Understanding Awareness

By Leo Gura - January 11, 2016 | 103 Comments

The staggering depth of your unawareness.

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Galyna says:

Leo, looking great on your new video settings, I am stunned that you know Gurdgiev, wow…..I’ve read him too. Gosh, that is so exciting for me to know. Check Victor Pelevin, he is all into that as well, you might find him very appealing. He talks about consciousness a lot in his books. I wonder what region of the world you mother is, since you said she was not from USA.

Thank you.


Gustavo says:

Hi Leo!

First of all, actualized.org is the greatest website online!
But could you PLEASE make a video on how to get others to open up their eyes for self-actualization? I think that would be very important because when I try to give the smallest hints to friends and family, they don’t understand what I’m telling them. If you made a video on that it would be really helpful and we could direct more people to this site!

You rock!

Chris Arroyo says:

Self Actualization is a more inner thing. You cant really get someone to do it too but you can tell them about it and guide them. My point is that they need to find it in themselves, I wish you luck on opening other peoples eyes.

Uldis says:

That is impossible. Don’t waste your time.
Your urge to do this shows that you are at the very beginning of journey.

Dave says:

Amazing again leo…look forward to videos on this topic so much.I’ve been watching a lot of rupert spira’s videos on consciousness and awareness but sometimes I never get to the place he tries to speak of.as for that exercise at the end of your video…why is it so hard.seemingly impossible in fact to be aware of more than one sensation at once.can’t even imagine how that would feel as an experience..but then as not been a self who would know of it….awareness itself????any way fuck the ten minute video a week suggestions you speak of.an hour a day would be more like it…thank you

Galyna says:

Leo, sorry for repeating here, want to add something: okay, realizing myself actually comes in spurts to me, I can not do in by command. Sometimes I seat in the middle of the day, in my office, and here comes: ” It’s me, Galyna, in this building”.I start to feel my body, I try to look around me, look at people, it lasts a minute or even less, then dreaming state again. Then when cooking dinner, then when waking up, but does not last for long and it is not up to me when I can actually “remember myself” again and not be a prisoner of my thoughts and fantasies. Some days might repeat often, some days might run and never “remember” myself. I am not sure, what would it give me, beneficially, if I would be “remembering” myself all the time?

KathyGermany says:

…I can not sleep… and now I saw 2 minutes of your vid and I am so excited if you get the goal and convince me about my lack of awareness… After your last emotional vid of life changes… That was so much connected to your judgement video… Imagine your body fevered after shooting the vid in which you go through these ten minutes of naked reconstruction of all your judgements… wow… You made yourself your own koan because you de- and -re-constructed yourself through your videos in the infinity of time…immortality… contemporaneity… Its too early here, I am tired excited and my english… aware beware of limiting speech… the video has 1:23… wow…

Ragnar says:

Leo , Generally what is the minimum age one can get Enlighten , and if some one is not enlighten at which age one should start working on it?

Leo Gura says:

There is no minimum age. If it interests you, you can do it.

Marjorie says:

It’s really creepy, realizing the truth: Awareness-i see now, how asleep i am, have been, and had been. It makes so much sense! Everything you talked about and the reality of it: Awareness!
Leo, i want you to know, you sit in my heart, i learn so much from you, and miss u, when i don’t listen to the information you share with us all, the videos! I love this theme on, awareness. I find wanting to continue being a part of your audience because of the university of your conversations, how you engineer the structure of precise words for people like myself who; when we wonder away, want to come back for more information, because of how interesting you are. Teaching the young and old how to live. Thank u so much, Thank u so much. Your wonderful in so many ways, and i see how many hearts you have touched with your teachings. Your a brilliant man. I just love how you have grown as well, you really set the pace, and are an example to follow. The way you ponder in such an extraordinary way, attracts all of us to you. You are a genius in my mind and heart, i want you to know, i take what i need to learn, and the rest i put away, to understand when i’m ready.

Ariella says:

I love you Leo. Thank you for all your time and energy!

Ron says:

Leo thank you for the video because I really struggled to understand this concept of awareness because I was used to think that in order to be aware you just have to being able to detect every thought of your mind. Now instead I got that really I am aware only when I CONSCIOUSLY CONDUCT every single thought of my mind, and therefore my emotions and actions. There isn’t even need to say how little we are able to do that during the day. Is this correct? Thank you

Brandon says:

How can we be asleep or aware if we do not actually exist? It really hit home to me at the part where you talked about people being machines. This makes since if you look at “life” as a series of if/then responses. Perhaps the key is to turn off the automation and consider why you do what you do and then choose to respond instead of simply reacting to stimuli. Great stuff, Leo!

Leo Gura says:

We’re asleep in the sense that we believe we are conscious and separate selves. To realize this fully is to wake up.

George says:

‘Don’t believe in yourself,
Don’t deceive with belief,
Knowledge comes from Death’s Release’ – ‘Quicksand’ by David Bowie

I think this man’s life had something to say about awareness.

Lisa says:

Is it possible to be aware of all these things you pointed out in the exercise all at once?

