What is Spiritual Awakening?

From my upcoming long-form essay, which will be published January 3rd, 2021:

Spiritual awakening is the ineffable, mostly permanent stage of liberation from attachment to ignorance and suffering; thereby leading to the entrance into the kingdom of Absolute Consciousness and Love.

The goal of this essay is to map out the path of spiritual development for humans as accurately as possible; from ignorance to Absolute Beingness. This will require using inherently dualistic conceptualization to explain a spiritual phenomenon that is inherently infinite and nondual.  For example, I will be using multiple words or phrases throughout this essay to refer to the Absolute Beingness of Reality. In order to attempt to organize our human understanding, (which in Philosophy is called Epistemology,) we will need to stretch the limits of the dualistic way of explaining reality as much as possible.  This must be done while simultaneously acknowledging that this map is not the actual territory of the realization of spiritual awakening to the Absolute. As they say in Zen, “Zen is the finger that is pointing at the Moon.”  It is not the Moon herself, which symbolizes the experience or stage of awakening itself, the territory of awakening to the Absolute Realm of Existence. 

Now consider this; since the nature of enlightenment is beyond words and concepts, what is the purpose of teaching the truths of spiritual awakening to others?  In my opinion, the reason for using language to teach spirituality is for the purposes of being practical, helpful, and useful in a relative, human world.  Notice how most people do not know a lot about the nature of spirituality or enlightenment.  Would it be more useful, or perhaps even make the world a happier and healthier place, if more people adhered to spiritual concepts and values?  Would we be living in a better world if the majority lived from the truths of peace and love rather than greed, addiction, and hyper-masculinity?   

I want to challenge the bias embedded in the following concept; it is not important to attempt to explain nondual awakening because the attempt itself is inherently limited, or perhaps even false. Some may say that the process of attempting to explain spiritual awakening is an illusion entirely, or that it is futile to use words in the context of ineffable awakening at all. Some teachers of nondual spirituality (Advaita Vedanta, or Neo-Advaita) may advise their students not to wrestle with any concepts in order not to lose one’s spiritual foresight towards nondual awakening.  Again, the map is not the territory.  I can see why a spiritual teacher would teach such a (non)teaching, because the goal is the blissful experience or the stage of the nondual beingness, the Moon herself.  However, I urge people to consider this; as long as one’s consciousness is also animating a particular human body-mind, they will continue to identify as a human person; either fully, partially, or subtly at the very least. Most people on the planet are either at the beginning of their spiritual maturity or have extremely limited knowledge or experience in spirituality.  Therefore, most people highly identify with their limited point of awareness of reality.  

So the question is; what is the goal of human spirituality? Is the goal for 5% of the population to realize or know the Absolute Truth while the other 95% of people have very limited spiritual knowledge whatsoever, thereby leading to suffering? If this is the perspective of the spiritual community, I would call this elitist, limited, and ignorant towards the oneness of the human family. We are the full 100%, and we are all thriving and suffering.  We as a human family are the same essence as every person on the planet no matter where they live.  If spirituality is the universal truth, it must be universal NO MATTER one’s gender, nationality, economic background, or level of education. I believe spiritual truths must be accessible to EVERYONE in order to be considered a useful teaching or map.  Therefore, I believe it is incredibly useful and practical to use relative truths and concepts in teaching spirituality to the masses while simultaneously acknowledging that the map is not the territory.  

With all that said, the goal of this essay is to map out the spiritual journey from the perspective of the human being, not merely from any perspective that one would consider “the highest.” In other words, many teachers teach awakening from the perspective of the Final Truth, that is, from the God’s-eye-view of reality. If you think about it, it could be deemed more practical to start from where the student is actually experiencing consciousness at that moment, not where God is (always) at, i.e. the “highest” Truth. This realistic view of the human is true even if the stage of God-consciousness is the universal, highest Truth.  I believe we need to be pragmatic, and achieve our goals by embarking on a developmental process, because humans are by nature a limited being who needs to study or practice something to become a master. I believe this is true even in the context of spiritual awakening.  This is true because we are not actually discussing the Truth itself, we are trying to learn how a HUMAN BEING upgrades their human consciousness to God-consciousness. Therefore, it is inherently a journey, not merely a desire just to arrive at a destination.  We all start from somewhere, regardless of whether or not we get a head-start.

