Enlightenment FAQ - Part 1
By Leo Gura - April 6, 2015 | 64 Comments
Answers to the most common questions about spiritual enlightenment.
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org and in this video I am doing an Enlightenment FAQ. I’m going to answer and address some of the most common questions that people have about spiritual enlightenment and because there are so many questions this is going to be part 1 of a multiple part series.
No Self-No Ego
This video is intended for folks who have watched my other videos introducing and talking about Spiritual Enlightenment. So if you don’t know what that is then you probably want to go and watch those first because this is not going to make much sense to you. But if you’ve watched those initial videos and you’ve been following along then you’ve probably got a lot of questions about what spiritual Enlightenment actually is and you have a bunch of objections, and you’re not quite clear about what the ramifications are of pursuing spiritual Enlightenment in your life.
One of the real tricks about pursuing spiritual Enlightenment is that it’s hard to get serious about the journey until you understand where it’s going to take you and what it’s going to mean for your life. And this is difficult because your ego will concoct all kinds of stories about what spiritual Enlightenment will mean. And a lot of these stories are false.
So, what I thought would be really valuable is to go through in an no non-sense way and just clearly address all the most common concerns that I hear from all you people out there who learn this stuff for the first time are having ̶ the concerns that I’ve had when I first learned about this. And, even to this day as I am still learning more and more, I am getting more and more of my questions answered. What I find is that when you get your questions answered then you’re able to go off and take this pursuit a little bit more seriously and it also calms you down because a lot of the objections and fears that you have will be addressed here in some of the questions that I’m going to answer.
There are a lot of these questions because this is a very nuanced subject. You have to be very careful about your mind jumping to conclusions about what the truth of no-self means. Your mind will want to jump to extreme conclusions and turn this Enlightenment thing into this black and white thing. But it’s not black and white ̶ it’s a very big gray area. So we have to tread carefully with subtlety and nuance and intelligent thinking and reasoning to think about this stuff.
Alright, let’s just go ahead and jump right into it.
Embracing the Experience
The first that people say when they hear the truth of no-self is something along the lines of: Ok, Leo, so, I understand that there is no self. I’ve watched your videos, you’ve told me that there is no self. I understand it now. I accept it. What’s the big deal? I’m there, right? I’ve got it. I’ve got what you are saying. And the fact is that you don’t got it.
You’ve got to understand that Enlightenment is an experience of what we are talking about here. The truth of no-self, just saying it to you, and you understanding it logically, intellectually, philosophically, theoretically doesn’t count for pretty much anything in this work. So the big deal is that it is totally different to just be theorizing about spiritual enlightenment and the idea that you do not exist, and actually living from that place. You’ve got to understand that can live from this place where you actually live and realizing that you are not a real physical entity in reality. You are merged with everyone and everything else in reality.
So, this is a huge, deep, profound shift in the way that you live your life. Just because you understand what I’ve told you in one of my videos, that’s not good enough. That’s just like an interesting little fact that you now can tell to your friends. The big deal is that you have to go and look for the experience personally. You have got to find it. It is almost like the difference between talking about being a millionaire ̶ we can talk about it all day long ̶ but if you don’t actually become a millionaire you’re not going to experience being a millionaire. You can’t use the money until you actually acquire it.
It is sort of a same thing here. We’re just talking about being enlightened which is not the same thing as actually being enlightened. This is a very, very big difference that you have to understand. Because, if you don’t understand this you are not going to undertake the journey to study the stuff deeper and all you’ve got is some mental masturbation going on. You’re just thinking about this stuff but you are not experiencing it, you’re not feeling it.
We are not doing this journey so that we can have some cool theories to tell to our friends. We are doing this because we want a real shift in the way we are living our lives. We want a real shift in the way we perceive life, in our emotional well-being, in our psychology, in our relationships, in every aspect of life where we want a big shift. Until you get that shift don’t assume that you’ve got it.
The next question that some people have is: Leo, if the truth of no-self is so simple, if the truth is that there’s literally no self, and all there is are these perceptions and reality, than how come I can’t see it? Shouldn’t it be just obvious like you say? If it is that obvious how come I don’t see it instantly? Why do I have to spend a thousand hours looking and searching?
