What is your mind full of?

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Ascended Master Gautama Buddha through Kim Michaels, January 8, 2023. This dictation was given during the 2023 New Year’s webinar – Being a spiritual person in a chaotic world.

I AM the Ascended Master Gautama Buddha. Our next step on this Eightfold Path is the step of mindfulness. Consider the word in English: “Mind-full-ness.” What is the mind full of? There comes a point on the Eightfold Path where you need to begin to consider: “What is it that occupies my mind? What is in my mind?” This is, of course, as I have already explained, these separate selves, these reactionary patterns, these subconscious programs. What is the larger effect of all of these programs, the separate selves and the ego? 

The ego and the separate selves are born out of the illusion of separation. If you consider the ocean on a day with a good wind, there are many waves on the ocean. Now consider that you build a crane that can reach out over the ocean. This crane has a grab or a shovel at the end, and you are now reaching down attempting to grab one particular wave and pull that wave out of the ocean. Would you be successful? Well, perhaps you could pull out a bucket of water, but immediately another wave would form and your bucket of water would not be a wave, it would be a bucket of water. Could you separate a wave from the ocean? 

Likewise, everything in the world of form is made out of a formless substance. The formless substance takes on a particular form, but this does not change the substance. The Buddha Nature is still the Buddha Nature as the ocean is still the ocean when it takes on waves as opposed to remaining calm. Once the formless substance has taken on form, the forms are there, they have a temporary existence but they do not have a separate existence. 

The limitations of the physical senses

You may, just to give you a visual example, look at the earth and all the physical phenomena in your environment. There might be houses and trees and mountains and lakes and oceans or whatever, but they are all made out of subatomic particles that really do not have a particular form. You may look at a tree and you may see that this is very different from a rock, but they are both made out of subatomic particles. There are subatomic particles within them, and therefore, you cannot say that a tree is separated from the subatomic particles. It is made up of the subatomic particles that have taken on a particular form. 

Now, of course, you cannot see this with your senses or with the outer mind. You might be able to reason that it is that way with the reasoning mind. You might be able to experience it with the intuitive mind, but there is a certain level of the mind that cannot see beyond the appearances, the forms. Now I am not trying to say that this is wrong. Your physical senses were designed to detect energy within a certain frequency spectrum, namely the same frequency spectrum that makes up your physical body. Your physical senses are extensions of the body and they are meant to serve the body as it interacts with the material world. The body is just a form, but it is also made out of subatomic particles. 

These physical senses and their limitations are the basis, the original basis at least, for human beings going into this illusion of separation. Now I said, it is the basis for it, but it is not the cause of it. The cause of going into separation is a series of choices that people make, whereby they gradually accept the illusions of maya and create these separate selves. The separate selves are created out of the illusion of separation. When the Conscious You steps inside of this mind that is filled with these separate selves, you are seeing everything through those separate selves. You are seeing yourself, you are experiencing yourself, through these separate selves, and over lifetimes, you can forget that you were ever a connected being. You are now experiencing that you are a separate being, but have you become separate because you experience yourself as such? 

Well, this is what you come to question at a certain level of the Eightfold Path. You begin to question your own perception of the world around you, your perception of yourself. We can say that the beginning of a higher mindfulness is that you begin to question your perceptions, your outer thoughts, your sense of identity, even your entire world view. 

You know that your senses can easily be deceived or tricked by appearances. You have all seen optical illusions and you know that there is something beyond what your senses can see. There are atoms and molecules and subatomic particles. You know the senses are not reliable. What really is unreliable are the separate selves that not only take the senses, but build this ideological overlay on top of sensory perception where it says that what your senses see are really separate things. 

Now, if you just take your sensory perception, you will actually see that the senses in themselves have no judgment about what they are seeing. The purpose of the senses is to distinguish and discriminate between different objects at the macroscopic level. Here is a horse. It is not dangerous. Here is a lion. It could potentially be dangerous. This is the purpose of the senses. The purpose of the senses is to discern or discriminate between various objects that relate to your physical survival and safety—what you can do and what you want to do in the world. The senses are really not imposing a value judgment on what they see. 