Leo Gura says:

There are far more important and tricky things to be aware of, namely, how the illusion of your identity is constantly being constructed out the intermingling of mental image, mental talk, and body sensation.

Brett Miller says:

Great video Leo! So well spoken. Use The Source Luke.

Elton says:

I can’t really see myself okay… But what about others? How is that an illusion you see others.if you don’t exist that means no one else exists..

Gonzo says:

Hey Leo

If you want to talk for a long time in you vids do it man, I love it!

Maureen says:

When I was about 9 I realized I had a narrator in my head. Now you’re doing this, now that is happening. I hated it and tried for the rest of my life to make it stop. Until now! Leo thank you…it never went away and trying to get rid of it has warped my soul but now I will start trying to see it for what it really might be…a gift?

Pierre says:

Self-awareness is fine, but don’t neglect your desires or you’ll be in great trouble.

For some balance, check Elliott Hulse’s video “Be an Egomaniac”

Lindsay says:

Elliot Hulse is Darth Vader. Leo Gura is Obi Wan.

Roz says:

Hi Leo,
bloody amazing stuff, just amazing. I have been on the path off and on for the last 17 years your videos I have only found a few weeks ago, sadly but for me they sum it all up, for sure when I have been more aware my life has taken a brilliant turn, then I would fall back to sleep again – not realising what was going on, our programes are really in deep. The world is certainly your lobster.

Thank you and stuff not just for youngster I am 54 and think that everyone should be into this

Be an awesome thing to have in schools dont you think

Leo Gura says:

This stuff would never be allowed in schools.

George says:

Why not?

Mayur Ghule says:

Hey leo your videos are really worth to be long as they have great value for who care about self-actualisation. And your videos are so awesome that 1 hour feels like 10 minutes

Neo says:

Can you make a video specifically about addictions? It fucks peoples lives more than anything else. It would be of great help.

Denis says:

Hey Leo I have a question that is a little off topic concerning this video but have you ever done LSD?

Hengameh says:

Hi Leo,
I loved this video, it is something special, I tried to do the test by my own, get my thought / or my mind under control but not even 1 min, it flies run away.
But I’ll try and try it again and again. Even I did order the Book “Psychology of mans possible Evolution” even I printed out the 100 pages as pdf in internet till I get the book. It is unbelievable your are so young but so wise guy in this age. thank you for all your brilliant videos, I am looking forward watching your next awareness video, Be honest I have to listen more and more this video to get every single of your words in my head and save it probably for couple of short time till I would be able to have it for ever. I love long video.

Timi says:

Hi Leo,

Do you mean that choice is an illusion? That actually there is no free will but just cause and reaction?

Thomas J says:

I feel a little relieved honestly that your second video of the new year is about such a major topic as awareness, after last weeks episode in which you mentioned Japan and living in a cabin for 5 years haha. Your videos are such gold for all of us, we wouldn’t wanna lose them.

Also you said you have worked on the lighting and quality of the video, which by the way was immediately obvious, I noticed it before you mentioned it and compared it with some recent videos. Appreciate your hard work!

thanks, great stuff

Lisa says:

But if the mind is so dynamic, how then such a constant state of awareness even possible?

Chris says:

hey Leo!

Confusing and complicated topic…cant wait to hear it in more detail!
Whats the difference between awareness and mindfulness?


Josiah Douglas says:

There’s something else besides the machine. If there wasn’t, then we could never become aware of the machine. If we are all machines, what exactly is aware of the machine? What is behind the machine that can eventually, through increased awareness, become so aware of it that it takes control? I’m aware that that thing isn’t “me”, but what is it? And how can this thing I call “I” be aware of it?

Leo Gura says:

You are right and you are wrong.

There is “something” else, but it is Nothing. It’s an eternal, infinite field of pure awareness, stripped of all substance and human qualities. It is not even a “thing”. It’s a no-thing. It’s raw consciousness. It’s also no separate from everything else. It’s utterly unconceptualizable. You cannot think about it.

Control is never developed, even at maximum awareness. Forget that control even exists. What occurs is a pseudo-control from surrendering fully to the fact that there is no control.

Brett Miller says:

Well said.

Josiah says:

I’m fully on board with the control thing, and it was to this pseudo control that I was referring. But I guess my real question is what is ego, and what is its relationship to consciousness? How is it that the ego is able to reflect on what is essentially its polar opposite, its ultimate rival? What influence does consciousness have on ego? Because it seems that it has quite a bit, given our innate and insatiable drive to find Truth (which makes no sense from the ego’s perspective). But if it does, does that mean that consciousness is somehow able to actively influence the ego?

Also, it bothers me that I can’t conceptualize consciousness. But that’s a whole nother can of worms.

Rex says:

” Do we have Choice?

That question again? Alright then…

I know there is this popular belief in traditional eastern teachings especially, as well as in those minds who have become somewhat of a follower or product of those teachings whether they realize it or not, that there is no choice.

That’s only partially true from the perspective of the ‘small self’, or: The Receiver of Experiences.

