My Enlightenment Experience

By Leo Gura - July 20, 2015 | 140 Comments

Step by step exactly how it happened

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Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org. And in this episode, I’m going to be talking about my enlightenment experience.

So, I just came back from a ten-day silent meditation retreat. And I had a really interesting experience at the end of the retreat. And that’s on top of all the cool insights that I got, that I’m excited to share with you in the upcoming video.

But what I got here is — I got what I think I’m going to call my second enlightenment experience. So, I did have one before this, which was about a year and a half ago, when I first began this journey towards enlightenment.

But the problem with the first experience that I had — it’s hard for me to even understand what was happening then. Because, back then, I didn’t have the concepts and framework that I have now, to understand what the hell is going on in these experiences.

This is actually a common phenomenon, for example, for people who do mushrooms or psychedelics. They have this consciousness-expanding experience. But then, they lose it, and they don’t retain any of it. And they can’t even make sense of it. And it just seems like this: “Oh, it’s just a cool emotional state that I was in for a while”.

But it’s actually not that. And the problem is that you don’t have the intellectual framework that’s necessary to really make sense of it. So, the first experience I had was kind of murky. And it was hard to distinguish it from a hallucination. And my eyes were closed, and I was very sleepy. And we’ll talk about that.

But this second experience — this was something remarkable, that I’ve never experienced before in my life. And here, I was completely awake. Completely alert. Eyes open. No hallucinations. And it was a really extraordinary thing.

Now what I want to do is, I think it would be valuable not to just tell you about this experience as in: “Oh, I had some awakening experience”. But to tell you about this experience as a step-by-step process for how I generated the experience. Because the experience was created.

This is something you do through work. This is not something you just happen to stumble upon. And if you’re following my other enlightenment videos, and you’re using that looking process that I talked about, if you’re using a self-inquiry process, or if you meditate — then you’ll see some very important points here. Because I’m going to take you through every step.

After my experience, I actually sat down and I made sure to write down every step. A lot of details. So that I could track everything that was happening in my mind to create this experience. So that I could recreate it later.

And, actually, what happened is that I was able to, yesterday, almost recreate it. So I’m really confident now that there’s a lot learned in breaking down the process. And I think that’s going to help you with your self-inquiry. So, let me tell you a little bit about this experience. Let me set it up for you.

How It All Started

So, what was happening is that I was at a retreat. And this was like a church ground, were we had little cabins and stuff. And then there was a chapel. But there weren’t any church activities going on. We were just using that complex.

And anyways, most folks were meditating off together in some hall. But I didn’t want to do that. I was just meditating by myself. And this was in Virginia. And I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Virginia, I haven’t — this was my first time there. And it’s really an amazing, beautiful natural scene.

Because what they’ve got now here, in the summer, is — the weather’s very humid, it’s like super, super-humid. And, in fact, we had rain, storm clouds, for most of the week. And on this day it was raining and very cloudy. And I was sitting there by the chapel. So, the chapel a cool little, modern-designed church. And it was on this rolling green hill.

And the entire estate was just these giant rolling green hills with dense ancient forests. And huge trees. And birds and insects flying around. It’s like a very natural, idyllic scene. Perfect for meditation. Which is why I wanted to sit out there. And this chapel — it was set up on this platform that was kind of handing over this rolling green hill. And I was sitting right on the edge of this platform.

There was like a little balcony area out there, and a wooden bench. So, I was sitting on that bench, cross-legged, with a blanket over me. And I was just looking at the rain and the rolling green hills. And all the birds flying around. And the clouds. And the giant green forest far off into the distance.

And this was evening time. The sun was setting, but it was so cloudy you could really see it. And I was sitting under a roof, a roof area. So that rain wasn’t dripping down on me. So, it was really the perfect setting. And I’m sitting here.

And what I’m doing is — I’m practicing this technique called “Do nothing”. Which is a new technique that I was practicing. And I’ll talk about that technique in detail in other videos. But what I’ll say about it here is that the “Do nothing” technique is a very interesting technique, where you literally just sit and you don’t try to do anything at all.

And, in fact, any time your awareness tries to go somewhere, and you try to control your awareness, you just completely detach and let it go. Seems simple. But actually — I mean, its simple, but it can be a little tricky to do it right. So it does require some practice and explanation. Which I won’t really go into here.

But anyways, I was doing the “Do nothing” technique, and usually, when you start doing the “Do nothing” technique, and you sit there, your mind just wanders around. And it’s really indistinguishable from your ordinary monkey mind, that you have when you’re not meditating.

So, getting that, and I was thinking about all sorts of things left and right. But then, after a while, all that stuff kind of exhausted itself. And my mind started getting more, and more, and more focused. Focusing in. And as I was doing than, then I started naturally, as part of the “Do nothing” technique, my mind started gravitating towards this notion that I learned, called — exploring spaciousness.

Spaciousness is an interesting concept which, again, I can’t really cover in too much detail here. But, basically, what was happening was that I was sitting there, and I was looking at the trees far off into the distance.

Perspective Shift

And then what I realized, I had this little, mini insight — I had multiple mini insights to ultimately get to my experience — the mini insight was that, when I’m looking at the tree, that actually, there’s nothing behind the tree and there’s nothing in front of the tree. Now, this takes a little explanation.

Because if I just say that in normal speak, common parlance, then we say: “Well, behind the first tree there’s the second tree, and the fifth tree, and the tenth tree, and the hundredth tree.

And then, maybe behind that there’s a road. Behind that there’s a hill. Behind that there’s a building or something like that”. Right? And, “In front of the tree, well — there’s empty air. There’s a bird flying. And then there’s me. It all points back to me. And I’m here, at the very front. And at the very end is the vacuum of space”.

Now, what’s interesting is that that’s all a conceptualization. That’s not actually what’s going on with your phenomenal sensory visual field. In your visual field, if you’re looking at me right now, maybe you can get a little taste of this — you’re seeing my face. You’re seeing the background.

Now, the question is — what’s behind that what you’re seeing? Give you a hint: it’s not pixels on a computer screen. It’s not a desk. It’s not a wall. It’s not your car. It’s nothingness. Literally, nothingness is behind it. Now, if you get a little taste of that, you can it in the opposite direction.

What is in front of me? So, now you would normally think that: “Well, in front of Leo’s face these pixels on a computer screen are empty air, it’s not really empty, but there’s air here. And then there’s some space. Some distance”. And then there’s what? There’s you. You are sitting there like a camera, taking all of this in.

But can you get a taste that, actually, that’s not accurate. That there’s like nothing here. Nothing here, working from your perspective, so, if I’m looking from your perspective then there’s nothing — there, behind your eyes. There’s nothing in front of Leo.

These colors that you’re seeing — there’s nothing in front of that. So, it’s like your sensory field has this weird spaciousness. There’s almost like a flatness to whatever you’re looking at. There’s nothing behind it and there’s nothing in front of it.

Now, it’s cool to philosophize about that and just think: “Oh, that’s kind of interesting.” But when you actually sit there, and you meditate, and you concentrate, and you get a real hit on that with your awareness, and there’s traction — you get traction with your awareness, it’s not just an idea, then it’s like: “Whoa. That’s fucking eerie.”

And that’s exactly what happened to me. I started to see this tree, and I got this hit that: “Shit, I’m not looking at the tree, it’s just a tree. There’s not anything here in front of the tree, which normally we assume is: I’m here. So that expanded my mind a little bit.

My mind started to focus in more. Then what I did was — I used another technique that I learned a while ago, it’s called the, well I don’t know if there’s a name for it. But basically what it is — I just took my finger rand I literally tried to draw a line from the tree — so I stretched my finger out like this, into the distance, to where the tree was, like a mile or two away — and then I tried to trace it back to what is here. What’s in front of the tree.

And if you do that very carefully, and you’re very conscious and focused, what you’ll notice is that there’s actually no point at which the finger touches you. It’s weird, its freaky. So I did that, and that reinforced this sense of “Wow” insight.

Then what I did is — I focused my gaze and my vision downward at the balcony floor, which was made out of stone. So, I moved it much closer to me, give me a little bit of a different feel, and I was looking at the stones. And I actually started to just, kind of, blank out and not really focus on the stones. And I started to get this, my awareness shifting inside the sensations in my body.

So, I just became mindful of all the sensations in my body, and maybe you can do that for yourself right now. You can just feel your hands, feel your chest, feel stuff flowing around in there. So I got a sense of that.

And then the insight hit me — what if the bodily sensations are just like the tree? And I try to, in my mind, go and do that finger-pointing method with the body sensation, I try to track where the body sensations are going to. Where are they coming from and where are they going to?

And what I discovered again is that: “Oh, shit, they are not coming from anywhere and they are not going to anywhere”. So, it’s like your body sensations are surrounded by nothingness. Just like your visual sensational field is surrounded by nothingness. But again, you can’t just understand this logically. You need to actually get a real, conscious hit on this. Which I got.

The Looking Process

So, then what I had is — I had this kind of mini awareness that there’s no one actually experiencing the body. That it’s kind of like just free-floating around. And then I kind of let go of the “Do nothing” method. Because this was all, pretty much, do nothing. And then I took a little bit of conscious control, and I started doing the self-inquiry method.

And self-inquiry is also what I call the looking process. This is what I talk about in the “How to become enlightened” video, if you’ve watched that one. Basically, it’s asking yourself the question: “Who am I?”. “Who am I?” or “Who’s the perceiver who’s perceiving all this stuff? Who’s aware?”.

So I started asking myself that question: Who am I? And, at first, I noticed that I was just asking the question, asking the question, and I wasn’t really, actually generating an honest, tangible answer. So, that’s one real problem with the technique. When you’re just asking that question, but not generating tangible, honest answers. Then you tend to get stuck.

But I’ve been doing this self-inquiry thing for about a year and a half now, so I’ve made a lot of mistakes. And I’ve gotten stuck a lot of times before. So, now a little bit more aware about those pitfalls. So, I’m conscious enough now to see that: Oh, I actually need to generate an honest answer. Because the problem is that, when we ask — “who are you?” — when you ask that question to yourself, but happens is that your mind gets very vague.

And it says: “Well, I’m back there. I’m certainly back there. I’m this, I’m my body, or I’m my mind, or I’m the thoughts, or..”. It comes up with something. But usually, until you start doing the self-inquiry, you don’t even have anything tangible that it comes up with. The mind just vaguely senses that: “Oh, I’m back there somewhere”.

But where exactly are you? What aspect of your experience are you? Are you even an aspect of your experience right now? That’s something you have to look into, for a good long while, before you can even start to just get your mind to generate some honest answers. Now, notice here that an honest answer isn’t a correct answer.

So, I knew that, when I was forcing myself to generate this honest answer — that it would be the wrong answer. Because I already now, logically, that I’m not my body, or the mind, or the thoughts, or a perceiver, or even a physical entity. I already know all this logically.

But notice here — the reason I’m going through all these steps is that logic counts for nothing here. You need to actually get conscious traction. And this conscious traction is what I’m showing you how to get. So you kind of ask yourself these questions, and kind of focus in, and focus in, and focus in, and try to get it.

Sometimes you’re lucky and you get a little mini insight. Sometimes nothing happens. In fact, usually nothing happens or you just become very frustrated. Or you get some logical answer. If you get a logical answer, you have to throw that out and go for the traction. Don’t be satisfied with just a logical answer.

So, I’m forcing my mind to generate this answer. And the answer that I come up with is that I am this sense of body, and mind, and thoughts, and the one perceiving it all. So, I’m like this amalgamation. And that, to me, in the moment, felt like a very honest answer. I really tried to force myself to actually pin that down. And I pinned it down.

And as soon as I did that, I sat with that answer for a few seconds. But then my mindfulness and my awareness now is high enough, because I’ve practiced this long enough — that I could see that, actually, that’s not who I really believe I am. Who I really believe I am is the one perceiving this body and this mind, and these sensations.

I’m like a point back there somewhere, right? Like the lens of a camera. I’m that lens of a camera back there. But then, what I also noticed is that that’s part of my thought stream. I’m a lens back there, I’m a point back there, somewhere, on which everything is converging — what is that? That’s a thought.

Am I a thought? Is that what I am? No. I’m the perceiver of the thought. But who’s that? Who’s the perceiver of the thought? And when I got there, my mind expanded again. Another mini insight. And this one was new to me. I’d never had this one before.

