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Receiving a Teaching

Corbin Mann

“Spirituality is about remaining in an open state of constant discovery.”

- Adyashanti


In my experience, this topic isn’t talked about very often. It seems to be something that is assumed and needs to be realized on our own. And yet this is the fundamental aspect of the teachings we receive; our attitude and posture on the information we’ve been given, And what we do with that information. Because this is the space where a teaching lies within us. It’s just as important as the teaching itself.

Spiritual teachers, philosophers, ministers, prophets, gurus, etc. often paint a picture with words. But the thing is, they’re just words. And it’s just an imaginative picture. And often, what these words are implying, is that there is an ideal way of receiving these teachings. A specific way to take in these words. Furthermore, as we develop our own spiritual practice, we can see for ourselves that the ideal way to receive a teaching is within the teaching itself.


First of all, what is a spiritual teaching? I like to think of a teaching like a map. A map of words that guides us to realizing our fundamental nature. A teaching is something to put into practice. What teachers are talking about is a revelation that you can actually experience for yourself. And they talk about what we can do to make ourselves more prone to having these revelations. Because the teaching isn’t the revelation, the actual experience is. The actual experience of Enlightenment is far beyond what anyone can say about it, or how you can imagine it. Although, any experience, any instant, is far beyond words and concepts.


Growing up, going through school, and socializing with other egos seemed to train me to believe in what I was told. It made me feel bad about not being able to understand something. It trained me to instantly make sense of the information I was given. And either believe or deny. All within the instant of taking in any information. I now know that this is a silly way of going about learning. Because it’s not really learning. That is if we’re talking about fundamental truth.

I see a lot of people taking this same attitude to spiritual teachings. Believing in the words of a teacher. This is a very dangerous thing. I’ve always thought about how ironic that is. Because usually, believing in a teaching is to defy the teaching itself. Because to believe is to grasp and cling to our own thoughts. And spirituality is all about being open. If the mind is too busy grasping at something that isn’t really true, but we convince ourself that it is, it becomes unavailable to receiving truth.


So let’s get right down to it. The ideal way to receive a teaching is the same way we practice life in general, or “the way of liberation.” By being open, curious, unattached, and practical.

In the past, I have received teachings that I didn’t understand until way later. Some months, and others it took around a year for me to really understand. And when I say understand, I’m talking about the kind of understanding where it’s undeniable, and you can feel it throughout your being. I’m talking about really seeing and comprehending what a teaching is referring to. Not understanding the teaching itself, that’s not what its about. Because all teachings are merely pointing towards truth. Leading us to revelation.


For most of us, we are generally conditioned to (upon given a piece of information) immediately try to conceptually make sense of it. Then either believe or deny, like I stated above. By doing this we are totally closed off to any kind of truth. Because our own concepts are not true. They’re just thoughts. When it comes to raw truth you don’t have to believe it, or even feel certain about it. Truth is always undeniable.

When receiving a teaching you won’t get anywhere with this process. We have to remain open. Blind belief serves nothing but the ego. To trust a teacher, and have the curiosity to try their techniques is not the same as believing in what they say about truth. Instead of taking their word for it we can stay curious and see for ourselves through their techniques. Taking up a new practice is responding to the inner beckoning of our true nature.

So we need to give ourselves time with a teaching. Allow whatever lands land, whatever doesn’t doesn’t. And rest with what landed. For as long as it takes. Contemplate on it, it could spark a profound realization at any moment. This is (in my experience) the best way to go about it. The only catch is; you have to find a teacher that you trust. If a teaching doesn’t speak to you find a different teacher. Even if the words of a teacher do speak to you, find more teachers. Because why not have a well rounded plethora of sealed wisdom in the back of your mind just waiting to have a breakthrough.


In light of that, here’s a short list to some trustworthy teachers.


Adyashanti

Leo Gura (actualized.org)

Shinzen Young

Ram Dass

Vishuddha Das

Stephen Batchelor

Alan Watts

Ramana Maharshi

Eckhart Tolle

Pema Chodron


These are just a few that I personally like and trust. Obviously there are many many more teachers and resources for spiritual enlightenment. I hope this might inspire or encourage you to explore spiritual teachings and seek what we truly are in life. And the interesting thing is, if you ever do realize our nature to any degree. If a deeper domain of our being becomes self conscious through you, you can “look” at it. Notice the qualities that it has. When I do this I notice qualities like; openness, innocence, aliveness, love/embrace, playfulness, etc. So what I’m getting at is that taking in a teaching, putting that into practice, and what the practice leads to is all the same thing. It’s all an embodiment of the one. Embodying these qualities makes us prone to realizing our deeper truth. Once realized, continuing the embodiment takes us to greater depths. All you have to do is stay curious.


Thank you for reading

Embracing Vulnerability

Corbin Mann

“Everything, in its way, is a gift—even the painful things. In reality, all of life—every moment, every experience—is an expression of spirit.”

-Adyashanti

In the grand scheme of things, embracing vulnerability is a beautiful practice. In another sense, sometimes it can be hard to see it that way. Nobody has to tell you to allow yourself to become vulnerable to pleasant experiences. That’s easy, natural, and desirable. The challenge with this practice is to embrace all of reality. Even the experiences that are difficult.

The reason why we do this is to move towards awakening. I also think that it is about being a healthy human being. The whole point to any kind of spiritual practice is to embody the qualities your true nature, even if it is yet to be realized for oneself. And in doing these practices we move closer to what we are seeking. So that one day we can become conscious of a deeper domain of our being.

I personally have been practicing embracing vulnerability for over a year now. And from my experience I can say that it has brought me into a much deeper intimacy with reality. When this happens we become prone to getting to the bottom of things with existence. We can more easily understand the truth to reality.

I know “embracing vulnerability” is pretty broad. I define it as this because there is a lot of depth and dimensions of this practice. And the interesting thing about it, the more I practice the more I find that it is always new. Every moment is different, and that constantly changes the practice of embracing the moment. Also, the more I do this I continue to find new ways to embrace vulnerability. 


Heres a few ways you can do this practice in daily life.


Eye contact

When connecting with others, make firm eye contact, and even try holding it. Personally, I didn’t realize how little eye contact I give people until after I started trying this. It is a powerful thing. We can connect on a deeper level this way, and not only with others but ourselves as well. Usually, the reason why we shy away from firm eye contact is because it may be awkward. But this is yet another thing to open up to, which leads to my next topic of practice.


Embrace those emotions!

In this day and age, if we feel anything besides pure joy people tell us we need to be “fixed.” But the reality is you’re a human being. We are emotional creatures, it’s all part of the deal. If we hide from difficult emotions we are just holding onto them. We aren’t really dealing with them that way. (I also go deeper into this topic in a previous article titled “Dealing with Thoughts and Emotions”). And when we hold onto/burry our emotions, they wont magically vanish. They may come up again, and maybe in a new form. And we will continue to struggle with them.


Release your preferences

One more variation of this off the top of my head is to let go of the preferred ways in which you want to moment to play out. Let go of your control. Im not saying be a door mat, or a pushover. I’m also not saying don’t try to direct your life. But this is about allowing anything to happen. This is really the same thing as the previous variation, just on a physical level. If you’re anything like me you like to plan out your day. The thing is life isn’t always in perfect synchronicity with your thoughts. As long as you have your preferences you are creating the possibility for life to “go wrong.” So the next time something unexpected happens don’t resist it. After all, we don’t have much of a choice. Embrace the lack of control you have over the moment. And as you align with life, life will align with you. You will experience real synchronicity.


These are just a few examples of how to engage with this practice. You might also try asking yourself; “what makes me feel vulnerable, or uncomfortable.” Whatever you come up with try working with that.

The more you practice embracing life the deeper you go into your true nature. And as you see results in your direct experience you will see how beautiful it is. And when you see that, you can take this practice a step further. You don’t have to stop at embracing life, you can enjoy it too. And this makes you available to the experience of divine love. Because you cant love anything without first embracing it. So This is just my invitation to embrace rather than resist.

Let’s live a profound life.


Thank you for reading

Lucid Dreaming

Corbin Mann

“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.”

- Lillian Smith

Although this topic has nothing to do with enlightenment, I thought I’d share some thoughts and experiences about it. Because this phenomenon is what made me start pursuing enlightenment in the first place.

Not a whole lot of people know what lucid dreaming is, yet the awareness of it has definitely been growing for years. It just happens for some people. Then theres people like me, the ones who find out about it through word of mouth. When I first heard about it I thought it sounded interesting and fun, and decided to give it a shot. Since I have never had any experience like it before. And after all, we’re asleep half of our lives anyway, so might as well try to get something out of that time. Plus, you have an opportunity to try it every night.

