A Conceptual Understanding is Not Enough

Posted on by Sen.

The mind can understand the truth, but that’s only the starting point. It’s not enough to just get a conceptual understanding of the truth. Even the deepest insights come and go, and if they don’t create a movement within you to start letting go of the personal will, then they have not served any real purpose. When you deeply see the truth, that there’s no separate self, that there’s no “me”, it immediately follows that you start letting go of this “me” that you so strongly believed in. Only this movement can take you towards liberation, no insights or understandings can free you unless this movement takes over.

Don’t become a feel good junkie

When you are on the path of “seeking” the truth, it feels extremely blissful to get an understanding of the truth. Awakening experiences are particularly enticing because they “feel” great. Deep insights, about the truth, can come to you, through grace, and leave you in a state of awe. The mind enjoys gets these insights and understandings. The mind is thirsty for the truth and it relishes the feeling of “getting it”. The problem is that one can become addicted to this “good feeling” experience and make that their primary agenda.

There are many “feel good” junkies in the spiritual circle. May be you are one of them. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel good and there’s certainly a time, and place, for realizations and insights. However, if you get stuck in this realm then you just become a prisoner to the “path” and lose track of the whole purpose of starting on this path towards truth – the purpose of the path is to take you to the end, not to set camp in the middle of it.

Unfortunately, the path has many attractions that can keep the mind occupied. People engage in Meditations, Therapies, Satsangs, Groups and even Spiritual travel, and all of this can become addictive if one is not careful. There are so many CDs, DVDs and books available now on the subject of enlightenment and liberation, that one can make it into a hobby. The mind enjoys “interesting” insights and can become quite an addict to all these paraphernalia of spirituality.

Once you see the truth deeply enough, it’s time to move on to the next step which is to start letting go into the truth that you’ve realized. If you don’t dive into the truth, you will end up dancing around it for the rest of your life. You have to jump into the fire to be consumed completely so that only the “real” remains. It’s fun to dance around the fire, but it won’t be long before the dance becomes an addiction. All addictions eventually lead to suffering and more delusion.

Moving from realization to embodiment

Adyashanti, a radical spiritual teacher, points out beautifully that “unless you embody your realization, it’s just a concept in your mind”. Truth is not something that adds to the knowledge of the mind, on the contrary when truth is taken far enough it usually robs the mind of all its beliefs and delusions.

Anyone who is truly moved by the impulse to be completely free will never be satisfied with anything less than the promised end of “no suffering”. Until you are truly free of suffering you have not really embodied the truth. When there’s no “me” there’s no suffering, but to be in this place one has to allow the “me” to burn away completely in the fire of the truth. One has to be willing to undergo this transition of dissolving the “me” and allowing the “true nature” of being to shine through.

Dissociation from the mind’s opinions, projections and perceptions is the start of this transition. This process gathers momentum as the magnetic pull of the mind lessens in intensity, poisoned by the dissociation of attention from it. The personal will is nothing but the force created by the conditioning of the “me”, and this force has a lot of momentum to it. Letting go the personal will can be the toughest experience for a human being especially when one is not willing to let go of control.

Embodiment of truth above anything else is the only motivation that can get you to undertake this process. This transition is not an easy one, and it can create stark fear in the mind because it’s like letting go into the unknown. There is no getting around it however, and this process needs to happen before the end can be reached, where there’s no personal will but just the movement of life itself. It’s only on the other side that the experience of liberation is complete.


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  1. Sora

    man, letting go feels so~ gah! I get the fear thing, I’ve always been a contemplater, and even after going through ur writings, I’m tempted to try to decode everything. Just letting go. Is like not trying? Just simply feeling in a way? Drifting? Hmm… Guess I’ll read on ^^ thanks for writing.

    1. Sen Post author

      You can try a small practice, where you just decide that for the next 30 minutes you will not make any “effort” at all – no effort to think and no effort to move – you can just sit on a chair and start this practice. During these 30 minutes just be passively aware of all the movements that your body makes, be passively aware of all the thoughts that are produced by the mind and sensations produced in the body – also notice that this “awareness” keeps shifting to different places – sometimes its in the mind/in the thoughts, sometimes associated with senses, sometimes its focused on some activity. During these 30 minutes you will notice that several activities and movements take place, though “you” are not making any effort – this is the state of letting go. If you stay this way, you will notice how life moves your body and mind in a manner that allows a smooth unfolding of your desired realities in a harmonious way. You will notice that even within these 30 minutes “you” will feel like taking control back out of fear, it takes some time before you become steady in letting go. This “you” is basically just the ego structure in the brain that wants the illusion of “control”. You can read this post to think of not to think (a two part post) for a deeper perspective on letting go.

  2. Swallow

    I have come to understand deeply the Truth from around one week…it’s been quiet some time that i have been tapping around it and searching for it, but till recently that i really “sank” into my mind…i directly felt good and at peace…it’s like lot of layers of negative mind conditioning have melt away…since then, i always make myself to “sense” the truth, mainly in difficult or fearful situations…and miraculously, i do feel better…but after reading this article, i’m afraid to become a “feel good junky” as you have mentioned…can you describe if possible the state of ” end of the path”?
    thank you for your wonderful articles…Along with Eckhart Tolle books, they are making the spiritual journey much easier and so clear…

  3. Mark

    Dear Sen,

    Sometimes when I read your articles, I can feel fear or subtle fear inside me. I dont know. Until now I am still trying to find out what does this mean. Is it the emotional accumulation or the ego, the little me is getting offended?

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