I talk about the power of self-enquiry a fair bit in my musings about enlightenment and human consciousness, so I thought it might be good to tap out a simple how-to on the subject in case anyone finds it useful.

Self-enquiry, or self-inquiry, is a practice popularized in the west by the circulation of nondualist teachings from the renowned Indian sages Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj. It requires no faith in any teacher, teaching or tradition, nor even in the practice itself. Self-enquiry is a method for inquiring for yourself into your own nature and discovering in your own firsthand experience what lies at the end of that investigation.

Most of our suffering and confusion (which is what the propagandists I write about rely upon to manipulate us into believing establishment narratives) stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the way our experience is actually happening. Partly due to culture, partly due to language, and partly due to the fact that we begin life as helpless little things at the mercy of an often terrifying world, we develop mistaken notions about ourselves, about our minds, and about the world, and we form conditioning patterns around those mistaken notions. Self-enquiry works to correct those fundamental errors and habits of perception, which allows for the possibility of a serene mind and an efficacious way of functioning.

Self-enquiry is a practice that you can engage in all day, every day, to whatever extent that you’ve got attention at your disposal for the endeavor. You can do it at work, while driving, while eating, in the shower, whenever. There are many different approaches to the practice, but here’s the way I’ve found useful, broken down into its five distinct steps. If it speaks to you, bookmark it and refer to it as often as you find useful:

Step 1: Begin with the premise that nothing you believe is true.

Since our suffering is premised on a misapprehension of reality, it’s necessary to first abandon all our beliefs about what’s real before beginning a sincere investigation.

The goal of self-enquiry is to come to a clear and present understanding of the real that is true beyond a shadow of a doubt. This means you need to abandon all your prior assumptions about what you are, what the world is, what consciousness is, and begin your investigation from scratch. Start out assuming you’re like Keanu Reeves’ character in the beginning of The Matrix and nothing you believe about anything is true. Then, from there, allow your investigation to show you what is true. Take nothing on faith and accept no mental story as truth. Settle for nothing but direct, nonconceptual experience.

Step 2: Find out what you’re not.

Indian teachers call this part of the investigation “Neti, neti”, which means “Not this, not that.” Before you can discover your true nature, you’ve first got to clarify the scene of your investigation by getting really clear on what you’re not.

When I say “you”, I mean the subject that is reading these words and thinking your thoughts about them right here and now. Simple, right? That’s me, I’m Caitlin, I’m a 44 year-old woman and I lived in the UK a couple of times and now I live in Melbourne.

But is it, though? Is it really that simple? Is that my actual, present experience of what I am, or is it a story made of thoughts? From where I’m sitting right now, I can access memories of having lived in London, I can perceive information about my address and my community, I can perceive thoughts about being a “woman” and what that’s supposed to mean, I can experience thoughts about the word “Caitlin” and know that that sound refers to this particular body  tapping out these words right now… but I’m perceiving all of those things. Since I am looking at them, that means they’re not the subject that the word “I” is meant to refer to. They are all objects appearing to me, therefore they are not me.

Similarly, there’s apparently a body which is tapping out these words right now which have often been referred to linguistically as “I” and “me”; “Mum, she pushed me!”, “I’m hungry!”, “I look fat in this dress.” But is that body me? In my own present experience without telling a story about it, can I find any “me” anywhere in my experiences of this body? Or is it just more sensations, objects appearing to me, the subject which experiences them?

Go through every aspect of your present experience and see if you can find any hard, tangible thing that can be called “I” without having to believe a mental story about it. The mind, the body, the senses, the whole thing. Go through every part of your experience that you’ve ever assumed is “you” and demand to be shown evidence for it being you. Spend as much time on this part of the investigation as you need, whether it’s days, weeks, months or years, however long it takes to feel confident that there’s no self to be found in any of the objects which appear in your field of consciousness, only a sea of objects all appearing to you, the subject, whose nature remains a mystery.

Step 3: Find the “I am” and hold onto it.

While in Step 2 you were investigating all the different objects in your field of consciousness, in Step 3 you’re trying to see your field of consciousness itself, as an object. You’ve already figured out that you’re not any of the objects in your field of consciousness, so are you that field itself? In Step 3 we move toward answering that question.

This one’s a bit tricky, but it’s absolutely essential. In order to fully awaken from the matrix, you need to get all the way outside it. The thread you can follow to get to this point is to find in your experience the nonconceptual felt sense of beingness, which the sages refer to as the “I am”.

The nonconceptual felt sense of being is just that: the sense of being. Everyone experiences it, but it’s so simple and fundamental that hardly anyone ever notices it. It’s a kind of nonconceptual “shimmer” that you would be able to experience even if a team of neurologists went into your brain, cut off every one of your five senses, and silenced your thoughts. Even in such a state, with no thoughts and no sense impressions, you would still have the distinct sense that you are. This is why samadhi states are so educational for people, but you can feel the nonconceptual sense of beingness even while totally plastered or high.

You can find that sense in your own direct experience without having to cut off your mind and your senses, and it’s not necessarily difficult at all: just find the nonconceptual sensation which allows you to know that you are. Ask yourself, “Do I exist?” If you’re really being honest with yourself and not trafficking in philosophy, the only answer which makes sense is “Yes, duh.” Then look in your experience for how you know that. Don’t settle for conceptual answers, accept only a felt sense of beingness which you would be able to immediately and undeniably recognize without referring to thought or to any of the five senses.

That’s the feeling of your field of consciousness itself. Once you’ve found it, hold onto it for as long as it takes to become super clear and doubtless on it, whether that’s days, weeks, months or years. Once you can perceive the “I am” very lucidly, you are very close to awakening from the matrix. You have found your way to the very edge of the dream.

But you’re not there yet.

Step 4: Recognize that even the “I am” is an object appearing to you.

