Spiritual Enlightenment - Part 2

By Leo Gura - March 9, 2015 | 86 Comments

Understanding the conceptualized self

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Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org, and in this video I want to talk about spiritual enlightenment – part 2, where we are going to go deep on understanding the truth of no self.

In this video, we are continuing on talking about spiritual enlightenment. If you did not watch my first video called Spiritual Enlightenment, you should definitely go and watch that because that introduces you to a lot of the fundamental concepts which I won’t be going into here. Here, we are going deeper and deeper.

Where we left part 1 is that we were basically talking about the truth of no self. We were saying that this notion that we have in society that there is a self to a life, the self that experiences all of life, does not exist. This is, in fact, an illusion.

It is possible to extract yourself out from this illusion and then actually live in the truth. This is a very profound shift. It is the most profound shift that you can have as a human being. This is where the deepest and most powerful psychology work happens.

It’s right here. In that video, we also said that you were going to be doing an empirical investigation to discover this truth for yourself. You are not just going to believe in it. What I now want to do is actually help you to start doing the looking.

Before you can even start doing the looking, you have to start to understand some basic distinctions. So, this video is going to be all about length ground work and some very interesting and fascinating distinctions. It is going to go very deep.

Some of this stuff is going to blow your mind. So, stick around. There are three fundamental questions that we are concerned with in doing this investigation.

The Three Fundamental Questions

Question number one is – who am I? Question number two is – what is the truth? Question number three is – what is reality? Another word for reality is existence.

What is reality? What is existence? These are the three most fundamental and kind of metaphysical questions that you could possibly ask. Scientists and philosophers have been asking these questions for thousands of years.

They have been coming up with all sorts of interesting answers and having all sorts of interesting debates. There is actually something that is very profound, that many of them missed. Their theories and their debates are not the fact.

In fact, it is possible to answer these questions conclusively through an empirical investigation, which many people assume cannot be done. You might think about it like this – “Well Leo, the question of who am I, I know what that is.”

“That’s pretty obvious, right? Isn’t it obvious? I am this thing here. I’m this body and I’m this being. I’m this consciousness.”

Well, let’s take a look at that question. Is it really that obvious? Have you actually sat down and looked, really looked for the answer to that question or do you just believe what others told you? Do you just have your own opinions about who you think you should be?

That turns out to be a very critical distinction. What you have right now are a lot of opinions, you have a lot of beliefs and a lot of stories that other people have told you. But, you have not actually sat down and looked. The reason you haven’t is because you have assumed and all of us have assumed that it’s obvious.

It’s so obvious. Why would we even need to sit down and look? Why would I waste my time on this? Interestingly, it turns out that it’s not obvious at all. This veneer of obviousness is actually hiding something very powerful, deep and profound.

It is the most profound truth that you can find out as a human being. It is hidden under many layers of obviousness. Obviousness turns out to be a smoke screen. So, let’s start to look a little bit deeper and question some of this obviousness.

If we take your current beliefs that you are the body, this thing standing here and talking or sitting on the other end of the screen, that is what we conventionally consider ourselves. If this is me, you have to wonder this. Okay, so let’s really think about this.

My hand, this is me too. My hand, all of this and basically everything inside the envelope of the skin is me. Okay, so that means this. What happens if I take my hand and I cut off my fingers? Am I still me?

You think about it and you’re like – “Well, yes. I can lose my fingers and people have lost their fingers. They are still themselves. Nothing really fundamental about me is going to change if I lose my fingers, okay.” Interesting!

What if I cut off my arms and my legs, would I still be me? You think about it and you’re like – “Well, people have actually had amputations and they still seem to be themselves. So no, I would still be me if I lost all of those.”

The fundamental me that I think that I am isn’t contained within the hands or the legs. Interesting! Then, you ask yourself – “What if I got a heart transplant and somebody else’s heart went into my heart? Would I still be me?”

You think about it and you’re like – “Yes, I would actually still probably be me.” Then, you start wondering this. What would have to really change to change the really fundamental me, not the superficial me but the fundamental me?

What would have to change to change that? Then, you say – “I’m the mind and I’m inside of the head. I am sitting here behind the eyes. My thoughts, my mind and my mental activities are what is really me and more so than the body.”

Interesting! Even right now, just through this simple investigation, we have already basically disidentified you with most of your body. Commonly, you say you’re the body, but are you really the body? We have already disidentified you with a lot of the body and you’re only the mind.

Now that we get into the mind, we can question even further. So, what part of the mind are you? What if we cut a part of your brain out? Are you still going to be yourself? You might wonder and say this.

“Well, I am not quite so sure. It is not so clear to say. If you cut out enough of my brain, I probably won’t be myself anymore. Maybe, I will lose a part of myself.” Interesting!

Then, even inside the brain, we are really talking about the mind because you don’t know the brain. You only know the mind. You only know the kind of softer components, what you know through your consciousness. Now, from within your mind, you’re looking around. What are you, inside of your consciousness?

Are you the thoughts that you are having? Is that what you say is you? When you have thoughts about being hungry, thoughts about going to the bathroom and thoughts about your girlfriend or your boyfriend, are those thoughts literally you?

You would probably say – “No, those things are not me. I am the one thinking those things.” Interesting! We have already said that you’re not even all of your thoughts, according to your model now.

You are only certain types of mental phenomenon. Maybe, you are the one who is behind the thoughts, who is thinking the thoughts and who is seeing the thoughts. Interesting! We can take that even further back.

What, in your conscious experience, is actually experiencing thoughts? Who is thinking thoughts? Do thoughts think other thoughts or is there some sort of entity that creates thoughts? What is the entity that is creating thoughts?

Are you a thought at all or are you something totally different from a thought? Are you some sort of entity? What are you, actually? Some people say – “I am the soul and I am the spirit.”

If you say that, then what is the soul and what is the spirit? Here, you have to be very careful because you have a lot of preconceived notions and beliefs that have been fed to you by society. People have been telling you what a soul and a spirit is. Remember, we are doing an empirical investigation.

That means we are using first hand and direct experience. We are not taking anyone’s word for it. What am I if I look for myself? What am I? Can I actually see myself? Can I experience myself?

Am I my self-image? So, it’s these things that I think about myself. For example, if I think of myself as a great husband, if I think of myself as a great girlfriend, if I think of myself as a great parent, child, great student or business person, is that actually me? What happens if I eliminate that thought?

Does that mean that some part of me is lost or do I still remain? I am saying and asking all of these questions not so that you can come up with new theories and so that you can say – “Oh, let me start theorizing cool possibilities.” No!

What I’m saying is this. I’m saying that you don’t know really who you are, but you believe so firmly that you do. Isn’t that interesting? Isn’t it interesting that you like to come up with a bunch of theories about who you think you might be and you don’t really spend a lot of time actually looking at the evidence of who you are?

Instead of looking at the evidence, you would much rather come up with a bunch of theories. We have already got a very rich history of philosophy, with theories upon theories upon theories. So, let’s not go that direction.

Instead, let’s go the unorthodox direction. Let’s go to the looking direction, where we want to see firsthand what the truth is from the inside. There is a second question. This is the first question about ‘who am I’.

The other question that I posed to you is this. What is reality and existence? This is a very fascinating question. Many people get caught up on this one too because they also have a lot of preconceived notions, theories, beliefs and religious dogma about what reality and existence are.

They have scientific dogma too. But, if you really think about it, you don’t know what existence is. The model that you presently have of existence makes no sense. Here is what I want to show you. I want to show you that your current model makes no sense.

Let’s take the most basic model, the scientific model. We say that there was a Big Bang. Before the Big Bang, there was supposedly no space. There wasn’t even a vacuum because the vacuum is still extended in time and space.

There was no time and no space before the Big Bang. Then, the Big Bang happened. This is creating the kind of Matrix of reality in which we live. This created breadth, depth, width, energy, matter and time. This stuff expanded and the Universe is currently still expanding.

In fact, the expansion is accelerating. We’re not quite sure where it is going to go. Maybe, it’s all going to collapse into a Big Crunch. Maybe, it is going to keep expanding forever. We are not quite clear.

The question though, is this. What is the most fundamental ultimate existence? If we say that our current reality came from the Big Bang, what was before the Big Bang? Was it nothingness, or was it something? If it was something, what was it?

If you say it was nothing, that’s an interesting consideration. Most people don’t like to say that it was nothing. Most people like to say that you can’t have something come out of nothing. That something had to come out of something else. So, where did it come out of?

Well, we might say that it really might be that existence came out of nowhere. How do we know that something has to come out of something else? Can it be the case that something comes out of nothing?

