It was a cloudy day in the middle of nowhere. It was the perfect setting for deep questioning. The disciple asked: “Master, there is a businessman offering prize money for any qualified individual offering proof that consciousness survives after death. Is there life after death?”
The master couldn’t help but laughed out loud and said:” Do you want to win that money?” The disciple said: “ I have no scientific proof even if I knew. How can I do that?”
The master smiled and said:” Science is mostly objective. Spirituality subjective. The world beyond the physical realm is not the study of science. All they could ever have is subjective answers from different experiences of individuals. Consider this: Even if science gives you an answer, something like- Yes, there is Life after death. Consciousness survives- for you, that will be another belief just like a religious belief. When faced with the experience of death, you will be afraid and finally accept it just like a cow does when facing a slaughter house, but the general human distaste and fear of death and the unknown, will be there like a shadow throughout your life. Do you realize that?”
The disciple was anguished by that answer. He uttered: “ There is no hope then.”
The master said: “Hope? There is no need for hope for those who know. A drop of water separates from the Ocean. That consciousness creates suffering. The drop is the Ocean itself. It has been said: ‘Know thyself then thou shall know the Universe and God.’ Right there is the answer, but most are not ready to go inside but rather start their journeys from the outside.”
The disciple said: “ The Universe and God will be known to me when I know myself?”
The master replied: “That is correct. Not before. By BEING that experiential knowing, that living presence, and not intellectually or through second hand information or beliefs, how could you be afraid of death? How could you ask what is there after death?”
The disciple said: “But that person who knows could tell others and help them in their lives.”
The master then said:” The one who knows through the process of self-realization is helping by only saying the necessary according to someone’s path, for they know the path. The ones who had personal supernatural experiences are being interviewed all the time. Their particular experience becomes another belief for others. Everyone has their own timing to start.”
The disciple asked: “Master, where do I start?”
The master said: “By dying from that self. That is the price that few are willing to pay. Most are only curious. They only want answers to be right. Most are not willing to go deep into their own lives to peel off all the layers of the onion of the self. Most are no willing to die from that shell of layers that they have built around themselves and in that perceived comfort, surrounded by their worldly distractions, achievements, conditioning and power struggle; in that sleepy trance, is how they encounter death. Obviously, fear and the desire to be certain will be there. They will cling to what they know by accepting beliefs from a subjective experience or tradition, unwilling to let all of that go. That is, they want hope that a sleepy consciousness will survive.”
The master said to his disciple: “There are 3 fundamental aspects in learning about the self while you are at the stage of going beyond the mind. First, is the observation of the mind through constant awareness of the content. You may notice there is day dreaming. That content is not in the present, but something in the past or future. Emotions will be influenced by content. It is like watching a movie continuously in your mind. For instance, you remember a sad story which happened in the past. The mind plays that movie. That story is not real anymore. The personality experiencing that scene is no longer here. Everything has changed. Feeling sadness in the present is fuel for more movie time; supporting repetition of that mechanism. Second, is identification with those thoughts. Unaware individuals will take a side and defend a particular view given by their own conditioning or experience. These individuals totally identify with their minds. There are other individuals who analyze apparent facts and assume the truth, but those are usually partial conclusions. The third aspect, is to be aware on how that content, identification and conclusions creates ego, that is a personality which separates from the actual movie of Life, without ever becoming aware of their inter-dependency. ”
The disciple listened attentively and then said: “Master could you explain with an example?” The master replied: “John speaks with Jane. John had an agitated day by dealing with individuals who would not acknowledge his ideas without putting up a verbal fight. When John spoke with Jane, he had the same fighter attitude and tone, he was still disturbed with memories. Jane concluded that John did not like her. Jane resented John and did not want to speak with him. John had a movie in his head playing. He was unable to disengage as another experience in the now arrived. Jane had a conclusion by analysis of the perceived facts. If there is a fight between them, both will defend their own positions; solidifying their egos and separation. Made up reasons to demonstrate how ‘I am right’ will affect that relationship.”
The disciple replied: “Master, but how do I disengage from that movie in my head? How not to make conclusions when it seems obvious?” The master stayed in silence for a few seconds and said: “Become aware of the movie playing in your head. Observe that any conclusion will close the possibility to perceive further realities. Allow room for unexpected things to be. With a conclusion you will act in a predetermined way. You may regret that. Many individuals entertain their minds through movies at this time. A movie will take them to a fantasy world. They may feel a rush inside, their emotions make them feel alive out of the boredom of repetition of every day life. However, they do not observe the movie playing in their own heads constantly.”