What cracks the whole thing open, collapses the mind and forever kills the possibility of mental suffering is the clear nonconceptual recognition that even the felt sense of beingness is not what you are, since it too is an object appearing to you. That’s perceiving the entire matrix/dream/illusion from the outside.

The “I am” is as far as the illusion goes. It’s like the parameter or membrane of the matrix. Before the “I am”, before the nonconceptual felt sense of beingness, there’s only you. Your true nature. That’s what you are. You are the ineffable subject that is prior to any objects in your field of consciousness, including your field of consciousness itself. You are not separate or separable from your field of consciousness, in the same way a dreamer is not separate from the dream, but your identification doesn’t belong there in the same way, and for the same reason.

Once you’re crystal clear on this, mental chatter and the suffering which ensues from it becomes pretty much impossible. All thoughts are premised upon the existence of a self which exists as some object somewhere in your field of consciousness, so if you don’t identify as any of the objects in that field the mind doesn’t really have anything to build on. Thoughts might flicker on and off here and there, but since they’ve got no “me” object to play with they fizzle before they even start, like a lighter flicked while submerged underwater.

Step 5: Consciously be that.

Step 5 is a lifelong project, and, weirdly, it takes practice. It’s never possible to fall fully back into the matrix after getting clear on your true nature, but it’s very possible to let old mental habits which you formed under illusion take the steering wheel of your life. Your task for the rest of your life is to be true to the truth, to what you know to be true, and to refuse to give interest and attention to mental habit. You’ll get better and better at this with practice, but at no point will it ever get set on autopilot. Going on autopilot would just be going back to sleep. You have to consciously choose to keep your eyes open.

Be what you are, consciously, in every instant. Let old habits of thought and perception crumble in the light of your awakened nature. Tolerate no trace of falseness in yourself. Let truthfulness be birthed into your physical form, and into the world from which you know you are not separate.


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57 responses to “How To Awaken From The Matrix Using Self-Enquiry”

  1. Michael Schnitzer Avatar
    Michael Schnitzer

    Good article, but I think step 5 totally unnecessarly negates being one with oneness, but you must be fully and completely aware and know the truth about concepts, beliefs etc and oneness.

  2. All your pointers are clear Cailtlan until the last one. How do you practice to be? Being is spontaneous , no practice required. Non-conceptual awareness witnesses the being and non being, what is there to practice there? Who is doing the practice?

  3. I wonder what’s going to happen when people like Caitlin Johnstone wake up and realize that instead of the story they assume is going on in this Hollywood movie, The Matrix is actually a gender bender blender narrative written by the Wachowski brothers, named ah… Lana and Lilly. Confused? You betcha.

    Umm… sisters & brothers… cis- & trans-. You think maybe the Matrix is a metaphor for being a woman trapped in a male body, a female mind in a man’s world?

    I dunno. Ask Tweedle Deep and Tweedle Dope.


  4. Yes Caitlin. The method you describe is entirely practical, and doesn’t need years of study. You could say it is utterly simple, but it’s very simplicity brings some difficulties for the mind and ego, which love to complicate things, and make problems that need solving. The two latter day sages you mention Nisargadatta, and Ramana Maharshi, are masters at keeping things simple, and practical. The steps you describe are in fact a very ancient system of reasoning call viyattireka -anvya, which comes to us through the advaita tradition from the area we now know as India, but it’s not strictly Indian. It predates the formation of that nation. It’s a major credit to you that you know about this, and even more so that you take the obvious risk of promulgating it. It is SO easily misunderstood. The practice of this system IS revolutionary, transforms our understanding of life and frees our consciousness from the rampant tyranny of materialism, and all it’s attendant attachments and miseries. Well done.

