradition I know best, the Transcendental Meditation movement has a certain clear-cut idea about the different states of consciousness: There are seven: deep sleep, dreaming, waking, transcendental (as experienced in meditation), cosmic consciousness (CC), God consciousness (GC) and unity consciousness (UC). It is generally assumed that the journey from CC through GC to UC is some sort of clear linear progression, but they can be all mixed up and come and go in many different ways before they are stabilised. Another important point to make is that the development of any higher state does not preclude any “lower” states. If you are in UC, you can generally still walk down the road perfectly well or make it to the toilet on time.

So if everything’s perfect and nothing matters, what’s the point of doing anything?

Well, we’re back to desire again. We will always have impulses to act as long as we are incarnated in a human body. Whether that desire is to go and sit in a cave or to find a cure for cancer and create world peace doesn’t really matter. We all have our roles to play while we’re here. Awakening does not mean that you turn into a zombie – you may well be far more dynamic and creative than you ever were before. Just because we realise we are all one and everything is perfect, why would we not still want to revel in the experience of the relative? After all, the relative is still part of the absolute. It’s all about integration. Just because a hand realises that it’s part of the same body as the foot doesn’t mean that it will refuse to scratch an itchy toe.

An interviewer once asked Maharishi Mahesh Yogi what the world looked like to an enlightened man (and from now on I paraphrase…). He answered, “Perfect.” The interviewer then countered with, “Aha, well if everything’s so perfect, why are you trying to change the world?” Maharishi replied, “That’s perfect too.”

This is such a common misconception that I have seen “seekers” actually worry about awakening because they think they will become some sort of useless blob of apathy. Don’t worry about it!

You shouldn’t talk about it.

Why not? It’s time to get rid of this taboo. Most of the people who say that you shouldn’t talk about it are people who have some sort of a guru who talks about it, so it seems a little like double standards. The fact that so many “ordinary” people have awakenings these days could be very inspiring to people on the “path” to show that it’s not just mysterious yogis in Himalayan caves. Yes, come on – if you have had a shift of awareness and you feel like talking about it, let people know! Anything that we can do to raise the consciousness of the planet cannot be anything but a good thing. At the rate we are wrecking the planet, we need all the help we can get!

If you doubt that there are awakenings going on everywhere, just listen to or watch the great interviews that Rick Archer conducts on his Buddha at the Gas Pump website HERE.

So how can you “get there”?

That’s the million-dollar question. There is no one way for everybody. In the end, it is just a matter of total surrender and letting go of everything that you have constructed, but surely there must be something that you can actually DO? Well, maybe. I think more than an actual single practice or discipline, it’s down to how much you actually want it. Let it be your total focus and let it consume you to the exclusion of all other desires… and then, one day, let go of that desire too, and voila – it might just reveal itself to you. In the meantime, just follow your heart to whatever seems to call you – whichever teacher, method, non method, self enquiry etc… if you listen to your heart there will always be a next obvious step on the stairs, and somewhere, if you’re lucky, the entire staircase might just collapse.

Sometimes awakenings can come after, during, or even just before a serious illness or mental/emotional crisis. In these cases the total shift in one’s circumstances can rattle something loose and the truth can be seen. This is why illness can often be such a blessing if we stay open. The paradox here (and the subject of awakening is rife with paradox) is that disease can be both the cause of awakening and as a result of awakening, often at the same time.

So if it’s not all its cracked up to be, what practical use does it actually have then?

Well, initially maybe none… in fact maybe less than none, as you might very well be disoriented for some time. In fact you might even have some very difficult times all pile in on you at once, as mentioned before. But the real advantage, which might only come in time, is that once you are living predominantly in the absolute rather than in the small ego, or as the “screen” rather than the film that is being projected on the screen, your “own” character will be less personal to you. This is a huge advantage, as it enables you to see character flaws, stresses, false beliefs etc far more clearly, and therefore you are able to deal with them better. See a wonderful explanation of this screen analogy from Rupert Spira HERE.

Of course you don’t need to be awakened to work on emotional and character issues that might be causing stress and even affecting the physiology, but it will be more of a balancing act that way, as things are still very personal and the danger is that the ego, being so involved, will not be able to see things so clearly, holding onto a “Who? Me? Never!” sort of attitude to your own faults. Did you ever imagine that rather than suddenly perfecting you, awakening actually helps you to see exactly how much of an idiot you are? Well, it does!

Once the stabilisation period is well underway, yes, it does bring peace and generally an end to living in fear, which is the opposite of love. Universal love appears and expands, which is far deeper than you can imagine when residing in the small ego. It doesn’t bring bliss as such but something far more subtle and abiding (bliss is a different animal ­– something physiological that can result from a reflection of the absolute but it is not the absolute itself). Challenging situations, confrontations or seemingly negative experiences that arise will hold less pain too. As everyone knows, it’s so much easier to see the faults/mistakes in others, but when your primary dwelling place is not your own mind/body, it makes it far easier to be totally honest with yourself… if you so desire. It also makes it easier to be more tolerant of the challenges one faces from others, as once it is realised that others are essentially all part of you, just neighbouring hills on the same landscape, compassion grows exponentially. There is generally less resistance to what is.

Of course, you can just go and live in a cave and ignore all that emotional balancing stuff etc, just like you can before awakening, but for most, the world is not like that, and awakening is a hugely useful “tool” in speeding up evolution in all areas of life, even though it may be uncomfortable at times. Again, the basic awakening is just the start…

So, this site is supposed to focus on health and autoimmune reversal. How is this airy-fairy crap even relevant?

