Prior to enlightenment the mind craves information, especially information about the mystery of life and our persona’s personal relationship to it. This curiosity knows no bounds. So the mind collects data from every source imaginable: the feelings and observations we acquire from the body’s experiences, as well as the myriad of teachings and preachings we absorb from our parents, teachers, religious leaders, news media, and the advertisers who invade our personal space with their overt and covert subliminal messages. All of this input is presumed real, organized by our mind, and then the conclusions it comes up with become the beliefs and attitudes that form the basis of our personality.
Another name for this personality is EGO, the “I” or “me” that we refer to as our personal identity. But this “person” is NOT who we really are. All personality constructs are originally designed by the soul before incarnation. We take them on as a path to love, the love that we eventually discover to be our True Nature— once we turn our attention within.
The first step towards the Ultimate Freedom begins as we discover our heart, and when its wisdom becomes more and more available to our mind, as this mind looks within the heart for guidance, acting on the heart’s advice instead of confining its frame of reference to its own limited understandings.
Inner knowing is the voice of the soul that speaks through the heart. Some call it the Higher Self. You may have another name for it, but the source of its wisdom is beyond what is known by the mind. At one stage of spiritual development the mind maintains its individual identity and seeks “connection” and information from the heart. This is a good way to live, but it is still mind dominated; not the Awakened condition.
Once a spiritual awakening occurs the ego is no longer involved in the thinking and acting processes of the body. As life brings situations and circumstances to the body that trigger reactions, the absence of ego’s mental involvement in these reactions precipitates the deepening of awakened awareness until there is “mushin no shin”—the Zen term for the condition of “no-mindedness,” an egoless state. In this stage of personal and spiritual development the mind is content merely to be aware, because it has deferred all of its previous activities of thinking and seeking to the fully present, fully awakened Self. The Soul is FREE—its inherent wisdom and spontaneous actions are no longer hampered by mental dialog and directions. True Nature is now the only energy expressing through the body. This form of Self-expression is way beyond the concept of a seeker who dances with inner knowing—it is the Ultimate Freedom, also known as enlightenment.
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