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QUESTIONS ABOUT IT
from The Way IT Is copyright
2000 by Chuck Hillig
Chuck Hillig, author of Enlightenment for Beginners
state licensed psychotherapist in Ojai, California,
questions about Consciousness from some of his clients.
DEPARTURE: When Consciousness pretends that
theres a separation between what It says It
and what It says It
(the not-I), then the world
mysteriously (re)appears. In truth, though, the so-called
story of your life is only the cosmic
song-of-Consciousness being gloriously played out through
the instrument of your own body. The purpose of any song,
though, is not to arrive at the final note. The purpose
of a song can only be found in the joyous playing of it.
And so it is with Consciousness. In short, Its purpose is
to play out an entrancing story with Itself by using an
illusory you as the so-called
Star of this Cosmic drama.
Q: "But Chuck, all of it really can't be that basic.
Aren't you simplifying this whole thing a little too
A: Well, how can you oversimplify something that is, by
Its very nature, simplicity itself? In fact, because Its
simpleness is so absolutely complete and pure, this
It can only manifest Itself by pretending to
be complex. In other words, when the
indivisible Consciousness pretends to be divisible, It
creates the world of polarities. And YOU are that very
Q: "Yes, but if I'm really this so-called
"It," then why don't I have a direct
ex-perience of It right now?
A: This "you," as the illusory ego-self that
you think you are, can never personally experience its
own true, fundamental nature. This you can
only BE what It already is (i.e. It). In
other words, this you will never be able to
get It simply because It already is IT!
(After all, no one can arrive at a place where they are
already dwelling.) Believing that you're not really
there, however, provides the cosmic momentum for It to,
seemingly, go out looking for Itself."
Its this purposeful misidentification that sets the
entire drama into motion.
Q: "Well, if any of this is really true, how can I
actually use this kind of philosophy in my everyday
A: You can't use It in the usual sense
because It will, actually, be only using YOU. At one
level, though, you can stay more aligned with It by
consciously choosing exactly what It is choos-ing for
you. In other words, practice saying a resounding
"Yes!" to whatever shows up for you. And, even
when you feel like saying "No," then just say
"Yes" to the fact that, for right now, you're
saying "No." In short, dont reject
.not even your own rejections!
Remember, however, that this "you," (as the
historical ego-self) is only pretending that you're able
to manipulate or control It. Consciousness will always
get Its own way in the end, simply because, no matter
where you think this you is going, It is
waiting for you.
Q: "Is this why you say that It is
always directly in front of me in Its absolute
A: Yes. Where else could It possibly be? By definition,
there can't be some of It here and then some more of It
around the corner, too. That would be implying that It
could, somehow, be divided from Itself. But, if Its
absolutely simple and complete, It can't really have any
parts at all. It can only pretend to have parts. The
"you" that you think you are is only one of the
many so-called "parts" that It is pretending to
have (and/or to be.) So whatever is in your experience at
this very instant is absolutely all of It. Theres
really nothing else. Or, to put it another way, through
Its own "I's" (yours), It "sees" 100%
of Itself... 100% of the time. Nothing is ever
missing in It because nothing of It can ever
be left out. Not ever!
Q: "So then where does our idea of God come into all
A: "God" really doesn't come "into"
It at all; God actually comes out of It. The word
"God" (or the Self, Allah, Yahweh, Spirit,
etc.) is simply the ego's attempt to give a name to the
It's like a movie actor who's trying to give a proper
name to the screen that he inwardly senses is supporting
his unfolding drama. The greatest obstacle, though, will
be the actors egotistical wish to "be
there" as a personal witness to his own awakening of
this reality. How-ever, this is a contradiction in terms.
Why? Well, theres no separate one that can be
there at the so-called awakening
simply because theres no separate one thats
here right now whos not
awakened. In other words, theres not only
nothing for this actor to get, theres
really not even a truly individuated actor present
whos even available to be either getting
It (or, for that matter, to be not getting IT) in
the first place! In short, all that there truly IS, is
the seamless Screen of Consciousness, Itself
Q: "Yes, but what does that do to this whole idea of
free choice? Doesnt free will really exist?"
A: Once again, before answering that question, you need
to initially determine if there are separate and distinct
individuals that are truly present and real. You see, if
all separation is an illusion, then any further talk
about an illusory self having a "free will" or
not would be as useless as arguing about the probable
water temperature of a lake mirage out in the desert.
Just like theres no real lake out there to be
having a water temperature, there's also no real
separate self present to be having (or even
to be not having) a so-called "free will."
Q: "But what does that notion do to the idea of
karma, reincarnation and the Law of Cause and Effect?
Arent they real either?