You might say – “Well, that violates the laws of physics. You can’t get energy from nowhere.” See, it is very interesting because we only have one example of existence. People like to make assumptions of how existence has to work.

But, notice that we are operating on only one point of data, which is our own single existence. We don’t know any other existences, at least I don’t. I have only known one existence. That means that it is very problematic to start making assumptions about how existence came about, from being inside of the existence and only knowing one existence.

It is kind of like having a single sample point in a scientific study. If you have a single sample point, you can’t make any conclusions or predictions, or set any trends. How do you know that existence can’t come out of nowhere? How do you know that it has to come out of somewhere?

You say – “Well, I look around me and I see that everything comes out of something else.” But, you’re inside of existence. Our question isn’t about the inside of existence. Our question is about existence itself.

You think of existence as kind of like a bubble. Inside of the bubble, we do have these rules. But, what are the rules outside of the bubble? Are they the same rules or are they different rules?

You might say – “Well, they are the same rules.” How do you know they are the same rules? Have you been outside of the bubble? Have you seen other bubbles or have you always been inside of the bubble and only known what is inside of the bubble?

We can’t say. We don’t know. Someone might say this. “A better theory, instead of existence coming out of nowhere, is that it came out of somewhere.” What if this bubble is inside of another bubble, which inside of another bubble, inside of another bubble?

There is always something outside of it that is couched in. What if our Universe is kind of analogous to a molecule in a human body? The molecule thinks that it is this cool thing. After all, the molecule is actually very big compared to a subatomic particle.

The molecule is huge. It is composed of I don’t even know how many, tons and tons, of subatomic particles. But, relative to the human being, the molecule is so tiny that we cannot even see it. You can’t even see it in a microscope. It’s so tiny.

What if the Universe was like that? What if we are like just a little molecule, which is a component of something much larger and constructed out of many Universes? Could that be the case? If that is the case, where did all of that come from? Let’s say that it is a bubble inside of a bubble inside of a bubble.

Where did the biggest bubble come from? You’re not really answering the question. You’re just delaying it for a little bit. You have not answered the question. If you say that the Universe is in a bigger bubble, then you haven’t accounted for the ultimate truth of existence because of this.

How did the most outer bubble come into being? Where did it come from? Did it always exist? Did it come out of nowhere? Did it come out of another bubble?

You might say that it always existed. Okay, interesting, but we don’t know if that is true. You might also say that it came out of nowhere, which is being back to something coming out of nothing. You could also say that there is an infinite chain of bubbles.

There is this bubble on top of a bubble on top of a bubble. It just goes to infinity. That would be pretty cool, interesting and kind of counterintuitive. You might say – “Well Leo, god created the Universe. God created existence.”

Well, that doesn’t solve anything because where did god come from? You say – “Well, god existed always.” Basically, you are saying that god is the outermost bubble that always existed. It doesn’t really matter if you have a mystical and supernatural explanation like god or if you say that it was physics and all of this kind of stuff.

It’s just bubbles and they don’t include any kind of deities. It really doesn’t matter what the actual mechanics of the explanation are because the fundamental part and problem of all of this is that you don’t actually explain what existence is. By citing god, you explain nothing.

All that you are saying is that there is a bubble that always existed. Where did this bubble come from? God is like a bubble, so where did he come from? Did he always exist? Did he come out of nowhere or is he again contained in something bigger?

This would just push the question back further, unless you said that it was an infinity thing. Which of those is it? Maybe, it is something that we haven’t even thought about here. It’s fascinating. My point here is that you don’t really know what existence is.

I want to give you three distinctions now. They are three distinctions that are very important in our discussion here. They are all basic different flavors of the same thing.

The Three Distinctions

The first distinction is the one that was introduced by Immanuel Kant, who was a philosopher back in the 1700s, in Europe. What he said is this. He was looking at Rene Descartes’ and David Hume’s work. He was basically trying to synthesize two different strands in philosophy.

One was called rationalism and the other one was called empiricism. He basically came up with this distinction that said this. Look, here is how reality is. We have got something called phenomenon, which are the sensations of reality and the stuff that we know directly, as human beings. It’s stuff like colors, tastes and sounds.

This is what empiricism talks about, empirical meaning sensory. Then, we have something called the noumenal world. The noumena are the things that are behind the sensations and behind the phenomenon. I am actually going to use an example here, with an orange.

Take a look at this orange. We might say that the phenomenon of the orange is the roundness of it, the orange color of it, and the smell of it, the zesty taste and everything else that we can perceive about it. What is the noumena? The noumena is the stuff that the orange is actually made of.

We don’t actually think that the orange is made of the color orange. It is not actually made of the zesty smell. It is made out of something, some sort of matter or whatever. It is something that we cannot see.

That is the phenomenon—noumena distinction. What Kant said is that we can know phenomena, but we can never know noumena. How would we access it? We always have the layers of perception that we have to go through.

It’s like a filter. We can never get to the noumena because we have to go through phenomena. It is an interesting distinction. The next distinction is the matter—qualia distinction.

This is kind of like a scientific paradigm, which says this. Things are created out of matter or if you want, you can call it energy. These are like the subatomic particles that make up this orange. Then, there is also the accounting of the orange phenomenally. We call that qualia.

Qualia is the stuff that we perceive about the orange. For example, we think that the orange is made out of cells and those cells are made out of molecules and atoms. But, we don’t see any of that. What we see is the orange color, we have a certain smell to it and a certain feel to it.

The color orange is not made out of atoms. It’s something else. It is a perception. This is the matter—perception distinction. One of the very fascinating questions in the philosophy of science and philosophy of mind is this.

What are qualia made out of? Are qualia made out of matter or not? If not, what the hell are they? Then, we have the third distinction, which is the inner—outer world distinction. You might have heard me talking about this in other videos and in other contexts where I talk about this.

Conventionally, there is the inner world that we have. It is the world of our feelings, sensations, thoughts, moods and emotions. We also have the outer world of hard physical matter, energy and physical laws. It’s kind of like in the inner world, the physical laws don’t work.

The physical laws only work in the outer world. The inner world is all filled with qualia and the outer world is filled with matter. All of these free are like the flavors of the phenomena—noumena distinction that Kant was talking about.

It turns out to be a very important distinction, and it is important to talk about these because the question ultimately becomes this. Who do you think you are? The thing that you think you are, where does it exist? Does it exist in the outer world or does it exist in the inner world?

Also, which world is more real? Is the outer world more dependent on the inner world or is the inner world more dependent on the outer world? You might say – “Well Leo, the outer world perceptions are all dependent on matter.” Is that true, though?

Is that really true? Have you really thought about that? Which world is couched in which world? It is not immediately obvious if you think about it. I want to introduce a further distinction. This is getting into the real meat of doing spiritual enlightenment work.

You have to really understand this distinction well to be able to really understand spiritual enlightenment. This is the concept of conceptualizations. Consider three types of entities.

The Concept of Conceptualizations

One entity is the thing as it actually is – the noumena that Kant was talking about. The second entity is the sensations of that thing and the perceptions of it. If we have this orange, we’ve got the actual real orange, the thing that we cannot even see and that is responsible for all of the sensations.

We’ve got that and we don’t know what it is. It’s kind of like a question mark. Then, of course, we have the sensations of the orange. It’s the phenomenon of the orange. It’s here and that is one level higher.

We have direct access to that and then we have one level higher. What is one level higher? One level higher is concepts. Concepts are the things we think about the orange. Here, we actually have the way we usually interact with the orange, even though the label ‘orange’, it’s an orange and an object, is already a certain attitude that I take towards it.

That is the human mind projecting certain things onto the orange, certain labels, certain attributes, certain opinions that I have about it, certain beliefs and certain relationships in which I am with this orange. The difference between the perceptions and the concepts is that the perceptions are just raw perceptions, without any of my biases or opinions about it. The conceptual orange is a lot of my opinions about it.

For example, I love oranges. I might hate oranges. I might be disgusted by the sight of an orange. When I look at an orange, I might have some thoughts and memories about oranges. I might get hungry.

I might start to salivate. I might want to throw it at somebody. There might be a million different attitudes that I take towards this orange. I might start dreaming about other oranges. Interestingly, even when you take the orange away, you put it behind your back and you don’t see the orange there at all, you can still imagine the orange in your mind.

Right now, you are not seeing the orange. I am not looking at it either. It’s behind my back. But, we can still imagine the orange, imagine it right now. You have a mental picture of the orange.

What is that? That is a concept. You also have a vocal story in your mind that you are hearing, which says something like this. “I’m thinking of an orange, that is an orange and this image is of an orange. An orange is a type of fruit.”

That is where we get into the really tricky aspects of being a human being. We think that we live here or here. Actually, we live from this domain over here, which is the domain of concepts. We overlay all of these concepts on top of sensations and then we tell ourselves that all of this is actually the truth, the ultimate question mark and the noumena.

It is the thing that is the noumena. This gets us into a lot of trouble. We are talking about oranges and that is not really pertinent to our psychology. The question though, is what are you within this framework? When you think about yourself, the person I am pointing at right now, nod your head right now, that thing that you think you are, what is it, on this model?

Is it a concept? Is it a perception or is it the actual noumenal thing, the thing behind it all? If you start looking very deeply, very objectively and self-honestly, what you are going to admit is that it’s a concept. You is a concept. It’s not even a perception.

You think it’s a perception, but it’s actually a concept overlaid on the perception with further concepts behind it, telling it that it is not a concept. Very interesting! What are you really then, if you’re not a concept and you’re not a perception?

What would be the real you, the noumenal you? Interesting! I have never asked that question of myself before, have I? I could come up with a bunch of theories, but how would I really know what I really am?

You might say – “Well Leo, that is not possible. It’s not possible to know. The best we can do, as Kant said, is to just know the phenomenon. Sure, maybe what you are saying is that there is some deeper part of me, the real me behind the perceptions and I can never know that.”

“That is just something we cannot speculate. Let’s not speculate about that stuff. Let’s not be speculative. Let’s just stick to the stuff that we can touch, see, smell, hear and think about.” But, what if it was actually possible to know the real thing?

Would that be freaky? Would that blow your mind if that was actually a fact that you could know yourself? Well, it is. How can this be the case? I will get to that in a little bit.

The Voice

What I want to do now is I want to tell you about another very important concept, which is what I call the voice. The voice is primarily what makes concepts happen in your mind. What is the voice?

The voice is the internal talk and language that is happening all the time throughout your day. Right now, as you are sitting there and watching this video, you are talking to yourself. You are having opinions, you’re agreeing with me, you’re disagreeing with me, and you have certain beliefs that come up, certain objections, comments, criticisms and opinions.

It’s like a little voice inside of your head, saying stuff like – “Oh, that is a great point. Oh, that’s interesting. Oh, I never thought about this or no Leo, you’re wrong.” The voice talks and talks and talks and talks.

There are two aspects to the voice. One is the words, the way it sounds. Two is images. So, what we are talking about here are thoughts, the voices responsible for your thoughts. The voice is basically your thoughts.

Thoughts come in two flavors, words and images. Images are like you thinking about the orange right now. You have got an image of the orange. That is a thought. Say the word orange in your mind right now.

That is also a thought of the orange. There are two different ways in which you can create a thought and access it. A lot of times, they are both operating at the same time. You might be imagining it and thinking about it at the same time.

This is what allows the concepts to happen. It’s the voice that comes in there and creates them. It’s interesting that you have never really sat down and looked at what the voice actually is. You might have some opinions about what the voice is, why it’s there and who is talking. But, have you actually sat down and looked very deeply and very objectively at what the voice actually is?

Who is creating the voice and who is listening to the voice? This is the pertinent question. The way that it works is that your voice talks all the time. It talks and talks and talks and talks and talks, and it creates a web of concepts which it then calls reality. It also creates a self-image.

The self-image is an image of yourself and ideas of who you think you are and how you behave. Any notions that you have right now about your true nature are all part of your self-image. This self-image is created by voice. The question is this. Can we break out of this self-image?

If the self-image is all concepts, then what is the actual self if you get rid of the concepts and the self-image? What is the real self, not the image of the self? They might say – “Well Leo, we can’t get rid of concepts. In fact, concepts are good and we don’t want to get rid of concepts.”

Well, keep your mind open. What if concepts are actually a smoke screen that prevent you from seeing something very real, which is the noumenal you? Now comes the crux of the matter. When you say that you are the body, when you say that you are the mind and you are your thoughts or the one perceiving your thoughts, what is that actually?

Is that a physical fact, a physical reality or is that a conceptual reality? I am being very serious and I am not being figurative. I am being very literal. The identification that you have with your body means that when I cut you with a knife, you recoil and you experience emotional pain and distress. Why is that?

It is because you believe that I am actually injuring you. I am not just injuring a body. I am injuring your body. I am injuring you. When I tell you a mean and nasty comment, like that you are stupid, ugly and smelly and you’re never going to get a good relationship, you take that personally.

You identify with being a certain way. You have a certain self-image. You want to be handsome, attractive, sexy and certain other qualities. You are threatened. The question is what is being threatened?

Could it actually be the case that the identification you have with your body is conceptually constructed by the voice and as the voice constructs it, you believe it automatically? You never question the voice and so you identify with your body. You’ll now say – “But Leo, I actually am my body.”

“You’re telling me I am not my body, but this sounds like a farfetched theory and philosophy of some kind. I am the body. Look, I’m the body. It’s real and it’s a fact. What, are you stupid?”

Who is saying that? Is the voice saying this? Is the voice telling you that you are your body, that you really think that you’re the body and you’re factually the body? Is that real or is that the voice constructing stories?

You might say – “But Leo, why is the voice false? Why isn’t the voice true? You are telling me that my voice is false. What if my voice is true?” Maybe, but consider that the voice can come up with a lot of different concepts that are not factually true.

For example, think about Santa Clause. Santa Clause is the construct of the voice. Is Santa Clause real? No! Think about a horse with two heads on it. Got that image?

Is that real or is that just a story in your mind? Think about yourself right now, sipping on a piña colada and sitting on a tropical island, enjoying the warm sun. You’ve got that image? What is that? Is that a concept or is that reality?

Are you actually sitting on a beach or is that just a figment of your imagination? Those seem like simple cases of imagination, but now the question is this. What about you, yourself? What about your identification with your body? Could it be that your identification with your body and your self-image is just as fictional as you imagining that you are sitting on a tropical beach right now and sipping a piña colada?

Don’t be so quick to say no. It actually turns out that it is exactly this. When you start to appreciate and understand this, you get this ‘whoa’ moment. If that is the case, then what could be outside of the voice? What could be outside of this self-image?

What could I actually be if, in fact and considering this hypothetically, the voice could be wrong and the voice could just be imagining things? That is the mother of all questions. That is the deepest question that you could ask yourself in your life. That is the deepest question to which you could find an answer in life.

What am I outside of the voice? The answer turns out to be very profound and not at all what you expect. I want to talk a little bit more about the voice and get you a little bit of a better understanding of the voice, because this is so critical to starting to do this work. You might wonder – “Well Leo, how does the voice actually construct itself?”

“If you’re saying that my sense of self is constructed by the voice, how does this actually happen?” It is actually a very simple process. I want to imitate to you right now how the self is constructed in your own mind. I am going to do a literal imitation.

I am going to be talking, but this talking, think about it as the voice inside of your head talking. This is how it talks. It says something like this.

‘I am over here. This is me. I am Leo. I am speaking right now. I’m having thoughts and I’m thinking. Look at this, oh! I’m thinking! I’m thinking! Leo, Leo, me, yes! Me! I! Here I am! I think, therefore I am. Could this not actually be me? But look, it’s me! How could it not be me?

I’m really me! You can’t deny that this is me. I am thinking. Who is thinking this stuff? I am! This is me! I’m Leo! I’m hungry. I want a better job. I want more money. I have these goals. I am afraid of that thing. I am afraid of this thing.

I get angry for this reason and I get angry for that reason. Right now, I am feeling happy. Right now, I am feeling sad. Right now, I am feeling angry. Damn it, why did that guy tell me that? Damn it, why can’t she just do what I want her to do?’

On and on and on it goes like that. Your whole existence, if you start paying attention to it very carefully, is this. It’s a voice in your head, talking and talking, image and image, and certain talk and images have the label ‘I’ in it. This label ‘I’ is just accepted by you as being you.

What if it wasn’t? What if it was an arbitrary label? What if it was a confusion of the mind? If we somehow got rid of all that stuff and all that was left was the real you, what would the real you be? That is the question.

Also, notice this. Not only do you speak to yourself, but you have images of yourself. Right now, as you sit there, you might say this. “Well Leo, are you sure? The voice talks and talks and we do label stuff.”

“This is some human activity that we do. We’re labeling reality, but if I get rid of all of that, I am still the body, right? You’re saying I am not the body? I feel like I’m the body. I can feel the body.”

“I can see the body. Here I am.” Who is telling you that the things that are being felt and being seen are you? After all, you are also seeing other objects. You are seeing people. You’re seeing me. You’re seeing a table. You’re seeing a car. You’re seeing a tree.

You’re seeing the Sun, but you don’t identify with those. The question is why not? You’re seeing them. Why aren’t you identifying with them? You are seeing them, just like you’re seeing the body. You might say – “Well Leo, I don’t feel a car.”

“I don’t feel the tree and the inside of a tree. I only feel inside of myself.” But, what if the things that are being felt inside yourself aren’t actually yourself? They are just being felt in the same way a tree is being seen, the car is being seen and a bird squawking is being heard. Have you ever thought about that?

Have you ever opened your mind to that possibility seriously? What you are going to discover is that you have an image of who you are. You have a literal self-image in your mind, a picture. Right now, you are sitting there and when I tell you about you and point at you, you might get a flash of you sitting there, as though there was a camera behind the body and the head and looking down at you.

It’s like from the third person. In fact, you might have an image right now of the back of your head because you don’t see the back of your head, but you have an image of it. So, think of the back of your head right now. The question is that thing you are thinking about – is that reality or is that a concept?

The back of your head – is that a real entity or is that a story in your mind right now? Look right now, right in the moment. Don’t come up with another theory. Don’t come up with another story because you will just get sucked into more stories. Instead, actually look at what the back of your head is.

What is it, metaphysically speaking? What is it, existentially? You can actually sit, look and ask yourself – “Okay, the back of my head! What is that? Oh, that is an image and it’s a word, back of my head.”

It’s a thought. If you go and run to the mirror to take a look at the back of your head, it now becomes real. Until then, it’s a thought. What if the thing you think you are was the same way? It was just a thought.

The voice likes to say – “I am the body. I am thoughts. I am the voice.” The voice likes to say – “I am the one that is perceiving life. I am over here and everything else is over there. I’m looking at those things.”

I am also in control of my body and in control of my mouth. I am in control of my thoughts. The voice very sneakily says the following too. “All of the above is obvious. It’s obviously this way. It can’t be any other way.”

There Is No You

It’s obvious, right? Not quite so fast! Why don’t we stop, detain the voice and ask it a couple of questions? Why do we trust the voice so blindly? Who is telling you that you can trust the voice? Is it the voice?

Are you listening to the voice, telling you that you should trust the voice? Who is actually listening to the voice? Is the voice listening to itself or is there an entity listening to the voice? What is the voice really, if we break it down and ask ourselves existentially what the voice is constructed out of?

What if the voice is wrong? What if the things the voice says are arbitrary and aren’t actually connected and welded to reality in the way that we think? What if the voice just labels stuff? What if the voice is like a label maker, creating label after label after label, including the label that all labels are true and that all labels are real?

That is the tricky and ultimate label. It creates the ‘I’ label and it also creates the ‘I is real’ label. Then, it creates the ‘I is really really really real’ label. It then says that the ‘I’ is actually true. Then, it says that everything above is true.

It’s like a label machine that keeps spitting out label after label after label. It cleverly nests one label into another label. It kind of interconnects them in a way where the labels start to take on a life of their own. That creates a sense of you, the sense of self. It is a giant smoke screen.

This is a smoke screen that you have never sat down, seriously questioned and looked into to find where the ultimate truth of this leads. If I get rid of all the labels, where does it ultimately go? Isn’t it ingenious how your voice operates? Isn’t it ingenious how it’s constructed, that it believes itself?

It’s kind of like the ultimate spin doctor, believing in so much bullshit. That is what your self is like. That is what your false self is. When you can get rid of all of that, you can ask yourself the following question. What is the real self then?

That is a very deep thing. Notice that if you get rid of the labels, how can you even speak of the real self? You can’t speak of it through the voice because it then just embodies the voice and creates more labels. It would have to be a totally different way of accessing the real self, rather than through labelling, the mechanism that you are used to.

The mechanism of labeling is how the sciences work. The theoretical parts of sciences work this way. This is how religions work. This is how philosophy works. This is how ordinary and everyday thinking works.

It’s pretty much that 99.9% of our lives are labeled. We don’t really have much experience with how to access reality without labels. Because of this, we assume that the only way is through labels and that the best we can do is through labels. But, what if there was another way? You just weren’t really proficient with it yet and it would take you some learning and some experience to develop this new sixth sense, you might say.

Wouldn’t that be interesting? In fact, that is the case. You can develop something called mindfulness, awareness or consciousness. Through an expansion of your consciousness, you can see more and more of the truth. Ultimately, it’s not even a seeing of it.

It turns into a being of it, which is a really interesting possibility. Let’s go back to this model of conceptualization. We see that there are the things themselves, there are the perceptions and then there are the concepts.

You might say – “Well Leo, I might know how to get rid of the concepts. Let’s say I silence my voice. Then, I get to perceptions. I can just perceive the world without thinking about it, talking about it or imagining things about it. Therefore, I have perceptions.”

“But, how do I then get to the actual thing from perceptions? How do I go from perceptions to the thing itself? Is that possible? How can that be possible? It seems ridiculous.” Well, remember when we were talking about the inner and outer world?

Who told you that there is an inner and outer world? Is that a perception? Is that the thing itself or is it another concept? What if the inner and outer world distinction was a concept and we could break that concept? What would we have?

Interestingly, what we would have is a merging of the perceptions and the things themselves. They would merge into one. This disappears. This and this merge into one and become reality itself.

Where are you in this whole paradigm? The you that you think you are, the concepts, can also be dissolved. When you are dissolved and the inner and outer distinction is dissolved, what happens? These two things merge. You merge with them and the thing is one.

Now, this is the brilliance of this and the beauty of it. You don’t perceive the truth anymore. You are it. You are the truth. You are physically it and it is one thing.

It’s not partitioned into ‘I am here’ or ‘she is over there’. It is one. This goes very deep. The problem is that it is going to be pretty difficult for you to dissolve your notions of the inner—outer distinction. It is going to be very difficult for you to dissolve your notions of you, yourself.

This is because you like to think of yourself as a distinct entity from everything else. Well, this is not true. But, even when you say – “Okay Leo, I want to see this. Let me see it! I want to go along with you. How can I actually see it?” The problem is that you have been living for 20, 30, 40 or 50 years of your life in this mass delusion.

Your entire life is a lie, constructed around yourself. If you really want to get this merger of perception and being, you want to be the thing itself and you want to see the truth itself and be the truth itself, you have to undertake a very serious, deep and systematic dissolution of yourself and your life. This is not something that most people are willing to do.

This is because the voice will come up with a thousand good excuses and reasons for why you shouldn’t do this. Because you know nothing but to believe your voice, you are going to believe anything it says. The voice will lie to itself, believe itself and keep itself stuck.

This is the condition of 99.999999% percent of the human race. They are stuck in this delusion. You might wonder – “Well Leo, what about the inner—outer world distinction? How can we get rid of this inner—outer world distinction? Doesn’t there have to be somebody that is perceiving the thing?”

“For example, we’ve got this orange. We have got the orange and I am seeing the orange. Someone has to see the orange, right? What are you telling me? When you say inner and outer merge, you’re telling me that the orange exists and there is no one seeing the orange? Where am I in this whole thing?”

That is a very good question. Where are you in this whole thing? What if there were no you in this whole thing? Would you be willing to accept that? What if, after doing this deep investigation, you discover that you’re not a part of this thing at all?

You’re not part of reality. Could that be a realization you could have? Could you stomach that? Well, you’re going to have to because that ends up being the truth. It is very interesting that we assume a part of what the voice says.

The voice says – “If there is a perception, there has to be a perceiver.” If I’m seeing this orange, look that the assumption is already there. I am seeing this orange. It is not possible for there to be an orange and for the orange to be seen without a see—er.

But, have you really questioned that? In fact, if you sit down and question it, you will discover that the perceiver—perception distinction is not possible. It makes no sense if you really dig deep.

Why does it not make sense? Well, think about it like this. You have the orange, right? You say – “I have to be here to see the orange.” If you are seeing the orange, my question for you is this. Who is seeing you?

Are you seeing yourself or is there another entity that sees you? Your claim is – “Well Leo, you can’t just have an orange that sees itself. That is ridiculous. Someone has to see it.” If someone has to see it, then who is seeing that something?

Does that someone who is seeing the something see itself? If the someone sees itself, then in reality things exist that can see themselves. Basically, what you are claiming is not fundamentally any different from what I am claiming. If I claim that the orange sees itself and you claim that the orange is seen by you, but you then see yourself, you are basically taking it one step back.

In the end, you still are seeing yourself, which is kind of weird. How can anything see itself? I don’t know. We only have this one reality. Can things see themselves in reality or can’t they? What do we have to compare with?