From the Higher Self Perspective, or: ‘The Giver of Experiences’ (which the smaller self then receives) – there is nothing but free will!!!! How else could Life take form?

It is only through the freedom of Consciousness’ Infinite Intelligence to choose how it desires to experience itself at any given space/time or time/space reality, that realities can come into view.

The universe is made up out of consciousness only, and consciousness chooses through its infinite extensions ALL THE TIME. Consciousness is The One’s single agent with infinite extensions… Of which you are one.

There is no single random event in the universe, or in anyone’s life, anywhere. Promise.

To say “there is no choice because there is no personal self” is to say so from the perspective of the perceiver of experiences: personal self… How Ironic.

Now it wouldn’t be quite as ironic if the personal self would believe ‘that there is no choice’… for from its limited view, that can seems quite true. However, it becomes rather funny when the personal self takes on a view that says: “There is no choice BECAUSE the small self doesn’t exist.” When that small self then calls that contradicting view ‘non-dual wisdom, I advise you to get the hell out of there and don’t drink the poison of spiritual victimhood.


Also, don’t take my words too seriously, ever. Especially when I sound serious. It’s all a joke.

Ok, returning to topic:

The more we deepen in our inner Seat of Consciousness, the more the communication channel between the smaller (innocently ignorant) self and the Higher (intelligently awake and one with Infinity) Self open, and they start to become one Being, more and more. Integration.

You start to remember precisely how things work. Slowly, speculation and doubt start to leave your consciousness, and make room for conviction, backed up by powerful confirmations, and yet the sweeeetest humility of seeing all as equally The One, and yourself as at the beginning steps of the ladder of this cosmic joke! Ommmmm
Emoticon smile
Emoticon heart

The veil of forgetfulness and ignorance starts to become transparent, and what previously appeared as Enlightenment, now seems like a mere intellectual – and somewhat dead – understanding, applicable and somewhat helpful for a small period of time from the perspective of the physical focus only.

Limiting indeed. Appreciated, as a step up, but oh so limiting if not gone beyond, if not let go of in one’s own good time. If you feel ready to drop all that heavy traditional guru stuff, please do so. They are equal to a piece of turd. Literally. If they are genuine and good at what they do/are or did/were, they’d agree!

Yes, the receiver of experiences doesn’t have a choice. But where do these experiences that you don’t have any choice over come from? Where are they given from? Who provides for you to even be able to look at experiences and go: “I don’t have a choice!” ?

YOU do! These experiences come from YOU as well.

The more you start to see this, the more you will become this higher perspective, and thus, Free Will again becomes a reality. In fact, you see that ignorance and forgetfulness, and the spiritual illusion of ‘no choice’ was a very conscious choice you made.

Going beyond traditional teachings and beyond the idea of ‘there is no choice’ is beyond marvelous and can be free from egotism entirely. It is the true beginning of the adventure into infinity, it gives rise to deeply enjoyable humility/confidence and it leaves all talk of non-dual horse shit so far behind its trail of joy, that it will never again grab you by the nuts as ‘true’.

Oh my, the suffering that’s present in these traditional, limiting, self-righteous yet disempowering beliefs. I love you all so much. I cry for all your pain, as it is my own, and rejoice in knowing you are beyond fine and exactly where you desire to be, as I see that in myself.

Please also realize that Indians aren’t any closer to the truth than any other culture. They are AS stupid as any other group of human beings on this planet.

In fact, enlightened or not, most of them are quite densely culturally biased. Quite biased and blindsided indeed. Even the holy ones. There, I said it. So don’t take their word for it (nor mine) just because their white beards (I don’t have one yet, darn it!) stand out so nicely against their orange mala’s and brown skin.

Don’t become one of these slaves to “there is nobody here” unless that still really resonates for you (in which case it’s helping you!).

I hope this addresses the issue, or at least rattles some cages…

If you dislike this post, you can do one of two things:

1) Take it as a beautiful opportunity that my article evoked some deep nonsense-beliefs that you didn’t realize you carried around with you, look at it within yourself and transcend through love and realization, or:

2) Blame me for your own discomfort with these ideas that on some level of your consciousness must ring true, because they simply are… I recommend this option if you still prefer that state of disempowered self-victimization, afraid to lose your beliefs.

Either way, you can eat away all you want at my trail of joy, and thus awaken it within yourself, for the source of my trail is your very own, and it is inexhaustible. YEahhhhh
Emoticon grin

Endless love, sincerely, humorously, and seriously,
Bentinho Massaro “

Elton says:

I tried being aware the whole time you were speaking, noticed a lot of things… I noticed quite pain in my chest too on the 56 min..end of the video my brain felt saturated…are you saying that we are just thoughts? whatever we are…true psychology is a great topic, thanks a ton for its introduction.

Maureen says:

Josiah, this is in response to your question about the relationship between consciousness and ego. I found the Stick Person concept by Dr. Thurman Fleet was something that helped me understand it. Ego would be a part of our conscious mind using his model. There are lots of videos on YouTube you can find but I found the one by Simona Rich to be helpful.