The disciple realized about his own day dreaming and content mixed with inner chattering and asked:”But without a movie, what should be there instead?”
The master said: “Nothing. The mind does not need to play a movie while you are driving or cooking or eating or bathing. That will happen as you become conscious of the mind playing an artificial movie in your head. Feel the real movie of Life instead, place your awareness into the activities of the present instead. While doing things in Life, do as you wish but be AWARE of it!”
The disciple said : “ The other day I watched the presentation of a writer of spiritual topics. In his latest book, he spoke about conquering ego. Someone in the audience asked him: “Your ego probably increased once your book became a best seller. How did you avoid that?” The writer smiled and said that he wrote it with the idea of helping others and the popularity of his book was only icing on the cake. I believe it was a nice answer, but the writer didn’t reply to the question. What could you share with me about ego, master?
Ego is there whether your book is a best seller or not. Observe how obstacles or advantages in Life are behind that ego. However there is a compelling difference according to your level of consciousness on how you look at it.
While in the world, to overcome obstacles in Life or to experience fame are both opportunities for the normal person to increase ego, by showcasing their ‘success story;’ for the one who is ready to change into greater consciousness, those obstacles are ways to polish the diamond of goodness inside. How inner goodness comes out? Through the conscious experience of your own darkness.
Then the disciple asked: “And what is the perception of advantages in Life, that is when everything is good for the one with greater consciousness?” The master smiled and said: “ That one knows that even though his book was written through him, he did not do it. Therefore, how ego could come up? Greater consciousness will allow you to see the insubstantiality, frail and illusory image of that “I,” ego. Everything changes continuously, remember? Even that perception of “I.” It is in that awareness how ego dissolves and not in mental understanding of words.”
The master paused and the continued: “ ‘I wrote the book’ brings a force, a one sided front. That sets up those who will be for and also against that book because they did not like it. If the author feels insulted, he will not separate from his book and his ideas. Greater identification means greater experience of suffering through his fight but also greater experience of pleasure when the media pampers his book. Duality. A person may need to have a degree of conscious awareness to observe this within himself. A ‘normal’ person is not able to. His ‘I’ or ego will be built and caressed through those supporting his identity with the book; but also his ego will be built through his fight or rejection of those who feel against it. Either way, ego will be built.”
“Pardon me,” said the disciple, “but what do you mean by conscious awareness?”
The master said: “It means to be attentive in the moment that ego appears during an episode of Life. Recognize the trigger and the emotional response within. Recognize the identification which originates the ‘I.’ For centuries it has been said that ego is bad. Many wanted to conquer it. However, ego is neither bad nor good. The reality of ego is in being a continuous illusion of separation through identification with something. When we say “I” there is consistency, solidity of something inconsistent.
The disciple added: “But master, how to separate from ego in every day life when we use the word ‘I’ continuously, which is needed to properly communicate ?”
The master said: Ego is not a word. Say the word ‘I’ when you communicate but be aware of who that is while saying it. The key is to BE Aware. I told you enough about ego. Observe this example and its ramifications within yourself.”
The disciple asked: “Master since you said that you will not change my beliefs, how those will change in me?”
The master couldn’t help but laugh and then said: “ Is that “me” something fixed in time? Remember when you were a kid? Sure you do. However, is there anything there which has remained unchanged in you? ”
The master waited for the response of his disciple.
“Well,” said the disciple: “My name is the same. Everything else has changed including my beliefs and life outlook.”
The master said: “What you just said required awareness. Most believe that there is an unchanging “I” or “me.” Their memories make up their lives which are in the past and never “now.” Yes, your name is the same and that is why, when you become a new person centered in your heart rather than the mind; you will have a new spiritual name which you will use instead.”
Then the master continued: “ Look, there wasn’t a time when you were the same. Change is unavoidable but when your life is anchored in the mind, only the past matters and that creates illusions of a future, but in truth; in that future you will not be.”
The disciple looked at his master with a lost gaze and said: “You mean that Life itself will change my beliefs?”
The master said: “ The most important practice for you is to observe your mind, your thoughts and everything that comes out of that. Be quiet for a moment and do as told.” After sometime in silence, the master interrupted and said: “What did you observe?”