It might sound ridiculous. Nothing can see itself. Then, how are you seeing yourself? You might say – “No Leo, there is someone inside me that is seeing me.” But, who is then seeing that someone?

Trace it all the way back. Trace it, not in your theories, but in actual reality. Trace it back and see who is actually seeing you. You are going to discover that there isn’t anyone seeing you because there is not a you. The only thing there is external reality.

You are like it. You are a part of it. You are being it and it is being you. These two things merge, like we were saying. Perceivers are not possible if you think about that model of perceivers and perceptions.

It’s not possible. You’ve just got a world of perceptions. You might ask – “Where do perceptions come from? How can this be?” This goes back to the question of what reality is and how do you know how reality should be.

People get very confused by this. They make this very big mistake by saying – “But, this is ridiculous and outrageous. Reality can’t be this way.” If you think about it, look around reality. Reality is like magic.

It’s not any different than magic. The fact that things exist is miraculous. We don’t even know why existence exists. We don’t know. What is existence actually? We don’t know.

Have we compared our existence to a hundred other existences to see if it’s a crazy existence or a normal existence? No, there is only one existence that we know of. This being the case, what do our intuitions about existence tell us?

Do they tell us much? Do they really mean much? They don’t mean much. It is the same way that the intuition of an ant doesn’t really say much about physics, reality, nature or anything else. The ant has a very limited brain, which is capable of figuratively understanding in a very limited context because it evolved for that particular purpose.

The human being is a little bit better, but not much better. We forget this fact very often. Our brain can understand stuff, but our intuition is shaped by very basic human everyday needs. Our brain evolved to take care of hunger, sex, shelter, food, drinking and socialization.

That is basically all that our brain evolved to do. Any kind of a scientific understanding that we have is a little bonus that we get. Let’s not be as conceded and myopic as to assume that just because we know how to gather food, wage a war, have some sex and do some clever socialization, that now we can intuitively grasp the nature of existence itself all of a sudden.

It is preposterous to assume this. If existence was one way versus another way, would either way be crazier than the other? Isn’t the current way of existence already crazy enough? Things exist. Why would they exist in the first place?

It is already crazy. If you take a look at nature, if you take a look at astronomy and cosmology, it starts to blow your mind at how intricate, complex and counterintuitive the Universe is. In fact, the history of science, philosophy and mathematics has just been a repeat, again and again and again, of human beings learning something, thinking that it should be this way and that getting overthrown.

It goes along with us discovering – “Oh, wait a minute! Our intuitions were all wrong about this thing.” The most basic example of this is that we intuitively believed we lived on a flat planet. Actually, we discovered that we lived on a round planet.

Intuitively, we believed that the Sun orbited around the Earth and that the Earth is the center of the solar system and all of the stars. We then actually discovered that we’re just this little ball, spinning around a giant sun. This sun is part of a cluster of stars and this cluster of stars is part of this giant galaxy called the Milky Way.

That is part of many other galaxies and many other star systems. There are literally billions of stars in the Milky Way and billions of Milky Way like galaxies throughout the whole Universe. This is just the stuff we can see through our telescopes and some of our radio equipment and satellites.

This is not to even say what could possibly be outside of the Big Bang, if anything, or in some other dimension. If we go into the smaller end of the scale of physics, we take a look at subatomic particles, quarks, leptons and all the interesting stuff that goes on there. We take a look deeper and we start to get into String theory and quantum mechanics.

There, scientists have discovered that our intuition is completely fly—out—the—window. Even logic itself doesn’t apply to certain situations within quantum mechanics. Who are we to say how reality has to be constructed? Is there a reasonable and logical way for reality to be and then some sort of crazy and illogical way?

Actually, when you think about it, it makes no sense because there is only one reality. Everything else is couched within the reality. There is nobody to say how reality should or shouldn’t be. The point of all this is just to say – don’t be so certain of what you believe about reality and what you believe is plausible versus implausible.

Your notions of plausibility are heavily suede by your very limited human intuition. The question then becomes this. What is reality and what is you? What is very exciting to me about these questions is that they can be answered empirically, not just philosophically.

I spent six years of my life doing very hardcore philosophy when I was in college. I got disenchanted with it because it turned into this big circle jerk, everyone doing this big circle jerk in philosophy. It is really quite disgusting.

I then turned my back on philosophy for many years. When I heard this idea that it is actually possible for the inner and outer world to merge, for the perceptions and the truth to be one, for the phenomenon and noumena to become one, when that is really possible as a possibility, it showed me there might be a way to do what I wanted to do with philosophy in reality.

To me, that is the most profound discovery that I made in my personal development journey. It is that this might be possible and it is worth pursuing a little bit further. It is worth asking yourself this. What am I? Who am I really?

Wrap Up

This is Leo, I’m signing off. Post me your comments down below. Like this video. Share it with a friend if you would, please. Finally, come and sign up to my newsletter at Actualized.org. It’s a free newsletter.

I release new videos on self-actualization topics usually. Also, we are going to be covering more deep spiritual enlightenment topics. I have got a lot more videos coming on how to start to do this empirical investigation.

Here, in this video, we laid the groundwork. Next, we are going to move into actually doing some exercises, laying some more groundwork and going in deeper and it is all really exiting. You are actually going to be able to sit down and do this stuff for yourself, not just having to sit here and listen to me philosophize about it, which really is not the proper way to do it.

But, we have to start somewhere. This is the foundation that we start with. Why do we want to do all of this? Well, it turns out that all of your psychological problems, every block that you have in your life, I don’t care if it’s in business, relationships, with money, with finding your passion in life, with depression or anger problems or anything that triggers you emotionally, all of this stems from false self.

You believe in this voice that keeps telling you your self is real. This is why you have all of these problems. If you get rid of this voice, not only do you get some sort of insight into the nature of reality, but you get a release from your own mental cage and your own mental prison that you live in.

All the drama, the pain and bullshit of your life will go away, which is another cool thing about this. We’re not just doing philosophy. We are doing very practical personal development as we do this. To me, this is so profound and so exciting.

The possibilities of this are so incredible. You could not imagine in your wildest dreams that something like this is possible. For there to even be a chance that this is possible, it is worth pursuing for me.

That is why I am doing this in my own life and I encourage you to follow along with me on this journey. Discover for yourself and one day you might have this enlightenment and this release from your own mental prison. Alright, go ahead and sign up for all of that.

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Kate says:

Would you be able to make a separate video about dreams? The meaning of dreams, if they have anything to do with our everyday “real” life and some other interesting facts that we might’ve not known. I would really love to hear that from you. Thanks

Stevie says:

Leo, this is fantastic! How truly wonderful it is to find another who truly knows this. I have experienced the IT behind it, twice in my life, both lasting 2-3 weeks time. Eventually, however, the voice entered and attempted to label it and rationalize it….. As you know, this enters back into the world of the “self”.I am now undergoing the complete deconstruction of the self through a particular form of meditation. What I’ve found, through all this, is people like yourself and myself who have discovered these truths tend to get attached to a certain belief system about the structure – like where you spoke about intuition in one way, someone else (myself too) would explain it in another way. What MATTERS though, is behind that, there still is intuition and getting too attached to certain concepts means you lose that feeling and that knowing. Really. The IT. Nothing else matters. Are you still in the “IT” ? Or was it short lived? Has the feeling of that enlightenment dissipated?

Kat says:

Hello Stevie,

If you don’t mind me asking, what methods did you use (before meditation) to feel “IT”? I am very curious about this and would really like to experience it myself.

Miguel Duran says:

Thanks for your guide Leo, this is exciting, made me thought about the SMEAGOL/GOLLUM relationship on the film Lord or the Rings.

Wade says:

Wow! This is interesting!

Chris says:

Leo its hard to get my head around if you silence the voice in your head how would you critical think? I tend to ask myself questions. I like the idea but how would your revise stuff or have I got something wrong?

chris says:

Just noticed the amount of I’s are in my comment there. haha!

neil byrne says:

hi thank you for this video I am looking forward to your next video

Gulee says:

Thought provoking and interesting! The orange example threw me off a little bit. Are you saying our eyes are not evolved to perceive because there is no perception but the oneness of perceiver and the perceived? Thanks for making these wonderful videos to promote evolution of consciousness!

Dan Davis says:

Ooooolah! … Leo. But you do rattle my cage.

Grandpa Lloyd was fond of saying: “For each flea is another flea, upon his back which bites him. Upon that flea is another flea, and so ad infinitum.

Tonight at dinner some woman I didn’t know at all asked me: “What the hell planet you from, anyway?”