They may see a lion. They may identify it as a lion but the senses themselves do not actually say that the lion is dangerous. It is your mind that imposes that evaluation on it. Even that is a neutral, we might say objective evaluation. A lion is dangerous because it could attack your physical body and potentially kill it. This is not the same as a value judgment that says a horse is good, a lion is bad, a lion is evil. You see here that on top of the senses that distinguish between different things, objects and forms, your mind has imposed this evaluation, this judgment of good and bad. This is the essence of what I have called the duality consciousness where you create these two polarities. 

Black-and-white thinking

In the extreme form, there are only two polarities and nothing in between. There is good, there is bad. This is what has been called in Aristotelian logic, the logic of the excluded middle. Something is either this or that, there is nothing in between. Now, as I have also said, there is, of course, an alternative to this, which is to say there are two polarities but they are on a scale. There is a middle and there are gradations between the two. Many people have such a value judgment. They see there is something that is good, there is something that is evil but there are some things that are in between the two. 

What is your mind full of? Well, it is full of these separate selves and many of them are based on this value judgment. Something has to be good or bad, right or wrong. What is the purpose of doing this? Well, if you are a connected being, what do you see? What do you feel? What do you experience? You experience that you are connected to something beyond your own mind, your higher self. You experience that you are receiving energy from that higher self and you can use this energy to create circumstances for yourself on earth. 

Before people had stepped into duality and separation, there were none of the conflicts that you see today on earth. People could live in a much more harmonious way where they did not oppose each other. This meant that most people could manifest what they desired without too much effort, certainly without a struggle. Because they saw themselves connected to something higher and connected to each other and connected to their environment, they did not experience that other people or the environment were opposing them. There was no opposition. 

The beginning of suffering

When you are a connected being, where is the opposition? You realize you are connected to the earth and to the material world and that the material world will actually gladly give you the conditions you desire. Once you step into this consciousness of separation and now identify yourself as a separate being, you do not experience any connection anymore. This means you are separated from your environment. You are separated from other people and you are separated from a higher source that gives you creative energy. Now, you have to take energy from your environment. What does that mean? It means taking it from other people. They resist that, of course, so there is the beginning of the struggle. You also experience that even the material world will not give you what you want when you are a separate being, so you have to struggle for everything. 

What does that mean? It means you now start using force. When you are a connected being, you do not have to use force. You use the natural process of allowing energy to stream through your mind, forming mental images that are not based on the illusion of separation, and those mental images are superimposed upon the basic energy and they give you what you desire. When you step into separation, you cannot do this. You cannot co-create in the natural way. You start trying to co-create in an unnatural way where instead of allowing energy to take on form according to the basic principles, you are now seeking to force energy to take on form. You are still doing it in basically the same way. You are formulating mental images and projecting them upon the energy, but you are doing it with force because the mental images are based on separation, the sense of separation. 

A classic example of this is that if you go back throughout history, you see that most societies have had a tendency that a certain elite would form. They would claim to have some kind of authority, for example, the ownership of land. This means that other people did not own land. The only way they could survive was to work on the land of the landowners, but the landowners required something for that, so this means that the landowners could now get the conditions they wanted because other people were doing the physical labor that was required. 

This is an example of how some people have managed to use force to get what they wanted, but it is by taking advantage of other people, by forcing those other people into submission to the elite. What is it that is really happening in your psychology? Well, as I have said several times, once you step into separation you feel a pressure. It is an overwhelming pressure because as a separate being, you cannot really see how you can defend yourself against all the threats that you perceive in the world. What must you do? 

Well, I have said earlier that you suppress your feelings and your thoughts, but what you are really doing in this process is you are creating this conglomerate of the separate selves under the umbrella of the ego. The purpose of doing this is to create a certain worldview that presents yourself as being in a position where you are safe, you are superior and you have a protected privileged position that cannot be threatened. This is the basic psychology of this consciousness of separation. You feel threatened and you are trying to create a worldview that lessens the threat. 

