The Truth About Spiritual Awakening and Enlightenment - How to Awaken Now
Welcome everyone. It’s Brian Marc Zimberg, number one best-selling author of “Stop Smile Breathe Be” and creator of Access Points - The Modern-Life Meditation Plan”. Welcome to episode one of “Awake Life”. In today's video, we're going to take a look at the Big “E” word in spirituality, and that's “Enlightenment”. What is it really? Why are you interested in enlightenment? In fact, why is it important for you to be interested, if you're not interested in enlightenment. Odds are, if you're watching this video right now, you're already on a self-help journey of wanting to be better and improve yourself. And then you’ve probably gotten to a point where that was exhausting, and you're on the spiritual journey, where you want more peace and more happiness in your life.
So this show is called Awake Life and we're going to explore what is it to “awaken”, and what is it to live an “awake life”. So many of you probably have already gotten to the point, or maybe you're at the point right now, where “you think you’ve had enough of this life, then hang on, (singing) because everybody hurts” - excuse my bad voice - but you know that's the truth of it, you know? Life can be a grind, life can be a struggle, and odds are to get to the place of awakening, spiritual awakening, or interest in enlightenment, you first usually come to a place where you're ready to just give up.
You know, Buddha said “life is suffering” because basically, all our desires lead to a temporary fulfillment. So let's look at the context of your modern day life, because I'm really interested in the practical understanding of what is in enlightenment in a modern context? You see we live in a modern world, I mean, if you are desiring enlightenment because you want to run off and be a guru, and live off, and be a monk in a mountain somewhere? Because you can do that, right? But no. Odds are you have a life, you have a family, you're in the context of this world.
So Buddha said that desire leads us to things that are “temporary fulfillment”. So if we look at that in the context of our modern life, we achieve things. We’re told our whole life we can go get something and achieve it. So we learn how to be achievers, and when we achieve something, how does it feel? Think of something you've achieved in your life. It's temporary. We have a temporary moment of achievement and it feels good, and we can be excited, exhilarated, and other people around us can be excited for us, but it slowly fades away. Right? The fulfillment, that happiness, fades away. When you have a relationship and you get “love love love love love” and all the sudden you're whole, and you’re complete by another, it tends to… fade away.
We can learn the skill of relation and sustaining this love, but understand that everything you grasp in the outer world... fades away. That happiness doesn't last. You buy a nice car that you want so bad and it makes you feel great in the beginning, right? It’s like when you buy a cellphone, you take care of it good, and it becomes, whatever it gets chipped and it’s like OK… who cares? Because it gives us this temporary fulfillment, and we realize that that gives us temporary happiness. And at some point, that material, you know, illusion, becomes not enough. And we get to this point where we have this disillusionment, right? We either start feeling frustrated, or we realize there's something more to life. We feel this sense of pain, or meaninglessness, or what the hell is the point of all this already? And a warning along the journey, you should know, if you're in that space right now, is that there's this existential funk that can happen there. You know this, what's the point? And it's, I feel like giving up. I want to quit.
And when it goes even deeper, that's really where depression and even suicide can ensue. Where it literally seems pointless and meaningless. And I’m sure many people out there have felt this way, kind of like… I give up. What's the point? Or, am I screwing up my children? Or, I can't hold it all together. I'm sick of the holding it all together. Let's be honest with each other here. It's exhausting. Life can be exhausting trying to keep it up, and keep it together, based on what you've been told it's supposed to be about. (sigh) When you realize that - it's key. It's a key disillusionment, and if you've already been on the journey and you’ve realized this… “Amen”! If not, it's coming for you. That's why you're here. There's no mistaking in our meeting right now.
So first off, it is not pointless and meaningless, it's actually full of a point. The point is that emptiness is not meaningless, but is actually fullness. It’s fulfillment, and when we discover enlightenment truly, we discover true fulfillment. We discover fullness. Endlessness. We discover emptiness that is vast, infinite. That, you are one with that which is whole. You are already, complete, now.
So you know, along the road, we kind of have this dawning of “this isn't enough.” There has to be another way. There has to be something more. I want to know the truth”, right? I want to know what's real. I want to stop lying to myself. I want stop living “out of program”. I want to stop being “stuck in my mind”, and I want to live from reality. I want to live from truth. And we dawn on the idea of spiritual enlightenment. Spiritual awakening.
