Living an Awakened Life Becoming Zero

I remember when I was growing up that calling someone a zero meant that he or she was useless or worthless. Now here I am decades later writing about becoming zero but from a loftier understanding.

You will notice with a little bit of awareness that everything in personhood comes and goes, including the body. Life is not stable from the perspective of the person. One moment you can be upset, the next laughing and then the next anxious. When we take pause, this can be noticed, but it is something that usually is overlooked or ignored, not by choice, of course, but by habit, a habit that took shape so the mind could remain a controlling authority.

Let me tell you with one-hundred percent certainty that becoming zero is the most stable state you can experience. However, I do not expect you to believe me; but instead, I want you to experience it for yourself because it is only through having a direct experience that you will come to see the truth.

When you are curious, you learn, and when you are desperate, you discover. The mind wants to learn and will have its own interpretation of what becoming zero means. It will put up roadblocks every chance it gets to distract you. Therefore, it is up to you to use your awareness to awaken to these distractions and stay focused on what is evident.

What do I mean by becoming zero? It means you do not have any attachment to your thoughts and feelings. Please do not misunderstand me; I am not saying that you should not think and feel. Of course, you will. However, you will do it by choice. In other words, your thoughts and feelings will not control you and operate unchecked. They will still come and go, and you are free to pick them up at any time. Moreover, it certainly does not mean that somehow your life will be dull or boring. In truth, just the opposite will happen.

Can you feel the freedom that comes with having command over what causes your psychological suffering?

Remember, a thought, feeling, or emotion has no power over you until you believe it. I can have a thought that says this is amazing, and someone else might think it is awful. When we believe something is amazing, we feel good, and if we believe it is awful, we suffer. I am sure you can access countless instances of this in your life — for example, a new relationship or the break-up of one. Therefore, without belief, a thought, feeling, or emotion has no power, and therefore it will pass like a cloud floating across the sky.

Now, this is very simple to do. First, we create some space between our thoughts, feelings, and emotions by not believing in them automatically. We begin to notice or question what arises. This is accomplished by bringing awareness to them and becoming the observer. It is from the position of the observer that we create the space we need to stay unattached to what comes. As long as we are watching and not grabbing hold of the thought, feeling, or emotion, there will be some space creating a moment free of reaction, which will lead to stability. You will feel a sense of freedom in this space.

Now I did say this was simple to do, and it is; okay here comes the but, the challenge happens when things start to bubble up from underneath, i.e., conditioning, beliefs, feelings, etc. You have years or decades of automatically going with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions; it is a habit. To break the habit, you will need to come back to observing as the mind distracts you repeatedly. And it will try to distract you because you are taking your power back. Remember, nothing will stick unless you believe in it. You break the habit of attachment by becoming the observer.

There is no need to struggle. If it feels hard to do, then notice that that is a thought. Step back into the observer position, and the hardness will soften, letting go with ease. Any struggle signifies that you are attaching to a thought, feeling, or emotion created by the mind to distract you.

“The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” -Blaise Pascal

Start here first, and do the best you can because the smallest step toward your authentic-self transcends the mind and brings about tremendous transformation.

 

Your Habits, Conditioning, and Narrow Focus

We have become so narrowly focused on all the things occurring outside of ourselves, that we feel a loss of control in our lives. Of course, this kind of thinking leads to anxiety, stress, worry, and fear. These types of psychological problems are becoming all too common for us these days.

External problems can appear to be the same to specific groups of like-minded people and not as problems at all to others. That is because of each person’s conditioning, and the beliefs created out of that conditioning. In other words, it is how we think about things that tell us whether or not it is a problem.

The conditioning we receive is instilled at such a young age, much of it before the age of seven, that it is never questioned. This conditioning becomes the foundation that we build on to become who we are now and what we believe. When enough people believe and think the same thing, it creates what we see in the world. That is because we make choices based on our beliefs.

Could we have been misled or built our views on incorrect information? Is there more to us than what we see with our eyes and think with our minds?

If you narrowly focus on one thought long enough, then it can become the truth for you, and then all your choices going forward will be based on that new belief. This unreliable information then makes us think things that are not true. For instance, I am not good enough, I am not smart, or I will never be happy again.

