Deciding To Wake Up – Are You Ready for Life’s Ultimate Challenge?


The following talk by Jeru Kabbal was recorded live and is part of a Clarity Process training offered by the APT Institute.

Now that you have quite a few tools, and now that you have the big picture and are starting to fill in of the details of the big picture, you are in a position to use almost everything to help you become clear.  Some people feel like they are working on themselves only when they do an individual session, or when they do a group, and I suppose in those cases that it is true.  But you can actually be working on yourself, to use that expression, all the time.

And once you reach a certain place, if you are not working on yourself, you are working against yourself.  Because there are only two states – the state of awareness, and the state of unawareness.  And when you are unaware, that means you are on automatic pilot.  And then you are working against yourself, because your old patterns are beginning to take over again.

Awareness, unfortunately, is not something that you can build up a reserve of.  You cannot say, “I will be very aware all day today, and then tomorrow I don’t have to make an effort, and I will still be aware because I am so full of awareness today”  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.  The moment you lose your awareness, you are just simply unaware, that’s all.  It doesn’t take even five seconds for it to run down.  Awareness can stop immediately.  It’s not like riding a bicycle – when you stop peddling, and the bicycle continues.  With awareness, the moment you stop peddling, the bicycle stops.  And you are on automatic pilot again.  Being on automatic pilot has certain useful aspects.  But you need to decide when you want to be on automatic pilot, and what activities you want to practice on automatic pilot.

For example, driving your car may sometimes be okay to do through the subconscious, because your awareness is someplace else.  But your awareness should always be someplace.  You can’t be aware of everything all the time.  That’s not what is meant by awareness.  Awareness means that your conscious mind is not acting automatically.  The subconscious will act automatically – that is it’s function.

However, if you turn everything over to your subconscious, then you are going to be a victim of your subconscious.  So you have to keep your conscious mind aware.  You have to be watching all the time, if you are really interested in becoming clear, in waking up, in finding out who you are – whatever expression you want to use for that.

Many people in the growth movement, or the spiritual movement, are still operating under old habits, one of which is, “Somebody with authority should do it for me.  Somebody should tell me what to do.  Someone should supervise me.  I can only do this with help.”  You have to be very careful of that pattern, of that attitude.

Because this is just another attitude of the child that you used to be.  So even if you are on the spiritual path, you may not be getting anyplace.  Because another part of you is reinforcing this old attitude of,  “Somebody else should do it for me.”

Having this kind of an attitude, you may arrange to do groups, or to find a teacher, and then feel like you are going to get it from that group, or you are going to get it from that teacher.  And these things can very definitely serve a useful purpose.  But once you get a few insights, once you get the big picture, then it becomes your responsibility to get out of that whatever you can.  And if you don’t take that responsibility, then somehow you are slipping back into those regressed states where you had to depend on somebody else.

All of you now have enough of the big picture, you have enough experience, and you have specific tools that you can use, so now you really have to examine whether or not you are waiting for somebody or something to do it for you.  And if you are, that’s not uncommon.  There is nothing unusual about it.  But you have to know that you are holding yourself back, if that attitude should be there.

There are many people who will take a group, waiting to be pushed.  Because this is their habit.  They haven’t budged probably since the age of three, unless they were pushed.  So this is their way to progress, to put themselves in a position where someone is going to push them.  Again, if you have that attitude, you are going to do yourself a disservice.  A part of you has to decide whether or not you really want to go through this, whether or not you really want to wake up, whether or not you really want to become clear.

And if you do, you have to see that waking up is not like adding a little silver star to your costume.  It means giving up one life totally, in exchange for a better life, a different life.  And maybe you don’t really want to do that.  Maybe you aren’t ready for that.  And that’s alright.  But the point I am trying to make is that this process of waking up is also the process of dying.  Because you are not going to wake up unless you are ready to let go of the person that you are dreaming you are.

If you are asleep, and you are dreaming that you are in Tahiti, and somehow in that sleep you decide that you want to wake up, then you have to let go of Tahiti, because you don’t know if you are going to be there when you wake up.  You have to let go of that person in Tahiti, because that person isn’t going to be there when you wake up.

Once you become clear about this process of waking up, then you have to really decide if that is what you want to do.  Because if you want to do it, it’s a full time job.  It’s a difficult job.  It’s the most difficult job that any human being can possibly undertake.  Going to the moon is nothing in comparison.  Climbing Everest is nothing in comparison.

So you have reached the point now where you need to decide whether or not you really want to do this process of waking up, or whether or not you have done what you have done so far as a kind of strategy.  And it may be that you have done what you have done as a kind of strategy.  But regardless of what motivation you had to get you where you are now, it may be that now you can look at things and decide that you do want to wake up, that you do want to discover who you are, in which case you will truly be on the spiritual path.

If you should decide that, then you will have to watch everything that you do – literally watch everything you do.  You have to ask yourself, am I automatic now?  Am I coming from a dream when I do this?  Is this my movie dictating to me how I see this?  Or am I actually experiencing reality?  It is something requiring constant awareness, because the moment you stop being aware, the moment you stop making that effort, you go right back on automatic pilot, and you are right back in the movie again.