I laughed to myself as I immediately remembered how much I’ve wanted to ask this question of Leo. He is some kind of modern miracle/phenomenon. This guy is somehow, someway, something ‘other’. A “sage for this age”.

Give him money! Donate. This is excellent stuff = as good as you’ll find ‘out there’. The thoughts he shares might even be true. He too needs to eat ( … or, maybe not?). If you appreciate him, provide a little credit where credit’s due!


raaj rufaro says:

Dear leo ,
why most of the people don’t seek for reality ? And why I do ?
Can I say ‘the ‘I’ extracted from concept ,phenomenon,noumenon,voice as you said keeps me finding the truth ? !
Hope you make a reply !

Sean Gibson says:

Thank you Leo for all you do. I found actualized.org about two months ago and I am changing my life through this work. I am so grateful for the hard work you have done, that you share your clarity with a light but serious heart, and that there is such a full spectrum of study here.

I have found my lost passion for studying and am actualizing through crippling laziness in career. Through actualized.org I have found great opportunity for self development after past relationships, in working toward finding my passion, and how to see through many old, continued, useless, misconceptions in life.

I am growing toward leaving what I thought was myself and the repeated failures that come with living in the mental prison of the voice.

Thank you for providing the foundation work to find the key to freedom from that cage!

Leo Gura says:

Sweet! Keep rocking it.

Thomas J says:

Great stuff Leo, after listening to you and also reading some of the books on your list about consciousness, self & being and true nature of existence, everything starts to change.
And to use your words ”rippin the fuck out of your ego” feels great. Love it! Makes so many things a lot easier in daily life.

Thanks for sharing man, the work you are doing is very very valuable

STEPH says:

I would like to write something profound but it would just be a concept.

Ramona says:

Part 2 on the subject of enlightenment, but only Part 1 on the subject of sex. I’ll pay closer attention to you after all…

kristen says:

hi Leo.

do you have an explanation for why 99% of people live by the ego? is this “natural”? when humans first came into existence why was ego the route taken? I understand why once you have ego how it tells itself it’s natural and good. but what about before that. why is this such a normal thing that develops from the day a human is conceived?

what does a life after enlightenment look like?

Leo Gura says:

Ego seems to be the outgrowth of developing a complex language and socialization. Socialization necessitates a lot of deception tactics, including self-deception.

Life after enlightenment is almost the same as before, but emotional over-reaction, drama, worry, shallow thrill-seeking, and pleasing others is greatly reduced.

kristen says:

so, it is possible to never develop ego?

are there any groups of humans that currently or in the past have developed in such a way that they never had ego of which we know?

Emcee says:

I guess you please others bye being the real you, no?

kristen says:

or have there only been individuals?

can you develop without ego and then be introduced into a socialization and in turn learn ego? similarly, can you become enlightened and go backwards into ego? or is it a truth that which once understood it can never be the same again?

Ninos says:

I think I am missing something because I am not enlightened. But I heard all the things we are not. I heard evolution is wrong that the god thereo is wrong because we don’t know where he came from. I never heard the explanation of how the universe and everything is. Is this all a dream, if everything is not real then what is it? It’s easy to say every explanation is flawed but I also think this explanation Leo gave us is flawed.

I personally believe from process of elimination that only the divine creation story is the real one. The universe is to big and too complex to be made of nothing. Too say the pot is not real because we don’t know who the potter is and how he came to be doesn’t make sense. We have a pot meaning universe and everything in it. It was created it is real we are real. We can not deny the potter because the pot is real.

This video left me with a million questions. It was as if a politician was dancing around the answer with more questions. I have the utmost respect for Leo and his intellect. But Leo skipped over the potter. There has to be a potter because there is a pot even if you say the pot is not real you will eventually have to see the pot or trip and fall over it.

My explanation is the soul is what you are, once you get rid of everything in your body , your soul is left which is made by the potter. The Universe is going to die but the soul is still there.

Leo Gura says:

The potter is nothingness.

Natasha says:

What about animals? They do not have conceptualized selves or egos, and don’t identify themselves with their bodies. They mostly live in the moment and have very limited thinking abilities. They are also not conditioned by society and beliefs of all kinds, like humans are. Can they naturally (and unknowingly) be closer to the state of enlightenment then? Or would their instincts be a problem?

Natasha says:

I hear you, Ninos. If you just throw together a few pieces of metal, wire, some electronics, an engine, etc., nothing will happen. To build a functioning rocket would take careful and skillful planning, engineering and precise assembly. It would take a designer. ‘Nothingness’ can’t build a rocket. In the same manner, ‘nothingness’ can’t create a complex organism like our body with all the tubes going in and out, eye prisms, cell structure, heart pump, liver and kidney filters, brain neuro-plasticity, etc. – all those things working in perfect harmony with each other. Intelligent design is evident, and intelligence is an attribute of a being, the Designer, Creator. “In the beginning was God…”

Leo Gura says:

Watch out for your egoic assumptions about how the universe can and can’t be.

Ninos says:

The meaning of life is NOTHING. So when I become enlightened I become nothing. In a way it’s true, but there is still a purpose to this nothing universe. The potter or as Leo calls him NOTHING made it with a purpose. So enlightenment is onto something with the thereo of nothingness only missing a piece of the puzzle. In the calculation of the the meditating enlightened people they forgot to carry the one. You are very close to the answer but the purpose is missing. The answer being nothing remind me of the riddle.

“What is more powerful then God, more evil then the devil, poor people have it, rich people need it, if you eat it you will die? Answer Is NOTHING!!!!!! Oooohhhhmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!

Leo Gura says:

Why would you assume there needs to be a purpose. Purpose is a human thing.

Flynn says:

Excited for the next one – really appreciate the wealth of knowledge you share!

Ninos says:

First I am human. Secondly you can’t deny purpose because it’s human thing. My intellect tells me there is a purpose. I can’t be like the outrage that is afraid and puts it’s head in the hole so it doesn’t see the thing it fears.

It is fear that leads you down this thereo that purpose is nothing and the pot is nothin and the potter is nothing. The fear is if you allow your intellect which yours happens to be quite extrodanary in your case. You allow you intellect to admit there has to be a potter and a purpose you will then have to understand the maker. I assure that you have nothing to fear because the potter loves you very much. He only want the best for you.

As you want me to open my mind to your theory, I ask you to be open minded to my theory.

Leo Gura says:

Purpose is just the voice spinning stories. In reality there are no purposes. Look honestly for yourself at this.

I’m not here to argue or convince you of anything. If you don’t want to look at reality as it is, it ends here.

Ninos says:

Miss type. I meant ostrich.

Eelco says:

Hi Leo,
After seeing this video I inmediately think of a situation where I would bump my head and lose all memory of who I am, what my name is, who my parents or friends are, what I”do” in life. I would only know the basics of life: eat, speak, interact with people etc.
The “I” I was would have dissapeared, at least in my own perception. Maybe my friends and family will tell me my history and try to “reconstruct” me. Do you think this example shows how thin the “I” concept is? The “I” can dissappear and maybe partially be reconstructed and altered by stories, events and ideas. Is meditation the way to erase or devalue the stories and events that created the so called “I”?

Ninos says:

I want to know the truth as it is. How do I get to the truth you arrived at? Do I take your word for it? Do I meditate for ten thousand hours and tell my ego you don’t exist? Clear my mind and think of the nothingness that the universe is?
I want to know how you got to this point? I want to go thru the sequence of thought that brought you to the realization. Because it’s a tuff pill for me to swallow.

Jose says:

Thank you very much for personal development videos. Thank you because you are helping a lot to learn english as well. Is it possible the full transcription of all your videos? in my case, it is very useful.

franz says:

Hi Leo,

Thank you so much for taking the time to teach us these things. I can’t wait for your next vid.

Jarrah says:

If you become enlightened and you lose your voice and all belief system, then how do you talk? how do you do anything with your life?
My question is, really can a normal person living in the city, with a job, and family be an enlightened person or is it only for people who sit in silent meditation for the rest of their days?

Leo Gura says:

Yes, a normal person can. The voice doesn’t really get lost. You simply stop identifying with it.

Adam says:

What are your thoughts on the following. The noumena of one thing is the same same as the noumena of another. So, to use the orange example, the noumena of the orange is the same as the noumena of the self. In the end, we are all basically the noumena of existence.

