… Investment in samsara is futile; it is the cause of every anxiety.
Since worldly involvement is pointless, seek the heart of reality!
In the transcending of mind’s dualities is Supreme vision;
In a still and silent mind is Supreme Meditation;
In spontaneity is Supreme Activity;
And when all hopes and fears have died, the Goal is reached.
Beyond all mental images the mind is naturally clear:
Follow no path to follow the path of the Buddhas;
Employ no technique to gain supreme enlightenment.
Mahamudra, Tilopa

A Little story of Awakening

Few years ago in India I had an experience that, although at first sight may seem a trifle thing indeed proved to be a memorable teaching.

I think it exemplifies in very simple terms, with a trivial episode of daily life, one of the crucial  mechanisms by which the mind deceives us, if we do not recognize the difference between thought and actual awareness.


Since the late ’70s I spent all winters in an ashram in India situated in a beautiful valley at the foot of the Himalayas, crossed by a pure stream ‘s: There I met the Sri Haidhakhan Baba, that many knows simply as Babaji. After he left his body I continued to spend 2 or 3 months there every year.

I do not intend to tell my long story and I’ll be right to the comic circumstances that once again, sowed me the deceptions of the ego, that are, as we can see very common, in the path of spiritual quest.

One evening, before bed, I listened for a couple of hours a recording of Eckhart Tolle, the author of “The Power of Now.”

Many people know that his writings, on topics that largely agree with, have had a great international success. He covers the subject pure awareness, and liberation from the illusion of a separate self. In many ways he is in line with the message of Jiddu Krishnamurti and Advaita philosophy.

I find interesting characters like Tolle, because they are ordinary people who, after periods of neurosis and depression, awakened to a new state of consciousness characterized by bliss and serenity, without particular techniques and without a Guru.

Ramana Maharshi, Aurobindo for example seem to us exceptional people with a special destiny, favoured by social and historical contexts, while these “new masters” are ordinary people of our time, living within our culture, without anyreligious stigmata, that look very ordinary.

In simple words Tolle was speaking of “awareness beyond all thoughts” and total immersion in the here-now, in a way I appreciated.

Listening Tolle that night I remembered the experiments I did as a boy trying to remain conscious during dreams, or cultivating mind control focusing attention on every movement such as the conscious walking of Zen. As they say: “when walking, just walk” and other similar things.

In those days in India I was in a very clear and peaceful state of mind, I was feeling really at home, and the environment made it very easy to live in the here and now without any mental conflict. I used to spent many hours a day in meditation and studying the best Indian Philosophers, or translating some Upanishads an so on.

But that night, I decided that it could still be “good for me” to intentionally apply the practice of attention that Tolle suggested, with an ongoing commitment for the following hours.

When I turned off light I consciously move from wakefulness to sleep.

As I promised myself, a certain presence remained in the background in my sleep. I woke up at 3.29, (one minute before the alarm clock) feeling that I have been aware of dreamless sleep.

I got out of bed with the intention to keep on doing my best in practicing mindfulness.

I put a special awareness in every movements:  awareness of the toothpaste on the toothbrush   carefully spread, the coffee pot filled without spilling a grain, the gas stove lighted with the first piezoelectric spark, and then the conscious feeling of every sip of the steaming black drink .

It is ten minutes to four o’clock and I go out in the starry night and walk, a conscious walk, through the mango grove, past by the nine temples and the dhuni and down the stairs that lead to the rocky bed of the river, attentive to every step and any sound and feeling.

The moon and the stars are reflected on the surface of the pool created by the dam of stones I built in previous days.

I take off the jacket, kurta of heavy wool, the two sweaters, t-shirt and woollen tights and pants, necessary in these cold days of January.

Every gesture is tasted by knowledge, I carefully put my clothes neatly folded in order to wear quickly and do not get cold after a bath, without getting stuck in a sleeve that is inverted or exchange the front with the back of a sweater.

I’m paying attention to everything and very concentrated. Now I am naked in the chilly night, ready to dive in the crystalline waters of the Ganga.

A biting wind from the North enters the valley just as I’m about to dive into the deep pool … and here… I realize with amazement that for the first time in thirty years, I forgot to bring with me the bathrobe! !!!!

The bathrobe is the most difficult thing to forget because we always remember that just out of the cold water it is fundamental to have something dry.

The funny thing is that I have forgotten it the very day on which I had committed more than ever to cultivate attention!

In trying to live in the present, I left out the most important thing, and, by searching, I have lost touch with the present that is actually always and already there.

A lighting flash through my mind! I understand that I touched one of the classic paradoxes of the ego in is quest for self-improvement.

My uncontrollable laughter echoes through the valley. My God!

I am already Awareness and I strive to become it?

The thought and effort to be aware is not an obstacle to the very awareness that comes from a clear mind free of purposes and not divided in self-observation?


The map is not the territory

I felt like never before the stupidity of research of mindfulness through thought, and at the same time, I understand that it is an act of intelligence to realize the deception own ego that wants to “be present.” The ego and thinking are the product of the movement of time and memory and do not lead to this which is beyond conceptualization and planning. The filter of thinking divides the perception “in observer and observed”, while there is only observation, there is only That.

It is so difficult to recognize because this is a collective illusion shared and promulgated by the society in which we live, which is based on ego and thought (and we see the results are a world in which conflict and confusion is rife at all levels ).

To overcome the deceptions of the mind we have to expose ourselves and realize the paradoxical nature of this challenge, which ultimately leads to surrender and genuine transcendence of the ego and the psychological time.

But “Nothing is easier than to continue along streets or children to return,” said Jung.

This is a radical change of perspective and not a gradual improvement within our ego illusions.

It is to do away with the desire to change over time, with the claims of an effort of self-improvement that, from this perspective ego, proves self-defeating.

It takes effort and commitment to build a house with his own hands, but certainly not to be yourself, to realize the natural state … should perhaps make an effort a wave to feel the she is the ocean, or just simply recognize reality and leave the illusion of its own imagined independent nature?

How true all that repeated Krishnamurti!

And how easy it is to betray in practice what has been understood on an intellectual level, as soon as the ego to want to implement himself spiritually.

We don’t realize how foolish it is to be fooled by these “trips” of thought that can never grasp reality by the very nature of its limited areas.

The spontaneous awakening comes when there is no I who pursues and expanded states of consciousness occur in the total inner freedom.

And then: Who is trying to become more aware? Who wants to reach a particular state of consciousness?

As soon as there is the ego, consciousness is clouded by the thought fear and desire.

The ego is made up of thoughts and it is the root of every thought and of the creation of past and future. Wile the chronological time exist the psychological time is a mind creation. Awareness arises when the mind is silent. The mind is silent when we do nothing, in fact: we did not own, so there is no one who wants to silence. The action occurs spontaneously. We are one with the reality because there is only This and That You Are …

The non-dual Self appears spontaneously in the mind free from desire and fear, expectations and choices. Only when we are free from the compulsion to achieve something disappears division into observer and observed and consciousness is one with the All.

Only when attention is spontaneous, meditation occurs without divisions.

How many times I repeated the effort to meditate is antithetical to meditation, which is the inner silence that leads us to the reality, but the deception hides as well even in “reasonable” going to practice mindfulness.

This situation showed me once again the camouflage of the ego in the most subtle: the spiritual ego. Recognizing this mental trap seemed more illuminating many hours of meditation.

Only when the sense of self dissolves we wake up to reality.

Just by seeing clearly the shadow enter into the Light …

Only discarding the mental illusions are Reality …

Just dying to ourselves we live in the Eternal Now …


Filippo Falzoni Gallerani

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