Tag Archives: enlightenment

How Do You Know You’re You?

“Do the following quick exercise:

Go look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “Who told me that that’s me?”

Seriously! Go do it right now.

If you’re a very rational, scientifically-minded person, or an atheist, this is the perfect exercise for you.

What evidence do you have that you are that thing in the mirror?

Seriously! I’m not kidding. This is not an armchair philosophy exercise. This is a hardcore science experiment.

How do you know what you’re supposed to look like?

Could it be that you’ve simply assumed that that thing in the mirror was you without actually investigating the matter?

Is there any scientific evidence whatsoever of how you are supposed to look like? How would you even make such a determination?

Can you recall how in your early childhood it wasn’t at all obvious that you had a body, knew it’s parts, or knew how it looked? Can you recalling having to acquire all those notions?

Now, notice that your mind will come up with all sorts of objections and rationalizations for why you really are that thing in the mirror.

But I hope you’re wise enough not to blindly trust that mind of yours. After all, isn’t that your biggest gripe with religious fanatics? That they blindly believe in unwarranted things… that they beg the question?

Well, watch out! Maybe you’ve been committing that very same sin your whole life. Which, by the way way, would explain that grudge you hold towards religion.

Who’s begging the question now? Oh, how the tables have turned! Oh, the delicious the irony! Oh, the hypocrisy of rationalism!

If what I say is true, can you begin to fathom the significance of it? Not philosophically, but ACTUALLY!”

Source: https://www.actualized.org/insights?p=45

Why You’re An Addict

“According to research cited by Stan Grof, about 30-50% of substance addicts (alcohol, hard drugs) are really just seeking a nondual experience.

That’s why you’re doing the alcohol or drug. It gives you a simulated pseudo-spiritual experience of unity. It blots out egoic consciousness. But you don’t know this because you haven’t actually experienced real unity, and you don’t yet understand what consciousness is. So you keep hitting that bottle or pipe but it never scratches that mystical itch.

You got the right idea, but you’re going about it the wrong way.

To get drunk on God, your mind has to be ultra-sober. That’s what meditation, pranayama, clean eating, etc. is for. Your mind has to be attuned to the subtle. But you keep feeding it the gross.

Which is also why 5-MeO-DMT, LSD, and Ibogaine prove so effective for hard addiction recovery. They show you the real deal. They show you the subtle.

Which is why Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, included LSD as one of the most important components of recovery. Until of course the government banned it. Ever since, AA has been de-fanged.

If you’re saying to yourself, “Yeah, Leo, but I’m not a drug addict! How does this help me?” Oh, yes you are! You’re just addicted to something a little more subtle or culturally acceptable. Nevertheless, the underlying dynamic with you is just the same. What you seek is nonduality. Because it’s the greatest thing ever. Nothing else is even remotely close. But you don’t know it yet. You have to take my word for it.”

Source: https://www.actualized.org/insights?p=45

What Real Balance Looks Like

“Following up on my video The Role Of Balance In Personal Development, I wanted to clarify what real balance looks like.

So I drew this little diagram:

So in this case what the diagram represents are the possible ways to balance the issue of science vs mysticism. This is just one facet — out of dozens — that you’ll have to balance in your life. Look at this like a spectrum. On the far left you’ve got the hard-nosed science position. On the far right you’ve got the very religious/mystical position.

Most people have a naive notion of balance. They think of balance as depicted by the green dotted lines above. Balance to them either means going straight down the middle on an issue, or down one of the sides.

But real balance looks more like the purple line above. It’s jagged and nuanced. Drawing that jagged line requires a real exploration of the issue. It takes work. How much easier to be an ideologue and draw one of the dotted lines.

Of course this applies to all the other facets of life:

-Career vs family
-Personal development vs pursuit of enlightenment
-Being an asshole vs being too nice
-Theory vs practice
-Pragmatism vs idealism
-Art vs marketing
-Chasing money vs neglecting money
-Doing vs being
-Expressing emotions vs suppressing emotions
-Capitalism vs communism
-Privacy rights vs defending against terrorism
-Etc.”

Source: https://www.actualized.org/insights?p=47

Persistant Non-Symbolic Experience

“A few months ago I heard doctor Jeffery Martin of the Finder’s Course — who’s doing great research on enlightenment in an academic setting — referring to enlightenment as “persistent non-symbolic experience”.

At first I thought: what an awkward way to phrase it.

But the more I meditate and self-inquire, the more I see the power of this phrasing. Because it captures the essence of what we’re aiming for.

What are we REALLY trying to do when we meditate or self-inquire?

We’re trying to escape symbolic experience! Monkey mind is symbolic experience. Rationalization is symbolic experience. Traditional learning is symbolic experience. Talking is symbolic experience. Western philosophy is symbolic experience. Science is symbolic experience.

See?

