What We Know, Truly

What, other than the fact that you’ve never experienced an absence of Awareness, do you know to be true?

For example:

If you wake up and the grass is wet, do you know that it rained?
Do you know, for sure, that you control your thinking, attitude, and actions?
That hard work is the key to success?
That a growth mindset is better than a fixed mindset?
That a focus on process is better than a focus on outcome?
That struggle builds character?
That positivity is better than negativity?
That you are a specific religion or nationality?
That borders are real.
That human beings have the power to think, feel, or know?
That matter exists independent from mind?
That you can have a cluttered mind?
That you were born?
That you die?
That you grow old?
That you are a woman or man?
That you work outside-in?
That you work inside-out?
That your feelings come from your thinking?

The answer: Well, have you actually experienced any of the above?

Or do they represent layers upon layers of opinion? Layers upon layers of ego? Layers upon layers of dogma? Layers upon layers of belief?

All taking you further away from Truth.

All taking you further away from the essence of experience.

All taking you further away from the only “thing” that you can ever be:

The true you—Awareness itself.

Garret

The True Meaning of Stillpower

Note: This week, a second article (relevant to those interested in both the original work of Syd Banks and Non-duality) can be found on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/garret.kramer.1.  G

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What seems like a lifetime ago, my first book, Stillpower, was published. Actually, and it seems funny to say, I wrote much of the book under the working title: Why the Grind?

But even funnier, or not, it wasn’t till about five years ago that the true meaning behind both titles became glaringly obvious.

That is, as a former grind-it-out type of athlete, person, and thus sufferer, I long ago intuited that there had to be a better way. In the recesses of my mind, I knew that effort should be essentially effortless. That passion and toil were antonyms. I knew that the only place “the grind” ultimately takes you is to the emergency room, if not to a counselor’s couch.

I also knew that stillpower trumped willpower. So, I wrote an entire book encouraging this understanding. And because at the time this understanding was relatively new to the world of performance, the book helped my career tremendously.

The book, however, missed the mark tremendously.

And here’s why:

It’s not work, effort, thorough exploration, or detailed study that’s ever an actual problem. Rather, it’s the perspective from which you work, bring effort, explore, or study. Are you seeking externally, in the material world, or looking within? Are you grasping for objects or exploring the Self? Are you straying from Source or staying with Source?

In short, seeking externally will always feel like a grind because when we look for who we are in who we are not (thoughts, feelings, the body, relationships, money, gurus, championships, status, practices, activities, substances), we’ll always suffer. Thus, we’ll need to summon willpower or grind to carry us through.

On the other hand, looking toward Source (Consciousness, Awareness, God’s infinite Being, or Love) will always feel calm and quiet, simple yet energetic, because there’s no actual step from who we are to who we are. Thus, looking to Source requires no force or exertion.

The bottom line is that exploring Source or Consciousness—i.e., self-inquiry, surrender, or the folding of the mind into the heart—does require time; it does require effort. In order to know who you are, you must hang out with who you are. But it won’t take a toll (when that happens, you’re again seeking in the material world). Self-inquiry spawns effortless effort, or stillpower, indeed.

“Stillpower” was the right word. I was on the right track. Yet, stillpower bordered on becoming a method rather than the cessation of methods; it bordered on becoming an object rather than the intuitive effect of inward exploration. 

Speaking of inward exploration, The Path of No Resistance  . . who knew?

Garret

The Diabolical Aspect of Belief

Imagine this scenario:

A person named Garret is suffering. You might even say he’s depressed. So, because our culture believes that suffering is a sign of dysfunction (belief #1 in our scenario), that suffering must be fixed (belief #2), and that certain people can be trained to help other people fix suffering (belief #3), Garret seeks the counsel of an expert who has been trained to help people in this fashion.

They meet. First step? The expert attempts to figure out why Garret is suffering—there has to be a why (belief #4). The expert then goes through a checklist of possible reasons (each reason represents another belief in itself). Garret is suffering because . . .

a.   Of the past

b.   Of the future

c.   Of his conditioning

d.   Of his biology

e.   Of his circumstances

f.    Of his thinking

g.   He thinks he is his thinking

h.   He thinks he should follow his thinking

i.    He thinks his feelings are caused by outside stuff

j.    He thinks his sense of well-being being depends on outside stuff

k. He doesn’t know that he can only feel his thinking in the moment and not outside stuff

l. He doesn’t understand the mind

m. He’s not positive or confident

n. Etc., etc., etc.

