Finding Inner Calm and Deeper Wisdom

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Archive for the ‘self-knowledge’ Category

Why Seek Enlightenment?

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Many of us to want to know more. We want to understand more about who we are and why we are here. Is there a god? Most people want more knowledge about life after death. All these are reasons why religions were created. As human beings, we have a driving desire for answers to those questions, even if we suspect the answers aren’t really true. Enlightenment provides answers to those questions without the need of accepting Belief.

The differences between Enlightenment and Belief are huge. Enlightening knowledge springs from within. It is pre-programmed knowledge that comes already built into the human mind. On a physical and neurological level, it is primordial knowledge. It was already there at the time of birth.

Enlightenment doesn’t require any outside source. It doesn’t require trusting any other person. It doesn’t require the bodily senses to receive the information, and it doesn’t require the mind to interpret its meaning. Enlightenment is fully pre-packaged and already comprehended.

One of the first benefits is discovering your self-nature. That is, who you are and what you are at the deepest level of your being, all without the masks and delusions of your conscious thinking mind. That in itself is an extraordinary gift.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

January 28, 2019 at 3:49 pm

Using My Angel Hour

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Just in case you don’t know what I mean by my angel hour, let me define it. When you wake up at some time between 4 and 5 a.m. and you don’t feel sleepy, maybe you’re having an angel hour. Go ahead and meditate to stop your mind, and see if you can go back to sleep.

RelaxedGirlIf you can’t sleep, your deeper mind may be trying to tell you something. So continue meditating to slow down and/or stop your conscious thinking. Stay very relaxed and very still. Soon, you won’t be entirely awake but you also won’t be entirely asleep. That is a good state to be in.

That very relaxed state of half asleep is an angel hour. When it happens, stay with it. I guess during this state of mind, people think angels are speaking to them. Who knows. Maybe so.

You might receive valuable knowledge. Or perhaps answers to a problem that has been bothering you. Or maybe not. You never know.

In any case, it’s a good place to be. During that time, you’re getting both physical and mental rest. It’s nearly as good as sleep. Some times—maybe not all the time—but for sure some of those times, you will receive deep-mind information that you might otherwise never know about. Your deep mind understands things unknown to your conscious mind. Among other things, that can be pure wisdom. It also allows you to clearly see your own intuition that applies to some matter concerning you. In some rare instances, you might receive genuine enlightening experiences.

In years past, it took a while for me to recognize an angel hour. I would get annoyed that I couldn’t go back to sleep. But then, after I realized what was going on, I relaxed into it. And I was often rewarded.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

January 4, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Looking Inward

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As a writer and student of Zen, I’ve struggled for twenty-two years to find the simplest worS'tatue2ds to describe the Zen experience. That little “chore” was handed to me early one morning in 1996 in a flash of knowledge. So I wrote and I wrote, trying to compose the language that might help other people coming along the same path to understand exactly what Zen is. Along the way, I learned that language is woefully inadequate to describe some things.

However, the Zen state is a remarkably simple state to be in. Simply stated, it is being in a relaxed body and having no thoughts. I’ve said that and written that a hundred times. And for some, it’s a lot easier to say than it is to do.

I’ve searched for simpler and more accurate ways to describe Zen over the years. Just recently, a short, simple sentence came to mind that might resonate. Here it is:

Zen is looking inward and saying nothing.

Yes, actually that is entirely accurate from my experience. Does it make sense to you? Does it make the concept easier to grasp? Of course, your next question might be: Okay, but why should I do it?

Let me think about that…

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

August 28, 2018 at 4:26 pm

Mindfulness Makes a Better Person

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We all want to become a better person.

Right? Well, perhaps I should say most of us want to be better people. It seems clear to me that people who read my stuff must be motivated by self-improvement. The topic on my mind toMeditatorInTwoPieceday is exactly how Mindfulness can make you a better person.

First, a simple and accurate definition: Mindfulness is learning to become an observer of your own thoughts and feelings. Many people who want to learn meditation, start first by sitting in a meditation position with a pad and pencil by their side. And then stopping now and then to record what is going through their mind.

Most people rarely stop to think about what they’re thinking about. And then, also rarely, to ask themselves why am I thinking about that. This is a very important step in learning to control your mind—instead of letting it control you. Of course, the next step beyond Mindfulness is learning to stop the mind, which is the very definition of the Zen meditative state.

So how does this make you a better person? Easy. By observing your own thoughts (which is accomplished at a “higher” place in your mind), you can actually witness your own beliefs and values in operation. That higher place in your mind is often free from much of the judgment and indoctrination by belief systems that control what you think, say, and do. Mindfulness permits the practitioner to think free–at least for a short while. Mindfulness gives your mind an opportunity like a breath of fresh air.

So many of us are not aware how strongly we were indoctrinated. We were “trained” by parents, teachers, preachers, and mentors. All of them authority figures who instilled our values and beliefs. We didn’t have much of a choice then. And now, you are at the mercy of the beliefs of all those people. But wouldn’t you like the opportunity to step back and examine for yourself the basis of all your values and beliefs? Wouldn’t you like to have a say in what kind of person you are? And don’t you want to become a better person as a result?

