By Cathy Eck
Freedom Versus Enlightenment
One of my most popular posts is the Ten Signs of Spiritual Awakening. Many people resonate with that post. It actually represents the signs that we experience when we’ve found or are finding the enlightened point of view. Enlightenment means that we see through the illusion. Normal suddenly looks crazy and backwards; but we don’t know how to free ourselves from the craziness.
In the east, enlightenment is considered the highest state of mind and life; many seekers look for this state because they perceive it’s the end of the road. Some become gurus and teachers talking about their nirvana experiences and speaking the truth. But they don’t change a damn thing. Most of them make the material world wrong and hate the body and the senses. They see everything as illusion, not just that which is false. They float above the illusion through meditation. They believe that if everyone floated above the illusion, it would go away; and that sounds logical. If no one paid attention to the illusion, it would disappear. However, they are totally paying attention to the illusion; they perceive it as something to float above. They are denying that they’re in it while believing it exists; they’re perpetuating the very suffering they pretend to abhor. You might recognize this even if you have a very western perspective — it’s the basic premise of all religion. It was the mantra of all false Gods who punished us while they sat above the mundane world looking down on us. Today those Gods are our world leaders and royalty; just as it has been in the past. Leaders still lead from God complexes, not their True Selves.
Enlightenment is really just the beginning of the journey to freedom. Those of us who didn’t find it attractive to take false leadership roles or become gurus actually find enlightenment to be quite heavy. It’s only light when you’re floating above it. When you’re in the illusion, it feels like an anchor that you drag around with you everywhere. When you discover their enlightenment is your en-heavy-ment, you step on the path to freedom. Freedom doesn’t float above the crap that most call life. Freedom dives into the illusion and dissolves it by recognizing that it has no power.
What the illusion considers to be true is only real; there is no suffering, disease, or poverty, but it’s a very real illusion that most can’t see through. As long as even one person finds it real, we have to look to see if we’re holding them in prison. We must search our mind to see what we still believe. That’s compassion. More and more people are recognizing this. They just don’t know what to do about it.
Letting go is the answer; and it’s something we can all do. We free ourselves first; and then we free the world we see while expressing from our True Self. When we think and live in this way, we do what the Bodhisattva Vow says but can’t do without letting go. To sit with others in misery does nothing. To sympathize does nothing. False minds says that they are doing what only the True Self and letting go can do. False minds lie.
On the road to freedom, we walk softly on the earth like the natives while stripping the power from those who rape it. We don’t try to enlighten the rapists, we strip away their power to rape. We let go of the beliefs that enable them. Initiation is harmless and extraordinarily powerful. It’s like the Goddesses of destruction. It emits a power through truth and unconditional love that enhances the true while simultaneously destroying the false. Whatever we do from the True Self emits this power of destruction. Thus, false selves (including our own) aren’t very fond of a True Self.
Initiates see the illusion as ridiculously false, and they aren’t willing to accept what is. Enlightenment just isn’t enough. Initiates don’t want to just live above the illusion or even to change it to something more acceptable, they want to eliminate it. But how? When they try the practices and techniques that are offered by psychology and spirituality, they only come to believe that they can’t change the illusion. It seems that floating with the gurus, winning, or getting saved are the only answers. And those answers aren’t acceptable anymore. They can’t turn back. They must move forward. But, as Einstein said, “The illusion is terribly persistent.”
This post describes changes of perspective that often occur when you’re freedom bound, and you ain’t turning back. The main reason I write this blog, and No Labels, No Lies, is to provide validation for people who want to go in the direction of freedom. The world will consistently and continually tell you that you’re going to hell, going the wrong way, becoming antisocial or even turning evil when you walk this path. It’s hard to let go of those voices, but we must.
When these changes in perspective happened to me, I thought I was going insane. I wasted a lot of time and energy worrying that I was going the wrong way, hurting people, or breaking some cosmic rule. I couldn’t find anyone to validate the way I was seeing the world, and it was painful. Often I just wanted to die. I wasn’t turning back. I couldn’t accept suffering, disease, and poverty. I couldn’t listen to clueless assholes anymore. In hindsight, I can see the perfection of what I was going through; and it would have been so easy if I only knew how to let go. That’s why I share what I’ve learned freely. And those in the illusion don’t understand a damn thing I’m saying. So if you do relate to this, then you’ll find validation in what I write; and hopefully, it will provide some clarity, confidence, and speed for your journey to freedom.
