Currently, the Life & Zen Series is a set of 5 short books and accompanying audiobooks on various topics regarding our mutual search for our own True Nature. The first book in the series was initially part of a 50 minute talk I authored for an upcoming Science & Non-Duality Conference. It has since been expanded into my favorite of the series (at the moment).
This first book is “Awakening To Your True Nature“, and depending on the channel of release, I may offer it here. Amazon is super fussy about exclusive rights to books released on Kindle, and if I offer it here for free, I will have to offer it for free, forever, on Amazon, even if I someday decide to charge for it. That is going to take some additional thought before I commit.
The way around this caveat is to offer it here only as the audiobook format, which will most-likely be here shortly.
Awakening To Your True Nature (EXCERPT)
What if I were to tell you that, without even knowing any of you, I could point out every Enlightened Being in this room?
It sounds like an incredible feat, but in fact, it’s not that amazing, as every one of us here is Enlightened. And, here’s the kicker: We’re Enlightened from the moment we’re born until the time of our death. Just because we fail to recognize this fact, doesn’t make it less so.
Before any of us became identified with the conditioned voice in our head, we lived purely and completely in the moment, unfettered by the movement of thought. Who we are is actually not that constant chatter and the incessant movement of thought within our heads. We’re the stillness that lies beneath all that noise, the stillness that lies beneath all that fear, pain, restlessness, dissatisfaction, confusion and impatience.
There are many ways to point to this truth, and here is just one:
Imagine that you’re waiting in a long line. Let’s pretend this one is at a grocery store. Think about the conversation that may begin in your head while you wait, especially if you’ve got a lot of things to do that day. For many, we start to ask ourselves if we feel like waiting in this long line. We start to wonder how badly we need this bag of chips or this bottle of soda. We might get upset at the person in front of us if they pull out a checkbook.
We might comment to ourselves; “In this day and age, who still writes out a check? That’s so backwards! I bet they still have an answering machine and listen to music on cassette tapes!”
That voice in our head; that conversation we’re having with ourselves, it’s not our Awakened, Original Mind.
That voice is the voice of the conditioning that most of us have come to identify with. But our True Nature is something quite different. Some call it our Observing Presence. When we are not in touch with our Observing Presence, we have no choice but to become identified with our chattering minds. We become that voice and forget who we truly are; we forget our Enlightened Selves and buy into the illusion that most of our external reality prefers us to believe. Instead of simply observing the progression of thoughts that pass through your mind, you become those restless, insecure and compulsive thoughts. Then, suddenly, you’re at odds with the outside world because you’re no longer at one with who you truly are.
Because of this, you might drop your stuff and walk out of the grocery store in frustration.
Believe it or not, this is quite normal. And this little story is just one “pop quiz” out of countless pop quizzes we can give to ourselves to see if we’re identified with our illusory, false selves, or if we’re in touch with our self-realized, enlightened, awakened self.
Once we realize that the endless stream of thoughts is not us, and only part of the innumerable layers of illusion that have very efficiently buried and obscured the true you, then you can begin to allow those thoughts to be there without being totally drawn into them, without believing in them and subsequently identifying with them. Those illusory thoughts are always telling us: Believe in me, act on me, become me.
OUR CONDITIONED MINDS
When we don’t recognize that subtle process, we begin to experience despair, frustration, dissatisfaction and stress in our lives. Why? It’s because the conditioned mind, by its very nature, makes reality a much, much more difficult place for us to be than it actually is. The conditioned mind has been systematically altered to desire distraction, which is in direct opposition to our True Nature.
The conditioned mind feeds on drama, discontentment and fear. The more of it you allow into your life, the more difficult your life becomes. And this is what brings us to the main point of my discussion with you today: I know what is most important in your life.
How could I know such a thing?
Because our individual missions while on this planet are all identical. That mission is to learn how to separate ourselves from complete identification with the illusory voice in our heads, and to learn to recognize that unshakeable stillness that lies underneath it all.
Buddhism claims to be able to free you from suffering. How on Earth could any spiritual tradition make such a bold claim?
What again might seem like another incredible feat, is simply already knowing the universal source of human dissatisfaction and discomfort: When we don’t know or follow our own heart and instead believe that voice in our head, we get separated from the most assured way of knowing exactly who we are.
How could I possibly know that you’re not following your heart?
It’s easier than you think .
Those who are in direct contact with the truth deep within their heart; act and react to the world in a completely different way than how most of us act and react to the world. Since so few of us ever awaken to our Fully Realized Selves, those who do, stick out like the most beautiful sore thumbs.
Astonishingly, we’re taught from a very young age that our heart cannot be trusted, that we need to listen to our head before we dare follow anything our heart might be trying to tell us.
Few things are further from the truth.
Now, let me offer another shocker:
OUR TRUE HEART
When we are in touch with our True Heart, and we absolutely and completely trust what’s within it, our heart is never, and could never be — wrong.
One of the key problems with our normal waking reality is that so few of us actually trust our heart enough to follow it. That voice in our head is constantly telling us that it can’t be trusted, that it’s too whimsical, too emotional, too idealistic, and that there’s no way we can believe anything it’s trying to tell us. But that’s nothing more than your illusory, ego-self trying to dominate and control you into believing the conditioning that makes us the perfect consumers who never really have the energy or desire to question anything.
So, we remain asleep, and each moment passes, each day, each year, and eventually our entire lives, without ever knowing the real contents of our own heart, without ever knowing the powerful, perfect, and loving beings we truly are.
And this brings us to the idea of opposites. By our very nature, as beings who experience time as a linear progression of events, we exist in what’s known as a dual reality.
Yet our True Nature is one of non-duality.
In a dual reality, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. There’s good and there’s evil. There’s light and there’s darkness. There’s black and there’s white. There’s happy and there’s sad. But these states have absolutely nothing to do with our True Nature, with our peaceful, non-dual selves that have become so buried underneath years of ego-based conditioning, that we’ve forgotten them altogether.
And this is played out time and time again in our normal waking reality, and often on a grand scale. Why did the Tibetan Monks get systematically exterminated? They were not a threat to anyone. They never made any aggressive acts towards their neighbors or anyone for that matter. They believed in nonviolence as a way of life. If so, why were they captured, tortured, and murdered, while their temples were burned down, one by one?
It’s because being in touch with our True Nature is a direct threat to authority…
[— AUDIOBOOK LINK WILL BE HERE —]
– Keith Cleversley, PRESENT MOMENT