The prison of separation

Now, people, of course, can also take physical measures. Some of these elite people that you have seen throughout the ages have built castles with thick stone walls to defend themselves from an outside threat. There are many other examples of physical measures that people take but they all spring from the mind, from the psychology. Everything begins in the psychology. Whatever physical measures people take are just an extension of this attempt to create a worldview that presents themselves as being in a special position in life where they are able to cope with being on the planet. They are able to cope with the pressure, live with the pressure and continue some kind of existence. 

You may say: “What is wrong with this?” Well, at a certain level, nothing is wrong with it because the earth is an experience machine, a reality simulator, where you are allowed to have the experiences you want for as long as you want until you have had enough of it. If you are a spiritual person and you are studying spiritual teachings and you want to follow a spiritual path, then, obviously this is not enough for you. It is not enough for you to create these mental images that make you feel safe, because what is the effect of creating such an image? It is that once you have it, you feel like you have to defend it. Once you have a certain physical position, you feel you have to defend it. The physical position certainly becomes a protection, such as a castle with stone walls is a protection, but it also becomes a prison because you cannot leave it. Once you have created this worldview, your mind cannot go beyond it. You have to stay within it and you have to always be ready to defend it against all potential threats. 

In duality, you can prove anything

Now, I have explained about the duality consciousness where you always have two polarities. One aspect of the duality consciousness combined with the analytical mind and the intellect is that you can basically prove anything you want. You have a somewhat old discussion in various cultures: “Does God exist?” In the modern world, you have a discussion between religious people and scientific materialists or atheists. They both try to come up with arguments. The religious people come up with arguments for God’s existence and the atheists come up with arguments against God’s existence. They both look at each other’s arguments and try to undermine them and invalidate them, and what do you see if you look at this scenario? You see that after some time, two distinct groups form. One group is absolutely convinced that God exists, the other group is equally convinced that God does not exist. But they are both looking at the same arguments. 

Why is it that one group of people looks at these arguments and concludes that God does exist and the other looks at the same arguments and concludes that God does not exist? Well, it is because each group of people have certain separate selves in their minds and those separate selves will have, as their job, as their programming, to defend these people’s overall worldview. The religious people have an overall view that there is a God who is ultimately in control of what happens in this world. This makes them feel safe because they feel that because they are good religious people, this God will keep them safe, will grant them favors. Their sense of security and safety is based on the existence of this God. This means their separate selves are meant to defend this worldview and the existence of this God. How do the separate selves do it? By suppressing and invalidating any arguments that questions the worldview. 

Now, the atheists have a worldview that there is no God and that is because they feel, and in past lives they felt, threatened by religious people who persecuted them as you saw in the Inquisition and the Crusades. They have reasoned that one of the biggest threats in the world is religion, and therefore, they have created a worldview that religion is all superstition and subjectivity but there is no God. Instead, there are laws of nature and once you can know these laws through science, these people feel they have some sense of control over their situation. How have they achieved their worldview? By creating separate selves that exclude, suppress or invalidate any evidence that questions their worldview. 

Now, you can look around the world and find many, many other groups of people that have exactly the same. The Jews in Israel have a particular worldview where they see themselves in opposition to Arabs. The Arabs have a worldview where they see themselves in opposition to Jews. Many other groups of people around the world have a similar dynamic. 

What you come to realize, when you step up to this higher mindfulness, is that all people have created these separate selves. All people have a basic worldview. You need to have a worldview in order to function but the problem is that when your worldview is based on separation and duality, it will inevitably put you in conflict with other people who have a worldview based on the opposite dualistic polarity. 

As an example, consider the Crusades between Muslims and Christians, they both claim that their religion worshiped the same god, the god described in the Old Testament, but they were still at war with each other. The Christians felt that they represented good and the Muslims represented evil. The Muslims were equally convinced that they represented good and the Christians represented evil. Obviously, they could not both be right. What if none of them were right? What if they both had a dualistic subjective worldview because they had taken one dualistic polarity and elevated that to the status of superiority which, then, put them in an existential conflict with the opposite dualistic polarity? 

