Authentic spirituality is about embracing life, not escaping or avoiding it (quotes)


Some spiritual traditions tell us we need to escape and transcend the world through radical detachment


Some spiritual traditions preach radical detachment and distance from the world

  • In Gnosticism, the physical world did not ultimately matter – which meant physical suffering did not matter either. Seeking ‘enlightenment’ meant cultivating an attitude of detachment, even indifference. Nancy Pearcey
  • It is easy to use nondual teachings to both distance ourselves from our humanity and to make a virtue of such disengagement, leaving us clinging to our detachment. Robert Augustus Masters
  • Knowing the world to be a part of myself, I pay it no more attention than you pay to the food you have eaten. I have eaten up the world and I need not think of it anymore. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
  • Some spiritual seekers mistakenly think the purpose of life is to realise it is a movie-like illusion and then escape from it through radical detachment. Anthony Lambert
  • This one life has no form and is empty by nature. If you become attached by any form, you should reject it. If you see an ego, a soul, a birth, or a death, reject them all. Bodhidharma
  • To be wise was to be above joy and sorrow, fear and pity, ambition and humiliation. It was to hate nothing and to love nothing, and above all to be utterly indifferent to the love and hate of others. Michael Ende
  • To perfect your nature means to let go of this world and place your attention fully in the plane of enlightenment. Frederick Lenz

The argument is made that we should do our best to escape the world…

  • We can only escape from the world by outgrowing the world. Death may take man out of the world but only wisdom can take the world out of the man. As long as the human being is obsessed by worldliness, he will suffer from the Karmic consequences of false allegiances. When however, worldliness is transmuted into Spiritual Integrity he is free, even though he still dwells physically among worldly things. Manly Hall
  • Don’t we want to escape our real world and go into something larger than that, simpler than that, more beautiful or darker? Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  • Everything is changeable, everything appears and disappears; there is no blissful peace until one passes beyond the agony of life and death. Gautama Buddha
  • Feel nothing, know nothing, do nothing, have nothing, give up all to God, and say utterly, ‘Thy will be done.’ We only dream this bondage. Wake up and let it go. Swami Vivekananda

…and to transcend the world

  • The goal of society in general is to succeed in the world, whereas the goal of enlightenment is to transcend beyond it. David Hawkins

The argument is made that liberation comes from renunciation of the world…

  • Renunciation: The formal rejection of something. Oxford Dictionary
  • Renunciation: The formal announcement that someone no longer owns, supports, believes in, or has a connection with something. Cambridge Dictionary
  • Two birds, united always, and known by the same name, closely cling to the same tree. One of them eats the sweet fruit; the other looks on without eating. The Upanishads
  • Renunciation is not getting rid of the things of this world, but accepting that they pass away. Robert Baker Aitken
  • “I do not want to get material life, do not want the sense-life, but something higher.” That is renunciation. Swami Vivekananda
  • It is always for greater joy that you give up the lesser. This is practical religion-the attainment of freedom, renunciation. Renounce the lower so that you may get the higher. Renounce! Renounce! Sacrifice! Give up! Not for zero. Not for nothing. But to get the higher. Swami Vivekananda
  • A saint addicted to excessive self-abnegation is a dangerous associate; he may infect you with poverty, and a stiffening of those joints which are needed for advancement-in a word, with more renunciation than you care for-and so you flee the contagion. Victor Hugo
  • Renunciation, and renunciation alone, is the real secret, the Mulamantra, of all Realisation. Swami Vivekananda
  • Give up, renounce the world. Now we are like dogs strayed into a kitchen and eating a piece of meat, looking round in fear lest at any moment some one may come and drive them out. Instead of that, be a king and know you own the world. This never comes until you give it up and it ceases to bind. Give up mentally, if you do not physically. Give up from the heart of your hearts. Swami Vivekananda
  • Tremendous purity, tremendous renunciation, is the one secret of spirituality. “Neither through wealth, nor through progeny, but through renunciation alone is immortality to be reached,” say the Vedas. “Sell all that thou hast and give to poor, and follow me,” says the Christ. So all great saints and prophets have expressed it, and have carried it out in their lives. How can great spirituality come without renunciation? Swami Vivekananda
  • Renunciation doesn’t mean giving up things externally but rather it means diligently pulling out the weeds from the heart. Radhanath Swami
  • Renunciation means absence of hankering after fruit. Mahatma Gandhi
  • An act of renunciation is an act of union with God. The Divine Master looks lovingly upon a person who gains a victory over self. Madeleine Sophie Barat
  • .. who find delight in freedom from attachment in the renunciation of clinging, free from the inflow of thoughts, they are like shining lights, having reached final liberation in the world. Gautama Buddha
  • The test of progress is the amount of renunciation that one has attained. Swami Vivekananda
  • True renunciation arrives when we understand that nothing is mine. Whatever intelligence I have, whatever abilities I have, whatever family members I have, whatever wealth or property I have, is the sacred property of God or the Divine. Radhanath Swami
  • Renounce all things, and thou shalt find all things; give up thy lust, and thou shalt find rest. Thomas a Kempis

…and through asceticism

  • True asceticism means stringent adherence to truth, and it means of the spirit and not the body. To become a pious, ragged, semi-starved, skin-and-bones entity is a self-indulgence and has nothing to do with Reality. Dr. David Hawkins

The argument is made that all desire should be transcended

  • One has to go beyond the mind to experience the spiritual bliss of desirelessness. Meher Baba
  • To attempt the destruction of our passions is the height of folly. What a noble aim is that of the zealot who tortures himself like a madman in order to desire nothing, love nothing, feel nothing, and who, if he succeeded, would end up a complete monster! Denis Diderot

The world is renounced as something lesser…

  • This world is nothing. It is at best only a hideous caricature, a shadow of the Real. We must go to the Real. Renunciation will take us to It. Renunciation is the very basis of our true life; every moment of goodness and real life that we enjoy is when we do not think of ourselves. Swami Vivekananda
  • In Gnosticism, the physical world did not ultimately matter. Nancy Pearcey

…and life is seen as undivine

  • According to the dualistic schools, this worldly life is often seen as unDivine. The soul by taking on manhood, perhaps by the very fact of birth itself, has fallen from the Divine, has committed an original sin or error which it must be man’s spiritual aim, as soon as he is enlightened, thoroughly to cancel, unflinchingly to eliminate. Ghose

The world is renounced as an illusion that wants to entangle us

  • According to these advaita schools, a potential “entanglement either in the meshes of Prakriti or in the cobwebs of Maya (Shankara Vedanta), or in the fetters of Karma. The shortcoming in this perception of the manifest world is the conviction that involvement in this world of nature and people is entangling illusion fraught with dangerous spiritual setbacks.  Matthew W. Morey
  • He who aims at Ultimate Reality places no accent on the things of the world: it would seem completely futile to him since he has ascertained the unreality of things… John Klein

The irony is that renunciation of the world is just another form of attachment

  • To be unattached is not to renounce the world. If you renounce the world you are attached to the world; otherwise why should you renounce it? What is the point in renouncing it if you are not attached to it? Only attachment renounces. If you are really non-attached there is no question of any renunciation. Rajneesh

The irony is that transcendence is impossible unless we plunge into the world

  • Plunge into the world, and then, after a time, when you have suffered and enjoyed all that is in it, will renunciation come; then will calmness come. So fulfill your desire for power and everything else, and after you have fulfilled the desire, will come the time when you will know that they are all very little things; but until you have fulfilled this desire, until you have passed through that activity, it is impossible for you to come to the state of calmness, serenity, and self-surrender. Swami Vivekananda

The truth is that excessive detachment is just a ploy to avoid the inevitable pain that life brings

  • The main motive for nonattachment is a desire to escape from the pain of living, and above all from love, which, sexual or non-sexual, is hard work. George Orwell

The truth is that excessive detachment can lead to depersonalization

  • Depersonalization in which we feel a sense of unreality and detachment from our self. Symptoms include dreamlike states, loss of empathy and a sense of disconnection with our bodies. It can seem like we are actors in a play or that we are watching the world from behind glass. It is surprisingly common. Bruce Hood

Authentic spirituality is about embracing the world; not escaping it


Authentic spirituality is not about permanently removing ourselves from the world