That’s easy – it helps you to accept the condition that your body has and to stop fighting it, which is often the first step in healing. If you really know that you are not the body it is obviously far easier to accept that the body is going through some hardships and not add to that by stress and panic. Most importantly, it leads to a state of flow and acceptance, so all mental and emotional attacks on the body stop. These attacks are the root cause of autoimmunity, because as they persist over the years, often almost imperceptibly, eventually the body follows suit and starts to attack itself in a myriad of different ways depending on the type of emotion and your genetic weak spots. Stop the attacks at a subtle level, and in time, like a large ship slowing gradually to a halt, the grosser level – the body – will also calm down and stop attacking its own tissues. As the deeper peace and universal love grows, it feels like the subtlest yet most powerful ointment, seeping into every cell of your body and letting it heal itself.

Then the war is over, and the body can finally begin to clear the battlefield.


P.S. I knew that somebody was going to ask me about my experience, and I planned that I’d just ask them to ask me privately, to avoid committing anything to print. But my lovely friend Markus asked so nicely that I sat and composed it, and the words flowed surprisingly easily. You can find it in the comments below, starting with “Hi Mark and Mike.”

If anybody reading this has had any sort of abiding awakening, especially if you are keeping quiet about it in case (or because) of adverse reactions from people, please do contact me in total confidence if you’d like to chat. It would be great to meet you. I am particularly interested in people who might have awoken from the TM community in the UK where I live. I’d love to hear your opinions about how TM might have played a part… or not.

Originally posted 2014-06-23 16:49:59.


  1. Markus K
    June 23, 2014

    Great article Phil. I was hoping for a bit of controversy! Thanks for putting Maharishi’s quote in. I love that one. I found the ‘official’ transcript for you:

    A reporter once asked Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “How does the world look in the highest state of consciousness?” “You see that everything is exactly as it should be,” said Maharishi. The reporter hesitated before asking, “But why then, are you working so hard to improve the situation?” Maharishi smiled. “Because that is exactly as it should be.”

  2. Markus K
    June 23, 2014

    I am tempted to add many things. So much to try and say about that which cannot be caught in words.

    One little addition, from my own ‘seeker’s misconception’. You pose the question what the benefit of awakening is.
    I would suggest that the benefit is completely on the level of experience. The world might seem the same to others, yet your experience will be that of bliss first and foremost. Everything else is secondary. “Even a little of this delivers from great fear”.

    So, in the first instance, you might experience confusion on the outside, but the inside is immovable, eternal, because you have come to realise that your true nature is beyond anything relative, and that therefore, you cannot be harmed. You have come home.

    That is what I ‘understand’ as awakening. I don’t consider myself an awakened man at all, so please correct me if I am barking up the wrong tree. In my case, I am experiencing a gradual increase in bliss and a gradual fading of fear. What I enjoy most is an increasing trust in what I call my ‘higher self’. Things simply ‘sort themselves out’, without me having to do anything. That is what keeps me going in what I feel is the right direction.

    For me, being a capricorn, and not comfortable with too great a leap (coz you might fall down the slope), it is the daily practice of TM that I see as the main catalyst of this growing experience of bliss, coupled with Maharishi’s explanations and descriptions that can then suddenly open doors in my perception.

    It keeps me going in that direction, even though you very rightly point out that there is no direction. You are totally right of course, I am already enlightened. However, just saying that doesn’t do it for me. I need to experience it.

    I very much look forward to that full awakening when it presents itself, or rather, when I can fully surrender to it. There are periods, when I experience clear samadhi in my meditation, that I feel I am very close. And then ‘stuff’ gets in the way for a bit. Until the time when this samadhi doesn’t get lost and I have constant access to it, I will keep dipping the cloth. It is my daily ‘surrender’ and it helps to soften things.

    With love, and by the way you are an exceptional musician when you let your intuition guide you. 😀

    Your friend
    PS again, great article, gave me lots of brain cells sparking. 😀

  3. Markus K
    June 23, 2014

    I just noticed, my reply is almost as long as your article! Sorry about that….

  4. Phil Escott
    June 23, 2014

    Thank you, Mark, and thank you for your transcript of the Maharishi quote. I’m always too lazy, being a Gemini, to bother about actual facts! 🙂 Since you told me about it the other day though, I knew I’d have to include it in my own inaccurate way!

    Don’t apologise for the post being so long – there is some beautiful stuff in there. You are so right about the bliss – it is definitely a very frequent companion, and that is one of the most wonderful things about the whole business. I was just trying to take the emphasis away from the bliss because a surefire way to make sure the bliss eludes us is to chase it, eh? 🙂 If we have huge expectations of bliss, we are focusing on the honey rather than the bees, so to speak. Take care of the bees and the honey will flow automatically. 🙂

    Reading your reply, I feel like I should have made more of the process of fear disappearing by gradual stages, and the subtle fears that can still trap us and need to be dissolved. This is such an important point, but you have made it so beautifully so I’m happy with that. 🙂

    There are so many ways that the process happens for people – some it seems have a sudden flash and some are more gradual, or “oozers” as I’ve heard it called, and it sounds like that’s what you are experiencing. It’s just as valid as the classic bolt of lightning that everyone imagines, but which is probably actually rather rare. I think so many people are actually much further along that imaginary “path” than they think.

    Thanks also for your lovely comment about how I play when I follow my intuition. It’s a new experience for me. You have been an inspiration for me there, because you have played that way for a lot longer than I have! 🙂

    Lots of love…

  5. Michael Kinnaird
    June 23, 2014

    Enlightenment is oneness with Being, which flows: love in action. Like a child, spontaneous, but now with a heightened self-awareness and self-control. Unity (yoga) means the reconnection and harmonious functioning of the whole self.

