Chapters from the Book
                 "The Outrageous Myths of Enlightenment"

                                   By
                             Steven Wingate


You and Me Are the Same One: This is Love 

No Separate I - No Suffering ≠ No Awakening.  

Love and Intimate Relationships.

There is nothing mystical or magical about this. It is simple, logical 
and applicable to everyone. This is not just for special beings who 
were able to transcend their earthly fetters and rise above the lowly 
egoic peasantry through years of self-sacrifice and meditation. That's 
all nonsense. This is true for anyone and everyone.

These words apply to you and to me: "We are free here and now, it is 
only the mind that imagines bondage. Seeing that there is no such 
thing as a permanent, separate person, all becomes clear. You are the 
immensity and infinity of consciousness. It is lucid, silent, 
peaceful, alert, and unafraid - without desire and fear. To realize 
this is the end of all seeking."  ( Nisargadatta Maharaj )
These few words say it all.  

Let's break them down.

1) "We are free here and now, it is only the mind that imagines bondage."
   Is this true? Consider your own experience. When you are sitting 
   quietly, not thinking about yourself and your problems, can anything 
   trouble you?  Can there be any bondage if you are not imagining 
   yourself to be bound?  Of course you are free here and now!! 
   Nisargadatta puts it another way, too: "Nothing can trouble you but 
   your own imagination." There is no such thing as bondage. It is merely 
   a concept!


2) "Seeing that there is no such thing as a permanent, separate 
   person, all becomes clear."

   Is this true? Look for yourself. What is the common denominator in all 
   of your suffering, all of your problems? What is at the center of your 
   life situation? What is this "me" that says, "my" life, "my" problems? 
   If it is seen that there is no separate me, no separate person here at 
   all, can there be any suffering?  The me who was bound and suffering 
   is just imagination. Reading the words and agreeing or disagreeing is 
   not enough. Seeing this for yourself is the key.


3) "You are the immensity and infinity of consciousness. 
   It is lucid, silent, peaceful, alert, and unafraid - without desire 
   and fear."

   If I am not the separate person I thought I was then what am I? Isn't 
   consciousness your essential nature? If you are not conscious can 
   anything else exist? Can there be a "me" and "my" story if 
   consciousness is not there to witness it? What is the nature of pure 
   consciousness? Isn't it clear, silent, peaceful, alert, unafraid? So 
   consciousness is what you are: not a separate person.


4) "To realize this is the end of all seeking."

   For what are you seeking? Aren't you seeking for clarity, peace, 
   freedom from desire and fear? Aren't these the characteristics of 
   consciousness?  You are what you are seeking! Realizing that you are 
   consciousness, not the separate person you imagined yourself to be, 
   the seeking comes to an end and you are free!

   When these words are understood and known as the truth they become 
   your daily living experience. It's as simple as it looks. There's 
   nothing magical or mystical about it. There is no need for any 
   mystical experience of universal love and union. The understanding 
   brings on a simple experience of Peace and well-being that is felt 
   as the common ground of all your daily experiences. Happiness and 
   sadness, laughter and tears, anger and joy: all come and go in this 
   awareness of peace and well-being. Nothing to gain. Nothing to lose. 
   Everything is as it is.


You and Me Are the Same One: This is Love

Question: Iíve been reading about Advaita and non-duality. Itís very 
clear when I read it, but in daily life it gets a bit confusing. Of 
course the question is always related to Ďmeí versus Ďthemí.

Stephen: Yes, of course. At the root of personal confusion, and 
questions in personal relationships is the belief in the existence of 
a separate me, a separate ego who has power to exercise his own will. 
If there is the unexamined belief that you exist as an independent, 
self-directing entity, then naturally youíll see others as 
independent, self-directing entities, too. Therein lies the potential 
for personal, egoic conflicts in relationships.