  • If we remove ourselves from the world, we are pretending that we can follow our own individual enlightenment and let the rest of the world go to hell, so to speak. Satish Kumar
  • Many spiritual teachers – in Buddhism, in Islam – have talked about first-hand experience of the world as an important part of the path to wisdom, to enlightenment. Bell Hooks
  • Sitting peacefully on a cushion day and night seeking to attain Buddhahood, rejecting life and death in hopes of realizing enlightenment, is all like a monkey grasping at the moon reflected in the water. Shoitsu Omatsu
  • The ultimate purpose of Zen,’ I remembered the roshi telling me, ‘is not in the going away from the world but in the coming back. Zen is not just a matter of gaining enlightenment; it’s a matter of acting in a world of love and compassion.  Pico Iyer
  • Transcending the world does not mean to withdraw from the world, to no longer take action, or to stop interacting with people. Transcendence of the world is to act and to interact without any self-seeking. Eckhart Tolle

Authentic spirituality takes us deeper into the world

  • The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it. Henri J. M. Nouwen

True enlightenment and awakening is about embracing the world, not escaping it

  • … the whole point of the creative process is to be here—to participate fully, radically, consciously in the Universe Project. In this evolutionary context, the point of enlightenment is not merely to transcend the world so that you can be free of it but to embrace the world completely, to embrace the entire process as your self, knowing that you are the creative principle incarnate. Andrew Cohen
  • Advaitic philosophy paints our personal lives as some meaningless fantasy to be transcended. Tim Freke
  • Completion comes when we not just wake up from all form, from all identification, but when love causes us to re-embrace it all. Adyashanti
  • I want to suggest that the purpose of the spiritual journey is not to arrive anywhere, but rather to engage with the adventure of life in a new way, so that the evolutionary process unfolds powerfully within us. It’s about waking up to our deeper being so that we can more fully engage with the evolutionary adventure of becoming a more conscious individual. It’s about living our lives as a transformational process through which we are learning to love. Tim Freke
  • It is the courage to be authentic that keeps us strong enough to withstand the heartbreak through which enlightenment can occur. And it is by honoring how life comes through us that we get the most out of living, not by keeping ourselves out of the way. The goal is to mix our hands in the earth, not to stay clean. Mark Nepo
  • Too often in the west we fail to realize that even in eastern disciplines the spiritual life is not meant as an escape from the worldly life. There is karma to be fulfilled on earth, within the dharma of necessity. James Hillman
  • Enlightenment is often understood as an egoless state in which we’re fully self-realized and permanently awake. We’re free from the cycle of rebirth, so we don’t have to reincarnate back into this troublesome human existence. I no longer see the spiritual journey in this way. I don’t aspire to arrive at some ultimate state. The idea of eradicating the ego seems misguided and holds no attraction. My experience of awakening makes me want to fully engage with the human adventure, not escape it. Tim Freke
  • You don’t have to escape experience to find yourself. You can find it in the midst of experience. Rupert Spira
  • Vipassana is the art of living. Not the art of escaping. N. Goenka
  • Christianity’s goal is not escape from this world. It loves this world and seeks to change it for the better. Marcus Borg
  • Mysticism has often been misunderstood as the attempt to escape this simple, phenomenal world to a more pure existence in heaven beyond. This is not mysticism, but Gnosticism. Biblical mysticism is the attempt to exit ‘this world’ to an alternative reality that pervades the old order. Its goal is to jettison the mind-set that says ‘greed is good,’ selfishness is normal,’ and ‘killing is necessary.’ Mysticism in biblical terms is not escapism, as so many have caricatured it, but a fight for ethics and social change. Walter Wink

True enlightenment is about connecting to the world

  • Retreating from the world will not liberate you. Happiness is not found in a secluded forest hut or isolated cave. Enlightenment comes when you connect to the world. Only when you truly connect with everyone and everything else do you become Enlightened. Only by going deeply and fully into the world do you attain liberation.  Guo Jun
  • It isn’t by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world…by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves. Ken Kesey

True spiritual awakening is about becoming a lover of life

  • A spiritual process is not a divorce from life. It is an irrevocable love affair with life. Jaggi Vasudev
  • Becoming a ‘lover of life’ isn’t about achieving a spiritually awakened state in which we’re detached from life. It’s becoming conscious of the deep self so that we can engage compassionately with the adventures of the separate self. It’s discovering the love within us, so that we can express this love in the world around us. Tim Freke
  • Becoming a lover of life means reaching deep within so we can come further out. It means transcending the story so we can transform the story. It means daring to be a unique expression of the mystery of being, on a journey of self-realization and self expression. Tim Freke
  • True spirituality is celebrating and loving the richness of life. Life is to be savoured and enjoyed. Just do what you love to do. Dance, knit, sing, fish, build, write, paint, exercise, read, cook, volunteer, hike, travel, cuddle, meditate, garden, day-dream, nap or swim. Do whatever your heart needs in the moment. Being kind to yourself is allowing yourself to follow your bliss. Do things that energise you, not things that drain you. Aimee Davies
  • Being a lover of life means being open to the present moment as a precious opportunity to experience the richness of life and feel its transformational power. It means loving your life as it is and working for a better future. Tim Freke
  • Consciousness loves experiencing diversity; detachment is not cold. Mooji
  • Fall in love with life. A real love affair is passionate and wild. There are ups and downs. It is an emotional rollercoaster. But there is always a feeling of intense aliveness and spontaneity. That is why we love falling in love. We feel magically alive. We feel our inner beauty radiating from inside out. Our relationship to life can be a love affair. How we treat life is how life will treat us. Of-course, life can be unfair but it’s about learning to dance the tango with life rather than constantly challenging it to a boxing match. Aimee Davies
  • The ignorant man (engrossed in duality) desires material things; the intelligent man (seeker on the path) desires enlightenment; but the wise man (knower of Oneness) just loves and receives everything. Vedanta
  • You are here to evolve and make your consciousness high. You are here to dance, sing and celebrate life. You are here to help others to make their life happy. We are here not to compete, but to learn, evolve and excel. We are not here to make divisions in the name of prophets and religions. We are here to encompass the world with love and light. Amit Ray
  • I want a spirituality that’s passionate about life. After all, the delights of this world are so rich and various that it seems criminal not to appreciate them. Tim Freke

Authentic spirituality realises the world is divine…

  • I am grateful to non-duality because it got my subjective view straight that there is only One Self and I am that and you are too. It turned my attention temporarily away from the world so I could discover my true identity within. But true freedom only arose when, resting in my true identity, I turned my attention back out to the world and recognised that the world too is divine. I now recognise the divine spark that I am in everyone and everything. I started to love my world again with a fearless joy. I embraced its beauty with open arms. I will never stop loving it this way. Aimee Davies
  • The world is a mirror representing the divine life. William A. Dembski
  • We live in a divine world. Samson Raphael Hirsch
  • Awe enables us to see in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple, to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal. Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • World is a divine play. At the beginning and at the end, we are the same. Amit Ray
  • The world is a divine dream. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The outer world, with all its phenomena, is filled with divine splendour, but we must have experienced the divine within ourselves, before we can discover it in our environment. Rudolf Steiner
  • In the affirmation that all of creation exists and throbs with the energy of Divine Spirit, this spirituality grounds us in the physical-spiritual and gives us a part to play, a contributing part, a repairing part, a healing and restoring part. Our world is full of pain and injustice and Jesus calls us to heal it. To be connected to the earth is to belong in the midst of its beauty and to be part of redeeming its suffering. We belong to the earth; we belong to one another. Each person is my brother, my sister. Each person is mine to care about because I belong here. I belong on this sacred earth, and I have a mission born of that belonging. Doug Hammack
  • Understand with your mind and feel with your heart that that everyone and everything is an expression of a single infinite and indivisible whole and act accordingly. Rupert Spira

…and worthy of full participation

  • The world itself—again provided that the individual has been liberated from “all taint of ignorance” that keeps the ego in a state of illusion of separation and self importance—is an inseparable expression of Brahman, valid in its own right and, as a creative manifestation of Brahman, worthy of creative interface and participation by the individual. Matthew W. Morey
  • The “selfannihilation” of the schools of Advaita that promote transcendence from this realm of matter and individual consciousness does not agree with the transformation that Sri Aurobindo proposes. The material world and the beings whose consciousness has arisen thereof, are valid expressions per se of this creative unfolding mystery. To emphasize the primacy of transcendence from this world of form and individual life denigrates the miracle of our existence as evolving expressions of Brahman in this realm of cosmic and individual existence. Lila, from the Integral perspective, validates the Maya of this realm, its expression and development, as fundamentally valid expressions of Brahman in the context of the mystery of the play. Matthew W. Morey

The mind, body and world are expressions of God, not distractions

  • The mind, the body and the world are understood to be expressions of Consciousness rather than distractions from it. Rupert Spira
  • The Vedantic yogi never tires of stating that kaivalya, “isolation-integration”, can be attained only by turning away from the distracting allure of the world and worshiping with single-pointed attention the formless Brahman-Atman; to the Tantric, however—as to the normal child of the world—this notion seems pathological, the wrong-headed effect of a certain malady of intellect.  Rohan Bastin