Many have come to the point where they are at the mercy of their thoughts and feelings. At times, they find that their thoughts and feelings are overwhelming. There seems to be no way to be free from them, which again creates more anxiety, stress, worry, and fear.

When you slow your thoughts down by paying attention to them, and you begin to question them, you can start to discover and unravel your conditioning. Self-inquiry like this will lead to freedom from your conditioning and creates a very different life than what you are experiencing now.

We unconsciously attach to our thoughts and habitually follow them. These thoughts arise spontaneously without any conscious effort on our part, and you can see this taking place with awareness. They are not based in fact but often accepted as fact. They are born out of our false foundation. It will require effort for most people, particularly in the beginning, to break these habits, to uncover their True-Self, and to shed the skin of who they have become.

Know that anyone can be free, no matter what your mind and thoughts tell you. The challenge is not to believe what the mind tells you and not to be tricked by its subtle and cunning ways. This is because you are more than your mind and body. The only way that this idea becomes a reality for you is to have direct-experience of your True-Self. Otherwise, your mind will use this lofty concept to keep you a prisoner, and you will be lost in a maze of thoughts leading down a path with no way out. Rest assured, in my words, that there is always a way with awareness.

How Much Time Do You Need to Become Timeless?

What you are is revealed when you let go of what you are not. You are no longer the seeker, but you remember who you are in truth.

“What we are looking for is what is looking.” ― St. Francis of Assisi

Therefore, you do not need more knowledge, rituals, or some other practice. It is discovered through the recognition of your conditioning, misguided beliefs, and habituated thinking. By using one of your greatest gifts, awareness, you can begin to uncover your True-Self or real nature through direct experience.

Of course, you can continue to follow your thoughts and the mind, which will keep you trapped in a never-ending journey. They will always confirm that what you seek is just around the next corner. Yes, you will make some progress this way. However, you may have already noticed that you are not getting very far. Ask yourself this question and see where it leads: how much time do you need to become timeless?

How to Find What Is Missing in Your Life

Does something feel missing in your life? Do you feel called toward something different or more meaningful? Are you continually searching for the next thing that will bring you the peace, joy, and happiness that you desire? Do you find yourself doing, doing, and doing until exhaustion, then trying to squeeze in time to enjoy life? Do you hang onto memories of the past and dream of better days to come?

Many experience life like this and ultimately wake up one day wondering where their lives are going or went, and this awakening becomes the motivating force to create something new. The misstep that happens is that we believe we must embark on a long journey to some place new — not realizing that what we are seeking is already here and does not need to be created.

What if your searching, which has offered you incremental change toward your desired outcome, somehow is simultaneously keeping you from your intended destination? Can you see this happening in your life? Does your intended destination always seem so close, yet somehow you never arrive?

The surprising solution is so simple that many think it cannot possibly work, and therefore, it is often overlooked. Is it possible that you are so trapped in personhood that you have lost the ability to see the truth of who you really are? Has your doing, doing, doing kept you from being able to just BE in life, to be present in the moment?

For some, this will sound silly to the mind, and especially so to anyone who has never questioned who they are. All I ask is that you ignore your mind just this once. Ask yourself this question if you are having trouble understanding where I am pointing. Has your mind throughout your life produced thoughts that were always true and helpful? If not, then please keep reading.

The following insight will tell you when you are actually in the moment, which is something you can confirm for yourself. When you can be present, in the here and now, the moment, thoughts are not perceived.

We have all had times like this when we do pay attention to our thoughts, and they seem to be gone. For example, when we are in awe of a sunset, or we experience so much joy that we lose track of time. In these moments, there is nothing to do and nothing wrong. We are one with what is and fully present. We become still inside and full of peace. It is only when we fall back into personhood that thought once again appears.

Of course, afterward, we THINK that living every moment in this way is not possible because we have to make a living or we have to take care of the family, or we have to… Like a dog chasing its tail, we continue looking for something that seems elusive. We keep searching to find that thing that will recreate our experience, not realizing that it is always here. We have forgotten it is our natural state, just to BE.