Garret then identifies with one or more of these reasons (belief #5), and he and the expert then work through methods or processes (belief #6) to help him overcome this diagnosed cause of his suffering.

But let’s take a huge step back.

Following the beliefs of our culture is what led Garret to the expert in the first place. And if that wasn’t problematic enough, now the expert (who, while well-intentioned, is also a victim of belief) has now presented Garret with potential causes for his struggle that didn’t even exist for Garret until he met with the expert.

In other words, using reason j above as an example: Garret now believes that “he thinks his sense of well-being depends on outside stuff,” even though, prior to this meeting, Garret had never experienced his sense of well-being depending on outside stuff. The thought had never crossed his mind!

A belief leading to a belief, leading to a belief . . . a never-ending search outward.

Bottom line? Belief can be diabolical.

Rather, when presented with someone’s perspective on any issue (even an expert’s)—explore this perspective.

Is it accurate?

Does it align with your actual experience or is it merely a belief?

Just because an expert, or our culture, says something is true does not make it so.

And one last thing: When it comes to suffering, we’ve been following belief for long enough.

Could it be that prolonged suffering simply stems from the belief that feelings have a cause, require a cure, or indeed can be cured?

I’d say the answer is yes. 

But, please, don’t believe me.

Garret

Who are We? Two Possibilities, Two Reactions

This week, a short post that will hopefully stir some reflection for you as it did for me.

It’s interesting.

Here’s what I tend to experience when I consider the possibility that we are not actually a multiplicity of beings (as we’re taught), but rather we are one being playing a multiplicity of parts:

While I still possess my personal preferences or ideas of right and wrong, I lose the tendency to blame others when their preferences, behavior, and ideas of right and wrong don’t line up with mine.

On the other hand, here’s what I tend to experience when I fall back into the old belief that we are actually a multiplicity of separate beings:

I silently blame others, and myself, for just about everything. Plus, I grapple with the impulse to lash out when the preferences, ideas, and behavior of others don’t line up with mine.

How about you?

And if your experience is similar, what can we learn from it? Especially in this day and age of political turmoil and constant back-and-forth attacks.

Garret

There’s No End to Suffering

Imagine a world in which no one tried to fix their own suffering.

Give yourself a minute . . .

Do you see a world at war?

Or

Do you see a world at peace?

Oh, I know. You feel, believe, and have been taught that suffering must be managed or willed away. Every expert under the sun claims to have the method, activity, motivational mantra, routine, practice, or substance promised to lead to positivity or peace of mind.

But honestly, in your experience, have any of these ever worked? Or do you employ methods, find relief, suffer again, then repeat this very cycle?

Why, then, do you—or better yet, we—keep seeking an end to suffering? 

Could it be that we can’t find one? 

After all, for thousands of years, the smartest minds in the universe (prophets, clerics, doctors, neuroscientists, researchers, professors, physicists) have done their best to solve the riddle of suffering; tons of theories have been proposed. If suffering could be terminated or even managed with any consistency, wouldn’t we have figured it out by now? 

And even more critical, could it be that the suggestion that suffering must be fixed and the subsequent attempt to fix it are actually contributing to the disharmony of our culture? Could it be that looking outward for the cause and cure for suffering leads to blame and our widespread habit of lashing out? 

What if to solve the riddle of suffering, we must consider the opposite approach? 

What if to live without suffering, we must first be willing to live with suffering?

Again, nothing else is doing the trick.

The next time you suffer, don’t run. Don’t cope. Don’t temporarily distract yourself. Don’t look for the cause or the cure.

See what the experience of living with suffering actually brings. 

In the absence of resistance, perhaps you—and the world—will find peace.

Garret

The Stigma

Have you heard of the “stigma” around mental health and the crusade to overcome it?

It goes something like this:

“Mental health is a subject that people feel embarrassed to speak about. But we all face these types of challenges; insecurity is not something to hide. Let’s encourage each other to be brave and seek help when we need it.”