But I got a very tangible, conscious sense that I, quote-unquote, I, this thing I call — I, Leo, is just a belief. And that this thing that I think I am, which is this body, these sensations, these feelings, you know: the feelings in my mouth, the feelings in my mind, all of this stuff, that feel so solid, and real, and cohesive, that in a sense, that’s an arbitrary designation, that has been made by not even myself.

I actually traced it back in my mind. I started wondering: “Oh, what if it’s society? And what if my parents, and everybody around me, who just kept pointing at me and saying — hey, this is you, Leo, you — and I just kind of bought into it, and accepted it. Because I didn’t know any better. And I traced it back all the way to my earliest childhood memories.

You Are A Whole

And then I got this conscious sense, my mind opening up and saying: “Oh, shit! What if this identification that I have with this phenomenon happening right here is just a rather arbitrary partition of the whole?” It’s like, you take a large pizza, and you cut out one little slice, and you say: That’s it, I’m that slice.

But what if that was an arbitrary slice? What if you were the whole thing, before it was sliced up? So I saw that, actually, the social conditioning was there inside me. And I really saw the social conditioning. And what that did is that expanded my mind even further. And also, it focused it in even more.

So, by this point, I’m sitting there, and it’s a really intense meditation. So I’m really focused. My mind is buzzing. It’s vibrating inside, that’s how it feels. Like that. And the, what happened is a really remarkable thing, which is — I get a real, genuine, honest sense that I don’t know who I am.

Now, this sounds simple. You might think like: “Well, Leo, I can just sit there and kind of get a sense that I don’t know who I am. I can just consider different theories, like — what if I’m in the Matrix? Or what if I’m a computer simulation? Or what if I’m something else?”.

That’s not what I mean here. What I mean here is — I got an honest, real fucking honest sense of, like: “Shit! I’m walking around, thinking I’m this phenomenon happening here, but I can see how that’s arbitrary. I can actually see that now, how that could be arbitrary”.

And that expanded my mind even further. And it got me asking, in my mind, the question of: Who the fuck am I? I don’t know. I really don’t know. And this is a difficult state to get to. This state of true not knowing. And it turns out to be very critical for doing this work. Because you actually — you cannot progress forward, most of the time, in self-inquiry.

Because your mind thinks it knows who you already are. It’s kind of, like that slot is already occupied. Your cup is already full. I believe, in Zen they tell you that — if your cup is already full — you got to empty your cup first, before a Zen master can train it. Fill it with more knowledge or new insights. You can’t fill a cup that’s already full.

So, that’s the problem that’s going on there. You actually need to empty your cup. And that’s what happened here — that my cup truly got emptied. Don’t underestimate how difficult this is to actually do in practice, with your consciousness. To get that traction. To actually empty your cup. But that happened to me.

And then what happens is that it starts to seem plausible to me, actually, that I could be something that’s not physical, and also not human. It just became a possibility. I was opened to it. The mind was open. And then what happened is that I looked back out at the trees. Looking at the tree again from the stones on the ground.

And I started wondering: Who am I really? A real sense of wonder. And what the mind started doing — and at this point, I’m on total autopilot, pretty much — like I’m not even meditating, it’s like the meditation is doing me, as they say. I’m totally focused, lasered in, like you probably can’t imagine, unless you’ve done a lot of meditating.

So, I’m really focused in, and I’m wondering: Who could I really be? And then, ideas started popping up in my mind. Like: Maybe I could be that thing? Or this thing? Or that? Or some idea I had. But as that’s happening, I’m tracking the thought stream.

And I’m seeing that the thought stream is not me, because I’ve got mindfulness now over the thought stream, and I’ve kind of gone meta. And I can see the thoughts, but I can see that the thoughts have no truth or substance to them. They are just sounds in the head, or in the mind. Or images in the mind.

So, I’m seeing that. And then what I get is — I get the answer that pops up: What if I’m omnipresent? And as soon as that pops up, I have a really big insight. And this is where the enlightenment dawns.

Because what happens is an amazing thing. I actually then get a sense — it doesn’t just become a thought. So, the thought “what if I’m omnipresent”, it goes. I see the fact that it’s a thought. I let that go. But then, actually, I get the real conscious traction that i could be omnipresent.

And then, what happens is that I kind of become omnipresent. And what do I mean by “omnipresent”? The best way to explain it is — our standard model is that who you think you are is like a camera, moving through the world, right?

The camera turns, and looks around. Well, imagine an alternative model for how reality is structured. Imagine you’re not a camera anymore, but what you are is — you are space itself. Imagine if space was designed in such a way that it was instantly conscious and aware of whatever particle was occupying space.

So, you would not be the particles, you would be the space. And you would be distributed evenly, everywhere through space. Not just centered at a point, the way a camera is, right? So, imagine a three-dimensional camera. Not a camera that looks out like this, in a cone, but a camera that just looks out in 360 degrees.

And this camera is positioned everywhere, and anywhere. Kind of freaky. So, that’s what I got. I got a sense of that. And what happens is that this moment of complete silence, complete peace, washes over me. My mind is still super-laser focused. My brain is buzzing. It’s just buzzing with tension.

My awareness is expanding and zooming out. And what happens is that — that flash, that lightning bolt hit to the head. And then what happens is that, the best way I can describe it is that my visual field — it balances out and equalizes.

So, your typical visual field — it’s, what I called, unbalanced. In a sense that we put all the emphasis and priority here. Everything is coming here. To the camera. Everything is converging on the lens.

Well, what I got a sense of was, like a de-convergence. everything just kind of, stood in its place exactly where it is, as though a camera went from a cone shape to a 360 degree sphere. And I just became everything in my awareness. I became the trees. I became the clouds, the ground. And everything.

And everything just started to stand very still. Just like — whoo. And there was this figure-ground reversal as this happened. As the camera-cone transitioned into a sphere, there was this figure-ground reversal. And, I don’t know, it just felt like this balancing out. It felt like, finally, everything was balanced.

And then, my awareness just popped. And I got this real tangible sense of omnipresence. Like, I was everywhere. So, imagine — you know what they say about God, God is supposed to be omnipresent — well, that’s what you get here.

Everything becomes very, very still. All the frustration and tension in my body that was there as I was meditating — I was probably meditating for thirty minutes at this point. You know, there are aches, and pains, and weird things going on when you’re sitting cross-legged. But all that tension just went away. All the frustration. All the mental noise went away.

And just — peace. And absolute bliss washes over me. Just a blanket of happiness. It’s like the bliss of being perfectly awake. Perfectly clear-minded. It’s this child-like happiness, where you’re just savoring the joy of existence itself. Because you have become existence itself. And you need nothing more. And everything is perfect in the moment.

Being In The Present Moment

And I got my first, real true sense of what they call “the absolute now”. Speakers like Eckhart Tolle talk about being in the present moment, you probably heard that phrase a lot. Gets used a lot these days. Being in the present moment. The power of now. That kind of stuff.

Well, this is what they are talking about. The problem is that most people, 99.9 percent of people have no idea what being in the present moment actually means, when a Zen master, or a yogi, or Eckhart Tolle, tell you about the absolute now. The absolute now is amazing. It’s like a heavenly sense of presence. It’s not just this normal sense of: “Oh, I got to be here now, and not be thinking about some bullshit that’s going to be happening to me tomorrow”.

No. The absolute now is like: “Fuck.” It’s like you feel like you’re God, looking on himself. That’s what the absolute now feels like. It’s remarkable. Words really don’t do it justice. And you’re not going to be able to think your way to this state. You have to actually get that conscious traction to get there.

And the other thing that I really remember that was very vivid for me, in fact — the most remarkable thing about this experience — was that I became totally lucid. I like this word, lucid. It’s like I could sense, and be aware of everything in my field of awareness. Every leaf on the tree. All the trees in the forest. All the grass. All the birds. All the sounds. All the thoughts. Everything.

In fact, when I say that I became silent, and everything became silent, I don’t mean that my thoughts became silent. In fact, what was really remarkable for me is that the thoughts were coming out very fast. It was like a machine-gun. Just like a series of bullets: chuh, chuh, chuh, chuh, chuh, chuh, chuh, like this.

Thoughts upon thoughts. Thinking about this whole experience. So, thoughts like: “Holly shit! What’s going on? Oh, my God!” All these thoughts are coming up. But what’s very fascinating is that the thought stream and me — we got separated, so to speak. So, thoughts were kind of being themselves, and seeing themselves.

And I was no longer identified with them. And I was very, very conscious of what a thought is in this moment. And this to me was one of the biggest insights that I got. Because, if you’re doing the self-inquiry work, like I have for the last year and a half, one of the real tricky questions you’re going to have to answer for yourself is: What is a thought, really?

It’s a lot trickier to answer than you might think. And here I got a real look at very though as it was arising and dying off, and the next one was coming up. Just like this stream of thoughts, and also gaps between thoughts. And I was looking at them, and I wasn’t stuck inside them anymore.

And I was perfectly conscious of what each thought was. And what that is — is that the thought just is itself. The phenomenon of having a thought is the entire substance of the thought. That’s a huge insight right there. That’s a huge hint for you if you’re doing this work.

If you can latch on to that, that the phenomenon of the thought is all that a thought actually is, and nothing more. And than there’s nothing else behind it. And that it has no meaning to it, inherently, other than its phenomenal nature — That’s huge.

Because, what does that allow you to do? That allows you, finally, to pull yourself out of the content of the thought and see it as just an audible, or a visual phenomenon that’s happening to you in the present moment. Takes all the meaning, strips all the meaning and significance out of the content of the thought.

So, that happened to me. And it also felt like my awareness — I didn’t feel like I was totally gone. I still felt a sense of self. And my thoughts were still talking about myself as I was sitting there. But, what happened is — you know that point that I said that I thought that I was sitting? We usually think of ourselves as being behind the eyes, like eyes and nose back there inside the head.

That’s right now where you think that you live. That point kind of moved, and it kind of hovered about a foot above and a foot behind my head. So, it’s almost like I was looking at the whole scene, while at the same time being omnipresent. And my thought stream was kind of going this way. Very interesting.

In my mind, I just kind of represent the thought stream is going this way. It doesn’t actually mean that that’s how a thought stream goes. It was a little bit of a metaphor there. But that was my moment. And I was able to see reality for what it really is. I was able to, kind of, be reality.

And I sat there for a good twenty, thirty minutes in this state. Just with a huge smile on my face. Just complete happiness and bliss. It was like heaven. It was the highest joy. And this was another insight that I took away from this — that the highest joy is just being perfectly lucid in the present moment. When you’re completely awake. Completely aware.

You feel complete. There’s nothing more you need. You don’t need anything else to be happy. You are completely full. It’s like you’re full of yourself, so to speak. But in a very different way we normally say.

Did I Reach Enlightenment

And so I sat there. And then, what started happening is that I started wondering, of course, is this it? Is this enlightenment? Have I made it? I sure hope I did. And so, I started wondering that. But also, I had the intuitive sense that this isn’t it. I started to suspect that this is just a peak experience. It certainly felt like a huge breakthrough.

But, I started to suspect like: “Man, this is going to, probably, pass. From everything that I know about enlightenment, this is probably going to pas. It’s not going to be permanent”. And I started worrying about that, and I really wanted it to be real. Really wanted it to be permanent. So I just sat with it, and just see where it was going to take me.

As I was sitting there for the next thirty to sixty minutes, just basking in that lucidity, the sun was now setting, the clouds had parted, the rain had stopped. Everything looked green, and wet, and beautiful. It seemed like the colors were extra-bright and vivid.

And you had God-rays. You know those God-rays you se in the pictures? Shining through the clouds. It was just like this beautiful, almost perfect, I couldn’t have engineered this scene better. It was just amazing. There was even a deer that ran through the meadow, a bit later. Like, an hour later, while I was still sitting there. So, it was really like the perfect moment.

But after about ninety minutes, the effect did wear off. I lost that sense of touch with omnipresence, kind of moved back to the cone shape of your typical camera. Not that 360 view. But I still had that good buzz. That good feeling of calm and peace. And I felt like I had some insights that I took away from this experience.

What I did later that night is — I actually went and reported it to the Zen master leading the retreat. And he has forty years of experience here, so he knows what’s going on. So, I explained this experience to him, and he laughs at me, and he says: “Oh, I know what your talking about. What you got there is — you got a glimpse of a few hairs of the ox’s tail”.

