Setting a Bar

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Here’s another common mistake folks make when seeking Awakening.  Setting a  bar, a measure that they hold their awakening against.

Often these bars are insanely high.  Some go hand-in-hand with confusing sage-hood with celebrity, in other words assuming that your awakening must result in being as articulate and revered as the Buddha.  Other standards include magical powers.  Still others equate awakening to ascending to the heavens in an instant of dissolving into a “rainbow body.”

A lot of these expectations come from (often metaphorical, or allegorical) tales of the awakened women and men of earlier years.

Other bars of achievement are set by what kind of languaging is used.  In order to have realized your true self as a personal immediate experience, you have to talk about it like Ramana Maharshi did.

Another great one is expecting some sort of reaction in others.  As if the fact that you have dissolved the lie of the separate self in your own living process should immediately be recognized by others and they should straight-away look to you for help. A subtler version is that other people should care at all.

All of these requirements about how one should be, or be seen after awakening move the whole matter from the “what you are” realm where awakening actually occurs, into the “how to be” realm where it does not.

What ways have you seen in others (or yourself) of setting some kind of standard for how awakening should be? Leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)



  1. biisuto
    3 years ago

    hi travis, thanks for the blog post…i really appreciate your down to earth, meat-and-potatoes writing about what einstein said should be comprehensible to any five year old

    i especially like where you've inserted your scalpel: right between the truth about what i am and the behaviour that this predicates. i wasn't clear about what you meant when i first read your 7 barriers, but it makes sense now. :D


    • Travis
      3 years ago

      Hmmm, perhaps a re-write is in order. ;)

      I am glad that distinction is clear now. For me that was absolutely critical in resolving the whole issue.

      Cheers!


  2. Janet
    3 years ago

    Hi, Travis. Enjoyed this article. I recognize that idea of setting a standard for yourself based on a teacher. I was once listening to Adyashanti and thought, "I wonder if I'll ever be able to speak like that. That must be proof of 'it' when you can speak like that." Haha can't help but laugh at that now. (Probably he would, too!)


    • Travis
      3 years ago

      Heh! I am positive he would. And, he does have a fantastic laugh, doesn't he?

      That's exactly what I mean when confusing "sage-hood" for "celebrity." An analogy would be believing that the only way I can benefit from practicing yoga is if I can put my ankles behind my head. Doing that is impressive, but not the be-all and end-all of yoga by any stretch (see what I did there?) of the imagination.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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