God is to be found in the flow of daily life, not away from it

  • God is to be found not by stepping aside from the flow of daily life into religious moments and environments, or by looking away from creation to a spiritual realm beyond, but rather by entering attentively the depths of the present moment. There we will find God. John Philip Newell
  • I want to have a lasting experience with God. Sometimes I feel like I understand the divinity of this world, but then I lose it because I get distracted by my petty desires and fears. I want to be with God all the time. But I don’t want to be a monk, or totally give up worldly pleasures. I guess what I want to learn is how to live in this world and enjoy its delights, but also elevate myself to God. Elizabeth Gilbert

Authentic spirituality is about belonging to the world, not alienation from the world

  • This is a spirituality of belonging, not of alienation. It is a spirituality that feels at home in human culture, at home in nature, at home in commerce, and at home in politics. It is a spirituality that does not disdain human society, but seeks divine life and breath in the midst of it all. This is a spirituality that sees the broken and fouled parts of culture, of media, and of society not as the inevitable outcome of human corruption, but as parts of God’s beloved creation in need of restoration. Doug Hammack
  • The point of spirituality is not to separate oneself from the natural world and from others; rather, it is to make one’s own actions in the natural world and one’s interactions with others sacred. Hoyt L. Edge
  • When we see ourselves in the image of God . . . When we see ourselves belonging on this earth . . . Ours is not the religion of short-timers just passing through. No! We are owners, stayers, engagers, and caregivers. We belong here on God’s good earth. Doug Hammack

Realise some spiritual concepts and notions have passed there sell-by date

  • Although I’ve been heavily influenced by my studies of spirituality, these days I find most established spiritual traditions to be weighed down by religious ways of thinking that are well past their sell-by date. Tim Freke
  • Many people today, however, are consuming large amounts of spiritual junk food without chewing—so there’s an epidemic of philosophical indigestion. Tim Freke

If your spiritual path is life-negating or nihilistic, choose a different path

  • The saying no self, no problem” probably comes from Zen. In their cultures, where Buddhism is kind of taken for granted, as well as karma, causality, former and future life, and the possibility for becoming enlightened, then it’s safe to skirt the danger of nihilism, which would be, I don’t exist because Buddha said I have no self, and therefore I have no problem because I don’t exist. That would be a bad misunderstanding. But in those cultures, it would not be as easy to have that understanding as it would be here in the west, where we really are nihilistic. Robert Thurman
  • Religious teachings, however, insofar as they emphasize personal salvation of some kind as the objective of self-discovery, tend to be world-negating. Amit Goswami
  • What is “good”? Anything that supports LIFE and overcomes obstructions to life – whether creatively or destructively. Peter Wilberg

If your spiritual path doesn’t cheer you up, choose a different path

  • The first sign that you are becoming religious is that you are becoming cheerful. When a man is gloomy, that may be dyspepsia, but it is not religion. Misery is caused by sin, and by no other cause. What business have you with clouded faces? It is terrible. If you have a clouded face, do not go out that day, shut yourself up in your room. What right have you to carry this disease out into the world? Swami Vivekananda
  • There is a great deal too much in the world, of the “heavenly-mindedness” which expends itself in the contemplation of the joys of paradise, which performs no duty which it can shirk, and whose constant prayer is to be lifted in some overwhelming flood of Divine grace, and be carried, amidst the admiration of men and the jubilance of angels, to the very throne of God. Henry Clay Trumbull
  • I hate all the sanctimonious seriousness and saccharine niceness so often associated with being ‘spiritual’. It gets in the way of our being authentic with each other. Tim Freke

If your spiritual path makes you feel bad about yourself, choose a different path

  • What I love about artists is that they express and redeem our ambiguous humanity. What I find difficult about some spiritual teachers is that they make us feel bad about the way we naturally are. Tim Freke
  • For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket – by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners. Ayn Rand
  • The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. C. S. Lewis

If your spiritual path makes unrealistic promises, choose a different path

  • The goal of spirituality is total and permanent freedom from psychological sorrows and sufferings. This is only possible when we will stop taking birth as individuals again and again. What makes us an ‘Individual’? The ignorance. What kind of ignorance? Our idea about our self that ‘I am an individual’. Harsha Yardi

Embrace life and the world


Embrace life and the world…

  • You have been given the extraordinary gift of experiencing life on this wondrous planet. Can you let that sink in for just a moment? You have a body that can move, groove and shake. You have ultra-clear, high definition sensory experiences running through your consciousness right now. Your life is like a totally immersive movie that has 3D vision and surround sound. You have this extraordinary movie-like world called earth to play and explore in. Aimee Davies
  • [Life affirming spirituality] means seeing life as an evolutionary adventure and welcoming the challenges through which you grow as a person. It means embracing your flawed humanity and accepting that you will stumble on the journey of life … that you become wise by being foolish … that you can’t always be awake and at your best. It means immersing yourself in the deep love and then learning to express that love more expansively and inclusively in the world. It means knowing yourself and showing yourself, by expressing your secret potential so that the world is richer for you being here. It means loving your life as it is while working for a better future. Tim Freke
  • Why, what is to live? Not to eat and drink and breathe,—but to feel the life in you down all the fibres of being, passionately and joyfully. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • A passionately lived life is not always comfortable. Going for it involves being open to all of life – the joys, the sorrows, the mundane as well and the magic, the splendid victories, the most abject defeats. You might even stop closing your eyes during the scary parts of the movie. Nicholas Lore
  • I have learnt how to live…how to be in the world and of the world, and not just to stand aside and watch. Audrey Hepburn
  • I’ve looked at life from every angle, and this is what I come to . . . Enjoy the life you have. Eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. Always be clothed in white, (i.e. stay cool in the hot sun), and always anoint your head with oil (i.e. look and smell good). Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this . . . life that God has given you under the sun. Ecclesiastes
  • When we’re deluded there’s a world to escape. When we’re aware, there’s nothing to escape. Bodhidharma
  • Nothing else matters much…not wealth, nor learning, nor even health…without this gift: the spiritual capacity to keep zest in living. This is the creed of creeds, the final deposit and distillation of all important faiths: that you should be able to believe in life. Harry Emerson Fosdick
  • The purpose of the spiritual journey is not to arrive anywhere, but rather to engage with the adventure of life in a new way, so that the evolutionary process unfolds powerfully within us. It’s about waking up to our deeper being so that we can more fully engage with the evolutionary adventure of becoming a more conscious individual. It’s about living our lives as a transformational process through which we are learning to love. Tim Freke

…including its challenges and struggles

  • How many successful films have there been that start with all going well, progress with everything working out, and end happily ever after? We don’t want to watch a story like that. We want tension and drama… misfortune and humour… catharsis and transformation… chaos and resolution. We want a story that moves us to feel something. We want a story that leaves us richer for the telling. Tim Freke

Embrace being on earth rather than wishing for heaven

  • Don’t waste your time in this world longing to be somewhere else, including back home in Heaven. You are here because this is where your soul wants to be. David Sunfellow
  • For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. Albert Camus
  • You are going to get everything you want after you die so this life doesn’t matter. Sam Harris
  • When I see the plight of the wounded, my story would never say; “There, there. It will be better when you get to heaven.” Doug Hammack

Embrace all worldly experience

  • If you are lifeworthy, you can take it. What we are really living for is the experience of life, both the pain and the pleasure. Joseph Campbell
  • Life experience is not something to be denied, but to be celebrated. Madeleine M. Kunin

Embrace the sacredness of the ordinary

  • And some, like me, are just beginning to guess at the powerful religion of ordinary life, a spirituality of freshly mopped floors and stacked dishes and clothes blowing on the line. Adair Lara
  • There is as much freedom of the spirit in watching sparrows on a city street as in meditating in some mountain solitude under the stars. Alan Watts
  • When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. Mary Oliver
  • Just being ordinary in and of itself is an expression of divinity; the truth of one’s real self can be discovered through the pathway of everyday life. David Hawkins
  • A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. Thomas Merton

Embrace your animal instincts without being ruled by them

  • In Greek mythology Aphrodite, the great goddess of love, was honoured as Urania, who represented spiritual love, and also as Porne the ‘titillator’. I adore the inclusiveness of the ancient imagination. It encourages us to make space in our lives for our animal instincts, not to repress them in our zeal to be spiritually pure. It’s inherent in the paradoxity of our identity that our essential nature is pure and simple, while our human nature is earthy and complex. The deep self is always at peace, while the surface self is alive with passion. Tim Freke

Embrace being you

  • The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. Joseph Campbell
  • Far from being the problem, the personal self is our foundation in the world, from which we can spiritually awaken. It is a gloriously particular expression of the infinite potentiality of being, through which the primal oneness of awareness can experience life. Tim Freke

Embrace the world of the senses

  • Do not rage against the world of the senses. Only by accepting the world of senses can you share in the true perception.  Seng Tsan
  • In Hinduism the physical and sensuous side of human nature, which has always been associated with the female, is a fully integrated part of the Divine. Fritjof Capra
  • Let one practice concentration; or let one indulge in sense-enjoyment. Let one find pleasure in company; or in solitude. He alone is happy, happy, verily happy, whose mind revels in Brahman. Bhaja Govindam
  • My spirit is healthy, yes. But I tell you, my flesh is healthy too. I am enlightened and free, but I am also lustful and carnal. JoyBell C.

