Do you see O my brothers and sisters?
It is not chaos or death—
it is form, union, plan—

it is eternal life—

it is Happiness.

WALT WHITMAN

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Why is there so much confusion and struggle in the human experience? It is due to a core misunderstanding of the nature of reality, the only cure for which is understanding. This understanding is not a set of concepts but is an awakening and clarification of consciousness. It is self-realization. By realizing the true nature of self we come into accord with reality.

Most everyone understands that liberation of mind means becoming conscious in some way, but we generally do not understand the nature of the unconsciousness we are up against. If we did then it would no longer exist. The only way to begin dissolving our unconsciousness is to look very clearly and intently at it. This process brings our entire life into question, including everything we think, feel, and believe.

The effort involved in facing our ignorance is not measured in outward physical activity. It is an inward engagement of attention. Although awakening is often described as letting go of all effort and simply being, the practical fact is that checking the mind’s habits of ignorance takes great attention and energy. It is the energy of interest, not force. The doing is in the listening and looking.

Although observing is a receptive process, it demands sustained intention and attention. All the spiritual platitudes in the world, no matter how comforting or inspiring, will not erase the specific aspects of unconsciousness an individual suffers from. In truth, everyone who finds freedom has done their inner work. They have looked at the true and false within themselves with greater and greater intelligence until they realized that pure intelligence as their own nature. The way out of suffering is through. It is through yourself and all the particular blocks you have built up against love and truth, each of which contribute to the main block of mistaken identity.

You must take total responsibility for this process, for no one else can give you your freedom. Yet you are not truly alone in this. When you are fortunate enough to hear the truth and it resonates within you, then the truth will be with you from then on.

What is the truth? It is that you are not what you think you are. You are consciousness, divine intelligence. It is truth or reality because it does not change, vary or depend on anything else for its existence. Though truth is beyond energy and all the games we play with energy, truth has energetic impact. It is a dynamic, transformative force that works to clarify and awaken our being from the inside out. By contrast, when you try to solve your energetic, emotional and mental problems at their own level, you only play with states of mind and at best create a brief sense of relief. Truth takes you beyond this frustrating approach to the direct experience of innocence and freedom within.

I can affirm that there are no short cuts, but you can take the direct path. The direct path is the most simple and sincere approach possible. It is based in a love for your reality, for that which has always been called the sacred, the divine. This love for the ineffable reality behind the appearance of life gives you the strength to face your pain without distracting yourself. Love gives you the strength to forbear, nothing else.

As insight grows you will learn that you cannot expect anything on this path except to realize freedom in your own experience. In this freedom there is pure love beyond the idea of what love should look or feel like. There is pure knowing beyond the desire to understand everything conceptually. And there is pure awareness beyond any effort to be aware.

Yet until you realize the effortless nature of consciousness, you will feel a sense of effort and desire — a desire to be conscious. The effort arises from your natural discomfort with suffering, and it will not abate until that suffering is dissolved. I won’t tell you to drop your effort, because you cannot. I only tell you how truth works and how to understand what is happening. This helps convert the raw energy of effort and longing into clarity.

The sense of effort is the friction of intelligence working against the ignorance within you. It will fall away entirely when it has done its job. And then you will know beyond all doubt that you are free, that you are the living essence of reality, awake to itself while living an ordinary human life.