A glimpse of a few hairs of the ox’s tail. Now, what does that mean? That’s actually a — there’s this ancient Zen metaphor that they use for enlightenment. And they actually have this diagram with ten pictures, that are called “the ox herding pictures”. And this represents your path towards complete enlightenment. And there are many stages, ten of them.

So, the first stage is that you’re just, kind of — it’s a guy walking around in a filed, completely unaware. This is your typical person who has no knowledge of enlightenment.

Then, the next picture is — the man is walking through, and he looks at the sand, or at the mud, and he sees some footprints. And he gets curious by the footprints. That’s him learning about enlightenment.

Then, the next picture is — he’s tracking the footprints through the forest, looking for the mystical ox. So, that’s when you’re really on track with this enlightenment process. That’s kind of, where I am right now. Where I have been for the last year and a half.

The next picture is the one that this guy refereed to. Which is a picture of the ox going around a corner, behind the tree. And all that the man sees, as he’s looking up from the footprints — is, he sees the hair, the ox’s tail, sticking out from behind the tree. So, he catches a glimpse of the tail.

And then, after that, there are further stages, where you actually catch the ox. You sit on top of the ox. You ride the ox home, and et cetera. I’m not going to explain all that here. Actually, I’m going to shoot a whole video on that. So, don’t worry, I’ll shoot one in the future about all the ten ox pictures.

But the point here is that, what he told me is that I didn’t even see the tail. All I saw was a few hairs on the tail. And I said to him: “Oh, man, so you mean I only saw the tail?”. And he says: “No, you didn’t see the tail. You saw a few hairs on the tail”. And he smiled at me, and laughed.

And in my mind, I’m thinking, like: “Man, I thought I got the whole tail, I thought I got the whole ox”. And he’s like: “No, you just got a little hair”. And so, in my mind I was bummed out, and started thinking like: “Oh, shit, man, I thought I got more of it.”

But then, also — it was great news. Because that means that: Shit! If I saw that little, and it was such a powerful experience, how fucking powerful must the real thing be? When you’re actually riding that ox home? What the fuck could that be like? Incredible. Incredible. It staggers the imagination. Makes me emotional just thinking about it.

So, that was my experience. Now, even though the experience has passed, and I’m not in that state anymore, the biggest takeaway that I think I left with — it was like a residue that’s still left in my mind — I got a real look at what thoughts are. That was really big.

The other thing happened for me is that — of course, I just got a proof of concept that these techniques actually work, and that there is some cool fucking experience out there that you’ve never had before in your life. And it’s left my mind permanently expanded. Not enlightened, but permanently expanded.

In fact, right now I’m standing here with you, and I’m shooting this video, but right now — my mind is a little zoomed out I can feel like I’m half-meditating right now as I’m standing here talking to you, which has never happened to me before when I’m shooting a video. Which his really fucking cool.

And also, yesterday, a few days after the retreat was over, I was able to meditate. And the meditation I’m able to do now, my daily meditation — it’s so much more powerful. It feels like meditation on steroids. It’s like cheating. I can meditate for fifty minutes and it feels like five minutes.

And I was almost able to recreate that entire experience again yesterday. I was so close. So, I’m feeling like I’m really at the brink now. And it feels like that experience that I had a few days ago, at the retreat, that — even though it didn’t make me permanently enlightened — it did jostle some things around.

And it’s so much easier now. I feel like I’m so mindful. I was walking around yesterday, doing stuff. Running errands. And I felt like I was meditating while I was running errands, without even trying to meditate. I’m feeling that right now, as I’m speaking. It’s incredible. It’s a really cool feeling.

But not even a fraction of what enlightenment would actually be like. So, that’s my experience. Hopefully, this motivates you a little bit to pursue some of this stuff yourself. Hopefully, it convinces you that there’s something real out there for you. That this is not just philosophy.

Why Do I Do It Like This

The real reason for this video here: I didn’t want to just talk about some awakening experience that I had, like some people do. I wanted to take you step-by-step through the process that I used in the moment to get me there.

In fact, after this experience was over, I actually sat down on my computer and wrote every step out of my thinking process. Because I wanted to make sure that I actually got it down correctly, and I didn’t miss anything. I think I was pretty accurate at this point.

And so, basically, what you have here is — you have a little example of how to do proper self-inquiry. So, if you’re doing self-inquiry at home, or you’re following my other enlightenment videos, then this thing here will show you maybe some of the pitfalls that you’re making.

Maybe go back and re-watch this again. Go through every step and actually maybe take some notes. And take a look at where you are going through this process, but then getting lost in your thought stream, or not seeing thoughts for what they really are.

Or maybe you’re not at all going through this kind of process, right? Maybe you’re just thinking about stuff logically, or philosophically. And of course, that doesn’t work. And you need to be getting that conscious traction, which I was stressing a lot at each step.

The other reason I wanted to talk about this is because, sometimes, people criticize me and say: “Well, Leo, if you’re not enlightened, how come you’re shooting these enlightenment videos, and talking about enlightenment, as though you are enlightened? What if you’re wrong?” Or whatever.

I hear you. That’s perhaps a valid concern. But also, you got to realize that I am walking this path. And that, in fact, this is how I want it to be. I could’ve held off to shoot videos about enlightenment for a couple of years, until after I did become enlightened. But I felt like that would be weaker. And that would, actually, not be as persuasive.

Because, when you can see a person who’s just an ordinary, normal person, who’s not a yogi, or a Zen master, or Eckhart Tolle — when you can see a normal person start from ground zero and work his way up and through the process, and when you can actually see the results of that process actually materialize on film — that has a very different psychological effect on you. Just in terms of persuading and convincing you of pursuing enlightenment.

Then, if you just go to some yogi, and he just tells you all these lofty, high-consciousness ideas, which you know nothing of what to do with. Also, as I’m going through this process, I’m seeing all the obstacles, right? And I’m trying to report all these obstacles.

Because I can easily see that, if I become enlightened, and then I spend twenty years deepening my enlightenment, and then I teach you twenty years later — yes I’ll know very much about enlightenment at that point — much more than I do now. Except, the problem is that I will have forgotten this whole journey, to large extent.

And what I’ll be teaching you is some very advanced shit that’s going to be completely disconnected from your practical life. And you’re going to be unmoved by it. Which is exactly why Zen masters and yogis are so ineffective. It’s also why even someone like Eckhart Tolle, I think, is ineffective. Because, in a sense, he’s not actually — these people are not actually taking through the process.

You got to see the nasty, gritty bits of this process. Like your face in the mud. You doubting yourself. You taking that leap of faith. Because you don’t know what the fuck you’re going to find out there, with enlightenment.

You think I don’t doubt myself? You think. on this journey, of a year and a half, while I’m running a business and doing all this other stuff in my life, and I’m so fucking busy, that it never occurs to me, like: “Oh, shit, what if all this is stupid and pointless, and wrong?” You don’t think that thought crosses my mind, in the same way that it does yours? It does.

And I want to show you that I’m working through that doubt. And you’re going to have to work through that doubt, too. Just because I’m enlightened — I can be enlightened like the Buddha. What would help you with your doubts? Your doubts will still all be there.

You’re going to have to go though this entire process. You’re not going to know what you’re going to find out there, even if I tell you. It won’t help you. Won’t help you. My enlightenment won’t help you really at all. Maybe it will convince you a little bit more, but that’s about it.

And also, one thing I want to do more with my videos — sometimes, I come off a little cocky. As though I’m here, and I’m like Moses passing down the Ten commandments to you, of personal development. And that’s really not my intention. The reason I take that cocky, strident attitude sometimes is because I like it when someone talks direct to me. And they don’t waffle and bullshit around.

So, I do kind of take that direct approach with my style to personal development and the delivery method. But also, I want to show you the fact that I’m working through this stuff constantly. I don’t have anything set in stone. Even the non-enlightenment stuff that I share with you — that stuff I’m always learning and thinking about.

Sometimes, these are fresh insights that I’ve just had the day before, and now I’m sharing them with you. And they’re not even fully baked yet. Sometimes, when I’m speaking, in the middle of the video I have a new insight, and I share it with you right here. And I haven’t even thought it all through yet.

To me, this is kind of raw personal development. I don’t really want to pretty it up, and package it too much. I want it to be raw. The way that you would do it, if you were doing it. So, I want to give you a little bit more of that “behind the scenes” look at how this stuff works.

Not with just enlightenment, but with any aspect of your life that you want to improve. Relationships, business, career — whatever. I really think that that’s one aspect of personal development that’s been missing from prior teachers. Not to say that they haven’t done great work.

Wrap Up

So, hopefully, you’ll get a little bit of taste of that here, right? I’m walking the path. If you’re walking the path, good. If you have doubts, good. If you have doubts about me, good. You don’t need to believe in me. There’s nothing about me to believe. I’m sharing ideas with you.

The whole intention of this channel and Actualized.org is that I’m sharing some ideas with you. I don’t provide any evidence, really. I don’t provide you studies. I don’t give you double-blind studies and peer-reviewed journal articles. Or any scientific stuff.

What I do is — I come up he, and I say: “Hey, here’s some shit that I’ve found useful in my life. Why don’t you take this idea, open your mind up, use it, try it out, and see if it works well for you. And if it does, keep going. And if it doesn’t, then throw it away and try something else”.

So, even though I might come off a little cocky, and a little bit like: “Hey, this is the only way to do it!” — that’s not actually what I mean. There are many ways to do it. You got to experiment around with this stuff, and this stuff is a dirty business. There’s a lot of struggle here. It’s not easy. A lot of struggle goes into this. Developing yourself is going to be the hardest thing you do in your life.

And the last thing I’ll mention is that I had a lot of other important insights and lessons from this retreat that I’m going to be sharing with you over the next few months, as I release more videos.

There is going to be at least eight more videos on different insights that I had that are going to be very helpful for increasing your ability to be mindful. For increasing how you meditate, and improving that. For helping you moving towards enlightenment, and not getting stuck in all the different traps that exist.

Alright, so you have something to look forward to. I’m Leo, I’m signing off. Please, leave me your comments down below. Please, click the like button. Share this video with a friend. And come check out Actualized.org right here. I’ve got a free newsletter there. I’m releasing new videos on a weekly basis, like I said.

There’s also my life purpose course, which I recently released, that will show you how to find your life purpose and show you how to develop your dream career, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Check that out. There are other resources there, so go ahead and check it out. It’s all free, or most of it is. And I’m excited to continue going deeper with you.

What I’m starting to notice more and more is that, to live the kind of life you want — you have to learn the psychological laws that are governing your life. Success and fulfillment — these things are governed by psychological laws, just like the physical world is governed by physical laws.

And it you don’t understand physics, you’re going to be able to fly to the moon. And if you don’t understand your own psychology, then you’re going to be able to create the kind of life that you want. And your life is going to be miserable, and annoying, and frustrating, and much, much less than it could be.

On the other hand, if you do master these psychological principles, then the level of profundity — how profound your life will be — it will be so huge that there’s nothing I could even say right now that would convey the concept to you. It is outside of your imagination how profound your life could be if you seriously start applying these principles. Over the weeks, and months, and years you’ll start to see huge results.

And, I’ve been shooting these videos for, what is it now? — a year and a half, two years, something like that. I’m starting to see more and more comments from people that are following Actualized.org and using all this content. The people that actually use this content, apply it — I’m starting to get feedback through email, and through YouTube comments and stuff that they are seeing results.

And I’m really happy that they are seeing those results, because that shows me that there are people out there who are actually applying it, right? And that could be you, if you want. That could be you, you could be seeing those results. Takes work. Takes some patience. But have to have that vision of what you’re shooting for.

And I hope you’re shooting for an extraordinary life. Alright, sign up and I’ll see you soon.

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(140)
Michael says:

Thanks for this, brilliant. I have been pursuing enlightenment for a few years but never got my head round it until recently, thank you for helping me to understand what my other teachers like Mooji are saying, I couldn’t have done it without your help. I really look forward to the upcoming videos and I am forever grateful for your work.

Michael says:

I got that sense that I don’t know who I am too!
I don’t know if it was as intense, but when I realised it I was shocked even though I already ‘knew’ that this was true. Knowing and realising are completely different experiences. I just laughed to myself as it was so unexpected before trying to look further and really use the experience.