    So the ego is a separation of the whole self, the cause of a disconnection from the larger part which now cannot function correctly and so creates fear and dysfunction in the disconnected and isolated ego.

    The ego is a self-limiting entity because it creates pain, which builds to an intolerable level and so causes the sufferer to seek an instinctive exit in the now as happened to Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle as you mentioned. Since intense awareness of now also means withdrawing attention from habitual past-future thoughts infused with a sense of self, there is a re-blending of the whole self. The mind is then fully available to the larger part which can now function properly and create joyously, freely and spontaneously in the moment.

    I disagree that old thoughts continue in the enlightened state. In my experience, old thoughts enter because of fluctuations in awareness which is difficult to maintain at first. Repressed emotions/thoughts do surface at first though and are then permanently burnt off. When awareness is intense i.e. the light is bright, no separation thoughts enter, and thought and action are one.

    There is also the issue of complete death of the ego and the fear that creates as an obstacle, but just understanding what happens is enough to move through it gradually.

    Enlightenment isn’t a single event which changes you forever, it’s a state. You are either enlightened (whole) right now, or you are not. We move into permanent wholeness as we fully realize and understand, and so apply our understanding to choose wholeness instead of fear, separation and dysfunction — because it dawns, that the egoic state is such a terrible burden, to carry, maintain and defend a false sense of self. And because we just want that pain to stop.

    Awareness is the only thing we need to move into wholeness, and it can be done in seconds and maintained to the degree that the intention is there to do so.

  6. Markus K
    June 24, 2014

    Good morning Phil! I realise I have more to write! 😉 (and slightly disappointed that no-one else responded)

    While I was dipping my cloth this morning, I realised I might both have been beating around the bush somewhat in my response. You write your article with some authority, and possibly insinuating your own awakening, but you never actually said anything like “since my awakening at 3.45am on the 1st of ….”. This leaves my dualistic mind pondering the question, and so I shall be bold and ask you outright: Are you enlightened/awakened? Am I even allowed to ask you this? If so, I would be very interested in a much more in-depth description of what happened and how it happened. And yes, there is a certain reluctance to ask you out-right, coupled with some skepticism (much like you describe in your article), since you are such a long-standing friend, and we have shared so many misconceptions in the past.

    I realise that my skepticism partly comes from certain expectations I have about a full awakening, again, much like you warn against in your article. One of my recent reference points is the following very sweet and enjoyable talk by Peter Wallace (brother of the famous Keith, the first scientist to test the effects of TM on the body). I keep saying I will send you a link and that you will enjoy it, so here it is finally:

    After what he describes as a week of Ritam Bhara Pragya (where all your desires are instantly fulfilled, from the realm of the sidhis), Peter Wallace spent some time with Ananda Moyi Ma. He got quite addicted to being in the same room as her, since he would immediately slip into samadhi in her divine presence. After some time, she sent him to Maharishi, who shared his time in silence with him, again with hours of samadhi. Talk about good karma! Maharishi then taught him his Transcendental Meditation technique, which freed him from his ‘dependence’ on others for his samadhi experiences.

    Anyway, it is a very sweet and enjoyable talk by Peter, but I realise it might have strenghtened certain expectations and possible misconceptions about enlightenment, and the idea that you can have many glimpses and advanced experiences before you can call it an awakening. Also, that it is in fact a big deal (from a dualistic mind’s point of view) and that even after having had many experiences of samadhi, it is still not a given that you are fully awakened. Am I putting too much importance on the physical counterpart of enlightenment, a sort of ‘continuous’ samadhi?

    Please know that this is in no means meant as any attack, just an honest response to your excellent article.

    With love and the highest admiration for the way you managed to turn your serious health problems around to emerge an impressive new man!

  7. Markus K
    June 24, 2014

    Prompted by your private message, I watched the link to Rupert Spira’s video, and I must say I found it a little irritating. I sympathise with the woman and I don’t really think that Rupert’s attempt at giving her a mahavakya was actually very helpful, since it was clearly not doing anything for her. He was telling her to “knowingly be”, when she couldn’t. This is why I so appreciate Maharishi’s contribution to the world. Instead of focussing on word play, he gave us (and me) a technique for direct experience of being. It is back to dipping the cloth and taking it as it comes for me I’m afraid. 😀

  8. Phil Escott
    June 24, 2014

    Hi Mark and Mike.

    I am really honoured that you have both taken this time to reply so fully. I will try to reply, but now it all gets a little sketchy to explain. It’s all very well when you’re on about what it’s not, but a direct question about what it is? I knew somebody would ask and I kind of planned to say that if anybody wants to ask that I will talk to them privately and not put it in print, but the fact that I know you have asked with love has inspired me to try to find the words. Having said that, all I can relate is my own experiences, which are at best a reflection of what’s happened, so don’t expect much. However, what I seem to enjoy the most now is personal histories rather than “instruction” so here we go…

    I love Mike’s first sentence. As far as it goes, that’s nailed it, but does it mean anything to anybody who hasn’t had the experience? At different times of my life, it would have meant subtly different things, all good, and each one I thought I’d “understood”. Now all it does is bring a lump to my throat. As for disagreeing, Mike – go for it! ☺ The only thing I can say is that I never really disagree with anything now. I just know that I have no real idea. Because of what I do, people think I am fixed in beliefs, like paleo diet being the best for example, but all my life I’ve been a seeker and experimenter, and have been so wrong so many times, I cannot hold onto anything. Is the paleo diet the best? I have no idea. All I know is that if somebody has autoimmune, wheat and dairy cut from the diet seems to do wonders for reducing pain. If somebody comes to me with a far better way to do that, I’m excited. Sorry, I’m waffling, but I just want to stress that I have no real fixed opinions, however excited I might get at a new and often temporary discovery. Sometimes I’ve been caught, but now I know an opinion is just that – an opinion. I get excited when a new discovery helps somebody (and saddened when my method of delivery pisses them off), but I know that the following week I will have found something “better”.

    So, I have no opinion about either of your experiences. To you they are the best you could possibly be having; of that I am sure. Everything is fine. So here are mine, from the beginning, which is something I’ve only put two and two together on recently… Sorry if it appears to meander, but it all ties in.
    From about the age of four or five I’ve had glimpses spontaneously of something I couldn’t put a name to. I’m a big blabberer as everyone knows, but I never mentioned this to anyone. It was often while looking out of a window that everything fell away – the ego dissolved completely. It was only an instant each time, but I remember thinking, “What was that? Where did it go?” I have paused here to remember a feeling that came with it, but there was none. It was just something that I could not remember with my mind two seconds afterwards, but which I was still grappling for. I think we all have these glimpses, but the mind files them away. Without a doubt this was a peek at my essential nature – a glimpse of unity. No bliss, just pure unity.

    From then on I became a seeker. I wanted to know what was going on, to chase that dissolving down and went down some very strange paths to discover it. Of course, I was just chasing my tail, but the burning desire was there. I never wanted to be an engine driver or a policeman; I wanted to know what was “behind the curtain”. I spent a long time believing that there is a curtain. I remember the first time I ever saw a picture of a yogi sitting in a cave in lotus and before even reading anything about it there was a huge recognition. Worldly things held no real interest for me – I wanted to find my Himalayan cave.

    After the limitations of boarding school were over, the first really active attempt at discovering some magic was heavy hallucinogenic experimentation. I had read Carlos Castaneda and wanted to find my Don Juan. When I first arrived in the shitty caravan in Wales that was to be the scene of our daily diet of psilocybin from the neighbouring fields that had more magic mushrooms than grass, I did actually attend a TM intro talk. I decided, with great snobbery, that my guru wouldn’t wear a suit and tell housewives how to reduce stress; he would probably appear in a blinding flash of light and bestow shaktipat on me immediately. So, I declined learning to meditate and went back to the mushrooms. Funny the little forks in the road we take. ☺

    So began some serious investigation into consciousness in the autumn of 1979. This time was not recreational for me and a lot of it was very heavy and disturbing, but I really felt something was rattling loose, so I ploughed on. I won’t bore you with tripping experiences, but about three weeks after the last trip I ever took, I was hitching home with my then girlfriend. We were in somebody’s car approaching the Severn Bridge Service station on the M4 and suddenly I was back again where I was as a child – the ego collapsed. Since I no longer had the innocent trusting awareness of a child, it was terrifying as my mind resisted it and told me I was going insane. There followed three years of pretty much full-on psychosis while I fought and fought against the feeling of “disappearing into the abyss”, as there was nobody to tell me what was going on. Doctors were useless, but if I had found a certain Dr David Gersten back then, who I now know has been helping people make sense of such experiences since 1976, things might have been very different. Any decent shamen would have probably sorted me out too, but where do you find a shamen in Windsor in 1980? ☺

    As it was, I struggled away on my own, refusing medications. It subsided a bit, but was still in the background until I did finally learn TM in about 83/84, which definitely helped to settle me down. (I do remember though having a strong premonition that it would come back full bore when I was about 50…). In 1986 the TM-Sidhi course brought out the fear a bit again though, particularly one of the sutras, and I’d always approach that part of the programme with trepidation. One day I’d just had enough and totally surrendered, threw myself into the abyss and for the first time realised that there is no abyss. Because my wish was never to totally expand into the abyss (as, of course, and paradoxically, of course there is an abyss), as it was too frightening, I returned to an approximation of my previous “normality”, something I had so fervently desired to escape. A massive lesson in the limiting power of fear.

    I went for years believing that TM had saved me, that drugs were bad, and that even if they give you a glimpse, it’s all very unnatural – much better to unfold consciousness with Maharishi’s gentle and predictable methods. So began my career as a “sidha” and the move to Skelmersdale where I met you, Mark. I really threw myself into being a yogi.

    Come about 1997, I kind of got bored with it all and did a bunch of stuff up til 2006 that wasn’t very kind to my body or mind. I got fat, out of shape and the start of inflammatory illness was clearly there as I look back, but it’s funny what we become accustomed to and how we ignore the messages of the body.
    Around 2006/7 I had just split with my girlfriend and I was in a life situation looking after my mother that I found incredibly stifling. I was a massive mess emotionally, and with the physical symptoms increasing it was the perfect storm. I decided to turn things around and get myself in shape again. The only thing that was bothering me about my plan was that I needed to start meditating again. I had moved next to the dome in 2004 and was feeling guilt that I had only been in once. The magic was gone, but I was actually subtly wracked with guilt that I wasn’t attracted to meditating any more. I remember one day just totally letting go of TM and all the guilt, and at that point something popped. There I was again back at that childhood glimpse, and it stuck this time and developed over a two-day period. I didn’t lose it this time. It utterly floored me. I cannot begin to describe it (see Mike’s opening lines again maybe – I can’t do better), but what really hit home was that it was NOTHING like anything my mind had constructed about it during my TM years.