In other words, Christianity and Islam had been put on a dualistic scale where they represented two extremes on the scale. The Christians could say: “Well, our extreme is good, the Islamic extreme is evil.” The Muslims could say the opposite. This is how duality works. You take what is one relative extreme, and then, you elevate it to the status of not being relative. It is absolute: “This is the absolute truth. We, the Christians have the absolute truth. The Muslims are in absolute error, therefore, it is justified that we kill them even though our religion contains the commandment, thou shalt not kill.” This is how you invalidate a command and justify violating it, which obviously is relativistic but you think it is based on some superior truth. 

Eight billion universes

This is how people create these worldviews and you can come to see this as a spiritual student when you step up to the higher levels of the Eightfold Path. You come to see this, and therefore, of course, you need to stop focusing your mind on what other people are doing, instead realizing that you have been doing the same thing, because everybody does this until they free their minds from this illusion of separation from these separate selves. It can be no other way. There is no mystery here. This is what everyone does. When I was in embodiment before I reached the higher levels of awareness, I did the same thing. I did it in previous lifetimes as well, even though many Buddhists will deny that I had previous lifetimes. 

You come to that point where you are saying: “I understand what is happening in the world. I see the dynamic of how everybody has a worldview.” Basically, all eight billion people on the planet have an individual worldview. There are many groups of people that have similar worldviews and thereby, they can identify themselves as being part of a group, but each person has a slightly different worldview. 

We can even say that there is not one universe. There are eight billion universes on earth because each person is inside, is in the center of, their own personal universe. Each person sees himself or herself as the center of the universe. A parallel to this is your physical perspective. You are sitting right now in a particular location. Your body is in a particular location. You are looking out through your eyes from a particular perspective. You are occupying space where you are. It is your individual space. Another human being may be able to sit close to you and have a similar perspective as you have, but the person cannot push its body into your body and see the exact same physical perspective that you are seeing. It is the same thing with the mind. You can have similarities with other people but you are the center of your personal universe. 

Now, if you have eight billion people who each see themselves as the center of the universe, and therefore, they are the most important person in the universe, is it any wonder there is conflict and struggle and suffering and a Sea of Samsara? You can come to see this as a student on the spiritual path. What do you, then, need to do? Well, if you want to move higher on the path you need to say: “I understand that all of us are living in our own personal universe. That universe exists only in our minds but we are acting based on how we look at the world, based on our worldview. I understand that we all have a tendency to defend our worldview. I understand that I do not have a right to control another person’s worldview. Even if it is my children, my parents, people close to me, I do not have a right to control other people’s minds. What can I do? As a spiritual student who is beginning to realize what I am realizing about the spiritual path, what can I do?” 

I resign from changing other people

Well, the first step you can do is you can step back and you can make a decision. You can say: “I am choosing to resign myself from the job of changing other people’s minds.” You can even ask yourself: “Do I have an employment contract where some authority figure has signed that it is my job to change the minds of other people? Do I have this contract?” Look through your drawers and your file cabinet, do you have such a contract? If you do not, you can ask yourself: “Well, why have I, then, taken on this job of changing other people’s minds?” Then, you can use this teaching to realize that you have taken on this job because your ego thinks it has to change other people’s minds in order to change your state of mind. It thinks that in order for you to feel secure, you need to change other people’s minds.

Then, you can step even further back, at least once you have started recognizing that you are not the ego, you are not the outer mind, you can step further back and say: “But was it me who took on this job or was it just my ego?” Then, you can begin to realize that it was your ego that took on this job. It was not you., which means that you can now step back from the job and say: “Enough of this. I am going to deliberately choose to stop focusing on changing other people’s minds and I am going to put all of my attention on changing my own mind. That is really my only job on this planet. The only purpose for my being on this planet is to raise my own awareness, not change the minds of other people. It is not a matter of changing my mind as such, but raising my mind to higher levels of awareness.” 

What are you mindful of? You are mindful of the need to change your own consciousness, your own psyche. How do you do it? As I have already described, you look at these patterns, you expose these selves, you let them die. When you focus on this, you will start to make progress, rapid progress. Then, you can come to higher levels of mindfulness where you can begin to see beyond many of the games people are trapped in. 