This is a really interesting question. It turns out that your entire psyche has been constructed from the point where you’ve born and enculturated and raised by your family and grew up in this culture. Your entire environment has shaped your personality in such a way that your psychology is prevented from seeing it even though you can logically understand it. And there is a very big difference between logically understanding it and actually seeing it.
So, why can’t you see it? Well, for you to be able to see it you have to give up on your notion of self. You can’t just say ok, I understand now, because what we are doing here is undermining the whole paradigm of understanding. The way you traditionally understand subjects in life, Enlightenment is actually an antithesis of that.
This is a very counterintuitive, unorthodox way to look at life. You’ve never looked at your life this way before. What is required is a drastic paradigm shift. It is a bit like looking at an optical illusion and seeing it flip and in a sense it almost happens automatically. You can’t force it. And a part of a problem here is that you psyche doesn’t want to see this.
A lot of things you do in your life are actively designed without you knowing it. They are designed to prevent you from seeing this truth. What this means is that we actually have to go into your psychology and dig deep into it and unwire a lot of preconceived notions and beliefs, things that you were taught from a very young age and when you are taught things at that age they tend to really sear into your mind without you questioning them in the same way that the religion is indoctrinated into a child’s mind if it’s very young. Then it’s really hard to get that religion out. It’s just seared in there because the mind is very receptive and sensitive and it absorbs anything like sponge when it is young.
In the same way, what was fed to you when you were young is this idea that you exist and you are this personal entity who is experiencing life. To undo that takes quite a lot of work. It can take staggering amount of work just to unwire all that stuff. This is just how your mind and your brain tends to function. You have to appreciate this and do the investigation properly.
The next question is: Leo, you say that the self doesn’t exist. Does this mean that we live in a sort of a matrix? Like the movie The Matrix?
The answer is no. We are not saying that you are living in a matrix. Think about this, what was it that the movie The Matrix really told us? It’s that we’re living in some kind of a computer simulation and that all these sensations that we are experiencing ̶ when you are looking into my face and I am looking at the camera ̶ The matrix says that none of this is real. That’s just like data pumped into our minds by a computer and that you can somehow break out of this matrix and go into reality etc.
That’s not what we are saying here. In fact what we are saying is a kind of an inverse of The Matrix. It is actually more freaky and more counterintuitive than The matrix. Imagine that what happened in the movie was that the matrix itself was real but that the person who is supposedly stuck in it is actually a part of the fiction. What you do to break of the matrix is to realize you do not exist at all. The matrix itself exists, the external world exists, but you, as a personal entity, do not exist. It is much more counterintuitive and freaky, much more interesting, much more intellectually fascinating, much more paradoxical than just breaking out of the matrix.
It is not like we are saying that your physical body doesn’t exist, because it does. It’s part of a phenomenal world. The thing is that the thing that you think is controlling and looking at the physical body and sensing the physical body, that that entity that you call you doesn’t exist.
It is a very subtle pint, so you have to go from the black and white to this gray subtlety.
Another thing that people are often asking is: Ok, Leo, so you’re saying that reality is just an illusion. Is that what you are saying? And the answer to this is no. we are not saying that reality is an illusion. Reality is in fact real. It exists. What you are seeing exists. All the physical objects that are in your awareness do exist. We are saying that there is not a you who is looking at those objects and perceiving those objects.
Therefore, those objects are not an illusion. The illusion is you that you think is looking at those objects. That does not make the objects unreal. That makes you unreal. This is all about you and not so much about the external world.
Philosophy or Religion
The next question that people have is: Leo, you’re talking about the Enlightenment as being something other than religion or philosophy. How is this different then religion or philosophy? Isn’t it the same? The answer is that it is very, very different.
What religion and philosophy are is a system of thinking about reality. They make certain factual claims about what reality is and how it works. They give you certain explanations and justifications. It is basically a model of reality. That’s what religion is. That’s what philosophy is. Some of them seem better than the others. Some of them seem truer than the others. Some of them seem somewhat reasonable and others very ludicrous and far out there and crazy. And it’s easy to confuse Enlightenment with some other crazy, wacky philosophy or religion. But, it is not.
It is really the antithesis of religion and philosophy. If you think that the science is the antithesis of philosophy and religion then I’ve got news for you ̶ it is actually not. Science is actually much closer to philosophy and religion than Enlightenment is.