Michael says:

It is your direct, very frank approach that I like and that makes you so effective, it really makes you question where you think you are and so makes it easier to see how things actually are and how to get where you want to be.

Brodie says:

Thank You Leo. I have reached a state where I start to feel as though I am completley dissolving and then fear kicks in and I back off lol. Thanks for the extra motivation and reminder to stay on path.

zvudock says:

Whenever I try to do some self inquiry stuff, its like the questions that i ask myself about the nature of my existence produce an entirely numb sensation like i am not even aware that a question has been asked let alone induce a sense of wonder and curiosity to literally seek the answer. Its literally like my mind doesn’t even care whether “I” exist or not.

Leo Gura says:

That is fear and resistance at work. Also, it’s because your mind is not yet in a state of anything even close to true not-knowing. Your mind thinks it already knows who you are, so your cup is full and you cannot progress. What you need to do is start creating doubt around your beliefs about self and the structure of reality. In fact you do NOT know who you are!!! Think about that! You don’t know and yet you feel like you 100% do know! That’s quite a fucked up place to be in life, right? You are alive and yet you don’t know the very basic fact of what you are.

Brodie says:

Yes, indeed crazy & scary. A lot more work to do

indika says:

Hi Leo,

Thank you for sharing your experience of enlightenment. Listening to you I understood you this way.

Looking at the tree consciously means Being at the present moment

Assumption of nothing behind it or nothing in front of it means detaching from past and future

Assumption of no gap means nothing at the present moment too. One thero I follow said enlightenment is the point where you detach from the present moment too. Which I am thriving to experience.

Answers to who I am means We are nothing but a combination of all 5 senses. Sight, Smell, Touch, hearing, taste, thoughts . This combination creates and fill up the cup that never gets emptied. Unless otherwise we forcefully empties it. Just the way we do by mindfulness and self awareness. The moment we manage to see and feel all these elements individually you will start sensing there is nothing called I myself that is where freedom is.

If you find any substance to what I am telling you, I suggest you listen to Maha Singha Nadaya episodes 45 to 50 on YouTube. The only problem is that it is in Sinhalese native language. If someone who could translate this for you will give you more insight in detail. The preacher is Monk Thiththagalle Anandasiri Thero, who is a very young monk who is teaching Buddha teaching on Enlightenment. Maybe you could share your insight with him on messenger.

Brodie says:

And most of humanity is in this state?

Tormentor says:

I would replace the question mark with an exclamation mark…

Leo Gura says:

Haha!

Michael says:

Hi Leo,

Please could you do a transcript of the video that I can print and carry around to help me, and also of all the other mindfulness, meditation, enlightenment, and happiness videos.

Thanks,

Michael

Leo Gura says:

Coming soon

Michael says:

Thanks. I suppose I could just do it myself but there are other people who might want to use it.

Thanks again.

Michael

Todd Hirsch says:

I did 26 days… and no enlightenment experience…. 14 hours a day meditating at a real Buddhist monastery in Thailand… happy for you…. but maybe my mind is not that weak/powerful…

Brodie says:

These are also just his experiences . Leo is nothing.

Brodie says:

The true self resides in the heart. I am curious on your thoughts concerning chakras and the pineal gland? Them being an implant and fragmented state? Thoughts (coming from someone who 100 percent doesn’t know who they are)? Wait, what are thoughts? I am not my thoughts? Where am I? Who am I? I am in desperate help!! urgent!

Leo Gura says:

The true self do NOT reside in the heart. That’s a conceptualization.

Leo Two says:

While the experience is still in your memory. Can you give more details. In specific, the light rays. Did you actually see light rays? Where did these rays come from? Were you part of the rays? The rays make any sounds? Can you make a drawing of the rays?

I’m just trying to make sure you had the experience, and didn’t just read about the experience in book or something. Truth is important.

Leo Gura says:

Lol, I did see light rays! Because there were actual, literal light rays shining through the clouds as the sun set!

Tormentor says:

Look at his eyes, and listen to his voice as he sort of relives the moments of that experience. Something truly remarkable must have happened to this grown man, if tears come to his eyes and his voice almost cracks with emotion.

Leo Two says:

Know a guy who 90 straight days of silent, solitary retreat in a cabin, high in the mountains, during winter. He had 2 slight OTB experiences, but nothing like what you say you had in Virginia. Just sounds too advanced for 1.5 years of meditation. Have doubts. But maybe you stumbled into a very good teacher or something else. Definitely 2 or 3 steps above normal for the amount of time spent contemplating your existence and origination.

Todd Hirsch says:

Sounds like top notch LSD to me…..

Marjorie says:

You can’t even imagine, the sort of stuff that comes out when you are enlightened through meditation, silly

Josie says:

Yes, yes, yes. Following along while you are pursuing the path seems so valuable to me. I’ve been following many like Lisa Cairns, Bentinho Massaro, Moojji, Greg Goode,Eckhart Tolle, James Swartz, Abraham Hicks, and probably 20 others on this path, and there is a certain excitement watching and hearing from you because you have not already realized it. I get something from such a different angle with you. Putting all of it together from all of my sources and actually looking into self inquiry for myself is my own process, and I’m grateful you came along so I could see things freshly. It’s such exciting stuff! I loved the moment when you were sharing and got choked up thinking about what it all REALLY is and what’s to come. Much Love. Please hurry and post more for me to learn from!

Anthony says:

Hi Leo,

Would you mind telling which meditation center you were at? I wouldn’t mind doing one and i have friends in Virginia who might go with me.
Thanks a lot.

Tony

Kaz says:

I’m booked into a meditation retreat coming up in September…just for the weekend though, not 10 days at this stage..I’ll build up

dario says:

Hi Leo,

thank you very much for this very inspiring video !!

i hope you get there really fast!!

happy meditating

Dario

Kari says:

Your videos are FABULOUS, Leo. Thank you so very much for sharing all your insights on the topic! I’ve done my fair share of reading on enlightenment, and I get so frustrated at all these gurus running around saying “live in the moment,” “let it go,” “we are one,” blah, blah, blah. Easy for THEM to say! They are already “enlightened,” or had spiritual upbringing, or fell into mystical experience by some fluke. I love that you are a seemingly “regular” guy (as far as actualized guys go) so you can speak in lay terms the actual “HOW” of this journey. The world needs more people like you!

In fact, you have lit a fire under my lotus-seated butt to up my meditation practice. I have been playing with idea of blogging about my own neophyte forays into enlightenment territory. Keep up the great work! I can’t wait to see your other videos.

Regarding the heart as center of consciousness, I will say that I have found that the heart is a useful place to center my attention during meditation. It is naturally much quieter than my mind, so I use it as a tool because I can expand awareness outside of thoughts easier. Do you say consciousness does NOT reside in heart, because it is EVERYWHERE? Just curious. Would love to hear more about your revelations on the nature of thoughts in general too. Thanks again!

Leo Gura says:

Thanks!

What you call the heart is actually a body sensation + mental image + mental sound. It’s another conceptualization.

The statement that awareness resides in the heart is a belief. Notice this.

Are you aware of the heart 24/7? If not, ask yourself where does awareness exist when you are not aware of “the heart”. For that matter, ask yourself, “What is awareness?”

Nigia says:

I’ve been drawn to Zen and to this work for ages without a direct path to action. I’ve glimpsed tiny breakthroughs with meditation and sudden visionary moments. They left me with such rocking bliss that I was suddenly forming Mudras and realized their deeper meanings. Then, poof, the funk and Earthly stuff slipped in again like a puzzle piece. I love hearing your step by step adventures proving some of my breakthroughs seem right on. Anyhow, thank you man for all your clear, free videos and help. The books you mention are great. I’ve never made sustainable income from my art and writing yet, my skills and potential is pretty high. I’ve just scraped buy and I’m exhausted. I feel I’ll buy your courses to break through with those areas but more so, to eventually, free my head.

Leo Gura says:

You’re doing everything right. Just keep going and doing even more of it!

Nigia says:

Thanks man, your push means worlds to me. There’s are glimpses where you see the rightness of all things, everything is in place at EVERY level, it’s beautiful and easy, like being high. I try to tell others about when it has happens, I’m sure I lost a few friends in part, for talking about this stuff. Whatever. Anyhow, It hurts to leave those moments. I think that ads to the funk back to basic bullshit and stuckness. It’s a steady climb right?
Your help is golden. Hugs. I look forward to more videos on all of this, I know you will rip it all open.

Leo Gura says:

This is gonna sound all Zen… but… you never really leave the Absolute Now. It’s the one thing that’s always constant, always here. That “hurt” is just another piece of the beauty

Samantha says:

Hi Leo. Thank you for sharing your experience. I was happy to hear you explain this as I had a similar experience but I was only 15 and didn’t know what was happening to me. I was travelling around the outback here in Australia with my grandparents and we were at a remote area where there were no fences or people. Nothing. The sun rose and set in the sea (called the 80 mile beach in Western Australia.) We had been living on fish and dried vegies. One day I walked out onto the sand and suddenly I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and happiness. Then something weird happened. I disappeared. I became the landscape. Suddenly time didn’t exist. Apparently I was out there for 5 hours but it felt like no time but endless time at the same time. I never understood what happened but it felt good. I was love..I felt peace. It was amazing

Nigia says:

Sounding Zen is a good thing to me.

Other teachers talk about the NOW, but I really internalized it from scientist. Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson’s talk, “The Most Astounding Fact.” hit me deep. Anyway, a week ago, I scribbled down something Alan Watts said, it slipped mind but, you just reminded me. We are “Like waves on the ocean AND we ARE the ocean,” but, we forget. From doing meditation, I feel this knowledge sink in even when I look at pics of long “Dead” nebula and such.
I dig Alan for that kind of talk, not many teachers seem to like him ’cause he dabbled in drugs, but D.T. Suzuki saw him as a Bodhisattva an knew he was not an idiot. He understood the struggle, that forgetting we are bigger than who we think we are, is part of our suffering.
I plan to paint that ocean affirmation in my place. I guess, people are like fish, bet they don’t know they are in water. There is nothing like understanding, “FOR REAL,” that thoughts are just noise, like a radio that is always on. Just knowing that, crushed so much BS for me!

“Hurt” is in the mind, so is “fear”. I so thought I’d have to raise my income to travel for deeper study in all this stuff but, for me, it is when the shit hits the fan. When I feel utterly lost, I meditate. My world was intense and harsh for ages but it’s calming down. I meditate almost daily. I’ll make it twice a after what you said.

I’m a very good artist and a decent writer. I felt like I was dying in my day job no matter how nice it is. Even, that’s getting much better. I’m sure these glimpses along the path has helped me deal. The things I love are not paying off for me but like the rest it’s all a shift of perception, like all things right? I’ve just got to really KNOW that.

Listen, maybe one day, you can do a call type of show. It would be cool to hear other people talk with you about this and, other stuff. Trust, I know the feeling of endless things to do. I got several finished drafts of books on my desk top already and don’t need another project.
I doubt you do as well but it’s a cool thought.

Sorry to be so long winded.

Anyway brother Leo, thanks again.

Arik says:

Hey Leo,

thanks for the video. Love it! I actually listened two times to it to really absorb everything you say. I’ll probably watch it another dozen times as I watch your other enlightenment videos on a regular basis to stay on track.

I had two similar experiences to yours, one 1 and 1/2 weeks ago and the other three weeks after I started my enlightenment journey three month ago. After the second experience I felt really “mellow” for three days, meaning that the amount of thoughts per day shrinked to a minimum and I constantly felt “being there”.

I would probably describe it as the complete absence of stress & terror of the mind. I wasn’t explicitly happy but also in no way sad. Just there.

Did you have a similar experience after your enlightenment phenomenon?

And another thing I would love to hear your opinion on. In my today’s one-hour Looking, while sitting cross-legged on my bad on a few pillows and fixating my view to one detail on the floor, I tried to separate everything in my present perception that is “mind-made” like thoughts from real being.

As I do this very often with all the other techniques, today a thought came into my mind that even the reality I see with my eyes is light reflected on a screen. Basically in my eyes.

So I try to see in this mini-opening, as these occur sometimes in the Looking, and immerse a bit deeper in the present moment while seeing that everything I see is indeed the reality of my body and so a part of my reality but my actual being is far less (and in this manner although far more) than the things I see (generally perceive).