  5. Ms. Johnstone, (and family) I am really enjoying, and finding useful, your latest posts; IE:The Oligarchy’s plans, Manufacturing Normality, etc. I have not commented for awhile, so I am going to take up some space with a few pages from J. Krishnamurti’s book, Commentaries on Living, First series. Because it dovetails with your “Steps”…..”The Conscious and the Unconscious…..He was a business man as well as a politician, and was very successful in both. He laughingly said that business and politics were a good combination; yet he was an earnest man in an odd, superstitious way. Whenever he had time he would read sacred books and repeat over and over again certain words which he considered beneficial. They brought peace to the soul, he said. He was advanced in years and very wealthy, but he was not generous either with the hand or the heart. One could see that he was cunning and calculating, and yet there was an urge for something more than physical success. Life had scarcely touched him, for he had made himself invulnerable, physically as well as psychologically. Psychologically he had refused to see himself as he was, and he could well afford to do this; but it was beginning to tell on him. When he was not watchful there was about him a deep haunted look. Financially he was safe, at least as long as the present government lasted and there was no revolution. He also wanted a safe investment in the so-called spiritual world, and that was why he played with ideas, mistaking ideas for something spiritual, real. He had no love except for his many possessions; he clung to them as a child clings to its mother, for he had nothing else. It was slowly dawning on him that he was a very sad man. Even this realization he was avoiding as long as he could; but life was pressing him. When a problem is not consciously soluble, does the unconscious take over and help to solve it? What is the conscious and what is the unconscious? Is there a definite line where the one ends and the other begin? Has the conscious a limit, beyond which it cannot go? Can it limit itself to its own boundaries? Is the unconscious something apart from the conscious? Are they dissimilar? When one fails, does the other begin to function? What is it that we call the conscious? To understand what it is made up of, we must observe how we consciously approach a problem. Most of us try to seek an answer to the problem, we are concerned with the solution, and not with the problem. We want a conclusion, we are looking for a way out of the problem; we want to avoid the problem through an answer, through a solution. We do not observe the problem itself, but grope for an satisfactory answer. Our whole conscious concern is with the finding of a solution, a satisfying conclusion. Often we do find an answer that gratifies us, and then we think we have solved the problem. What we have actually done is to cover over the problem with a conclusion, with a satisfactory answer, but under it, the problem is still there. The search for an answer is an evasion of the problem. When there is no satisfactory answer, the conscious or upper mind stops looking; and then the so-called unconscious, the deeper mind takes over and finds an answer. The conscious mind is obviously seeking a way out of the problem, and the way out is a satisfying conclusion. Is not the conscious mind itself made up of conclusions, whether positive or negative, and is it capable of seeking anything else? Is not the upper mind a storehouse of conclusions which are the residue of experiences, the imprints of the past? Surely, the conscious mind is made up of the past, it is founded on the past, for memory is a fabric of conclusions; and with these conclusions, the mind approaches a problem. It is incapable of looking at the problem without the screen of its conclusions; it cannot study, be silently aware of the problem itself. It knows only conclusions, pleasant or unpleasant, and it can only add to itself further conclusions, further ideas, further fixations. Any conclusion is a fixation, and the conscious mind inevitably seeks a conclusion. When it cannot find a satisfactory conclusion, the conscious mind gives up the search, and thereby it becomes quiet; and into the upper mind, the unconscious pops an answer. Now, is the unconscious, the deeper mind, different in its make-up from the conscious mind? Is not the unconscious also made up of racial, group and social conclusions, memories? Surely, the unconscious is also the result of the past, of time, only it is submerged and waiting; and when called upon it throws up its own hidden conclusions. If they are satisfactory, the upper mind accepts them; and if they are not, it flounders about, hoping by some miracle to find an answer. If it cannot find an answer, it wearily puts up with the problem, which gradually corrodes the mind. Disease and insanity follow. The upper and the deeper mind are not dissimilar; they are both made up of conclusions, memories, they are both the outcome of the past. They can supply an answer, a conclusion, but they are incapable of dissolving the problem. The problem is dissolved only when both the upper and the deeper mind are silent, when they are not projecting positive or negative conclusions. There is freedom from the problem only when the whole mind is utterly still, choicelessly aware of the problem; for only then the maker of the problem is not.” Like Ms. Johnstone said, one must be constantly aware, from moment to moment, when one is not caught in the net of thought, one becomes consciously aware of the total movement of life, and therefore free of the propaganda and the constant flow of the lies that surround us. It certainly takes more than the usual eight-second attention span of the average person today…..(One can listen and watch J. Krishnamurti’s many speeches on You Tube, just enter his name…..

  6. Wait, wait, wait!
    Caitlin, it’s so much more efficient to just give up after #2, than to try to do #3 which is fake, then have to undo it in #4.

  7. Most, maybe even all, of what we have been taught to believe is false. The real challenge is to uncover the truth.

  8. What a great and deep article! Helped and inspired me a lot and I’ll keep reading it again and again. Thank you! <3

  9. Today, the Heaven Press Office said that new arrivals to the Pearly Gates can expect an unusual delay for the next few days. A man named David Koch has passed on, and now St. Peter is having to read a list with millions of names on it that this man has harmed in his lifetime. Thus St. Peter is now estimating that he will be busy with this one case for quite some time to come.

    1. Judgmental presumptions might be regarded as incongruous with the name of Gabriel in some circles. Just saying.

  10. Great work Caitlin, I particularly love the final Step 5 is a lifelong project, and, weirdly, it takes practice. You have to consciously choose to keep your eyes open. I would add to remember that our current understanding is never final, only best available at our present stage of development.

  11. The way we perceive the world controls our behavior. This is a fundamental reality, when our perceptions are blurred or distorted by conditioning, belief, etc. we respond in inappropriate ways that cause stress and disease in our self and others.
    It is necessary to be constantly refining the focus on our most fundamental human task of discernment; understanding the physical world, understanding the emotional world, the mental world, and the causal world, the whole mixture of, or fabric of, our environment. This is our key to freedom or the bars of our prison. Tolerate no trace of falseness (bad faith) in yourself.

  12. It’s not just that so many people will benefit from this piece. But you do a great job putting self-enquiry in clear and simple terms. Brava!

  13. Is Stef Zamorano wearing a Caitlin shirt on The Jimmy Dore Show?

    1. Wow! I think you’re right. <3

  14. Thank you, Caitlin, for your efforts through your articulate, hard-hitting articles to try to get justice done all the way around. Your unflagging patriotism for the human race always shines through in them. I’ve participated in several projects down through the years, now championed by The Global Union of Scientists for Peace (https://www.gusp.org), that offers a brain-based, consciousness-based, physical, physiological, palpable field effect approach to peace. It’s beyond philosophy, advice, and talk. One project in brief here and detailed further at their website:

    “The power of this approach was demonstrated historically when former President Joaquim Alberto Chissano of Mozambique established a Prevention Wing within his military in 1993. After 20 years of civil war that had ravaged his country, creating massive dislocation and poverty, President Chissano introduced the TM and advanced TM-Sidhi program first to his fellow leaders and commanders, and then throughout his national forces, integrating daily group practice into their military routine.”

    “Almost immediately, the intense atmosphere of enmity that had long gripped the country subsided. Crime rates fell significantly, accompanied by strongly positive social and economic trends that culminated in free and open democratic elections—and a lasting state of peace.”

    “President Chissano is heralded today as a preeminent peacemaker, credited with transforming the war-torn country of Mozambique into one of the most successful African democracies [29].”

    When the welfare and very survival of the human race is at stake, we should leave no stone unturned, no solution unexamined.

