Excellence Reporter: Daniel, what is the meaning of life?
Daniel Schmidt: Only the limited mind wants the meaning life. The ego structure wants to know, but what we really want at a deeper level is the full experience of being alive.
The flowering of human consciousness is realized when inner energy or prana is no longer trapped in the conditioned structures and becomes available for direct experience of life in the present moment. An experience of this moment, here and now, unmeditated by the limited self is called Samadhi in the the ancient traditions, which is awakening to your true nature beyond name and form. Awakening is waking from the dream of a limited self. To one who has not experienced it directly, these are just words and are incomprehensible to the mind.
Primordial awareness becomes aware of itself as all things, or you could say all levels of mind/self are realized to be empty awareness. There are many levels of awakening (jhana), but when there is a total cessation of the entanglement or identification of awareness with mind, then one’s true nature is revealed. It has been called Moksha, Nirvana, Nirvikalpa Samadhi, Fana, Kensho, Hesychia and many other names throughout history. In Vedanta what is realized is referred to as the Self with a capital “S” or true self, and in Buddhism it is called “no self” or anatta or shunyata. In Hinduism what is realized is Parabrahman, or Paramatman, and in mystical Christianity it is the godhead which has no qualities except unity/ being; it is the impersonal being of God as opposed to an aspect of the trinity.
Most who get a taste of the awakened state will lose it, falling back asleep and falling prey to the fluctuations of the mind and self identification. In the Sandokai, a famous Zen poem, it says: “To merely encounter the absolute is not yet enlightenment”. From the absolute perspective, awakening to your true nature is the beginning and end of the spiritual path, or realization that the destination was always already present from the beginning. From the absolute perspective there is a recognition of that which was never born, that awareness which simply is.
As Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” At first when you attempt to turn awareness toward the sense of “I AM” or the Self, it will be the false self that you see. But if you are unswayed by the many layers and levels of illusions that arise, and are persistent and earnest in your inquiry, then the limited egoic self will give way and Samadhi will be realized. It is in this merged state that the dawning of prajna/wisdom is possible. Even a taste may change your life irrevocably, as there will be a knowing that you are not merely this limited, ephemeral self structure.
Awakening is the potential beginning of the enlightenment process, which is an accelerated period of inner development that purifies the human vessel, allowing one to stay in the awakened state so that Samadhi does not come and go. The truth is that most people will go back to sleep because they are not willing or able to give up the conditioned activities and preferences of the ego. The limited self is only interested in the concept of awakening, but it can not awaken. It will manufacture a facsimile, a spiritualized persona or ego construct around any awakening experience. The awakened state leaves no traces, no sankaras or conditioning and is not something that can be remembered. Any memory of one’s awakening is just a mentalized construct and must be let go of; one must always start with a beginner’s mind if one is to realize it again and again. Any knowledge of what the awakened state is, is a false screen or filter over awareness. As Socrates said, “I only know that I don’t know.”
Awakening means the limited mind becomes a servant, and it will no longer be the master of one’s life. It is no longer “my will”, or “my knowing” but higher will or the heart’s will; one surrenders to the flow of the unfathomable Tao, the wisdom of the great reality.
~Daniel Schmidt founded The Samadhi Center as an outer reflection of his inner world.
His own inner guidance led him to create the Center as a space for meditators to gather and awaken to their true nature.
Daniel has been practicing meditation and self inquiry for over 20 years and has been teaching meditation for 10 years, and draws on many different traditions in his teachings. Daniel is the creator of the award-winning film “Inner Worlds Outer Worlds” as well as the ongoing “Samadhi” series. As well he released a series of guided meditations and teachingsa as a practical guide to realizing Samadhi. His approach combines self-inquiry with traditional forms meditation so that participants have the opportunity to simultaneously realize their transcendent nature, and to purify themselves of conditioned patterns. The pathless path is to realize an ever-deeping development process within the self structure, and to simultaneously realize the emptiness of the self structure. Samadhi is when the world that is constantly changing merges or unites with the changeless. Check out some of his articles on meditation and awakening at www.AwakenTheWorld.com.
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