You know first, before we can really talk about what enlightenment really is, we need to take a look at what enlightenment is not, OK? There's a lot of misconceptions, and myths, and misbeliefs, and understanding about this, and it keeps us kinda on the spiritual journey, on a hamster trail, trying to get to a destination. Often people think of enlightenment as this final permanent state, right? “When I reach enlightenment, I'm going to have, I’m going to be blissed out. I'm only going to have have positive emotions. I'm only going to feel blissed all the time. It makes me grin, you know? That’s enlightenment.” Or maybe enlightenment is that you can turn to a light body and disappear. Now I'm not saying that that can't happen, but the truth in the matter is enlightenment isn't those things. You still will be a human being. You're still, emotions will still come and go, you know? Some of the greatest sages still died of cancer, right? Osho had back pain. Paramahansa Yogananda did preserve his body and had a glowing light, but he was a yogi. So is the goal of enlightenment for us each to be a yogi? You see, there is development of our consciousness, and maybe we can be moving towards a light body, but let's get real for a moment. What is spiritual awakening? It is waking up… to reality.
So let's take a look for a moment at when you have a nightmare, or you have a dream, alright? You probably can remember a time where there was someone trying to kill you in a dream. Somebody was chasing you. You were scared. Can you remember that time? Think of a bad dream you had, and then you woke up. You're like, “Oh, it was just a dream”. Now go back in the context of that dream. In the dream it was real. Right? You didn't know you were dreaming. Like, if a lion is chasing you and wants to kill you, salivating, running after you in your dream… you're going to feel fear. You're going to be running. You're going to be sweating. You're going to be... scared, right? You're going to be… suffering. But when you come out of the dream, you wake up.
So it's very possible, my friends, for you to start to recognize that these atoms and molecules, that your photons are seeing me and seeing this world, that you're buying into the thoughts in your head, and you're calling that “reality”. It's creating your suffering. It's creating the struggle of your life. It's time to wake up. It's time to wake up and realize it's just a dream. [Sighs] Yes, it IS real in the context of creation, in the physical manifestation of infinity. And you, as an individual, have the divine birthright to awaken to the truth of who you are. To awaken. I mean, imagine the glory of the opportunity, through all this evolution. What is it? Billions of years going by, coming to this individuation and form. Your D.N.A., possible to turn back on its own awareness, and awaken to its truth. For life, for G-d, to awaken in the creation… at itself.
You know that's the difference, of what we call, in the Hindus, Leela and Maya. Maya, the illusion of life, right? We're caught in our minds. We’re caught as an individual. We’re separate, therefore, we can be destroyed, and life as a survival. We’re a survival animal. We're stuck in that process.
When we awaken, when we step out of the dream, right? When the lion isn't real, and the fear is false evidence appearing real. But not because it's a good teaching. Not because it’s a good idea, but because we really have a shift. This shift is crucial, because when you’ve awakened, which if you already had an essential experience, you’ve already awakened… then something… without a question… without a doubt, you know that you’re freedom itself. That who you are, is love itself.
In the moment of spiritual awakening, if you've been there already, you know, call it an essential experience. If you had that moment, for me, it happened profoundly and deeply in Joshua Tree Desert in 1996. At the end of a mushroom journey, on the come down. I felt, like, a light hit my chest. It was beyond just that… It was clear to me that everything was One. That I was whole. That I was it. That I am it. That G-d is it. That everything is One. Everything is perfect.
In this essential experience, we break through the veil of illusion. We see the wizard on the other side, and we get the cosmic joke. Right? We really even have the cosmic laugh. Right? Have you been there? Where you (laughs) Have you been there? Where you have that cosmic laugh where it’s just like, “Oh my gosh, I've been caught up in believing I’m me, and then this, and all these trips…” and you just see crystal clear, the beauty of infinity. That you are it. See my dear friends, enlightenment looks like you right now. Enlightenment sounds like me right now. This is it. Exactly how it is.
