Why are so few people interested in awakening and enlightenment?
They are scared of facing impermanence and seeing the consequence that there is no personal doership!
People who are interested in awakening often try many types of spiritual techniques. But they can do this kind of work for the rest of their life; it will not by itself lead to enlightenment. Or they can read all the books there are about enlightenment; that will not help either. No belief systems can help them. It is only when we dare to face life – to experience life as it is – that there is a possibility to wake up. But most of the time when we face life it is through labels, language and concepts, and hardly ever directly as an experience. But if we can face our experiences directly, we will see that they have no separate essential nature.
The great Indian sage Ramana Maharshi used to say:“What comes and goes is not real”. If we could let our experiences come and go we would realise our true nature, which Ramana called the Self, Atman, Brahman or God.
In his talks Ramana keeps on repeating the famous analogy about “A hare has no horn”. If we look at a little hare from a distance it looks like it has horns, but if we come closer we see that they are not horns, they are ears. So we see a “hare with horns” because we don’t come close enough. We don’t experience our experiences! One of the reasons for this is our constant labelling. We don’t live in the real world, we live in the world of language, concepts and judgements; and this is like wearing blinders! But if we dare to live in the real world, we will spontaneously see through the veil that is created by language and its labels. In India they call this “Maya” – the veil over the real. So what the six senses are telling us about the world is unreal like a dream, and in this way life can be seen as “dream dreamt with open eyes”.
Hardly anybody tells us to experience our experiences. The whole world lives in a dream. If sages like Ramana, Anandamayi Ma, Papaji tells us this we hear it – but do we put it into practice?
If we practice mindfulness meditations, slowly we will get used to a silent mind – a mind without content. A totally still mind is our true nature; it is enlightenment. An experience arises when this totally naked, pure consciousness is stirred by a habit or desire! But even when this pure mind appears as an experience, which happens all the time, it still remains pure and unchanged.