Welcome to Cutting through the Illusion of Mind. Having completed the previous lessons, you have become much more confident, much more realized in the space of Awareness itself. You have come to know yourself as the pure ‘I’, as that crystal clarity, as that spacious Awareness. Now let’s talk a little bit about cutting through the “illusion of the mind.”
What is the mind? Basically, the mind has two aspects to it. As the space itself, it is the Awareness aspect or the cognizance aspect; the Consciousness aspect. As the contents, it is what we would generally call the “mind aspect,” or the “thinking mind.” So when I say “cutting through the illusion of mind,” I’m talking about cutting through the contents of mind, so we can see the space that makes up mind itself—the cognizance, the Awareness itself.
Breaking Up the Sequence of Thoughts
Thinking mind—when it brings up a lot of thoughts in sequence, when constant thoughts follow up on previous thoughts—creates a dense layer that, similar to clouds blocking the sun, tend to cloud us from being able to directly notice and experience the space of mind itself, or the Awareness aspect, the Awareness principle. When we cut through the illusion of mind, what we’re literally doing is we’re breaking up that chain, that sequence, so that the density of that clouding principle of the thinking mind becomes penetrated.
A necklace is only able to be a necklace and hold all its beads if the string remains intact; if you do not cut the string up into little pieces. The string needs to be continuous, constant, and sequential; it needs to form one dense, tight concept in order for it to be able to hold all the beads. If we cut through the string, the necklace falls off of your neck; it becomes useless as a necklace and all the beads start falling off of the string as well.
This analogy shows that, similar to the mind, when we break up the sequence of thoughts, when we break up this continuous thought stream, even for just 2 to 5 seconds, it is like cutting the string of the necklace that upholds the whole illusion of the necklace, of the beads, of all the individual stories; they’re all tied together because of the continuity, the denseness of the story.
When the space of Awareness is filled with too much thinking mind, what happens is that Consciousness forgets to perceive, forgets to be able to perceive that it is itself Consciousness. It no longer sees its own effortless spacious nature. It is now clouded; it is now filled with thought; it is now filled with dense perceptions and reference points.
So, with every 2 to 5 second moment of sincere resting as Awareness, which you induce into your everyday life thought stream, you’re breaking up that chain, you’re breaking that string. You will find that very quickly those beads, those individual stories will start crumbling. They will start losing their significance and their meaning, all because you simply cut through the continuity that combined all of these into this dense, tight, clouding story.
Cutting through the illusion of mind is done by simply breaking that thought chain over and over and over again, for simply 2 to 5 seconds. It is these brief moments of crystal clear Awareness that will set you free; that will cut through that illusion.
The idea many people have about Enlightenment is that you somehow need to completely refrain from thinking; that you need to have a crystal-clear spacious sky all the time. This is not necessarily true. What we want to do is to realize that the sun is always already there, beyond the clouds, right? We stand here on Earth and there is this dense layer of clouds filling up the sky, and because of this dense layer, we can’t really perceive anymore the sun that is on the other side. However, the assumption then could be that we need to remove all the clouds in order to fully enjoy the sunlight. While to an extent this may be true in this analogy, it is not really true that we need to have no thoughts, because what we want to discover is the fact that the sun is always already there. We want to see the sunlight; we want to know that it’s there, even when there are clouds.
It only takes one patch of cloud to be removed for the sun to shine through and it doesn’t matter where on Earth you stand. If the clouds disappear over there, but they’re still present over here, you will see the rays of the sun, you will be reminded that the sun is actually there. Of course, it is nice sometimes to be completely clear, and to be completely without self-induced mental perceptions or thought forms. That’s nice, but it’s not necessary for you to become more convinced of the fact that the sun is always already shining.
All you need to do is poke little holes through the veil of the clouds. Poke little holes; penetrate the veil of mind, the illusion of mind, the denseness of mind. When you penetrate that veil of mind over and over and over again in several places, the whole thing starts to fall apart and crumble, because the cohesiveness of it is interrupted. When we interrupt the seeming cohesiveness of the illusion of mind, we start to realize very clearly that the sun is always already there. We start to realize the space of Awareness itself.
So, to come back to your experience, take a deep breath and give away all thoughts, all clouds, for 2 to 5 seconds. In those 2 to 5 brief seconds, notice Awareness. Notice “I am aware.” Rest as that Awareness for those few seconds, and then continue thinking—that’s fine. Continue referencing things like, “Oh yeah, I need to go use the restroom,” or “Oh yeah, I need to go pay my bills,” or “Oh yeah, I promised to call my dad.”
Go and do these things, go think about these things, and then catch yourself—“Oh wait a second; let’s take a 2 to 5 second moment…” So, while you are walking over to the phone to call your dad, recognize that you are Awareness, and that, in a sense, these perceptions and these thought forms are occurring inside of your field of vision. But now you’re no longer clouded because the cohesiveness of thought is interrupted for a moment, and so the sun—the shining sun of Awareness—shines through the denseness of mind, through the illusion of mind. You remember once again what it’s like to bathe in the sunlight of Awareness, in the restful ease of Awareness. The more often you break this chain of continuity, the more the illusion of mind will crumble and fall apart right in front of your eyes, revealing more and more and more of the ever-present sunlight that is yours.
The dense illusion of mind has been formed through years of habit. The habit is to constantly, unconsciously, automatically think about things and refer to things outside of yourself. All we need to counter this—all we need, in a sense, to become enlightened—is to simply insert a counter habit. The counter habit needs to be very consistent, using those little, short moments of Awareness where we break up the denseness of the chain of the continuity of the thinking mind.