Lucid dreaming is waking up inside of a dream. Becoming conscious in a world that is not physical. Most people assume that dreams are all in your head. I don’t deny that, and I also don’t believe it (which is my answer for just about everything). First of all, that is one big assumption. Second of all, with that assumption, they are also assuming that this physical world isn’t all in your head. So with exploring your dreams there are so many things we can learn about the nature of reality. These experiences pose so many questions to consider, if we are seeking the truth of existence. And that is what peaked my interest about all of this. You can treat it like a science experiment, or just for fun.

The most intense experience that I’ve had in my life has taken place in a lucid dream. I had learned that it is possible to pry some real insight from a dream. While in a dream you can ask questions about you and your life, you might get a profound answer, and you might not. In my experience, the one time I did this I got a profound answer. It was actually more like a big slap in the face. It’s like I was hit by a brick wall, and I was forced to commit myself to seeking enlightenment. Reality wanted to wake up through me, and it made that very clear though that experience. Ever since then my life has been oriented around awakening. And this is why I’m sharing this article. Because if it happened to me it can happen to anyone. My intense insight with lucid dreaming changed my life and I’m grateful for it. Because it led me to realizing my true nature, and thats just the best gift in life. And the goal of Frequency is to share that.

Heres a few example questions we can ask a dream character, or the dream itself….

  1. who am I?

  2. what am I?

  3. where am I?

  4. what is life?

  5. what is death?

  6. Where am I going in life?

  7. Is god, or enlightenment real?

  8. how do I experience enlightenment?

  9. what is meaning?

  10. does my dead grandma still exist?


Get creative, ask some questions that you’ve wondered about all your life. I recommend using big, general/fundamental questions if you want a life altering experience. And try to not get discouraged if nothing exciting happens. Theres no guarantee. Just experiment with it.

Another practical aspect of lucid dreaming is that troubling thoughts and emotions can manifest. We can learn to overcome our fears, and work through those tough emotions. And you do this the same way you would deal with thoughts and emotions outside of dreaming. By embracing them. Simply let the experience take place, because thats all those thoughts and emotions want. Its the pain that wants out. So next time you have a nightmare try not running away, or let fear control you. Stick around and see what happens!

So if you’re anything like me, you can’t wake up in a dream naturally or on command. Heres a few tips on how to do it….

1. Reality checks!

In my experience this is the most effective method. A reality check is stopping what you’re doing during the day and asking yourself if you’re dreaming. Because how can you expect to wake up at night if you’re sleeping during the day. After you’ve asked if you are dreaming, you need to test the physical boundaries. (I have asked myself if I was dreaming in a dream and did not realize I was dreaming). Heres a few ideas on how to test the physical boundaries; try to push your finger through your hand, try to jump up and fly away, read something twice and see if it changes. Just try to do anything that is physically impossible, because there are no laws of physics in a dream. It’s a world governed by thought and emotion.

Do these reality checks many times during the day and make it a habit. The habit will eventually carry over into your dreams.

2. Dream journal

Writing down your dreams helps you to start remembering them, and become more conscious of them in general. Before you go to bed get the entry ready for the morning. This is setting an intention to have a lucid dream. It is also subconsciously believing that you’re really going to do it. Personally I often wake up after having a dream, and I’m too sleepy to stay awake. And then in the morning I forget all about the dream. So it’s wise to try your best to roll over and make a few bullet points of some key events that took place. That way you can go back to sleep and remember it in the morning.

3. Aim your intention

when you’re getting your journal entry ready make sure you aim your intention. This is also a good time to decide what you want to do/ask when you’re in the dream. Most people have their dreams later in the night towards the morning, around 3-5am. This is because near the end of our sleep, we’re on faster brain waves, which is when we tend to have our dreams. So intend to be in some crazy dreams towards the morning. Your subconscious mind will take care of everything after a strong intention has been made.

4. Meditation

When I first started meditating I started to have a lot more dreams than usual. And they were a lot more vivid. After developing a daily meditation practice we develop more awareness. It’s easier to stay conscious in a still, sleep like state. So I recommend trying a little meditation a day to get ready to try lucid dreaming.

These four practices have worked best for me. Plus there is a ton of info you can find through books, the internet, etc. So If my methods don’t work, theres many other techniques to try.

Once you start having these dreams more often, you might notice that there are many levels to how conscious you are of them. Just like in our waking lives. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. You can also experiment and try to meditate in the dream. See how conscious you can get inside a dream.

Setting personal growth aside, you can wake up in your dreams and have some fun. You can learn to control the dream environment. You can experiment with super powers, such as; flying, shape shifting, telekinesis, or literally anything else you can think of. You can also telepathically communicate with dream characters or the dream itself. You can do anything you want!

So the main goal here is to take our personal growth work into our sleep. And maybe this can inspire you to seek your true nature as well. If you’re already curious about the nature of reality this is a fun way to experiment, and take away a contemplation topic or two. Why not give it a try and some fun while you’re at it. I hope this sparked some curiosity or inspiration. Lets live a profound life.

Thank you for reading

Compassion

Corbin Mann

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

-Samuel Beckett

 

It was about 3 years ago when I started practicing mindfulness for the first time. I realized that it was a necessary practice if enlightenment is what I wanted. Because if you want to understand something, paying attention to what you want to understand would be a good place to start.

So I learned what its like to have a more intimate awareness with the moment. And the tricky part with that is holding that awareness non-stop. I was really intense about it for a few months. So intense I exhausted myself. This became a pattern for me. And not just with mindfulness but with all of my practices. I would be overly intense, wanting to make as much progress as possible, and get exhausted. And then I would beat myself up for not being on top of my practice. Eventually I became so exhausted I stopped practicing all together and didn’t come back to it for months. During that time I felt very stuck, lost, and ashamed of myself for not doing it. I was very intimidated by the thought of starting again. I felt that way because I would beat myself up for “failing.” I didn’t want to keep disappointing myself. I had no compassion.

I attended a meditation retreat a while ago and met some people that were there solely for the purpose of fueling their practice of “self gentleness,” or compassion. I thought, “what the hell is that about?” I seriously had no idea about compassion, why to put it into practice, or why it’s important. I always had prided myself on being that intense awakening junkie. If I had understood in the beginning who knows where I would be now. But one thing that I’ve learned is that reality won’t give you what you want until you are truly ready for it. 

During the spring of 2018 I was doing a “Meditation in Everyday Life” program. My teacher there had us contemplate balancing “business” and “laziness.” This is when I first realized that I didn’t know how to balance these. And remembered when I used to exhaust myself with my practice. But I still wasn’t really sure what to do about that. Like I said, life wont just give you the insight you want just because you want it. You have to work at it and contemplate it so you can discover it for yourself through your own experience. But this was certainly a big piece to the puzzle.

A couple months ago I went to a weekend meditation retreat. The first day I was nothing but confused (which is sometimes the point). The teachings weren’t making any sense to me but I was doing what I was told to do anyway. We were meditating, contemplating, doing yoga, and listening to the teacher all day.

The next day we pretty much did the same thing but this time the confusion was starting to turn into peaceful abiding (or contentment). I had no idea why this happened or how, but I was too content to question it.

When the retreat ended I drove home. But on my way back I stopped at a grocery store. And this was during rush hour so it was pretty damn busy there. This was my first time being back and interacting with society again. Something pretty incredible took place. I boiled over with loving happiness for no apparent reason and I couldn’t stop smiling. There was so much chaos around me, but I wasn’t even close to being affected by it. Not only was I not affected but I just loved everything for no reason. There was so much love it was entertaining. It nearly brought me to tears. Halfway through the little adventure I realized that I was deeply high on compassion. It was a state of silence that I had never experienced before.

Most people call it a state of mindfulness, but I like to call it “mindlessness.” Because I was effortlessly conscious of the present moment, but the mind was nowhere to be found. Meaning; there were absolutely no judgements, labeling, belief, complaints, or analysis of any kind taking place. The mind wasn’t doing what it usually does. I was just experiencing naked reality. It was a state of peaceful abiding. 

So I had experienced what compassion is really like for myself. And with having that experience I could finally incorporate compassion into my everyday practice. Also, I still don’t know if learning compassion was the intention of that retreat, but I did anyway.