Embrace yourself as a never-ending work in process, not something you have to complete in a mad dash…

  • Tim is a work of art that I’ll refine and rework until my dying day. He’s imperfect of course, which is tough on everyone. But it’s only to be expected. He’s a work in progress. He’s an attempt at a conscious, loving, human being. Tim Freke
  • We need to update our spiritual ideas so that we conceive of awakening as a perpetual process of evolution, rather than an end-driven dash for ultimate salvation. Tim Freke

…realising that self-realisation is only the first step in a lifelong process

  • The recognition of the self is the end of the first chapter of a large novel. The rest of the book is about realigning our feelings, behaviors, perceptions in line with the new understanding. Rupert Spira
  • Self-realisation is only the first step in an endless process. The next step is to live as an expression of that understanding, allowing it to colonize all experience so that it affects your thoughts, feelings, sensations, perceptions, actions and relationships. Rupert Spira
  • It is important to recognise that the inward-facing path is only half the journey. Once the essential, irreducible nature of the mind has been recognised, and its inherent peace and unconditional joy accessed, It is necessary to face ‘outwards’ again towards objective experience, realigning the way we think and feel, and subsequently act, perceive and relate, with our new understanding. Rupert Spira
  • Recognising one’s true nature is just a beginning. After this recognition there is a process in which the way we think, feel, act, perceive and relate is gradually realigned with our new experiential understanding. In fact, this is an endless process in which the body, mind and world are gradually pervaded by and saturated with the infinite light of pure Consciousness. Rupert Spira
  • It’s taken 14 billion years for matter to gain the capacity to become conscious of itself. If this is true, it wouldn’t make any sense that the whole point of enlightenment would be to escape from the whole process at the very instant that the universe is beginning to awaken to itself. Andrew Cohen
  • The important thing is to implement this understanding of consciousness in all realms of our life, to transpose what we have understood at the intellectual level to the level of feeling and sensing, so that everything becomes integrated in our life. When this occurs our feeling, sensing, and thinking will be harmonized with the source. Francis Lucille

Embrace both your separateness and oneness with all

  • Authentic spirituality is about enjoying our separateness whilst also embracing oneness. Anthony Lambert
  • The essence of spirituality is, to be constantly aware of the oneness of all; at the same time to celebrate the uniqueness of the individual. Jaggi Vasudev
  • From one perspective all is one. Everything is just happening. There is no Tim. So there’s no separate person to be a puppet or otherwise. Then from the other perspective everything is separate. Tim exists as a person. And he can clearly choose how he reacts to life. This is one of his defining qualities as a human being. Tim Freke
  • I used to see the goal of the adventure of awakening as a state of enlightenment, in which I dissolved into the oneness of things. But for me, being deep awake is a state of both transcendental enlightenment and passionate enlivenment. When I live lucidly, I am both conscious of oneness and in love with separateness. Tim Freke
  • I want us to know that we are one, and feel empowered to express our unique individuality by passionately playing our part in the story of life. Tim Freke
  • If I look at my own experience, Tim is clearly the hero of the story. He’s the star of the show. Other people come and go, but Tim is in every scene. His wife Debbie plays romantic love interest. His best mate Pete plays comic sidekick. Tim Freke
  • If we want to waken we don’t need to eradicate the ego. We simply need to be conscious of the deep self as well. Tim Freke
  • In my experience we don’t need to eradicate the separate self to awaken to oneness. When I’m deep awake ‘Tim’ doesn’t disappear in a puff of spiritual enlightenment. On the contrary, Tim comes to life. Tim Freke
  • In my experience, being deep awake is both a state of transcendental enlightenment and embodied enlivenment. It’s knowing that all is one and enjoying the play of separateness from that perspective. Tim Freke
  • It seems to me that self and no-self paralogically coexist. It’s like in the yin/yang symbol. There’s a dot of white in the middle of the black, and vice versa. In the same way when I go to the depths of the separate self I find the no-self. But when I dissolve into the no-self I see that it’s Tim who is conscious of this happening. Tim Freke
  • Masculine wisdom is about communing with the impersonal oneness, but feminine wisdom is about loving the personal world. Tim Freke
  • Paradoxically, I’ve found that the more I step out of the story of Tim, the more I’m able to really enjoy his adventures. When I’m lost in separateness, it’s so frightening that I wear a psychological suit of armour to protect myself, which deadens me to life. I become scared and take refuge in numb insensitivity. Only when I know I’m truly safe can I risk diving into the whirling currents of the life-stream. Tim Freke
  • Some approaches to awakening teach that our separate identity is an irrelevant illusion, because oneness is the only reality. Tim Freke
  • Spiritual awakening is also about ‘self-expression’. This means engaging with the process through which the separate self evolves, so that we can progressively express more of the infinite potential of our essential nature. It means entering into the creative process of life as a conscious collaborator with the primal field of awareness, to bring new possibilities into the world. Tim Freke
  • The strange thing is that the more I’ve experienced the ecstatic joy of being deep awake, the more I’ve come to appreciate the miracle of every moment. The more I’ve recognized that all is one, the more I’ve fallen in love with this separate individual named ‘Tim’ . . . and his extraordinarily ordinary life. Tim Freke
  • There is something wrong with the perennial philosophy of oneness. There is an implicit, and sometimes explicit, rejection of the world and the personal life.  I want to both wake up to oneness and passionately engage with my personal life as a separate individual.  Tim Freke
  • Too many people who view their individuality as an obstacle to be overcome. Oneness is essentially real. Separateness is apparently real. That’s the paradoxity of life. Tim Freke

Embrace your human nature…

  • For me the wonderful thing about awakening is that it enables me to embrace my human nature just as it is. Tim Freke
  • I have also been able to embrace my humanness and my limitations, and this has been immensely healing. I am now able to love every part of myself especially my foibles and imperfections.  I no longer think of myself as a human being trying to become perfect like God.  I am God wanting to have a human experience.  And this temporary form, including its body and its mind, is perfect in every way for the experience to be exactly as it is meant to be.  All is well, and all is as it is meant to be. Anthony Lambert
  • I now believe strongly in a more life-affirming spirituality that loves, celebrates and embraces our humanness. Aimee Davies
  • Many people seem to think that the journey of awakening is ultimately about achieving some sort of spiritual perfection. But I want to suggest that to be human is necessarily to be imperfect. We all have our flaws and foibles… even the best of us. Tim Freke
  • Spiritual awakening is not about denying our humanity. Tim Freke
  • There can be no evolution unless there is always something missing and more to discover. It’s embracing the glorious imperfection of personal existence. It is creatively engaging with the ambiguity of being human. Tim Freke
  • Yes, our enlightenment process is coming, but now it’s about accepting our own imperfection as a human being, and through that we come back to a place of self-love and understand the journey more – that we have come here just to have a series of experiences to learn from and that we need not do it all perfectly. Christine McCormick Day
  • Anytime a sage displays humanness—in regard to money, food, sex, relationships—we are shocked, shocked, because we are planning to escape life altogether, not live it, and the sage who lives life offends us. Ken Wilber

…while also embracing your divinity

  • Living an awakened life […] is just a matter of where our attention is being placed. It is possible for our human-beingness and our true nature or presence to exist wonderfully well together, enriching each other through their closeness. It is through the power of our attention that we experience one or the other or both. Alice Gardner
  • When you know that you are eternal you can play your true role in time. When you know you are divine you can become completely human. When you know you are one with God you are free to become absolutely yourself … Mother Meera
  • To taste freedom, we must let the sunshine of our inner being, the divinity within us, shine through our human form. The exquisite paradox is that more we accept and celebrate our humanness, the more transparent we become and the more our divinity shines through us.  Aimee Davies