In summary, the project of this essay is to demonstrate how a truly awakened human person lives in their environment and consciousness. What does it look like to realize that one is both human and infinite? How would they act, talk, or view themselves? This map is meant to highlight the qualities of such people for people who are not yet there. Consider this to be an inspirational demonstration of what absolute human potential could look like, based on the example of the people who have actually achieved this great awakening to Absolute Beingness.

Spiritual Perspective on Science

From my upcoming book:

We are living in the middle of the age of materialistic Science.  Most of the Science that is taught in high schools and universities around the world is only taught within the Materialistic Paradigm.  This means there is a superficial skepticism of any theory that involves subjectivity, consciousness, the non-physical realms of reality, enlightenment, miracles, superhuman capabilities, or the existence of the Absolute.  The paradigm that Science is currently under is deeply dualistic; that there is an observer who can objectively observe an object without manipulating that object in any way.  This leaves no room at all for the nonduality between first-person consciousness and the outside world.

One of the key characteristics that will be highlighted in this essay is the ability to be aware of the nonduality between the inner world of the human mind and the environment outside of the self.  Humans who perceive this nonduality perceive an absolute wholeness in reality; a beautiful stream of beingness that is filled with inextricably interconnected parts.  One of the key parts to this whole is the self, the subjective awareness.  At a higher level of awareness, one becomes aware that one’s self is one with the wholeness of being, thereby dissolving the barrier between the inner and the outer world.  

A scientist may ask; “well, how does one prove this theory?” There is some short-sightedness embedded in this question.  Let me explain here:

  1. Firstly, this endeavor is not meant to be a theory. This is a level of awareness that one can achieve through spiritual practice, which may require years of meditation.  The word ‘theory’ implies that this level of awareness is simply an idea.  However, I would argue that one could explore self-evident subjective phenomena in a scientific way.  I believe that scientific data could be verified by a meditation practitioner from their subjective experience similar to the way that psychologists and social scientists study happiness, stress, or other subjective human sentiments or experiences.  In general, these are real, self-evident subjective phenomena, not mere theory.  
  2. The way that proof is seen in current science requires 3 elements; “person A proves thing X to person B.”  This works well for phenomena that happen in biology or chemistry, but not in spiritual practice.  In meditation, one needs to verify for themselves whether something is true or not.  I cannot prove to someone else without a doubt that I feel peace.  There must be some experiences that can be only verified as a self-evident truth.  An example could be; “you are awareness itself.”  The only way to prove this to somebody is for them to dive into their own awareness and for them to see, “oh yeah! I have never not been awareness itself.”
  3. This question is being asked from the viewpoint of logic and rationality only, which is conceptualization and languaging.  Most experiences and stages on the spiritual path cannot be fully explained within the paradigm of mere rationality.  Oftentimes, an answer or a truth in spirituality has a paradoxical response that is intuitively true, but would be considered inavalid logically.  In Formal Logic, it is impossible that ‘A’ can be both ‘A’ and not-’A.’  therefore, it would be considered invalid to say that one both is a human and is not a human.  However, this is EXPERIENTIALLY or intuitively true when one quiets the mind and feels into their deeper beingness.  We may hear some of the wisest spiritual teachers frequently saying “yes, and…”  
    • To go even more in-depth, here is the paradoxical nature at the core of Jainism; the principle of Anekantavada.  Which paradoxically states, “A is true, A is not true, A is neither true nor false, AND A is both true and false.”  This paradoxical nature of reality goes even further in depth if one is interested to learn more about Anekantavada.  https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Anekantavada 
  4. Most scientists do not have much meditation experience.  This is either because they are skeptical of it, do not have the time, do not have the interest, or do not see the connection between meditation and the scientific implications it possesses.  An analogy could be; I could explain to you in great detail how a mango tastes, however you must actually eat a mango to truly (subjectively) experience how a mango tastes.  Most scientists have never actually tasted the mango due to their lack of meditation experience.  There seems to be a bit of a hubris in the scientific community (probably due to the materialism embedded in the Scientific community) that subjective phenomena found in meditative states are not valuable.  Or even more pessimistic, how much funding would research like this receive when compared to the amount of funding at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland or NASA in the USA?          