I then knew that it is perfectly ok to have an off day. So from then on out I wasn’t so intense with my practice. I was letting it all happen naturally. I also wasn’t digging into myself for having an off day. I don’t really get into that anymore. Now I’ll just notice that I’m not doing the best, feel compassion for it, and patiently wait until it starts up again naturally through my own motivation. And with handling it in that way, my motivated practice comes around a lot quicker. And with not being intense about the practice in the first place, it allows me to keep going for longer period of time. And with that I’ve been making more consistent growth. Not only more consistent but faster as well.

I’ve also noticed that even when I’m off of my practice, or “having an off day,” thats still practice. It’s just a different flavor of it. Bringing compassion into those times is a crucial part of it. And all of this has led me to seeing the whole life practice coming from compassion. I now use compassion as a nest for the practice to rest within. Because if you are lacking compassion in any part of your life, you will needlessly suffer, which in turn will keep you from progressing as a human being.

So with this writing I want to express how important compassion really is. And hopefully I can help you cut some corners that I wasn’t able to, so you can grow faster than I did.

If you’re serious enough about your practice, you need to allow yourself to “fail.” You need to learn to accept failure, suffering, and everything else you would usually associate with negativity. Because that is part of the practice. Thats taking the next step. After all, you’re the one who labels an experience as “failed,” or “bad.” In my experience, trial and error is all apart of the nature of progression. With trial will eventually come error, and we need to learn to deal with the error to continue the trial. Not only deal with it but love it, because its a package deal. Learn to be compassionate with yourself, and try your best.

Fundamentally speaking, it doesn’t really matter if we progress or not. It’s certainly ideal for some of us. But it’s all fundamentally the same. Once I really recognized that it made it a lot easier for me to be ok with having off days. 

So I think thats all. I hope this will resonate with a least some of you who are reading. And become more realized in time. Because this stuff takes time. You may not get it now, but who knows. This just may give you some “unknown insight” to set you up to understand an experience you might be having a year from now. I’m hoping this can be a piece to your puzzle. Lets live a profound life.

 

Thank you for reading.

Pitfalls

Corbin Mann

“But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.”

- Anne Bronte

 

The path to truth is a very tricky path. When dealing with the ego we can easily be deceived. There are so many things to watch out for. These are commonly known as pitfalls, sins, pāpa, “productive dualism,” dhanb, traps etc. The ultimate consequence of a pitfall is moving further away from consciousness, god, moksha, divine, basic goodness, truth, pure awareness, nonduality, enlightenment, etc. And that is why they are called pitfalls, because they hold you back from attaining enlightenment.

Generally speaking, the whole enlightenment practice is learning to let go of the ego (yourself). When we start to do this the ego will subtly fight back, which is usually when we fall into these sins. The ego is extremely crafty with lots of tricks up its sleeve, it always has a subtle card to play to stop the process of letting go. And I have fallen into many myself and have tried my best to pay close attention to these. Which is why I am writing about them. I haven’t mastered this practice by any means, but I feel that I’ve attained a decent enough understanding to share what I have learned about this phenomenon. So if you’re at all serious about finding truth you need to study this as early in your practice as possible so no time is wasted falling into pitfalls without knowing about them.

Now lets take a look at some of the biggest pitfalls that I have encountered along my own practice.

The biggest pitfall that I’ve worked with is the first cardinal sin. Its called pride. Just by the name you can tell its egoic. 

So how would this look in practice. Well, after experiencing this practice you can start to become prideful of it. You start to feel special because of it, and maybe even a bit arrogant and boastful. I know thats what happened to me for a while in the beginning. And this creates a big problem. The whole point of the practice is to let go of the ego and now you start to use it to build the ego. The whole thing is quite ironic. When this happens you start to move in the opposite direction. You fall into a trap that stops your growth. This is the most common trap that I’ve seen. Some people never get out of this one, so be extremely careful when dealing with the ego. Ram Dass once said; see everything as a mother. This is a great way to kill your arrogance.

The next pitfall I found myself in is paying more attention in pointing out other peoples “mistakes” instead of your own. This one is pretty self explanatory. It also plays off of pride. When you’re arrogant about your own practice you tend to act like you have everything figured out and nobody else does. This is beyond delusion. Not everyone practices life like this and thats perfectly ok. That being said, worrying about what other people are doing (or not doing) is pointless. It wont benefit your practice. And most importantly, if you’re too busy pointing your finger at everyone else then you are being distracted from remembering to point your finger inward at yourself. Using your reaction of blaming as a reminder of your own practice is a nice way to get around this pitfall. You need to be pointing out your own delusions and pitfalls, because thats how you grow. And with enough growth you’ll be able to set an example for others instead of being hypocritical.

Another pitfall is belief. I have previously written about this, so if you want to go deeper into no belief go see the article titled “Stay Curious.” 

But to sum it up. If you just take what you hear and read about “truth”, enlightenment, god on blind faith its going to be difficult to move towards an authentic understanding of what it actually is. A spiritual teaching is meant to get you to practice so you can experience truth for yourself. Because if it hasn’t been experienced then it’s not truth. It’s extremely important to make the distinction between a belief and a direct experience. One is truth, and the other will always be false. When we receive a teaching, we have simply been given a map. For example, if you are in California and were given a map of New York, that doesn’t mean you’re in, or have been to New York. This is another form of delusion and attachment. The mind can make sense of anything. Conceptually making sense of something is commonly mistaken for understanding. Belief, in and of itself is an act of ego. YOU want your ideas to be true. YOU want to be comforted from uncertainty. But it’s not about you. It takes a lot of courage but you need to let go of everything including yourself and everything that it desires. Thats when truth will reveal itself, when everything false is gone.

And lastly, what consciousness actually is goes purely beyond all of your ideas. Its actually the foundation of them. So it’s literally impossible to imagine divinity.

The last article posted goes more in depth into this next pitfall; using your realizations to hide from life. A lot of people I see think this spiritual practice is all about being happy all of the time. Or ditching your sense of self forever. But these are misconceptions. Its about embracing everything, and letting go of the ego in order to reach an existential understanding. Happiness is commonly a byproduct of enlightenment, but its not what it actually is in its essence.

I had an experience falling into this pitfall a few months ago. I was vending at a festival and it started to rain. Some of my stuff was getting wet and I started to get frustrated. I then relaxed and told myself that everything is ok the way it is. Although this is fundamentally true, I was attempting to use this realization to hide from my problems and feelings. I was subtly attempting to hide from my own humanity. Just because we can free ourselves from our addiction to the ego doesn’t change the fact that we have the rest of our lives to live as an individual. We need to find the balance between understanding our illusions, while living with them as well. As I remembered this I began to work with the rain and eventually packed up early, because I felt that was the best choice for me at the time.

I personally think this last pitfall is a little advanced, as I just realized it a few months ago. However, I did find a remedy for it, and I’m excited to share it. My experience with this new (to me) pitfall is what inspired this article. I think I’ll call it “counter practice.”

This is when the ego wants to let go of itself for itself. This is a completely natural thing to do! As my favorite teacher Adyashanti once said; “No revelation is given to us simply for our own benefit.” YOU want enlightenment. YOU want to let go of YOU for the sake of YOU. As I’ve mentioned about 3 or 4 other times in this same article; Enlightenment is about letting go of the ego. Well, this can be a little bit tricky. When we do this, we are instantly rooting the practice of letting go of the ego in the ego. With this mindset you can only go so far with this practice. And I personally reached my limit in that mindset. I wouldn’t call this pitfall being prideful, but it is using the practice to build the ego, just from a different angle. If you’re new to this practice don’t worry too much about this. I can only imagine it would make things a bit overwhelming.

So now lets get to the solution to this one, because it’s a special pitfall.

In order to stop rooting your practice in ego, you need to devote your awakening to all other  beings. Which is what this business has turned into. Frequency Goods is a way I can spread awakening to all of you. Thats the goal anyway. From here on out my practice is solely for the purpose of spreading consciousness through others. So far this mindset has allowed me to let go of ego on a much deeper level, and experience a more intimate relationship with our true nature. And I know, “I’m doing it for others ultimately to deepen my own practice.” But that will just take a little contemplation to get past. Plus, I genuinely want to help people live a deeply profound life.  Once you wake up to consciousness, that has to be the roots of your practice. Instead of operating from ego, you need to see everything from your deepest truth. With awareness comes responsibility. It’s an intense task, but a worthy one.