  15. First, it must be fully realized that a Sky Fairy did not create humanity. Mother Earth and Father Sun “gave birth” to all forms of aggregations of atoms/molecules/cells that humans refer to as “living things” (with emphasis on the plural of the word “thing”).
    When you boil down human existence to its essence – an essence that spans literally hundreds of thousands of years – what is that essence? The “necessities of life”. Across the ages, humans have had to eat, sleep, defecate, escape excessive heat and cold and, probably, seek some kind of shelter. These are, for lack of a better expression, “instincts” – BEHAVIORS that are not learned.
    The evolution (the coming into being) of what is commonly referred to as “consciousness” or “mind” was absolutely necessary in order for living things – “animals” – that move about (that are not literally attached to Mother Earth as trees are) to acquire food and water.
    Just exactly WHAT human animals have to do (exactly HOW to behave/act) over thousands of years in order to acquire food and water has changed dramatically; which is fascinating in and of itself, but my point in mentioning this now is that what we perceive “consciousness” or “a mind” to be is NOT what we have been taught to believe it to be. We have been taught from Day 1 to believe that consciousness/mind is some “thing” that is a “prime mover” of, and entirely separate from, our BEHAVIOR. This is NOT true.
    What is the difference between a person who is standing, talking to a friend and that same person who falls to the ground as a result of a massive heart attack? The “difference” is that blood cells carrying oxygen suddenly stop flowing to brains cells that absolutely require oxygen to function and survive. When that flow stops, first there is “loss of consciousness”, then, after a very few minutes, the cells are, under normal temperature conditions, irreparably damaged and “consciousness” will never “return”.
    The truth is that “consciousness” never “left”. Brain cells stopped BEHAVING/INTERACTING. That. is. all. Period.
    OTOH, the “mind” can be in “state” that is referred to as a “coma” (or “under anesthesia”). The apparently uninjured brain cells are receiving blood, but there is no “consciousness”, at least to observers. Why do we say that there is no consciousness? Because the person is not BEHAVING normally.
    We also have so-called “sleep” – a state in which many people spend literally one third of their lives. People report having “dreams” in this state. (BTW, what does a person who has been blind and deaf since birth “dream about”?). While in this state people do not move about the world in order to acquire the necessities of life.
    What is vitally important to understand is that “being alive” occurs ENTIRELY at the cellular level. We humans are almost totally un-”conscious” of the automatic, for lack of a better word, “activities” between/among the cells that make up our bodies – activities that are occurring every instant of our lives. By “almost totally unconscious” I mean that several times per day our cells (”bodies”) tell us that we “need” food or water; or that we’re too hot or cold; or that we become “tired” and had better get into a sleeping position, or take a quick journey to a toilet (or to try real hard to get into that other human being’s pants/animal skin). These are not merely incidentals of life. They are now, and for thousands of years have been, literally the most important “features” of our lives. (“When you’ve got your health, you’ve got just about everything.”)
    What is the second-most existentially-important, two-part question that every individual human being, every tribe and every nation has consciously or unconsciously asked and answered for at least the last 10,000 years? (the most important being “how will I get my next meal?”) “Will I have children and WHAT WILL I TEACH THEM?”
    With the above “in mind”, here’s THE MOST IMPORTANT question that we all have to answer, and that right soon, before the nukes start dropping. What is the “difference” between monsters Bolton, Pompeo, etc., who were all born as tiny little infants not really that long ago, and so-called “average people”?

    When all of these “VIPs” were born, there was a long-evolved political/economic “system” (Matrix) ALREADY IN PLACE. Just after WWII, it was a system that was remarkably similar to the one now. The VIPs of the system just after WWII held “important positions” in that rigid system of that day. But the VIPs of 1945, probably already in their 50s, 60s, 70s or even 80s, could not keeps their VIP jobs forever. They had to be replaced by other human beings – other human beings whose attitudes, education, upbringing resulted in them being, essentially, clones of the VIPs that they would replace. They HAD to be clones because the foundation stone of “our” purportedly perfect system had to be maintained without substantial change.
    We know that the infants that eventually would become the clones of the VIPs were incapable of behaving as clones “right out of the womb”. But somehow, by “nature” or “nurture”, they did indeed become those clones. The most important question for our nuclear-armed world is: which was/is it, nature or nurture? The answer to that question is important because, if it is “nurture” – the “effect” of particular matrix that each of these infants just happened to be born into on those humans – that means that there is hope for humanity. The Matrix was made by humans and, therefore, it can be changed by humans.
    We notice that present-day VIPs had parents who were also VIPs. Those VIP parents and the schools they chose to “educate” their children, taught their children in such a way that they would indeed become the clones that would replace the monster VIPs of the past. The question is, just exactly what were they taught? Just exactly how did they “have to be” in order to make it to their VIP positions?
    Again, they had to become clones of those they replaced. They had to “carry on” the “tradition” of their predecessors. In short, when it comes to becoming a VIP in the present government/arrangement and its high-level departments, they had to be the monstrous psychopaths that their predecessors were so that they, like Abrams, etc. would carry on the killing while feeling absolutely no compassion for their victims.
    Infants are not born monsters. They are taught “in such a way” that they become VIP monsters. Therefore, what must be changed is whatever, wherever, “matrix” that produces those monsters, not “human nature”. I know with absolute certainty that this is possible because I live in a neighborhood where average people get along quite well. Nobody is trying to get the upper-hand on their neighbors. Nobody’s “changing the regime” of their neighbor. Nobody’s murdering their neighbor. Nobody’s droning anybody on the other side of town. If our neighborhood can live this way, so can the rest of the world, including those living in DC and Arlington. And no deep, fundamental “self” analysis by any of those neighbors was necessary in order for them to behave in a peaceful way toward others.
    Imagine how surprised the monsters were when they first realized that the road to success and fame was being a ruthless, remorseless killer. I wonder at what age they realized that. Just look today at how they smile as they kill.