A: Karma and reincarnation exist only as long as
theres an illusion that there's a separate and
individual "self" who is the so-called do-er.
In other words, if you consider yourself to be the
"causer," it naturally follows that a
"you" will then be obliged to "hang
around" in order to receive the full effects of the
so-called "causes" that youve, seemingly,
set into motion. Without a separated "self"
actually present to experience these phenomena, though,
the idea of karma and reincarnation is unsupportable.
How does that follow? Well, if all separation is only
illusory, then who is it that's actually being
reincarnated, anyway? Or, for that matter,
who is it whos ever really "died" in the
first place in order to be "re-born" again?
Q: "So are you saying that all of mankinds
past history is really only a part of this great
illusion, too, and that none of it ever really
A: Well, there's only one so-called "movie"
playing on the "Cosmic Screen," and that's the
very "movie" that you believe youre
experiencing at this very moment.
When you watch a movie, for example, did the off-screen
events that are referred to by the characters really, in
fact, ever take place at all? But, you see, the dramatic
story on the screen is greatly advanced (and enhanced) by
the viewer's willingness to pretend that those off-screen
events did, in fact, actually occur. But "It"
(as the movie) is always fully present in its absolute
totality...right here and right now. In short, this
really is IT !!
Q: "Yes, but then what about the future? It almost
sounds like you're saying that I shouldn't try to do
anything about it."
A: No, I'm not suggesting that at all. For example, if
you really feel moved to save the whales, help the poor,
stop Aids, etc., then go ahead and completely throw
yourself into it 100%. Don't hold anything back! The
"you" that you think you are, though, is not
really the "do-er of any of these actions.
Consequently, this "you," then, need not
concern itself with the results of these
"actions" that you're feeling so compelled to,
seemingly, "do." By playing ALL of the
so-called parts, Consciousness is really
doing it all.
Q: "But are you saying that I shouldnt care
how things work out?
A: Actually, I'm just suggesting that you play out your
role in the Cosmic drama with complete gusto and passion.
However, you can best remain truly detached from what
shows up for you only if you give up your idea about what
working out looks like. In truth, things will
neither "work out" nor will they not work
out." They will only BE whatever they will be.
If there's any overlay of what "should" be
happening on top of what actually is happening, then it's
only a manifestation of the ego-self getting caught up in
its own delusion that it (and it alone) is the true
source and the do-er of these actions.
The irony here is that, even though it doesn't really
matter what you "do" in your role, it still
seems to be very important that you go ahead and,
seemingly, "do" it anyway. After all, the dance
is best honored when the Dancer (Shiva) really dances the
But remember that Its all only a dazzling
play thats unfolding like the
ever-changing colors of a cosmic kaleidoscope. The very
nature of the Consciousness that you are is to
"BE" what It is
.. by pretending to,
"become" what Its pretending to not be.
Q: "So, are you enlightened?"
A: Well, if any and all divisions on the Cosmic Screen
are only illusory, then how is any individual
enlightenment even possible? In other words, what
separate being is really "there" to be
en-lightened (or, for that matter, to be un-enlightened)
in the first place?
Q: "But then isn't any of it real?"
A: No matter what activities are, seemingly,
"happening" in the movie, the fundamental
reality beneath It all is still only the unbroken and
seamless Screen thats supporting all of the dramas
being played out.
Although the world appears to exist, the only thing
thats really real
.is Consciousness, Itself.
So, as the historical ego-self, youre always
looking directly into the cosmic mirror of Life and
beholding the wondrous and multi-faceted face of God. The
miracle is that Its always been your face!
Q: "So, then, why is everyone seeking some sort of
enlightenment .....this IT?"
A: Well, in truth, you already are who you are looking
for. Enlightenment is not the attainment of anything new.
Instead, it is more like a discovery of the essential
truth about what actually is. The drama around you,
though, will seemingly continue to unfold exactly as It
does. In other words, you won't really awaken from the
dream; you'll only be awakening TO the dream.
But, in this awakening, the Dreamer has to disappear
entirely. If not, hell just substitute one dream
called Once-I-was-asleep for another dream
called But-now-I-am-awake! And heres
the ultimate cosmic irony: The Self who is
"asleep" is also the very same Self who is
"awake." After all, there is only one Self. One
Consciousness. One It. The mesmerizing
seductiveness of the dream is seen in the long-standing
belief that, some-day, (if the Dreamer only plays his
cosmic cards right), he will, eventually,
"awaken. But, in truth, the so-called
Enlightenment Bus that hes been looking
for will never show up for him. Why not? Well, in waiting
for this future event to occur somewhere in time, he only
reinforces his belief that Consciousness is not fully
present and available right here and right now.