So those are some of the biggest pitfalls that I have run into. They aren’t the only ones but they are broad. There is one last thing you need to know when it comes to dealing with pitfalls. If you run into any pitfall, and work past it, that doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever. It will most likely return. The thing is, there is so much depth to each and every pitfall. I’m still catching myself victim of all of these pitfalls, but from different angles. And I’m working through them on a deeper level. That is why we call this a practice, and I’m not just talking about pitfalls here. Everything that goes into spiritual awakening takes time to work with. And it’s not about counting down the hours until you have it mastered. It’s about learning that this is a constant practice with no end. Because when you think you have it all figured out, thats when you can be absolutely sure that you don’t. In theory, the thought itself of “having it figured out” may be exactly what makes us loose ourselves along the practice. Which is one of many reasons why I like to tell people to “Stay Curious.”

So it’s not going to come easy. Thats why you have to really want to understand the nature of reality. You have to want the truth far more than you want to be comfortable. 

For all of you who are already along this path, I hope this can be of use to you. For those of you who are new, I hope this inspires you to build the courage to start investigating in this experience, and maybe one day see that the egoic state is nothing but a dream.

 

Thank you for reading.

Dealing with Thoughts and Emotions

Corbin Mann

“Denial does not change reality for everyone else. Only for the one denying and those who are foolish enough to believe the fantasy.”

- Elle Casey

 

I think that its safe to say most human beings suffer with thoughts and emotions that they don't particularly enjoy. And for most people, they generally don't know exactly what to do, or how to deal with them. Not only humans but animals seem to suffer with thoughts and emotions as well. For instance, when I leave my house to run errands my dogs pout and whine because they don't want that to happen. I can only imagine that they're thinking I might not come back. But with humans its a lot more complicated. We can suffer with depression, or thoughts and emotions that stick around longer than usual. Learning to deal with these experiences is a big step towards awakening to our true nature. Because after all, what we really are isn't doing the suffering. What we really are is perfectly ok with anything that could possibly happen.

Have you ever noticed that when animals suffer with emotions and thoughts they get over it rather quickly? Why cant we do that? How do they do that? When I come home to my dogs after running errands they're always so happy to see me. If you do something to another human that they don't like they'll throw it back in your face for a lifetime. So the thing is, humans just don't know how to let go. Humans form strong attachments quickly. And with a strong attachment, the detachment, most likely, wont be pretty, or easy for that matter. If we didn't form these attachments in the first place we could let go a lot easier and our suffering wouldn't linger. There is also a lack of acceptance. With a complex human mind comes a lot of ideas. With a lot of ideas comes preferred ways in which we want reality to play out. And when reality contradicts your ideas of how it should be, you get angry, sad, frustrated, etc. It is the belief in ones own thoughts that brings virtually all of our anguish.

If I'm not mistaken, the first truth the Buddha stated goes something like; with life comes suffering. Suffering is just a natural part of life. Sometimes it seems as though most people think spirituality and enlightenment is all about being happy all of the time. Only dealing with those positive vibes. But this is not the case. First of all, we don't really have control over anything. A first time meditator usually gets frustrated that they cant calm their thoughts. And that meditator fails to recognize the significance of that discovery. We cant control our own thoughts and emotions, which means we cant control our actions, which means we cant control the world. When we try to control anything, that is exactly what makes us out of control. If we had control over our thoughts and emotions wouldn't you choose to be happy all of the time? We will never be able to stop suffering. But what we can do is learn to deal with negative phenomena so we don't suffer as much from the suffering. And if permanently stopping suffering were possible wouldn't you think it would've already been done? And by now it would just be common knowledge. But it isn't and thats the reality of our situation. Enlightenment has nothing to do with your emotions, it has everything to with embracing and accepting reality the way it is. Im not saying be a doormat and not do anything about your life because thats the reality of the situation. Learning to balance “egoic consciousness” and “enlightenment consciousness” is a part of the process. But this is a little advanced because first we need to transcend the ego and experience enlightenment in order to have something to balance. Learning when to take action to make yourself happy, and use the ego when necessary is crucial. And when you transcend ego, and have that new point of view, we can learn to know when to sit back, relax and accept the uncontrollable.

I find it interesting that humans, or perhaps all life, are hard wired to be happy or at least content. When we feel anger, stress, anxiety, frustration, etc. we literally become physically unhealthy. You could have a heart attack and die from too much of it. So it might be beneficial for us to learn to cope with these thoughts and emotions for the sake of our lives. Plus, who wants to live a life full of intense suffering. Even if you don't suffer with thoughts and emotions very often, it would be nice to know what to do when the time comes. 

When we experience great joy we naturally embrace it. Because that is what we crave. Who would resist that right? And with this natural embrace and acceptance our joyful experiences flea quite quickly. Sometimes the emotion leaves as soon as whatever caused it does. So this is our first insight. When we experience thoughts and emotions that we don't want to experience we naturally resist them. The two most common reactions are to hide from them. I.e. keeping your mind off of it and distract yourself from suffering. And the other, letting ourselves be controlled by it. I.e. curse someone out for cutting you off on the road while driving. These are two types of resisting. It seems that “negative” thoughts and emotions are actually fueled by resistance. Or, perhaps, resistance itself is creating the negative emotion and thought. And Positive ones seem to intensify with embrace. So with this you can make your choice. Live life full of contentment, or unnecessary anguish. Because now we know how to live these lives. Embrace everything or resist everything.

So with this we need to learn to come out of hiding and embrace the negativity, without being controlled by it.

When you experience thoughts and emotions that you don't want to experience, first notice them. Accept that this is your present reality. Allow yourself to fully experience them without letting it control you. Let go of your desire control the situation, allow your thoughts to be and hold on to that pure emotion. And you can even question them and trace it back to its roots. For example, “why am I experiencing these thoughts and emotions?” Well, it will always come to the ego. So you can say, I experience this because I don't want this to happen. “Why don't I want this to happen?” Well, it will always come back to the ego.

The nature of all thoughts and emotions (all senses in general) is to come and go. Or better yet, “pass through” our field of awareness. When we resist the unwanted truth, we actually are holding on to it. And we fail to realize that if we just allow this experience to take its course, we can see that its very nature is to free itself. We just need to be vulnerable and open so it all can pass through like every other sensation. When we experience depression we tend to resist it in some way. But there usually comes that day when you just get tired of clinching that inner fist and decide to let it all go. Let go of trying to fix it, control it, or try to figure it out. You just accept it and experience it. That is usually when we get through our tough times.

Dealing with our emotions is kind of like doing laundry. When we have clean clothes, we embrace them fully and wear them. But when those clothes become dirty we ignore them. We don't want to get our hands dirty and do some unwanted chores of maintenance. So we toss our dirty clothes in the corner of our room and call it good. But when more clothes get dirty, the pile gets bigger. Constantly ignoring the dirty work comes back and really gets in the way. It becomes a nuisance. So eventually we have to do some laundry. And for the sake of this metaphor, some people will go to psychotherapy to get to the roots of the thoughts and emotions they have been ignoring and suppressing for so long. But if we can do the laundry now, then it wont get in the way later and we wont have so much work to do. We can let go, allow the suffering to be, and pass through us now, instead of holding on to them and letting it effect us more than what is necessary. 

It really is so simple. What it all comes down to is simply letting yourself experience what is present. Just accept reality the way that it is. Allow yourself to experience everything. 

This practice is all about maintaining our mental equilibrium. In order to do this we have to become a bit vulnerable. We must learn to open up and embrace experiences that we tend to not want. Because our true nature involves everything. We are everything positive, everything negative, and also neither. It is all apart of what we truly are. To deepen our understanding of reality and ourselves we need to embrace, and get to know it all. Most people see negative thoughts and emotions as obstacles. But ultimately there are no obstacles in life or spiritual work, just more things to learn how to embrace. And when we can learn to get through some of our toughest times, to embrace things the we previously weren’t, we usually see the most profound growth. And with consistent practice we can learn to live with constant embrace all of the time. Then, finally we wont suffer as much from our suffering. We will have more time on our hands to take up new practices for further evolution.

So never stop growing and learning. Lets live a profound life.

Thank you for reading.

Misconceptions

Corbin Mann

"Enmeshed, entangled, you can still get out unless, poor fool, you stand in your own way."

- Lucretius

 

Far too often do I find myself engaged in a conversation about spiritual enlightenment, and the other not knowing what this actually is. There are many common misconceptions about awakening, and this is the first way the ego keeps us from finding any sort of deep insight. These realizations you can have are extremely threatening to you. In other words its extremely threatening to the self, ego, identity, etc. The core purpose of the self is to survive at all costs. This quality is in pretty much every living thing. It is our will to live that’s making it very difficult to experience enlightenment. This is because enlightenment defies the self, and reality all together. Enlightenment is basically jail breaking your mind. Its not programmed to do this, but you're going to rewire it so that it can. It’s difficult because you’re going against what the self has been conditioned to do, which is to maintain delusion for its own survival. But going against this is essential for realizing the nature of the self. Some enlightenment reports express it as dying before the physical death. 