Right off the bat, let me just say that this so-called stigma is nothing more than a belief. A belief that you need not subscribe to. In my experience, we’re not embarrassed to speak about this issue any more than we’re embarrassed to speak about any other issue. The question, then, is what really keeps us from seeking the guidance of mental-health professionals when insecurity strikes?

Could it be the methodology of the mental-health profession in general? 

A methodology that centers around treating, fixing, changing, coping, controlling, or managing the psyche or separate self. Could it be that we possess a keen sense that something about this methodology just doesn’t add up?

I’d say the answer is yes. 

In the back of our minds, there’s a knowing that, because a human being or separate self is nothing more than a transient image or refraction of Consciousness, it is our very nature to be insecure (to come and go). Thus, any attempt to fix insecurity is futile.

In fact, we should be commended—not stigmatized—for this knowing and subsequent refusal to seek help in a methodology built on misunderstanding. 

The bottom line is that we cannot fix who we’re meant to be. From the limited perspective of a human being, insecurity is fundamental. So you are right to avoid any methodology that attempts to make a body-mind secure. You are right to not try to treat temporary sensations of fear and lack. You are right to turn away from experts who attempt to hoodwink you into the belief that there’s something amiss if you don’t feel resilient, confident, or mentally tough. 

You know as much as anyone. Don’t let others convince you that you need to be fixed. You cannot escape insecurity. But you can explore, and understand, what the body-mind actually is (a transient image that comes and goes within Consciousness). 

This exploration will display insecurity in a whole new light. 

 Garret




No One is Broken?

In today's self-help community, New Age spirituality movement, and some branches of psychology, the in-vogue refrain: “No one is broken,” strikes at the heart of perhaps the most overlooked element when it comes to teaching, coaching, or counseling:

That is, who is this “one” that is not, or cannot, be broken?

Without clarification, confusion is a pretty sure bet.

Why?

Because, by nature, the individual, personal, or separate you or me is indeed broken.

Or more aptly described: divided, insecure, transient, not even a thing.

We’re merely images or refractions of who we truly are: the infinite Being, Consciousness, that is indivisible and, yes, cannot be broken.

It’s simple. Trying to convince a separate self that it’s not broken or resilient is like trying to teach a shadow to walk.

We are not broken; broken we are. Who or what are you speaking to?

Call the separate self out for precisely what it is: an agency that yearns to be whole again. And then point to the wholeness from which this agency springs.

No one is broken.

Right on.

What is “not two” can never be split.

Garret

In or Out?

Does the world appear inside or outside the mind?

If the world appears outside the mind, then it would make sense to fix the world in order to fix the mind.

If the world appears inside the mind, then it wouldn’t make sense to fix the world in order to fix the mind.

So, which is it?

Indeed, we live in a culture founded on the premise that the world does appear and exist outside the mind. And thus, our culture keeps trying to fix, control, stockpile, or in some cases rid ourselves of the contents and circumstances of the world in order to fix the mind.

But how are we doing?

Are we living in love and compassion? Are we living in peace of mind?

Not exactly.

So, could it be that our culture’s founding premise is backward?

Could it be that—rather than continuing to search for new methods, activities, strategies, rules, relationships, boundaries, or substances in order to find peace of mind—we should ask ourselves, as I did earlier, if anyone has ever experienced a world, or anything, outside of the mind?

Fact is: No one can answer yes to this question.

And if nothing’s ever been found outside of or separate from the mind, wouldn’t this mean that everything—the entire world of objects, others, and events—appears inside the mind and is made of mind?

Could this be the simple reason that by innocently but fruitlessly trying to fix the circumstances of the world, we keep spinning our wheels; moving further and further away from love, compassion, and peace?

After all, in the history of mankind we’ve tried everything—except considering that the world just might be made of mind, not matter.

So, why not consider it?

Rather than desperately seeking solutions, let’s explore and understand what problems are made of, what the world is made of, and most important, what we are made of. Let’s consider the possibility that we’re trying to fix what isn’t there as we know it. And then, let’s consider the implications of this possibility.

For starters, here’s an interesting implication:

If we are made of mind—i.e., infinite and eternal Consciousness itself—then we don’t need to be fixed.

Are you in or out?

Garret

The self Cannot Know God

You’re trying so hard, but . . .

The self cannot know Love.

The self cannot know Peace.

The self cannot know God.

These are the interchangeable names we give to what’s real; names synonymous with Source.