Q: "Well, isn't there some kind of objective reality
in the world? What about the idea of good and evil? Don't
they really exist... even as a small part of this
A: At one level, you might consider that Consciousness is
really a sort of "context" that ap-pears to
contain a pretend world of illusory polarities. So, at
the bottom line, theres really no
success and no failure.
Theres no right and no
wrong; no good and no
bad; no victors and no
victims; no heaven and no
hell and no life and no
All of these polarities only appear on the spectrum of
opposites that It creates in order to play out Its cosmic
drama. In a sense, these opposites radiate out in all
directions from the "point of view" that
"you" (as your ego-self) think that you are.
Q: "But what can I do to improve myself? Don't I
need to change in some way?"
A: But how can WHO you are really "change?"
Your basic nature is Pure Consciousness. You are
infinite, omnipresent, impersonal, omniscient, and
immutable. As such, there is nothing that you
"need" to remember, to learn about, to realize,
to strive for, to pray to or to meditate on.
It's this very belief that "real change and progress
is possible," however, that provides the momentum
necessary for you (as It) to, seemingly, want
to propel your story "forward" and out into
some kind of illusory "future." After all, you
cant become more of who you already are.
Q: "But what about all of the current interest in
metaphysics? Won't it help me to study things like
astrology, ESP, tarot, crystals, channeling and so forth?
Why wouldn't my growth in those esoteric areas be a very
positive sign of my spiritual progress?"
A: Although the study of metaphysics is neither
"good" nor "bad," it often serves to
provide a very attractive diversion for many people. By
being spiritually seduced with the implied promise of
attaining special knowledge or powers, the
"seeker" is often unwittingly diverted from his
true inner quest. Consequently, instead of looking inside
to discover the actual truth about who he really is,
these pseudo-spiritual distractions only give him
something else to get attached to, or, even worse, to
feel superior about. Spiritual
one-ups-man-ship is an insidious trap!
Q: "So how do you suggest that I learn to live with
myself being this Consciousness?"
A: Well, does a fish really need to learn how to swim?
You already are whatever it is that youre seeking.
So, just fully commit yourself 100% to doing whatever it
is that you're, seemingly, doing, but do it
with an open-hearted sense of detached compassion and
Avoid judging or discriminating in any way. (After all,
doesnt an author love his villains
every bit as much as he loves his heroes?)
Consciousness will appear to tease you, seduce you, scare
you, amaze you, and, from time to time, even try to
overwhelm and destroy you. But learn to fully embrace It
as YOU because this is all only lila
.the Dance of
..the play of Consciousness, Itself! And,
Its all being staged for your delight
and edification! Joyously welcome IT all with a sense of
deep gratitude and profound wonderment. You being able to
play- in-the-world is a miraculous gift that
Consciousness is giving to Itself, so dont be an
unappre-ciative audience to your own melodrama. Let
everything happen to you because Its all OK! As the
Buddha once said, At the end of the road is
freedom. Until then, have patience.
And, just like it is with a song, the purpose of any
dance is not to arrive at the final position. The
so-called "purpose" is only to be found in the
dancing of the dance! So, whatever happens in your drama,
just keep on
Q: "Yes, but won't I be needing some kind of
A: Yes. A teacher is necessary, but you need to give up
your idea about what this teacher might look like. The
guru may not show up for you as a
living-in-the-body, physical human being. The
guru (It) is ever-present, and It always appears directly
in front of you as everything (and every-one) that
youre pretending that youre NOT. In other
words, whatever experiences show up for the historical
ego-self are, in fact, the guru's teaching. You need to
trust that this Grace will slowly awaken you from your
pretended delusion of separation. And here is yet another
strange paradox: IT turns out to
..Its own guru!
Q: "Well, does this philosophy have some kind of
A: Actually, it does. This is called Advaita
ancient path of direct insight and knowledge. It's really
the "way-less-way" because the
"seeker" is not focused primarily on the
ritualistic devotion or outward activity thats
usually found on many of the other paths. The emphasis
here is to use the power of self-inquiry to seek out the
true Source of the "I" thought by asking
one-self the ultimate, primordial question: "Who am
As all of the answers to that question slowly drop away,
you awaken to discover yourSelf to be in a place that you
had never really left. At that pointless
point" of awareness, your ground-of-being becomes,
quite simply, I AM," and you recognize the
very essence of who you really are: Love
Q: "OK, but quite honestly, how can any of this
strange stuff help the real world?"
A: Well, is it the so-called "real world"
whos asking this question, or is it only the
"you" who you think you are that wants to know?
Your spiritual work lies in discovering for whom this
question is arising. Remember, as Ramana Maharshi has
said, "The answer to life's problems is to first see
who has them!"