The truth is that living in the present moment is not about creating anything. It is not about taking a journey or changing anything. We are so attached to our thoughts that we cannot see this, and we THINK that being present is about practice, a ritual or hard work. We fail to recognize that we are more than just the body and this life as a person.

You cannot figure all this out through the mind because it will get in the way of you seeing the truth. It will make you THINK that you already know or you are getting close if you just do one more thing. Finding your way out of this mind-trap is simple; however, letting go of years of conditioning and habitual thinking is not always easy for most of us.

Therefore, if you truly feel a calling to go deeper and have direct experience of this truth, you must be vigilant and bring more awareness into your life. Life does not have to be so serious. Suffering comes from the attachment to thought and the desire for a different outcome than what showed up. You know when this has happened you have become too attached to personhood and lost awareness of your True-Self, your real nature. You will only find stability there because everything associated with personhood is unstable; it comes, goes, lives, and dies.

I am not asking you to believe me or to acquire more knowledge. Test it out for yourself, because it will only be through direct experience that you can build the strength to ignore the misdirection of your thoughts. Use your mind when you need to and stop believing everything it says. Become aware of its rambling, and your life will become full of joy and peace. Return to your real and timeless state.

Your Mind and It’s Trickery

The God-Field from which all creation births and dies is where we observe the activity of personhood. From this field, we look from the True-Self and see our anger, pride, and fear, in addition to all the other feelings and disruptive conditionings that impede our life and cause us to suffer.

Once we begin to use our innate ability to observe thoughts and emotions consciously, we can use awareness to awaken from the deceptions of the mind.

We must start to question our thoughts. Through this questioning, we can expose the influence that the mind has over our life. Then we will begin to see its obvious and sometimes subtle trickery that prevents us from awakening to the truth.

Rumi points to the truth of who we are so eloquently in the following quote.

“I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door. It opens. I’ve been knocking from the inside.”

Waking up is not a journey to somewhere as the mind tells us, this is another misleading thought and keeps us lost. We mistakenly think that we have to get somewhere and that it requires many years of practice or hard work. The mind will confirm this wrong and misleading advice. So first, it lies to us, and then it tells us the lie is valid. Can you see this is true? I guarantee that this thinking, at some point, has influenced your life in a way that was not for your highest good.

If you see this playing out in your life, then stop falling for these lies and begin to use your awareness to wake up. If you THINK this has not happened to you, then pay closer attention to your thoughts throughout the day, and it will be revealed.

I do not want you to believe me or know this intellectually but to experience it for yourself. Intellectual knowledge of this will not get you very far, as you may have seen from your years of studies.

Once you have direct experience, the mind will lose its control and power over you. Know that it may not give up quickly, so be watchful for its trickery. If you have a thought like, ah yes, I have it, you will stop watching and fall for another subtle but effective trick to keep you stuck from using your awareness to root out the real problem, which is believing or attaching to everything your mind tells you.

Remember that all things in personhood come and go and the experience is not reliable or steady. Daily we can see this played out in our lives and we are too attached to our identity as a person. Our real nature, on the other hand, is peaceful and wholly stable and dependable. It does not rely on anything, has no conditioning or beliefs and therefore is not responsive to the trickery of the mind.

Your mind will try to tell you that a life like this will be dull, but I assure you this is also a lie. Find out for yourself and know that it is not for just a few, but for anyone who wants it. Therefore, if your life feels unsettled or you are called to find something more profound, then follow this pointing to something higher than a life that is dictated by the mind and your conditioned beliefs.

Magnificent Awareness

Waking up to the source of your problems is where freedom resides.

The root of all your difficulties is not what you THINK. With awareness, you will notice that your suffering is caused by illogical thinking, and not by outside circumstances as your thoughts tell you. These kinds of thoughts keep you from having the experience of your real nature and remaining in the present moment. When you are in the present moment, all thoughts cease.

Just notice any one of the many thoughts you have every day that is not truthful or helpful in living life fully. They fill your mind throughout the day, still many more without your conscious awareness. If you bring a little attention to them, you will begin to awaken to their misguiding nature.

With awareness, you will see that something is observing these passing thoughts. Now, are you the observer, that which is observed or both? Are you more than just the body and your life of personhood?