Have you every seen into this and what do you think about it? It is really difficult to put in words what I “saw” there. It is some of these things that bring me further to stillness.

Any way, thanks for all the great work and investigation. I’ll on my journey because you introduced this to me and this is one of the most challenging but also rewarding things I did and do in my life.

Cheers from Germany, Arik

Andre says:

Hey Leo!
After watching your video of truth that i stumbled upon about a month ago.
I had this weird experience when I was sleeping…
When I was younger I experienced sleep paralysis and I thought some kind of demon is haunting me. After watching your video this happened again but this time I woke up in sleep paralysis but then reminded myself to calm down.

There was this vacuum like sound in my head and it continued for a while but my mind reacted to fear and it was gone. but I felt Amazing! I felt like a feather! full of peace and joy.
Now since that moment I hear a High pitch sound in my ear and sometimes it goes to both. I have done some research but I would like to have a input from your side, Could you help me better understand?

Rajeev says:

Leo,

Congrats first and good luck with your journey.

The Hindu tradition has different names for these stages ( awakening Kundhalini). Did you get a chance to go through those details?, would you be able to let us know which stage you would consider you are in ?

One final question, How will you know you have reached the ultimate enlightenment even after reaching there?

thanks,

Wim says:

Thanks for sharing this great experience. It’s right what you said you only can give us some finger points. We have to find the path by ourselves by doing it. Thank you very much for all the great content you’ve given us so far.

Bailey Chapman says:

Hi Leo –
I love your direct approach to your teachings. They are very effective for me and I feel the love from you especially in the most stark statements. Keep it up! If ‘I’ become worldly successful enough I will go out of my way to try and meet you because I think we could be good friends. I wish you well and I look forward to your next video!
-Bailey
Boston, MA

Tony says:

Hi Leo,

The tracing of the tree back to yourself using your finger; I’m not fully understanding that part. At some point you will touch your eyeball correct? Do you just mean that your eyeball is part of the body and therefore not the real you?
Thanks for everything.

Tony

Leo Gura says:

Sit down sometime and actually do it. If you’re careful, you’ll see that you actually don’t touch your eyeball. That’s a conceptualization. What you’re actually pointing back to is nothingness, not an eyeball.

Tony says:

I did do it about an hour ago and couldn’t help but come back to my eyeball. Do I need to develop higher consciousness before I see this or is it something a newbie (still stuck in logic) can somewhat understand?

Leo Gura says:

First off all, the eyeball is not “yours”. That’s a unconscious mental sub-vocalization that’s happening. Notice that.

Secondly, you don’t see an eyeball! Where in your experience right now is there an eyeball visible? Nowhere. Notice that.

Do it a couple hundred times and notice that there is actually no-thing looking at the tree. The tree is “self-perceiving”, or in other words, “being”. You have no perception of a “you” looking at a tree. That’s a story the mind is creating.

Tony says:

Thank you. Btw, I’ve seen some motivational videos in my day especially from you, but this surpasses all by more than just a little. I only hope one day I can light fires under people like you do.

Leo Gura says:

If it’s what you’re really called to do, you’ll find a way to do it. Fear not.

Eelco says:

Congrats!

Gillian says:

Thank you for this Leo, this has helped me. I love your honesty and authenticity. The space in between objects is often more important than the objects themselves. Every thing and nothing both at the same time. The light of your consciousness shines through.
Many thanks
Gill

Carmella Cortese says:

Please stop emailing me unsubscribe me I Won’t take the filthy words anymore. It’s such a shame that someone that intelligent has to be so vulgar

La says:

It’s just a word.
It’s your own attachment to and judgment of it that gives it so much importance to you.
Don’t you have more important things in life toward which to direct your energy and focus?

Nick says:

Hey Leo what are your thoughts on music? I’ve heard some say that music is bad if you are meditating or pursuing enlightment or for just living more mindfully.

Michael says:

Regarding the above question about music during practice.

I also find this confusing. Perhaps the beginnings of this saying was when music was performed, but now it is so accessible. Mooji uses music in his videos at the start and end. It’s a bit like some Buddhist movements using mindful drinking of alcohol to help them relax for meditation. If anything music is probably better for this. I think it depends on what music it is and what effect it has on you. If it distracts you then stop using it, don’t tell yourself that you can just get used to it. Only use music that helps you relax and clear your mind so you can concentrate but not anything that is too moving. There a good band I may be able to tell you for this but choose your songs carefully. The Raga Bhupali is also a very good piece of music for this.

This is only from my perspective so far, please don’t take it as set in stone or as anything definite.

Nihi says:

Hey Leo I have a question
In another video you talk about a meditation technique where you are simply observing your mind.
I have a question. Is the goal to be clear minded (which naturally happens when I observe) or to observe thoughts as they are happening. Because as soon as I think, I am not observing anymore, but thinking. So, observing while thinking seems to be impossible.
What is my objective so to speak?

Leo Gura says:

The objective of meditation is to merge with reality exactly as it is in the present moment.

Nihi says:

Ok thank you.
Looking forward for your next videos. Very inspiring.

Tony says:

I’m having the same experience as Nihi. I’ve Been trying to observe the voice and it stops. I can still see some vague images when observing but the voice seems to go away. I’ve been trying for some time to see the voice fully in action without it going away when I watch. Great question.

Leo Gura says:

If the voice disappears, great! Sit there and enjoy the silence.

T says:

Thank you for sharing you experience! It was very interesting, good job!

Michael says:

I think the reason some people don’t like your approach might be related to cultural, many parts of the Americas don’t like bluntness, they like such frank and direct points to be sweetened and softened, otherwise they may be offended, like Carmella Cortese up there. Whereas Europeans like myself sometimes feel we need that frank bluntness and direct approach in order to stop, see things as they are and get on with it. If we are upset by such directness when we know it is necessary, we tell our selves to get over it and get on with what you have to do. I think some countries or regions aren’t used to this approach to seeing things. There’s nothing wrong with your technique, I think people should have to take it or leave if they can’t, that’s fine. I think there are people who need your direct approach and I find it helps me to understand your message when it is portrayed this way. It’s not rude, arrogant or vulgar, it’s a necessary approach that some people aren’t used to because they are used to society softening the hard truths, there’s nothing wrong with that too, but they have to override their feelings and get on with what they have to do, or go elsewhere.

Tormentor says:

Hey Leo!

Awsome content! Glad you had the experience, and thank you so much for sharing it with us. You are the best exactly because, as you’ve mentioned it, you are not enlightened yet. Thus you can still speak our language !

I was happy to be able to relate to some of the experiences you tell us about in this video. For example, you mentioned that at one point, it appeared to you, that the I is just a belief, an arbitrary designation instilled into our being by our parents and everyone else being around us during our first few years. You know, before “since I can remember” began. Last week, looking at my daughter (6 weeks “old”), I had the same revelation(?). I thought, am I doing good to her by ripping her out of this unity consciousness she’s probably in right now? Just so 25 years from now she would have to relearn this state of being?
The other thing I can relate to, is us perceiving ourselves as a camera. Just yesterday, or the day before, I had this funny feeling of being a free running camera in a CCTV system. So I tried to step up one level. I tried to descend into a meditative state, and focused my attention to the fact, that I am not the running camera, but the operator sitting in the CCTV center, monitoring all the cameras of existence. In other words, I pictured that i am existence itslef, looking onto itself from xillion vantage points. I don’t have to mention that I failed, do I?
Nassim Haramein said, that wherever vortecies in space appear, spinning at the speed of light, matter is created. Or the concept of matter? Or what now? Anyway, we are space itself. Our 3 dimensional body (the camera) is space itself. It is 99.9999999 percent space, and 0.00000001 percent matter, that is actually space spinning at the speed of light.
But unfortunately, knowing something does not equal to understanding and being aware of that something.
But I arrived at the first step: knowing that I don’t know jack. I always had a problem with my father asking me when we got into an argument: “Who do you think you are?” I always tried to honestly answer that question, but never managed to come with an honest answer. So I mumbled “I don’t know”, and went into my room.
I have the feeling, that following you on this journey (and wandering off the path occasionally) I will have an answer before I conclude my present experience on this planet.
So thank you Leo, you are really amazing.

Mike says:

I’ve been researching enlightenment and practicing self-inquiry for the past 6 months. In my experience there are two essential components that must be employed to trigger this sort of enlightenment experience 1. unadulterated honestly, and 2. truth. Am I being completely honest? Is what I’m being completely honest about actually true? When both of those questions are discovered to be a “yes” answer, it creates some incredible traction where actualization can take place. I’ve gone from shy public speaker to being an urban educator in high need communities, and I’ve gone from being a dogmatic Protestant Christian to being an open-minded agnostic truth-seeker. Every major breakthrough in my own actualization has happened at the intersection of honesty and truth.

Leo, as you have stated, our honesty may not necessarily be aligned with absolute truth. I have practiced self-inquiry and I have felt the honesty that I’m not actually this body, not the thoughts, not anything that has form. I’ve climbed on top of the highest precipice of my mind-body identification and i’ve jumped off; I’ve given myself up to whatever truth may be, and i’ve done this for 6 months.

Here is where I’m stuck: Every phenomena that I’ve ever experienced has been successfully traced back to a some neurological explanation: even the sense of self is elucidated by neural activity in the limbic system. But that’s OK, every sensory thing or concept I can come up with needs to answer to: “Who is aware that the sense of self is elucidated by neural activity in the limbic system?” The truth is always one step removed like this, every experience must answer to that. But lately it has all been seen as just a cool trick the brain can do. Even the “presence sense” or “God sense” can be traced back to parts of the limbic system. Allowing myself to admit: “these are just concepts” is no longer sufficient enough to override my doubts. I can’t use honesty in my work as much because, honestly, I believe everything and anything experienced, even the ‘awareness’ of those experiences, is a byproduct of the human brain. There have been studies where people’s brains are subjected to electromagnetic forces that stimulate the “awareness sense”, and test subjects have been documented in reporting a “presence” in the room with them that was not felt previously.

Can you help me Leo? I’m sure you’ve encountered similar doubts that maybe all of this is just some cool trick the brain can do. Doubt always takes me back to the “inner and outer world distinction”, and just because I can’t experience the “outer world” empirically doesn’t mean its necessarily non-existent. How can I employ honesty about truth and still pursue a non-dualistic truth-seeking path? Thanks! Hope you can answer and understand my doubts.

Leo Gura says:

Firstly, you’re right about truth and honesty. All enlightenment actually is, is just pure raw truth. So you need 100% truth and 100% honesty to access it.

Secondly, you’re absolutely right about thoughts and sensations arising in the brain. They do! That is not in question. What’s in question is why do you believe you are these thoughts and sensations? Nothing in science ever says: this over here is a rock, and that over there is Mike. The issue is one of identification, NOT anything else. Why do you draw boundary around the body and say, “This is me. Everything else is not me!” Why don’t you instead say, “Everything is me: birds, trees, cars, sun, moon, Earth.” The self-boundary is what we’re questioning here.

Under the scientific paradigm, if everything you think and feel and see is a function of your brain activity, then doesn’t that mean that the car, tree, bird, sun that you are looking at are literally you? Why does the mind deny these aspects of itself? Why don’t you identify with being the sun? After all, there are NO boundaries! Who even makes a distinction between body/sun? Isn’t that an arbitrary mental categorization? What if it was deleted?

Bence says:

Hi Leo!

Recently I found an interesting answer to the question of who/what I might be. I approached this from different angles and it seems like a good place to start from where I am now. It sounds like this:
I am the confusion of the true nature of thoughts with reality. Neither the thinker, nor the toughts themselves. It makes it clear to me why raising awareness is the only path towards enlightenment. When all the confusion is gone, what’s left is the Truth.
The answer might sound too basic, but the way it is phrased has something really powerful, yet funny to it, when in a focused state.

jeff says:

Love what you’re doing here Leo. Please keep up the good work. One quick question. Did you keep your eyes open throughout the whole experience?

Leo Gura says:

Eyes open, yes.

WingWizard says:

I am really curious about what are you summarizing from all these meditative and existential experiences you are having. These experiences aren’t new, mind you, Yogis and great meditation masters have been having them for hundreds of years in the past. There are people who have spent years piled on years in peaceful isolation, perfecting different kinds of meditation techniques you would imply and changing their second to second thoughts about themselves. How do you think such experiences help a person?