This point about scientific proof of the oneness of the inner and outer world is just one example of a characteristic that is being highlighted in this essay that goes beyond the current paradigm of scientific exploration. My hope for the future is that an essay like this would be considered within the realm of science.  However, for the time being, this essay will most likely be considered outside of the jurisdiction of modern Science.          


Spiritual Motivation

(From my upcoming book)

Conclusion

My hope for this book is that the reader feels the urge to become spiritually mature.  It is certainly not an easy task because we must reassess everything that makes us who we believe we are and what we believe life is.  We must relinquish all semblances of limitedness, smallness, ignorance, and even fear.  Although less than 1% of people are profoundly awakened and/or profoundly self-actualized, each one of us has an opportunity to mature in order to become happier and healthier.  In fact, I would argue that this drive to become a greater version of yourself is a responsibility each one of us can choose to tackle, because we are together as one in this dance that we call life.  If just one additional person chooses the path of awakening and self-actualization, an aspect of the entire field of consciousness and love begins to enliven.  This is not a single choice in one moment, however.  We must decide to surrender everything we know about life and our egoic self in order to discover greatness before we move on from this Earth.  It’s one’s devotion from here on out.  May we all choose this path of greatness, oneness, peace, and love.

-Namaste

Mindfulness

From my upcoming book: 

I would like to introduce this book from a space of peace and clarity for the reader.  I hope this creates a foundation of contemplation and calmness for the remainder of the book.  So, we will begin with a 5-minute guided meditation.  Simply follow along:

  • Sit comfortably with a decent posture 
  • Have your awareness arrive into this very moment
  • Begin to feel your breathing 
  • Notice your body breathing in and out, in and out
  • After a few moments, listen to the background of quietude in your environment
    • Simply notice the sounds or the silence that is present here 
    • How does this quiet listening feel?  
  • Return your awareness to your own body
  • Feel where you feel tightness, stress, or the feeling of holding on to ego
  • Can you relax in those places?
  • Relax;
    • Your eyes
    • Your jaw
    • Your neck and throat
    • Your shoulders
    • Your hands and fingers
    • Your chest
    • The middle of your spine
    • Your stomach 
    • Your thighs
    • Your calves
    • Your feet
  • Bring your hands into a prayer position
  • Feel into your heart-center 
    • Notice any tightness or tenderness
    • If there is tightness there, relax even more in this place 
    • If you sense tenderness, can you bring this feeling with you as you continue reading this book?
      • Can you take this tenderness with you for the rest of your day as you interact with other people?
  • One more round of deep breathing here 
  • Return to what you were doing before the meditation  

-Namaste

A Sense of our Human Self

(An excerpt from my upcoming book:)

What is the core of who we believe we are?

It is the idea or feeling of “me;” the person, the self.  99% of people were taught as children that they are a person who is separate from their environment and other people.  This is for purposes of socialization and survival of the child; to learn skills that will help them for the rest of their life.  It is extremely uncommon, or perhaps unethical, to teach a young child that they are the Absolute Consciousness and not a human.  How could a human be socialized or survive in a society without believing that they are one of many persons in a society?  I am not saying this is impossible, but I would argue that most parents and school teachers are not at a level of consciousness in which they could teach a child that they are BOTH a person AND the Absolute Consciousness of All.

Therefore, I would like to begin this essay at the core of who most people believe they are; the personal, human self.  I believe this is the starting point for the spiritual growth of the masses.  

My Story; First Preview into the Book

Hi! I’m Kyle Hilding.  Words cannot express how thrilled I am that you are reading this book, one that I have been imagining for so many years.  The roots of this book go back to the beginning of my self-Actualization journey, a journey that I humbly continue and learn from today.   