These questions alone can help you begin to wake up to the truth of who you are and lead you from suffering to peace. Follow them inward to experience your True-Self. As you do, your life as you THINK you know it will begin to fall away, revealing your real nature.

Be careful not to grasp onto any story that the mind will create to satisfy your curiosity or distract you; these stories will be associated with an old belief or conditioning that is not sound. If one arises, question it, and it too will fall away once you awaken to its falsehood.

Following your mind to find the truth will lead you astray every time. To know the truth, you must have a direct experience of your real nature. You will never have this experience using knowledge, logic, or the mind. These are the tools of personhood, and they will keep you trapped in the illusion that you are only the body.

Pay attention to how your thoughts direct your life. Is their influence guiding it in the direction you want? If not, take the simple step of noticing with awareness, how misleading your thoughts can be, and then let them go when you can. You will begin to wake up to your unconscious thoughts by doing this, one moment and thought at a time.

The world we live in today is a creation of these false and unconscious thoughts, and the only way out is to be willing to bring awareness to them. Knowing, feeling, or believing this to be true is not enough. If it were the world would be full of enlightened beings today. We must have a direct experience of our true nature for lasting progress to be made. Do not be trapped by expecting the experience to be a dramatic one, but instead practice what I have suggested above and then notice what happens. Do not listen to any fake news created by your mind!

For example:

I am not doing it right.
This is not working.
I should have woken up by now.
I do not understand.
This may work for others, but it is not working for me.

These are just a few examples of the thoughts that can arise to derail your progress and force you back into the habitual thought patterns that keep you stuck. Therefore, pay attention and question your thoughts to see if they are for your highest good. Remain connected to your heart and follow your intuition.

This is simple, so do not let the mind complicate if for you. Can you become zero? What I mean by this is can you let go of every story you tell yourself, every thought of present, past, or future, just for a minute. Can you become empty? To avoid any confusion created by your upcoming thoughts around this, I will tell you that everyone can do this.

Once you become empty, what do you experience? Many find profound peace or love. Be present with this peace or love; this is your True-Self. The more you do this, the more it will fill each moment of every day.

I will leave you with this last thought to contemplate. The world is not what you think it is; the world becomes what you think it is.

Living Without Fear, Worry or Stress

The following words are not meant to change your mind in any way. They only point to something that you can experience for yourself. This is important because it is only through direct experience that we can begin to awaken.

Please know that what I am sharing has nothing to do with religion, and is available to anyone interested in waking up to the realization of his or her true nature. Finding the way to where I point is not about traveling any distance, but experiencing your real nature, which has been in you all along.

The life we live in personhood is not stable. We are continually dealing with fluctuating emotions, body sensations, and feelings. The person we see in the mirror, our false sense of self, is constructed by the mind and overlays our true self or true nature.  Anyone who looks with an open heart at his or her life can see the instability. On the other hand, our True-Self is unchanging and eternally stable; having direct experience of your True-Self is life changing. If this is something you are drawn to, then keep reading.

Think of it like this: when clouds cover the sky, we no longer see the sun. Does that mean the sun is not shining? Of course not, it never stops shining, but we do lose sight of it and may wonder if it is still burning bright. Once the sense of self is constructed, like the clouds blocking the sun, we lose sight of our real nature, but it is always there and can be seen anytime we let go of this false sense of self.

It is not difficult to experience your real nature; just know that your mind will challenge you. It wants things to stay the way they are, and it will use your thoughts and senses to carry out this effort. Because of this, anything that feels hard, difficult or challenging means your mind has tricked you, and you have become attached to something the mind created to distract you. Let the feeling of effort or struggle be a sign that you need to let go.

Remember these key insights:

  • You will not lose anything of importance in your life as you know it now.
  • Any fear, anxiety, worry or thought that arises comes from the mind and is nothing more than a distraction to keep you from experiencing your true self.
  • If you do not like where you are going, you can stop at any time.
  • Waking up is not about fulfilling any desire that comes through thought. It is a calling from deep within, something you feel, a soul-full call to be home again and to live through the experience of your true nature.

Have you ever asked yourself?