Seeing there is no separate, independent entity there in you, it is 
also seen there is no separate, independent entity in another. 
Challenges, differences and conflicts may still arise, but they are 
not experienced as personal conflicts. There is no personal me versus 
a personal you; there are just conflicts arising.

You and me are both appearances of the One Mysterious Source. If 
thereís conflict between you and me, itís part of the play of the One. 
You and me are the same One in essence. Seeing you and me as the same 
One can be called Love.

Q: This isnít a big deal, but it gets me wondering. Should I be 
worried about how I behave in relationship with others? Iím always 
thinking that I could do better than Iím doing. I should be more 
giving, and say more kind words with other people. Should I 
contemplate this or should I just let it work out naturally?

S: Itís already working itself out naturally. Everything is working 
itself out naturally and spontaneously. You are not the source of the 
kind words or of the giving. If more giving and kind words are to 
happen through you, you couldnít stop them. Thereís no separate you 
there to take credit for the giving or the kind words; nor to take the 
blame for the lack thereof. And if thereís worrying about how one 
should behave in relationship, then thereís worrying. Who can stop it? 
Can a volcano stop itself from erupting? Can it take any credit or 
blame?

Q: Sometimes when Iím talking to my father and he begins to talk over 
me, I sense this frustration. My body starts to shake and I begin to 
defend myself. But, I must admit, it has gotten better after my 
realization.

S: You may notice the sense that youíre watching these frustrating 
interactions with others happen rather than being a participant in 
them. You are the witnessing presence of the conflict; you are not the 
person involved in the conflict.

Q: Does it really matter if one doesnít believe in the mind? Though 
Iím not choosing any thoughts I could be controlled by thoughts 
unconsciously.

S: Who is this ĎIí that is controlled by thoughts? Isnít it just 
another thought? Everything is happening, no doubt, but is there an 
ĎIí to whom itís happening?

Q: My shyness troubles me sometimes because I want to be more alive in 
relationship with other people. But I find myself being dull or too 
simple. Iím aware that this is only based on some random thoughts in 
my brain, but they keep circulating.

S: Some people are quiet and shy; others are loud and gregarious. Is 
it your doing? Is one right and the other wrong? Yes, your analysis is 
correct: your concerns are only based on some random thoughts 
circulating in you.

Q: Should I drop all my hopes of how I want to be, or should I try 
with ambition to be more alive in human relationship?

S: You can make an effort to be more outgoing and expressive in your 
relationships, but thereís no need to suffer over it. If itís causing 
you to suffer, then drop it if you can. Itís not your doing in the 
first place.

Q: Another example: my mother is a master at getting me worried that 
Iím not giving enough to other people, and that I should visit my 
brothers more often. But I donít feel a strong motivation to do it. 
Because of this, I always doubt that I understand non-duality. Itís 
seems that sometimes I do understand, and sometimes I donít.

S: Understanding non-duality is completely unrelated to the concerns 
youíve posed. Whether youíre motivated to take certain actions, or if 
others are pleased with your actions, have no relation to the fact 
that your essential nature is awareness, and you are not the ego. 
Realizing this in your own direct experience, there is a sense of 
peace and acceptance of whatever is happening. You are the witnessing 
presence of all that arises. You are not the doer.

Q: This questioning of my understanding is especially apparent when 
Iím around people. I get shy with people that I feel are superior to 
me. Itís a silly thought, but sometimes I donít find it effective to 
just drop the thought. It seems to be deeper in me than just my 
thoughts. There must be something deeper than transient thoughts that 
control me.

S: Yes, there is something infinitely deeper. In fact, so much deeper 
that itís an absolute mystery. The same Mysterious Source that makes 
the flowers bloom, the sun shine, and the earth turn is controlling 
this puppet called Gerri.

