Spiritual Enlightenment – Understanding Consciousness

Expert Author Kip Mazuy

You have probably already heard all of the Spiritual Enlightenment sayings like “Consciousness is all there is,” And “Advaita means – not two.”

And although all of these things are true, the words themselves filed away as knowledge, don’t get you any closer to Spiritual Enlightenment.

So in this article, I am not only going to help you understand consciousness, I am going to give you the direct experience of consciousness, so that by the end of this article you will be able to experience a state of nondual consciousness which can lead to Spiritual Enlightenment.

Then all that is left for you to do is practice staying in this state of consciousness, or rather, practice stopping yourself from leaving your natural state. There is nothing complicated about it. Once you have the direct experience of consciousness then it is up to you to grow in nondual awareness through practice.

First, before we go any further, I would like you to forget everything you know about spiritual enlightenment, consciousness, nonduality, advaita and all other spiritual knowledge you have tucked away. Throw it all out because it is useless for what we are going to do.

You can have it all back after this article if you want it. But if you want spiritual enlightenment, you have to learn to experience this moment fresh and new, without relating it to what you know. Because it is what you know that stops you from experiencing pure consciousness.

And rather than getting into some intellectual advaita essay on spiritual enlightenment, let’s get our feet wet and experience pure consciousness:

Right now, in this moment, take about 20 seconds, close your eyes, and notice your thinking. You are not to change your thinking or seek a certain thing out, you simply are to close your eyes and notice your thinking. Do this now.

On the surface, it seems that you cannot notice the process of thinking, because you are the one thinking the thought. The thought arises about what you had for lunch and suddenly you are re-living having lunch. There is no noticing happening.

So when you try and notice your thinking, thinking either stops, or you get involved with the thinking and there is no noticing.

On the surface, you could conclude from this observation that you are the thinker of your thoughts.

But in truth this is a false assumption. Look closer.

Close your eyes again and notice the thought arising. Start in a space of no thought and watch the thought arising.

Do this now.

If you practice this and really allow the thoughts to come and still remain noticing the thoughts, you will see that thoughts arise by themselves. You are not thinking the thought, the thought arose by itself. You were noticing no thought, a thought arose and you noticed it arise. Another thought arose, or many thoughts arising at once and you are noticing it happening.

You are not doing the thinking. The thinking is happening by itself.

This in itself is a state freedom. It is the beginning of Savikalpa Samadhi. It is when thoughts arise and you remain completely detached from any involvement with them- a state of witness consciousness.

What usually happens when you are not conscious is that the thought arises and instantly you identify with that thought. Instantly you claim “I thought that thought, it is my thought, it defines me.” And then you make the thought important and are involved with it.

The thought arose, you took responsibility for it and you defined yourself by it. The thought is about you, your life, what you saw on TV, what you read, what you know, what you did. The thoughts are personal. You are identified with the thought. You think “I am sad” and sadness becomes your identity and it becomes your reality.

But once you learn to watch the thoughts, the thoughts become impersonal. They no longer define you or bind you. You are free from the involvement with them. They can arise and disappear and you remain as consciousness in a state of unconditional peace. Very blissful.

I do not expect you to see this immediately. But at some point in time if you do your best to try and notice your thinking, you will come to a point where thoughts arise and you realize “I did not pull that thought up myself, it arose by itself.” You will have some thought come out of left field and it will become clear. “I did not just think of purple pigs, that thought came all by itself.”

Sounds silly but this is a huge step towards spiritual enlightenment. Because suddenly you no longer define yourself by your thoughts. You see you exist completely free of the mind. Thoughts are arising all on their own without your involvement.

If you are interested in understanding consciousness, this is a very important point. Because if you see thoughts arise by themselves, then what are you? You definitely are not the thinker of the thoughts, but you were conscious of your thoughts. You were aware that thoughts were happening.

Try this now: Close your eyes and don’t have any thought. Just for a second, don’t have any thought. What is there?

Do this now.

So what is there? If there was no thought, your eyes were closed, you were just blank? But you were aware of the blank, yes? You were there, noticing that blank.

So you see the same conclusion comes from watching thoughts, or watching no thought. Whatever the situation, you were conscious of it.

And in fact if you really look, there is no you there being conscious, there is you as consciousness! Consciousness and the sense of “I am” are one and the same, they cannot be separated.’

To go one step further, you cannot separate, you, this moment and consciousness.

So forget understanding consciousness, you are consciousness!

Now it does no good to believe this, to file this away in your knowledge of spiritual enlightenment. You have to practice it. You have to in this moment and in every moment, remain as consciousness,here and now. To be aware of consciousness itself.

The only time you will feel you are not consciousness, is when you are identified with the happening, you are identified with the thoughts arising. You are personally involved in the thought.

You have to look closely here. Because consciousness has not stopped when you are involved with your thoughts but the action of identification with the thoughts distracted you from the essence that is always here, consciousness itself. Because if consciousness was not present, you could not remember, “I was identified with my thoughts and emotions.”

And a side note here: It is not that you should not have thoughts or emotions. It is very important that you allow whatever is here to be here. Trying to control the thoughts and emotions will only lead to stress. So allow it all to come and go.

In this allowing, you are conscious of it. It does not mean you have to identify with it or become involved with it. You can watch it arise and disappear without ever holding on to anything.

It is not about some cold experience of advaita consciousness where you separate yourself from what is happening. It is allowing life to be as it is in this moment and being aware of it, and as you grow, being conscious of consciousness itself.

So whatever is here, allow it to be here and notice it. And be aware of the noticing. Because really if you look, you are not noticing it, noticing is happening. Just like thoughts are happening or not happening.

You can remove the thoughts, you can remove the emotions, you can even lose identification with the body, but the noticing cannot be removed. You can see whether there is thought or no thought, you still exist. Consciousness always remains. Resting in this state of pure consciousness will lead you all the way to spiritual enlightenment.

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