The spiritual practice, the practice of waking up, is not just sitting and meditating with crossed legs and your hands in your lap.  It’s a matter of watching yourself constantly, watching constantly to see where you are stuck in patterns.  Watching to see where you are identifying with your old habits.  Once you become clear about this, then everything you do can help you on your spiritual path.  It doesn’t matter so much what you do, as long as you are watching.  Once you have the basic concepts, and the big picture, you can have any kind of job anyplace in the world and learn from it.  You may not stay in that job, but you can benefit from it.  You can be with any kind of person and benefit from it.

A lot of people on the so-called spiritual path try to protect themselves.  And some of them, for example some of the yogis in India, go so far as to live in caves away from everybody else.  And if you do this, you can achieve a certain kind of calmness.  Because there is nothing there to irritate you.  You get your little world set up the way you want it to be, and you can be calm and peaceful in that little world.

But this doesn’t mean that you are clear.  It only means that you have arranged your patterns so that no one is bugging you.  The question is, how many patterns do you still have?  Because every  pattern is a potential for irritation, a potential for tension.  Every pattern.  Whether it’s a negative pattern, or a positive one.  It means you are automatic, and you are setting yourself up for irritation, because the moment you slip out of the pattern, you feel uncomfortable.

It would be good if you can learn to be open to all kinds of situations, and all kinds of people.  If you do this, people will be constantly pushing your buttons.  And every time a button gets pushed, you know you have a pattern.  You know that you are stuck.  And knowing you are stuck, you can then look and see where this pattern started.  Then you can also clear this pattern up.  You should bless those who push your buttons.  They are giving you a chance to look at yourself.  Because when they push your buttons, they are just touching something that is already present in you, something that probably you don’t want to see.

If you can be around someone who pushes your buttons a lot, I would say go for it.  Be aware of what is actually happening.  See what it is in you that is being irritated.  Because it is in you, it is not in the other person.  And actually, no one can really push your buttons.  You are the one that pushes the buttons.  You are saying, “I don’t like this.  This is dangerous.  This is not in harmony with my script, with my blueprint.  This isn’t the way I want it to be.”  You are the one that pushes your buttons.

If you can find somebody that pushes your buttons,  you can learn after a while not to repress the feelings, but to see that they are coming from patterns from your childhood, and that those patterns are based on dependency.  If you can see that, then you can let go of the patterns.  And the more patterns you can let go of, the more free you are going to be.  And that is the only way you are going to be free, by letting go of your patterns.  You don’t become free by holding on to your patterns and trying to rearrange the world.  You become free by letting go of your patterns.  Then the whole world is your playground.

So in your daily life, use everything.  For example, if you are working in the kitchen, don’t think that you are losing an opportunity to work on yourself.  You probably have more opportunities to watch patterns, to watch habits, to watch attitudes.  We make a subtle distinction sometimes between things like doing a group, and having a normal job.  We think that doing a group is going to bring clarity, and doing a normal job is a waste of time.  And usually that is true.  But once  you reach a certain stage in your development, it isn’t true any longer.  You can do anything as long as you are watching, and it will help you on your path to clarity.  You can be in a group and be unaware, and it won’t help you at all on your path to clarity.  So the secret is being aware, using every opportunity that you have to see where you have patterns, where you have fixed attitudes, and to see if you can let go of them.

This means watching everything you do, whatever you do.  And you will also see that as you watch, you realize that if you object to something, if you say that something is unpleasant, it is really an attitude.  It’s not that the activity itself is unpleasant, it is your attitude about it that makes it seem unpleasant to you.  And when you realize that it is your attitude that makes it seem unpleasant, then you can do something about that, because you can change your attitude.  Maybe you can’t change whatever it is that you are doing, but you can change your attitude.

And once you drop your attitude, then everything is just activity.  And everything can also be a celebration, because you are not tense about what you are doing, you are just doing something.  And if you are aware, you are aware that you are alive, you are aware that you are able to do this, and you are aware that you are able to have fun doing it.  So use everything that comes your way, everything that is happening to you, use it as a method, use it as a device.  Don’t try to arrange your life to make it meditative, but rather let go of your attitudes.

Much of this attitude that we have, that certain activities are good for us, and certain activities are not good for us, probably comes from traditional religion.  And since this has been going on for millennia, it is probably very deep in our collective unconscious now, that we need someone else to give us the answers, we need someone else to tell us what to do and what not to do.  Be very, very careful of that now.  There is really only one thing, and that is, are you coming from the dream, from memory, or are you coming from the here and now?  It’s really all there is to be careful about.

And the more you are in the here and now, the more the old movie is going to fade away, because you won’t be giving it any juice.  But the more you believe in the movie, the more you fight with the movie, the more you try to improve the movie, the more juice you are giving it, and the more you keep it alive.  It is not a complicated thing at all.  It’s just a simple question.  Am I actually in the moment right now, or am I in my movie?  It is made a bit difficult by the fact that the subconscious is the deciding factor.  But that is just something you have to work with.  And you will become more and more aware of what is in your subconscious, as you open yourself up to this.

