I HIT BOTTOM AFTER YEARS of drug use and ended up in a twelve-step program. The program was exactly what I needed to help me stay clean and sober, but I continued searching in recovery for meaning and purpose for my life. I read book after book about how to find happiness. I had lived a life of always wanting the next moment to happen, and never feeling satisfied with anything. I never got “there” but I didn’t know what “there” would look like if it were “here.” I wanted more, and when I got more, that was not enough. So the spiritual seeking was no different than the drug using. It was all a search. I was a junkie — the drug had changed from material items, to success in sports, to marijuana, to songwriting and fame-seeking, to painkillers, to spirituality. In those first few years of recovery, I went through just about every religion and spiritual method, looking for my freedom. I was looking for myself.
During the spiritual search, I discovered books by Adyashanti, Krishnamurti, Eckhart Tolle, Gangaji, and Byron Katie. I saw that these teachers were pointing to the real truth. While reading these books, I began to notice every thought and emotion that arose in each moment. I was not looking for enlightenment. I just wanted the alienation, dissatisfaction, and restlessness to end.
I rememberthe first “shift” well. On a cold February afternoon, I was driving in my car, and all of a sudden the sense of being rigidly separate from the rest of life melted away. For two weeks after that experience, I felt a very intense, pleasurable ball of tightly-wound energy in my chest. I did not know what was happening and had no name for this build-up of energy. I am sure there is some enlightenment term for it. But I had an intuitive sense that I was in the middle of some shift in consciousness. At the end of that two weeks, I found myself sitting on my bed on a Saturday night. Peace flooded through my whole body and mind from the inside out. It took me over. My mind quieted. I realized that there was truly stillness “out there” in the room, and in the world, and that this same stillness was within me, as who I really am. The ball of energy stayed in my chest until the next day when I was watching Grey’s Anatomy (one of my favorite shows). In this episode, a lady was giving birth, and at the same time, in some other place, her husband was dying. I began crying, sobbing. In some way that is hard to explain, I was not crying for her. I was seeing clearly in that moment the impermanence of life. It was not a thought. I did not think, “Life is impermanent.” I saw and felt it with my whole being.
The next morning, as I walked to work, something was very different. I was now looking at life from within the awareness in the body, from the stomach and chest area, rather than through the processor of the mind. It was as if my heart was now connecting directly with everything my eyes saw, and that this seeing bypassed the filter of thought. This was clearly a shift in consciousness. It felt as though the universe had downloaded insight into my being. I saw clearly that all of the divisions, religions, methods, practices, nations, and groups were the result of the fragmentation of the mind. Outside of thought, no such fragmentation exists. I saw and felt that the history of suffering of humanity in wars, inquisitions, the holocaust, genocide, drugs, violence, abuse, oppression and religious and political conflict resulted from one fundamental misunderstanding: the idea of a separate self. Consciousness is entangled in these false, divisive thought structures. These thought-based divisions were seen as part of a dream of separation that obscures the spirit — the truth of who we are.
I knew this was not a final awakening though. I could not put my finger on it. But I could just tell that this “wasn’t it.” For the next few months, I lived in what can only be described as deep inner peace, but there was still a very subtle seeking energy right on the surface of my being. There was still a “Scott” searching for something, as if the deeper and final truth was right around the comer. About five months later, I was driving home on a warm July evening after sitting for hours around a campfire with friends from a twelve-step fellowship, roasting marshmallows and discussing politics and religion. I felt what can only be described as little sparks firing all through my body — little explosions, one after the other, from head to toe. Thought slowed down. A sense of clarity seemed to arise from the slowing of thought. I was becoming more and more alert and attentive to my surroundings, to the space in my inner body, to the road, to everything.
When I got home, I jumped up on my bed. I was lying on my back, with one hand on each of my dogs, Josie and Mai-Ling. As I petted the dogs, a thought arose: “Consciousness just wants to see itself.” The sparks started firing again. I suddenly knew that I was not petting my dogs. I realized they were not separate from me.