To escape all that and to see reality AS-IT-IS you have to drop symbolizing. Because symbols, by definition, are NOT the things they represent. People really overlook this simple point: to symbolize a thing is to immediately misrepresent it. Because you have to substitute the thing itself with a second thing, while forgetting the second thing’s being! This is the core of how illusion happens. Symbols cannot get at the BEING-level of anything. All symbols are metaphorical, which means they aren’t the bottom-most level.

Mindfulness = the opposite of symbolism. Mindfulness is the untying of the knot of being wrapped up in language, to return back to a non-linguistic, non-symbolic mode of being.

First-order reality is non-symbolic. Second-order reality is symbolic, but this entire second order is by virtue of the first. It’s eye opening to pause throughout the day and realize, “Oh, hey! I’ve been lost in symbolic reality all day. That’s not primary! Let me get back to what’s primary by letting go of all this symbolizing.”

Symbols are a very powerful tool. Just think of how much it has allowed mankind to achieve. But like all powerful tools, when used unconsciously, it’s a source of great suffering and danger. Symbols creates the possibility for delusion.

This insight is MASSIVE in it’s scope and significance. It will take you years of mindfulness practice to grasp what I’m saying. But that’s okay, it will be worth it.”

Source: https://www.actualized.org/insights?p=47

Hidden In Plain Sight

“The best way to hide a thing, is in plain sight.

chameleon1

I love examples of how something can be hidden in plain sight. A sleight of hand so obvious, you smile when you see it. Nowhere does this apply more than with spirituality.

When people first start to learn about spirituality they tend to fall into one of two traps:

  • Spirituality is just a bunch of fairy tale wishful thinking
  • Spirituality is some exotic set of otherworldly experiences

In both cases, nothing could be further from the case. Spirituality is about becoming conscious of reality exactly as it is, but at a deeper dimension. In Zen, they like to say: Nothing is hidden.

What rationalists and “skeptics” who poo-poo spirituality don’t understand is just how significant a simple shift in perspective can be. Nothing has to change about the facts on the ground, so to speak. All that needs to change is your perspective and your entire world flips upside down. But this is the pity of materialistic thinking. It’s mesmerized by the gross, superficial dimension of reality. People who are used to thinking in materialistic ways expect spirituality to be a gross, materialistic sort of thing. As though if the facts on the ground don’t change, it doesn’t matter. That’s the huge oversight! Spirituality is SUBTLE! It’s seamlessly interleaved into the gross. Like a beautiful chameleon in the rainforest, lost on the tourist.

To illustrate this point, take a look at these stereograms. Cross your eyes as you stare at them to spot the hidden object inside.

Stereogram1
Stereogram2
Stereogram3

Did you see it?

Notice that none of the facts changed, but the shift in perspective you experienced was very significant and real. It’s like you discovered a new dimension to reality. And it was right there the whole time! Hidden, but not really hidden.

What if — right now — there was something equally obvious about your perception of reality that’s been hidden in plain sight your whole life? What if people have been pointing to it for 2,000 years, but you’ve kept saying, “You must be crazy! There’s nothing there to see.”

Enlightenment is like that. It’s a shift in perspective, not a change in personality or behavior, as people often confuse. The lesson here is never to underestimate just how significant a “mere” shift in perspective can be. Perspective is everything.”

Source: https://www.actualized.org/insights?p=48

Backfiring Mechanisms

“I want to suggest that you shoot yourself in the foot WAY MORE than you think.

I’ve spoken of this concept of “backfiring mechanisms” before in my previous videos. It’s a really important feature of complex systems — like societies, or human beings.

But I want to bring this point home, because it can feel too abstract.

To help you become more aware of this, watch the following funny videos. But as you do, instead of just laughing away and calling those people dumbasses — like every other viewer does — I want you to reflect it back on yourself. Think of this as a metaphor for EXACTLY how your life functions! Bring to mind all the ways in which you experience psychological backfiring. Notice that the way your life functions isn’t much different than what you see in the videos below.

But remember to stay aware as you watch!

It ain’t as funny when it’s your life.

To further clarify, the most important backfiring mechanisms are not material, physical, or external. Rather, they have to do with the inner workings of your mind:

Your modes of thinking, your emotional reactions, your fears, your motivations and values, your habitual patterns, your beliefs and justifications, your paradigms of reality, etc.

As a simple example, how might valuing sex or money or security backfire? As a more advanced example, how might valuing spirituality or enlightenment backfire?

As a general rule of thumb, once a system reaches sufficient complexity, the greatest danger to its survival becomes a backfiring of itself. A sort of collapsing under its own weight. Which is why to reach the greatest heights requires shedding egoic material, or purification to the point of nothingness or spirit. The word “spirit” connotes lightness of mechanism, and this is a good pointer of what you should be working towards. To be conscious, is to be able to see how a mechanism truly works, and its backfire potential.”

Source: https://www.actualized.org/insights?p=48