Ali says:

Thank you Leo , this is outstanding , yes indeed this is not abvious at all I figured it out long time ago that it is impossible to grasp our selves as the most of what we think about our selves is a results of external factors society,religions … And so on I like the good example that if you lost your hand or part of the brain and how that will impact on our vision even the science proved that a small manipulation on hormones can entirely make a dramatic change in our characters but I believe being aware of that will enable us to understand the others without falling in the trap of demonizing

Raz says:

As deep and as profound this video is, I feel like it has more to do with your personal and phenomenological interpretation of how interfaction of the “self” and the world works.
There is a strong dichotomy, that you remarkably put in light, and some concepts are well articulated.
But… in the end, the trap we all keep falling into is trying to grasp in intelligible concepts something we can’t really – and I’m not sure you can make a video of this, because the locus is “you”, which is your own consciousness, so is ours, this “interface” that use your input (what you say), and map our personal reality onto these concepts.

You make the basis assumption that to reach enlightenment (what is the rationale to say being enlightened means integrating the fact that we don’t exist?), we have to transcend our own consciousness basically – and while I tend sometimes to think alike, it’s only a matter of personal understanding of what being “spiritually enlightened” means in the first place.

Great video Leo, thanks.

E says:

Hi Leo,

Seeing the spiritual enlightenment intro video triggered something very deep inside me and I accepted the challenge to take on this empirical investigation. I began to observe the voice inside more and more, being very mindful of it. I began to peel away at what this voice might be, where it may be coming from, and why it said the things it said. I then realized why and how it got to be the way that it is. Sometime within the last week or so I believe I achieved something HUGE. The dialogue going on in what I thought was me isn’t truthful, in fact realizing the voice isn’t truthful made me realize there was another voice telling me it wasn’t truthful and I traced this as far back as I could go until I came to the conclusion that it is nothing, and I am nothing. Everything I ever thought about me is false, and I see this as the beginning of something beautiful. I’m already seeing the great benefits of knowing this and I’ve only begun to scratch the surface.

Thank you for awakening me to this truth so that I am able to begin this kind of work.

Cannot help but think of the “I”rony in what I just wrote.


Leo Gura says:

Awesome! You may have got it!

I want to double-check where you’re at.

Did you have an Ah-ha moment?

Answer me this: Who is E? Does E exist in reality in any way, shape, or form? Who is in control of you?

E says:

Yes! I had this Ah-ha moment!

When I saw your comment that you wanted to double-check where I’m at, the voice in me started rambling on what my response might be. Trying to feed me useless information, it was trying to make me feel lesser for not knowing. It tried to make me afraid of of what you may think of my response. But those are just thoughts, useless thoughts that I watched pass me by. (this is awesome!!)

E is who I’ve been told all of my life I am. It is the first initial of my name, it is who my ego has formed. E is an illusion. Under all of this E nonsense I believe the true ‘E’ exists. I don’t know who that is or what it is. I’m leaving my mind open to the possibility that the “true E” is something or someone I cannot yet comprehend.

Who is in control of me? I don’t know who is in control, it might be me. But that brings me back to the question of who am I? What am I?

Leo Gura says:

Good. That is the right track, but sounds like not fully it yet. Moments of clarity can come and go. Once enlightenment happens, it is permanent. The “I” will never feel the same again.

Keep going deeper with the questioning and the looking.

Peter says:

To answer captcha… they are the color Chocolate .. or yellow hahha

I’m telling you that the I will never be. It has always been, it came out of nowhere and everywhere…

do you follow or am i following Leo?

Aleksa says:

After 4,5 months of watching Leo’s videos i realized something.And i might experienced the ”Truth.”

As i watching the videos, i have discovered that your problems is big ego game. Practicing mindfulness i observed my thoughts and dig deep why i think the way i think.I discovered that my thoughts come mostly from my beliefs who am I and who was I in the past.Doing that, i wondered what i need to do to change this stuff.

As i was doing that, i could see that everything i can think off can be traced to something that happened in the past,no matter if that was positive and negative.What i discovered was the pattern.All your thoughts that you have are coming from the being you think you are your whole life.Your greatest fears and greatest desires come from your self-image that is build on these beliefs.And i was stuck when i saw it because i know each new desire and fear is just a void in my self-image.If you are smart enough, you will see this is a never-ending game.

After watching these videos, it ”made sense.”I had some really disturbing feeling inside me .. it was like WTF moment.But i ”knew” what is going on.Right away, my mind started to think and think and think…coming up with all sorts of ideas and as i was observing i ”noticed” that this can not be shut down.The mind kept telling : Oh this stuff is great.. you were right about that stuff what you discovered about your problems… and on and on and on.As observing that i saw that ego is too damn good doing this.

But most interesting thing is just observing my thoughts as i am writing this now.Just from writing this message it feeds it self. That’s why this Truth can not be told or explained…as you say it, you identify with your ego.If you realize it, you are still identify with your mind.

Mark says:

Leo I’ve downloaded the mp3 of this and heard it several times now, Im very thankful for what you offer us and in loved this video.

I’m underway on the self-actualized journey, have been meditating for several months and understand the concept of speaking from a place of almost ’emptiness’ (no voice). How would I truly know if Im speaking from an actualized perspective and not the ego in disguise? Is it just a case of being watchful of the response itself?

Leo Gura says:

That’s tricky. Speaking & thinking are the tools of the ego. So unless you’re enlightened, all your speaking will be ego-based, because you identify with the story being spoken and take it as truth when it’s not.

Karakondzula says:

Hi Leo! I read book Haunted Universe by Norquist and book are very depressive. Have you read the book? Looks like nihilistic approach.
What are you think about that book? Please please answer?

Annette says:

I couldn’t wait for this next video!! You did such a great job explaining really complicated stuff. I am loving this journey toward enlightenment. Although I must confess I was so depressed for2 weeks after the first video. I thought I was dying for real but I realize now it was just my ego dying!

Marica says:

I had an epiphany last night while sitting at a sushi joint: the voice of “me” and the audible voice of others are no different from each other.

My heart raced. Just listening to others brought new delights. The voice of “me” had been sleeping all along, unaware of the outside of itself. The memory of “me” talking to the others a while back is like a dream.

I guess the shift I had wasn’t strong enough to maintain itself. Today, I feel like I’m back to the old self. I hope to grow and nurture the “sixth” sense through meditation, to which I can easily devote an hour now; exploring the different level of awareness brings so much joy.

William says:

Is enlightenment just figuring out that the only thing that is real is the present and that the ego throughout life purpose prevents people from seeing it because they r too afraid to let everything go?

janet says:

wow! found you on face book! mind blowing! lm very interested! lm willing to learn!

Milos says:

Leo what is difference between depersonalisation and enlightenment?

Yuwen says:

thank you for sharing. Its like I am wearing this so call “I” identity, constructed by thoughts and concepts since I came to the earth. This “I” is just a cloth. So to find the real self, maybe I should exit this “I” identity in order to find the real self. What exactly enlightenment can help me? How do I know if I am not just adapting your thoughts into mine? Where is the real “I”? is there even one?
Once again I must thank you for your efforts. You pulled me out from a good pain I was suffering. Now I could well laugh at it and work within. Thanks a lot.

P says:

Are we everything, including what we see as nothing? Consciousness or energy that created this entire world we live in including ourselves. Even the back stories of why objects exist like an orange or a TV would of been created by us.

Perhaps similar to a dream state like how the movie Inception described it as a world we are creating simultaneously as we are dreaming it. If we could create a world in a dream state then why not in an awaken state.

Still would leave the question why create this existence.

ons says:

i have a question about what you said in the end of this video , ‘all your drama wil be
go ‘ so if all our drama will be go how we can define happiness what happiness will be? , because if we live in peace and evreything perfect then how we can define happiness

James says:

Leo, I see it!

I posted yesterday on the first video about how I resonated with that truth and experienced a euphoric joy. Earlier today I did the empirical reasoning and I do understand, this video confirmed it (although the Noumena, phenomena and qualia part was additional to my thinking!)

Today as I went about my daily business, I’ve been able to tap into that oneness, the awareness I achieve through meditation here and there throughout the day. Fundamental truths have started becoming clearer, sensations more vivid, the value of life and the joy of existing without the limits of ego. My pre-frontal cortex literally feels like it has done a push-up, especially when I realise the ego popping up and I bat it away like a metaphysical game of whack-a-mole! I’m very excited at the moment because I’m already seeing measureable progress but I won’t get ahead of myself. It’s only the beginning!

If the ego isn’t real, self image doesn’t exist. “I” am nothing but awareness, the sum of my experience in the present moment.

Just a fleeting, additional thought: my science isn’t excellent but I get the feeling that awareness itself is simply electricity or energy… or at very least a by product of it’s animation of the body! I’ll stop the monkey chatter and go to bed…

Infinite thanks!

Marjorie says:

The world as we have grown to see it, understand it, will be all wrapped up.