Pauli Reunamo says:

Even i agree almost everything with you, I think my sub-consciousness is causing huge rebellion and not agreeing with my upper-consciouness.
Even my Upper-C; “The voice” says: Yes, you do not exist at all.
I think my Sub-C is something like this; “Lets just play along and lets not take this “i dont exist” words seriously and secretly still believe that I DO EXIST (evil laughter). My Sub-C is like watching horror movie: Feeling threatened all time Feeling scared, but still knowing perfectly that its fiction, not real. And still feeling threatened, like black monster comes from closet and attacks. I have lot of work to reprogram my Sub-C…
And about omnipresence; isnt that still being self? Not inside body or anything but still there presence and existing. Even i have the idea and slight feeling of being omnipresence almost all time. There is not to be omnipresence at all because there is nothing to cause it, im wondering and inspecting and trying to put my finger on it… Even this journey to enlightenment is hard as fuck, its really interesting.

Brian says:

Leo, you go into great detail in this video about the circumstances and surroundings in which you achieved this meditation. This is very helpful, however, you understand that these tranquil, almost idyllic conditions aren’t easily achievable for many people and not affordable or practical. So we could possibly be sent off at a tangent that this or that thing is necessary for successful life changing meditation.
Also I have another question; when you say about you started looking at the trees, and seeing that there was nothing of substance in the void behind the trees and nothing between you and the tree, is this not a sense that you are experiencing a separateness to the 2 dimensional representation of these things in your mind, and not the space “out there”? Brian

Leo Gura says:

You don’t need idyllic conditions to get enlightened. You can do it sitting on your couch, which is in fact what I typically do.

I don’t understand your second question.

Brian says:

Thank you Leo, I’ll try to re write my question as it’s not that clear;
You describe looking at the trees and seeing there is nothing existing behind or in front of them. Is what you are really doing is seeing the trees for what they are really, which is a representation of them in your mind? And, in the sense that you are experiencing the “higher self” which is aware of your brain’s processes such as the “stream of thoughts” and thus similarly you are becoming aware of the fact that what you see, is a flat representation in your mind and not, in fact, the “real out-there”?
many thanks
Brian

Leo Gura says:

No, just the opposite. What you see is that there is no “inside” you. There is only the “outside” world so to speak. And this outside world is afloat in a sea of nothingness. This pushes “you” out of your mind space and into the outside world. You become the outside world.

Brian says:

OK, can’t find the reply button in the right post, but thanks for explaining. I’ve seen a glimmer of something that means I have to continue on this path no matter what, however, I still have everything wrong, in fact 180 degrees out I gather from your last post!

Emcee says:

hi Leo, it was nice to listen to this video! You were not the only one with tears in your eyes ) I once had the same experience and the reason why it is so emotional is because there was only love. You were love, felt love and connected with everything. I experienced it twice after this first time but then only for a second. The first time I was lucky to be in the present for almost half a day. No more doubts no fears only understanding, no questions needed. Thanks for sharing.

Emcee says:

Ps I am from Belgium so..sorry for my bad English!

Michael says:

I remember going on a trip to Belgium a few years ago now. It was absolutely marvelous. We stayed in a lovely hotel in Oostende where we (my great uncle and I) spent most of our time. We went to Brugge for one day and I enjoyed every moment, it was splendid and the canal trip was unforgettable. Sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity to see Brussels, I hope one day to make a second trip and visit Brussels and perhaps the surrounding area. The hotel we stayed at was very nice, a continental breakfast to set us up for the day, Belgian waffles for luncheon at our favourite cafe, Chamonix, on the promenade and a very nice five course dinner to mark the end of each day.

Emcee says:

Also Gent and Antwerp are nice to visit! I am living close to Antwerp and member of couch surfing! So always welcome!

Michael says:

Thank you, I shall certainly look forward to going.

Emcee says:

Emcee. Marie-Claire

Emcee says:

Hi again. When i read my text over again it seems wrong and not what I meant to say. I can only talk about my own experience. And I see I wrote somewhere you. This you was any you ) ! And it happened before…if somebody talks about this experience i recognize the emotion and the tears are tears of happiness! I hope one day I will succeed to get back there! It just happened to me without any meditation..but for sure I was very pure and honest with myself at that moment. After this experience I went looking …still looking for a way to go back there. Mindfulness was helping me to relax my mind..but most of the time you hear saying don’t meditate to try to reach something. And if I am honest the only thing I want is to reach this state! So I am going to listen to some more of your videos..starting from zero.

Maria Madalina says:

OMG I had exactly the same feeling of meditation during my watching of this video because I was so focused. I was anticipating what you were going to say, that you idetified with evereything that sourended you. That you became “GOD”. I had the confirmation of the “lens” behind my eyes… and I got to say that enlightment is the highest form of consciousness and that one can consider himself enlightened only by walking the path, because the level of enlightment depends on each person….

Pauli Reunamo says:

Just came to my mind…

Could hypnosis possibly help to believe that there is no self?

Todd Hirsch says:

I feel very…. very…. very… wait I will cry…. huuhuuhuhuhuhhh… sob sob…

I am enlightened… my sperm are enlightened……

sob sob… cry cry… a tree spoke to me… the ice and lcd did not do nothing to me… it was all NATURAL…

I am a GOD now… flying around HONG KONG on the top of 144 story building…
but still I cry….

I cry to be NOTHING….

the END…

love you guys

Megan says:

I stumbled across your YouTube videos and started listening as I cleaned my house. Your videos have been very helpful and motivating. Thank you

Megan says:

I should clarify that. Not helpful in motivating me to clean my house lol. Motivating and Informative in my work as a psychotherapist and life skills teacher. I’m in the process of moving into private practice/contracting.

Leo Gura says:

Good to hear that folks are using this for more than cleaning their house

Mark says:

Hey mate

Well done. Lot’s of the same for me and some things different (but not drastically different). One of the things I found was that I was the space between the molecules inside of my body and at that point everything became still. For awhile, I stood up and laughed because, looking back in retrospect, the voice had temporarily left me.

Very happy, very still.

I think I have witnessed the tip of the tail of the hair of the Ox so to speak!

For me, this video is now leading me towards meditation retreats and where the Zen masters reside.

Cheers
Mark

monica says:

I meditate. I simply relax, listen to a youtube audio. I feel inner peace. I see a tree, i see a plant. Then i start with the breath. Hold in and release. I then get sleepy. It energizes me during the day, and if at night makes me sleepy. Each experience is different for each individual.

Pauli Reunamo says:

What you people think?
There’s the observer, the presence.
The presence observes from the body every moment.
It observes what body sees
It observes what body feels
It observes what body thinks
It observes what body decides
And it observes the action the body takes.
Even the observer, is literally nothing, it still haves presence that body can be aware but not knowing of what it is.
So ultimately this presence is YOU, that observers everything that body does, but haves zero control over it, because you are nothing.
Body’s actions are based on thoughts; sub-conscious or upper conscious. but you aren’t the thought that makes that action or feeling happen. You just simply observe without any control over it.
The presence wants nothing. feels nothing. is nothing. but it still somehow observers everything this body does.

And the illusion people haves is that theyre the body. and they have control over it, or theyre “soul” or something and theyre behind the controls of the machine.
Even in fact. “this soul” is just observer of this machine with zero control over it.
Like watching movie with oculus rift + all human senses and toughts. and those toughts tries to tell you “i am you” and the observer takes it all in and believes it. (even tought this presence is nothing and wants nothing so how it can believe anything? or its all illusion made for body)

I got this while i was walking outside. i felt slight peace or relief inside body and even got tear in right eye. it was kinda awesome.

So, should i really work on this? this body isnt sub-consciously fully taken idea that I am not it, i am the observer, and the “The observer doesn’t have body, the body haves observer.” “The observer is greater, and the body is lesser.” Observer is nothing, tho cannot have any control over body.
I hope this is not another trap… so all weedpack is taken gladly.

Pauli Reunamo says:

I’ve been Playing human-simulation “pauli” over 20 years now.
More shocking is that it was not game to played, it was only movie.
. I had no control over it.
-Nothing.

monica says:

Okay this is getting too deep. Im a go get an apple martini now…..and go to the mall shopping…..

Bob Melton says:

Leo, I discovered Actualized.org last October (2014) when I typed into google “How to stop caring about other peoples’ opinions”. Your Video on the subject was the first hit. That video rang so true with me, I have been following you ever since. The reason this is so profound to me, is that I have been an extremely tortured individual my entire life (38 years, guessing you are younger than me). My definition of torture is anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure. This is the heart of depression, the ridiculous diagnosis I tried to get ‘treatment’ for the whole time while taking pills and spending weeks on the top floor of hospitals. Anyway, the point is that pursuing Enlightenment has clearly become the answer for me, largely in part from your videos. I had a dream, last week, that you were standing on a small grassy hill. And you had your arms folded, with a smile, you had a peaceful bliss about you, as if you were waiting for something, benign, just watching me for a few seconds. All the sudden, I became enlightened, nothing major happened, it was almost like what I was looking at suddenly came into focus. And I realized how completely silly the moment was, how it was ‘here’ the whole time. I started to laugh with a joy that, well, unfortunately is beyond my grasp of words here. You also laughed observing me. I fell to the ground, and noticed every single blade of grass, magnificently standing out in my point of view. I laughed at how simple it was… I woke up that morning extremely sad that it was only a dream. But I think this was a taste of what real enlightenment feels like. And I’m getting the notion that this will be the only escape from my anhedonia, the state of mind I’ve been in for my entire life. I hope you do a video on anhedonia, and frankly, I hope you get to have a dream like I had. It was only a minute or so, but it was so incredible. Looking forward to your video of announcing your enlightenment, though of course I realize the chances of this are very slim.

Bob

Leo Gura says:

Cool. Do the self-inquiry work and you’ll be there within a year or two. Torture is simply lack of mindfulness, the inability to have a complete experience of the present moment.

Radi Ignatov says:

Hi, Leo,

First of all, thank you for sharing your enlightenment experience. It seems to be helpful to get better understanding of these issues.

Personally, I have been asking the question “Who am I?” and “What am I” for about 6-7 years and my mind had always come up with some answers, which although not very convincing, were enough to provide temporary satisfaction. Well, just recently, after watch a lot of your videos and getting other information on the topic, I have realized that I do not know who I am.

Let me share with you my experience from yesterday. I’ve watched carefully the video in the afternoon. At the end I felt really weird. I started to imagine or see (I do not know) myself from above – the camera shifted. It felt like a was a walking zombie of some kind. It really cannot be described by words.

When I got home, after a little rest I tried to ask the question again. I tried not to philosophize about them but to apply the ideas. Nothing really happened.

Then when I got in my bed but still not asleep or sleepy, I started asking the questions again.

“Who am I?”,
and the voice answered
“I am I”.

Then I asked “Who is watching?
And the voice replied
“I am watching”.

But then “Who is watch this conversation?/Who is the perceiver?”, I asked.

And the voice replied “I am the the perceiver!”

But this answer was so unconvincing, cold, creepy and distant! I felt like someone else is answering, it was almost nonhuman. Then my body started to shiver. I felt like I was rising in my horizontal position about 2-3 feet above my bed, and was floating, feeling awkward like never before! I do not know, maybe it is because of the very hot weather these days. It felt like I was struggling to open a shell that I am in, I could almost see the cracks. But what was really creepy was that I felt that outside the shell there’s nothing good for me but monsters and ghosts trying to get me. The shell is actually protecting me. I got really scared and decided that I am not ready to continue opening that “Pandora box”. It was a while until the whole thing faded away.

The way I’m describing is not identical to the way it felt, but that’s the closest and can do.

What do you think about it? Is my mind playing tricks with me. Am I imagining things. Is it a sign of enlightenment or am I in the wrong direction.

Thank once again for your videos, they’ve really helped me a lot with my life so far.

Kind Regards,
Radi

Leo Gura says:

It’s in the right direction, but don’t take any phenomena you experience seriously. Don’t attach any meaning or significance to it. You just gotta probe deeper and deeper and deeper. Right now you’re at a depth of about 4 out of 10,000,000. So go deeper! And don’t get lost in the distracting phenomena.

joost says:

IF there is a person who is enlightenment, how can that reality being happy without any thougts or feelings? Can it even speak without thinking? How could ”i” answer or question something/someone if i am only in reality? The ”brain” has to work rhight?

