Absent of the Personal, Love Abounds

As some of you know, my father passed away three months ago. As only a few of you know, my father and I had, to say the least, a tumultuous relationship. In fact, it was the fallout from this relationship that initiated my journey of self-discovery many years ago. Upon his passing, however, this journey has taken an unexpected and profound turn that I’m ready to share with you today.

Truth is: In the waning months of my father’s life, I became increasingly worried that we wouldn’t clear up the misgivings between us. Even worse, I was terrified that I would live with resentment toward him the rest of my life. And during my visits to Florida to see him or take him to treatment over the past year, these fears were confirmed—he expressed no willingness for compassionate closure and no desire to make amends. It seemed that he just couldn’t face it. And although I kept it to myself, my concern and resentment were building and building right up until the day he died. 

But here’s the unexpected and profound turn I referenced earlier: Now that his body is gone, I’m experiencing no resentment at all. Any sense of blame has vanished. On the contrary, without trying to forgive or let go, my love for my father has never been more present and powerful. It’s virtually impossible to conjure up a memory with pain.

So, what’s this all about? Simple actually: Absent of the personal, love automatically abounds. It is the body-mind that veils who we truly are, love (Consciousness or God’s infinite Being) itself. In other words, love’s not found in a person. My father’s body has gone, and now, the love underneath—a love that’s always billowing beneath the surface—is all that remains.

To be clear, I don’t mean to imply that to know love, the death of the human body is required. Even through heartache, my father and I shared many loving moments where we lost ourselves in sport, in long drives to my games or tournaments, or in talks about our mutual interest in coaching (incidentally, he was one heck of a hockey coach).

What is required to know love, however, is the felt experience that we are not the body-mind. Again, love is the mutual recognition of the Being we share. When a sense of self, or the body-mind, dissolves or passes on, this shared Being is revealed.

Sadly, my father didn’t quite see this. As body-minds are wont to do, he searched for a good feeling—for love—in activities, in environments, and in others. Particularly in me, his oldest child. It was this very seeking that obscured his love. And to be fair, it was resistance to his seeking that obscured mine. 

But no more.

My father and I were love. My father and I are love. And now, effortlessly, this love is building and building with each passing day.

Thank you for reading these words. It means a lot to me.

Love,
Garret

The Foundation

Are you living a life whose foundation is belief?

Is your life built upon the belief that you’re, say . . . an American?

Or a member of a specific religion or community?

How about a race, gender, or orientation?

Or that you’re a liberal or conservative?

An introvert?

A people person?

A competitor?

An environmentalist?

Or the primary belief that you were born and are going to die—that who you truly are is the body and mind?

If so, I’d like to propose another option.

But first, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with the above. It’s just that most of us, without realizing it, are living a life built upon what our conditioning has told us is true. Most of us are living a life built upon labels void of actual experience. Most of us are living a life built upon belief. And that you might want to reconsider.

Why?

Because beliefs change. They’re transient. They come, they go. They can only persist (for a while) via the grind of discipline, tension, or will. Which, sadly, we’re taught is good for us.

But what about a life built upon the only thing that doesn't change?

What about a life built upon the only thing you can say for sure is true?

What about a life built upon your very essence?

In other words, what about living a life with Consciousness (or Awareness) as the foundation?

You’ve never experienced an absence of Consciousness. You’ve never been separated from Consciousness. Consciousness has never come, never gone. Consciousness is ever-present and precious.

Therefore, rather than a belief, eternal Consciousness—and not the transient body and mind—must be who or what you truly are. 

In fact, with Consciousness as the foundation, go ahead and conceptualize, rationalize, even believe.

With Consciousness as the foundation, you’re on the solid ground.

With Consciousness as the foundation, you’ll live a life in the material world but not of it. 

A life of peace.

A life of happiness.

A life of freedom.

A genuine life of love.

Thank you for reading,
Garret





Perception, Projection, and Reality

A separate self, a human being, will experience a world in two varying ways. He or she will experience:

A world made of matter.

Or

A world made of mind. 

In other words, there’s perception (sometimes termed materialism or outside-in), or there’s projection (sometimes termed idealism or inside-out). 