The disciple was hesitant to answer but after getting some courage said: “ It is insane, but I observed that my thoughts merely appear in my mind. I did not willingly fabricated them.” The master said: “That is a fantastic observation. That for sure will change some of your beliefs. Now, let me add this: Can you think without language? Don’t answer me yet. Try it.”
After a few minutes, the disciple said: “ Master, I am afraid I cannot. I need some sort of language in my head to relate things and come up with something, it is like an internal voice without sound.” The master then said: “Now you have discovered the influence of language in your mind. Most see the world only as their language allows them, that is conditioning. For instance, there are languages without the use of gender for nouns, while other languages give a gender to every object. That creates the idea that there are feminine things and masculine things. A separatist mind. Now, observe without language in your mind.”
After a few minutes the disciple said: “It is a weird state of attentiveness which I cannot hold for too long.” The master then smiled and replied: “ Some may call that state no-mind. Others, may call that a silent mind, and yet others may call that a peaceful mind. Do not get caught up with labels, for that is mind. Go deeper in that experience.”
Then the master said something apparently unrelated: “Many try to solve problems in the world through that separatist mind. There is always a division:Rich and poor, black and white, national and foreigner, my neighborhood and out of town, etc. The mind only divides, separates. That non-inclusive, egotistical mind cannot see the whole, the common good no matter what system it uses to try to solve problems. Conditioned humans are not aware that the root cause of human suffering is not their economy, political system, or distinct beliefs but their identification with their own unchecked, egotistical ever divisive mind.“
The disciple asked: “ Master, many spiritual people say that we are souls or spirits having a physical, human experience; therefore, they teach to avoid activities which will support the experience of being flesh rather than spirit. Many have special diets and avoid mainstream forms of physical exercise. What could you share with me about that?”
The master observed his disciple for a few seconds and responded: “Many will emphasize the ideal and forget what is. That gap will create an inner fight in the follower and dishonesty within.” The disciple wasn’t expecting such generic answer, so he asked for further clarification.
The master said: “ I gave a general answer. If you had experience on what I said, you wouldn’t ask for more. Please remember this: As my answers become more specific they are further away from what is, even though; you may think that you understood.” The disciple did not understand that response either, but thankfully; the master continued.
“ As is your consciousness, so will be your understanding. Your activities will be accordingly. Many want specific answers from an authority so they can follow them based on trust and create a religion or philosophy to proselytize believing to have the right answer, the truth. However; in spirituality you need to walk the path yourself. Knowing the path intellectually is not walking it. But walking it, is to know it.” And then paused for a few seconds to continue: “We are conditioned through society. Many may need to physically exercise according to what society has sold them to be good, respectable, desirable: The gym, the swimming pool or to go out and run. They may create a habit, their bodies are used to that activity which will give them identity, as- I am this- and that could become an addiction fueled through the ideals of improvement and competition, supported by society. The body needs to exercise but exercise is not meant to exhaust you but to give you energy. Others have exercised their entire lives through work. Walking to the office, cleaning the house, farm work etc. but without conscious awareness. Finally there are others using meditative movements as exercise, conscious movements which are not only exercising the body but preparing them for conscious living. Their activities and consciousness will give them their diets. The range goes from eating anything to almost nothing to live well. Many believe that a can of soda is necessary to live or to drink alcohol, or to eat processed food. Others are conditioned to pleasure their sense of taste to eat endlessly, although the human body needs little food to function properly. These individuals are unaware of their addiction for the conditioning of society supports consumerism. They may believe that a person’s well being and happiness depends on obtaining consumer goods and material possessions.”
The disciple said: “ But that is the majority of people.”
The master said: “That is why they are not here now with you. Their consciousness is different. it does not mean that you are better, but just at another stage of the many faces of Life. As we walk the spiritual path our activities will change and so our diet. That change will be natural without inner conflict, in harmony with your new BEING. The only requisite is to honestly die from your old self: Your old beliefs, everything you think you know. I emphasize the word honesty. If we haven’t crossed that threshold we will not be ready for that ideal preached by religions and philosophies.”
The disciple then had an Aha! moment: “Oh, religions and philosophies may emphasize the goal, the final result rather than attending to the individual process, for not everyone is the same.” The master replied: “ Their goal is to massify everything, to gain followers. Even truth sometimes is determined by the number of followers a system has, but spirituality is not concerned with those things. Spiritual progress merges in a seldom walked narrow path.”
“What is the concern of spirituality then?” Asked the disciple.