Get a cushion to sit on and a writing pad for making notes. Go to a quiet place, sit on the cushion, and watch that mind of yours. Just let it run free, and see what comes out.

 

 

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

December 20, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Why I Love Sunday

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Sunday is a great day for several reasons. It’s especially nice because most of the true believers are in their churches and we non-believers have the world to ourselves. Well, mostly.

What’s wrong with that you ask? Nothing, actually. Most of us are doing what we want to do. As for myself, I make a point of sleeping late on Sunday. I hardly ever wake up on Sunday without having at least a fleeting thought about the people kneeling and praying in their churches. And appreciating my own freedom to roll over and take an extra snooze.

I can’t imagine living in a country where the government is a religion, and a religion is the government. That is true enslavement, and it is a genuine justification for revolt.

One thing I’ve noticed about religions is they all have stories to tell. When you pick a religion (or if you were indoctrinated when you were young), you are taught that religion’s stories. Each religion’s stories are a little different.

They have books of stories. And they sing songs that tell their stories. And for emphasis, their preachers will shout and rant about their stories. Whether or not their stories are actually true doesn’t really matter. They encourage you to believe them. Because Belief is how you create Faith. And Faith is what gets you into Paradise later. That is, if you choose to believe all that.

In truth, Belief is the easy way out. Show up for church now and then, put some money in the offering plate, and you’re covered. Oh, and quit reading sacrilegious stuff written by heathens like me.

When you step way back and take a hard look at all the possible stories offered to you, you might discover one very crucial fact:

All of the stories in all the religions of the world are merely what other people believe about God. Bottom line: Every religion wants you to accept and believe what other people believe. None of them encourages or helps you take a path of learning for yourself. None of them encourages spiritual self-development.

Compared to just signing on to an organized religion, Zen might be a harder path. You actually have to do something: Practice meditation. Open yourself to your own inner knowledge. But there are no belief systems in Zen. It is a path of seeking the truth. That makes it a very rewarding path. If you stick to it.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

October 8, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Who, Me? Asleep?

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Decades ago, I remember reading books by certain teachers and masters who asserted that I (and most people) are walking through life mostly asleep. That frustrated me, because I envisioned myself as a smart, alert person. What is it about my life that makes me “asleep?”

I recall a time when I once stood in front of a mirror and smacked myself in the face to see if that would have any effect. (It did not.)

Time went on, and I didn’t worry about it. I rarely thought about it. But all during that time I kept on with my meditation practice, which gave me a considerable amount of inner peace, steadiness, and balance—that I noticed most people around me didn’t have.

Years later, during one of my typical quiet early-morning meditations, my world was shaken by an enormous totally unexpected earth-shattering event. It seemed like a massive explosion near my house. Except it wasn’t. It was in my mind. It was an awakening, the likes of which I had never before imagined.

In one moment, I became separated from both my body and my mind—floating free in a dimensionless space. I was able to “see” like I had never imagined possible. I was able to view my body and my puny human mind as separate entities. Suddenly, I had vision and knowledge that is not possible in the ordinary human conscious state. There, for a brief few moments, I was awake.

In the minutes and hours after that meditation, I found that I could not recreate the type of vision I’d had. And I could recall only fragments of the knowledge I had experienced. At first I didn’t know if it had been a dream—or an actual experience. Which is why I began writing about it that same morning. I wanted to capture that experience in writing. And I wanted to prove to myself whether the experience was genuine or if I was losing my mind.

Several more “awakening” experiences happened to me during the next two years, which I faithfully recorded in my journal. One was an event where I discovered my self-nature, which among other things taught me who I am and what I am at the deepest level of my being, without the masks and delusions of my own conscious mind. That was powerful. And that made a big change in the way I live. Now, I’m sure I have a good idea what the masters meant when they wrote about sleepers.

One of my teachers, Osho, taught it this way: Silence is the space in which you can awaken. The noisy mind is the space where you will remain asleep. He’s right.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

August 7, 2017 at 1:10 am

Original Zen Now in Paperback

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It took me a year, but now it’s active and available on amazon. For several years, folks have urged me to put the Original Zen ebook into ink-on-paper. So this was my very first effort at turning an ebook into something that doesn’t require electricity or batteries. Of course, the ebook version is still available.

During this work, I revised and updated the ebook (from its original Sept 2013 version), adding a couple of chapters and some additional words and clarifications about things that weren’t clear enough to some readers. I introduced the notion of using mindfulness meditation as a stepping stone into the Zen state.

The first two paperback copies from amazon just arrived (only two days after ordering), and I’m very pleased with the result. It’s a 6×9 inch quality trade paperback with a full-color cover and 160 pages. At the back is a glossary of terms that might be useful to a new student. Right now the price is only $13, which in the future might have to go up a bit.

Click into Original Zen on amazon and take a look. Your feedback and comments will be greatly appreciated.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

June 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm