“I have been on a journey of “waking up” since I had a spontaneous mystical experience at age 16. This was the most powerful and transformative event of my life, and since then I knew life would never be the same.
What exactly this journey is and what it means for me is something I’m continually investigating and trying to understand. But one thing that is certain is it has brought things into my awareness that I cannot unsee or ignore, and my stubborn ego has tried relentlessly.
It has made me painfully aware of myself and my mind, and has shown me all of my mental patterns and conditioned habits, my fears and attachments, my desires and addictions, my selfish motives and delusional beliefs, my social programming, the stories and judgments I create, the traumas I’ve experienced, my shame and guilt, my self-image and ego, and deep feelings of pain, alienation, separation and despair that underly them all.
This pain is shared by everyone, and lies deep within us all. But most of us do not dare to look at it. We run away from it persistently, and usually turn to consumption as a means of escape—social media, cellphones, television, food, parties, drugs, sex, work, “self-improvement,” or whatever else can direct our attention away from ourselves.
I have also tried these means of escape, many many times, and know that they simply do not work, but only cause more pain.
I have committed to looking within, understanding, and healing this pain, which as I understand it is the universal pain of the human condition, yet is felt personally and intimately in each one of us.
It is the pain of separation from our true selves, from God or Spirit or Love (whichever name you wish to call it), from Nature, from the Earth, from each other, from the web of life, and from the reality of the present moment.
We are identified with our social image, our sense of “I” or “me”, our ego and its personal story, our mind and its endless stream of thoughts.
As a result we have forgotten our true selves, and have lost our connection to Wholeness, and we suffer deeply because of it.
When you awaken to this, how can you be satisfied with the state of things, with the shallowness of modern life, with the shallow conversations about sports or politics or whatever they are telling you to be afraid of on TV?
How can we chase after material luxuries and social status, living in a bubble of ignorance while our Earth is suffering, while our brothers and sisters are suffering, while we are suffering?
I can’t “turn off” my awareness of suffering, and I don’t want to, but man does it hurt to acknowledge and feel this pain carried in myself and in our collective psyche! And man is it painful to feel alone in this, and to realize I can only be met at this level by others that have been willing to go there within themselves, which gets fewer and fewer the deeper I go.
Yet, it must be done. For the planet to heal, humanity must heal. For humanity to heal, each one of us must heal. We must acknowledge ourselves and our way of being, and no longer live in a way that creates suffering, but one that creates peace and harmony.
This healing process is messy, uncomfortable, even unbearable at times. The ego constantly fights against it, and as long as we are identified with the ego, we feel like we are dying and being torn to shreds.
Eventually, however, we realize that resistance is futile. Holding onto our previous perception of self, and our inability to let go of control, is the very thing perpetuating the suffering.
Eventually, we learn to let go and trust this process as it unfolds—at ever deeper levels, until we live from a state of surrender and openness to what IS, embracing and flowing with everything that arises, not holding on or fighting against reality.
In my experience, it’s been a continual journey of ego resistance and surrender. I feel the past month or so has been heavy on the ego resistance, and I am coming back to a place of surrender to this greater Truth, with intentions to live in harmony with Truth, and to embody Truth the best I can from moment to moment.
What I have learned, and continue to remember, is the self-compassion and self-love that makes this journey possible. As long as we are judging or denying parts of ourselves we get stuck in ego and self-image. With radical honesty and humility we have to accept ourselves and our emotions with tenderness and care.
The mind is a vast, complex and unfamiliar territory for most of us. If we are to observe and explore this inner world, we cannot judge or condemn what we find. We have to practice self-compassion and embrace what arises with acceptance and love.
Love is what transforms. Love is what heals.
Fear is what keeps us stuck and what causes us pain.
Again and again I am reminded that in each moment I, and all of us, have the choice to operate from love or fear.
I choose love, and I vow to embody love in myself to the greatest capacity I am able.
I invite you to join me and to choose to embrace yourself and your experience with love, to heal the suffering within yourself, so you can live with peace and well-being, and so we can help contribute to the peace and well-being of all. 🙏”– josephpkauffman
“When I understand myself, I understand you, and out of that understanding comes love. Love is the missing factor; there is a lack of affection, of warmth in relationship; and because we lack that love, that tenderness, that generosity, that mercy in relationship, we escape into mass action which produces further confusion, further misery. We fill our hearts with blueprints for world reform and do not look to that one resolving factor which is love.”
― J. Krishnamurti
“The ending of sorrow is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge is always within the shadow of ignorance. Meditation is freedom from thought and a movement in the ecstasy of truth. Meditation is explosion of intelligence.”
― J. Krishnamurti
“You know, if we understand one question rightly, all questions are answered. But we don’t know how to ask the right question. To ask the right question demands a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity. Here is a question, a fundamental question: is life a torture? It is, as it is; and man has lived in this torture centuries upon centuries, from ancient history to the present day, in agony, in despair, in sorrow; and he doesn’t find a way out of it. Therefore he invents gods, churches, all the rituals, and all that nonsense, or he escapes in different ways. What we are trying to do, during all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind, not accept things as they are, nor revolt against them. Revolt doesn’t answer a thing. You must understand it, go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. And to understand is to transform what is.
I think that will be enough, won’t it?”
― J. Krishnamurti
“I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. … The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth.”
― J. Krishnamurti
“To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves or to bring about a modified change through revolution, either of the left or of the right. It is important to understand that this is our responsibility, yours and mine…”
― J. Krishnamurti