Alan says:

Hi Leo,

This video had a profound effect on me. I guess I fall in the group that was horrified with my lack of awareness and the acceptance that up till now I have been a machine controlled by an operating system that I don’t understand. Thanks for helping me shed the “I’m an educated guy that’s got it figured out” routine. That BS routine has cost me dearly and has severely limited my opportunities in life.

These new concepts are both disturbing and inspiring. Your videos motivate me to learn more and give me hope to be able to have some control over this journey. I understand I lack awareness. I also understand that nearly everything I say, do, or think, is a lie.

I have a question (please reply with an answer or link to a resource). Basically everything I’ve been taught is BS. How do you set a foundation of what is right and wrong? Don’t we need a basic “true” foundation on which to build a healthy psychology and philosophy?

Thanks for all you do. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with others. ..


Leo Gura says:

There is no right or wrong. That is the foundation. Because it’s what’s actually true.

If you want to build on that foundation. Start practicing mindfulness, meditation, and enlightenment work.

To improve practical aspects of your life, like relationships and business, etc, personal development is a good tool. But don’t neglect the deeper consciousness work mentioned above.

Brett Miller says:

Leo. I can give a testimonial that my life has been revolutionized by pursing “The Noble Quest” using many of the techniques you outline here. I was practicing prior to finding your site, but seeing your enthusiasm for these topics and masterful communication of the challenging material really got me out of a slump in practice. Meditation has been a joy and I’m almost through your 90 day challenge!!

Lindsay says:

Assuming I am a 3 on the awareness scale, I’ve been wondering lately if it wouldn’t be better to be a -1. Think about it- I’m aware enough now to know my mind is practically a disease, but realistically I will not get much higher over the course of my life, even if I make a great effort. If I could somehow devolve, I would exist more on the physical/primitive level, and be free of much of the pain of being human. Maybe human consciousness is an evolutionary misstep… Maybe the simplest life forms were the ideal, and everything on up has really been a step away from the perfection of pure existence. Thoughts?

Leo Gura says:

You fail to appreciate just how miserable life is at a -1. Have you a ever met a -1 person? Their lives are complete shit. They do NOT live in some happy state of ignorance. It’s constant emotional hell.

Brett Miller says:

Yes, and it can be nice to hang out and have friends like that to an extent, since you can interact, love, and observe them, while also non-judgementally observing a more or less polarized sense of going after comfort purely via causes and conditions, and failing to control those forces every time.

Then apply that to one’s own life and transform. Exactly like that great video you made on growing yourself by observing the players of hell in the mirror.


Kin says:

This was great. Ummm It’s funny that when I watch your videos with my friends or my family, they never fully understand you are meaning. I mean, they do some but not in to deep level ya know. And most of them don’t find interesting tho. I was the only one who love your videos the most so they said I am WEIRD. Well, I think I am weird like you said in other videos. LOL

ragnar says:

yah , same happens here. LOL

Iuliana says:

Yeah,same story also. The staggering truth of their unawareness..

Josie says:

Hello Leo, The insatiable longing for Truth that has been present for as long as I can remember…where is this coming from? Truth itself? When I’m longing for clarity, for true seeing, for knowing, is this the real Me searching for myself? I try to be there. I “try” to allow all of the self construct to fall away and be the space that’s left. I taste it. I mentally understand it. I know that my personality was built and that I am not that. I mostly understand that objects are empty without their own inherent existence, but I don’t think I’ve fully experienced this yet. I long so strongly to strip away all that isn’t true and KNOW the only Truth there really is. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. It’s all I want. It consumes me. Thank you for sharing insights. Your particular way of sharing resonates and I cannot wait to hear more. Much love.

Leo Gura says:


But notice how many times you wrote “I”, “me”, “my” in the above comment.

Rather odd to speak of it so much, considering this entity is illusory

Josie says:

Haha! Well, looking at that brings calmness. The craziness is in the “I”. Thanks, Leo.

Kirk says:

Wow! Wow! I don’t know how to express my appreciation!!! Tears coming down. This maganificient wisdom from this video are life changing!

Lucinda says:

Leo, I have to say the truth, I am asleep but I do want to wake up. I will continue with your very helpful videos, they can be as long as you can make them, such knowledge, love it!!

Lauma says:

Hi, Leo! Thank you for your work! I can’t understand the reason you are not mentioned in the Inc’s article “meet-4-social-entrepreneurs-who-are-changing-the-world”

Yvan says:

Good day Leo !

Thank you kindly for this profoundly exciting video ! It is a remarkable start for those who would discover Awareness; and I have been one of them. Thanks to you, it is now done ! Leo, do you plan on offering any courses concerning Awareness in the future ? Finally, have a good weekend and a most happy year to you, full of the accomplishments which you have been particularly cherishing !