    1. I’ve found it useful when sites set a character limit on comments. 🙂

  16. >The mind, the body, the senses, the whole thing. Go through every part of your experience that you’ve ever assumed is “you” and demand to be shown evidence for it being you.
    There can be no ‘evidence’ for a name besides the fact that it is used in such and such a way. ‘I/you’ does refer to all of those things – that’s how human language works, and that’s how human thought works. Calling it ‘a mental story’ does not invalidate it, just as it doesn’t invalidate any other concept including several components. You have no more reason to say it ‘is not really’ you than you have a reason to say that you ‘are not really’ Caitlin or that the city where the Big Ben is located ‘is not really’ London.
    > Since I am looking at them, that means they’re not the subject that the word “I” is meant to refer to.
    There is nothing precluding your looking at yourself, you know. Self-directed actions are a thing. Your mind is perceiving itself. Your body is perceiving itself, too. Your mind and your body are also what is generally conceived of as ‘you’. No big deal here. And, as I said, we know that these are the things that the word ‘I’ is meant to refer to, because it does refer to them in actually existing human language.
    >Ask yourself, “Do I exist?” … Then look in your experience for how you know that. Don’t settle for conceptual answers… accept only a felt sense of beingness … without referring to thought
    But I can’t know it without ‘conceptual answers’ and ‘referring to thought’. The claim that I exist is a very abstract conceptual claim. I cannot justify it without using concepts. I think, therefore I am; I might also conclude that I exist from the fact that I feel, but what enables me to think that I exist is not my feeling itself, but the fact that I think that I feel. In other words, I can think that I exist and am, but I can’t just sense ‘existing’ and ‘being’ directly, I don’t have a sense for that. I have different much more specific senses (say, being thirsty, touching something, etc.) and concepts for them, and from those I can conclude rationally that the very abstract claim of my general existence is true. But I don’t know what ‘existing’ as such feels like, and I couldn’t possibly know it. I would be able to know what it feels to exist only if I could contrast it with what it feels like not to exist, and I have never experienced my non-existence and can never experience it by definition. (And a sense for one’s own existence in general couldn’t have any evolutionary function in any living being, so it is not surprising that there is no such sense). So, even if I did somehow feel something (or convince myself that I feel something), I would have no reason to think that what I feel is the feeling of my existence and not of something else.
    So why did we have to waste time on it, then? Not only is the attainability and existence of this feeling/sense rather questionable, but on top of it all it’s not what we’re looking for anyway!
    >You are the ineffable subject that is prior to any objects in your field of consciousness, including your field of consciousness itself.
    So you are sure that there is some ‘me’ distinct from my consciousness, but you also have no idea what this ‘me’ is (you only think you know what it isn’t), and you have no proof that this ‘me’ exists besides the fact that … the subject must always be distinct from the object, in your opinion, so self-directed actions, including self-observation, do not exist – even though ‘self-enquiry’ is what I was supposed to be practicing! It turns out that the real objective of the self-enquiry has always been to give up and declare that I can’t figure out myself, and that conclusion was already present in the initial (highly questionable) premise. This ‘enquiry’ reminds me of the Mueller report.
    Right, I forgot that we have another proof of the existence of ‘me’, namely an alleged feeling that I exist, except that we have no proof that it really is a feeling of that. Nope, I’m afraid that this still won’t do.
    >All thoughts are premised upon the existence of a self which exists as some object somewhere in your field of consciousness
    No, they aren’t. There are many thoughts that aren’t about oneself at all. Is this supposed to be an extreme cure for extremely self-centred people?
    >so if you don’t identify as any of the objects in that field the mind doesn’t really have anything to build on.
    The various problems that you have won’t disappear just because you refuse to call yourself ‘you’. Assuming that you are, indeed, the ineffable subject that experiences stuff, well, if your foot is run over by a car, you’ll be an ineffable subject that experiences pain in the foot, and how will your supposed ineffability be any consolation for that? So no, you won’t stop having things to worry about.
    >It’s never possible to fall fully back into the matrix after getting clear on your true nature…
    What, we’re already supposed to be ‘clear on it’ at this point? I must have missed the part where anything at all about my true nature became clear. It remains ‘ineffable’ and ‘mysterious’, which may be vaguely flattering, but hardly very illuminating. Oh well, at least it was fun.

  17. Hello Ms Johnstone, Caitlin.

    It’s a good article. I like it. But I miss something, like so often when it comes to waking up (from the matrix).
    And that’s what I miss, a warning about the risks that exist and about what can also happen – not necessarily!
    Sorry for the comparison, but it’s similar to a drug dealer who proverbially promises you “the blue from the sky” without even explaining the risks and side effects and if we stay in the metaphor of the matrix then that’s about what Morpheus does. He doesn’t enlighten Neo beforehand and also gives him an ultimatum, either the red or the blue pill – dualism, stereotype without alternative, like e.g. that he can think it over again, sleep over again and then choose if necessary, or even none of both. Sure, they’re under a little time pressure, but why is that so and why do they want to kill Neo / Mr. Anderson first (reference to the first scene where Trinity talks to Cypher on the phone) and only not because Mopheus thinks Neo is the chosen one? Chosen by whom? There’s only Morpheus and The Oracle that tell a story of “something higher”, a superstition, you once called it a heavenly escapism. For a moment, please think of an alternative point of view that Morpheus has been doing for a long time. That he himself chooses others in order to manipulate them, to believe that they are THE chosen ones, so that they sacrifice themselves for all others, even for Morpheus because he is to weak, until they die. Of course this is the usual story, with a Messiah dying for all others and their sins, a martyrdom like Jesus (who also wanted to be betrayed by Judas – see the found Gospel of Judas), but in this view it is a sneaky deception of Morpheus to manipulate Neo to do what Morpheus wants and strongly believe in his delusion.