Then, what it is really that Enlightenment is if it’s not religion or philosophy? You see, Enlightenment is not a model. It’s not thinking about reality. It’s not theorizing or putting justifications out there. It’s not trying to make sense of reality. It is simply being reality. It is being one with reality itself.
Without mental chatter, the common thread between religion and philosophy and science is that there is a lot of theory building and mental chatter all the time. You’ll notice it that whenever you’re thinking about philosophy or religion or science you have to be thinking, and thinking is an active process. So, what is the opposite of thinking? It is not thinking.
Now, when I say this it sounds a bit simplistic, and you say that not thinking is not a good think. Thinking is the way we progress. Thinking is the way we find truth. That is exactly the paradigm we are questioning here. What if thinking wasn’t the proper way of finding truth and thinking is, in fact, separating you from truth? Could that be possible?
You have to start to open your mind to that possibility. Once you do and you separate yourself from thinking, and you start doing these guided Enlightenment meditations that I want to put out ̶ I put one out so far and I am going to put out some more ̶ you are going to realize that there is something extremely powerful about just being totally silent and not thinking, and that stopping thinking is in fact extremely difficult. The mind wants to theorize. The mind wants to build theories. The mind wants to claim certain facts about reality.
It is very difficult to stop the mind. When you do stop the mind something very powerful happens. Basically, you become enlightened. It is a very different thing from just another religion or philosophy. The trick is that you can very easily take Enlightenment and turn it into a religion or a philosophy. This is why I am picking my words very carefully when I do these Enlightenment videos. I have to be very careful not to say something that will make people think that this is a philosophy or a religion or a theory. It will defeat the whole purpose.
This is the whole problem with the Ego. It wants to theorize everything. Ego doesn’t want to see what’s actually there. It wants to theorize about it instead. Even within science. The mind theorizes. It can’t just look at something objectively.
The process of Enlightenment is the process of removing all these preconceived notions, all these theories that you have about reality, so that you can actually melt into reality. When you finally melt into it, then you become reality itself. That is something that neither religion, nor philosophy, nor science can offer you. It is a very powerful, life-altering experience.
The next question is: Leo, isn’t this nihilism? Isn’t really what you are talking about nihilism? The answer is no. It is not nihilism at all. Nihilism is a philosophical system, and what nihilism says in the nutshell is somewhere along the lines of: life is pointless. There is no importance attached to one thing over another thing. Everything is basically neutral. Everything is pointless so you might as well just not do anything in life. There is nothing to believe about life. That’s what nihilism says.
Nihilism is not Enlightenment because nihilism is a philosophy. It is a way of thinking about reality. Enlightenment is a way of not thinking about reality at all. There are certain superficial parallels between the two, but one of the key differences is that nihilism leads to this bleak, dark outlook on reality, as though reality is meaningless and purposeless. Therefore, you should be sad and depressed because there is no point to living.
That is the dark nihilism. Enlightenment is in fact this very light, poossitive realization because what you realize is that, yes, there is no point and there is no meaning in life. But, this is actually a very positive and great thing because the fact that the life has no meaning itself has no meaning. The thing with a nihilist is that he attaches the dark meaning to the fact that there is no meaning.
The enlightened person is not doing any mental masturbation. It does not matter in his mind that the there is no meaning because you are just reality. Reality just exists for its own sake, and this is a very beautiful realization. Even though, when you look at it from some distance, it seems scary, it seems dark, but, actually it is not dark at all.
Another question that people sometimes ask me is: Leo, you keep saying that philosophies and religions are offering stories about reality, but aren’t you in this video, and all the other Enlightenment videos, also giving us your story? So how come your story is true while all the others are false? It’s like you are taking some sort of authority, some sort of precedence over your story.
This is actually a very tricky aspect of the Enlightenment work. It is like everything I am communicating to you is just another story, just another belief. But you have to see that what I am trying to communicate to you is not that you should accept my story. It is that you should go off yourself and try to find what I am trying to hint at with the story.
We are using language and thought to communicate to you. Why? Because the only thing that you understand and know how to work with is thought. You’re stuck in the mental prison of the thought. Then, how can I do this for you? I can only do this through going inside and using the flawed mental models that you are under. I have to get inside your cage.
