The Path of Liberation
The path of liberation is ruthless. It demands a deep unwavering commitment to the vast invisible omniscience alive in your heart. This commitment represents the end of excuses. It is the profound humbling of your mind—a deep surrender to the vast indescribable unseen omniscience of God—a ruthless truth-telling and complete relinquishment of whatever it is you think you want. The natural tendency of mind is to conjure up all kinds of reasons to ignore, or not even notice, the omniscience we collectively refer to as God. The mind tends to doubt this unseen existence, which often fuels the idea that God might not even exist. The natural tendency is to trust the very limited perspective of your mind and believe whatever you think. But have you ever stopped to contemplate; what are you actually trusting? What exactly is the voice inside your head we call mind? What is mind? Or for that matter what is thought?
What if the mind is not even limited to your form? The mind actually arises from a vast nothing. You can see this for yourself by simply taking a moment to notice where you thoughts come from and where they vanish. What exactly is this mysterious void that is often totally overlooked when you give attention to the ongoing conversation unfolding in your mind? Is this void limited to your body? Does it have a beginning or end? The examination of the origin of thought is the beginning of a radical shift in your consciousness that supports a dramatic shift from conversing with the voice in your head and believing whatever you think to the direct discovery of the source of this mysterious voice or the thoughts you feel in your head that we collectively refer to as mind.
It can be quite a shock to discover there does not seem to be an entity or substance to your mind. We could call this empty void consciousness, but what exactly is consciousness? The truth is no one really knows what consciousness actually is, but it is the nature of consciousness that holds the ancient key to what is known as enlightenment, self-realization, or liberation from the karmic wheel of suffering. But what exactly does this mean? What does it mean to be liberated? Perhaps more importantly what does it take to get off the nauseating wheel of countless rebirths and countless deaths?
How exactly did the energy of consciousness even get inside of your body? What are the electrical impulses in your brain that transform into thought or the somewhat annoying voice in your head that never seems to shut up? This is not about right or wrong or an esoteric philosophy, but rather is a deep inquiry into nature of mind, ego, and the nature of liberation from this grand illusion generated by your senses. Lets stop for a moment and intimately examine what is actually required to be liberated from the karmic wheel of suffering—the suffering you’ve endured through endless lifetimes of birth and death. Is it simply recognizing you are pure consciousness or is it something much more demanding? Is the karmic wheel real or a figment of your imagination? And perhaps more importantly can you break free of its ancient clutches?
Many spiritual teachers are perpetrating a great myth—liberation is instant and you don’t have to do anything to liberate yourself. It is effortless. This idea is based in the absolute truth that you are already liberated in the core—after all how could pure consciousness ever be bound or imprisoned? But this very misleading idea lives in a simplistic perspective of liberation or the idea you do not need to do anything to be what you always already are—this is the mantra of this very naïve perspective. The western mind can gobble this up like its candy—instant enlightenment is a very seductive idea, but is this dogma actually true?
The answer is yes and no. It is true in the absolute sense, but not true at all in the relative sense or from the perspective and deep feeling of specialness the deep feeling of ‘I am me’ or ego. The deepest truth is instant enlightenment is basically total nonsense. It is simply not true that you can declare you are enlightened or liberated, or self-righteously proclaim “I am free” or think enlightenment is simply thinking you know what enlightenment means or is, which unfortunately is the common response of many western seekers who have had a deep insight into their true nature. Awakening and liberation are often smooshed together into one and the same thing, which is the great fallacy of this perspective. But stop for a moment and ask yourself; did any great master simply declare their enlightenment based on some book they read or did they practice for many years—perhaps even eons? Did any truly enlightened sage simply snap his or her fingers and suddenly become enlightened? The answer is simply hell no!
The evolution of the Buddha did not happen in an instant—his realization was years in the making. It can seem like Ramana Maharshi’s realization was instant at the tender age of sixteen, but Ramana himself indicated on several occasions his awakening involved lifetimes of intense practice—he earned his liberation. It is totally unrealistic to think you are somehow exempt from the intense effort essential for total liberation from the powerful force of your ego and genetic mind. The ruthless truth is; like all sages and masters from the beginning of time you also have to earn your liberation—it simply is not given—liberation takes years of the consecrated practice of sādhanā—the deep letting go everything including all the ideas you have about you and what you want.