And while it’s noble to try, the self cannot access or know its Source. The self cannot experience what’s real because any knowing from the perspective of the self is an imagined knowing. 

In other words, you (the self) are merely the image or agency that God uses to “know” what is not real; to know something—objects, selves, a world—other than itself. God doesn’t need you to know itself. God knows itself by itself as itself. 

So, stop trying so darn hard.

You cannot know—let alone seek your way to—Love, Peace, or God. A personal relationship with the impersonal is simply not possible. You’re here at the will of God for the exact opposite “reason.”

It is through you that God knows an illusory world of form. 

Garret

No Matter the Ego, Head for Home

Throughout history, and in all fields, there’s been a select few who have challenged current models. You know some of the names: Jesus, Copernicus, Gandhi, King. In the face of vast backlash, these innovators or change agents have helped strip away our culturally conditioned beliefs.

What you might not know is that the work you read about here each week—which points away from the belief that who you truly are is a separate self, person, or ego, and toward the intimacy or indivisible nature of all experience—is also the subject of backlash. Why? Because the ego, in order to maintain its apparent existence, must resist. It must fortify its “humanness.” It will accuse the one who points toward true nature, the change agent, of not living in the real world. It will insist that he or she is woo-woo, impractical, or divisive. It might even poke fun and belittle.

But here’s the thing: There’s nothing more impractical and divisive, let alone unproven, than the belief that who you are shares the limits and destiny of the body and mind. In fact, understanding that the true Self is infinite and eternal, that it does not lack—that who you are is Freedom, Love, or God’s Being itself—is what allows life to be authentically lived in the so-called “real” or objective world. In other words, a productive physical life is contingent on first understanding that true nature is anything but physical.

At a time or two, you’ve had the inkling that there’s more to a body and mind, more to life, more to the appearance of separation than meets the eye. So, explore this inkling with all your heart. Regardless of ego, even when it mocks or kicks back with vengeance, keep going. If you need support, look to fellow explorers on this direct or pathless path.

To no avail, the world has turned outward to objects and others, insisted that answers are found in an illusory human experience, for long enough.

It’s your sacred calling to set a resolute example and, no matter what, courageously head for Home.

Thank you for reading,

Garret

Stay With Me

In a self-help world of experts, methods, and techniques, here’s a brief reminder: Pushing discomfort, anxiety, or fear away; trying to be more upbeat or positive; coping or managing thoughts and feelings—serves but one purpose. It reinforces the culturally conditioned belief that certain thoughts and feelings are unbearable. In other words, when you attempt to distract yourself from certain thoughts and feelings, without realizing it, you are perpetuating them.

Rather, before you seek or resist, simply pause. Draw close to thoughts and feelings. Be with them.

You’ll find that, in your actual experience, nothing is unbearable. Who you are is completely open. Who you are is resilience, freedom and peace, itself

Inward and up,

Garret

 

Hooked on a Feeling

In many self-help and spiritual circles, including this community, the advice, “Look for and find a good feeling” is common. And for obvious reasons. What person doesn’t covet a so-called "good" or "beautiful" feeling? One of relief, satisfaction, or comfort. And while the objective search for a good feeling is logical, when it comes to getting to the root or nature of experience, when it comes to an exploration of who you are, when it comes to the eradication of belief, when it comes to long-term peace, please consider that a good feeling is not the place to look.

Here's why:

Feelings have an objective quality to them. Like all objects, they are known. They are transient. They are insecure. They come and they go. Thus, a good feeling provides no lasting guidance. In fact, looking for and finding a good feeling—absent of an experiential understanding of true nature—is at the heart of addiction. It provides glimpses of respite, only to be veiled by insecurity once more.

On the other hand, the realization that who you are does not share the limits or destiny of the body, the realization that you are Consciousness itself, is neutral. It arrives with no bells, no whistles, no fanfare. Actually, since Consciousness is found in the absence of a separate self, ego, or body, it’s also found in the absence of feeling. With no sense of self, there are no feelings at all.

Remember: Feelings are an impermanent thrill ride. Consciousness, however, remains lovingly indifferent, steadily at peace, and eternally present.

Seek and get hooked on a good feeling—still seem like a good idea?

How about: Explore who you are. Find what does not come and go; what has never left your side.

Get hooked on that.

Garret