Accept and embrace yourself…

  • Without deep and honest self-acceptance, the spiritual life rests on a dangerous psychological foundation and is nothing more than escape into a world of illusion. Humble self-knowledge is the most basic condition for any true spirituality. John Monbourquette

…including your flaws

  • Being a lover of life means embracing your flawed humanity. It means accepting that you will stumble on the journey of life… that you become wise by being foolish… that you can’t always be awake and at your best.  Tim Freke

Embrace your shadow

  • Carl Jung, for whom this was an important concept, writes: The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself. Tim Freke
  • How can we prevent ourselves being hijacked by the shadow? The clue is in the name. We need to bring it into the light. We need to consciously acknowledge this part of ourselves. Only then will it stop unconsciously possessing us from time to time. Tim Freke
  • May we not keep our shadow in the dark but instead become truly intimate with it, bringing to it a compassion that is both clear-hearted and disarmingly powerful, a compassion simultaneously fierce and tender, precise and far-reaching, personal and transpersonal. Such deep care helps transform our relationship to our shadow so that its energies serve rather than obstruct our well-being. Through this deepening integrity, we shift into a truer wholeness and open to a deeper life. Robert Augustus Masters
  • The heroic lover doesn’t turn away from the dark places within, but willingly enters the forbidding forest to bring the healing power of love to our deepest hurt. Tim Freke
  • Think of the shadow in a more approachable way as simply the ‘unloved self’. The shadow is that part of ourselves that we regard as unlovable, so we seek to repress it. Tim Freke
  • When we feel deep love we can embrace those parts of ourselves that normally seem unlovable. We can allow ourselves to remember the suffering we prefer to forget. Tim Freke
  • Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. Carl Jung

Embrace the fact that high states of consciousness tend to come and go

  • Accepting that consciousness inevitably rises and falls, because that’s inherent in the paralogical nature of life. It means understanding that we must experience being less conscious to experience being more conscious. Tim Freke
  • Consciousness is like a wave that rises and falls. Sometimes we’re extremely energized and more conscious, other times we’re tired and less conscious. The process of awakening doesn’t lead to a permanently awake state, because it’s the nature of consciousness to come and go. The primal ground of being is always present, but our experience of it must change. Tim Freke

Embrace both acceptance of what is and intelligent action

  • Being at one with what is doesn’t mean you no longer initiate change or become incapable of taking action. But the motivation to take action comes from a deeper level, not from egoic wanting or fearing. Inner alignment with the present moment opens your consciousness and brings it into alignment with the whole, of which the present moment is an integral part. The hole, the totality of life, then acts through you. Eckhart Tolle

Embrace being in a human body for a while…

  • In Buddhism, as well as in Hinduism, life in a corporeal body is viewed negatively, as the source of all suffering. Leo Hartong

…and become grounded in it…

  • A common tell-tale sign of spiritual bypassing is a lack of grounding and in-the-body experience that tends to keep us either spacily afloat in how we relate to the world or too rigidly tethered to a spiritual system that seemingly provides the solidity we lack. Robert Augustus Masters
  • After a spiritual awakening occurs, what naturally follows is called: embodiment embodiment is when the awakened sense of self (or awareness of yourself as love) starts to settle-in and live through you.  Bringing the awareness of oneness back into your body, life, relationships, & everything you do.  Shelly Bullard
  • True spirituality is not a high, not a rush, not an altered state. It has been fine to romance it for a while, but our times call for something far more real, grounded, and responsible; something radically alive and naturally integral. Robert Augustus Masters

…instead of seeing the body as an encumbrance

  • My body seems a mere encumbrance to me; an imbecilic wagon, hitched to the horse of desire, which is the soul. Robert E. Howard

Embrace both stepping out of your personal story and re-engaging with it

  • Being deep awake doesn’t diminish my appreciation of the story of Tim; it enhances it. When I wake up to the depths of my essential nature, Tim doesn’t disappear, he comes alive. I care more about life than I do in the normal waking state because, when I’m lost in my story, I tend to become numb just to cope with the suffering inherent in separateness. Tim Freke
  • If I’m lost in the story of Tim, I become fearful, selfish, and agitated. So I need to step out of the story and become conscious of my deeper identity, which is free, spacious, and at peace. But the process doesn’t stop there. Now I’m ready to really engage with the story because I know that fundamentally all is well. Tim Freke
  • When transcendence of our personal history takes precedence over intimacy with our personal history, spiritual bypassing is inevitable. To not be intimate with our past—to not be deeply and thoroughly acquainted with our conditioning and its originating factors—keeps it undigested and unintegrated and therefore very much present. Robert Augustus Masters
  • In my experience the more I become conscious of the deep self, which is not in time, the more I can enter into the story of Tim in time. When I’m only superficially awake I hold back from life because it’s so scary. I want to commit to my life and choose to really live, but I nervously put it off until tomorrow. But in the deep awake state of safe vulnerability I’m able to take the risk and go for my life. I can dare to passionately engage with the scary business of living. I can love being human. Tim Freke
  • There is this sadness that arises that feels like the loss of the story of Life, the story of me. Learning, growing, helping others. Is this part of what happens when exposed to a steady diet of Advaita? Leo Hartong
  • This captures my experience of the paradoxity of awakening perfectly. When I deep-know my essential nature I am liberated from the confines of the story into the mystery of being. But the deep love I feel in the deep awake state impels me back into the story to compassionately engage with life… to care for others… to make the world a better place for future generations. Tim Freke

Embrace mystery without trying to explain it away

  • The simplest way to start becoming deep awake is to wonder… to look at the world with amazement… to be conscious of the breathtaking mystery of existence… to recognize that you really don’t know what life is. If you wonder deeply you’ll come out of your story and into the mystery of the moment. Tim Freke

Embrace both rationality and intuitiveness

  • A misleading perception or false belief is increasingly being perpetuated that the unconscious or the intuitive is all that really matters in any spiritual endeavor, and that the conscious, rational, logical, analytical mind is the mortal enemy of spiritual awareness and soul growth. Anthon St. Maarten


Embrace both conceptual and non-conceptual intelligence

  • However, it’s easy to confuse non-conceptual awareness with a total denial of concepts. Without concepts, how could we ever point to awareness? How could math or science ever be communicated? How could you tell your kids you love them? Scott Kiloby

Embrace both your own needs and those of others

  • I also want to reassure you that it really is okay to be selfish as well as selfless. If you don’t look after yourself, there would be no one to be selfless. Tim Freke

Embrace pleasure and savour it in a balanced and healthy way

  • Contrary to most Western religions, sensuous pleasure has never been suppressed in Hinduism, because the body has always been considered to be an integral part of the human being and not separated from the spirit. The Hindu, therefore, does not try to control the desires of the body by the conscious will, but aims at realizing himself with his whole being, body and mind. Hinduism has even developed a branch, the medieval Tantrism, where enlightenment is sought through a profound experience of sensual love ‘in which each is both’. Fritjof Capra
  • Even today we tend to think of our beings as a battleground, existing in the tension between spirit and flesh, between good and evil. When, in those first few centuries, our bodies became depraved, we responded by learning to suppress their baser urges. The love of food, the savoring of ice cream, these were a function of our lower nature and as such, were to be avoided. Sexual appetite was of the material world, thus an impediment to the spiritual path. We began to see our spiritual disciplines through the “buffet-the-flesh” lens. We fasted to suppress our delight with food. We practiced celibacy to suppress our sexual desires. We practiced vigils to suppress the physical desire for sleep, wore horsehair shirts to suppress the desire for comfort. We went barefoot to suppress the physical desire for warmth. At every turn, physical desire was seen as an obstacle to the spiritual path, so like other Mediterranean religions of the day, Christianity pursued spiritual maturity by putting down these desires. Doug Hammack
  • Lucid living is embodied enlivenment. It is a state of consciousness that reaches right down into our physical nature and changes how we engage with the sensual world. We find ourselves delighting in the pleasures of existence because we are conscious enough to really relish them. Tim Freke
  • So the Free Man is Free. Absolutely Free. Not just a little bit free. Not cut off from all of this. That’s not the nature of His Freedom—humorlessness relative to the world still, non-pleasure still. No, in His Freedom He becomes capable of humor in life, capable of pleasure, or enjoyment, in the forms that are arising. That is the fullness of God-Realization. All of the humorless, pleasureless forms of experience that are often associated with God-Realization in the traditions are not God-Realization in Truth. Adi Da

Embrace both desire and appreciation of what you have in the now

  • Desire is only a problem when I’m so busy wanting things to be different that I don’t appreciate the present moment. But when I’m lucid, I find myself both full of desire and free from desire. Tim Freke
  • Desire is the fuel of life. Wanting things to be better pushes us forward to face new challenges. Passion is the spice of life. Feeling strong emotions wakes us up from the numbness of normality. Do we really need to sacrifice experiences that are integral to our humanity in order to wake up to our essential divinity? I don’t believe life is that perverse. Tim Freke