Starting at about age 15, I would stay up really late in my dark, quiet room for hours, unable to fall asleep.  In this state of consciousness, I began experiencing strange thoughts and visual phenomena.  This made me intuitively question the traditional explanation of reality; what I now know is called scientific materialism; the explanation of reality that we learn in grade school.  It was also in high school when I began to learn more about global inequality, racism, and white privilege.  Growing up as a sports-focused white boy in a middle-class family in Minnesota, I was presented with so many advantages in life compared to others, especially in 3rd-world countries.  I could truly feel and empathize with the destitution and suffering of many of our brown and black brothers and sisters around the world.  I entered into a deep depression.  I began asking some of the biggest philosophical and existential questions one could ask themselves; ‘What is the purpose of living?  Does God exist?  Why is there suffering? I do I have so much while others have so little?’  The questioning just continued, and I felt I had nobody to converse with regarding such questions.  Life just seemed too busy to talk about such “impractical” questions and feelings.  I felt like I was falling without any ground upon which to stand firmly.  At that time, this felt like an uncomfortable place.       

    It was upon turning 18 the summer before my senior year of high school that I began the process of attempting to get rid of my depression by exploring the actual world.  I had a desire to relinquish my white privilege in order to see what life was really like for people living in urban areas.  With the financial and parental support of my mom and dad, I moved into a humble 1-bedroom apartment in South Minneapolis. It was my first experience of truly experiencing what real life was like outside of the culture of the white suburbs of the Midwestern US.  It ended up being an incredible fall semester at my new school.  I played on a successful football team with a great coach and fun teammates. However, the depression quickly returned after the season finished.  I see now that there must have been something even deeper that I was seeking beyond just escaping my privileged upbringing.   

    The craving I had for thinking about the biggest questions in life began to get quenched a few years later. During my junior and senior years of college I studied Philosophy and Political Science in a liberal arts program.  Sitting and wrestling with big questions that were being posed by my professors and from the anthologies of the philosophers throughout history became an obsession for me.  I began to write down the biggest questions I could imagine, which became a 15-page document by graduation.  There was something still missing though, perhaps something experiential.  How could I begin to APPLY this knowledge outside of campus life?  

A month after graduating, I was accepted into a program to teach English in Quito, Ecuador.  Was living and working abroad going to be my final realization of something incredibly real and profound?  I fell in love with teaching, learning a second language, and backpacking alone.  I had a lot of freedom and time to really explore who I was, and living in another culture is a great opportunity for that.  But I still had dark feelings at times, such as loneliness, disconnection from the world, and it felt like my life was on pause.  It wasn’t until the last few months of my 18 months in Ecuador that I finally found it; PRESENCE.  

I hiked for a few days with this young man from Finland near a crater lake in the highlands of central Ecuador.  We discussed philosophy and meditation, comparing and contrasting both.  I was much more mind-focused than him trying to impress him with all of these philosophical ideas I could spew.  He kept on referring to, however, the EXPERIENCE of life.  He had been surfing for 3 months in Peru, and was now preparing for an Ayahuasca ceremony in the Amazon.  He convinced me to meditate with him for 15-minutes in the beautiful backpacker hostel at which we stayed the last night of our hike.  He guided me through my consciousness in a way I didn’t know was possible to experience; the simple, yet profound presence of awareness.  The last month in Ecuador consisted of me just listening to the silence in my bedroom, or the sound of the city on my long Sunday walks. 

Upon returning to my home state of Minnesota, the universe pushed me to ground more than I ever had before.  Making money became a real necessity as I turned 24, so I needed to find a normal job, live in an apartment, commute to work; basically a lot of normal activities that most American adults have to do everyday.  For me, this was a challenge though! Due to my self-image of being someone who lived a life outside of the American norm, I have always had the desire to appear extraordinary.  This, I see now, had an underlying layer of arrogance and a shadow of stubborness. Learning the lesson of being normal and equal to everyone else was the big lesson I have been learning since this transition back to the US.     

It was just a month or two into this transition that I began my video podcast about philosophy and spirituality, which was initially called The Library of Humanity.  I was able to combine my passion of teaching with my interest in said topics, so a sense of deep soul-like vocation began to emerge in my life around my video podcast.  Authentic self-expression quickly became an obsession; a sharing of my mind and soul.  

After the first year of my video podcast, two important events happened in my life:  

First, I began my career as a high school history teacher, which was important in a few ways.  Through this process, I became even more grounded in this adult world of American busyness (which has its advantages and disadvantages in regards to spirituality.)  Part of this grounding is the ability to have a more open throat chakra, i.e. speaking your mind to teenagers when they are crossing the line or when they want to interact with you.  Also, being able to speak publicly in front of a diverse group of people became a necessary skill not just for my podcast, but also in building self-confidence and self-esteem.  This process granted me a sense of trustworthiness so that students and coworkers could have confidence in me to be a good teacher and a good person.  