  • Where do my thoughts originate from anyway?
  • Do I painstakingly create each thought with loving care?
  • Are all of my thoughts important, relevant or even true?
  • Am I aware of my rambling and misguided thoughts that happen all day, every day?
  • Have I noticed how many of my thoughts are repeated daily?

Once you begin to hear your thoughts more clearly by bringing awareness to them, you will see how absurd and untruthful they can be. Notice how they can hypnotize you, and steal the present moment away from you. When you wake up out of these stolen moments, without chastising yourself bring your attention back to noticing them once again, and this is how you begin to break the mind’s hypnotic habit.

As long as your identity is tied to personhood, the body, and the idea that you are separate from everyone and everything, experiencing God or your real nature will seem elusive. Remember this life of personhood that we take to be who we are is nothing more than a vehicle for consciousness to experience itself. To believe this is one thing, and to experience it: life changing.

Deconstructing the self, the identity that began developing at birth, will not happen in the same way your mind tells you. As I said before your mind will find ways to challenge and distract you. It will tell you stories. For example, it might say, you are so close to awakening, I bet this next thing will be the one. Then years pass by of you doing that next thing, and yes, maybe your efforts have changed your personhood experience in positive ways, but you still have not arrived at where you are being called. Surely by now you should be enlightened.

Perhaps your seeking even with all the positive changes has been a distraction from you having a direct experience of your pure self. We can spend our whole lives seeking this experience, being distracted by our thoughts and mind from our intention and our true self. We can even have moments of what we believe to be this experience, something powerful, unique or special only to fall back into personhood because we were tricked by our mind once again. Please do not misunderstand, the mind is useful for our lives, but should it be directing your life, or only engaged with when needed?

In truth, what we seek, we are, and it is only when we let go of the controlling and deceiving thoughts that we can rest in the eternal and infinite space, which is our real nature. This is the only place you will ever experience stability in your life because living only in personhood will never be a stable environment.

We do not have to believe everything we think, and we do not have to follow the endless flow of thoughts that the mind generates. However, we can still live in personhood with all of our experiences and not be attached to the roller coaster of emotions, feeling and uncontrollable changes that come with it. We can experience life as it was intended while residing in the spaciousness of our real nature.

Experiencing your real nature is simple. A good starting point is to notice that you can witness your thoughts, emotions, and feelings. In fact, from this place of observation, you can witness all activity without attachment. Once you see this, notice how it feels and what you experience. Does it feel stable and peaceful? Does it have any boundaries? What can you discern?

When you have experienced this awareness, you will see that even this observer can be witnessed. Ask yourself, am I watching from personhood, from this place the mind will be involved. Or am I watching from a state of presence? From this place, you can still notice that something is watching even though you feel peaceful. The mind may also tell you at first this is it. Finally notice when you watch from pure awareness, your real nature, you will see there is no other watcher.

Remember that I said that the mind would challenge you, so it is important not to attach to anything that arises from the mind; stay as the witness and do not be caught in any thought traps. Always come back to being the witness, notice the activity of the mind. This will help you to begin to break the habit of following your thoughts, emotions, and feelings, which can overwhelm you once you attach to them. Be sure to include all things generated in mind however the mind perceives them to be: good, bad or indifferent. One day attachment to thought and this habit of following your thoughts will be broken, and you will no longer be interested in or distracted by the endless flow of misguided thinking.

If you start to worry, become frustrated or feel out of balance in any way, know that you have been pulled back into personhood by the mind. When you experience your real nature it feels effortless; if it is causing strain, it is because you are attached to something that is leading you astray. Perhaps your thoughts are saying something like, this is hard, I cannot do it, I do not deserve it, or yes, this may be meant for some people, but not for me.

A step toward awakening is to realize that your operating system, which is your current way of thinking and beliefs, may not be your best ally going forward in creating the life and world you want, and this becomes clear once you start observing your thoughts and beliefs.

Below is the middle verse from a poem called “A Great Wagon,” from the Persian poet Rumi:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”

doesn’t make any sense.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

Follow where I have pointed, and I will meet you in the field that lies beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, where you can live without fear, worry or stress. May you hear the rumbling and let it go to find your way home. Do not go back to sleep, wake-up, wake-up, wake-up and we shall be in the oneness of pure awareness.