As you walk the road to freedom, you comes to realize that you aren’t on a spiritual journey anymore. You’re on a practical journey. You don’t need to find God; you need to express your True Self — your God within. Success isn’t about getting approval from other people anymore; it’s about approving of your own mind because you ARE letting go, and your mind is growing more pure and free. You realize that you were born with a pure, perfect True Self. To look for your spirit now sounds like a bad joke. You didn’t lose it. Your spirit is just fine. We are remembering the truth; we never lost it. We simply covered it up with knowledge and beliefs. The problem is how do we live the truth in a world that is dominated by an illusion? How do we release the remaining beliefs and emotions from our own body-mind? Then how do we help others to do the same?
What we feel at this stage in life is the fear of expressing our truth and doing what we know we want to do. Our body holds reminders throughout history of people not doing well when they expressed the truth. That’s because they didn’t let go of their fears and beliefs before engaging. If they had let go first, they would have assumed the natural, powerful masculine role where one doesn’t need to fight anyone.
Our family and friends often remind us of the danger of coming out of our safe closets where we hide our truth; but staying in the closet feels like death. We see how ridiculous the sleepers are, but often we still fear them because our false self has tricked us into thinking they actually have power or secret information. They don’t. So here are thirteen common signs that you’re walking the path to freedom.
1. People Appear to be Lying Most of the Time
Suddenly, our emotions are working correctly much of the time. We can’t stand conversations that most people deem to be normal. Now when we think or hear something that isn’t true, our emotions fire off their perfect warning. Since beliefs aren’t the truth, and most people are speaking from beliefs, we feel a lot more emotions. We no longer have those seemingly protective psychological reversals.
At this point, we aren’t as easily tricked by gurus, slick salesmen, or politicians. But we might be labeled mean if we expose them. Their words generate emotions in us now, but often we aren’t consciously aware of why or how we know they’re speaking half truths. We can find Conspiracy Theorists attractive (even if they’re wrong in their reasoning) because they provide some logic for the deception we see and feel. We feel less alone. We’re also baffled that others don’t see below the masks and that they still believe that the wolves in sheeps’ clothing are truly good, saintly people (example: our current Pope with an excellent sheep costume).
Our family and friends can’t trick us as easily. We no longer believe them all the time. But we feel emotions much of the time that we’re around them; often we think we’re judging them when they’re actually judging us. Boy did that one do a number on me. We want to run and hide from people. But that feels stupid and wrong. It kind of feels that people don’t like us. We wonder why because we’ve never felt more loving towards others.
When we speak what others need to hear, people say that we’re being judgmental or rude. We’re exposing the games that they once used to beat us down. The false self thinks, “The truth hurts.” Initiates know that “The truth will set us free.” We live in a world that values nice over true because truth exposes the lies below the masks.
2. Can’t Be Sympathetic to Victims or Impressed with Heroes
Our society loves the victim and the hero. But when our minds starts to clear, we often see or hear the cause of the problem in between the whining or the winning. We aren’t so sympathetic to the victim, and we find we can no longer worship the hero. While others see a tragedy in the world, we hear stories of those who forgot their lunch and went back home or ran into someone who detained them. Life is no longer about needing heroes to fix the effects of our beliefs. It’s about noticing how the creative principle is always trying to give us life or save us.
Likewise, we notice that those who say they’re protecting us really aren’t. Going off to fight in a war doesn’t keep us safe; it empowers the belief in war. It strengthens the illusion. Heroes fight to gain approval and self worth within the illusion. The real hero is the one who faces the illusion and dissolves it — not the one who obeys it blindly. Killing isn’t natural, and you can’t be your True Self in any battle.
We want to help the people we love to let go of the cause of their problems. We want to stop seeing enemies, but our leaders keep seeing and fighting them. We aren’t interested in fixing problems or effects. But that doesn’t make us popular. We don’t get the winning roles in the illusion without lots of beliefs. This brings up our deepest illusory beliefs like: “People can’t hear me. People don’t understand me. I have no place in this world. I’d be better off dead. People don’t see who I am. I don’t belong in this world.” These are all false exits. The illusion doesn’t want us to escape alive. If we get too close to finding a real exit, it sends in its angel of death in the form of voices that lead us to it’s only approved exit — death.