I practicing being in just the reality without any thougts or feelings, but all the time you just have to think to answer or doing? Please answer that!

Leo Gura says:

Most of the time you speak without thinking. Notice that.

No thoughts, no self, no problem.

Tjumndi says:

Hi Leo

What do you think of UG Krishnamurti and his views on enlightenment?

Mike says:

Leo, Langauge is the medium which the thoughts of a rational thinker flow. I suspect most of us who are new to these concepts, have not mentally separated thinking from awareness. Because language and thinking are bilaterally related, it seems to me that communication between an enlightened brain (which thinks differently) and a typical brain would be in different languages. The words of an enlightened person communicate very little to most of us. Most disregard it as ridiculous. For those who continue listening, its only that the words of the enlightened are intriguing and ones own curiosity, that point some of us toward a path to learning the language. In one of your videos you mention how very few people have reached enlightenment, evidence that those who have are not very effective in communicating with those who have not. You are the bridge, because right now you still speak the language of your audience. Perhaps you will be successful in mass change as a result. How significant the impact would be on society if one could change the motivation of individuals. It might be as profound as the use of language has been on the human mind.

Thank you for letting us watch you build the boat and taking us on the trip as much as is possible, with you, rather than trying to shout loud enough from some distant wonderful island after you get there. I realize one must build their own boat to make the trip. Maybe I will build a boat too. Maybe everyone will. Thanks to you, I now know boats and islands exist.

KathyGermany says:

Maybe? Or you already have a lot of good boatpieces but you expect them to look different so you dont identify them as what they really are, maybe? Imagination, Universe of possibilities! Everything has it’s time. We’re the masters of the universe, lets meet on the island with our boats and have a massive Party! =D hahahaaayeah!

Kathyagain says:

And I like your point with language…

What I find is that every time when I experience something I feel to be important at the same moment remember some great mind from the past who explained exact this insight with easy words. It already existed but I wasn’t yet able to understand. The words did not change just my way to understand that same word before and now… Words. Language. Wonderful thing!!!

It’s so cool that it is possible to describe the way to enlightment with a story of an ox in 10 steps! =D Before it sounds ridiculous because you dont understand the pictures after you find it ridiculous how easy it is. Point of view… I love sharing thoughts with you guys and I am in to thank Leo for all his videos!

Cesar Alba says:

Hi Leo, in the case of actors, we need to believe in the fiction of the play were doing, also, im a sells person, practically we use the way of thinking of the humanity to find the blind spots and make them buy, for example, timeshare membresy. Does this kind of jobs dont help at all for enlightenment

Sorry for my writing, im not that good with grammar.

Thanks Leo

Cesar Alba from Mexico.

Leo Gura says:

Dude… if you ever experience even just a whisper of enlightenment, you will stop caring about preserving your bullshit life. Right now your life is petty bullshit! Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit! Do you realize that? Do you realize how much beauty and profound satisfaction you’re trading away? And for what? For bullshit.

I’m not just picking on you. This applies to everyone.

Mike H says:

ive seen this video for the 3rd time. but ive had a few break-throughs since it came out. i just found a core assumption in my contemplation of being incapable, im trying to get through that, ya know, “go further” but realized how my entire life, personality, likes and dislikes decisions and serious suffering in my life (relationships self image and even the possitive stuff too like my work ethic and my drive to be a good parent, covering up for my core negative) and hit a massive wall of doubt. as if continuing this work is going to let me be able to maintain this false life ive built around myself.. or if im even going to want to. this my mind fucking with me? sorry if this is misplaced, just the end of this video hit home more then anything lol

KathyGermany says:

Dear Leo,

long time (haha) I didn’t visit you and can’t wait (haha) to comment on this video with some of my sights. I love visualization so I first draw some stuff and come back to comment your wonderful experience. Loved to hear that “hairs of the ox tail” and had to laugh with you as you do in the vid and had the same tears of lovewonder in my eyes when we imagine how amazing it has to be to ride it home. What a picture!!! Whaa haaaa haaa!!! LOVE IT! CU

Stephan Zeitschel says:

Great work Leo! I started meditation because of your video … I found this intersting lecture about neuroscience and enlightenmet: youtube.com/watch?t=5639&v=zqrpKUTMXgY

Suzanne says:

First time I hear an experience I had more than 30 years ago. Thanks …I have been waiting for that since.

Stefan says:

How do you decide when you switch techniques within this step-by-step deepening meditation? Is it really an ‘aha’-moment that you search for, which tells you it’s time to move on to the next step?

I have been meditating for a few months now and I have mainly used the active detachment technique, alternating with a little bit of do-nothing. But I always decide before-hand which method I will use, because it somehow feels ‘wrong’ to change during the meditation. After all, changing your technique is not doing nothing, right? And it is also not actively letting go of the thought to change techniques.

However, using active detachment alone did lead me two-three times to moments of sudden happiness and vanishing of aches and pains, which I thought was pretty cool already.

Leo Gura says:

That’s a good question. If you’re new to meditation I would recommend focusing on one technique per sitting, but as you get more experience, you can start to smoothly transition from one technique to a second to a third to a fourth all within one sitting. The reason for doing so would be to take advantage of various windows of opportunity that may open up as you sit. After a few years of meditation you wills start to develop an intuition for when a switch would beneficial. It’s quite a cool feeling and it optimizes your meditation.

For example, nowadays when I’m doing my self-inquiry work for enlightenment, I will sometimes start with do-nothing because I can feel that my mind is too scattered to do focused self-inquiry. But then after perhaps 15 minutes of do-nothing, I will notice that my mind has calmed and is now ready for a light nudge towards self-inquiry. Within the self-inquiry itself I will employ perhaps 5 different techniques at exactly the right times when they are needed. And then after 30 minutes of self-inquiry, I might notice that my mind is getting too caught up in seeking for answers, so I will let go control and return back to do-nothing. After doing all that, my mind goes into a hyper-meditative state, like a laser-beam into infinity.

That’s just one example of how technique-switching can happen.

Kaz says:

That happened to me today in meditation. I mean switching between do-nothing and self inquiry and sometimes between my breathing sometimes parts of my body. I didn’t know it was called technique switching till I read your post just now. At one stage I think my ego kicked in and thought I was doing it wrong because of the switching even though it felt comfortable and relaxed at the time.

ThoughtOnFire says:

Hello Leo,

A friend recently linked me to “Spiritual Enlightenment – The Most SHOCKING Truth You’ll Ever Hear”. I must say first of all, that your views on this path we walk is very similar and concurrent with my own. However, my critical side was confirmed near the end when you mentioned that you are not yet Enlightened. And my thoughts started bringing up things to say such as “Do not try to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye until you have taken out the log from your own.” Well I decided to remain silent and a few days later here I am watching this video here. I must say I respect your honesty and your vision to vlog your own journey. Then I had this insight that it’s not only about the Enlightenment, it’s about The Journey, right? After all, once Enlightened, that is just a new beginning, a new Journey. Or another day of Chopping Wood and Carrying Water!

I like to view meditation as the gym is for the body. We get stronger in focus, attention, concentration, increasing awareness and expanding our consciousness. Yet the gym is there to make you more athletic, and it’s all in vain if one doesn’t apply that strength outside of the gym. Also, I do believe that if one knew the way to Enlightenment, then it would take only a single session of meditation to be so.

“What is Zen?” The Master asked the Students.

The first one replied “Zen is a Way of Life.”

“Yes” said the Master.

The next one replied “Zen is a Way to Die.”

“Yes” said the Master.

The third one replied “Zen is Nothing and Zen is Everything.”

“Yes” said the Master.

The fourth Student didn’t say anything.

The Master then said “You first three are wrong,” and pointed to the fourth Student saying “That is Zen.”

Leo- I don’t think any of what you say comes off as cocky. I hadn’t given it any thought until you mentioned it, so I guess to me the tonality is just right!
Thanks,
-David Craig Ellis.

Negin says:

Hi Leo. I m walking in this path. But need a master or place to focus & practice with. Any advice? I have this strong feeling to leave everything and just walk in this path!

Leo Gura says:

The only thing you really need to walk this path is tons of self-inquiry. Sit your ass down and do the self-inquiry work.

See the video How To Become Enlightened to see how.

You might also wanna check out the books in my book list in the Enlightenment/Consciousness category. They will help you get things straight.

steffanyrae says:

hello, i’d like to put in a request for the oxtail video,
interested in hearing an indepth explaination and analysis.
have heard of this before and can not find much information on it anywhere.

Amy says:

I had this woman at work come up to me today and ask me what am I in regards to religious/spiritual beliefs. I replied Nothing. She couldn’t wrap her head around it and immediately got defensive and said she was Christian. I attempted to give her a perspective. She kept asking me, “Are you sure you haven’t don’t Psychedelics?” She laughed in my face and said she’s experienced ‘God’ First hand. I just let it go. She doesn’t have or want the mindset to think of a perspective because of what she believes in. You could see the fear in her eyes.

Amy says:

When I was a little kid, I remember asking myself, “Who am I? How did I get here? ” It was a sudden realization that popped up out of no where. I was about 6 at the time.

How am I thinking and looking around and breathing and existing?

You said this in one of the videos and it reminded me of that memory.

Karl Forteus says:

The biggest problem I find with your version of enlightenment is I DON’T WANT to be associated with most of the human race. I find them incredibly and increasingly stupid, self-absorbed and pointless on a daily basis. It is hard not to become completely nihilistic as I truly don’t believe we stand a chance realistically and will almost certainly be extinct within a few hundred years. Why on earth would I want to recognise I am them when I despise most of them? Conversely I increasingly want to disassociate myself from them and their superficial obsessions and ego driven insanity.

Leo Gura says:

Lol… look at what you’re saying!!!

That is pure ego speaking!

It doesn’t matter what you want! The truth don’t give a fuck about you! Hate it all you want, but you literally ARE those people you hate. This is not a matter of picking and choosing philosophies of life like trying out clothing at the department store. The truth is what is!

Of course you try to disassociate yourself from everyone else. That is by definition what ego is. And it’s a big fat illusion! There is no such thing as a self or another. The ego-driven insanity is this lie you’re currently living!

If you REALLY want to disassociate from ego driven insanity, then drop your self. That is, become enlightened! In so doing, you will discover the most beautiful secret ever.

Karl Forteus says:

With respect, for someone who has openly admitted to not yet being enlightened themselves your comments can sometimes appear somewhat
patronising, especially when your journey towards such is a tiny fraction
in terms of time with regards to others on the same path.

Yes of course I realise what I said was a laughable and paradoxical contradiction in terms and yes ego based even if mine is generally more altruistic than most. I have indeed experienced the profound ‘secret’ you mention numerous times. However to constantly maintain that enlightenment when faced with a daily onslaught of disappointment, anger and sadness regarding the collective reality is the overbearing problem. Indeed it was a particularly taxing day of this which motivated my somewhat emotional outburst.

Despite the fact that everything influences everything else on some level,
in my contribution towards changing that reality I only have direct control over my own will and actions no matter how much I am aware that ‘I’ don’t actually exist.

Leo Gura says:

Doesn’t sound like you got the profound secret yet.

Karl Forteus says:

But if I am you and you have got it then of course I have got it too and am just experiencing the experience of not having got it just for the hell of it and so are you vicariously through me.

Karl Forteus says:

You don’t appear to have an answer to that? You see you cannot have it
both ways! According to you I am all those I loathe, the murderers,
rapists, abusers and endless ignorant morons, but apparently not the
enlightened people, like you?

And if I choose to transcend my illusion of self my point is that at times I
find very little beauty in accepting responsibility for actually being all those
and that I despise, it demotivates me to even bother or want to continue
sometimes, so great is the burden. It is difficult enough taking
responsibility for myself and all my faults, which most cannot even
manage.

And if as you say I should spend all my time in a state of self-
transcendence, dropping my self, then that would render your website and work a grand exercise in pointlessness, if indeed there is no self to improve!

So there lies the conflict. It is all very well promoting transcendence but
on a day to day pragmatic level one is forced to deal with the paradoxical
duality of concepts of self whilst simultaneously embracing evolution
towards transcendence of such.

Leo Gura says:

Firstly, don’t make this about me. It’s about you.