Look at people. Take, for example, family members who can be locked for decades in this battle where one person is seeking to change another person and vice versa. They are playing a game of who can change who, who can dominate who and so forth. You can free yourself from all of this. You can free yourself from having your attention and your energies, your emotional, mental and identity level energies tied up in this game of seeking to change other people. This can lead to much more rapid growth. 

The constant judgment in the mind

When you, then, come to a higher level and have freed yourself from this game, you can take the next step, you can say: “But I am beginning to grasp now, how the ego works, how these separate selves work. I have experienced that I have come to see some of these selves and I have let them go. I am beginning to grasp the process.” What is it that is really happening here? What is happening is that the ego and the separate selves have created, as I said, a particular worldview. This world view is based on separation and it is based on dualistic polarities and a value judgment. 

What is constantly going on in your mind is that you have a conglomerate of separate selves that are evaluating everything that happens in your life. It is not just a matter of outer events. Your separate selves are, of course, constantly monitoring outer events. They are constantly evaluating: “Is this a threat to my worldview?” Then, they are judging: “Well if it is, it is bad and it must be suppressed or avoided, and if it is not, then, it is good, then I can accept it.” 

There is constantly, in your mind, a process of evaluation of judgment of outer events. Anything that happens, it can be world events, it can be personal physical events, it can be what someone says, something you read, something you see on TV, every impulse that comes to you from outside yourself is constantly evaluated by these separate selves. Much of this goes on below the level of your conscious awareness but as you rise on the path, you become more conscious of this, you cannot avoid seeing some of this process going on. You cannot avoid seeing how it ties up your resources and your attention. 

Beyond what is coming to you from the outside, there is also a constant evaluation process going on inside your mind. At the emotional level, you have selves that evaluate: “What should I feel in this situation? Is this feeling okay based on my spiritual worldview? Is this acceptable for a spiritual person to feel this way?” Then, you have thoughts: “Is this thought okay?” Basically the evaluation is: “Is this thought a threat to my worldview or does it validate my worldview?” Then, at the level of identity, constantly all of these thoughts: “Who am I? How do I fit into the world? Do I have a right to be here? Should I change myself? Should I conform to this group or that group?” All of these evaluations, but the overall purpose is: “Is it a threat to my worldview? Does it validate my worldview? Is it good? Is it bad?” 

Now again, this is, for many people, how they experience life. They experience life through their own minds, through their worldview, through these separate selves. Again, if this is the experience people want, there is nothing inherently wrong with it. As a spiritual student, you need to come to that point where you become mindful of this and you, then, start evaluating: “Do I want this to fill my mind? I see how it has been filling my mind my entire lifetime, but do I want it to fill my mind for the rest of this lifetime or do I want to rise above this?” That is when you can begin to use the teachings to expose these separate selves that are constantly judging and evaluating. 

You can also begin to become aware of your worldview. How is it you actually see the world and see your place in the world? What is it in your worldview that gives you a sense that you can cope with life, that you can exist and continue to exist in this chaotic world? Then, you can realize that the basis for it all is this value judgment. You look at phenomena in the world, it can be physical things, emotions, thoughts, your sense of identity. You are always evaluating: “Is it good, is it bad, is it right, is it wrong?” There comes a point on the path towards Buddhahood where you need to begin to evaluate: “Is this the only way to look at life? Is it possible to free my mind from this constant evaluation, judgment of everything?” 

Suffering is inside your mind

You can even begin to ask the question: “What is the cause of suffering? Is it the external world? Is suffering just an inevitable consequence of the fact that I live in this terrible world?” Then, you begin to ask yourself: “Well, where is suffering taking place now?” You can realize that suffering is a condition that takes place inside your mind. 

Yes, there may be an outer condition. You may ride your bicycle and fall over and break a leg and it causes you pain. There is a physical element of this, but the real suffering takes place in your mind. This is where you might go into an evaluation process: “Oh, this should not have happened. This was so unfair that this happened. It was so stupid of me that I was not careful or it was that other person that forced me off the road.” All of these evaluations that now tie up your mind. Well, it is this process that goes on in the mind that causes suffering. Outer events are just outer events, surely it is not pleasant to break a leg, but it is still an outer event and the evaluation of it, as good or bad or unjust or whatever, takes place in the mind.

Regardless of the physical conditions, suffering takes place in the mind and suffering springs from this constant evaluation of right and wrong, good and bad, this should have happened but did not happen, this should not have happened but did happen, all of these evaluations. That is when you can, then, begin to expose these separate selves, and when you come to see them or let go of them, that is when you experience a greater connection to the Buddha mind. Because in the Buddha mind, there are no such value judgments and evaluations. 

This is what I attempted to explain 2,500 years ago with the concept of the pairs, with the concept of overcoming suffering, overcoming attachments. It is your attachment to things that makes you suffer. It is your attachment to this view that certain things should happen and certain things should not happen. When the things you think should not happen actually happen, you suffer. When you think that the things that you wanted to happen do not happen, you suffer. 

You are constantly in this state of agitation, not being satisfied, not being at peace because you are always looking to the future, fearing that bad things could happen or that good things may not happen. You are constantly in tension and you can come to that point where you begin to have these glimpses where the Conscious You steps outside of the outer mind and you experience a connection to your higher self, and therefore, you experience peace. You now experience this directly—it is not a theoretical concept. You are experiencing that there is an alternative to your normal state of mind and that alternative is a more peaceful state of mind and that is when you can begin to evaluate: “What do I want? Do I want to continue in the agitation or do I want to move towards peace?” In order to move towards peace, well, you have to get rid of these separate selves, but you also have to look at your overall worldview and say: “Is it true that everything is separate? Do I really live in a world made of separate things, separate objects? Am I a separate being? Am I separated from the other 8 billion people on the planet? Am I an island in the center of my own universe or is there an alternative?” Of course, there is and that is the Buddha mind, that is enlightenment. 

The concept of enlightenment

Enlightenment has stages. Of course, there are some people that think it is some absolute perfect state but it is not. Enlightenment is when you begin to see beyond this illusion that the world can be divided into separate objects. 

You live in a computer age. Many of you can remember when computers were more primitive and the computer screen had some pixels on it that were visible to the naked eye. You could actually see the individual square dots that made up the image on the computer screen. Now, if you go back and look at a photograph on the computer screen, if you went close enough with a magnifying glass, all you could see were these individual square dots in different colors but they were all the same shape, they just had different colors. There were basically only three different colors and you could see these individual pixels. This means that you are now looking at the computer screen, and there may be a photograph on that computer screen of a tiger, but when you are close enough, you only see square dots of various colors and it is only when you step back far enough that suddenly your perspective shifts and now you see the image and you see: “Oh, those square dots form an image that is a tiger and it is a dangerous animal that could eat me.” 

This is what you begin to grasp when you reach these higher levels of mindfulness, namely that only at a certain level, from a certain perspective, does it appear that the world is made of separate objects. Only at a certain level, is it relevant to apply this value judgment of good and bad, right and wrong. When you step closer, you see that all of the forms, all of the shapes in the world, are made up of these little individual dots. You can even go a step further and realize that the dots could not appear unless there was a screen and so all of the different shapes in the world are made out of these smaller units going all the way down to subatomic particles and energy waves. 

All of this could only appear because there is something behind it that makes them appear. What is behind the dots on the computer screen is the screen itself, what is behind dots on a piece of paper is the paper itself, but what is behind the dots that make up the world of form is the formless, which is the Buddha Nature. The Buddha Nature is the formless that allows form to arise. It is the formless that can take on form temporarily but the formless is not changed by it. Again, I have used the image of a movie theater where you are projecting with your identity, mental and emotional bodies onto the screen. The screen can display many different movies but it is not changed by displaying the movies. The screen is still there, it is still white, undifferentiated, formless. No matter what forms the Buddha Nature takes on, it does not change the Buddha Nature. The forms are only temporary. The Buddha Nature is timeless, eternal, ongoing. No form could ever change the formless. 