Imagine it like this. Imagine that you are stuck in a matrix, as in the movie The Matrix, and now I have to come and rescue you. And I am outside of the matrix. How do I rescue you if I am outside and you are inside? I have to get inside the matrix and use the falseness of the matrix to tell you that the matrix is false so that you can break out. But the danger is that if I get into the matrix and tell you: Hey, everything here is false, you have to recognize: Yes, everything here is false, and also he is false, and everything that he says is false. He is not real because he is just a part of the matrix. If I get outside of the matrix then I can see what’s actually is real.
It is analogous to what I am doing here. I use language and communication because the story is what you understand. The danger is that you will take what I am saying as another belief system and you are going to turn it into a philosophy or religion. You are going to stay stuck in the matrix.
To get out you need to think: OK, what is he trying to point to? All these words are just words. There is no truth in the words. What is he actually pointing to? What is he trying to communicate between the lines? Let me see between the lines and then go out there and actually experience what he is trying to hint at. It takes intelligence and subtlety on your part to understand this communication.
If you want to be black and white and simplistic you are going to say: Leo, everything you’re telling me is just another story. Every story is just a story. Every story is false. Therefore your story is false so I’m just going to stay in my current paradigm. What happens is that you are lost in your mental prison. It is like you are in prison and I come and give you the key to break out, and you look at the key and say: This key cannot possibly work. This is a bullshit key. And you throw it away, when in fact it was the real key.
Because you didn’t have belief and wisdom enough to see that it was the real key you don’t try and use it, and because of that you don’t break out. Be very careful about this common trap.
The Power of the Enlightenment
The next question is: Leo, if I get enlightened, will I become strong and powerful? I am doing personal development to become very strong and powerful in my life. Will Enlightenment help me become the strongest self? The answer to this question is interesting. The answer is yes and the answer is no. It is yes in the sense that you are going to be free of your mental prison. You are going to be free of thoughts that limit you and you are going to be free from the crippling emotions that sabotage you. This is the number one problem that people face in their life, no matter in what area, weather in relationships or at work or with health, these emotional and mental blocks that they have.
You are going to be free of those to a large degree and it will make you strong and powerful. But, the other question her is that it is not going to make you strong and powerful. Why? Well, the person who asks this question is not going to become strong and powerful because this is an egotistic question. You notice that the question is whether I am, going to be strong and powerful. Well, why would you want to become strong and powerful? You have to realize that this you is just an illusion. It does not exist.
This is the matrix we are talking about. There is no you to become strong and powerful. You are not going to gain magical superpowers. Why? Because there is no you to control anything. You have to realize that there is no possibility in reality for you to have any strength or power at all. So in a sense what we are going to do is strip you of all the power you are presuming to have. This is going to be very emotionally difficult for you, because you don’t want to relinquish your strength and your power. You want more of it, not less of it.
Counter-intuitively, what happens is that if we successfully strip you of all your notions of power and strength, and you realize that those are not real, that becomes the greatest strength of all. This sounds like a paradox, but it is the way it works. If you are going in this with this ego trip mentality that makes you want to control other people, you are not going to get that. You are not going dominate the world through Enlightenment.
What you will get is peace, tranquility and inner power. Not an outer power with which you will dominate other peoplebut an inner power with which you get to relinquish your sense of self, so that in a sense you’ve conquered yourself. And that’s the greatest power of all, the power to conquer yourself.
The Truth about the Free Will
The next question is: Leo, what about the free will? Are you saying that I don’t have free will? If so, it is obvious that I do have free will. In fact what we are saying is that you do not have free will. Why don’t you have free will? It is because you don’t exist. There is no such thing as a you that can exert free will on the material world. This is one of the bitter pills that you have to swallow with the Enlightenment.
This is the most problematic idea. I did not want to accept it for a very long time and I am still very resistant to it. But, the more and more I follow this the more obvious it becomes that the free will does not exist. What exists is the illusion of free will so the big part of this enquiry is breaking down this illusion of free will that you have because one of the most common ways in which you prevent yourself from seeing the truth of no self is telling yourself constantly that you are in control of your life, that you have control over your hands, and your feet, and your mouth, and your thoughts, and everything else in your life. But the fact is that you don’t.
How can this be the case that you don’t, but you think that you do? It is what ego does and is a master of. It is because ego claims control and responsibility for the things that do not belong to it. That’s the whole game that the ego plays. This is the whole deception. It is that your entire life you’ve been telling yourself this giant story that you are this entity that gets to control everything and look at everything and experience everything. It turns out that this is all false.