    It is because of this that I became unbearable around that time and I have no idea how Detta, a meditator herself (but not TM), ever put up with me. All I banged on about is how meditation doesn’t work; it’s all a matter of pure surrender in the moment and not to listen to any guru or do any practice. I guess I was just voicing my own bitterness about feeling that the TM movement had “wasted” 30 years of my life, much as I had adored it and had some wonderful experiences of samadhi etc. In hindsight, it was of course my own misunderstandings of Maharishi’s teachings that led me always towards indulging in experiences. Looking at them now, all those teachings (and all others from every discipline) make perfect sense.

    I needed to know what was going on though, and while cruising YouTube discovered Tony Parsons, and suddenly things started to sound familiar. If you don’t know Tony Parsons, he’s one of the most radical of the “neo Advaita” teachers, never giving an inch on the “There is nobody and nothing ever happened” viewpoint. This is what I had running through my consciousness, but it was very confusing. Yes, there was a lot of bliss if I just stayed still (I never actually meditated again), but I started to feel that the bliss was just a last attempt of the mind to hang on. I had had enough bliss over the years – I wanted what was beyond, and the bliss was just a nuisance.

    Let me stress here that any viewpoints I express while describing this “stage” are purely for the purpose of the story. They are not viewpoints I believe at all any more, but you will have to read on for that… ☺
    I phoned Roger Linden, the only person who I had heard was awakened who I knew personally. I never even entertained that fact that he might be faking, as so many of the TM’ers seem to believe. I have always been very open to what people claim, so I trusted that he might have some answers. It turned out he had also been very influenced by Tony Parsons. He told me that it sounded like a true awakening, but not to get too cocky, as there might well be years of stabilisation. Little did I know how chaotic and painful that stabilisation would be. Unfortunately, the ego itself grabbed onto the (beyond) experience and made it its own, and I started to believe that “I” was enlightened. It was only years later when listening to a nine-hour audiobook by the wonderful Adyashanti called “The End Of Your World” about pitfalls after basic awakening (so rare that people write for the “awakened”; it’s usually for seekers) that the particular subtle trap of the ego busting in on the act became clear to me, and I can see what went on.

    Looking back now, it is no surprise to me at all that I got so ill. I’m an only child, and although very generous and well-meaning I have often been very blind to the real needs of others, probably because growing up I was the centre of the universe – no slaps from big brothers or sisters to educate me. I won’t go on about it now, but I have a book planned to describe how emotional imbalances eventually turn into physical imbalances. It’s all very nice when people tell me how inspired they are by my story of healing, but in truth it was because I was such a fucking idiot that it went so far. I healed myself by pure determination to uncover the truth. I had seen more astonishing events in my life than somebody reversing arthritis, so I knew that the doctors were wrong. Pig-headedness and a total disrespect for authority made me look everywhere but conventional channels, and in the end I won out.
    It took me three years of huge research and experimentation, just because I’m so stubborn… I suspect somebody who was less narcissistic would have just taken the nasty meds and gone to work and supported his family. However, I guess that’s just my dharma, and I have the best and most supportive partner, who can always see my good sides when everyone else would understandably just see the bad, so I owe it to her that I could make that journey.

    I was in great pain a lot of the time, with some other awful symptoms on top of just joint pain, but did I lose that awareness? No. If I became still, it was always there, but often the symptoms were so severe that it was overshadowed. It was clearly shouting at me that I had some work to do. I’m a lazy bastard though, and I often thought of suicide, as the fear of death was gone as such, and probably would have ended it if I had been alone. I owe little Amelia my life for that – I just couldn’t leave a child.

    Last year, after letting go of the diet angle, which is great, but in the end it’s just symptom control, I started to really start to understand the emotional work needed to unlock physical symptoms. I find that the TM “path” can sometimes sweep emotional work under the carpet, but eventually you have to face it to gain peace. People ignore it for a long time because their life is bearable – mine wasn’t. I needed to swallow my pride and my own view of myself as a great yogi who didn’t need psychobabble… I got into EFT etc and really got to the root of a lot of things. Then, one day, I used Byron Katie’s incredible “The Work” to address something that was still affecting me. It seemed to unpick a huge tangle of knots all in one, and I was pinned to the bed for about three hours in a hurricane of love and bliss. It felt like the heart had opened completely. It felt like the bland, basic awakening that I had experienced in 2006/7 was now integrated into the body and the ego was no longer fighting for control.

    Since then, the bliss is pretty much constant, but I no longer see it as a distraction – I neither chase it nor reject it – just enjoy it. What is more important to me is the lack of resistance to anything, even resistance itself. I am with Mike that the ego and thoughts are burned out, but it can take some time, and the echoes are there, or we would just float away. Isn’t that laisha vidya that Maharishi used to talk about – the remains of ignorance necessary to maintain a human body? For some people the hard ego can be let go of easily, but for idiots like me it can be a big tangle.

    Now I have no more questions or seeking to do. I am totally happy with conflicting views and paradox. I have no single point of view on anything. It feels like my ego is no more important than anyone else’s, nor is it any more personal, and from that comes universal love. If I get annoyed at anything, then that is also perfect – I no longer seem to resist or judge, and if the ego, say, falls back on certain patterns of judgment or resistance, that’s just “what’s going on” and can be looked at like you were watching a film of it… but, paradoxically, there is no sense that I am separate from the film.

    So, that’s my long answer. Am I enlightened, you ask? Do you know, I have no idea. The whole concept makes very little sense to me as where “I am” now has absolutely nothing to do with any concepts I had when I believed that enlightenment was possible for the individual and I used to aim for it at some indeterminate point in the future. I have absolutely no judgment any more about people who meditate or people who don’t. For me, at one point it seemed like meditation was useless, but who knows? Maybe it prepared my physiology a bit for the experience (but I still had to suffer). Maybe it even stopped the experience killing me in 2007. I have no idea, really… none. Of course sometimes I play with ideas because it’s fun, but I find I hold on to none of them.