Eelco says:

I just read this that reminded me of this video and wanted to share: “The social roles culture prescribes then take care of shaping our minds for us, and we generallly place ourselves on automatic pilot till the end of the day, when it is time again to lose consciousness in sleep. But when left alone, with no demands on attention, the basic disorder of the mind reveals itself. With nothing to do, it begins to follow random patterns, usually stopping to consider something painful or disturbing. Unless a person knows how to give order to his or her thoughts, attention will be attracted to whatever is most problematic at the moment: it will focus on some real or imaginary pain, on recent grudges or long-term frustrations. Entropy is the normal state of consciousness-a condition that is neither useful nor enjoyable. — To avoid this condition, people are naturally eager to fill their minds with whatever information is readily available, as long as it distracts attention from turning inward and dwelling on negative feelings. This explains why such a huge proportion of time is invested in watching television, despite the fact that is is very rarely enjoyed. … ” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Brett Miller says:

Nice. It seemed to me that most of what you quoted was very relevant.

Just wanted to point out that you can train the mind to enjoy its dynamic entropic chaos. Check out Vipassana and sense noting meditation and it points out a method for learning to appreciate 100% of every sense condition known. This ability varying according to time, practice, and even a certain degree of natural talent (genetics/capacity) and history/background.

Keep seeking, living, loving!

Eelco says:

Wil do. Thanks!

Leo Gura says:

Yes! In other words, modern society is an amusement park for the ego.

Dan says:

Well done! It is impossible to put into context the truth that we are no one thing -boundless beyond the limitations of cyclical expressions. To touch the dimension that is has no time, space and causation is a TSN turning point in ones evolution. Now we begin to raise the pitch of life energies which opens up perception that is not relative. Truth is clarity, stillness and silent. When realization happens all doubt and fear is gone. Then life begins and you are all in. As you all know 99% is a bitch. All or nothing is the same 0=1 all other math is a dream or nightmare depending on how much fuzzy logic gets. Lol

Smith says:

Leo can you please publish the video transcript after each video? Thanks

Candida says:

Dear Leo,

You are doing such good work for your generation, and even for mine! I’m 65 years old and I’ve been pursuing enlightenment for many years. Your video on No Self really helped bring that concept home and I am very grateful for this!

You might look into some of the marvelous work being done by Ken Wilber, Terry Patten, Jeff Carreira, Andrew Cohen, et. al. They are operating on the frontiers of evolutionary enlightenment and Ken’s work is very deep (many many books) and sometimes a bit too conceptual though many seem to be regarding him as a Bodhisattva.

At any rate, I really appreciate that you are languaging these ideas and experiences for a new generation. May we meet in the Pure Land!

With love,


Brett Miller says:

Yes, the Leo phenomenon has accomplished much positive work for sentient beings at a relatively young age. Excellent.

Others can be and often do find themselves feeling jealous or intimidated by true honesty and a genuine propensity for sharing personal and other discovery. Furthermore, deception, both gross and subtile, forms the cornerstone of our society. Therefore, human beings seem to find the truth repulsive upon encountering it dry, and prefer to have a shoehorn of sugary frosting as a booster stage toward eating truth.

Those on the way or in the midst of awakening have time for listening to honest human beings speak and never tire.

with bodhichitta,

Sina says:

Leo, I’m following your videos for about a month and they amuse me.

About 2 3 years ago I read Eckart Tolle’s The Power of Now which triggered in me the idea of awareness and enlightenment, separation of the mind etc.You mentioned his name in this video but don’t you think he is worth recommending? I mean do you find his materials not useful enough or you just simply decide not make examples of his teachings?

Leo Gura says:

Personally, for me, his work is not hardcore enough. I got nothing against him, he’s definitely the real-deal, but the way it’s framed it’s just like a drop in the bucket. If you really want to attain enlightenment, you gotta be ready to burn your whole worldview down to ashes. I don’t like teachings about enlightenment which emphasize emotional improvement or connection or God or love or any other kind of mainstream perks. Enlightenment is not about the perks. It’s about completely destroying your mind. You can’t just be in the present, in the NOW, unless the mind has been destroyed first. Attempting to apply an enlightened man’s realizations to one’s own life as a self-improvement technique is quite silly IMO. It’s just like monkeying around.

If you want the power of now, destroy your mind first, and it will happen automatically, guaranteed. If you feel Tolle is helping you to destroy your mind, then great, keep going with him. Personally, I did not get that feeling from his work. Might just be me. Different people need different teachers.

Brett Miller says:

Yeah, I see what you mean with all the comments regarding Tolle and his work. I think there could be, in theory, a situation where a mind could be just right so that one could read one of his books and it could lead to awakening. An ego like mine needs more like jumper cables and a car battery.

On the other hand, some people are using the writing and videos of Eckart Tolle as a trampoline to becoming more open minded, like my mother for instance. General and vague teachings such as his may have their place, as an intermediary step between loosening a tight immovable sense of self, and flat out Kensho, which can be terrifying to some when taken by surprise during Samadhi, etc.

As for the mind here…it needs brutal discipline, and is getting it.