It seems so obvious, but exactly because it seems so obvious you did not see the truth before. It is because it did not even occur to you to question the fact that you can be not in control, that there’s no one inside to be controlling these stuff. This point is tricky and I will have more videos regarding this idea of free will. I am not actually going to prove it to you here, but basically what you can do is sit down in a meditative state and you can start to look for evidence of whether you can really control your thoughts. The question is who is controlling your thoughts. Is it you, or is it something else?
What you are going to discover if you sit down very carefully, which can take a lot of practice, and you silence the monkey-chatter and you look for evidence of where the thought come from. Who is controlling thoughts? Am I controlling thoughts? Wait a minute, what am I? Aren’t I also a thought? Where did I come from if I am a thought? Did the thought I create the thought I, or is it something else? It turns out through the first-hand experience you can learn where thoughts come from. And it turns out that they do not come from you because you do not exist. Nevertheless, you are not going to appreciate this fully until you actually become enlightened.
The next question is: Leo, if all this turns out to be the case, then what is the point of living? You’re telling me that there is no point to living, no purpose. The fact is that there is no point to living. The desire to have a point or a purpose for living is an egoist desire. This is something that creates a lot of stress and turmoil in your private life.
With Enlightenment you discover that there is no point. How can there even be sense to talk about a point to living? A point from whose perspective? There is no even a who to have a perspective as to having a point of life. The fact is that reality exists, life is flowing. Life is one continuous river, and you are a part of that river.
So, what is the point? Well, it just exists. Existence doesn’t need a point. What’s the point of empty space? There is no point. It is just there. It just exists. The ego needs a sense of purpose because it makes it feel significant. This is a problem because whenever you feel insignificant you have this egoic emotional reaction. This creates a lot of distress and turmoil in your life.
The fact that life is meaningless and pointless does not turn that into an additional meaning of negativity like a nihilist does. With true enlightenment you discover that life is meaningless, and also that the fact that life is meaningless is also meaningless. It is really deep, profound meaninglessness. It is so profound that meaningless isn’t negative anymore. It becomes like a positive.
Sometimes people ask me the following question: Ok, Leo, then why don’t I just kill myself right now? This is a funny question. First of all you have to recognize that this question is a part of egoic reaction. This is your reaction to some truth that you’ve heard. Secondly, you should recognize that there is no you to kill. There is no you to do the killing. So, when you say that you are going to kill yourself, we say that there is no you to control the process of killing you.
That is a kind of double fallacy. There is no you to kill yourself. There is no self to be killed. The self is an illusion. It does not exist. It’s almost as though I said: Let’s kill Santa Claus. How do I kill Santa Claus? He does not exist. He is a fictional character. You can’t kill something that does not exist.
Also, if the reason you want to kill yourself is that you are taking this notion of meaninglessness and selflessness and no self and chaining it to some negative, nihilistic, problematic thing in life you should know that it is not problematic at all. It is a beautiful truth that is going to set you free. The problem is that you are having an egoic reaction against the truth because the illusion of the ego doesn’t want to dissolve. The illusion wants to stay put and therefore it is going to fight.
So, if you say that you want to kill yourself, you don’t really want to kill yourself. What you’re saying is that what I’m telling you is nonsense, because, if what I told you was true everyone will kill themselves. In fact, it turns out not to be the case. That is just an emotional overreaction on your part.
The next question is: Leo, on a practical level, is doing a business or having a family life meaningless too if there is no point to reality? The technical answer is yes, it is pointless. What do you think is the point of a business or a family in the long run? Under your models of reality what’s your point of a business or a family?
You may come up with some point, but if you really track it into a very long term then you see that there really isn’t a point, because in the long run you are going to die. Your business is going to go bankrupt, even if you think it is going to fail five hundred years later it is going to fail. Your family is going to die eventually, too. Eventually the human species is going to die. Eventually the whole planet will be incinerated by the Sun. Eventually the whole solar system will be destroyed. Eventually the entire galaxy will burn out or will be sucked into a black hole.
Eventually, perhaps, the whole universe will meet the heat death and it will go back to a singularity which was the initial seed for the Big Bang.