What I have noticed with groups in general is that during sessions, very often people make an effort to be aware, make an effort to be open, make an effort to be courageous, and the moment the session is over, they let down the curtain as if the show is over, and go right back to being the way they used to be.  They feel safe now.  And then when the next session comes along, they make an effort to open this rusty door, and be more open, more courageous, more honest, more aware, and so forth.

Try not to make that distinction.  Realize that when you are having lunch, you are working on yourself either positively or negatively, whether you like it or not.  When you are going for a walk, you are working on yourself either positively or negatively, whether you like it or not.  When you do practical play, you are working on yourself, whether you like it or not.  If you are not working on yourself in a positive way, you are working on yourself in a negative way.  That is just the way it is.  There is nothing in between.

After the afternoon session, you may have the feeling that, “Now I have nothing to do.  Now I don’t have to be aware.  Now I don’t have to be open.  I don’t have to be courageous.  Now I don’t have to break any patterns.”  And if you take that attitude, you are going to be missing a lot.  Because if you are not using what you have, and you slip back into automatic pilot, then you go in reverse.  And the next day when the session starts, you have to start from someplace further back again.

So stay with it – if you want to.  It’s not for me to decide whether you should stay with it or not.  But if you want to do anything on this so-called spiritual path, if you want to wake up, if you want to find out who you are, there are just certain realities.  And one of those realities is that if you are not aware, you are unaware.  And if you are unaware, you are on automatic pilot.  Another reality is that life will constantly be giving you something to experience.  And then it is for you to decide how you respond to that, or how you react to that.  Whether you react automatically, or if you respond with innocence.

If you see this whole thing as a tremendous effort, if you see this as not being worthwhile, then I would say stop torturing yourself, and go back to a so-called straight life.  Or at least forget trying to wake up.  Because you will just be torturing yourself.  Do something that is easy instead, and maybe the next time around you will be more in the mood.  If you don’t really want to be waking up, then forget it.  Really forget it.  Because you are just torturing yourself, that is all.

It could be that you are not really ready this time around.  Not everybody is.  Many people go into the spiritual path for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with spirituality, that have nothing to do with waking up.  Some people will become part of a religious movement just because they like to be around people.  Or perhaps there is a teacher or guru that is a father figure, and they are still waiting for daddy to tell them what to do, or waiting for daddy to love them.  There are lots of different reasons why people get into this, but it is something that requires tremendous awareness.  It requires a tremendous longing.  And if you don’t have that, you are just going to make life difficult for yourself.  Because a part of you will be pulling in one way, and another part of you will be pulling in another way.

So it would be good for you if you can decide, now that you know what the issue is – perhaps more than you did before – whether or not this is really and truly something that you want to be doing.  Because if it is, believe me, it is a full time job.  When I say that it is a full time job, if you see it as something negative, if you have the feeling that you are giving up something beautiful in order to do this terrible job, then you have missed the point someplace.  And that is what creates torture.

It’s not that it is a lot of work, it isn’t that.  It is only that you have to be clear about whether or not it is what you want.  And if you are clear that it is what you want, then it is not a lot of work.  It requires effort, it requires awareness, but that doesn’t mean that it is work.  Work is not an activity.  Work is an attitude. Usually when we say ‘work’, it’s like saying, “This is something that I don’t want to do.”  Not always, but usually.

You know yourself that some things you call ‘work’ are a lot easier than some things you call ‘play’.  Some things that you call play require a lot more energy, a lot more effort, a lot more concentration, and yet you call them play, because your attitude about it is different.  So be clear about that, that what we call work is not an activity, it is a state of mind.  You can make anything negative by calling it work.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  You may love to play basketball, and you m,ay become a professional basketball player, but if you call it work, you are going to ruin the fun.  You are going to stop enjoying it.  Because it’s work.

So be clear about whether or not you want to wake up, and be also clear about whether or not you feel like you are giving up something beautiful in order to wake up.  If you feel that way, you are not really clear yet about the whole situation.  It’s like discussing with yourself whether or not you want to go on a vacation, or take a trip.  If every time you think about it, you think, “What a nuisance, what a bother,” then be clear about the fact that you probably don’t want to take that trip.  You probably don’t want to go.

But see how you are torturing yourself.  Because a part of you doesn’t want to go, and a part of you says that you should go, for whatever reason.  And it’s the same thing with the spiritual path, the spiritual trip.  Be sure you want to go.  And if you don’t want to go, this doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with that.  But if a part of you thinks you want to go, and another part of you thinks you are giving up something valuable and beautiful in order to make the spiritual trip, then you will just be torturing yourself.  And you won’t get very far – two steps forward, two steps back……..two steps forward, two steps back.

You have to be ready to let go of what you think is your present life, you have to be ready to let go of what you think is your present personality.  You literally have to let go of your life, the life that you are dreaming that you have, because when you wake up, that person that you think you are right now isn’t going to be there.  Somebody else will be there.  Now I am not saying any of these things to make anybody feel bad, or feel guilty, or anything like that.  But don’t just automatically assume that you really want to be on the path.  Maybe you don’t.  And if you don’t, that’s fine.  You will only be making yourself miserable if you are trying to move forward, and at the same time trying to stand still.  You put yourself in conflict constantly.