Now lets look at some of the most common misconceptions about what enlightenment is. 

 

  1. Enlightenment isn't real (or isn't possible for a normal human being who is not a profit)
  2. Enlightenment is a belief system
  3. Enlightenment is all about love and positivity
  4. Enlightenment is about finding out who you are.
  5. Enlightenment is learning new things
  6. Enlightenment is a one time experience
  7. Enlightenment is a new state of mind
  8. Enlightenment takes a lifetime of work to experience
  9. Enlightenment is saying bye to the ego forever
  10. Enlightenment has to do with a conceptual afterlife

 

Please allow me to explain…

 

Throughout religion there are figures, such as profits, that attain a deep level of consciousness through enlightenment, finding god, etc. This subtly implies that this state of being is only accessible to an extraordinary person. This is not the case. Enlightenment is very much attainable for normal people like you and me. It seems too good to be true. I think this might be because most people are not completely sure what it literally is. To put it in a sentence, its basically deepening your relationship with reality. Experiencing this to a small degree is common among most people. For example, when we overcome a fear, openly express our true feelings, embracing vulnerability, we often feel more in touch with what is. Enlightenment is sort of like that feeling of intimacy, but on a much deeper, profound, undeniable level.

I like to think that religion started from an awakened person with true teachings, and its followers turned it into propositions to be believed in. I think this is why a lot people assume that enlightenment is a collection of beliefs. Spiritual awakening is at the core of a lot of different religions. These very religions also have ironically developed a rigid belief system. And of course, some these beliefs are supposed to assist in awakening. But everyone is different, living from different paradigms, which calls for different techniques. With awakening and belief intertwined it is totally natural to assume that the two are the same thing. But the funny thing is, enlightenment is exactly the opposite of a belief system. Belief is the attachment to a thought. What enlightenment is is letting everything go. Letting go of everything that is ultimately false. Letting go of all beliefs and only concerning with direct experience. Doing this, a deep truth will eventually be revealed.

So many people love to assume that spiritual enlightenment just has to do with love and positivity. But theres more to it than just that. These are two great qualities to experience, and practicing these qualities is definitely a part of the process. But this is merely scratching the surface. Also, experiencing great love and positivity may be a byproduct of enlightenment, but it is not what enlightenment literally is in its essence.

Enlightenment is often referred to as “self discovery.” And this implies that enlightenment is about getting to know yourself on a much deeper level. In a certain sense this is true. But it has nothing to do with the personality. Ultimately, what awakening is is realizing that there was no “you” to begin with. You are an object of awareness. Wouldn't you think that you would be what is aware instead of the subject? The self is just something that “you” are experiencing and enlightenment is transcending the self and reality all together. It is very difficult to express no self, because in explaining it there usually has to be a reference to a single entity. But to conclude, the self is just one part (of many) of your reality. Instead of identifying with the content of your experience, focus on the underlying context.

As a result of my epistemic studies, I like to think that learning is expanding your memory. When we’re in school, we are forced to memorize a lot of content. And most (if not all) of this content was simply told to us. We didn’t derive any of it for ourselves. This is what forms a belief. This entire system is based upon the assumption that we are experiencing an objective reality. But the thing is, the only thing you can ever have is first person point of view. Reality is subjective. What you know is either going to be a belief or a direct experience. Direct experience is the only thing that is true. If you’re told something that may be true, that doesn't mean that it isn't a belief for you, because you haven't experienced it. Blind acceptance isn't truth. What enlightenment literally is is expanding your awareness. Encompassing more of direct reality. 

One of the biggest, most common, misconceptions I’ve seen and heard of is the idea that enlightenment is a one and done experience. You have this incredible realization and are forever changed into a perfect person, without a need to do any more personal development work. This couldn't be more false. Spiritual awakening is a process. I’ve never heard of there being an end to it. Its a process of recognizing and letting go of the illusions of the mind. Which in turn expands awareness because there is less illusion to block and distort reality. And with expanding awareness, your also discovering new grounds of unawareness. It’s like a bubble. The bigger it gets, the more it encompasses, and at the same time its reaching new, untouched areas. In the past, I’ve had the opportunity of being in the presence of a deeply enlightened master (which is a spiritual experience on its own). Even he is still working on himself, and deepening his relationship with reality.

This is why I sell shirts that say “Stay Curious.” When we think we fully understand, we’re putting a cap on our limitless awareness. False assumptions are what puts our development on a pause, or in most cases, a permanent stop. 

This is another very common false assumption; it’s a new state of mind. Enlightenment is not discovering a new state of mind. Its actually not discovering anything new at all. It is realizing what has always been there. It’s profoundly simple and obvious. Although I do say that enlightenment is accessing a deeper way of seeing reality, this point of view goes far beyond the mind. It changes the way you see your states of mind, instead of identifying with them. The problem most people have with this work is that they’re always looking for something. Looking for the core of their being. But whatever you may find is always going to be an object of awareness. Instead of looking for something, focus on the looking itself. The pure awareness, or as stated above, the context.

When I used to hear the word “enlightenment” it would bring up certain images in my head. Images of buddhist monks meditating all day, and stuff like that. Many tend to think that awakening takes a lifetime of hard work to experience, or is only possible if you sit in a cave for 30 years straight. But this is just an idea. I didn’t know what all of this was, and had these kind of ideas in the back of my mind. With this, subtly steering me away from enlightenment, I never bothered doing any actual research. But I later found that having profound realizations into the fundamental nature of reality is not as demanding as that. You definitely have to commit to it though. It’s sort of like reality is only allowing you to experience this once you’re really ready for it. You have to show that you mean business, and genuinely want this for the sake of personal growth. Having the initial experiences, and coming to these realizations is the easy part. After that you have to practice the embodiment of the realizations and live from the deeper truth that you have realized. At least, you have to do this if you want to take it deeper. And this is why we tend to think of monks intensely training. They want to live in the enlightenment point of view 24/7. 

A lot of kids these days are talking about “ego death.” How spiritual awakening is ego death, or how you can experience it on certain psychedelic drugs. Ego death is one of the enlightenment realizations. But when I hear this, it seems as though ditching your sense of self forever is being implied. Just imagine that you had no sense of being a separate individual at all. You probably wouldn't do much (key word “you”). There wouldn't be a “you” to do anything. You couldn't feed yourself, clean yourself, go to work, or anything else. Because there wouldn't be a sense of “you” to do it. This wouldn't be very productive. When we have realizations regarding letting go of the self, it is usually temporary. We transcend ego, then, sure enough, the ego makes its way back. This is why we hear about monks doing intense training. Because to live from these experiences all of the time is easier said than done. But ultimately, you are not saying bye to the ego forever. Its just that you don't need to rely on it as much. You need your ego point of view for certain things. And you need the “awakened” point of view for certain things as well. After all, enlightenment is just gaining access to a variety of different ways to see reality. Each one as undeniable, and truthful as the next. But in order to be a complete human being, we need to learn to use all ways of seeing things to operate in life. 

Lastly, we have the misconception of awakening being an insight into what happens to us after death. I think I already made it clear that this is not true. I don't know what happens after death, and at this point I don't really care. All I know is, what we really are isn't the thing that dies. Life and death are objects of awareness. It’s not about gaining more and more conceptual ideas. It’s authentically realizing what is really going on here with this experience of ours. 

 

So I hope this was helpful and cleared some things up for you. Making false assumptions about enlightenment is the first pitfall. And there are many, many, many pitfalls to watch out for. If you decide to go on this path, or just dip your toes into it to see what it’s about, be very careful. Don't take the ego lightly, because it is extremely tricky to deal with. In the beginning stages, it is a dramatic irony situation. Where the ego knows more than you do. But if you stick with it, with seriousness and sincerity, you can flip the situation on its head. By letting go of all “knowing,” you can transcend the ego. 

It is also important to learn from many teachers. Every teacher has their own way of putting this, and their own approach all together. By taking truth from all angles we can reap as much growth as we possibly can. Instead of knowing reality from just a few points of view we can keep evolving. As stated before, never assume that you’ve reached the end. Keep growing.

 

Thank you for reading

Self Inquiry

Corbin Mann

"Doubt is the incentive to truth and inquiry leads the way" - Hosea Ballou

 

Have you ever asked yourself, “who am I really?” Or better yet, “what am I really?” This kind of introspection would be called self inquiry. What are you, literally? We can only assume that there has been a handful of people from every generation asking this question. But how many of those people keep asking this question. Most people get stumped and give up. Even more don't even start because going this deep into the nature of yourself is scary. Maybe subconsciously they know that they wont find anything, and thats threatening to the ego. 