So, even under traditional scientific models there is no point to business or family. The point only makes sense as a little trick that you play on yourself. You say: I want to build a nice business, I want to go and create a great family and I want to leave a great legacy. The fact is that no one in your family is going to remember you five hundred years from now, just like you don’t remember anyone from the past of your family who lived five hundred years ago. And, what is your business going to matter once you are dead? It is not going to matter at all.
However, even though we are saying all this, I am not saying that you should go and quit your business or kill your family. It is ridiculous. The fact is that life has no point, but it does not mean that you should become depressed and not do anything in life. This frees you up to do whatever you want. It’s like a playground. What’s the point of being on a playground and having cool toys in a sandbox? If you have sandbox you can build castles. You can have fun and experience the joy of building a castle. You can also experience the pain of having someone come and tear your castle down, because no matter how you build you castle it will eventually be destroyed.
This is all about being and experiencing. There does not need to be a point. Stop trying to grasp and cling to same point or purpose. Your ego is doing that and it is a false way of living your life. It is a big lie. In reality, with Enlightenment you can still go out and work on a business. You can still go out and have a family. And you do all these things because you enjoy them.
Once you realize that life has no point and you are not depressed about it, it would mean that you can now do whatever you want and you are going to do the things that you really want to do and not do things that you don’t want to do. You are not going to feel obligated and you are only going to do the things that are pleasurable for you, that are most meaningful for you, even though you recognize that this meaning is a made up one.
The next question is: Ok, Leo, are you saying that I should get enlightened and realize the truth about no-self and become some kind of an emotionless robot who has no feelings for anybody? This is actually the opposite of what is going to happen. If anything, the emotionless robot is who you are right now. You are not able to presently fully appreciate these emotions because you are like a puppet controlled by your emotions. Your emotions tug and pull at you.
With Enlightenment you are going to have emotions. You can’t stop emotions. Emotions are a real phenomenon. They are not going away. Emotions are not an illusion. We are not saying that. You are not going to become an emotionless zombie-robot. In fact, you are going to feel and experience emotions more richly, because you are going to be in the present moment. Now your monkey chatter is not going to be driving you crazy. It is not going to have you living in the future or the past or your imagination. You are going to experience your emotions for real. So, if you want to have an emotionally rich life you should become enlightened.
Another question is: Leo, do you want me, then, to become a monk who goes off to meditate in a cave or somewhere? Is this the kind of life you want me to have? The answer is no. Becoming a monk is a caricature of Enlightenment. Not every enlightened person is a monk. There is no reason why you should become a monk if you do not want to become a monk.
Enlightenment is an inner realization. It is not a lifestyle. It is not any external behavior. In the same sense as if I was telling you that I want you to learn mathematics, and you say: Leo, if you want me to learn mathematics does that mean that you want me to become some nerdy college professor? I don’t want to become like my college calculus professor. He’s lame.
Of course, the problem with this objection is that if you want to learn mathematics it does not mean that you need to become like your professor. You can learn mathematics and still lead whatever kind of lifestyle you want. Those are two totally different things. How you choose to live your life is separate from what you know and realize about life.
Some of you, after becoming enlightened, might want to go out there and become monks, and that’s great. But you are not going to do that because it is a bad thing but because you think that that’s the most meaningful way to live your life. Most of you, if you become enlightened, will not want to become monks. You will want to live more ordinary lives. And you should not be afraid of that.
This thing about being a monk and not wanting to be a monk is like a little red herring that your ego throws out there. To say that all this Enlightenment stuff is so out there, so ridiculous, it is a terrible lifestyle, I don’t want to be a monk. That is a red herring.
Survival of the Ego
The next question: But, Leo. Aren’t the ego and the self important for my survival? You’re telling me to get rid of my ego, but I need my ego to survive in this world. Aren’t you threatening me and my survival here? The answer is that the ego and the self do not exist. A part of the illusion here is that you’ve spent your whole life believing that you are responsible for creating these great results and earning wealth and achieving all these goals and getting into relationships and surviving, fighting for yourself. The bitter pill you have to swallow is that there wasn’t a you there the whole time doing all this. So, the ego is absolutely not a part of survival because the ego is not real. So, it is not important for your survival at all.