Leo Gura says:

Certainly his work has a lot of value for some folks, and it’s raised the collective awareness about enlightenment in pop culture, which is great and makes my job easier because more people will be searching for hardcore enlightenment info.

ema says:

Hi Leo ,Let s say that you are right.Let s say that we are machines and we have no control.And if we want to,we can spend our lives look for awarness bcs its worthed.But i have a question,why are we born like that?It s sound like we are born blind and we need to learn to see for the rest of our lives.Why is it so complicated,you may spend the whole life try to figure out this stuff,and then when you finally believe to see the light,you die?bcs you are old.Im not saying that is not true all this,but i wonder why is this so hide inside,why you can not seee or is not there from the beginning?

Leo Gura says:

It’s not complicated. It’s actually extremely simple. So simple and obvious that the mind has overlooked it.

The problem is that you don’t yet even imagine how unaware you are of what you are. You were not really born, and you will not really die. << Those are beliefs of the ego-mind.

There is nothing hidden. There is simply a lot of self-deception at work which was fed into your mind since you were a baby. Society has not existed long enough yet to stamp out this self-deception. But the good news is, modern society gives you all the tools and resources you need to raise your awareness high enough to see for yourself what you really are. If you ever get to this point, it will be the most SHOCKING discovery you could possibly imagine. As though you thought you were a human being your whole life and then you discovered one day that actually you are the color green.

Popa says:

Great video.

I think awareness is super important. I would say that trying to be aware of more and more things SIMULTANEOUSLY is really powerful. I would say it increases the field of awareness.

However, it might be a good idea to become enlightened before trying to do that. I guess mental interference is reduced when you are enlightened which in turn helps increase the field of awareness (yeah, I believe awareness can be greatly raised even after enlightenement has been reached).

Then again, I could be wrong…

Brett Miller says:

Yeah, you’ve hit upon an age old quandary among contemplatives it seems. Should I start with a Chicken or with an Egg? I have opinions, but they are based on my particular brain and its stumbling grooves.

Elahe says:

Great video Leo, I have been watching your videos more than six months. Most of them are really good and this is one of those…..congradulations! Great job!
Your videos have a great impact on my life and they are helping me in my journey toward enlightment.
I would like to translate some of your videos in Persian, so more peaple can follow and understand them.I recommended some of them to my friends in Iran, but they are not able to follow them all and that stopped them from watching the videos….
I would like to know your openion about adding subtitles of different languages to your videos.

Teagan says:

I just want to say thank you! What you are doing is a hard battle to win.
I have been watching your videos for a year now and I have only JUST begun to understand the tip of the ice berg of what you are talking about in your videos. I hear what you say and it is has been very interesting this past year but very recently I have had a difference experience – I have not just understood what you are saying but I experienced a very small amount of it. I don’t know why you do it and I would love to know what drives you to take on this enormous challenge of not just convincing people but changing the way they think over a long period of time and even then, only if they “choose” to stick with it. I look forward to your future emails – keep “triggering” away

Todd Schafer says:

Psychologists talk about something called the RAS, or reticular activating system. Couldnt this whole shutting off of the awareness thing be for our own protection?

Would not our brains be overloaded were we to become aware of every single sensation?

Doesn’t there have to be a focus on what sensations are important for the moment?

Brett Miller says:

I would tend to agree, on both points. I’m not merely stating an opinion of agreement, as it appears, but have experienced this “direct consciousness” event myself on multiple occasions. It’s very hard to push through via Neti Neti, but during a full blown panic attack (better describe imo) as a “Feargasm” the ego is either 90% switched out (like a binary bit going from 1 to 0) to protect the organism. It can go to complete blackout, or simply partial, where the body walks around the room seeing completely unknown objects (the unconditioned) until the ego fades back in. I have awoken from night terrors into this state, and the senses were very active, yet the ego was in a state of rumbling fear, yet held at bay by a lucky roll into equanimity.

Now this can be seen also in times of extreme pain, at the limit of human tolerance. When I was 18, while skateboarding, I smashed my testicles on a handrail. The pain was so severe, large swaths of visual reality were disappearing, leaving quite beautiful blocks and blotches of colorful pieces of “unconditioned reality” in their place. Somehow, I didn’t blackout altogether on this occasion, which may have been more of a bane than a boon for me that day.

There is nothing mystical-shmistical about any of this stuff, and scientific neurophysical models are still effective in what they quantify. Yet the spiritual path is mostly nonoverlapping as a magesteria, and is more concerned with understanding the patterns of suffering we create during the course of our alleged quest for “happiness”.

From these aforementioned fear-laden events, we soon discover they are well worth learning to pass through with equanimity as they are a direct conscousness of how our self-survival mechanism breaks our attemps at personal liberation from the entire wheel of life.

Leo Gura says:

Psychologists do not have a deep grasp of consciousness, so their models are very limited because they don’t actually do any inner consciousness work.

Forget about RAS. All that stuff is bullshit as far as mastering your consciousness goes.

When it comes to studying consciousness, a good rule of thumb is: if it isn’t directly experienced by me, then it is bullshit.

Do you directly experience RAS?

Then it’s… you know what.