This process is not so difficult if you are willing to let go of the old.  What makes it difficult is holding on to the old patterns, attitudes, fears, desires – and wanting to have the new in addition to the old.  That doesn’t really work.  If you are going to swim out into the middle of the lake, you have to let go of the pier.  You can’t cling to the pier.  There is no way to do it.  You can try moving the pier into the middle of the lake, and all kinds of other things.  But it still won’t work.  If you are clinging to the pier, you are never going to experience the freedom of swimming without support.

Once you get ready to swim, you feel that you are ready, and you have whatever you need to do that, then you have to let go of the pier.  But you can’t do both.  I don’t mean to make this sound serious.  It probably sounds serious, and I don’t want it to sound that way.  I am only suggesting that you really get clear about what you want.  Because if you are really clear that you want to wake up, then you won’t see anything as being unpleasant, you will only see it as something that is helping you become more clear about yourself.  Every time someone pushes your buttons, you will be grateful to them.  Because it has helped you to see something.  Every time you are in a situation that helps you to see your patterns or habits or attitudes, you will be grateful to that situation.  And every day you will be grateful that Existence is helping you to see where you are stuck.  And by seeing where you are stuck, there is potential for you to become unstuck, to become free.  So use everything.

Everything can be a positive device.  Every time you meet resistance in your life, know that you are the one creating the resistance.  Every time you find something unpleasant, realize that you are the one that is making it unpleasant.  Every time you are frustrated, realize that you are the one that has created that frustration, because you had expectations.  Once you start seeing that, you will see that life is just constantly helping you to wake up.  It is only when you are clinging to the past, and you feel like you need to give it up, that you are in conflict.

My suggestion would be, look very deeply into yourself.  See if this is really what you want, and get as clear about this as you can.  If it feels like you are grateful for all the devices that life is giving you, that is a good sign.  But if your idea of the spiritual path is that it has to be this way, and that way, and not this way, and not that way, then you are just coming from your own patterns.

Once you can get over this psychological hurdle, once you can realize, “What I really want to do is give up my old ideas,” then life will become so light.  Because all you want to do is get rid of things.  Every chance you get, you say, “Okay, I am dropping that one.  I am letting go of this fixed idea.”  And every day you become lighter.  Every day you have learned to relax under some new situation.

But it is only when you have the attitude of letting go that you are going to feel this way.  If you want to hold on to the past and wake up, then you are constantly trying to rearrange things, and it’s very difficult.  You are trying to rearrange your inner self so that it fits the outside, or you are trying to arrange the outside so that it fits the inside.  It is very, very difficult.  But once you become clear that what you want to do is take your clothes off, then with every piece of clothing that you take off, you feel lighter, you feel more free, and that’s all this spiritual path is about – it is just taking off the old clothes that you don’t need any longer.

Question:  “It triggered something for me, about something that happened in the course, when we were talking about being connected to Existence.  One of the strongest things for me while being in nature was seeing that the dead tree is just as much in balance as the living tree, and that death and life are in this balance.  And I feel like in that exercise we weren’t seeing that in ourselves, and I wonder how we can be aware of our own physical death, and be in the moment.  Not just projecting forward and thinking – but a kind of awareness of accepting that we will die, that is very important.”

Jeru:  What happened for you is that in that moment, you were more in the here and now than you are sometimes.  This is one of the advantages of being in the here and now.  You start being open to the messages that the here and now will give you.  Truth is everyplace.  By being open to the moment, you see a dead tree, and you realize that the dead tree is totally in balance, that it is part of a process, and it becomes a teaching for you.  You wouldn’t have gotten that teaching, if at that moment you had been in your head thinking about what you are going to say to so-and-so tomorrow.

So because you were open to that moment, it gave you a teaching, and this will happen.  Your question will also be answered, the question that you just asked, if you can stay in the moment.  And that is not an intellectual thing, it is more of an experiential thing, based on what you actually observe, what you actually experience.  This is typical of what will happen if you can stop trying to figure it out with your mind, and be open to experience, which can only happen in the here and now.

So it left you with a question, but it also gave you a tremendous insight.  And that question that is still there will also be answered, if you can stay in the here and now with it.

So many of our questions are just words, and the whole issue of death is basically just words, not experience.  I doubt that anyone has come back from death and said to any of you, “Man, if you can avoid it, try to avoid it, because it’s hell.”  I doubt that anyone has had that experience of someone coming back to you and telling you how bad death is.  For all we know, it’s the greatest thing that could possibly ever happen to us.  Something that we could really be looking forward to every moment.  Or it may be nothing.  Who knows?  But at least right now, our idea of death is just words – not experiences.

A lot of our ideas about death have been given to us by religions, perhaps as a way to manipulate us.  So even with that, you have to look and see how much this fear of death – if that’s what it is – is just a matter of words, and even a matter of conditioning, and maybe not something that you need to worry about at all.  It may be that you don’t need an answer.  I think the significant thing is that you have an insight by being in the here and now, rather than in your mind.  And if you can be open to that sort of thing, then Existence will give you more and more insights, and more and more answers.