Embrace being both engaged and non-attached

  • When I dream lucidly, the dream continues. Indeed, I don’t want the dream to end because I’m enjoying it. It’s similar when I’m deep awake and living lucidly. I see the dreamlike nature of life, but the life-dream doesn’t stop. And I don’t want it to stop, because when I’m deep awake, I truly appreciate the magic of existence.When I live lucidly, I find myself in the paradoxical predicament of being in the life-dream but not in the life-dream at the same time. What happens in the life-dream matters and doesn’t matter. I’m attached and unattached. I’m neither lost in the drama nor detached and uncaring. I’m engaged with my life but also free and spacious. Tim Freke

Embrace both fullness and emptiness

  • An incorrect understanding of the pathway of negation can result in the sterility of the ‘Void’ or ‘Nothingness’. While the Void is an impressive spiritual experience, it is not the Ultimate State, which, correctly, is that of Allness. David Hawkins
  • While the Void is a very impressive state, in contrast, Allness is the ultimate state. David Hawkins
  • Non-dual realization is often considered to be the recognition of emptiness (also called pure awareness, space, formlessness or nothingness). That emptiness is your true nature in the deepest sense. The recognition of it is vital to realization. However, emptiness isn’t the whole story. Emptiness can easily turn into a denial of form. It’s a trap. As necessary as the recognition of emptiness is, emptiness is moving as, and not independent of, every thought, emotion, experience, and state. This is when the emptiness is seen as totally full.  This is when form and formlessness collapse, when the boundary between them is seen as purely conceptual, and all that is left is life living itself simply, naturally, and compassionately through you. This is when enlightenment is not about escaping. It’s about seeing that your true nature is “not of this world” which paradoxically allows you to be totally “in this world” in a new way. Emptiness is the essence of all form. The experience of “nothing arising” is merely a passing, temporary state. Realization is not about fixating in the idea of emptiness, absence, or “no self” or about maintaining a space free of the happenings of everyday life.  Non-duality is everyday life. This book is an invitation first to the recognition of emptiness as the source and then to the seeing that this source is appearing as everything. This is life, vitally full, alive, loving, and free.  Scott Kiloby
  • Once you know the nature of anger and joy is empty and you let them go, you free yourself from karma. Gautama Buddha
  • Samadhi is not emptiness but purnata: plenitude, complete fullness. Eknath Easwaran
  • Walking around totally identified with emptiness is a dualistic split between form and formlessness. Notice that non-conceptual awareness is your essence. Then be who you are totally, including embracing fully, without attachment, everything that arises from, and is not other than, awareness. Scott Kiloby

Embrace both form and the formless

  • Nothing is appearing as everything. To deny form is to deny the formless. To deny time is to deny the timeless. To deny the intellect is to deny its very source. Scott Kiloby
  • We need to honor the world of things, not despise it. Each thing has Beingness, is a temporary form that has its origin within the formless one Life, the source of all things, all bodies, all forms. In most ancient cultures, people believed that everything, even so­called inanimate objects, had an indwelling spirit, and in this respect they were closer to the truth than we are today. When you live in a world deadened by mental abstraction, you don’t sense the aliveness of the universe anymore. Most people don’t inhabit a living reality, but a conceptualized one. Eckhart Tolle

Embrace the fact you are everything, not nothing

  • To say that “I am none of it” is life denying. To say “I am all of it” is life affirming. Embrace and celebrate it all.  Anthony Lambert
  • Even to say that you are not the body is not quite true. In a way, you are all the bodies, hearts and minds and much more. Nisargadatta Maharaj
  • Everything you see, you are that. Rupert Spira
  • So everything is your awareness, everything is you, everything you see, everything you understand. You are the fabric out of which this universe is made. Francis Lucille
  • Consciousness transitions from ‘I am something’ to ‘I am nothing’, and then from ‘I am nothing’ to ‘I am everything’. Rupert Spira
  • Sometimes you may say none of it is me. Other times all of it is me. Mooji
  • The return from ‘I am something’ to ‘I am everything’ is simply the loosening of this dense fabric of self. Rupert Spira
  • When I say: ‘I am’, I do not mean a separate entity with a body as its nucleus. I mean the totality of being, the ocean of consciousness, the entire universe of all that is and knows. Nisargadatta Maharaj
  • ‘Nothing is me,’ is the first step. ‘Everything is me’ is the next. Nisargadatta Maharaj
  • In Christ Consciousness the whole world — everyone and everything in it — is your own. The whole of space and everything in it belongs to you. Paramahansa Yogananda

Embrace even your neuroses

  • I haven’t gotten rid of one neurosis. Not one. The only thing that has changed is that while before these neuroses were huge monsters that possessed me, now they’re like little Shmoos that I invite over for tea. I say, ‘Oh, sexual perversity! Haven’t seen you in weeks!’ They’re sort of my style now. When your neuroses become your style, then you’ve got it made. Ram Dass

Instead of trying to escape from life, surrender to it

  • We can’t escape from the world anymore; we can’t escape from the mind. We need to enter surrender while we are in the world. That seems to be the path that is effective in the world that we live in now. Eckhart Tolle

The very purpose of life is to embrace it and enjoy it


Life may be a passing show, a kind of illusion, but the purpose of it is to enjoy it

  • Before you bow out, why not enjoy the show . . . because it’s a thrilling roller coaster of a ride . . . and when you stop worrying about falling off, you can just throw your hands up in the air and yell ‘Bring it on!’ . . . as you career through the highs and lows of the ever-changing moment . . . toward the sign marked ‘exit’. Tim Freke
  • Life is a Drama. We come and we go. But before the curtains are drawn, we must enjoy the Show! Ravi V. Melwani
  • Life is a movie. What is its purpose? To sit back and enjoy it. To experience it fully.  Anthony Lambert
  • No doubt it is a drama and the primary purpose of the show can only be enjoy the show. Shailendra Mohan Jain
  • Pseudo-mysticism seeks to evade reality; authentic mysticism wants to live it. Vernon Howard
  • Of course, life is bizarre, the more bizarre it gets, the more interesting it is. The only way to approach it is to make yourself some popcorn and enjoy the show. David Gerrold
  • Realising that life is a movie type experience does not mean we then lose interest in it. No, the movie exists to be enjoyed. If we lose ourselves completely in the movie, that’s ok. God has created this movie as a fully immersive experience for a reason.  Anthony Lambert
  • Some fear that waking up to the “non-reality” of the world will make them lose interest in life. In my experience, the opposite has been true.  Even if the physical world is not real, the experience of it is indisputably real.  In fact, the experience of it feels far more vivid and intense for me now.  I have awoken to the fact that life is a wondrous, mysterious, joyous experience to be embraced.  It still has its ups and downs and challenges, for that is exactly how life on this planet has been designed to be.  But I no longer take it all so seriously. I have realised that the life that God is living through the temporary form “I” take is like a kind of dream or movie.  And all I need to do is sit back in the seat of awareness and enjoy it.  I find myself playing more and laughing more and loving more and creating more, because knowing who I truly am somehow opens the gate to amazing spiritual creativity and power.  Also, I am no longer afraid of death. Death is but the end of the movie. It is waking up from the dream. Anthony Lambert
  • Some spend so much time trying to determine if it’s a movie, looking for proof of the light, screen and projector, that they miss out on the joy of the movie experience itself. Anthony Lambert
  • The highest compliment we can give to God, our Creator, is to thoroughly enjoy the gift of life. One should never look a gift universe in the mouth! The best way to pay for a beautiful moment is to enjoy it. Ronald Rolheiser
  • The truth is that the very purpose of this movie called life is to embrace the experience of it. Anthony Lambert
  • We sometimes forget that we are God-beings, and that the intent of the Creator was for us to enjoy this thing called Life! Louise Hay

In fact, the whole point of realising life is an illusion is to enjoy it more

  • You spend the first half of the movie trying to understand if it is a movie and how it’s done. Finally, you realize it’s a projector projecting light onto a screen and all that’s real is the screen and light. Then you can decide to detach from the movie and wait for the movie’s end. Or you can simply sit back and enjoy the movie experience. Anthony Lambert
  • When I wake up to it being a movie, I still remain in the movie. I have a choice. I can lose interest in the movie as some do, and bliss out, entirely unattached to what happens. Or I can sit back and enjoy the rest of the movie, embracing the experience of it. Anthony Lambert
  • Non-attachment allows for participation and the enjoyment of life because, experientially, life becomes more like play than a high-stakes involvement. David Hawkins