    But back to the risks of waking up from the Matrix. Remember the scene where Neo is in the construct for the first time with Morpheus and Morpheus presents reality to Neo. At the end of the scene Neo doesn’t want to believe all that and wants to get out of the construct, he screams: “Let me out of here!” and outside on the Nebuchadnezzar, Neo goes mad and the others shout, respectively Cypher if I remember correctly “now he’s going crazy!”

    Psychologically, these are cognitive dissonances, very strong ones that people often get when something doesn’t fit into their general view of the world, when reality is suddenly completely different from what they know and grew up with. And now to associate that with drugs too. When using hallucinogenic substances, such as psylocibine, mescaline, or LSD, there are states of consciousness that are described differently.
    On the one hand this is the “oceanic self-delimitation” which is perceived as pleasant and liberating, as one with the world and the universe, as you often describe it. But there is also the counterpart to it, the “Fearful Dissolution of the Ego”, a so-called “horror trip”, in which one can lose the complete hold in reality and can only cope with medication, or even in a madhouse.
    Apart from the fact that you can also get very lonely if the environment in which you are suddenly seems strange, or people avoid you because they don’t understand your new perspective and what you tell about it.

    In brief. You should also tell people what dangers there are in something like this, if you know them, anything else would be a bit dishonest to hide them, just to achieve that, even if in a good sense what you want. And I am saying this now precisely because I like you, respectively your thoughts and texts predominantly – if that were not the case, I would not be here and would not comment on this in such a way now.

    Take care, Caitlin!


    1. add: A film tip with reference to the risks, states of consciousness, cognitive dissonances, hallucinogenic drugs et cetera.

      Altered States” from 1980

      And for the superstition of the Chosen One a cite:

      “The word “religion” beautifully defines itself, of course. It translates “to bind” from the Latin – “re” means back and “ligare” means to tie up. All religions are straightjackets, jackets for the straight.”
      — Timothy Leary

  18. I rarely understand these abstract pieces, or poetry either. Could be I’m a bit autistic. People say I’m too literal. I just wanted to say it feels like it’s good for my brain to give it a try once in a while, and I’m willing to try when it’s Caitlin writing. I enjoy the variety, and the challenge when it’s something I don’t already agree with, and the never knowing what sort of thing each piece is going to be when it shows up in my inbox.

  19. Re: Step 2, I was reminded of a scene from Cybill (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111932/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_39) in which she (a character who is an actress dealing with constant objectification and ageism and sexism) has a typical sitcom type problem with her hair, and in frustration, goes out onto her deck and screams out into the neighborhood canyonlands, “I AM NOT MY HAIR!” A few moments later, a man’s voice is heard calling out, “I AM NOT MY LAWN!”

    Oh look, in order to post this, I have to click “I’m not a robot”, heh heh. I’m on my way. 🙂

  20. Thank you for this interesting & important article, Caitlin.

    By a most curious synchronicity, it just so happens that I have been exploring these very ideas & practice recently. Am finding such a non-dual approach fruitfil in my life.

    In this respect, Rupert Spira & Peter Fenner, among others, are proving helpful guides along the way.

  21. On this very subject, a YouTube video (approx 1 hr 25 min): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MvGGjcTEpQ

  22. The vision quest conducted alone deep in Nature, is an opening to hidden levels of perception.

    Sweet are the uses of adversity,
    Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
    Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
    And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
    Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
    Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.

  23. Everything in existence is grounded in the Divine Love-Radiance Consciousness of Reality. But in our conditioned and delusional mind and perception it seems to be otherwise. Our lives become based on illusions that obscure the constantly present Divine Reality. Where is the Blessed Reality? It is here now all around and within you, but you do not see it. When the doors of perception are cleansed you will see the world as it is – Infinite. (Blake)

    1. It is suggested that we exchange one set of illusions for another, perhaps more favorable set? Unfortunately no one approaches an understanding of reality In the absence of the accompanying mental insanity with perhaps a propensity for composition of poetry and/or art during a period of recovery back to any sense of normalcy. This is providing such a blessed one manages to recover at all or even cares to. Sticky stuff, Divine reality. Approach it at your own risk.

  24. Hi Caitlin,

    Bravo! Congratulations!

    I have often been a critic of your earlier writings on the topic (the most important topic of all!), but a reference to Ramana Maharshi indicates that you have hit the right direction. According to Hindu belief, he attained Moksha/Nirvana/Deliverance/Freedom/SupremeKnowledge (only other from the last century, as far as I know, is Ramakrishna Paramahansa).

    I would be very happy when you are convinced that the same Eternal Wisdom is at the heart of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Moreover the Wisdom has been denied and ignored by the modernism/rationalism/scientism, with its roots going back to Descartes, and this is really the root cause of the world crisis.

    Of course, the Eternal Wisdom in every religious tradition has been less and less understood with the passage of centuries, leading to all kinds of corruption in the traditions. However I get despaired when people, even smart and well-meaning ones, paint the entire tradition negatively with broad brush-strokes (as I felt with your writings on Christianity; I would follow, e.g. St. Augustine, Eckhart, St. Thomas Aquinas).

    Best, Anon.

    I have pointed out some references before, let me repeat:


    The very first chapter starts with the question “Who am I” and the answer is “That art thou”.
    The over-arching conclusion, as far as civilizations/societies are concerned, appears on Page 229, “The reign ….”.


    This is about the attack on Eternal Wisdom by modernism/rationalism/scientism (since the Wisdom itself is eternal and incorruptible, it is evident that the attacker would self-destruct and take the world down with himself).

    1. A good summary of our fundamental predicament in the modern world. For another take on this situation see Iain McGilchrist’s book, The Master and His Emissary. We are suffering from a left brain takeover. The intuitive mind and it’s grasp of inner reality has been suppressed and forgotten, in favor of the limited reasonings and materialism of the left brain.