To have grown in dimension is all just suffice.


ayushi says:

i am a strong believer of god and your video has left me depressed

can you please get this straight for me please.through this video are you trying to say that there is nothing called god and that the very concept of souls and spirit is nothing…………………….the beliefs we have grown upon for thousands of years is nothing……………………………this whole universe is just by itself and that there is no super power controlling it

please reply

Ninos says:

Ayushi ,
Leo has a theory. He can’t prove his idea. He can intellectually try to reason why his nothing idea makes sense. I can’t prove there is a god, but I can use my intellect and try to prove of god thru the complex and size of the universe and everything in it. To my brain it is something and it’s amazing from it’s tiny things to its ridiculous large planets. You can’t be weak in your faith and fall for every interesting idea you hear. If I am wrong about Jesus then I am wrong, if Leo is wrong and I am right then, he has a problem to be blunt. God made us with free will, he gave us all the intellect and information to choose. Only once you die there is no make up test. Choose wisely. ( I love mutiple choice test) lol.

Tjumndi says:


So according to your model of existence there has to be something that created universe, even though Leo did a great job explaining that we don’t know what existence is. Your answer to all this existence and complexity is God, and your answer is not even yours. Your answers has a social reason, by your society and religions. It is much true that the ego is responsible for all these “beliefs”, because these beliefs are from the human mind.

It really makes sense how Leo talked about dogmatic people (atheists, religious people, scientists), and just look at how you judged your fellow human beeing on how she/him should not have a weak faith!

You are judging Leo’s video so fast, he clearly said that you shouldn’t take this as a belief, go out there and look for yourself. Empirical investigation!
Your religious beliefs are so strong that it won’t even let you try the investigation or open up for new ideas. Who is responsible for you not to go for this journey?

And yes, you can be wrong, Leo can be wrong, but you can not be wrong of the real you, wich is the existence it self, LIFE! You don’t need to believe in a God for all these, you simple are it.

stephanie says:

I can’t believe – you are the first person to confirm what I have known/felt since my teenage years. I’ve tried to talk to people about it but there is little understanding. I am everything and anything – I most likely really am.

PRed says:

Thank You..

vladimira says:

If there is no free will – what about a positive/negative way of thinking?????

Leo Gura says:

There is no positive/negative!

Shirin says:

Hi Leo,

Just before I watched your videos about enlightment I was reading a book of Ekhart Tolle “The Power of Now”. I went on the beach, it was a full moon and everything was breathtakenly beautiful. I tried to follow what was explained in the book and BE in present moment, it took some time for me but I did it. At one point, I was looking around me as if I saw it all for the first time, past and present did not exist and then I suddenly noticed the light of cigarette I was smoking and the arm which was holding that cigarette, and I did not know whos arm is this, and who is looking at the arm…..It was something.. I cant describe in a words. And then I start checking your videos and it proved Im not psycho

Thank you

Leo Gura says:

Good, that’s in the right direction. But for the love of God, stop smoking!

neil says:

I’d like to hear more on the voice. How do you feel about the voice being from someone else or other people in general, how this can be interpreted as intuition in the moment of decision, and the influence that others have on one’s own voice. Particularly the distinction between oneself and others’ voices in everyday life?

Most people aren’t that sensitive I know. But I’m stuck with a range of orange, green, and yellow perspectives/emotions and this bleed from others seems to be what disorients me/all of us from time to time and shifts our reactions among the ideals presented in the grave’s model you introduced to me. Sometimes it makes personal development a real challenge!

Leo Gura says:

There are no other voices. There is only one voice, and it’s your own. You’re at war with yourself. And the whole thing is a mirage. Start observing what the voice actually is, not what it’s saying. Forget about the content of the voice and focus on its form.

Ray says:

How do we know that this entire process, the journey toward spiritual enlightenment, isn’t just a product of our mind… created by our guided thoughts? How do we know what the mind is capable of, and where it’s capable of taking us?

Is it possible that if we spend enough time, energy and effort trying to change what we believe about ourselves, that it will indeed change? Does that mean we’ve found the “Truth”, or does it just mean our mind has created a new reality for us to live in? How do we know?

As enticing as this whole concept appears to be, this question is kind of hindering me from continuing with this. I’m afraid to make such a profound change without knowing that it’s real, or that it’s not wrong.

Can you help me with this Leo?

Leo Gura says:

The issue you’re having is that you’re failing to appreciate how radically different this “process” or “journey” is. It’s not about beliefs or thoughts. We’re completely changing the paradigm here! In this work you will deconstruct thoughts to the point where they will become meaningless. And that’s when you will escape this problem of just substituting one belief for another.

Truth is what you get when you’re no longer caught up in thoughts.

It’s hard to imagine anything being more “wrong” than the way you’re currently living and perceiving life. So don’t worry about that.

Rafaele says:

Hello Leo
I’m a French woman, speaking a rather bad english but You have a voice so clear and the content of your videos the most clever and pedagogic I have never heard and read on the enlightenment topic(thanks for the transcripts). I have been researching the stable truth for eons and you are really the best master I met.
This video has allowed me to understand more precisely the phenomenon of emerging I got during a spiritual exercise in a group I left a long time ago :
Thank you very much for that new and profound understanding I’m going to listen to your videos and change my method of meditation, improving more precisely the”looking” method I practice in my daily life.
I’m so happy to have found your site!

Hasan says:

Hi Leo,

Wow, it was so much mind-provoking. Your speech reminds me of Rumi’s poetry. In particular, the merge of inner and outer world. Your clarity in explaning this topic is mind blowing. Look forward to watching more videos from you. Keep it up, it is by far the best videos I have ever seen.

yo says:

who is it that recognizes no-self?

Unfolder says:

Beautiful stuff.
I just wanted to throw a quote from Alan Watts on the table here:

“There was a young man who said though,
it seems that I know that I know,
What I would like to see is the I that knows me,
when I know that I know that I know.”

Yann says:

A good way to reach an intuition (and later an evidence, a vision) of no self is through the idea of full determinism, i.e no free will at all. Driven is the keyword. Many (materialist) philosophers have thought full determinism but have not concluded to no self. However it seems clear that when you think of full determinism, the reality of self become superfluous by itself. Meditate on this is a good start.

Cristina says:

Hi Leo,

So what you’re trying to say is that the self perception is an illusion, right?

As the orange is incapable of self perception, that means it doesn’t exist beyond its color, taste, smell or shape, nor beyond the image or concept of itself, and since it was no mind or inner voice, the orange is real as long it exist as matter. After I eat the orange, the orange stops existing, right?

So if the human being wouldn’t have a mind, imagination and an inner voice, it wouldn’t be aware of its own existence, as the orange is unaware of its own existence. So basically the “me” beyond my shape, mind and inner voice, is nothing. When my body will die, my mind will dissipate and my self perception with it, so I am real as matter as long as I am physically alive, then “I” stops existing.

If that’s the case, my inner voice tells me that’s quite sad. But on the other side, if there’s no purpose in my short existence that feels quite liberating, it stops the fight within.

Elton says:

Killer video bro… today I have grasped the significance of this video,truely foundational, the voice that you talk about has been brought to the light due to consistent meditation, something in this entity that is typing this feels that voice is just the voice of other people and intution and learning, the last 20 min of this video was a bit confusing if the perception and the persever are one then what about the things you don’t perseve for eg I cannot see or hear or feel whats happening in u.s.a. So is this entity one with that too? In one video you said that you felt you were the glass and the whole world was encased in it.. Was that literal or symbolic?

Rewa says:


What is your experience on past life regression therapy? Is it real? I have read that this revelation can help to understand a lot about our nature as a consciousness and certain negativities can removed which would otherwise take a long time…bottom line….will this help in advancing in the path of enlightenment?

Dav says:


Lee says:

Thank Leo.
Very well explained. Keep up the good work. I agree with everything you said in your part 1 and part 2 video so far. I have not had time to listen to part 3 yet. I am amazed that you can give the entire lecture without using notes. You know your material well.

Another example I have not heard you use so far is that every cell in the human body is replaced in every 7 to 10 years(exception: nerve cells), so many times in our lifetime our entire body is replaced. So, how can we be our bodies?

Diana says:

I remember when I was little that I used to think in pictures. One day, I realised somehow that other people think in words, mainly before they speak. I started doing that as well. It helped me speak better. I don’t think I ever truly believed that the voice in my head was “me”, though. It felt easy to drop this concept when I found it a couple of years ago.

jay says:

part 2 is repeated twice and there doesn’t seem to be any real part3.
I tried both parts 2 and 3 but they are both part 2 videos. what’s going on?
jay gladky

Chris says:

What is the numinal me? It lies on a slab in the morgue of course!

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