Embrace the illusion and appreciate it for what it is

  • I love the ‘illusion’ of life. I don’t want out; I want to go farther in. I want to really appreciate the wonders of Tim’s individual existence. Tim Freke
  • When you realise it’s a dream you can afford to play. The same thing happens when you realise that ordinary life is a dream, just a movie, just a play. You don’t become more cautious, more timid, more reserved. You start jumping up and down and doing flips, precisely because it’s all a dream, it’s all pure Emptiness. You don’t feel less, you feel more – because you can afford to. You are no longer afraid of dying, and therefore you are not afraid of living. You become radical and wild, intense and vivid, shocking and silly. You let it all come pouring through, because it’s all your dream. Life then assumes its true intensity, its vivid luminosity, its radical effervescence. Ken Wilber

Enjoy the world without being possessed by it

  • Attachment brings misery, unattachment brings blissfulness. So use things, but don’t be used by them. Live life but don’t be lived by it. Possess things, but don’t be possessed by them. Have things – that’s not a problem. I am not for renunciation. Enjoy everything that life gives, but always remain free. Rajneesh

Realise life is to be both enjoyed and endured

  • Life is to be enjoyed and endured. That’s one of the great paradoxities the heroic lover must understand. When we enjoy life it feels good to be alive. When we endure life it deepens our wisdom and compassion. To ‘endure’ is to become ‘durable’… to become strong. When we endure it strengthens the soul. And life wants us to become strong, so we can withstand the storms as well as delight in the sunshine. So we can love, whatever the weather. Tim Freke

Realise some attachment is natural and healthy


Excessive detachment is a form of spiritual bypassing

  • Spiritual bypassing is often characterized by an insistent emphasis on not taking things personally. It is, after all, usually easier to take things impersonally, if only because we are so detached that we don’t have to get emotionally involved. Plenty of what passes for healthy detachment is far from healthy, reflecting an attachment to being detached, to maintaining enough separation from what is happening to not have to really feel it. Robert Augustus Masters

To be attached at times is both natural and desirable

  • It seems obvious to me that to be attached is both natural and desirable. It’s a sign of how much I love that I’m willing to take the risk that attachment entails. I’m willing to suffer for love. Tim Freke
  • It seems to me that our personal attachments are what give life its warmth and meaning. The idea that it would be more spiritual to be unattached seems utterly absurd. It’s the sort of idea that could only have been thought up by celibate guys living in caves or monasteries… which is exactly what it is. It seems obvious to me that to be attached is both natural and desirable. It’s a sign of how much I love that I’m willing to take the risk that attachment entails. I’m willing to suffer for love.  Tim Freke
  • Although it is surely right to say that we are often too attached to the wrong things, it seems to me that some attachments are central to life, and to try to weaken them is to diminish what matters most. Julian Baggini

Some judgement and discernment is necessary

  • For example, people say that if we want to be enlightened, we shouldn’t have any judgements. Judgements are ‘bad’. But that can’t be right, since you can’t live without making judgements. Tim Freke
  • Gullibility When we reject the rational mind we don’t become wise, we become gullible. So it’s no surprise that childish spirituality leads to people believing all sorts of silly nonsense. Tim Freke

Stop fighting yourself and make peace with your mind


Stop fighting unconsciousness in yourself and others

  • When I used to fight my unconsciousness, it turned the adventure of awakening into a perpetual struggle. I’ve come to accept that sometimes I’m very awake and sometimes I’m not. Even getting lost in the story of Tim is okay because this is the way I experience things that will ultimately make me more conscious. In my experience, I just need to be authentic with whatever is happening for me. There’s no need to fight the flow of my life. Tim Freke

Stop seeing the ego as an enemy to vanquish

  • I no longer saw the lower aspect of myself, with all his personal issues and melodramas, as the enemy that had to be destroyed. Michael A. Singer
  • Many spiritual traditions condemn the fragmented, wounded human self and see it as the ego we need to overcome. But I don’t see Tim as a spiritual burden, because I’ve come to love him despite his flaws. He can be difficult to live with, but I’ve become patient with that. I don’t want to wage war with the ego that I’ve struggled to develop as I’ve become a distinct individual. I want to honour the ego as a hero on a journey of awakening to deep love. Tim Freke
  • Many spiritual traditions teach that to awaken to the deep self we need to suppress our human nature. We need to eradicate our passions. Fear, anger, and desire are particularly deplorable. Lust is really bad. Our attachments are a problem too. All these human weaknesses arise because we’re identified with the evil ego. It seems to me that such teachings actually makes it harder to awaken, because we believe there are things about our nature that we must overcome, when actually all we need to do is notice our deeper identity as well. Tim Freke
  • The ego is the separate self through which the universal self can experience the adventure of living. The ego is a character in the dream of life around which the life-dreamer weaves a cracking tale. Tim Freke
  • The separate self is seen as an obstacle to our awakening and is often referred to as the ego. Tim Freke

The ego needs to be healed, not vanquished

  • Authentic spirituality accepts both the beautiful and the seemingly ugly parts within us. It is not about rejecting or annihilating the ego but recognising and healing it. Aimee Davies
  • How can we prevent ourselves being overwhelmed by the unloved self ? The clue is in the name. We need to love it. We need to care for our own wounded self as compassionately as we would care for someone else in great distress. We need to heal the pain of the past. Tim Freke
  • Just as deep sleep heals the body, so being deep awake heals the soul. When we bring deep love to our psychological wounds, miracles can happen. But just as no amount of sleep can heal every physical wound, deep awake healing can’t mend every fracture of the heart. So we need to learn to be gentle with those parts of the psyche that are most inflamed. Tim Freke
  • The unloved self is what we don’t want to remember about our past. It is our hurt self that skulks in the shadows like a wounded animal. And mainly that’s where it stays. Until a life situation reawakens the painful memory and we’re involuntarily forced to play out the pain once again. Tim Freke

Raise the self with the Self instead of trying to trample down the self

  • I needed to use all these disturbed personal energies for my ascent. It was perfectly clear to me that since he was the problem, he was also the solution. I actually felt a tinge of compassion toward that struggling person within me. I would later come to learn that the Bhagavad Gita says that one should raise the self with Self, not trample down the self. I had been trampling down my personal self in the name of getting free from his humanness. I now needed to learn how to raise those energies up to assist me on the journey. Michael A. Singer
  • I realized something I will never forget: that scared, troubled person in there whom I had been watching and judging was indeed a person. The psyche is a person with feelings and thoughts, hopes, fears, and dreams. He is not to be locked in a room and constantly told to shut up. There are much more constructive ways to deal with these disturbed, self-centered energies. Michael A. Singer

Realise that a robust sense of self can support a conscious awakening

  • First we need a robust sense of being a separate individual. When this is strong enough it can support a conscious awakening to our deeper being. When a strong separate self is absent, the natural process of awakening is transformed into the pathology of depersonalization. Many ancient spiritual traditions understood this, which is why they reserved the deep teachings of oneness for those who’d reached a mature age and created a strong sense of their individuality. Tim Freke

Stop demonising thought

  • Another trap is that the mind can start to believe that a state of pure awareness must be maintained, a state free of concepts. It begins to deny form, deny thought. This state is still dualistic. A subtle identity arises as “pure awareness”—arrogantly separating itself from “all the others” lost in thought or stories. Scott Kiloby
  • Do you think that you can clear your mind by sitting constantly in silent meditation? This makes your mind narrow, not clear. Integral awareness is fluid and adaptable, present in all places and at all times. That is true meditation. … The Tao is clear and simple, and it doesn’t avoid the world. Laozi

Make peace with your mind

  • I am at peace with my beautiful human mind. It is allowed to be the racing, meticulous and sometimes anxious thinking machine it is. I have so much compassion for my monkey mind. How ironic that the more I let the monkey mind be a monkey mind, the tamer it becomes! Aimee Davies
  • I first acknowledge that my mind is trying to do a necessary job for me, even when it seems out of control. The mind is thinking about my story so I can have a better time of things. It’s imagining the future to help me avoid unpleasant experiences. It’s analysing the past to help me learn from past mistakes. Tim Freke
  • It seems to me that this demonizing of the mind is a profound mistake. It’s absolutely true, of course, that when we get lost in our habitual thoughts it makes it harder to awaken. This is a valuable insight, but it’s only half the story. I take a paralogical approach. To me the mind is a wonderful tool with which to create and criticize my story of life. But I don’t want to be only conscious of the mind and the story it weaves for me. To become deep awake I also need to be conscious of the deep mystery. Tim Freke
  • The demonizing of the mind makes it harder to awaken. If we believe that to awaken we must try to stop thinking, we become forever engrossed with battling the mind. And this prevents us seeing how easy it is to wake up, by simply becoming conscious of the deep mystery as well as the story. Tim Freke
  • The mind starts to berate itself for its failure to stop being the mind! But the mind can’t stop thinking any more than the heart can stop beating. That’s what it does. And thank goodness for that. If we stopped thinking we wouldn’t be enlightened… we’d be stupid! Tim Freke