Right now you can only think about death by going into your mind.  And then if you go into your mind to think about death, you are just dealing with words.  You have no genuine experience.  It’s not the same as when you sit on the hot stove with no clothes on – that’s an experience.  And you can say, “I think I’ll avoid that one in the future.”  That’s experience.  Even though that experience in the meantime has become a memory, at least you have an experience.

But with death we don’t have an experience.  So we don’t have any idea whether it’s something to be afraid of or not.  And if you can see that these things happen in nature, that they are in balance, then perhaps we can also say, “Then why should I be afraid of death?”  Death is going to happen.  That’s for sure.  Even though we are projecting, it’s quite sure that it is going to happen.  So why live in fear of it?  If you live eighty years in fear of death, that’s just eighty years of torture.

Question:  “There is something that I don’t quite get.  When you say yes, totally yes, to letting go of your past, it’s something I don’t get – because if I would have a total yes, then I would be enlightened instantly.  But isn’t it like passing through a stage of fear, and clinging, and getting totally lost in it, that is also a part of waking up?”

Jeru:  No.  You have to be clear about whether or not you want to take your clothes off.  If you do, then putting on more clothes isn’t helping you take your clothes off.  And to make the decision to wake up doesn’t mean that you are automatically awake.  If you can say yes to everything, and I mean literally yes, you could say that you would be enlightened.  But it is not the same thing as saying yes to the process of waking up.  If you say yes to the process of waking up, you are saying, “Yes, I would like to be in the position to be able to say yes to everything.”  But that doesn’t mean that you are saying yes to everything.  You are still saying no, even though you say, “I want to say yes.”  Recognize the fact that you are still saying no.  This doesn’t mean that you are awake.  It means that you have recognized the fact that you are asleep, and that you want to get out of that sleep and wake up.

It’s like saying, “Yes, I want to go to town.”  By saying yes to going to town, it doesn’t mean that you are in town.  But by saying “Yes” to going, really saying “Yes” to going, then you are ready to start putting one foot in front of the other, and every moment you are a little bit closer.  But if part of you is saying, “Yes, I want to go to town,” and another part is saying, “No, I don’t want to go,” then you can spend all day shifting from one foot to the other and not getting anyplace.

Question:  “Can it really be that I can influence my four year old so much, that she would support me in this?  Because I think my adult says yes, but then she is saying, I am scared.”

Jeru:  Yes, that is a good question.  That is why you have to help the four year old, or the subconscious, to see that what she is afraid of is not real, that it is irrelevant.  She is afraid of old memories.   She is trying to defend herself.  And because she is trying to defend herself, she is very occupied with trying to fulfill strategies.  But when you can help her see that she doesn’t need to fulfill these strategies, when you can help her see that her fears are unfounded now, that she doesn’t need to defend herself, then she will be willing to relax.  She will be willing to be in the moment.  Because her interest is still your interest.

But as long as she has the feeling that there is a danger there, and that you have to be defended, then she has an obligation to defend you.  And therefore she can’t waste time on this luxury of waking up, because she has to watch out for you, she has to protect you.  But if you don’t help her see that those fears are only fantasy fears, then she has to protect herself, and you, from those things.

So the job is not trying to force her to wake up, but rather to help her, namely your subconscious, understand that what she is afraid of is not real.  It’s just imagination now.  And once she starts seeing that it’s just imagination, it’s just fantasy, then she starts to relax.  And the more this happens, the more energy you have for the present, for the here and now.  And it’s in that space that you are going to be waking up.

Question:  “I wonder, for example, the fellow who is clinging to the dock and doesn’t want to let go, because maybe he doesn’t know any swimming strokes – he has a point in a small way.  And maybe, if the child who has an obligation to protect me doesn’t have a sense of what it would be like in the moment, and can’t get around those fears, in that case wouldn’t it be a good thing to teach us a few strokes, or to invite us to invest in some positive understanding of what it might be like to live in the moment, for example, that Existence will support me.  Merely hearing that I’m going to die isn’t going to satisfy my child at all.  Hearing that Existence will support him will calm him down, and I think make him more able to live in the moment.  Or that I am my experience, and that when I eliminate the movie, this will support me, and I will be thoroughly grounded in Existence.  And other things of that kind.  Rather than merely having to let go of the dock being the only thing I hear.”

Jeru:  So, you would like for us to say these things to you.  Okay, so consider them said.  I would like to think that we have been saying these things, and I would like to think that we have been inviting you to taste the here and now.  The point, however, about being afraid to leave the dock, is well taken.  You cling to the dock because of fear.   And this fear basically is your worry about survival.  And your worry about survival comes because you feel that you are a helpless infant.  And for this reason we do all of the regression work that we do, so that you can see why you are clinging to the dock.