A form may be able to change another form, but no form can change the formless and this is what you are able to not only understand intellectually but eventually even experience intuitively, namely that behind all forms is the Buddha Nature. When you do begin to experience this intuitively, you gain an entirely different perspective. You see that all of this evaluation of right and wrong, good and bad, it only takes place in the mind but it only takes place in the mind that is separated from the Buddha Nature, and the effect of this evaluation, this constant tension, this constant judgment, is that it keeps the Conscious You focused on the separate mind, focused in the separate mind, seeing the world through the separate mind. Because the Conscious You is an expression of the formless Buddha Nature, it can step outside of the mind that has form and experience its own nature. This is higher mindfulness. This is what mindfulness truly means. 

Different definitions of mindfulness

Now, if you look at Buddhism through the ages you will see that many people, many Buddhists, even many so-called advanced scholars have defined it in many other ways. Some have attempted to define it in such a way that there are certain things that you should not be thinking about and there are certain things that you should be thinking about that your mind should be focused on. They have, then, created various forms of meditation aimed at shutting out certain thoughts, focusing the mind on other thoughts. 

This is not the original meaning of mindfulness. It is actually that these people are using the teachings of the Buddha to reinforce or to even create a new separate self. These people are taking the teachings of the Buddha, which are meant to set them free from the outer mind, the dualistic mind, the separate mind, and they are using the teachings of the Buddha to create a separate self that now feels superior to those who do not have their worldview. They are creating a specific worldview that is (they claim) based on the teachings of the Buddha but it is actually created from separation where they are looking at the teachings of the Buddha through the filter of separation. Then, they are distorting the teachings, turning it into a doctrine or a dogma and a very fixed, closed, absolutist worldview. 

What is the entire concept of the Eightfold Path? It is that as long as you are in physical embodiment, you have not arrived at some ultimate level of consciousness. Like I said, you will have some illusion as long as you are in physical embodiment. It can be no other way. Walking the Eightfold Path is a lifelong process but what these people have done is they have taken the teachings of the Buddha, or rather their distorted version of it, and they have said: “Here we have the absolute worldview. We are Buddhists. We know this. We are practicing these practices. We are able to force our minds to not think about certain things and force it to only focus on other things. Therefore, we are advanced. We are saved. We have reached a higher state of consciousness. We are special and surely the Buddha will reward us in some future that will come.” This is not what mindfulness means. This is mindlessness even though the mind is full of its own self-created worldview. This is all illusion, a giant web of illusions and this is the essence of the dilemma that you face.

If you take the story of my life, you will see that after I had entered Nirvana, I contemplated going back to earth and teaching. I was confronted with the thought that: “But you have reached such an advanced level of consciousness that is so much higher, so fundamentally different from the consciousness that people have on earth, therefore, nobody will be able to grasp your teaching. Nobody will be able to understand it.” It was a temptation that I had to face, that I had to work through and I had to evaluate: “Is it even worthwhile to go back? Will anybody grasp it?” What caused me to go back was that I realized that I had grasped it. I had understood. I had raised my awareness to a certain level and, as I said, when you reach that level of enlightenment and Buddhahood, your worldview is based on oneness. You do not see yourself as separated from other people, therefore, you do not see yourself as special. You see that you are an individual expression of the Buddha Nature, and so are all other people, and one expression of the Buddha Nature cannot be inherently fundamentally superior to another expression of the Buddha Nature. 

When you realize this, you realize that because I was able to raise my awareness, all other people are able to do the same. The fact that I did it means there are other people that are ready and willing and, therefore, I might give them an example. I might give them some teachings and that is why I decided to go back because I decided: “Some will understand.” I knew that most will not understand and you can look back at Buddhism over these past 2,500 years and the various sects that have sprung up and there are various arguments for why they have understood the Buddhist teaching. You can see that most have not understood but some have understood and in today’s age many more can understand even without becoming Buddhists. Even if they grew up in the western world that is not Buddhist they can still understand because these ideas are universal. 

