The biggest difficulty that I have had so far has been trying to reconcile a fully conscious lifestyle with the brain’s automatic conditioned responses. It seems like our brains have evolved to compel us to behave in an evolutionarily advantageous way. For example, if I hold my breath for as long as I can, eventually my desire for air will increase to the point that it overwhelms everything else.
How does the idea of enlightenment deal with these automatic responses? No matter how spiritually enlightened we are, we are still human. I think that the root of my difficulties is coming from the fact that I am hoping to see true reality, yet I also believe that our minds are hardwired to experience reality in certain ways that are beneficial to our survival.
You’re absolutely right. No matter how enlightened “you” are, “you” are still just as human.
All awakening boils down to is realizing your true nature. Sure, Jesus still ate food. The Buddha’s heart still beat. Ramana Maharshi still talked with people. Nisargadatta Maharaj still breathed naturally. Adyashanti still has the capacity to think. David Hawkins still has the ability to hold an intention in mind and see it come into manifestation.
You see, it’s not about overriding your body’s natural evolutionary patterns, but recognizing that they are not you. It’s not about trying to force the mind to go quiet, but recognizing the mind is not you. It’s not about perceiving an alternate reality beyond the mind, but recognizing that the mind’s perception of what is is not actually reality. What is is just what is, not what you think it is.
It is possible to look, to simply look at something without mentally creating a whole story about what’s being witnessed. Witness what is without engaging the mind.
Upon awakening it is still possible to discern the difference between a snake and a bed, for example. One is safe for the body to lie down on. The other is not. It’s not like that capacity is lost.
What changes is the idea that “external” objects are in any way separate from that which I am. We are all recognized to be an expression of Divinity.
The mind is not capable of truly coming to this realization. It can only adopt this, or something else, as a belief system.
You’re right that the mind is designed to ensure our own physical survival, for the most part. However, the mind can only discern appearance. Is this food healthy or not? Does this situation look dangerous or not? It uses logic, reasoning, and past experiences as its reference, but very often what’s happening now is very different from what happened in the past. The mind is only designed to perceive what happened. It’s not designed to understand what will happen. This is an inherent limitation of the mind.
Let the brain and its automatic conditioned responses do its thing. While that happens, maintain a state of allowing.
A wonderful tool for helping you let go of trying to control and manipulate everything is the Sedona Method. It’ll really help put you in touch with your natural state of being. You are not the doer or the controller of all those actions. You are the one that is, not the one that does.
Interestingly, when one begins to withdraw a sense of identification and validity from the mind, it naturally begins to grow quieter. As this happens, a second, yet far more subtle capacity for recognizing truth called intuition becomes more prominent. The intuition is a far more reliable tool than the mind when it comes to discerning truth from non-truth.
The closest we could say that “you” are is that you are the awareness that is witnessing the brain spin its wheels and do its thing.
There are schools of thought which suggest that spirituality is about experiencing an altered state of consciousness so they’ll teach you how to perform various breathing techniques, meditation techniques to induce altered states of consciousness, and so on. You can absolutely have mystical experiences by following these techniques, experience expanded states of consciousness, experience other dimensions, and more, but that’s not what the essence of awakening is all about.
Awakening is simply abiding in one’s natural state, the purest and most natural state of being that is. Pure existence, without identification with thought. Thought may happen. The brain’s automatic patterns may happen, just like the sun rises and sets. However, they are not you and have no foundation in ultimate reality. This is the key.
If they are not you, what are you?
Discover who you truly are while allowing everything else to be as it is.
Thanks for your question.