  25. Have you seen this blog on Julian Assange
    and Jeffrey Epstein?. In great detail

  26. I am finding that going into a reverie state while remaining conscious can enhance creativity.

  27. Aardvark-Gnosis Avatar

    I think therefore I am. the question of our conditioned state is the reference to the propaganda believed to be truth, the lie that is real in the eyes of the propagandist… The latter, finds residence in the consciousness of the environmental fusion of the moment… we are automations thinking on the level of fermented tails and myths that befuddle even superstition and folly of it’s soothsayer Gnostics that dream this fractured ferry tail into existence. The first breath we take in the material world is the Mitochondrial DNA aftermath of cotise erectus vaginosis exploratory fermentation… Yet, we do not breath for ourselves, nor is the blood of the fetus exchanged with the holder of the repository… but oxygen finds a path in the transmittal of the growing ovum via the umbilical cord aka… nutrients and waste oxygen..no blood. the consciousness of the sacramental requiem mass during the birth cannel experience is non-aware until the first breath of life… It is said, that the first breath is the breath of the living god of creation in the secular plain of existence. hence the consciousness of a breathing entity with spiritual qualities of it’s creator… It is the intellegencia of the material host that fragments that consciousness into the realm of the illusionary conditioned state, all the folly is kind after kind in the formative years of subjective ideology and diabolical superstitions passed down by it’s DNA donners of training the innocent mind to decipher it’s relative environment and communication skills and reasoning of how Santa Claus brings gifts by reindeer… a sled that mystically flies through the sky by magic reindeers… The folly of conditioning has just entered a lifetime of how we figure who the hell we are! The “ID” is fractured into a million and one peace’s that critical thinking can’t find a crack to squeeze through! Yet, the mind become suspicious when it sees that all is a lie that is to be believed as truth. At that point all reasoning is fractured in the fairy tails of parables designed by the clergy and bishops of faith INC. One must have faith to believe the lie. Faith is the unseen reality of illusion.

    Thusly, the clusterf**k begins and the political is religious and visa versa. take a look and look at the world we see around us and wonder how the hell we are going to survive the soothsayers and the devils of bad behavior that possess the psychopathy of ego dementia and winner take all mentality in the dystopian mind of inner chaos… Peace is the absence of thought and intellectual myopia that has given nature a bad name! Awaken from the Matrix… I think therefore I AM… It has been said, any thought within the mind is the essence of manifestation and the sins thereof. Ergo, follow natures lead and not the mind of men thinking they are gods answer to the cosmic order of the creation or it’s creators big bang or not… Lead do not follow the dictates of the conditioned mind set… Each day I arise from sleeping in the dream of bedding down for my nocturnal rest… I meditate on the dysfunction of my conditioned state., All with the hope of finding the reality of truth unmasked form my sleeping self… Catlin is right, the habitual “ID” is knocking on the door of every thought.

    Namaste Folks 🙂

  28. My own process of self-enquiry has taken a slightly different turn, and I’m now firmly convinced that the entirety of our ancient religious and spiritual traditions, both Eastern and Western, are yet a prelude and exercise to a distant age still to come.

    They all got it wrong in exactly the same way: it’s not that Spirit was once whole, but then loses itself in the temporal matrix of suffering and delusion, only to then finds itself again in a return to a primordial wholeness, where we are at one with everything in the empty ground of our own ever-present awareness.

    No, the only real spiritual life that is available to us comes by getting rid of the fictional space of primordial peace and one-ness to begin with. Our true nature is not to be pure consciousness at one with everything that arises, at the innermost depths of our being we are spooked to the core by an anarchic vortex of irreconcilable tensions that agitates and disturbs all our pretensions to unperturbed wholeness and ontological One-ness, as it haunts us with the impossibility of escaping the cracks in the very foundations of reality itself.

    And its this original crack or gap at the core of our being, where we accept the wound of our mortality that nothing can ever repair as an unmerited gift, that we are never more true to ourselves, for it is in confessing that we do not know who we are and our fundamental lack of self-identity that constitutes our identity,.

    In the beginning, there is not a unified, harmoniously integrated foundation of spiritual plenitude. At the ground of our being we are never fully “at one” with ourselves, but minimally un-grounded, or ridden from within by an irresolvable trauma/excess, and bursting at the seams with these contradictory tensions that go all the way down into the sacred depths, so that being is itself forever off-center, and we are “at one” with Spirit only when we are exposed to the trembling at the heart of things and inwardly disturbed by the eternal restlessness of a fundamental antagonism that resists absorption into any satisfying closure or over-arching unity…

    And the only way to make palpable this “non-identity-with-ourselves” and the eruption of idiosyncrasy that shakes up our socially mediated personality by calling forth the abyss of anarchic freedom from which sprigs our singular creative passion, is by fully embracing the grotesque discord of radical, unbearable contradiction and the universality of perpetual struggle, where it is by identifying with what is abject – the traumatic, monstrous and catastrophic excess that is foreclosed from consciousness and has no-place within the given political order, and then amplifying this paradoxical non-coincidence to the point of maximal intensity, that the obstacle in our way becomes a glitch in the matrix out of which an altogether new and unexpected horizon of possibilities can emerge in the further evolution of consciousness.

    Because in the end, the more frantic the “mad dance of identification,” the more catastrophic the failure to find it, and the more visible the anarchic abyss of untrammeled freedom, that’s always already threatening to explode from out of the disruptive darkness and into the light of new life.

  29. Great stuff, keep at it. I “shimmer”,making predictions and your insights are helpful, esp. politically.

    No clue who the American democratic nominee will be yet, but the winner in the general will be the one who people think will spend more.