Self inquiry is essentially looking for yourself. Looking for the very core of your being. And usually when people do this they cant find anything. That is, if they are being totally honest with themselves. They cant find anything and then keep on looking for “something.” But wait a minute, isn't that just a little odd? You cant find anything at all. No sign of a true self whatsoever. Yet there are plenty of things to find in your experience.

Fist of all, what is the self? The ego, the thing you’ve been identifying yourself with. Well, the self, and reality as a whole, is merely a collection of senses. Ask yourself, how do I even know “I”, or reality all together exists in the first place? What evidence do we have? We have sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, thought, and emotion. This is what reality and the self is, just senses. And all of these aspects of reality come and go. The self comes and goes. Just sit down and let your mind wander. You will eventually lose self awareness. That is just the nature of it, every sense you perceive will eventually fade away. But what is that thing (or no thing) that has never once changed? Think back to a childhood memory. You’ve grown and changed a lot. But what is it that has stayed exactly the same?

So why am I talking about finding a “true self?” You may have no objections with your identity and/or where it is placed. But like I said, the self is a collection of senses. And we are aware of these senses. We are observing the self. And this is where most people have trouble with this. They keep looking for themselves and trying to find something. But the thing is, if you were to find anything at all then that would just be another object of awareness, just another sense. So the question is, What is it thats doing the looking? What is observing the self? What would be doing the finding? Heres a little hint, nothing…

We know that there are senses. And there has to be an awareness of those senses. If there were no awareness there would be no senses. With no senses theres no existence. Awareness is the essence of existence. Its the invisible quality of reality. This can be realized. If you keep doing this deep inquiry you will eventually come to this. So heres a thought, is what I really am the awareness itself? Am I pure awareness? Am I the mere watching-ness? Its not a thing, but at the same time its not quite nothing. And awareness itself never changes. Its the pure stillness underlying your experience.

So awareness and the object of awareness go hand in hand. Look very closely at your own senses right now. The sense and the awareness of it are coming into reality together. So this poses the question; are the two the same thing? If there is an aspect of reality there has to be an awareness. And if there is awareness there has to be an object to be aware of. So if what we are is actually pure awareness, then that might mean we are everything as well. Now I don't know this for certain. I haven't had this realization myself. All I know is the mind and body is not what we actually are at the core. The self is ultimately an illusion.

Now lets go even deeper. 

If you're no stranger to meditation or self inquiry, you might have reached the core of your identity. What the identity really is… you guessed it, a sense. That’s why they call it the sense of self, or self image. So then, the question is not “what am I,” “am I this or that.” Because the “I” is the identity, and that, in and of itself, is an object of awareness! So if you have realized pure awareness and wondering if thats what you actually are. Just know that you are trying to apply an object of awareness to awareness itself. And this makes for a beautiful, confusing, life altering paradox. There is no “I,” there is no “you.” Just awareness, and objects of awareness. Or at least thats the deepest I’ve gone.

Everything you have ever known and experienced is an object of awareness. Senses are “content” of reality. What awareness is is the “context” of reality. Its where everything is taking place. It transcends existence all together. 

In Hinduism there is a method called “Netti Netti.” It is a sanskrit word for “not this, nor that.” What this is is recognizing all senses, one by one, and understanding that you are not the content. You are not a temporary sensation. This is a form of self observation, which takes a lot of constant awareness. The more you observe yourself, the more you realize that you are observing yourself. And this leads to awakening. You realize that you are not this, nor that.

You wont be able to find yourself right away. Know that whatever you may find will be an object of awareness. Keep inquiring into nothingness, and focus on your pure being.

What we’re doing here is science. It may not be a formal route. But it’s going beyond physics. Thats why they call it “metaphysics.” Science may be good at coming up with an explanation of our sensations, but thats all it will ever be. Just a man made explanation of what is. Science is just stating an observation. Modern science often denies consciousness. But consciousness, or pure awareness, is the most fundamental thing about reality. And sure, quantum physics can be very helpful with this work. But it will never provide a genuine understanding. Thats up to you to discover. 

Yes, I do this work myself. Im leaning with you. I don't have all the answers but I'm striving for them. If you want the truth about what you are, you have to be asking this simple question every day; “what am I.” Its that simple. The key is you have to keep asking it. Doing this once or twice isn't enough to have a serious breakthrough. Constancy is everything. But it is very possible to have deep realizations into the nature of what you are. I’ve had one myself and it’s utterly remarkable. But I cant have the realizations for you. If you really want truth you have to put in the work. You have to really want it. Spirituality is the one thing that cannot be learned. Nobody can teach you, you can only be guided. And when we read about spirituality, philosophy, and religion we get convinced. People that talk and write about this are very articulate, and metaphorical. This in turn paints a nice picture in your head, and makes you think you understand. The image in your head isn't truth, direct experience is. So if you're serious about understanding reality, don't believe me or anyone else. You have to be truly lost in order to be found. Take the methods for your advantage and find out for yourself.

Thanks for reading, and stay curious.

Contemplation

Corbin Mann

“It is necessary… for a man to go away by himself… to sit on a rock… and ask, ‘who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?”  - Carl Sandburg

 

Contemplation is one of my favorite tools for consciousness work, and introspection. To question your reality very deeply is an efficient path to genuine understanding. How would it even be possible to achieve an understanding if you're not going to question anything? 

You can use contemplation for any topic. What is meaning, what is understanding, what is the self, what are senses, what is nothing. These are some great questions to be asking. Going straight to the most fundamental questions will make the process of understanding a little bit quicker. Because when you understand the roots of reality it will explain everything else that has sprouted from them. The most undeniable aspects of your experience are the things most people don't question. If you understand something why would you question it, right? But what people don't understand is that they've acquired a false understanding of everything they think they know. Mere beliefs.

Everyone has a childhood. When we go through the process of growing up we are heavily obligated to learn how things work, and how to operate in this modern society. You have to learn your identity, language, everything they teach in school, and obviously much more. But the thing is, this is all man made stuff. Everything you have ever learned is just a tool for survival, and it is not truth. The essence of reality is not man made, and you cannot learn this, let alone form anything external. It can only be realized internally. Knowledge is just a big web of beliefs. These beliefs make it harder to realize truth. After childhood conditioning you have to trace back your steps to pure consciousness. Unlearn everything, and truth will reveal itself.

Just like anything else, you wont be successful if you're going to eventually quit. Find out what you want to know, and do not stop questioning everything about it. Dig in as much as you can into your topic. The expansion of awareness takes time, and is a tricky process all together. When I first became curious about the nature of meaning, I sat down for twenty minutes everyday to simply ask “what is meaning?” I didn't figure it out until four months later. And for certain people and certain topics, it will take longer than four months, or shorter. You need a deep desire and commitment. Consistency is the key.

Deep thought and questioning naturally evokes a lot of deep emotions. Sometimes they can be hard to deal with, but It is an indication that you're on to something. Plus you can learn how to deal with your emotions in the process, which will be extremely helpful for the rest of your life. Another indication that you're making progress is becoming more confused than you have ever been in your life. Like I said, everything you “know” is a belief. And if this were obvious it would just be common knowledge. I know it sounds crazy but you just have to be open minded. You wont get any insight of your own if you're closing yourself off to it with a belief. The more you question everything the more you realize how little you actually know for certain. The more you realize this the more confused you become. The more confused you become the closer you get to truth. You learn to love and crave confusion. At this point I'm so confused, I'm confused about my own confusion.

I’ve only had one serious breakthrough from contemplation, but it was a really great experience. Theres nothing like realizing an absolute truth just from questioning by yourself. It’s very rewarding. This alone is really exciting, and makes life much more mysterious. Also, it leads to the question; where do thoughts come from? If you can receive insight (a powerful thought that you've never had before thats not based on any past experience providing a deeper understanding) how can we assume we are controlling our thoughts. From my own experience, you clearly can not control insight.

Contemplation isn't rocket science. All you need to remember is question EVERYTHING. Question the way you think your experience works. Question your identity and where it is placed. Question your own questioning.

For me, contemplation gives my life excitement, insight, confidence, awareness, and understanding. As well as vast confusion. What I love most is being genuinely intrigued about reality itself. It brings me into a closer relationship with myself and my experience. This is why I’m writing this. To pass this on to all of you. I’m always gaining new insight and learning about my life and as I grow personally I want to help guide as many as I can to do the same. 

 

Thanks for reading, and Stay Curious!