It is, however, absolutely true that awakening is instantaneous. In less than a fraction of a second you can awaken to your eternal nature. But, and this is a huge “BUT,” to burn through the powerful illusion of ego requires fierce dedication to continuous sādhanā (practice). You could say it is a bit of a paradox—awakening to the truth is effortless, but intense effort is necessary to develop the skill to abide in the vast living eternal happiness within you that can instantly be discovered faster than you can say Ramana Maharshi. It might even bruise your ego a bit to realize even Ramana said it takes years of service to Sat, or the living consciousness within you, before you can develop the skill necessary to continuously abide in this indescribable happiness of your being.
After the sudden shift in your consciousness that awakening represents it is common for the ego to instantly inflate like a balloon that is suddenly blown up with helium. This inflation creates a deep sense of specialness based in the feeling that you are enlightened or awake. But the truth is no matter how euphoric the moment of awakening is it only represents the tiniest tip of the proverbial iceberg. Even after the most profound states of bliss, or moments of unshakeable realization, the insidious power of ego is left very much in charge.
The belief that you are somehow miraculously enlightened or liberated after a moment of awakening is a bit like allowing the fox to guard the hen house or a thief to guard the bank—awakening basically is only the very first step on the ruthless path of liberation. After a moment of awakening or deep realization it is not uncommon to say, “I was so blissed out” only to find yourself totally confused when this moment of euphoria mysteriously evaporates and is replaced by your normal morass or the bitter feelings of judgment, sadness, fear, and other forms of suffering.
The moment of awakening often feels so good you can actually become obsessed with trying to regain this state of euphoria and find yourself endlessly seeking to recapture this illusive bliss state or secretly wonder what happened to this incredible feeling—after all you were so sure you were suddenly enlightened so what went so horribly wrong? Often bliss transforms into your new addiction—a frantic search for the next high—you can become a consummate bliss junky—always looking for another teacher who can provide you with your next fix—the next bliss drug.
Naturally, the inflated ego feels better than the poor pitiful you paradigm you have lived your life from for god knows how many eons. Awakening just feels so much better than the deflated ego or deep sense of self-hatred that often initiates the search for the freedom and the state of endless happiness enlightenment promises. But the ruthless truth is; the euphoric feeling of the awakened ego that is often associated with bliss or a deep state of realization is fleeting—it simply doesn’t last. This due to the genetic resilience of your ego, which simply means the deep feeling that you are your body and associated karma remains intact even after the most profound moments of awakening.
Sadly your experience of what is often described as bliss is a trick of your mind. It is not actually the bliss of true and final liberation, or the final state of enlightenment known as the stateless state of Turyatita, which simply means beyond the fourth state of Turiya—the eternal source alive in your heart and beyond all ideas of heart. This experience of bliss often only serves to strengthen the ego or deep feeling of specialness—after all it was “your” bliss or “your” realization—right?
The idea that bliss or realizations or experiences somehow belongs to you—from your point of view—seems to be true, but this simply means your ego or the idea of you as a body has experienced something, but who is this you who experienced a bliss state? Do you see? When you were experiencing the euphoria you called bliss it was clear—from your point of view—not everyone around you was experiencing this incredible state of bliss, which generates a feeling of specialness that often leads to an enlightened ego—the extreme arrogance pervasive in western non-dual spiritual communities that lives in the idea “I am free” or “I am awake” or “I am liberated.”
The fallacy in this point of view is inherent in these limited statements; the deep feeling of “me” or ego is still the primary identity. But this inflated ego feels so much better than a deflated ego it can trick you into thinking something spectacular has happened, which creates a strong feeling of a very new special you—the enlightened ego. This is an insidious trap—the mind generates a kind of enlightenment trance that in actuality is an illusion or mirage created by the reflective consciousness of the inflated ego. It is extremely difficult to perceive this trap due to the egos inherent power to camouflage itself as truth.