This is a very counter-intuitive notion to accept. You don’t want to accept this. Why not? Because when we accept it we automatically undermine the entire ego structure and it does not like this. The way ego maintains its power is by saying that it is necessary. How does it say this? It says: “I am necessary for your survival.” What if this was just a story in your mind? What if it wasn’t true? It turns out to be the case that it is not true, but it is going to take some time for you to see it. You are not going to see it immediately.
In fact, what you are going to realize later if you go far enough is that the ego and the self actually threaten survival. How can this be? Well, because you do a lot of stupid things in your life because of ego. Bar fights start because of ego. Wars start because of ego. Violent crimes and thefts and criminal activity are all ego based. Those do not exist when you are enlightened. You don’t have a reason to do those things.
All those things are a mechanism to protect yourself. When you realize that there’s nothing to protect, you don’t have to do those things anymore. So, your survival will be improved. It is a very counter-intuitive and paradoxical notion.
It turns out that if you want to get to higher levels of living and thriving in life you need to abandon your clinginess to the need of survival. If you observe the most admirable persons in history, who were they? Were they clinging to their survival or were they people who were selfless and did not care whether they would survive or not? It was the people who didn’t care.
Counter-intuitively they thrived. Now, surely, some of them died. Gandhi was shot and Jesus was crucified. Martin Luther King was assassinated. There are a lot of bad examples, but there were also a lot of people with positive examples.
Ego: Good or Bad
The next question is: But, Leo, the ego surely is not entirely bad. Surely there are good aspects to the ego, right? Again, this is an interesting question because ego does not exist. When you ask this question you assume that the self exists and you assume that if we remove the self, with the bad parts, we remove the good parts as well. It is like you are throwing the baby out together with the bathwater.
But, there is no baby and there is no bathwater. That is what we are trying to say here. There are no good qualities because it is an illusion. It doesn’t exist. It is similar to saying: Get rid of your notion of Santa Claus. Kill Santa Claus in your mind. And you would say: But, Leo, if we get rid of Santa Claus, what happens to the Christmas gifts? I want to keep them. Does this mean that there are no more Christmas gifts under the tree, come Christmas time? I don’t want to lose that.
Of course this is silly, because Santa Clause wasn’t responsible for the Christmas gifts in the first place. All the good things that you have in your life that you think you are responsible for ̶ maybe your family, maybe your relationship, maybe your children, maybe your business, maybe your house, maybe your car ̶ that wasn’t created by you. You had absolutely nothing to do with that, even though you told yourself the whole time that you did. If we remove the you, all those good things will stay.
Next objection: But, Leo, what will happen to my motivation levels if I become enlightened? Won’t I become this listless, useless slacker who just lies on the couch an does nothing all day?
First of all, there are many such people in society who are unmotivated and they are very egotistical. Your motivation levels and Enlightenment itself are connected in a very subtle and complex way. The fact is that you might become enlightened and that you might lose certain motivations in your life, but generally it does not make you this lazy slob. Enlightenment only clears away your neurotic sense of obligation to things in your life. For example, if you are right now going to work and you’re telling yourself: I have to go to work, I have to build this business, I have to be successful, I have to earn a lot of money, I have to prove to people that I am someone.
It is with Enlightenment that you discover: I don’t need any of this to be happy. Then you drop all this business. Right now it might seem scary because why would you want to throw away that business. This is because the business is still important to you. When you realize that the business is not important and that you don’t enjoy doing it and you don’t really want to be doing it and that your authentic self doesn’t really desire doing the business, then you can just walk off and do other things. This doesn’t mean that you are not motivated anymore. It just means that some false motivations that are in place right now will disappear.
On the other hand, if you really love this business and it is a passion of yours and you think it is really helping people and improving the world, after Enlightenment you will be even more motivated and more empowered to do this business. There is nothing wrong with doing business, and you are still going to want to do it after the Enlightenment. That is because your motivation wasn’t created by you in the first place. Why? Because you don’t exist.
Right now when you are telling yourself that you are responsible for your own motivation levels, you are actually not. Because you are not real, your motivation isn’t coming from you. It is coming from the body and the unconscious mind. So, these motivation levels will still exist. They might shift, but they might do it no matter what. If you don’t get enlightened, next year your motivation might change anyway. People quit their businesses all the time. People leave relationships all the time. People lose motivation all the time. People gain new motivation all the time.
These things are just phenomena of life that happen and it is not up to you what you will be motivated by. So, stop clinging to that.