3. Charity Feels Wrong
We can now see that charity is a form of enabling. Often we feel the pull to give because we know society thinks it’s good to do so. But our True Self pulls back because it’s a short-term fix. We now want to teach people to fish for a lifetime. We aren’t into giving them a fish for a day anymore. We want to empower others by helping them take ownership and responsibility for their problems. Charity fixes the effect, not the cause. In the end, everyone feels best when they’ve found their way themselves with minimal support. They want someone to watch their back while they are getting their sea legs; but they want to do it themselves.
The people caught in the illusion often judge our inability to help in the socially acceptable way. They see our mentoring as a threat. So we must let go of what others perceive as charitable. We remember the powerful True Self in the person in need by letting go of the illusion they’re showing us. We have to let go of needing the credit on the path to freedom. No one will believe you did anything — but you did.
We also see that those who call the poor, sick, or suffering entitled when they try to get water, food, or shelter are actually the ones with the entitlement mentality. They believe they’re entitled to what the people stuck in their feminine role actually have earned and deserve. Our greatest assistance comes from helping people to let go when they are stuck in feminine roles.
4. Typical Healing Methods Don’t Work
The ways that people heal in the illusion don’t make sense, and they don’t work for us anymore. We just can’t believe in the magic of medicine or herbs. We’re becoming clear that our body is the reflection of our mind. This puts us in a Catch-22 where we must let go or suffer and die. It isn’t punishment to reach this state; it’s the way our True Self motivates us to let go when we’re so used to seeking outer fixes and cures.
We recognize that we must let go to heal, and the purpose of diseases and stress is to force us to go within and let go of the cause. We truly want to fix the cause. But we look very strange to the rest of society when we treat the medical professionals as a last resort. We often get triggered into fear when others tell us that we are insane, and we can’t heal without drugs or medical intervention. Those who love us often think we’re in denial or stuck in our imagination. The truth is that they’re stuck in their delusion, and misery loves company.
When we get around healers and doctors, we might feel lots of emotion because they have strong beliefs in disease — none of which are true. Diseases are labels that we truly need to let go. We must continue to let go of the fear of disease until others can’t see us as ill. Our letting go of disease contributes to a healthy world for everyone.
5. Spiritual Teachers Don’t Cut It Anymore
We’ve perhaps felt a great affinity for spiritual teachers, preachers, and gurus in the past. We thought enlightenment was the last train stop. But then we realized it wasn’t. We now want freedom from the illusion; and we want to free others too.
Suddenly we don’t believe the spiritual teachers and preachers anymore. In fact, we feel emotional around them. We wonder what’s wrong. We were so attracted to them in the past. We thought they loved us; and now we realize they needed us. They were pulling us into their world with magnetism, which we erroneously labeled unconditional love.
What’s wrong? Why don’t we feel what others feel anymore? In fact, something is right with us. These teachers needed us to play feminine roles in their illusion. They offered comfort within the illusion by providing a safer space away from the heat of the illusion — not freedom from it. Now we want to live our own life and to move into a true leadership role. We don’t need a masculine leader anymore to tell us what to believe or do. Our True Self is our masculine leader. We’re starting to really know who we are, and we’re not meant to play a walk-on role in another person’s movie. We’re meant to play the lead role in our own movie.
But there is more. We no longer want to read or hear spiritual truths, we want to embody them and live them. We want to walk our talk. We pick up those old spiritual books that we once loved and realize there is very little truth in them. Maybe a few lines. The rest is opinion or practices that don’t work. We had such low standards for putting someone on a pedestal. And we set incredibly high standards for allowing ourself to be spiritual or good. That’s because we were taught to view the people who embraced the illusion as good; the others were heretics and traitors.
6. Caretaking Feels Terrible
We don’t want others to take care of us anymore. We recognize that their gift is not unconditional. We also don’t want people to feel sorry for us because we can now see that it keeps us stuck in our problems. We want people to let go of what they believe about us or see in us, not fix us. We want their support in fixing the cause of our problem, not their hard work in fixing the effects.
Likewise, we don’t want to caretake for others. We want to empower them, not fix them. This often causes us to be misunderstood. We live in a society where service to others is considered virtuous. But true service is about letting go of our belief in problems.