    I have no advice for anyone except to follow their hearts. That’s what our hearts are for, to lead us to what will be the smoothest “path” on our evolution, and for everybody that “path” will appear to be totally different, and just as valid.

    The greatest impression is that it is something that was ALWAYS there. I can understand why Ramana used to put such emphasis on the “Who am I?” mode of self-enquiry, as it’s the only thing that has always been exactly the same. Looking back, I cannot remember a single episode of my life when I can’t also indentify what I “experience” now. I just didn’t notice (even that misses the point).

    I can totally understand how that Rupert Spira vid irritated you. At times it would have really pissed me off – nothing to hang onto. So annoying. Now, it’s exactly what makes sense to me. The more anything is impossible to hang onto, the nearer it gets to paradox and conflicting views in the same sentence, the more it delights me. Everything is “God”, even views that totally conflict with your own… if not, God would not be omnipresent, would he, and those conflicting views couldn’t exist? In that alone you can find the end to conflict and resistance… These days I even prefer the word God to enlightenment, but all are limited.

    All I really want to do these days is listen to accounts of other people who have experienced this, which is why I love Rick Archer’s Buddha at the Gas Pump interviews – the stories are so addictive. Again, I cannot pass judgments on any of them – they all have such different experiences, but there is always a common factor – something that you can hear behind the words of their stories but that they can never explain, however eloquent they are. I feel such a delight in hearing them, and know that unless you realise it, there is no chance of any explanation getting close. As Huang Po (I think, what with my crap inaccurate quotes…) said, “There is never any point in discussing a single thing.” It’s fun trying though! ☺

    To close, I will say that having said all this, it might still seem like some sort of an ego trip, but to maybe offset that mind-construction, another huge realisation that comes is that there is absolutely nobody who is more evolved than anyone else. Awareness does not care if an individual has no clear perspective of it, because in fact they all do. We whinge on and on about how we want to have bliss, love etc etc, and yes, they are beautiful, but somebody who has never even considered enlightenment or “waking up” are looking at EXACTLY the same thing that anyone who is a supposed teacher is looking at. To me now, it is actually hard to grasp the concept that there are individual people at all – we are all part of one cosmic computer, which I cannot pretend to understand in the slightest… but, again, paradoxically, that makes the experience of this body and this mind far more fulfilling.

    Much as I love talking about it, I have no desire to categorise it any more. That makes no real sense. It’s sometimes a convoluted journey from here to here, even though the answer was here all along.
    At the moment, I have all sorts of problems stacking up in the relative but have never been happier. I am delighted by every moment that passes, even if they are uncomfortable. THIS is the best film I’ve ever seen!

    However, I really feel that it’s just the start. I’m like a baby in the world now, and I am going to enjoy all the unfolding that comes without fighting anything. I am not even completely sure that time is linear, as all the above experiences fold into one now, giving the ability to piece it all together as a story, ignoring irrelevant parts… but in the “future” with deeper insight, perhaps those irrelevant parts will be turn out to be the more important. I have no idea.

    Sometimes I even burst into tears at the beautiful feeling of coming home and the niggling dissatisfaction of seeking having ended. Is that enlightenment? I have no idea!
    I think that’s the best I can do. ☺

  9. Michael Kinnaird
    June 24, 2014

    Most people can understand love, can see the joy and spontaneity of a child playing. This can’t be put into words but can be understood easily… you are the Source of that, and you can align with unconditional love by meditation… simply Being, flow — love in action, choiceful thinking. These 3 are the modalities of sanity and wholeness.

    It’s all very simple, I’m not a fan of too many words, it leads away from the goal. What can be said about honey that would give any experience of tasting it? Nothing at all, only “this is good, go taste, this is how.” Nothing else is needed. “Here is the reason for your pain, here is the solution.” Too many words confuse, make things worse because the intellect will try to build a picture, to image it, and become the image. And so you are still stuck in the dysfunction, in ego.

    Align with love, good things happen. Separation = pain, wholeness = no pain. As Buddha said, enlightenment is the end of suffering.

  10. Phil Escott
    June 24, 2014

    Ha ha! Bang on, Mike. Love is the key… I have no argument at all, but neither would I if you gave a totally different view, as all views are part o the whole. Also, as for all the words in my last post, it surprised me too. I guess it was just time for it to come out… Something about the way Mark asked… and as I said in the email to you, I’ve got a tummy bug, so it’s verbal and “bottomal” diarrhoea – maybe that’s just the way today goes. 🙂 I guess the question just caught me on a day when I had little else to do. I like words, but i am under no impression that they are of any use at all. I just like constructing them – it’s almost as much fun as playing drums. 🙂

  11. Michael Kinnaird
    June 24, 2014

    Drumming is very Zen 🙂 When you looked out the window, it was a rare moment of simple presence, the mind very still, perception without comment. The challenge is to keep choosing it, by understanding it is a better way, and by training the mind to be in abeyance at will.

    I like words too, especially ones that give absolute clarity about how to end suffering 🙂 When I needed answers so badly, there was nothing but confusion “out there.” That’s why I’m passionate about clarity about “what works.”

    I hear you about opinions, I sometimes get the impression that God is lovingly amused at our floundering 🙂 I once read a great little story about Osho. He loved to go looking for beautiful stones and pebbles by the river, and had a collection of his lovely discoveries. Then one day his father, frustrated by his son’s wasting time, hired some men to collect thousands of stones and put them in his room. Osho said his father totally missed the point… it wasn’t the having that was the joy, it was the finding.