Now we can use another story if you like.  And that is, suppose you were born in the water, and because you were only about a foot long, and the water was relatively deep, you couldn’t swim.  You couldn’t support yourself, because you couldn’t touch bottom.  So you needed somebody to support you, to hold you up.  You have devoted a whole lifestyle now to having someone there to hold you up.  But that was a few years ago.  In the meantime this body, which was a foot long, has become five feet long.  And the water is only three feet deep.  So then it’s just a matter of seeing that in the meantime you are touching bottom, you are standing on firm ground yourself.  There may still be water there, but you certainly don’t need someone to hold you up.  And that is actually a more accurate, a more relevant story.  It’s for you to see that in the meantime you have grown, and that now your feet are touching the bottom, and that the water is only three feet deep.  When you were a foot long, three feet of water was a lot of water.  But now that you are five feet long, three feet is nothing, and your own feet are on solid ground.

But going back to the story of the person clinging to the dock, it is fine to help that person gain some confidence.  And it is fine to help that person learn to swim in shallow water.  That’s not so much the issue.  The issue is whether or not you are clinging to the dock.  That’s the issue.  If you are not ready to swim out into the ocean, that’s fine.  Recognize that.  See that this is what you.  But the best way to let go of the dock is to realize that you don’t need to be clinging to it.

That’s the main thing.
The best way to do that – more specifically, in our work – is to see that you are not a helpless infant, and that you don’t need to cling to the old strategies that you started as an infant.  You don’t need to still feel dependent, inadequate, inferior, and vulnerable.  You don’t need to feel that way anymore.  And there is really  not a lot that you have to learn.  It’s a matter of unlearning, learning that you don’t need to worry.  And for that you will have to look at things carefully enough so that you can see that you don’t have to worry about them.  Existence will take care of the rest.  You need to get to the place, if you are going to continue this journey, where you are clear about the fact that you really and truly want to be on the journey.  And if you don’t want to be, that is fine.  But you are only torturing yourself, if part of you says that you want to be on the journey, and part of you is resisting it all the way.  Really watch that.  See if you can become clear about it.  Once you get clear about it, everything will be so much easier.

Question:  “When you say that you need to be clear, do you mean that the conscious mind has to be clear?”

Jeru:  You have to start with the conscious mind.  That’s what you use to clear up the subconscious mind.  But the conscious mind has to be clear that it wants to do this.  If it doesn’t want to do this, if you are not clear at that level, then your subconscious is going to manipulate you.  So it’s the conscious mind that has to be clear first, because the subconscious isn’t clear.  You have to use the conscious mind to clear up the subconscious…

Artikel verschenen in InZicht November 2002,
Themanummer Integratie Spiritualiteit en het dagelijks leven

Op de computer voor me zit een mug. Prachtig van kleur (zachte bruintinten), elegant en levend. Een ongelooflijk verfijnd wezen. Ontstaan uit het niets, net als ik. Er naar kijkend groeit in mij een diepe blijdschap over het wonder van het bestaan. Tegelijk heb ik ontzettende zin om hem dood te slaan. Ik voel me door dit wezentje bedreigd. Het lust mij.

Wat hebben spiritualiteit en het dagelijks leven met elkaar te maken, en hoe integreer je de twee? Mijn antwoord op deze vraag is dat ze niets met elkaar te maken hebben, en je vooral niet moet proberen de twee te integreren. Het leven is de vorm waarin het bestaan zich op dit moment afspeelt. Het dagelijkse leven is die vorm gezien vanuit je menselijke blik die gekleurd is door je geschiedenis. De vraag “wie ben ik?” is een totaal andere dan “hoe leid ik mijn leven?”. Om het antwoord op de eerste vraag te kunnen ervaren, zal je de tweede moeten loslaten.

Dit alles is eigenlijk heel eenvoudig, maar toch blijven mensen zich steeds vergissen en halen de boel door elkaar. Het wezen van spiritualiteit is het zien dat je niet bestaat. Niet het begrijpen ervan. Het zien, het ervaren. En op het moment dat je daarover gaat praten, begint de wartaal. Ik zeg dat ik niet besta en dat het een enorme bevrijding is. Wat is dat voor een lariekoek! Hoe kan ik bevrijd zijn door het zien van mijn niet bestaan als ik er helemaal niet ben en wat is het dan wat dat ziet dat het er niet is en dus helemaal niet kan zien! Wat valt er dan in hemelsnaam te bevrijden? En door dat tegen iemand te zeggen impliceer ik daarbovenop nog dat die ander er wel is. Ja zeg! Als de een er is, is de ander er ook. Of we zijn er allebei niet en dan zeg ik het dus tegen niemand… En zo is het ook. Er is niemand en niets te bevrijden en elke spirituele cursus en/of uitwisseling is complete onzin.

En toch ben ik diep diep dankbaar dat er iemand is geweest (in mijn geval Jeru Kabbal) die de moeite nam deze onzin, ondanks het zien van de onzin ervan, toch aan me te vertellen, opnieuw en opnieuw, en me de gelegenheid bood me te trainen in het helderder en helderder waarnemen van wat is, tot, op een rustige namiddag, zomaar zonder enig vuurwerk, de stop eruit viel en dat was het dan.