You probably maybe heard this story were they asked, I think Lao Tzu, “What did you do after you were enlightened?” And he said he “had some tea.” (laughs) He had some tea. Why? Well it’s the same as “before enlightenment chop wood, after enlightenment chop wood.” See the essential realization is that it is endless, infinite, and it is now. And It’s not held. It's not held in any time or space. It’s not held in any concept or idea. There is no you. There is no nothing. It’s endless, endless, endless. And it's joy. And it's freedom. And that's you, right now. Enlightenment, looks like you, now. All the good parts of you. All the bad parts you. Enlightenment looks like you.
So if you had that moment of realization, that spiritual awakening, we could say, then what happens along the spiritual journey is this chasing of the state of enlightenment, right? This finished place, where you're just going to be enlightened all the time. Now there is a shift, and that shift begins with that essential experience, where we are more identified with awareness itself, right? Like the background becomes a front, and the front becomes the background. Your story, your individual story, your centered Me, becomes the background, and the background becomes the front.
(sigh) That is a shift that is profound. We could call that enlightenment, where you're more identified with the truth of who you are, infinity, than you are with this individual mind. And in that, there is just love. You see, in this, I just want to tell you, “I love you”. Why? Because there is truly no other. There truly is no other. That absolute reality you have probably already realized. And if you're a person out there, who’s like, “Wow. I'm just beginner. I haven't realized that…” In a moment in nature, remember a time where you saw some awe inspiring vista. You looked out at some beautiful sunset, or some sunrise. You’re just (sigh). You're “awe” struck. Right? In that moment, there's no you, almost. Everything's connected. You're there, but you're not there. You're whole. You're complete. There’s a moment of peace that we've all had out in nature. We have that moment in orgasm too. So you've had this moment. It may not, you may not define it as a spiritual awakening because you didn't have this clarity of like “Wow! I’ve just been chasing my tail. I get the cosmic joke, and I see infinity, and I’m it!”
But it will come for you, that's coming next if you're on this journey and you're here listening to this video right now. So how do we really experience that shift, and allow this enlightenment, this awakening, to fall deeper and deeper? There is an end to being asleep, but there is no end to waking up. We let go. Greater than ever before. Not in the concept that we think letting go is. Take our hands off the steering wheel. We surrender to this discomfort of this unknown, and we drop. We fall. There's no end to infinity meaning infinity. If you already recognize that that Oneness is truth, absolute baseline, then it's time to start noticing that you're trying to get back to an experience that happened in the past. See now, this is really crucial. These experiences we've had in the past, they’re not it. You see, in an enlightening experience, we have sensation. We have feeling. We have bliss, right? So we have experience. We have sensory. We have emotions. We have thought maybe even, but all that comes and goes. It is all pointing to the stillness, the infinity, which is beyond concept. Beyond thought. Beyond experience. Beyond emotion. Beyond sensation. It was all there to point you to that. And then all that fades away. And we get back on the journey, and we're trying to get back to this feeling and this experience.
You know, there was a student of mine years ago, his name was Bill. He suffered from depression for years. He was on a spiritual quest for thirty years. Depression. He had been a Vietnam vet. He was in halfway houses, post-traumatic stress, a lot of different issues that plagued him, and he was a devoted spiritual seeker. He tried mystery schools. And different teachers that had rules and structure and hard core stuff, but his greatest experience, before meeting me, came from this “out of body experience” that he had. You see, he said, in it he felt so “free”. He was no longer his body. The “crap” of life was like… gone! Like, he didn’t have to concern himself with the struggle and the suffering of life anymore. He could just be free, and at peace. And his whole journey from there on out was to “get that back.” Right? So we get on the spiritual journey, we attain these realizations and these epiphanies, and so we start to collect them, like they are achievements. It is time for you to give up your spiritual treasures.
For those of you on the spiritual journey, it's time for you to stop, and give up. It sounds crazy, but like when I said to Bill, “give up” this feeling that you want to get back to. “Give up” this experience. “Give up” this experience that you think you had in some past. It doesn't serve you right now. We need to get and understand that your past experiences are not it. Enlightenment is right now, as it is. And, in fact, when you realize that infinity, right now, by not following the thought out of your head, right now, and you stop believing your thoughts for a moment, then infinity, enlightenment, is right here. And it doesn't know a past experience ,or remember what it's supposed to be trying to get to. It's clean, it's fresh, and it's new. Stop trying to get there, and you already know so much. You've got to give up knowing, you know? When you don't know, you know… when you know, you don't know.