Change your physical care taking to mental care taking. That will feel good and will be of even greater service to others. But others may judge you because they won’t understand you anymore. The good news is that we can let go of our beliefs about another without being near them. We can help anyone by letting go of what we see in them. If we feel emotion around any situation or any person and don’t let go, we’re contributing to their situation with our beliefs. If we honestly feel nothing when we see another in trouble, then we’re not part of the cause; it’s not our work to help them. But we must be honest with ourselves and make absolutely sure that we’re not simply psychologically reversed to ignore their suffering.
7. What Should You Do With Your Life?
Many of us had a career in the illusion and might have been very successful at it. But now we can’t stand marketing. We can’t stand focusing only on money. We can’t stand doing something that involves holding on to illusory beliefs like diseases or poverty. We can’t lead the way others lead or operate based on rewards and punishments. We have no motivation for the things that we did in the past. What do we do now? How do we make a living?
Many know what they actually want to do. They’re getting in touch with new desires or desires they had as a child. But those desires feel utterly impossible at this point in time. Or the desires unlock beliefs that cause us to feel like we’ll have to compromise ourself to do what you want to do, and we aren’t willing. We’re at a stage where we can’t go back. So we must go forward, and we won’t know how to go forward until we let go of our fears. We must trust the initiation process; it’s being handled by our True Self. Everything happens in perfect timing as we make the continuous effort to let go and keep moving toward freedom. Freedom is guaranteed if we continue to let go.
8. False Good in Winners and Elite Now Feel Bad
There is no good and evil, right and wrong, win and lose, superior and inferior, or even positive and negative emotions. But those who use the illusion and take the seeming high road appear to get all the rewards. It feels like we must join the illusion, or we’ll never get what we want. We feel that leaving the illusion means a lonely, boring life in seclusion without any material comforts. That’s exactly what the illusion wants us to believe. They have made the True Self bad and wrong for thousands of years so that we wouldn’t want to be our True Selves. They have written stories to cause us to believe that the True Self can lose or die. They have caused us to focus on the dual world and to honor their notion that heaven is only available after we die.
Use the triangle process to let go of both sides of the bottom of the triangle, and you’ll discover that they lied. You’ll find that life outside the illusion is full, complete, and includes the material world. The True Self is never lonely.
The winners in the illusion always put something false at the top of the triangle. If the false God is the top state; then the True God sits at the bottom opposing Satan in their mind. They sit like a king at a gladiator fight watching the two opposing sides of their mind fight it out. This is the false God complex; and it isn’t just in royalty anymore. Many people do this to feel good about themselves. The most common is the husband that watches his mother and wife fight it out while he has risen above his own destructive mind watching the battle in false glory.
9. Competition or Fighting Feel Horrible
Competition only exists in the illusion. There’s no competition when we reach freedom. There’s only harmony and co-creation. We long for this but don’t yet see how it can be done. We often can’t find others to co-create with. Everyone seems to be trying to win at best or to manage their problems at worst.
We notice how others use competition to channel their emotions. Artists, singers and dancers compete for the top spot; and we’re told the top spots go to those who put their emotions into their art. Sports stars that are angry and hateful toward the other team channel that power to win. Writers vomit their sorrow, fears, or anger on to the page. Music stars get paid millions to tell us about the love that we’ll lose or the pitfalls of life. Suddenly none of that is appealing anymore; and it seems odd. We can’t find outer things that make us happy anymore. But keep letting go, and you’ll find the True Self that knows no sadness.
People who come to me for mentoring often say, “I just can’t stand fighting anymore.” That means that we must exit the illusion. The illusion is a constant fight — the battle of good and evil isn’t just one big Armageddon. Armageddon is a constant state in the illusion. When we let go, we resolve our conflicts without fighting. The person with the clearest mind and the least emotions will always win. But we can’t fake this until we make it. We must honestly and completely let go of our judgments, false desires, and competitive nature.
10. Friendships and Relationships are Confusing
Most friendships are about comforting each other in the illusion. We tell our story, get support, maybe even get a little advice, but we don’t fix the cause. We listen to our friends, sympathize, and maybe give a little advice. We agree with each other’s beliefs, and we often gossip. As we let go, we see that no one is saying anything true. Our relationships are simply time wasters.