So, simply stop thinking for 2 to 5 seconds over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. This may sound like a chore, but it is not. It’s actually fun! It’s actually immediately liberating and rewarding; it immediately shifts your sense of identity from I-AM this, or even I-AM, to simply I-AM free, or I-I, I-Awareness, “I-AM the truth beyond all objects, beyond all appearances.” What you want to do is to habituate Awareness, moments of Awareness—just like you’ve habituated moments of denseness of thought, of unconscious thinking. You want to habituate the clear restful space of Awareness itself.
Develop the habit and the insistence—the commitment and dedication—to apply these moments of crystal clear, pure Awareness. Make every moment even purer, even clearer than the previous one, simply by being sincere about that moment, by really wanting that moment. I’ve noticed in my own experience that the more I desire a moment of absolute clarity, the more absolutely clear that moment becomes. And the more grounding and convincing that moment of clarity—that moment of Awareness—becomes, the more I can utilize the experience and allow it to propel me into everyday life with a sense of clarity that maintains itself, even throughout the thinking mind.
You want to practice very brief, but really profound and sincere moments of stopping all thought, or at least becoming really clear of the space of mind itself, rather than the contents of mind—the illusion, the denseness of the thinking mind. Break that chain over and over and over again for 2 to 5 seconds and be really consistent with that. Just for the rest of your life basically! But at least for the entirety of this course. In addition to all the other homework I’m giving you per lesson, at least 12 times per day, take a really sincere moment of 2 to 5 seconds.
When you do this, you will start to feel the denseness of your illusory, mental chatter break apart. The sun will shine through, the sun that is Awareness; the freedom that is Awareness. The effortless ease, the inescapable ease of being—Awareness—will shine through everyday experiences, and you’ll become more comfortable with yourself, you’ll become more comfortable with yourself around other people, you’ll become more comfortable around yourself during times of great distress and believing that there needs to be a certain outcome. All these things start to relax, all these perceptions that cause you stress because of the seeming continuity, the seeming denseness of mind, start to break apart. And again, when the continuity is broken up, the illusions that are projected can no longer seem real.
Let’s say you’re sitting in a movie theater. You are one hour into the movie and you are completely on the edge of your seat, completely absorbed in the story. Suddenly, the projector light stops for two seconds. Poof!—You’re snapped out of the story, out of the movie. Now the movie starts playing again, but there’s a slight difference for you, compared to before the movie stopped for two seconds, when it wasn’t projected onto the screen. The difference is that now you know you’re watching a movie, now you’ve remembered that the screen is there, regardless of the images that are projected onto it. Similarly, in everyday life you stop taking your own stories seriously. Your thoughts and emotions no longer seem as real because the continuity has disappeared.
You don’t have to remove all your stories. You don’t have to stop thinking altogether forever. You don’t need to control your mind in any way. All you need to do is to interrupt—just tease, just interrupt—that seeming continuity of the denseness of mind, of the thinking mind, and it will all fall apart for you, effortlessly. The illusion of it will be revealed and it will no longer seem real. And then you won’t believe in your troubles or your drama as much anymore. Because now you know it’s fake; now you know it’s self-projected; now you know it’s an illusion. And when you know it’s an illusion, you can even have fun with it, as long as you are always clear of the fact that you are transcendentally free Awareness, untouched, unaffected by the changing forms of the story, of the movie, of the illusion. This is all established very effortlessly by interrupting the continuity of thought for 2 to 5 seconds several times a day.
- Your homework for today’s lesson is to study this lesson at least two more times before you proceed with the next lesson. You can listen to the audio, watch this video, or read the text again, or a combination of these.
- The second part of your homework is to sit down at least twice for a 30-minute period before your next lesson and consistently notice the denseness of mind, the denseness of thought and perception, and to repeatedly, consistently bring yourself back to penetrating that veil with a moment of absolute sincere clarity regarding “I am Awareness. I’m not this thought, I’m not that thought.” Break through the illusion of thought and into the clarity of Now Awareness.
For 2 to 5 seconds at a time, over and over and over and over again, for about a 30-minute period, notice how with every moment, the illusion of the denseness of mind starts to thin out and existential relief starts to become self-evident, starts to become obvious, starts to become natural. This true existential relief starts coming forth—ahhh… It’s the relief you feel when you notice that the things you were stressed about are nothing but illusory projections, and that who you truly are is always already effortlessly here. You can rest in it; you can abide as it. You don’t need to worry about the coming and going of experiences because you are timeless, you are eternal, you are changelessly free Awareness—no matter what happens.
So, do this twice (at least twice), or as often as you like and feel comfortable with before you open your next lesson. After each sitting, write a few paragraphs in which you state all the things you notice, the things that stood out to you, the differences in your experience, the shifts in attention, your realizations. Write them down, sort of as a diary.
- For the third part of your homework, simply continue to rest as Awareness—clearly, vividly so—for 2 to 5 seconds, at least 25 times a day, before you open up your next lesson. And like I said, continue this throughout the entirety of this course, at least 12 times a day, regardless of the other homework assignments in the other lessons.
Have fun! Become enlightened! Become clear on who you already are and rest as your timeless Self. It’s fun; it’s really enjoyable. Try it out.
Got a question, or just want to share?
Discuss this lesson in the forums!