    I think that’s what we’re all up to… the joy of finding pebbles.

  12. Phil Escott
    June 24, 2014

    Yes, Mike… beautiful… and the mistake some people make is thinking that they have found the ultimate pebble. The more pebbles we find, the more we can tune in to their subtle differences until we notice that every pebble we find is perfect. Diversity in unity. Another in a long line of paradoxes. 🙂

    I am not sure that God as a whole is amused by anything, but when the small ego becomes fainter, the narrow channel of God that replaces it is certainly amused at our floundering. I know I constantly amuse myself with the crap that I spout! 🙂

  13. Michael Kinnaird
    June 24, 2014

    The narrow gate that leads to Life. I’m sure all your “crap” is just as it should be 🙂

  14. Phil Escott
    June 24, 2014

    Ha ha! …as is everything… 🙂

  15. Michael Kinnaird
    June 24, 2014

    “The miracle of love comes to you in the presence of the uninterpreted moment. If you are mentally somewhere else, you miss real life.” ~ Byron Katie

    If there’s an ultimate pebble, this is it.

  16. Phil Escott
    June 24, 2014

    Nice! 🙂 I think Byron Katie is one of the clearest and least “mystical”, bridging the gap perfectly between emotions and the infinite and her crystal clear methods help millions. It’s certainly one of the shiniest pebbles I’ve ever seen and I’m definitely adding it to my collection, but the ultimate pebble, to the right person at the right time, could be anything – a smack with a big stick from a Zen master, or the sound of one’s own turd hitting the water (so the story goes…). 🙂

  17. Michael Kinnaird
    June 24, 2014

    ahahahha Sure it can be a turd if you’re really present with it 🙂

  18. Phil Escott
    June 25, 2014

    Yeah, there was that story wasn’t there, about the Zen monk who woke up with the “splash”? I seem to remember another about someone who was watching a cat watching a mousehole, and the pure presence the cat displayed pushed him over the edge too. I dunno… correlation does not imply causation… I think there must have been many times somebody woke up and then decided it was actually what was happening at the time, or what they’d been doing for years that triggered it and a whole movement grew up around that idea. I just have no idea any more what “causes” it. I think it’s largely out of our hands. 🙂

  19. Michael Kinnaird
    June 25, 2014

    I like the Zen tale of the student who asks “How do I enter zen?” The master says “Do you hear the trickle of the distant mountain stream, enter zen from there.” The student replied”Yes! I hear it, but what would you say if I couldn’t hear it?” Master: “Enter zen from there.”

    All teachings point to alert presence as the way to align with the divine. Then the miracle of love comes in that uninterpreted moment. You could be looking out of the window or hear your turd splash 🙂

    What is the sound of one hand clapping? What is the feeling “I AM”? What is the answer to “Who am I?” All ways to enter zen (which means meditation). The way I teach is to listen for the next thought to pop… akin to the cat watching the mouse hole you described. Stay alert, or the mouse will escape unnoticed for sure!

    Habitually listening to turds splash, or any other activity or event is a way to set an alarm clock to remind you to be present. The mind has momentum that causes unconsciousness, so we need these alarms, habits, until we reach a place where we are naturally aware again, and don’t easily lose our grounding. Regular meditation has the same effect, or every time you come to traffic lights, that can be used as a reminder. Build house on rock — means stay awake, be grounded in who you really are, don’t build house on sand, by believing self to be a collection of thought forms.

  20. Phil Escott
    June 25, 2014

    Mike, you are a treasure trove of tremendous quotes, and that Zen one’s marvellous! 🙂

    The rest is pretty good too! 🙂

  21. Meidi
    June 27, 2014

    Wonderful writing as always!

  22. Phil Escott
    June 28, 2014

    Thank you, Meidi! 🙂

  23. Gabi
    July 19, 2014

    I once had a particular issue I was working on (well many really) of being a workaholic and discovering why the need was there to fill the void. It took a full 18 months of working on this one particular thing, and then one day I felt the issue had cleared. Looking back I realised that absolutely nothing had changed over the 18 months, other than my perception of it and a resolve just to let it go. When it dawned on me I had to laugh. Anything and everything can be changed in an instant and most of the time it involves a willingness, an openness and an ability to let go. These days I’m just a lazy-arse!

  24. Phil Escott
    July 22, 2014

    Yes, Gabi. Isn’t it lovely when a whole load of stuff just goes down like dominoes. We never know quite how close we are and early progress can seem very slow or nonexistent, but then suddenly… 🙂

  25. David Palmer
    August 21, 2014

    Its all pointless. No point in talking about one’s suffering. When you see the suffering going on in the world on the physical level it seems selfish and ungrateful to mention one’s inner torment, which seems to have no real basis. Yet it is there. Seeking doesn’t get rid of it. Not seeking doesn’t get rid of it. Those of you lucky enough to have realised that you never really existed say its already there. When I was meditating regularly I felt I was making progress by gradually purifying the dross from my awareness. Now I’m just too lazy to follow a programme imposed from outside. So what hope is there for me? It just makes me feel like getting really really stoned.