Q: What is it that stops me from doing whatever I want? Why do I feel 
shy and hesitant around some people? Why donít I express myself 
freely, and not worry about what others think? Maybe itís just the way 
my body and mind was made? Is my nature in the dual world to be shy 
and insecure? Or should I just let everything be as it, even if Iím 
shy to some people? In the end itís all just thoughts, but Iíve been 
living my life and believing those thoughts for some time. How am I 
supposed to drop those beliefs?

S: Is Gerri in control or is everything just happening?

Q: The fact that I am simple awareness has done more good for my 
mental state than any other spiritual or religious system. I now feel 
this deeper connection when Iím reading all sorts of spiritual 
writings. It feels odd that all these people are looking for something 
that is always in front of them.

S: Yes, stop for a moment right now and just be aware of your own 
existence. Do you sense this presence of awareness? There is seeing, 
hearing, feeling, and thinking all happening in you. No effort is 
required. You are this simple presence of awareness. Just stop again 
now and be aware. This awareness that you are can also be called Love. 
This Love that you are loves to laugh and it loves to cry. It loves to 
win and it loves to lose. It loves to be at peace and it loves to be 
at war. It loves to accept and it loves to reject. It loves to love 
and it loves to hate. This awareness that you are is unconditional 
Love itself. Everything that arises in it is soaked in Love. This 
Love is what you are.

Q: Another concern of mine is when Iím at work and I meet all these 
new people. Some people I find easy to speak with, and others I donít. 
Is it normal for a non-dualist to continue to feel uncomfortable 
sensations and emotions? Should I just feel them and donít think about 
it? Sometimes the present moment is uncomfortable. Even if Iím not 
consciously thinking about it, I just feel uncomfortable.

S: This puppet called Gerri along with his family, friends, and 
co-workers (all puppets, too) appear in your awareness. They all do 
their special dance, and then they part. Sometimes Gerri is 
comfortable and sometimes heís not. So it is.

Q: Can I be conscious of every thought I have? That just canít be. 
There must be some hidden thoughts and motives that keep causing me to 
do what Iím doing.

S: Everything in existence, including all thoughts, feelings, motives, 
and actions are caused by the One Mysterious Puppet Master. Gerri is a 
puppet, not the Puppet Master.

Q: Well, as you can see I can be a bit doubtful. This must explain why 
I feel an affinity to non-duality because Iím really good at seeing 
some flaws in other systems≠be it religious or spiritual. My mind is 
always looking for some flaws to think about. Will my mind change if 
I stop worrying about it?

S: Gerri has no mind of his own. Thoughts appear and then they 
disappear. Where is Gerriís mind?


No Separate I ≠ No Suffering ≠ No Awakening.

Question: I need help awakening. I have several questions regarding 
awakening and would be thankful for your response. I have questioned 
myself time and again about whether there is a separate being here 
with any independent nature, and never find any central 'I' or anyone 
with control. There are just thought processes and movement of a body 
occurring.

Stephen: Yes, thatís what this simple inquiry reveals: there is no 
independent, separate entity; there is no central I, there is no ego 
or controlling entity here. In your own direct experience all that can 
be found is a body and thoughts. So itís seen that there is no 
separate person, no independent I or ego there in you. Then what are 
you? Whatís left? Whatís always been here? What is it that is aware of 
the body and thoughts that arise? Is it consciousness? Are you this 
consciousness? This consciousness that you are is right here and right 
now.

Stop and be aware of this consciousness right now. Stop again for a 
moment, take a deep breath, and notice the presence of this 
consciousness. This is what you are. Do you notice the simplicity of 
this? You are this simple consciousness. This simple consciousness 
that you are is already awake. This simple presence of awareness that 
you are was never asleep. This consciousness that you are is the 
'awakening' for which youíve been striving. You have always been this 
simple presence of awareness. Without you, this consciousness, there 
can be no body, nor any thoughts. You are this witnessing presence 
that is always here and now.

Now, youíve seen in your own direct experience that there is no 
independent I, no separate ego here; thereís just a body and thoughts. 
So, tell me, who can awaken? Who was ever asleep? Who was suffering? 
There is no separate, independent person who can suffer. There is no 
separate, independent person who can awaken. There is only 
consciousness.