We now want co-creation rather than support for our beliefs and illusions. We no longer want to play roles. We want authenticity and deeply-shared experiences. Friendships are often the sharing of drama, and drama doesn’t cut it anymore for us. In marriage or committed relationship, we find that sex, romance, gifts, or “I love you’s” don’t fulfill us anymore. We don’t really want just an emotional or physical relationship, or what’s called chemistry. We want an unconditional loving connection between whole people rather than the joining of two halves. We want the alchemical marriage. We may even wonder if we can love only one person. We want to love the whole world. As you let go, the old notions of relationship change and hopefully expand.
11. Traditions, Ceremonies, and Holidays Are No Longer Appealing
Traditions, ceremonies, and holidays are all ways that we keep ourselves stuck in the illusion. When people control our calendar, they control our life. We dread doing things that are routine and predictable. We often see proof that the holiday doesn’t even mean what they say it does. While everyone around us is joyously participating in the lie, we wish we could just disappear. We notice that the ceremonies are not helping people, they are solidifying the illusion.
As we let go, we start to enjoy every day. We no longer have the fake high of events generated because we allowed ourselves to take a break from a life we hate.
Feel free to live your life. Be honest when you don’t want to participate. You aren’t harming anyone by letting those old traps go.
12. Can’t Keep Secrets and Can’t Lie
We live in a world where lying is not only socially acceptable, it’s a competitive advantage. Often we tell people the truth, and they don’t want to hear it. Friends will tell us things and then tell us not to tell others. What do we do? Why can’t we just be honest? We’re not bad if we can’t lie and can’t keep secrets. And if we just speak honestly, we’ll get through this stage. People will come to know and accept us in this new role — often we’ll get a new label of eccentric. Never feel guilty for becoming a better person. Our standards of behavior in the illusion are appalling.
Notice if you judge someone like Edward Snowden, and let it go. Even the government should run without secrets. It is secrets that cause so many problems. Secrets are just a competitive advantage.
13. Seeking Comedy
Suddenly, we aren’t seeking spirituality; we want to be with people who have a lighter view of life. There is a reason for this. Comedy is a shared experience where we can laugh at the illusion, and laughter dissolves the illusion. We laugh at things because we see them as false — not serious and true. Comedy allows us to step outside of a situation and see it with the eyes of truth; now it looks and feels powerless. Drama, tragedy, or mystery puts us deep in the illusion where everything looks scary and true.
You’ll notice that some people are pretend comedians. They think it’s funny when they make fun of something that’s True. They make fun of people’s looks or gifts; that’s simply jealousy or envy manifest. That’s bullying. We have to let those people go or find the comedy within us so that we can see that they’re the one that deserves to be laughed at. Laughing at the illusion isn’t mean; in fact it is life-giving. People don’t like when we expose their mask, but we give them the opportunity for freedom. The Emperor didn’t like being laughed at for being naked, but now he could see reality and buy some damn clothes.
In improv comedy, the key is to respond to anything with “Yes and.” You never defend yourself, you come back with a funnier line — a zinger. It’s amazing how any scene in improv can go from tragedy to hysterical laughter by just changing “but” or “you’re wrong” to “Yes and.”
I could list many more, but this gives you a good idea of what it feels like to leave the illusion and run to freedom. Initiation isn’t special; everyone will do it eventually. It completes the circle of life where we fall into the illusion and eventually we return to who we were initially but this time with wisdom, understanding, and the ability to discriminate.
Our mind appears to be opposite of the status quo in this awkward stage. But there’s no opposite to the truth unless we believe there is. We have to continue to let go of what we see outside of us because it’s our projection. Yes, we were all taught to project what others wanted projected for their own benefit. We do it without realizing we do it. If we see something in opposition; we must let go of both sides of the opposition. Use the triangle process. It will help you let go and see the truth. Those in the illusion will continue to see us as their opposite. We can let go that we’re their opposite, and they’ll lose power over us. As we keep letting go, false doesn’t exist as an opponent. False just disappears.
Initiation is not an easy path to follow. But it’s a wonderful path that does eventually produce rewards. The important thing in any of these thirteen signs is to keep letting go until we no longer feel strange or awkward. Witness your mind and let go of whatever arises. Let go of what you hear in your own mind. Let go of what you hear from others. And let go of what you see in the status quo or people in general. The situation is only appearing so you can see your old beliefs and let them go. Never again accept what comes to you; instead let it go by seeing it as false. You can’t screw up because you can’t let go of the truth or what is right for you. Initiation, unlike enlightenment, has an ending — Freedom.