And while from the perspective of a human being, perception and projection are the only two options, in this article, I’m going to recommend that it makes little sense to rank one over the other, share one as truth and the other as mistruth, or try to live a life based on either.

Why?

Because a human being, as you’ve experienced, lives in a natural state of flux.

For instance, we often suggest that others can bring us love, but suffering, “no—that’s from the inside.” Or we might propose that what we see and feel are figments of our own thinking, but we still seek to mold ourselves, others, objects, states of mind, and circumstances in a quest to improve our feelings. Or one minute a rainy day brings gloom, the next minute we can’t wait to take a walk in the rain.

So why this apparent inconsistency?

Simple. We overlook that both perception and projection are cut from the same cloth. They both take place within us. And, thus, we’ve become super interested in perception or projection, rather than this space in which they appear. In short, we tend to explore the glittering objects of experience, not the basic nature of experience. We tend to explore how the world operates, not what the world is. We tend to explore how we work—how the mind works, how observation works, how thought works—not who the heck we are.

And what might we find if we were to explore the fundamental nature of experience, the world, and ourselves?

That mind and matter are not separate realities. They are not two. In fact, we just might find that mind and matter can only come into existence when the reality of experience—that mind and matter are co-created images or illusions that appear in us (Consciousness), are made of us (Consciousness), and are known by us (Consciousness)—is ignored.  

The bottom line is that a human being has no actual power to perceive or project. And matter has no actual power to be perceived or projected. 

Mind and matter are nothing more than illusory modulations of Consciousness. From the perspective of Consciousness, there’s no such experience as matter influencing mind or mind projecting matter; there’s no such experience as cause-and-effect. From the perspective of Consciousness, there’s only Consciousness. 

This is why, rather than an outside-in model, an inside-out model, or any materialistic model or paradigm, it’s becoming more obvious to me each day that a Consciousness-only model is worth our consideration.

This is why a Consciousness-only model—a model that suggests that we (mind) and the world (matter) are not separate but one and the same—is the bulwark of Peace.

Thanks for reading,
Garret

 

 

What It Takes

These days, I often hear some version of the following statement:

“But Garret, it will take years to understand who I truly am; years to grasp the intimacy of all experience; years to be able to clearly explain true nature, Consciousness, or non-duality to my clients, audiences, or even my family. I have to teach, coach, be a friend, or parent. I have to make a living. I have to live my life!”

Fair enough. It could indeed take years.

So here’s an idea: Right here and now, share from where you are. Share what you know.

There’s just one caveat . . .

Make sure that what you share points to the Knower, not the known. To Source, rather than away from Source. Inward toward what’s aware of the material world, as opposed to outward toward the material world itself.

For instance: Suggesting that someone visualize success, the flight of a golf ball, or a million dollars in the bank is not the same as suggesting that someone visualize who they were prior to the intrusion of the programmed beliefs of our culture. Suggesting that someone explore thoughts and feelings is not the same as suggesting that someone explore the eternal space in which thoughts and feelings appear. Suggesting that someone look within the body and mind for answers is not the same as suggesting that someone look within the Self.

It’s simple.

For a life of service, all it takes is love, support, and a resolute point inward.

And you have what it takes.

Because you, my friend, are what it takes.

Thanks for reading,
Garret

The Belief That Spawns All Belief

Thoughts happen within you. 

No doubt.

You experience a world.

No doubt.

But here’s the thing:

Has a thought ever been discovered inside a body?

Not as of yet.

Has the mechanism or pathway through which a body experiences a world ever been found?

Not as of yet.

So, then, rather than analyze thought; rather than search for the personal power to experience; rather than adhere to the belief that thoughts happen within a body or that a body is aware; rather than follow belief after belief—all of which stem from the primary belief that who you are shares the limits and destiny of the body—here’s an idea:

Hold still and explore this self that you’ve been conditioned to be.

Who is this YOU in which thoughts appear?

Who is this YOU that experiences?

The first step on the pathless path home is the realization that this YOU is not the body.

Without this recognition, there’s only belief. 

And Peace, Love, Freedom, and Happiness—the true Self—are found in the absence of belief. 

Garret

 

 

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

 —

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