Meditation

Corbin Mann

“The best spiritual practice is to be still” - Ramana Maharshi

 

One of my favorite things to do is sit down and meditate. Because it really does feel like I'm coming home. People that have never meditated or “don’t know how,” ask me “isn’t that boring?” Ever since my first time meditating it has never been boring. When have you ever, in your conscious life, sat down and actually just do nothing at all. 

Going through childhood we are taught to always be doing something and stay busy. People always want you to be doing something to set yourself up to be happy in the future. Work on school to get a good job, meet a guy or girl, “settle down,” and live life. Preparing for the future is great but if you’re constantly worrying about being happy in the future how can you ever be truly happy here and now? Is there an end?

Learning to slow down and pay attention to my experience has brought me an increased joy, and amazement for reality. I use meditation and awareness practice to understand reality. Because how can I expect to find that understanding if I'm not even going to pay attention to what I'm trying to understand?

The holy grail of personal development work and spirituality is enlightenment. Theres a lot of different ways to say it, you can choose whatever terminology you want. Finding god, waking up, ego death, buddha mind, christ consciousness, the tao, brahman etc. What all of this is is realizing the nature of existence. essentially becoming the source. It doesn't quite make sense to me that the source of existence is a man, character, energy, or any “thing” at all. Because wouldn't that just be another part of existence? If the source is a thing, then whats the source of that thing? In my logic and experience the source can only be traced back to pure nothingness. Which is how they communicate it in buddhism.

Take the yin yang symbol for example. I’ve heard many different interpretations of this. But what it is expressing is contrast. You can’t have positive without negative. You can’t have good without bad. You can’t have right without wrong. And you can’t have something without nothing. If there were no negative, there would be nothing in contrast to positive to show that it is positive. 

This may be one reason why people gossip. People get together in groups and talk about “bad people,” or whats “wrong” with the world. These people need this because talking about the “bad” reassures them that they are “good” people. They need that contrast to let them feel like they're “good,” “positive,” or “right.”

So what I'm getting at is that something and nothing are two sides to the same coin. Meditation is going to help you flip that coin. 

A big reason as to why I'm turned off from most religion is that the source isn't what you think it is. God isn't just what you want it to be. Your idea isn't absolute, its relative. Applying a word to the unexplainable puts an image in your head. Which isn't the real thing, its an image. This is why I meditate. To let go of my ideas and observe whats at the core of my experience.

One of my favorite techniques is the “do nothing” technique. Sit down and just notice the content that makes up your experience. Notice your body and all of its sensations. Then that fades away and you enter the mind activity. Watch your thoughts. Notice that thought triggers emotion and emotion triggers thought. Also notice that your thoughts are happening without your approval. They just appear out of nowhere and dissolve back into nothing. This observation naturally brings up the question of free will. Do you believe you're in control? Thought is the root of all action, and if were not controlling our thoughts were not controlling our actions. I mean, if we were really in control, wouldn't we choose to be happy all of the time?

All enlightenment is is simply noticing what is already there (or not there). And its a lot easier to notice things when you’re being still in meditation. A busy body is a busy mind.

Most people are completely unaware of their own sensations most of the time. In order to understand this you first need to intensely practice awareness for at least two weeks. Pay close attention to your experience as much as you possibly can. Even during the most mundane things like eating, walking, and most importantly in social situations. Because its totally natural to assume that you're at the peak level of awareness. You can only be aware of what you're aware of. But when you’re unaware, you’re unaware that you are unaware. Only an unaware person would say that they are aware. Its the most difficult thing I’ve ever tried to do in my life. If we’re unaware of the most palpable aspects of reality how can we realize the source of it.

The ego, anything external, your own thoughts and emotions, all bodily sensations is all just content. Content is reality. And everything in existence is just sensations, or content. What we’re doing with meditation is retreating to, or trying to first realize the context of our experience. The context is where everything in reality is taking place. The farthest i’ve gone is pure awareness. How could there be an experience if theres no awareness. Its the essence of existence. This is Kenshō, the first contact with enlightenment. The first time you experience a new point of view. You might also notice that the object of awareness and the awareness itself are always arising together. So are they the same thing? Is everything just awareness? And if there is no object of awareness, would there be any awareness at all? Or just absolute nothingness? Is that pure awareness what I actually am?

You need to put in the meditation, and contemplation to actually realize and experience it.

With this busy lifestyle, we are constantly focused on the content. So focused we don't even know there is a context in the first place. And with meditation as a tool, we can use it to get away from the content.

On a lighter note, meditation is also a great tool even if you aren't actively seeking existential truth. Since this modern society way of life is busy and chaotic, its important to slow down every once in a while. There has been many proven studies on the subject. Many studies have shown that meditation helps with; reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure and heart rate, increase concentration, control addiction, preserve the aging brain, reduce depression, and a lot more.

You also might have heard of floatation therapy or sensory deprivation. These are two of the same thing and really equivalent to meditation. A float tank just makes it easier. In Sweden, floatation therapy is covered on their health care because they know thats just how you take care of yourself. Not only do you need to eat healthy and exercise to maintain your body. But you also need to maintain your mind. The mind and body are intertwined. Two sides to the same coin. 

Ever since I started meditating three years ago I’ve been a lot more relaxed, and not as much bothers me. Im much more content. My experience is rich and full because I'm more in touch and sensitive to it. Everything is enhanced, and even the negative thoughts and emotions as well. So be prepared, there is a dark side to meditation. If you commit to it you will eventually go through some intense mood swings. But thats a good indication that your making progress.

So if you are reading this and you're not looking for self discovery, I encourage you to think about it. And if you do start meditating you probably will eventually. Wonder if what you think you are is a complete misconception. How nice it would be if there was something more to this reality. Because dwelling in the ego and content of your experience is going to, and already has, cause a lot of suffering. Wouldn't it be nice to live life with a little, or a lot, less suffering? The self, and the illusion of control is the main cause of it anyway. So lets put aside the deep, dark desire to control everything. Let go of our self and what we think is true, or “should be,” and sit back, relax, and watch this life unfold before us, all embracing.

 

Do Nothing Technique:

Get in a comfortable position. Close your eyes, or keep them open, whichever is most comfortable. Now just let go for a while. Let go of your need to control. Just let everything unfold. Don't try to control your thoughts. Just watch them appear and fade away. It doesn't matter if your mind is chaotic. It just wants to be heard. The only thing you're doing is staying aware of your experience. Simply be still and observe. And you don't need to be in meditation for an hour. Try ten minutes, or even just five. Then as you gain more experience you can bump it up to twenty, then thirty and forty. This technique will feel very refreshing, because when have you ever just spent time to really listen to your thoughts. Even the thoughts you don't want or “need” to listen to.

 

Object of awareness technique:

This technique is very similar to the do nothing technique. But as you watch all of your senses, recognize and label each sense as an object of awareness. When you recognize that your thoughts and emotions are just objects of awareness that takes all of their power away. When you do this your mind will come to stillness a little quicker. And this helps you understand whats going on with your experience. Watch yourself, the very core of your identity. See this as what it is, an object of awareness. Do this for every sense.

 

Nothingness Technique:

This one is also similar to the last two, just a little more advanced. The trick is to focus on nothing at all. Ignore all senses and only pay attention to the underlying stillness of your experience. This is a lot easier if you've already experienced enlightenment. But it can still be a good technique for a meditator with a little more experience. As you do this you will space out. And its likely that you will eventually enter “Samadhi.” Samadhi is a sanskrit word for a specific sate of consciousness. Its basically experiencing nothing. A good indication that you achieved this is if a lot of time goes by and it only feels like a little time has passed. Say if end up meditating for forty minutes and it feels like you went for ten. Usually you go unaware during Samadhi, which is why you find out you were there after you come out of it. But it is possible to be at a high level of awareness in this state of mind.

 

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. It doesn't have to be a chore. Think of meditation as experiments. You're seeing what you can do and what is possible with your mind. Use it to explore your consciousness. You're seeing if there is anything more to this reality. And these are all things that nobody can tell you. Experience it for yourself and have fun with it.

Stay Curious

Corbin Mann

“Wisdom is limited to an awareness of ones own ignorance.” - Socrates

 

Why do I say “stay curious?” Why be curious? Curious about what? What do I mean by this? Im trying to express the art of unattachment. Not only externally but most importantly internally. Unattachment is the core of a lot of spiritual practices.