Secondly, there is no you! Look! No such entity as Karl-the-perceiver exists! There is no self to drop and nothing to do! Enlightenment is already what is true.

Thirdly, you and I are one. It’s just not being recognized by your mind because you are thinking and holding beliefs.

Fourthly, if you have a hard time embracing paradox, you will not get very far in this work. Paradox is what the rational mind encounters when it tries to conceptualize the existential nature of nature itself.

There is no conflict other than the one you hold in your mind. Drop your conceptualizing and what conflict remains? None!

Don’t believe me. Verify it all for yourself. Be very self-honest.

Karl Forteus says:

Oh dear.

Firstly, how can this be about me when there is no me and how can I make it about you when there is no you and we are both the same person and simultaneously don’t exist at all. You seem to have a hard time
recognising paradox and seem to specialise in contradicting yourself
(somewhat paradoxically). As a further example this self that you now tell me I cannot drop (obviously) is the same self you told me to drop in your
previous reply, or was that just another paradox you tried to slip past me?!

And what makes you so sure that Karl is my real name? Unlike you I have
no need to use a constant name (ego) since there is no constant me or
indeed any me at all.

Yet again you have failed totally to understand or address any of my points and just seem to repeat the same rhetoric ad infinitum. I was hoping you might actually enter into useful and nuanced debate and discourse rather than making overreaching and quite frankly condescending assumptions and comments about me based upon one facet of my multi-faceted perspective, and then imposing an attitude of smug grandiloquence.

I am not sure whether living in a country where 83% believe the bible is the direct or indirect word of god and where christianity is still adhered to by 93% of the population has led you out of habit to be used to having to preach downwards, kindergarten like to the severely mentally challenged, but can assure you you can spare me similar treatment as I grew out of that sickness shortly after evolving into long trousers. You are dealing with the big boys now!

Yes I am more than completely aware (a double-whammy paradox since
there is no me to be aware that I am aware and no more than completely)
that there is no such entity as me and everything I view myself as is a
transparent construction even though I don’t actually view myself as
anything at all except a slideshow of multi-sensory experience.

And I have spent most of my adult life dealing with paradox (through my
work) and therefore have no need of a definition (thanks all the same).
Indeed it seems to be you who has trouble embracing the paradox (as
already mentioned) that your whole body of work addresses and relies on
the self existing except the section of it which includes ‘enlightenment’ as part of the title which undermines everything else by (rightly) stating there is
actually no self to address. Only you seem incapable of addressing just that point!

Which whilst I truly applaud the great work you have done in collating all
this valuable information in one place, leads me to believe as I faintly but
sympathetically suspected that, with respect, you more often than not
plagiarise or reinterpret ideas wholesale rather than gaining the wisdom
organically by actually living them. Unsurprising when after all five years
isn’t long enough to even barely scrape the surface, let alone your reading
list.

So while I was going to mention (and already have) how even though I am completely aware of the illusion of self both conceptually and experientially it is useful to adopt such as a constructed vehicle occasionally (you know like you do with your website) in order to oppose that which I believe to be in urgent need of opposing and find offensive, in that the whole may be somewhat more enlightened and something worth having. I can’t help though but feel disappointed that there is little point in pursuing this any further since valid and worthwhile discourse actually relies on both parties listening to each other as a pre-cursor to relevant response.

Don’t believe me? Verify it for yourself.

And be very non-self honest.

Good luck.

Leo Gura says:

You’re trying to argue and win some kind of philosophical discussion, which won’t fly here. This is NOT philosophy! I am not here to discuss or prove anything to you. I am pointing to a direct fact of which you are unconscious. All discussion is irrelevant. Enlightenment is unlike anything you’ve ever done before. And right now your mind is not open enough for it because you think you understand how reality is. Well, you’re wrong. And until you have the sense to fully admit that you may be wrong, you’re stuck playing ego games.

Pete says:

I can’t make sense out of the experience i had last night but first i want to recap some things ive done for the past year. I’ve read the 2 Peter Ralston books you recommended and practiced mindfulness, meditation, Looking method, do nothing method and read a few books you recommended and watched a ton of your free content.

When do the looking method i’ve logically understood that I AM NOT THE BODY MIND and when i ask myself ” WHO AM I ” the mind always used to respond with a ready made answer. Sometimes I believed it “THEVOICE”” and could not RECOGNIZE i was believing my thoughts “THE VOICE” . Now when i ask myself i get a feeling I REALLY don’t know who i am..

2 days ago i took Shrooms at a music festival. I was around maybe 500 people or more … i experienced some sort of mind shattering experience. I was by myself since i had lost the people i had attended the show with originally. I started looking around and saw many ” SAD / DEPRESSED FACES Along with Some happy faces” I felt this intense LOVE for everyone . Then i started hugging people and noticed how their faces melted because i hugged them. As soon as i hugged one person the person the person behind would make eye contact with me and i could feel that they needed one also… I would go up to people with arms wide open and a huge smile and literally about 50 out of 58 people could not resist hugging me they could feel the LOVE . It was so weird! I literally felt Like GOD Loving everyone with hugs and making them smile! They kept asking what my name was and i said my name is … THEN I WOULD HUG THEM.. They kept asking me what my name was… i kept replying “You already know who i am .. thats why you keep hugging me ” I honestly asked people why is it that when i hug you ,, you know who i am… but you keep asking me for my name… ” I even got really fucking creative and asking people if they could listen instensly for 10 seconds… then i would hug them as i counted down from 10 to 1. then i would ask .. .” DID YOU HEAR ME ?” idk man it was insane night … I felt that every time i would look inside someones eyes i could see their emotions … it was an insane night … i feel like its getting harder and harder for the mind to be “STORY TELLING /DAYDREAMING ” Feels like awareness is taking over and i can’t believe that i dropped almost all of my beliefs , the ones im aware of at least…. I Don’t know if this is anything but im pretty sure it was a big blow to the MIND because everything it does come up with and flickers isn’t the truth… I’ve been feeling like i’ve been crazy for some time now on and off and i see how its a reaction to scare me away from the truth of no self . Anyways wanted to say thanks for ALL THIS FREEEE CONTENT ! I can’t thank you enough ! THE Enlightment methods you’ve explained are very direct… cuttting through all the BULL SHIT.. THATS why it scares so many people . Because if you tell them that there is no self they think “Youre crazy ” or what ever they think which is always “NEGATIVE”
I know it scared the shit out of me everything you said at first.. THANKS for the videos it helped me understand “THE BOOK OF NOT KNOWING” better than i would have if i would of jumped into it without the concepts you talk about. …

All this enligtenment stuff seems linked to why you moved to vegas .. Maybe because there is always tourists and people … maybe it has something to do with the PEOPLE.

THANKS AGAIN LEO!!! =

Leo Gura says:

Good… gooooood… Mwahahahaha… The Force is strong in you

Now you understand why Hippies act like Hippies

Sounds like what you experienced was some mystics call Divine Love. That’s just one facet of enlightenment.

You’re on the right track, keep going. Only don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ll get enlightened through shrooms. What you experienced was NOT enlightenment, it was a temporary state experience. Enlightenment is NOT a state. It is something… else.

I moved to Vegas to bang hot girls.

Pete says:

after my whole Divine Love experience ive had a different experience..

i woke up @3am just to read then when i went back to sleep being aware of my breath .. noticing how free it feels to breath in and release as i breathe out… my mind / head started to buzzzzz . the buzzing grew stronger and i felt as my body was being paralyzed or being pull from the legs up.. the buzz sounded like a buzz / turbulance .. i panicked and woke up… reminds me of one time i was meditating and my mind started buzzin lightly and felt like i was floating for 10 seconds until someone walked in on me…. Last nights buzzing was so much more intense / loud . felt like i was being pulled in by a vortex..thats as best as i can describe it… i know i woke up because i resisted as soon as a thought scared me.. fucking fear of not knowing what was happening.. any thoughts on this?
Thanks Leo

Peter

Leo Gura says:

Those sensations are all distractions. They have nothing to do with enlightenment. Enlightenment is not a sensation or an experience.

Keep probing deeper and asking yourself, “Who is aware of all these sensations?” Notice that what you are is NOT a sensation. You are the thing aware of sensations. What is that thing? Is it even a thing? Where is it located? How big is it? And who’s aware of it?

Laura says:

I only happened upon your videos on YouTube by accident and am so happy to have experienced you and your videos without any preconceived ideas from someone else. I’ve been a “seeker” for a lot of years, and a practicing Buddhist for that same time. I’ve had two experiences in my life that felt like a moments of enlightenment. After several years I’ve often found myself doubting. These were both spectacular “ah-ha” moments but the doubts have grown over the years. This video of one of your enlightenment experiences has solidified and validated my own. I don’t believe in coincidences and am sure I am right where I need to be – watching your videos. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us!

chris says:

compassion has created some space. Silence. Something is preventing from defining or expressing anything at all…there is only deep silence.

john says:

For the self inquiry process, do I actually say it out loud or in my head?

VIKRAM says:

WHY DO U HAVE TO USE SOOOO MUCH FUCKING VULGARITIES???????????

Dora says:

Hi Leo,

I am very grateful that we are able to enjoy your videos!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us!!!!! I really appreciate it!!! I enjoy your videos a lot, they make me feel like I am having a great conversation with my best friend!!!!! Beautiful!!!!!

I am on my journey of self development and I have made great progress!!! My experience started here in USA with Tony Robbins listen his CDs and doing my homework!!! I have been in two of his seminars.. And thanks to that my life has changed completely… Of course, there are many other authors that have arrived since then like a pieces of the puzzle and for them I am in deep gratitude with God!!! You are one of them !!! Thank you Leo Gura!!!!!! For me this journey of self development has been a great way of discovering or unleashed the power
within!!!!

Thanks to you I learned about mindfulness meditation … And since then the mindfulness meditation subject keeps appearing on my life like a very spontaneous fact… Interesting!!! Well yes I am aware of the great
results of it!!! I caught myself in my lowest self now more easily!!!! And that has a huge impact on my relationship with my daughter who is 8 years old!!!!

My question is could you recommend a retreat ? Or a site where I could start doing the search for it… For beginners?
My purpose for that is I want to be able of Enjoying every second of my life, no matter the conditions outside!!! I want to learn,by experience, the tools of how I could train my mind so it will works for my well being!!! I want to keep expanding!!! I know there is way more!!!

With gratitude and appreciation!!!!

Dora

Ps: I got your course too!!! That was my own Christmas gift!!! You are a blessing!!! Thank you for giving and giving and giving!!!!

Ken Easton says:

Leo, THANK YOU for your videos. Really great content imho. lemon has no color ?

Alan Travers says:

Thanks Leo. I totally get what your saying and I’m happy to take this journey with you. I have been following you videos for almost a year now and already I can look back and see how much more happy and fulfilling my life is now to then.

Just the other day, one of my colleagues told me her and my boss had been talking about me and they both agreed that I seem to be in a ‘happy’ place right now. They’ve noticed how much calmer I have been on tough days or during stressful situations and also how I still seem to be friendly and relaxed when I’m not %100 which was nice to hear.

This shows evidence that the work I have done on myself over the last year and especially enlightenment over the past few months has started to produce some really positive results and has shown not only to myself but to others around me. Makes me wanna work even harder and fills me with confidence.

So thanks again!

Antonio Reho says:

Hey Leo

I had a strange experience a few days ago. I was just sitting on my bed, thinking, don’t know exactly anymore what I was doing, but suddenly I saw a crack in my vision. I don’t know what must’ve cracked but something did crack though, it was somewhere near the right top in my vision and a bright light shed through. This was sudden and disappeared as quickly as it came. I immediately thought “ENLIGHTENMENT!” as in my first experience, but is it ? I haven’t heard you speaking about this in your videos – if I remember well, but if not then what could it be…

Ray says:

Hi Leo,
First of, thank you for everything. Not just this video.
Wow, I’m walking this self inquiry path and I followed this video with extreme focused attention. Fucking incredible journey! I feel I deeply understood everything conceptually, but also that profoundly know that I have a long way to go before becoming this experience for myself.

In my meditation notes goes the following… “the thought just is itself”…. “the phenomenon of having a thought, is the entire substance of the thought”

Leo Gura says:

That’s right. Thoughts are exactly what they are, and nothing more.

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