  26. Phil Escott
    August 21, 2014

    Hmmm… Follow your heart… If your heart says that you feel you need to get really really stoned, then maybe you need to get really really stoned, David. Don’t forget to roll a fat one for me too! 🙂

    Seriously, maybe it’s all part of the process of letting go of the guilt that you don’t want to meditate or the frustration that you feel it was no longer working for you as it should. From talking to you personally, I think you are in a transition time between a beloved spiritual practice and what comes next, whatever that is. Letting go of a spiritual practice can be as painful or even more painful than letting go of a long term relationship, even though we know that the practice or the relationship are not serving us any more. It can take a long time, and if in the meantime you fancy smoking a bit of gange, what the hell? It will probably not last and just be a bit of fun while you wait for the next “bus”. Maybe you will learn to appreciate the beauty of the bus stop while you’re there.

    If God is omnipresent he’s certainly in gange too. 🙂

  27. Sanjay
    October 27, 2014

    Was nice to read this, as one can doubt the awakening even long after it happens. For me the experience crystallized when I listened (actually watched) this beautiful Youtube video of the Beatles’ song “Across the Universe”. The video had different processes of nature happening like the tide arising and subsiding, bees flocking to a flower, sunrise turning into sunset, and seasons changing. I realized very clearly that my mind and all the games it goes through as well as my body were just a part of this flow, and I had no control over it at all. The words of the song complimented this perfectly, if you know the song then you will know (it even has Jai Guru Deva OM!!).

    Then I laughed. I laughed like I never had before and never had after, knowing that the thing I searched for so hard, not just thinking or hearing it, but *knowing* that it had always been with me and would never leave me. For me the awakening of the heart happened shortly thereafter, and I truly recognized my Guru as my Guru, having been the one whose knowledge inspired me to reach the point where I had reached.

  28. Phil Escott
    November 2, 2014

    Nice story Sanjay. So good to hear about awakenings. They are more widespread than most people think! And if they stopped believing their thinking, it would all become clear! 🙂

  29. john
    July 17, 2015

    “Stop the attacks at a subtle level, and in time, like a large ship slowing gradually to a halt, the grosser level – the body – will also calm down and stop attacking its own tissues.”

    this idea that it will take a long time could also be a misconception…see kam yuen (chiropractor, martial artist and author of ‘delete stress and pain on the spot’)

  30. Phil Escott
    July 21, 2015

    True, John. I’m sure there are ways it can happen instantly, but when, for instance, there has been inflammation in a part of the body for a prolonged time, it can take a while for the physical damage to reverse. If you take something like fibromyalgia, which has less of a physical component, you can get almost miraculous instant cures, but for arthritis etc, maybe it takes longer for the body to regroup, even if you do nail the cause. I’m not saying it’s not possible even for that, but it’s more common the other way. If you are always looking for a totally instant cure it can ruin the confidence that you are on a healing path and set you back by making you swap from one thing to another. It did to me… Now I think it’s more a matter of grace how fast you heal, even if you get it “right”. Some need longer with the (blessing of an) illness to learn what it teaches them at a deeper level. 🙂

  31. lea
    June 11, 2018

    Nice Website and nice Chat! NoI know it’s been a while but I’ll post this anyway because you asked for stories of enlightenment. So here’s mine. 😉 It’s only about a month ago so I guess I’m still in the phase of stabilizing.
    Well, how did it go? To start with: I had been doing Meditation and yoga now and then since I was 15 (10 years ago now). It helped relieve emotional pain and when I meditated daily, I was in a very more stable mood and so it did me good. Didn’t lead to enlightenment back then though.
    Some time later, the real thing started: I was on the anti-baby-pill for 1.5 years which numbed my thoughts and feelings down to where it was possible for me to follow a normal routine of a medical Student. That was pleasant and welcome to me. It took away the thoughts of “this doesn’t really take me where my heart wants to go”. For my ego, those thoughts seemed very disruptive. 😀 I got severe health issues while on the pill, even more than before. So I decided to stop taking it. Almost immadiately it felt like my mind came back. I started being interested in shamanism, no idea where that came from. Dreams, maybe. The next following two weeks I read a lot on shamanism, witches, old healing practices and their beliefs. Belief itself had always been something almost ridiculous to me. I was the most logical and anti-religious person you could imagine, on the outside at least. There had always been a strong resistence, even fear, against “giving in” to the seemingly illogical madness of believing in some greater source of energy, god, whatever you will call it. Just like you described in your article, Phil.
    Well I still can’t really figure out why it happened to me in the end, but in the midst of my shamanism – witch – nature healers – study it suddenly struck me how everything is one big conciousness, how ridiculous all my resistence, fear and hypocricity were/are and how I could have put something aside and pretend to not see it for a long time, something that was so very obvious and around/inside all the time. It struck me how blind I had been and how egoistic as well, not believing in belief when it was obvious that for so many people it’s very real. Once I had realised that, it all seemed really funny to me and just like that Sanjay who commented above I had to laugh a lot these days about the strange ways things go. The world still is very funny to me a lot of the time, people running around believing in what their egos tell them, the hustle and bustle that’s all good and still it all doesn’t really matter because in the end it just sums up to consciousness. Which doesn’t mean that it is unnecessary to do. It seems to be what we are here for if so many people are doing it. It just isn’t as important as everyone thinks I guess… Just my thought. 😉
    It’s only been a month but I lost my fear of life and death and I’m just curious where all this is going to lead me and the rest of the world. I still have moments when I “forget” about it but it’s never for a long time and I can easily recall it just by thinking of it. So yep, I’m definetely curious and waiting to see what else will happen to me now once I woke up from being blind. Just trying to follow what comes along. 🙂
    Thanks for your page and for that YouTube Video on carnivorism and spirituality, I really liked it. Greets!

    • Phil Escott
      June 12, 2018

      What a lovely tale, Lea. Thank you so much for sharing that. 🙂 Keep me posted how it goes… 🙂


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