Pretty much all your beliefs about consciousness are wrong. Go back to the drawing board, start your investigation from scratch with zero assumptions or beliefs.

brett miller says:

Well, if that guy’s interests motivate the desire to go after real experience then bravo. If it’s yet another gate into storyland then sure.

I could turn around and say your enlightenment experience story is just a bullshit story since mine don’t match exactly, but I can’t do that, since I understand how an Insight/direct consciousness decays quickly into a memory…accompanied by the usual gross congitive distortion, which is naturally related by an individual according to his/her self-concept, always variable by definition.

You could also say my experiences weren’t legit, since most of mine weren’t hard earned Neti Neti trials, but were insights which came to me when I wasn’t seeking them. Then again, you will see people like J. Krishnamurti make claims that you can only find what you are looking for when you stop searching.

And once again, I’m not saying “my Kensho is bigger than Leo’s”, I’m merely saying that the aforementioned poster’s brain might not be as far off course as you think. Even if some scientist has tried to quantify/or qualify a mechanism for the ego flopping off of your face….and to the degree his work is based on a bs assumption or not, it doesn’t add or subtract from the spiritual work we are doing. Furthermore, to a mind that doesn’t have a knee jerk reaction to polarize straight to using the word “BS” at the drop of the hat….i.e. open mind..there are more options for letting go. Do we have to pile on more in order to eventually drop it all?

I don’t know the answer to that question yet. All I know is I am grateful to you Leo, for sharing your own progress on the spiritual path, even the pitfalls and triumphs alike. It has been personally useful to see things from a different perspective, as well as other factors which are strikingly similar to my own experience.

Brett Miller says:

Sorry to double post, but I wanted to paraphrase a quote I heard:

Man’s extremity is Being/Truth’s opportunity.

I am finding these days finally, that my own knowledge of science and the spiritual path are mostly complimentary. As long as one doesn’t usurp the other, they make a fine balance, or at the least it’s useful to have a little toolbox where you can grab a science wrench and give something a twist now and then.

As a kid growing up, science was my identity…this went on for years. Very bad. Now that I have a few years of loosening around my id, paradoxically the ability to use scientific tools feels much more free and effortless. Hmmm. Maybe “I” am not as in the way of my own work and thinking.

Thanks for the illuminating post Todd. -b

Brett Miller says:

It’s very simple, whether you use some psychologist’s term or not.

For millions of years after our brains evolved language and self-concept, it also had the fight or flight response…to protect us from tigers, etc. Many things go along with that response, such as switching out the ego, so that no thinking occured and the only thing left was fear. More often than not the organism would flee, or sometimes it would fight the tiger or whatever was the perceived object of threat.

Every now and then, this occurs spontaneously…with no Tiger in the room. With some folks, it happens more than others for various reasons I won’t go into. We evolved, for obvious reasons, to be egoless, when this occurs or mostly so, with the senses very highly attuned and still working. This isn’t an opinion or anecdote that could be bullshit, it’s a truism for mammals and can be seen or experienced by anyone directly or indirectly.

Is it a scientific fact that this response exists in mammals? Yes. Jumping up and down like a baby saying bullshit won’t change anyone or anything.

Is this something that can be exploited to grow yourself on the spiritual path. I would say “Hell yes it is.” Of course, Leo has done a fine job with the spiritual side in his guided Neti Neti, which I found quite useful and powerful.

But to think that either a phenomena has a spiritual or a scientific explanation and one or the other is bullshit is falling way out of balance and right back into dualism.

And that….all you 20-30 something year old mostly follower kids, is bullshit.

Elton says:

Machine nature acknowledgement. unconsciousness is super powerful as I’m writing this comment I went unconscious more than two times.

Alex says:

I dont get it! Isn’t that what the conscious and unconscious for? You can basically only focus on 1 thing at a time and switch between them? Isn’t that how it works?

Leo Gura says:

Awareness is not black/white, on/off. There is an extraordinary range of consciousness possible. There are levels of awareness that you couldn’t imagine in your wildest dreams.

Alex says:

You know how when someone is “multitasking” what they are actually doing is just switching focus rapidly from one thing to the other? Right you know this.
So are you actually dating that I can potentially hold thousands of thoughts and feelings in my consciousness at one time?

brett miller says:

You can investigate it yourself by using one of the many techniques to raise your mindfulness. You will/would be surprised how rapidly life changing insights appear. And at that point you will know directly some of the things Leo is trying to impart. In the past I underestimated the value of Insight, noting, etc. I was wrong…and several years may have been wasted in the process. One learns even to take those kind of things in stride, after it becomes apparent how much suffering the reaction can cause as it knots up more stress and conditions unwanted story lines.

Klaudia says:

Thank you for the great topic and video. I’ve got Ouspensky’s book. It’s shocking how ignorant the humans are.