The next question: Leo, doesn’t Enlightenment contradict self-actualization and self-help? It will definitely seem that way when you first start learning about this, especially if you have watched my videos. You will see some contradictions between things I have said in those videos and things I say in these more advanced videos.
You have to understand that personal development is like a staircase. With many steps and stages, so that you’re moving up as you are growing and developing. We are talking here about some of the most advanced stages that you can get to. To get to these higher stages you need to work your way through the intermediate and lower stages. It is not that Enlightenment makes everything else that I’ve been talking about pointless. Depending on where you are in your life, some of my more basic and practical videos will be very helpful to you.
Because, remember, you are stuck in a matrix. How does one who is stuck in a matrix survive? They eat inside the matrix. They go to work inside the matrix. They have sex inside the matrix. They get married inside the matrix. They die inside the matrix. Everything they learn is in the matrix, so all they know is the matrix. If I give you matrix books inside the matrix they are actually going to be useful to you. Isn’t it funny how if in a false world I give you false objects it is actually helpful to you?
That is basically what is happening with the lower level videos. For example, if I give you some relationship advice or if I give you some advice on how to earn more money you will say: Leo, isn’t it a sort of a fake advice? Well, yes, but what you are living is a fake life. False advice in a false world works in a sick kid of way.
My hope ultimately is that by giving you this fake advice which gets you some false results in your life will help you up the staircase to the higher levels so that now you’re in a place where you can actually go off and do the deep advanced work, become enlightened, and then you’re going to look back at all this and say: Oh, all of this was like a staircase that led me to here, and every step in a sense had its value. But also, in a sense, every step was in a way unnecessary afterwards.
It is sort of like building a scaffolding to erect a giant skyscraper and then taking the scaffolding off. The question is was the scaffolding useful or was it useless? In one sense you can say that it was useless because you had to throw it all away eventually. In another sense the scaffolding was very essential. Without the scaffolding you could not build the whole skyscraper. That’s what some of my more basic videos are like. They are scaffolding
The last question that I am going to cover here is: Leo, should I keep on doing self-help or should I stop doing self-help? This is a really tricky question and it depends on where you are in your progression. It also depends on what you mean by self-help. I consider things that I am talking about as a part of self-help. If you want to pursue Enlightenment, you should keep doing self-help.Also, if you are at the lower stages of your personal developement and you’re having problems in your relationship or with money or your career you actually need self-help. It will help you to plug those holes and move on to higher levels.
Therefore, I would suggest that you keep doing self-help, and, if anything, do even more self-help. But, there is one warning here. If you’ve already done a lot of self-help in your life and you’ve already put many aspects into places and you’ve plugged many holes and now you’re reaching the higher levels, now you might be getting to the point where traditional self-help may not be what you need. So, maybe you don’t need to read another Tony Robbins’s book. Maybe you don’t need to take another relationship seminar. Maybe you don‘t need to read a hundred self-help books. After a while, what you really need, after you’ve built up a healthy ego ̶ you start with a weak ego, you build up a healthy ego ̶ is to transcend the ego.
This can sound a bit counterintuitive to some people and they’ll say: I’ve spent so much time building up my ego and my life, Leo, now you’re telling me to throw it all away. No, we are telling you to transcend it. Ascend to the higher stages. Ascend. There will be greater things instead. Don’t cling to everything that comes into your life with self-help.
What I would suggest for you is that you stop doing the traditional self-help and move to the more “spiritual self-help”. Practice more meditation. Watch and study more of my Enlightenment videos and those of other people. If you want to read book, go and read some high-quality books, on Spiritual Enlightenment specifically, not just regular self-help. Maybe stop focusing so much on earning more money and having a lot of sex and buying more material objects. You don’t need those anymore. You’ve gone through that phase and now it is time to go to a new phase.
Generally speaking, I am still on my journey towards Enlightenment. I am not enlightened yet, and I’m still doing lots of self-help because it is helpful to me. Why? Because I am living in a matrix, and now I realize it, I am still stuck and I still need to eat inside the matrix. I still need to go to work inside the matrix.
All right. That’s it for this part one. I will have other parts coming up in the future. Stay tuned for those. There is a lot more questions to be answered. Hopefully, this was helpful. Go ahead and post your comments down below. Click the like button for this video. Share this video with a friend who is interested in Enlightenment.
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