Wat was de invloed daarvan op het dagelijks leven? Die was verbijsterend. De chemische invloed van ‘het zien’ op het lichaam was in mijn geval enorm. Na een periode van euforie (I did it!) is het lichaam totaal in de war geraakt en heeft een half jaar nodig gehad om het te accepteren, ermee te willen leven. Ik ging roken en drinken, stopte totaal met mediteren en was wanhopig. Waar was ik? Wie deed dit alles. Ik niet! Het gebeurde allemaal gewoon. Er was niemand die nog ergens vat op had. Aan de buitenkant leek het wel zo, maar aan de binnenkant was het leeg. Heel erg leeg. Het enige reële was een soort alom aanwezige glimlach die al deze ellende welwillend beschouwde. Ik zweer je, het was niet te doen. Probeer maar eens met een gerust hart met 120 over de snelweg te zoeven terwijl je bij god niet iemand kan vinden die stuurt! Ondank zeven jaar spirituele training was ik hier niet op voorbereid. Ondanks dat ik het al jaren begreep en vele doorkijkjes had beleefd en het in alle boeken had gelezen. Er was toch nog altijd ‘iemand’ geweest die het beleefde. Zelfs in het zien van ‘het zijn van alles’. Er was nog een gevoel van ‘ik ben dat’. Nu was ook dat verdwenen. En een weg terug was er niet. Wat het lichaam ook deed om het bewustzijn te benevelen en het oude vertrouwde gevoel van een ‘ik’ terug te vinden: het was tevergeefs. Pas toen het lichaam zag dat het in staat was de illusie van een ik zelf te creëren, en dat een ik niets anders is dan die zelfgecreëerde illusie, gaf het de strijd op en legde zich neer. De glimlach drong bruisend tot in alle poriën.

Nu, ruim drie jaar later, weet ik dat er wel degelijk een middel is wat het oude vertrouwde ‘ik’ weer terug kan brengen. Een zacht en sluipend oerkrachtig middel: de kracht der gewoonte, de kracht van het dagelijkse leven. Het leven temidden van al die anderen voor wie een ‘ik’ iets volstrekt vanzelfsprekends is en waar alle structuur en omgang op gebaseerd is. Daarnaast is het zo dat alles went, zelfs het functioneren met een illusie-ik. Op een gegeven moment is het contrast weg en merk je het niet meer. En het lichaam doet gewoon wat het doet en begint weer te geloven in z’n creatie. Voor je het weet is het spirituele geïntegreerd in het dagelijks leven (zou je kunnen zeggen) en verdwenen. Ja, het kan zijn dat je er een beter mens door geworden bent, zachtmoediger, rustiger, relativerend en liefdevoller. Alleen die gedachte al, dat je er beter van bent geworden, toont dat je weer wortel schiet. Je zien is vergleden in een weten. Aan de buitenkant ziet het er misschien nog verlicht uit, en je kan er mooi en levendig over vertellen, maar aan de binnenkant is er weer iemand. Een controleur, een weter, een volger van regeltjes. Iemand die zich afvraagt: “hoe?”.

Om het spirituele levend te houden, zich te laten verdiepen en verdiepen, om het creëren van een ik door het lichaam te doorzien, moet je ver blijven van het dagelijks leven. Het is daarvoor niet nodig je terug trekken in een spirituele gemeenschap of in een kluizenaars bestaan. Nee, juist temidden van het dagelijks leven blijf je er tegelijk ver van. Je laat het zich afspelen zoals het doet. Alsmaar bereid het niet bestaan van jezelf en de ander te zien. Letterlijk zien. Dat is geen eenvoudige opgave. Het vergt veel wakkerheid van je inzicht en groot mededogen van het denken/voelen. Zelfs al weet je dat je er niet bent, zodra het lichaam functioneert met zelfs al de veronderstelling van een ‘ik’, treedt er verduistering in. Niet erg. Doet niets af aan de realiteit. Iemand die zichzelf ervaart als bestaand, is er net zo niet. Toch is er groot verschil tussen weten en zien. Wil spiritualiteit tot leven komen in het dagelijks bestaan, dan vergt dat een zien.

Terug naar de mug. Er is een spirituele blik, het zien van het niet-bestaan, en een menselijke blik, gekleurd door geschiedenis. Het spirituele wakker zijn beïnvloedt wel degelijk de menselijke blik. De diepe vrede en het zien op dat moment, dat die mug en ik één en het zelfde ‘zijn in niet-zijn’ zijn (daar begint de wartaal weer), tempert de neiging tot doodslag die een gevolg is van het lichamelijk bedreigd voelen. Dit heeft niets van doen met enig ‘regeltje’ of voorschrift en is geen gevolg van denken, afwegen en beslissen. Ook heeft het niets te maken met spiritualiteit. Het is gewoon de chemie die zich in het lichaam afspeelt. Sterker nog: voor het spirituele oog is het doodslaan van de mug net zo okay als het laten leven. Ook een dode mug is een prachtig stukje bestaan. Om het wat cru te zeggen: een moordenaar is net zo prachtig als een heilige.