What is a valid spiritual teaching?

You see here is another realization that you come to on the path. You realize that all of the many different religions and spiritual philosophies that you find on earth, they all claim to have some superior truth. Or rather, the followers and the priesthood of those religions claim that they have a superior truth but if a spiritual teaching has value, has validity and comes from a higher source, then, it will point to the fact that there is something beyond all of the divisions you see on earth. There is a level of awareness beyond the dualistic mind, the value judgments, the sense of separation. 

Beyond separation and division is oneness that is what any true valid spiritual teaching will point to. Therefore, it is meaningless to talk about: “Here is the superior teaching.” Because people are individuals, you cannot create a spiritual teaching that will work for all people on earth and it does not matter. You do not have to. What matters is: “Can a specific spiritual teaching help people transcend their level of consciousness and ultimately come to the point where they transcend separation and duality?” In that case, it works. If it cannot do this, it does not work. Any teaching given for this purpose can be perverted and filtered through the separate mind, so people create their own version of the teaching, which is not designed to free them from the outer mind. It is designed to validate the worldview of the outer mind or to give the outer mind a worldview that makes it feel secure and superior. 

If you take a spiritual teaching and you use it to make yourself feel superior because you think you have the highest possible teaching, you have the absolute truth, you demonstrate that you have completely misunderstood the purpose of real spiritual teachings. The purpose of a spiritual teaching is to liberate you from your own mind, the separate mind. If it does that, it works. If it does not do that, it does not work. If you use it to liberate yourself from your own mind, you are making the highest possible use of the teaching. If you use it to imprison yourself even more firmly in your own mind (because you are convinced you have the absolute world view, the highest possible worldview), then you have abused the teaching. 

It was never the intention of the Buddha to create the superior religion on earth. The teachings of the Buddha were meant to be a process whereby people can raise their level of consciousness and free themselves from the prisons of their own minds. If you turn the teachings of the Buddha into anything else, you demonstrate that you are not mindful of the Buddha’s teachings because your mind is full of beliefs that spring from that which sees itself as separate from the Buddha, the separate mind. It springs from illusion and instead of freeing you from the veil of maya, it can only trap you more firmly behind that veil because you think that your worldview is not based on illusion, it is based on some absolute superior truth. 

To say it in a very simple manner: What is higher mindfulness? It is the awareness that the goal of the path is to free yourself from your own mind, to free yourself from the contents of your own mind. Does that mean you come to a point where you have no contents? That is not what I have been saying. If you pay attention to what I have said, I have said you free yourself, you free your mind, from the contents that are based on separation and duality. As you do this, you create other contents that are based on connection and oneness. When I came back to teach, I came back with a mind that was free of duality and separation but it still had a certain individuality and it had a certain world view and it was adapted to the culture in which I appeared and I had, of course, contents in the mind.

I was not identified with those contents. I knew that the contents of the mind were simply tools for interacting with the material world and with other people. They did not define me. They could be changed. They could be different. They were not some absolute contents of the mind. You see here, I am not asking you, at least at a certain level of the path, to come to a point where you have no individuality, no personality. I am asking you to be willing to come to a point where you do not have an individuality based on the illusion of separation, where you do not have a personality based on separation and duality, where you see yourself in opposition to other people. You can build or you can uncover, because you may have built it already in past lives, a personality and individuality based on a sense of connection, a connection to your higher self, a connection to a higher realm, a connection to other people, a connection to the matter world. Then, you have a whole different way of interacting with other people and the matter world and with your higher self and the higher realm. 

You can now act based on connection and what is the natural outcome of it? It is that instead of seeking to raise yourself up as a separate individual, you are seeking to raise up the whole because you see that you are part of that whole, and therefore, the way to raise yourself, your connected self, is to raise up all life. And that, then, leads on to the final topic of concentration, of what you focus on, but this will, of course, be the topic of the next discourse. 

I have given you a demonstration of mindfulness. I hope you have experienced some sense of a higher form of mindfulness. My mind is full of the Buddha Nature. What is your mind full of?


Copyright © 2023 Kim Michaels