  30. Every human being identifies themselves as an indepndant individual self in their own world. We share our worlds individually and collectively and we impose our worlds. We live as seperate identities yet we all share one field of knowing. The mind of consciousness. There is only one consciousness in where a billion worlds exist and each world is composed of 10,000 things and none of the worlds are true. We think memory proves our existence and what is true but when we have a thought we think it is ours but when it appears it is already in the past and no longer exist. Without our thoughts of memory we would not exist as an individual identity because everything forever changes. The changing can only be known by the not changing. That understanding within us that observes the drama at play as it comes and goes. We sense it to be real but anything that can be sensed is not real as it is forever changing. That which does not change, that which observes it is our conscious knowing Self. The consciousness where the drama of life is displayed. We show up, play our part without self identification and we move with the flow of Divine principles and experience the unfolding of this amazing play taking place. We observe the body and mind doing its thing without personal authorship. When we let go of identity we allow something much wiser to fill the space of action and in this way we are freed to observe the worlds emerging more as an observer while interacting accordingly.

  31. Look at how they train modern slaves (ie, all of us unless there’s a billionaire slumming with use tonight). Or, perhaps its better to look at what they don’t teach. As an official old person, it becomes obvious how things like education have changed over the decades. It used to be that they taught people how to think. They taught how to solve problems. Now its just memorize a bunch of facts and statements and then be able to completely fill in the correct circle using your number 2 pencil. Learning logic and how to reason and how to think critically are gone in today’s corporate sponsored educations.
    I got out of college, and discovered that almost none of the memorized facts that I had learned were of any real use in the world. But, I happened to go to an old-school engineering school, and they did teach me how to think. They did teach me how to solve problems. And that has made all the difference.

    1. I love the way that comment is always relevant!
      Peace, Bread, Land!!!

  32. Whew! Following these philosophical types can be confusing and scary. You don’t know where they are trying to lead you. Often it into a big pile of shit.

    Caitlin starts out telling me, or seeming to tell me, there is no such thing as The Self. Then she councils a load of things which would not be possible if there was not a ‘self’ there.

    In fact, you would have to have a self to be able to make the statement that ‘there is no self’.

    She also started out implying there is no truth. Then she tells me to be ‘true to the truth’.

    I think she is being a bit disingenuous.

    Also, I have developed a very good idea of who I am and what the truth is, thank you. If I did not, I would never have survived, I mean physically survived, some of the things life has hit me with.

    Finally, I do not think it is possible to live without ‘mental habit’. No one has infinite mental capacity. Most things you have to do on autopilot or you would be overwhelmed. You would go catatonic. tr

    1. So, that’s a blue pill for you, correct?

    2. Yeah. Far too much “woo” word salad here for me. Sounds profound but really says nothing or goes in a circle. Marianne Williamson and Deepak Chopra would be proud.

      1. It’s just an approach to finding inner peace and clarity. It works. Not sure why people are getting all emotional about it.

        1. Hello, Caitlin;

          I hope I am not getting emotional. I am not even all that critical of what you are saying. They are small differences which don’t matter much to me.

          What you are putting out is still quite valuable.

          I would suggest to just forget about getting too deeply philosophical on this type of forum. It attracts all these flakes and few coherent responses.

          Some of these replies are complete gibberish, like they were written by schizophrenics.

          Keep up the good work. tr

          1. When I first read about this stuff it looked like gibberish to me too, since I had no frame of reference for it. Now it’s as mundane and practical as directions to the nearest supermarket. Nothing philosophical about it at all.

    3. Reduce or eliminate “Id” to open the door to god.

      It is amazingly simple after you do it once. It in fact is simple and it is the “Id” and the clutter & noise & misdirection all around that prevents.

    4. this kind of thing is not philosophical but a new-agey rabbit hole. you can dive in, but don’t expect to find much that is useful.

    5. Hi Tim Rourke. Your assessment is reasonable, and better than most attempts at coming to terms with the perspective Caitlin is trying to communicate. What is missing is the role of paradox, an apparent contradiction which is common in mystical thinking, but which the internal dialogue initially regards as indigestible.
      For example, we have an individual identity but if we hold that as a reference point, it disrupts our ability to see beyond self-centred perspectives. The nature of awareness is fluid, but having fixed ideas of truth restricts this fluidity in a way that impoverishes the ability to shift between seemingly contradictory perspectives.
      I particularly like paradox, because genuine paradox is characteristic of heightened awareness, whereas fake paradox is a clue to large-scale deception. As an investigator of why humans are so unreliable and stupider than necessary, finding a paradox of either kind is a win : win discovery.
      I am favourably impressed by Caitlin’s ability to discern the difference, and to focus our attention on authentic paradoxes. Persistence gradually produces progress.
      Hope this clarification helps.

  33. Having trouble sharing your wonderful posts to FB. Doesn’t seem to work, Caitlin.

    1. Yeah I haven’t found a way to fix that yet. You gotta copy-paste the URL.

    2. What’s Facebook? 🙂

  34. We live in a Universe that is profoundly indifferent to human existence. Hundreds of generations have contributed to a knowledge base showing a vast, organized system of matter and forces, from the subatomic to the infinite galactic, yet we are being forced to believe this is all random probability. You exist for a reason, find and share Truth.

    1. Interesting, because physics has by now pretty firmly said that the presence of an observer influences events. The old mechanistic models of reality were superseded in the early 20th century by experimental evidence, and it is quantum models that match the evidence. For instance, the whole topic of quantum computing couldn’t exist in a mechanistic, Newtonian reality, and yet there are experimental satellites up there now showing that it works.

  35. Well yeah, but I am more than pure subjectivity – a lot more. I am really all of this reality, every particle of it which I may have thought were objects other than me. I am all of this, and so are you and everything existing. There is no subject or object that is outside this cosmic identity. I am That, you are That, all of this is That, and there is nothing other than That. I am sure Ramana and Nisgardatta would agree…….

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