Embrace virtue and God rather than being preoccupied by sin and guilt

  • Many Christians expend so much energy and worry trying not to sin. The goal is not to try to sin less. In all your efforts to keep from sinning, what are you focusing on? Sin. God wants you to focus on him. To be with him. “Abide in me.” Just relax and learn to enjoy his presence. Every day is a collection of moments, 86,400 seconds in a day. How many of them can you live with God? Start where you are and grow from there. God wants to be with you every moment. John Ortberg

Turn toward negativity instead of suppressing it

  • So turn toward your negativity. Stop pathologizing it, stop relegating it to a lower status, stop keeping it in the dark. Go to it, open its doors and windows, take it by the hand. Meet its gaze. Feel its woundedness, feel into it, feel for it, feel it without any buffers. Soon you will start to sense that its gaze is none other than your own, perhaps from an earlier time, but yours nonetheless, containing so much of you. Humanize it fully. Keep something in the dark long enough and it will probably behave badly. Robert Augustus Masters

Realise there is more to life than constantly controlling yourself through rigorous spiritual discipline

  • For the first time, I questioned whether more and more discipline was going to take me where I so desperately wanted to go. Sitting alone in my van that morning, I knew the answer was no. My path to true freedom was subtler than simply requiring a tighter grip. Michael A. Singer

Embrace your emotions and your pain


We must make sure we don’t use spirituality as a way to avoid emotional issues (spiritual bypassing)

  • Spiritual bypassing is a term I coined to describe a process I saw happening in the Buddhist community I was in, and also in myself. Although most of us were sincerely trying to work on ourselves, I noticed a widespread tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks. John Welwood
  • Spiritual bypassing is the act of using spiritual beliefs to avoid facing or healing one’s painful feelings, unresolved wounds and unmet needs. It is a state of avoidance. Because it is a state of avoidance, it is a state of resistance. I personally, consider Spiritual bypassing to be the shadow side of spirituality. Teal Swan
  • To spiritually bypass is to use spirituality to avoid, suppress, or escape from uncomfortable issues in life. Aletheia Luna
  • Why does spiritual bypassing occur? The answer is that it helps us to avoid facing painful emotions such as grief, shame, rage, hatred, and terror. Everyone wants to enjoy a sparkly spiritual high (that is ultimately short-lived) but no one wants to do the hard work of facing inner pain (that leads to longlasting joy, fulfillment, and peace). Aletheia Luna
  • In some ways, we are now spiritually distracting ourselves from our feelings. Ingrid Clayton
  • John Welwood defined spiritual bypassing as using “spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional ‘unfinished business,’ to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic needs, feelings, and developmental tasks.” The goal of such practices, he claimed, was enlightenment. Diana Raab
  • Spiritual bypassing is a way of hiding behind spirituality or spiritual practices. It prevents people from acknowledging what they are feeling and distances them from both themselves and others. Kendra Cherry

Spirituality is not about becoming an emotionally flat automaton

  • If one takes that too literally, one might come away with the idea that the ultimate aim of Buddhism is to become a completely unemotional, emotionally flat, emotionally deprived automaton. Bhikkhu Bodhi

Authentic spirituality enriches our emotional life rather than suppresses it

  • My opinion, my experience, as one continues to practice the Buddhist path, it enriches the emotional life, so that one becomes emotionally more sensitive, more happy and joyful. And I would say that one can respond to things in the world in a freer, more happy, more delightful way. Bhikkhu Bodhi

Realise there are no emotions that are “unspiritual”

  • There isn’t any such thing as a negative emotion. There are negative things that we do with our emotions, but our emotions themselves are neither negative nor positive. They simply are. Robert Augustus Masters

Embrace both sorrow and joy and all the emotions in between

  • Authentic spiritual life is the opportunity of a lifetime. It is a constant dying into a deeper life. Emerging from our own ashes becomes no big deal; it’s just the way things are. Here the ten thousand sorrows and the ten thousand joys intermingle in unparalleled song, we their infinite notes and the music that goes on, in the one moment that is all moments. Robert Augustus Masters

Turn towards the painful and unwanted aspects of yourself

  • Cutting through spiritual bypassing means turning toward the painful, disfigured, ostracized, unwanted, or otherwise disowned aspects of ourselves and cultivating as much intimacy as possible with them. Robert Augustus Masters
  • Real freedom does not mean the absence of pain but rather fully embracing our pain without getting lost in its dramatics. Robert Augustus Masters
  • Spiritual bypassing is worth outgrowing. All we have to do is stop turning away from our pain and consciously enter it. This means an end to disembodied living, an end to spiritualized dissociation, an end to emotional illiteracy and relational immaturity. As we commit ourselves to a full-blooded awakening rooted in the cultivation of intimacy with all that we are, we find a willingness to bring whatever we have kept in the dark out into the open. And from this newfound openness we emerge with the gifts of our hard work: firsthand wisdom that benefits one and all. Robert Augustus Masters
  • The healing of pain is found in pain itself. Contrary to what we tend to believe, the more intimate we are with our pain, the less we suffer. Robert Augustus Masters
  • Turning toward our pain is an act of radical caring—and not just caring for ourselves—because in doing so we cease to fuel our avoidance and those addictive behaviors we have used to keep ourselves removed from pain. Robert Augustus Masters
  • Turning toward our pain is about bringing into our heart all that we have rejected, ostracized, disowned, neglected, bypassed, shunned, excommunicated, or otherwise deemed as unworthy in ourselves. Our heart has room for it all. Robert Augustus Masters

Fully feel your feelings across the spectrum

  • The alternative to spiritual bypassing is to feel our feelings across the spectrum. To live as though every emotion were acceptable, with none being better or worse than the other. To accept all feelings are temporary, this too shall pass, and none of our emotional experiences are wrong or forbidden, they are what they are. It also involves acknowledging what Walt Whitman writes about in Leaves of Grass: “We are large, we contain multitudes.” We’re allowed to have conflicting feelings about ourselves, our experiences and the world. Feelings matter and every emotion is acceptable (even those that are usually seen as not). Hannah Braime
  • What spiritual bypassing would have us rise above is precisely what we need to enter, and enter deeply, with as little self-numbing as possible. To this end, it is crucial that we see through whatever practices we have, spiritual or otherwise, that tranquilize rather than illuminate and awaken us. Robert Augustus Masters

Become intimate with your anger

  • Don’t make a goal out of bypassing anger at all costs. Aspire to something far more life-giving: a clean, conscious, fully alive anger, anger that both flames and bleeds, anger with heart. Robert Augustus Masters
  • Intimacy with our anger enhances self-knowledge, integrity, relational depth, and spiritual maturation, helping us to embody a passion as potently alive as it is responsible, as we learn the art of being angry with an open heart. Robert Augustus Masters
  • Neither would I tell my children that they shouldn’t experience passions such as anger. I might ask them to tame their anger if it’s out of control or to find a different response if the anger is inappropriate. But I’d never say that anger itself is bad. I want them to be angry when things aren’t right. I want them to be able to defend themselves if they’re being abused. I want them to feel outraged at the injustice in the world. So if I wouldn’t tell my kids to never be angry, why would I demand this of myself ? Tim Freke
  • Repressed feelings don’t go away just because we’re now spiritual! In fact, they may get worse. Repressed anger is still anger and will find ways, however unangry looking, to surface, including through the ever-so-gentle judging of those who are more overt in their anger expression (of course, we may also judge others for their anger without necessarily having repressed our own). Robert Augustus Masters

Embrace suffering, realising it has a role to play in awakening…

  • Supposing you eliminated suffering, what a dreadful place the world would be! I would almost rather eliminate happiness. The world would be the most ghastly place because everything that corrects the tendency of this unspeakable little creature, man, to feel over-important and over-pleased with himself would disappear. He’s bad enough now, but he would be absolutely intolerable if he never suffered. Malcolm Muggeridge
  • Suffering is integral to life. Without it we would never ponder the big questions. We would just sit back and enjoy life. Bernardo Kastrup

…and can open us up

  • The spiritual challenge is to bear the suffering without closing our hearts. More than this. It’s letting the suffering open us up. Tim Freke