This is important to absorb and understand. What is being revealed to you here is the inflated ego actually has the power to cloak itself as enlightenment, truth, and even your ideas of liberation and whatever that means to you. This aspect of ego is very tricky and very subtle. It can look like you have made real progress and you can even convince yourself that you have attained the coveted state of enlightenment or liberation, but in actuality you have only been tricked by the mirage generated by your own ego and genetic mind.
Liberation is simply not given. It is not instant. The simple truth is you must earn your liberation. It takes effort, perseverance, vigilance, and the powerful discernment of focused attention. You could say this is common sense. If you want to become proficient at anything you must practice. It is totally unrealistic to think you will make any real progress without effort. The core practices of silence, sound, and mediation is sādhanā—or the intense process of letting go of the core identity or ego, which is the essential yogic practice of the mind that develops the acute ability to discern between reality and the illusion generated by the genetic mind and ego.
The core practices are infused with a powerful energy essential for burning through the very tricky illusion of you—the ego. The practices simply represent a deep letting go of the deep feeling that you are special—it is the great humbling of your mind. Practice is absolutely essential to develop the necessary skill to focus your attention on the source of your attention until there is no ego, no doer—no you! This is the nature of liberation.
It is a deeply humbling process that annihilates any sense that you are special and in control. Ramana was crystal clear about this—practice means continuous effort. He explained in detail the ego is the very powerful force of your body infused with vasanas or latent unconscious tendencies of your genetics infused with the physical nature of the body. The ego is essentially the reflective consciousness of the source of life itself in your heart infused with your senses—it is a mirage of your mind that generates the deep feeling that you are a unique person who is very special and is in control of your life.
The reflective nature of ego acts like a kind of mirror that hides the pure bliss of your being, which is always present regardless of the constantly changing states of consciousness you experience. The ego in effect works like a double-sided mirror, which is the nature of the reflective consciousness of your mind. It reflects your senses and the feeling nature of your body as well as the vast omniscience of the energy in your heart. This mirror is the source of the visceral feeling of ‘me’ or doer, but this deep feeling is the great lie of the ego that leads to lifetimes of birth and death—the infamous karmic wheel of suffering.
The pure genius of Ramana Maharshi is he realized that the reflective nature of egoic identity is a powerful illusion that acts like a mirror to reflect whatever your senses are sensing infused with the unlimited power alive in your heart. The reflective nature of ego hides the vast light of the Self within you known as the Source of your being—pure joy—vast indescribable omniscience. Do you see? It is not the smallness of your ego that causes suffering, but rather the vastness of the reflective nature of ego that is the root of all your suffering.
The genius of Ramana is he realized that the ego reflects everything you perceive like a still mountain lake and your body and states of consciousness you experience are actually sounds or the seed letters of the root mantra or the primordial sound—om. He recognized that to break free of this very potent illusion it is essential to question the ego itself with inquiry, the silent vibration of the mantra, combined with silence or meditation on the source of thought. He was crystal clear you must practice in order to develop the capacity to remain focused on the source that is eternally free of the illusion of your ego or the deep feeling that you are special.
Ramana was adamant it was essential to continually apply the core practices of self-inquiry, the mantra, and meditation. He emphasized that the teaching was very simple, but you must—practice—practice—practice—until there is no one practicing, no one meditating, no one inquiring, and no one singing the mantra—not as a concept, but rather as the actual visceral experience that there is no doer and no experiencer. This is ruthless—a deep letting go—a dramatic end to giving credence to the endless gyrations of the thoughts, strategies, beliefs, and ideas flowing through your mind that generate endless feelings in your body.
The powerful energy these practices represent simply destroys the power of your ego to hide or camouflage the living eternal nature of your being—pure unalloyed happiness. Practice annihilates the ego. It is the deepest letting go of everything and trusting the unlimited unseen omniscience of God or pure consciousness until only this indescribable vastness exists—the eternal moment when the doer simply vanishes into it source permanently.
Sādhanā or practice is simply a deeply letting go into the eternal love that you are until only love remains. It is a ruthless total surrender into this vast indescribable love without end—happiness beyond all ideas of happiness.
Ultimately, freedom from the karmic wheel is love only—no one to think, realize, understand, or do—just this vast indescribable love. It is the total annihilation of you and everything you ‘think’ you are.
This is the ruthless nature of liberation.