Unattachment is a very tricky practice with too many pitfalls to count. The reason why I promote the “stay curious” message is to encourage a healthy skepticism, vast open-mindedness, an unattached lifestyle, and really to get people thinking on a broad level. Which is all really the same thing. To be curious about reality and getting to the foundation of our experience is the goal. Im here to promote spiritual awakening, which is an undeniable realization regarding the nature of existence. Now if you are a fellow truth seeker you might have heard about the practice of unattachment. 

With most religions and all of the mythology with them comes many beliefs. Now what is a belief? A belief is an internal form of attachment. It’s just attaching yourself to a thought. Thats all a belief is, a thought that you enjoy more than the many, many others you have. Hopefully this makes you reflect a little, because it seems to me that most people don't understand this.

Why do we only choose a few thoughts to listen to? Its been said that the average amount of thoughts humans have per day is 50,000 to 70,000. Of course its ridiculous to make a statement like that but its a good example of how many thoughts are running through your field of awareness. And all of that chatter in your mind is the “known.” The average mind is untamed and chaotic. Its like a squirrel on crack. It doesn't know what its talking about. Yet thoughts are the source of everything we do. They’re the root of all action.

You may feel uncomfortable and on defense if you have a lot of firm beliefs, but your uncomfortability is really proving my point. When people get offended by something, that just means their thoughts that they've attached themselves to are being threatened. belief is a subtle way of comforting yourself. Because who wants to be “that guy” who doesn't know. 

Growing up in this society we've been conditioned to have the desire to be smart and full of knowledge. Being smart gives people “power” and “control” in social situations. So why wouldn't you want to be smart? Well, power and control are two beliefs on their own. Plus, knowledge is just one big web of beliefs. And with real knowledge we need some sort of justification. A lot of people have their own definitions of justification. Listening to a teacher, parent, or preacher may be enough justification for you, but in my book the only justification is direct experience.

But of course, knowledge and a sense of self are absolutely necessary in being a functional human being and operating in society. If you don't have a sense of self you literally wouldn't do anything, because there wouldn't be a you to be doing anything. Understanding the nature of knowledge and the self, and not engulfing yourself in them is important. The self and knowledge are really just survival tactics. You can easily become forever lost in the self and common knowledge. And most people are. What needs to be understood is that in the “egoic point of view,” knowledge and the self are absolutely necessary. But when you transcend the mind and body through an experience that buddhism calls “kenshō” (which is the first enlightenment realization) knowledge couldn't be more useless, and is really thrown out the window all together.

Belief plays a big part in causing conflict as well. One person believes this, the other believes that. This is how arguments (and wars) start. It’s totally natural for people to take pride in knowledge. Everyone has their own topics they know and love. But knowledge comes from the “external.” The external reality is ultimately an illusion. So knowledge is really believing your illusions. An undeniable insight can only come from within. It’s really just expanding your awareness.

Humans like to comfort themselves with a sense of control and certainty. When the mind is uncertain it tends to look for the first thought to cling to to provide the comfort of certainty. Weather or not that thought is true, you want to believe that it is, because not knowing anything to be true is commonly an unpleasant thought. And this whole process of belief is extremely subtle and unconscious, so before you come to conclusions and start wring an angry letter take a very close look at your own experience and reflect. And most importantly, be honest with yourself.

For most people unattachment isn't easy. Its scary for them and takes a lot of courage. Belief is attachment, attached to a thought. When I realized this it fed my lack of satisfaction with belief. What I want is truth. Not to be convinced by the common thought. Yet there are so many deep beliefs we have and are so unaware these are beliefs in the first place. The self, the external reality, knowledge. These are all very deeply seated beliefs. 

But everyone has their own level of satisfaction. If belief is satisfying to you then by all means keep believing. I think its important to understand what a belief is regardless. Its not the truth. Its what you want it to be. Dont get me wrong, I have my own beliefs. But when it comes to topics I'm trying to actually understand I steer clear from them. And this topic in particular goes far beyond communication. I believe this business will succeed. I believe in aliens. I believe everyone has a deep desire to wake up the the nature of what they are. And that desire is what I'm trying to evoke within you. If it doesn't have anything to do with the nature of reality than I’m not too worried about it. Although, it’s a difficult practice. So letting go of the small beliefs is a good starting point. If you can't let go of the idea of santa clause, how could you let go of the deep, unconscious assumption regarding the way reality is operating.

Humans crave the known. But what we’re all after, self discovery, god, brahman, buddha mind, christ consciousness, is within the unknown… for now. We don't know these things for certain and yet we continue to deceive ourselves with a false sense of certainty through beliefs. That being said, relying on a belief system isn't seeking truth, god or anything related. It’s settling for a pleasant picture in your head and assuming its true. Its what is most convenient and comfortable. Humans love the idea of any kind of god, afterlife and any other perks of a belief system. But what god actually is transcends the realm of thought and existence all together. So it just doesn't make sense to me to look for the unknown within the known. But I guess thats not really “looking” in the first place. How can you expect to find an authentic understanding if you think you already have it? You have to let go of your thoughts to allow yourself to receive a true understanding.

Questioning everything brings an excitement and mystery to everyday life. This lifestyle will change your life forever. It may not always be peaches and cream, but if you ask me its a hell of a lot better than living in my imagination. 

Letting go of what you think is true is like falling, which is one reason why people like to stay attached. Belief makes people feel safe. Nobody wants to fall. But in this case there is no ground to fall on. You let go and just keep falling down the rabbit hole of pure confusion. Its true liberation. If you're floating down a river, what lies ahead is unknown. You may want to stay on land because its safe, certain, and you can stand there telling yourself that you’ve floated down all the way. But you have to let go and fall to enter the unknown. And its liberating to be free.

So I totally invite you to let go and fall with me. From my own experience I can tell you that what you can get out of unattachment is truly remarkable, and it just keeps getting more and more amazing. 

I can only imagine how long humans have wanted to find out the source of existence. From my own experience, unattachment has been a very efficient path so far. If you think I’m bashing on religion, I assure you I’m not. This is what its all about. At least at the core. There are many paths up the mountain. But it’s all on the same mountain. All I’m saying is that the path i’ve been on for the past few years is pretty damn promising. Were all just looking for truth in life. The truth may not be what you want it to be. Its more incredible than you can possibly imagine.

Welcome

Corbin Mann

I started all of this after I became curious about reality. What is it? Why am I here? Whats the point? What am I really? 

Crystals and meditation led me to ask all of these fundamental questions. They may seem so basic and cliche that you wouldn't even bother wasting your time to ask them. But we have constructed our lives with our self as the core motivation for everything we do. And yet we don't understand this reality let alone the self. 

What if we all woke up to the fundamental nature of reality and the self? How would our lives change? Maybe we could all be treated equally, come together and live as one. Not putting business first and working to live on this planet without destroying it. This is what we would call a “conscious revolution.” This is the mission of Frequency. Not just to bring everyone together, but to help you realize the nature of you and your reality. This is called enlightenment, spiritual awakening, bodhi. Doesn't really matter what you call it, because there is so many different ways to say it. Its the most fundamental thing we can do as human beings. Why do what we do if we don't know why we do it or how its being done? This is what I call a “not so blissful ignorance.” Unaware like a baby without the blissfulness of being a fresh consciousness. Also, that it tends to cause a lot of suffering. My mission is to get through to these people. The ones that tend to take life very seriously, and experience a large amount of anguish. 

Enlightenment is the cure for everything. After all, life is just a mind game. How could you suffer if there is no one to do the suffering? What if what you’ve been identifying yourself with your entire life is a complete misconception? What if everything you’ve ever leaned, and everything you think you know is a manmade concept?

I don't know about you, but as I slowly started to ask myself these questions, embracing my deep confusion, coming up with more questions, I started to seek existential truth. Because I realized that I know absolutely nothing about anything, and I wasn't satisfied with belief. After realizing this I owe it to myself to at least try to get to the bottom of some of these basic questions. 

I then learned that enlightenment is very tricky business. Also, it seemed in many religions and spiritual paths that this “higher consciousness” was a pipe dream, something to just worship or believe, or a lifetime of work to achieve. But with the help from a few of my favorite sources I’ve been able to make my first contact with enlightenment within a year and a half. Enlightenment is real. It doesn't have to take a lifetime, and it doesn't have to be a belief. For me this is the most important message to bring forth. 

I think a big reason that most people don't pursue enlightenment is that its been expressed through religion, which makes it seem like a fantasy, myth, or something that only a wizard is worthy of. Its very much attainable so don't be afraid to try. But in order to try you need to be curious about it right? The ‘know how’ cant hurt either.

I still have much to learn, and I don't think that will ever change. But Im here to pass on the insight I receive from wherever its coming from. So stick with me, because I'm here to help you.