Question: Why are some Paths so seemingly complex, and
time-intensive and others so seemingly simple (Advaita Vedanta) whilst
the "goal" is the same? Why am I attracted to different Paths, and how
can I focus on what is True?
Leonard’s Answer: You say that the
goal of each path is the same. What is the goal? If you are really clear
about that, it will cast light upon which path is most suitable for
you. What is it that you are seeking on the path? How will you know when
you have arrived at the goal?
In some ways, it would be better for you if I stop at this point and let you meditate on this and come to your own answer.
But I will proceed.
goal of the spiritual path is simple. It is to awaken out of the
illusory world of the thinking human mind into the truth and reality of
life lived in the present moment. The world of the mind is a world of
the remembered past and imagined future. It is a world of illusion and
yet almost every one on this planet believes this illusory world to be
the truth of life. The simple truth is that there is no life outside of
the present moment. It is impossible to live life outside of the present
moment. We must come to terms with this simple truth.
I do not
mean to imply that life at the level of mind should cease. That is not
possible, nor desirable. What is possible however is that we become so
awake and deeply grounded in the present moment and the awakened state
of Being that we never lose our connection with the truth of life, even
when we do venture into the world of the mind. In other words, we no
longer believe in our thoughts, memories, ideas, beliefs and opinions as
the truth. We know that only this moment is the truth and everything
else is a kind of play within time.
The world of the mind has
developed its own version of God. It is the ego and it is deeply
committed to being in control of your life. Initially its motivation was
to protect you in this world of painful illusion. But eventually, that
changed into a deep commitment to protect its self, and to ensure the
continuance of its dominant role in your life. The ego likes sitting on
the throne of God and will not vacate the throne easily.
wants to elevate itself in any way it can. It will happily set off on
the spiritual path because it enjoys the feeling that is becoming more
spiritual. It loves spiritual knowledge and power. It will continue on
the path as long as it continues to accumulate more spiritual knowledge
or power. In other words, the ego is becoming spiritualized, which is
most unhelpful for one who is truly committed to full awakening.
you happen to get too close to the truth or to a true teacher, the ego
will have you out of there as soon as possible. It will have you reading
other books and visiting other teachers. In other words, the ego needs
you to remain the seeker. It does not want you to arrive at the goal.
And once again, what is the goal?
goal is to be still and silent. To be awake in the present moment and
know yourself as the One who is fully present. It is known in Silence.
It is known as Silence. There is nothing left of you from the past or
future. There are no thoughts. Just a silent Presence in a breathing
body, which is fully present with that which is present.
this state of Presence just for a few moments and you are free. There is
no more seeking. As you become more grounded and settled into the
present moment, your whole life will begin to change. The Eternal
dimension of existence will begin to reveal itself through the doorway
of the present moment.
I speak in some detail about how to become
present and remain present in the three books that I have written. I
cannot repeat it here, but I do suggest that you will find them easy to
read and most enlightening.
Now, to that part of your question about the true path.
of paths that fill you with too much spiritual knowledge. You are just
feeding your ego. Beware of teachers who elevate themselves above you.
Look to their actions and their presentation and not just what they say.
Some teachers say that they want no followers and yet, they are
surrounded by followers.
Beware of too many practices. No
practice will deliver you. Being present is immediate. It is now. Just
remember to be present with that which is present and you are free, at
least, in that moment. Each moment that you are fully present, you are
awake. You are enlightened. Each moment that you are not present, you
are not awake. It is that simple.
The Advaita Vedanta tradition
is simple and very valuable. Through a process of self enquiry, you can
liberate yourself from the illusory world of the mind and ego, into a
state of pure consciousness. This state of pure consciousness is the "I
am" Presence that I speak of in my books. It is an experience of
no-thingness. It is the essence and source of all existence.
awaken into pure consciousness is to attain liberation, but I have
noticed with some of the followers of the Vedanta tradition who have
attended my workshops, that there is sometimes a misunderstanding about
the true nature of existence. There is a tendency to dismiss manifested
form as illusory in nature. That is unhelpful, for what is the point of
living in a world of illusion. We might as well leave.
both everything and nothing. Everything in physical form is the Body of
God. It is God as everything. When I am at the deepest level of
Presence, I am in Nothing-ness. I am nothing-ness. Nothingness is
another word for full and silent Presence. It is another word for the "I
AM" Presence of God. It is pure consciousness without form and without
The perfect balance between God as everything and God as
nothing is expressed in a line from my third book, Bridging Heaven
& Earth which simply states …. "When I am in nothing, God is in
We have to be careful not to make "nothingness" yet
another concept which the ego seizes hold of. It is a great way to make
sure you never awaken. We are here to wake up into full Presence and
behold the beauty of God’s creation. Who are we to dismiss the Body of
God as an illusion?
The illusion that we need to awaken from is
the world of the thinking mind, which includes all our spiritual
knowledge and concepts.
Even the spiritual path will ultimately prove to be an illusion.
you ask how can you focus on what is True. Just focus on what is here
now. If you can see it, hear it, feel it, taste it or smell it, you can
focus on it. To focus on that which is actually here now (present) with
you will bring you into the truth of life. The tree or the flower in
front of you has more power to bring you present than all the books in
the world and all the teachers who have ever existed. All you have to do
is bring yourself present with that which is present.