It's time to give up your attainments. Time to give up your knowing. Your philosophical understandings. When your intellectual identification with your mind is just clouded by a bunch of past experiences and understandings, that even your own realization in your own enlightenment is in the way of your own true-heartedness, then it’s time to stop. I'm inviting you to “call off the search.” You know, the great line by Papaji, that many of us might know. See, to really hear this right now, in this video, in this moment, you can have a deeper awakening that you've ever had in your life. You can actually have a shift deeper than you've ever known.
So the way to really start “living” an awake life, and deepening in your own awakening, is to finally “give up the search”. (sigh) Start inquiring into who you are, and why you are here, right now. Right here. Be willing, for a moment, to just stop. To call off the search. Call off the search for happiness. Let it go. Be willing not to follow the next thought out of your head. Give up the hope of enlightenment. Give up the avoidance of what you feel is uncomfortable. For a moment, just stop for a moment. what is here? Forget everything that can be forgotten. What is here now? Excellent.
So, explore that. Right? Explore being-ness. So, if you're someone who's deep on the journey, it's time for you to let go of all your experiences. All your knowledge. All your understandings. And recognize, moment-to-moment, that every time you're in your thoughts, every time you're in your individual perspective that knows these things, that had these experiences, that thinks it should be more enlightened and more experienced somewhere else, in that moment, you're in your thoughts again. You're in separation again. To have a true transcendence, moment-to-moment, of individual thought, of separate self, is when we align ourselves with Oneself. Right here, right now. And in that, there’s a fluidity. A moment-to-moment opening. Vulnerability. A willingness to welcome whatever arises and falls. I invite you to that right now. Please. For all of us and for you.
And for those of you who are maybe thinking you're a beginner, or you're just starting out of this journey, or, you know, you're somewhere in between. I want you to notice with me right now, that you “are”. Just say, “I am”. That you “are”. That you are is this IS-ness, you see? You “are”. And, you know, they say “fake it until you make it”? Well, “everything” in the real self-realization in the realization of infinity, Oneness… “Everything” is connected, and Everything is One. In a lot of my teachings, I call it “Your True-OneSelf”. OneSelf. That's you. So fake it till you make it? Hey, how about right now, look down the floor where you’re at. Is it being? Is it? It is. Wherever you are, look up at the sky or the ceiling. Is it? It is. Your mind can say it's a color. Your mind can have definitions and labels about things, but it “is”.
Start noticing that “everything is”. Start noticing that “you are”. There is no other. Everything is OneSelf meeting OneSelf. When you can take on that perspective, even if you haven't had the shift of living in that perspective, when you can choose, when you're caught in struggle, when you're caught in feeling bad and you're trying to get rid of a bad emotion, you can just accept that everything is “yourself meeting itself”. It's OneSelf.
You’ll have a different opening to life, noticing that “is”, that you “are”, that being “is”… everywhere. Everything is just “being”. And any moment you can shift to that perspective and an openness. A beauty of life. You know in that essential experience, we have this total sense of perfection. This total sense that everything is perfect. That everything is OK. The stream is leading you where it is, and your lifeform, your journey, is all accumulated to this moment right now. You're hearing me right now in this moment, and this invitation to allow yourself to finally be. To explore being. If you think you know this already, I dare you to drop that idea that you know it, and explore your “being” deeper.
So, thank you for joining here. You know we're going to jump in here really start ripping this apart, you know? Really looking at “what is awakening” and “what is it to live an awake life?” Looking at different aspects of this “spiritual journey”. The truth is, it is all spiritual. You know, right? It’s not “I’m a human being having a spiritual experience, but I’m a spirit having a human experience?” It is all spiritual, my friends. And when we start living in the mystical context, and the beauty of perfection that is actually who and what we are, then there's a shift in life right here and now. Nothing has to change. All emotions are welcome. Good and bad can happen in life. The story can play out, but you could know that you already are whole. It’s your divine birthright to understand the perfection and beauty of life, moment-to-moment. Even when there's horror. Even when there's pain. I love you. I send you all the love. I send you all the blessings. So, until next time, here's to living an awake life, from your True-OneSelf, and into the greatest expression of you.