99% procent van de mensen hoopt met de spirituele zoektocht een verbetering te kunnen aanbrengen in zichzelf en hun dagelijks leven. Wie weet zelfs de hele wereld te verbeteren! Integratie van spiritualiteit in het dagelijks leven klinkt goed en veelbelovend. Het is een doodlopende weg. Spiritualiteit vraagt van je om alles te laten zoals het is en te kijken. Al je energie te geven aan het kijken. Dat betekent niet dat je niets doet, maar dat je, door een innerlijke stap achteruit te zetten, het doen de ruimte geeft om zich te voltrekken. Op alle niveaus. Je laat gebeuren. Je houdt op jezelf en de ander, de wereld, actief te bekijken en beïnvloeden vanuit je denkbeelden. Je neemt waar. Je neemt het geheel waar. Alles inclusief. Alles wat maar op het scherm van de waarneming verschijnt, zonder discriminatie. Dus ook je oordelen. Je staat jezelf helemaal toe in al z’n verschrikking. Dat kan lijnrecht komen te staan tegenover je gewenste verbetering! Veel ‘guru-hoppen’ vindt mijns inziens plaats op die momenten waar dat van je wordt gevraagd. Impliciet en expliciet.

Steeds weer gebeurt het dat spiritueel ontwaakten zich op het gebied van de moraliteit begeven. Het ‘hoe’ van het dagelijks leven. Dat is begrijpelijk als je ziet dat de mens zich voortdurend druk maakt om niets en onnodig lijdt. Je zou wel willen schreeuwen dat dat nergens voor nodig is; dat ieder wezen een uitdrukking is van de ongelofelijke liefde van het bestaan voor zichzelf; dat ieder alles is en niets, en dat het gevoel een aparte eenheid te zijn een illusie is; een illusie die vanuit diezelfde liefde gecreëerd is! Maar dat is je menselijke blik die dat wil, gekleurd door je geschiedenis, en niet je spirituele blik. Never en nooit niet kan spiritualiteit je een manier bieden om je dagelijks leven te leiden. Iets zijn dat in iets anders geïntegreerd zou kunnen worden. Het is de blik op het geheel, een zien. Zodra het tot een voorschrift of een regel vervalt, een doen, een zus of zo, verhuist het naar het domein van het dagelijks leven en verlaat de spiritualiteit. Voorschrift is geen inzicht. Elke ‘hoe’ leidt tot een voorschrift, een handleiding. Elk handelen uit voorschrift heeft de neiging tot verstarren. Tot vasthouden in plaats van laten stromen. Tot volgen in plaats van onderzoeken. Wie weet zelfs tot vergelijken met andere handleidingen, tot een gevangenis of een honk, iets om te verdedigen of te verdelgen.

Er is werkelijk geen enkel ‘hoe’ dat je oog kan openen. Alleen het heldere inzicht in de werkelijkheid kan je bevrijden van de illusie van het ik, en niets anders. En er is niemand die je het kan vertellen, je kan het alleen zelf zien. En als je het ziet, heb je nog steeds geen flauw idee hoe het je leven zal beïnvloeden. Hoe minder je zogenaamde ik zich ermee inlaat, hoe meer het spirituele zien door kan dringen in het dagelijks handelen.

Het is nu eenmaal ongelooflijk moeilijk voor het denken om te bevatten dat de goddelijke realiteit geen moraliteit kent. Geen goed en kwaad. Eet je van de boom der kennis van goed en kwaad, zo zegt een oud verhaal, dan is een verblijf in het paradijs niet meer mogelijk. Goed en kwaad bestaat alleen als er een doel is. Elk doel is een denkbeeld, een idee, en komt uit het deel van je bewustzijn dat gevormd is door je geschiedenis. Uit herinnering dus. Niet uit de goddelijke ervaring van het nu. Ons denkapparaat is gemaakt om te discrimineren, om te onderscheiden, om goed en kwaad (beter/slechter, lekker/vies, licht/donker enz.) te creëren. Een bruikbaar stuk gereedschap voor een lichaam dat zichzelf zo lang mogelijk in stand wil houden. Ook de illusie van een afgescheiden ‘ik’ heeft in dat licht een functie. Een efficiënt gebruik van dat stuk gereedschap vraagt wel om realisme. Dat realisme zijn veel mensen kwijt. Het hervinden van je realisme kan je integreren in het dagelijks leven. Je kan versluierende denkbeelden ontrafelen en ophelderen. Psychische belasting door onverwerkte trauma’s kan worden verlicht. De realiteit van je volwassenheid en het niet meer bestaan van de afhankelijkheid van vroeger kan tot je doordringen, en dit kan dieper en dieper worden gebracht, zodat je lichter en lichter wordt. Voor dit alles zijn allerlei methodes (hoe’s) geschikt en ondersteunend. Dit kan noodzakelijk voorwerk zijn om het voor elkaar te krijgen om je energie te richten op het waarnemen van wat is, en te stoppen met iets te willen verbeteren. Maar… verwar deze methodes niet met spiritualiteit! Spiritualiteit kan beginnen, waar de behoefte aan veranderen eindigt.

Op het moment dat ik zie dat mijn eigen dood en leven net zo irrelevant en prachtig is als die van de mug, komt spiritualiteit tot leven. Dan danst de eenheid, in bewustzijn, zijn kleurig bestaan, sprankelend van vreugde om zijn eigen wonder. Verstoppertje blijft een spannend spel…

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