You are this simple presence of awareness, and in you the idea of 
being a separate person arose in the form of the thought 'I'. This 
I-thought is the birth of the appearance of separation and the 
beginning of personal suffering. Believing in the reality of your own 
existence as a separate, independent 'I', suffering is inevitable.

Seeing in your own direct experience that there is no independent I, 
no separate person, there can be no suffering and no awakening. The 
ideas of personal suffering and awakening are based on the unexamined 
belief in the existence of a separate I who can suffer, and a separate 
I who can awaken. There is no separate I.

The separate I, personal suffering, and awakening are all pure 
imagination. There is no I. There is no one who can suffer. There is 
no one who can awaken. All there is, is this consciousness, and you 
are this. Do you see this now? This simple recognition is the 
resolution of all personal suffering and seeking for awakening, 
liberation, and enlightenment. This is it. Thereís nothing to do, 
nothing to attain, nothing to avoid. This is it!

Q: In the beginning this questioning created great feelings of peace 
and sometimes a feeling of blissful emptiness. Itís been a month now 
since I first began. When I question my self now all I feel is stressed.

S: Drop it all. The inquiry is based on the belief in a separate I. In 
your own direct experience youíve seen there is no separate I. It is 
done. The whole story of suffering and awakening falls to pieces as it 
was based on a false premise≠an imaginary 'I'.

Q: Even though it is seen that there is no one here when the 
questioning occurs, when I go about my daily life itís forgotten. How 
is this made into a permanent realization?

S: Your daily life is happening, but thereís no 'I' there whoís doing 
it. Life is happening, but to no one. This is not a conceptual 
understanding that can be remembered or forgotten. It is the 
non-conceptual recognition that there is no independent, separate 
entity here; there is only consciousness. Life goes on as it always 
has, but for no one.


Love and Intimate Relationships

Question: I've heard and read that our natural state of awareness can 
also be called love. Can you expand upon this?

Stephen: The presence of awareness with the absence of 'me' is love.

Q: Is the absence of 'me' required for there to be love? Can't love be 
experienced in personal, intimate relationships?

S: Love is the essence of all existence. Love is the natural state of 
all being. All there is is love. Without love, nothing is. Love is not 
personal. There is no 'my' love or 'your' love: there is just love.

Q: How is love experienced on a personal level in intimate 
relationships?  Surely, there must be a 'you' and a 'me' to know and 
experience love!

S: When two are involved in a personal relationship there are times 
when the sense of 'you' and 'me' (ego) falls away in each person. In 
the absence of the sense of you and me there is love. This is the 
sense of peace, joy, and blissful oneness for which we're all longing: 
it's our natural state.

When the sense of ego rises again, the natural state of love is 
personalized by the mind and claimed as a personal experience of the 
ego. The two egos then assume that the other is the source of their 
love. This, of course, leads to fear of loss, jealousy and a host of 
other painful emotions.

Q: That makes sense, but I don't 'love' everyone. There is a special 
sense of love I have for my partner. Aren't there different types of 
love?

S: On a personal level, there are different types of relationships, 
and there can be a special attraction between partners based on 
biological and psychological compatibility. But there are not 
different types of love or a special love. Love is the essence of all 
being, it's absolute, unconditional, and impersonal.

Q: How will this recognition help me with my personal relationships?

S: Knowing yourself as pure awareness and not a separate ego, there is 
the recognition that your essential nature is love. You are what you 
have always been seeking. You don't need anyone or anything to fill 
the sense of emptiness, loneliness, and separation that is the egoic 
experience. The fear of loss, jealousy, and other painful emotions 
that are the essence of egoic relationships fall away. You are able to 
truly enjoy the beauty of all human relationships in complete freedom, 
love, and peace.

                     ~ Love is your natural state ~