The second important event at this time was that I began to have actual subjective experiences of transcendent consciousness, mostly through my burgeoning meditation practice.  My video podcast became much more based on my own intuitive sense of how consciousness and truth worked rather than only relying on outside authorities for the spiritual content on my podcast.  This was part of the reason why I changed the name of it to The Spiritual Download. These two events helped the quality of my podcast and life skyrocket.  

The most recent stage of my life has been one of an experiential rediscovery of who I have always been; a peaceful, loving aspect of the oneness of all things.  Trying to put this experience and state of being into words, albeit impossible to perfect, is my deepest passion at this juncture in life (besides the actual experiencing of it in my own consciousness.) This is what motivates me in such a deep way to connect to the hearts of others through my own heart.  Living a life from and through the soulful heart-center of our being… What a lovely way of being it truly is!

Overall, my path of self-actualizing is the lens through which I write this book.  I have a background in Philosophy though, so this book may read a bit academic as well.  My intention, therefore, is to do accurate and honest research into this gigantic topic AND validate the sense of the tenderness of our own subjective experience.  I am trying to bridge the gap between these two worlds; that of hard academia and that of soft awareness.  I hope you enjoy this big adventure as the reader.  

-Namaste

America

Make America great once more;

Back when millions of majestic bison would freely roam the badlands of South Dakota

Back when the Chippewa would dance to the moonlight next to a roaring bonfire, telling stories to their children

Back when gigantic stretches of deciduous forest stretched from Alabama to Maine

Back when billions of salmon would happily leap over the ripples of waves in the great Alaskan frontier

Before the excesses of materialism turned our vitality into sickness of the spirit

…that was when America was at her best

Namaste 🙏🏼

Lessons from Awake Life

I began to see that all of the people in my life are not physical bodies, but that the souls of my friends and family are my eternal gurus.

I found out that Kyle is also teaching my soul about itself.

Then I realized that I am basically just floating in empty space and that the physical earth is like a space ship. My gravity towards earth is relative and only one of the infinite amount of gravity (spiritual light) pulls on my body from everywhere else in the universe.

Then I began to channel some sort of intelligence and it began to teach me certain things like the nature of language acquisition in toddlers, and why I made all of the choices in my past, and how those choices were all perfectly imperfect choices that have brought me and the rest of earth to the point that we are at now.

I also saw that the nature of time, in my awareness, is more that the NOW moment is at the forefront of the universe. Both the past and the future are more like the past and not really worth worrying about, because it is all being created by an infinite intelligence that I need to learn to trust.

Then I was taught about compassion for all the people living in my physical vicinity. I am learning not to judge them, but rather channel light towards them. Many people do not know that they are hurting others and themselves by holding on to the myth of materialism.

Overall, I overcame my fear of death and now have a better understanding of the nature of the infinite light on the higher planes of consciousness.

Namaste 🙏🏼

Our Fullest Potential

Imagine how profound your consciousness would feel if your body and mind were (nearly) perfect in proportion and clarity.

By doing a daily yoga and meditation practice, we can begin to be aware of such near-perfection.

These are the ancient sciences of self-realization, a wisdom that has a profound combination of infinite, divine consciousness and the human mind and body in the physical world.

We begin to truly dive into the “I” that we believe we have always been; a limited person with flaws, a disproportionate body and face, and the experience of a contracted conscious.

This limitedness leads to a busy mind, a herky-jerky body, and unnecessary suffering. This is the result of 30 years (since about 2 years old) of being taught that we need to be a normal person in society rather than an extraordinary being of near-perfection and bliss, which we now see is our true nature.

So, what choice will we make every day? Will we continue our old habits and addictions that give us a disproportionate body full and pain? Or will we have the fortitude to choose to LIVE fully, and experience what life and consciousness could offer us before we leave this body-mind-self forever.

It’s completely up to you. But, do we have the courage to choose absolute bliss and clarity of consciousness?

I hope we can.

Namaste 🙏🏼