I stood up, and walked around my apartment, completely stunned at what I was seeing. I was seeing the nature of reality beyond thought. I was seeing that there was no me separate from any “thing” I was looking at. It feels strange now to use subject/object language to describe the complete absence of separation. All thought stopped — completely. I saw myself as the floor, the wall, the desk, the window, the streetlight outside, and in everything else upon which these eyes fell. I found myself on the floor, grabbing at the carpet, and laughing my head off. I laughed, and laughed, and laughed. I kept saying fervently, “None of this matters, none of this matters!” You may ask, “What didn’t matter?” My only answer is that it was clear that “nothing mattered,” at least not in the way I had always thought. The search, the lack, the dissatisfaction, the fear, the anger, the resentment did not matter. It was all seen as a dream of self-centeredness.
I realized that I cannot find myself because there is no self. I saw that I am what I had been seeking. But when I say “I am,” I mean the One, whatever that means. There was no Scott experiencing any of this. There was only the experiencing. ‘This’ was seeing itself. It was clear that whatever this word God is pointing to, it is right here, now. It is, and always was, right under my nose, as my nose, and everything on each side of it, behind it, inside it, and over it. The notion of seeking God was seen as pointless. It was realized that there is only ‘This’ and that nothing is separate from it.
The only thing that remained as the laughter released the dream of “Scott” was brilliant, loving space. This space was alive, fully alive and radiant. The miracle and mystery of life was seen for the first time, yet it had always been here. I had just been too busy looking for it, looking for some dream of future that thought had created. It was clear that nothing was separate from anything else, and that only thought created separateness. I remember saying, “All this time, I thought I was a person named ‘Scott’ living on the second floor of this apartment. What a joke!”
I remember staring at a digital clock by the bed and laughing hysterically at the notion that this One — whatever it is — would even bother with the concept of time. There is only ever ‘This,’ outside of time. I noticed that wherever I moved, whatever area of the apartment I moved into, I was still only ever in ‘This.’ I was ‘This.’ I could not leave. Where was I going to go? I saw clearly that we do not die, not in the way we think we do. We simply move into a different energy form. I remember uttering the words, “We don’t die, we don’t die” over and over. This was not a belief that was being formed. It was not a memory of something said by some guru in a book. It was a realization beyond belief. Literally. I saw that it could only have been realized in the absence of thought and belief. I saw that reality can only be seen in the absence of thought and belief. My fear of death left in that moment, as did my fear of life. “Scott” as a thought-based self simply vanished. The search was over. Nothing to seek. Nothing, nothing. ‘This’ is all there is, and it is so perfectly enough.
What has been left in the wake of the dream is difficult to put into words. “Love” is a good description. However, ‘This’ is a very different kind of love. It is not the attached love of the dream state. This love is a love for the whole of life. It is unconditional. This love devoured the “me” and all its conditions. Whatever one may call ‘This,’ it feels deeply liberated from caring about what it is called.
Text copyright © 2008 Scott Kiloby. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Love’s Quiet Revolution.
Photo from a Youtube video copyright © Science and Nonduality.
Scott Kiloby (b. 1969) is a teacher and author.
By Scott Kiloby
William Talada, an Amazon reviewer, writes:
“Emotional suffering forced me into non-dualism six years ago. Since then, I’ve read several dozen books on the subject in order to understand it as a psychological stage of growth and to teach it to others. Scott’s book contains hundreds of insights I’ve experienced that are not mentioned in any other author’s books giving me the assurance he is speaking from personal transformation and not repeating what he has read. He prints a warning on the front cover — “The End of the Spiritual Search” — and I think he just may be able to help many people pull it off!
“‘Unconditional love is what is left after the dream self dissolves.’”
This page was published on December 28, 2017 and last revised on January 25, 2019.