Ben says:

My mind didn’t wander off at all but then I have been practicing for 5 years.

billy says:

Although I appreciate what you are saying in these videos Leo as it has helped me a lot and so I’m very grateful, I have to say that you come across like you have no concept of beginners mind ie at the end of the day these are only your views and ideas that you have taken on from others, from books, from study, religions, philosophy etc yet you speak as though this is the ultimate truth or gospel for everyone. Like you and only you know the meaning of life. You say you have been meditating for 3 years but this is really not even a blip in eternity. You are kind of setting yourself up to be a guru who knows all the answers and I think this is dangerous.

bade says:

Great work and philosophy Thanks

Paul Hardy says:

I like, in agreement with your work and am very interested in your website. Great work. Along with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s Inner Engineering, both will complement the other nicely toward Liberation of the Self.
By the way Leo, are you aware that the sentence you like to use : ” The reason is because ” is not the correct way of communicating ? Just a thought

Jonathan says:

So the ideas here were quite disturbing and eye-opening, but most of the ideas were contradictory to personal development. Like saying that we have no free will or control over our lives. Isn’t that what all of PD and Self-Help is based on. Taking control. Becoming a creator.
I’m kind of confused. Should I pursue consciousness, enlightenment, and the spiritual path or take care of my practical self-actualizing needs first? I mean I’m not even 18 yet. I’m 16. I’m just becoming beginning to learn and take action on the practical things in my life(life purpose, health, finances etc.) Should I put the spiritual side off for now or should I pursue this first and If I do would that make my PD journey easier or…?
Or is it like building a foundation(PD) first only to then smash it to pieces to reach even higher levels(Enlightenment)?
Please answer Leo, I’m really confused and I would appreciate your help.

Leo Gura says:

Advanced concepts will naturally seem paradoxical and confusing. Therein lies the work.

You can do it either way. Depends on your desires.

Consciousness work is not like regular personal development. It involves a lot of deconstruction, which is antithetical to your desire for material success and “self”-improvement.

Thane says:


You are Awesome!

The contents of your talk should be seen as a “fabric”. 10 years ago, I would have seen perceived your talk in isolation and therefore in disinterest. But past several years, I have been trying to make sense of life..triggered by disappointments, fear, sorrow, anxiety and most of all inability to “unlearn” dogmas and traditions set by generations of people who were themselves in the dark and did not know any better.
So..your talk is wonderful and I can relate to it…

Thanks so much for sharing (btw they are not long…)

Marcin says:

Great, powerful video. In our times we may say Man is like an algorithm.
The question is can we act, can we modyfing this algorithm or rather it is coded in our DNA and we have nothing to do with this? Thanks Leo!

Michael Emery says:

Thanks Leo..great imfo for me

Ted Anderson says:

We are not beings who “have awareness”, we ARE awareness.

Diana says:

Hey Leo,

The following picture of both awareness and attention helps me a lot.
I see attention as a camera which can be pointed in one direction at any one point in time. By direction, I mean paying attention to your body, your thoughts, the outside world. I see awareness as the quality of the camera you have. If you’re low on awareness, your images are very blurry and far apart. With high awareness, you have more dpi, sometimes even shoot in HD.
Does that make sense?

– Diana

Goddy Oku says:

Leo, we’ve begged you to publish transcript with each video. Not everyone owns a large phone to accommodate large/lengthy video, unless one decided to settle for poor quality file! Again transcript is easier to jump back and forward area that is not properly understood!
Please reconsider having transcripts on a separate area as you did with mp3 audio files.
Thanks! Remain blessed for the beautiful job you’re doing

Dainis K says:

It is at utmost importance of how message is being conveyed. I have been hearing about the topic for many years from other sources now, but Leo nails down in a few words things with which I have been confused for a long time.
Some explanations have been so good that message gets through better than studying original authors source.
If anybody does not feel the same way, there are multitude ways of how truth is presented nowadays and this variety is necessary for varied students.
The main thing is to stay on the path.

Thank you Leo

Seham says:

Why stops video translation in the middle of speech?

Max Gron says:

I think I woke up after watching this video, and I’m well aware of many things, but I admit when I’m asleep, the doctors can’t help you because this unhealthy tendency of doctors as with Freud’s opium and alcohol problem is preposterous, why shouldn’t it be? In my own thinking it’s neurotic and psychologically I’ll, it blows my mind how things are against what I think will be therapeutic, yet at the same time doctors in not giving you any confidence very often are the cause of mental pain.

Max the Know better says:

Leo’s a Zen Buddhist, pantheist, metaphysical monist, epistemologist of belief, logician, post-rational, liberal, libertarian, metaphysical solipsist, god-believer, and believes in the devil and in evil, and believes in hating the ego, fuck off, it’s fantasy, it’s not exactly according to fact, also Leo doesn’t think for himself, he doesn’t listen to reason. If I say don’t slap me, it hurts, I mean a command with a reason, but no one here listens to reason, if I gave reasons you don’t recognise the truth of it, yeah, right, Leo is a contradicting man insecure about people, he’s jealous. Reality’s non-dual, it is what it is and not a contradiction of that, but it’s more, it’s a complicated thing to recognise, you suffer delusions so good it can’t be distinguished from reality, my old reality, mixed with reality of recent times, is all that’s true, therefore I should live maximally well and it’s perfect, it’s true, most people are like that.

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