“Your consciousness.” replied the master.
The master and his disciple sat in front of the Ocean. It was the Bay according to human knowledge but the Ocean nonetheless. The disciple asked: “ Master, you have said that you are here to help me with consciousness and not to give me answers which I should find myself. Why is consciousness so important?”
The master smiled and said: “ Look at the Ocean. Any comments?” The disciple did not take too long to answer: “ Well, it is moving salty water, kind of bluish/greenish color.”
The master said: “That shows your consciousness. It is only about your senses. You are describing what your senses may perceive. That we may call knowledge. Many will change their consciousness momentarily through the ingestion of potions made of plants and thus their perceptions will be different, but the consciousness that we are interested in is BEING. A seeker wants to become good, loving, open, compassionate. BEING is the ultimate of becoming of any spiritual knowledge. “
As they were talking a Dolphin appeared from the Ocean and both looked at their swift, elegant movement. The master said: “ Do you believe that Dolphin to have the same consciousness as yours?” “No, master.” Responded the disciple.
The master then said: “It is like looking at a painting. Your position in relation with that painting will dictate what you perceive and what you don’t. The issue is that most believe what they perceive to be the only truth.” Then the master took a deep breath and continued: “ The human mind perceives separation, fragmentation and thus, there is continuous fight – There is the homosexual and the heterosexual, both identify with a fragment of their reality -their gender, and fight among each other. There cannot be common good in separation. Their fragmented vision is unable to see that both are still human beings. Different but the same.”
The disciple said: “ Oh! I see it. The mind will give a perception based on differences, separation, contrast, analysis, logic and that collective reality we will call truth. But that is just a perception.” The master then said: “ Now see and experience that reality in yourself. That requires consciousness, awareness to nourish your BEING. That experience cannot be told to another. It is not second hand information. You call me master not teacher. A master does not teach, but a teacher does.”
The disciple didn’t understand completely yet so, he asked more questions: “Master, Do i have other ways to perceive Life?” The master replied emphatically as if he wanted for his words to pierce the ears of his disciple: “FEEL IT. The Ocean is there to be felt just like Life. Feeling brings the common good for in that experience, we can connect with another being. The Ocean is a fabulous experience when you feel it. That could change your consciousness. However if you take the word ‘fabulous’ and merely repeat it because that is the ‘right answer,’ your mind may be content with such empty word, but never your heart.”
FEELING is very difficult for those who have been conditioned to only connect with Life through their minds.
The disciple asked: “Master, I hear and read about life in other planets, then about spiritual entities like angels fighting with demons, and then religions preach about repentance of our sins before final judgment. I am confused with all of this. Are those true? What is important to know in Life?”
The master reflected on that question for a few seconds which seemed an eternity to his disciple and said: “ Important? That depends on who you are. Who you are depends on your state of consciousness. Look. Do you recall a time in your life when you thought you were the center of the Universe and everything revolved around you? Most children will go through that stage of great egotism. Plenty will stay that way as adults. For them, there is no other life besides their own. That is, they look up only for number one. “
The master paused and the disciple asked: “But master, how my question is related with your explanation?”
The master smiled and said: “ There cannot be other beings when I am all that matters. Life is about Me. My salvation, my family, my property, my land, my ideas, my religion, my beliefs supporting my life style, etc. With that mentality, all I care about is my life cut off from the rest and later on how to take what I value from others, for I am living to compete. It is the survival of the strongest and I want to be the strongest, it is about force, violence.”
“But master,” interrupted the disciple, “ What is the truth?”
The master looked at the disciple with care and compassion and after half a minute responded: “Have you experienced all of that which you have heard of?” The disciple replied, “No, master.” “Then…” the master said “ That which you have heard or read about cannot be the truth for you. It could be for others who have experienced those things.”
The disciple said: “ Master, Does God exist?”
The master said immediately, “God is needed for such consciousness, the ME first consciousness. God is necessary and helpful as a way to reform their minds from degradation.”
The disciple was a bit tired by now of not getting straight answers and said: “ I see that you will not give me a straight answer, the truth.” The master smiled and said: “ I am here to help you with consciousness, then you will find the answers yourself.”
Those searching for the “truth” are interested only in information. Their minds filled with words and beliefs from their own experiences or others, under the label of “truth.” Those who search for change of consciousness are very rare indeed; for they will need to understand the signs posted by Life pointing to inner change.