Questioner: What about Eckhart Tolle’s sudden, very powerful awakening ? Obviously something happened.
Bentinho: Sure… so he had a moment of relaxation, and for him it was very powerful, because the contrast was very strong — he was about to kill himself, everything felt completely alien and so on. So he had this intense suffering… and then all of it relaxed. And so in retrospect the memory stores it as an awakening. But it wasn’t happening in any new space. The same space of direct experience shifted from being really tense, to the point where the bow is about to snap, to it actually snapping, or relaxing. And so that’s a powerful contrast. That’s a sudden relaxation of everything. And then he describes that he had years of deepening.
Questioner: I have a question about free will, some say there is, some say there isn’t, and I have some confusion about that.
Bentinho: Well I’m only ever interested in what works. What doesn’t work for me and for most people is believing something and then basing their lives on that belief. That limits their experience of freedom. Whether you believe there is free will, or whether you believe there’s no free will, this space doesn’t care. So if either of those become a reference point to live your life by, then that’s limiting.
Questioner: Yeah there are all these reference points. What is true ? I don’t even know.
Bentinho: Yeah, everything is a reference point… Everything I say is a reference point as well. And I hope my reference points lead to not needing any reference point. And not needing any philosophical understanding, or intellectual conclusions. Like: “This is the way it works”. Because the moment “this is the way it works”, then that is the way it doesn’t work, so then there is duality, there’s a lack of experiencing freedom, there’s a lack of love, there’s battle, there’s conflict.
So I don’t care, I can resonate with all of these. “There is free will”. Sure ! “There is no free will”. Sure ! (laughter) It’s all true. “Nothing ever happened”. Yeah ! I can see that. “Everything ever happened”. Yeah ! I can see that too. Who cares ! (laughter)
All of these are subtle perspectives that we tend to land on because it’s a safe thing, you can hold on to it. You can refer your life to it, you can understand your life in its proper perspective. Or so we think. To let go of even that is freedom. To just be relaxed as you are, to not know anything about philosophical “truths”. That’s freedom to me. That opens me up to connect with practically everybody… and to speak about their perspectives… and to have fun. Because it’s all equally valid. Or equally invalid.
It’s total surrender that reveals the causeless reality, and causelessness is where bliss is, or happiness is, because it doesn’t depend on anything… it’s causeless, timeless. And the timeless is always here, is that in which everything appears, and the moment we’re focused on something and describing a past and a future about it, the moment we’re solidifying something as being something… “oh this is an emotion, oh this is a thought, this is you vs. me”… then that clouds and obscures… but when we relax all focus points, we are basking in the causeless, and we are befriending our bliss, and we are trusting that, and evermore we’ll be convinced of that, and then we can be happy no matter what appears.
Questioner: So when you take the two to five seconds out, you aren’t looking at what has been bothering you, you’re surrendering everything…
Bentinho: Very good, you are not looking at anything as if it exists, you’re not analyzing yourself as if you’re imperfect, you’re not focusing on thoughts and emotions as if they mean something, you let everything be, and you are the causeless, timeless here and now. That’s where bliss is. Bliss doesn’t know anything. The moment bliss knows something, Bliss is obscured. Bliss is the nature of innocence, of not knowing, causeless.
So you ignore all your stories. Now there’s this notion that if you ignore something it becomes stored and it’s suppressed, but I’m speaking about something else here, ignoring in the sense of not putting any importance on it, when you don’t focus on it as if it’s something, then you’re ignoring the solidity of it, experiencing your experience without focusing on it. And yet you’re consciously vivid, right here.
And then the waves reveal themselves to be water, whereas if we focus on things and sensations and emotions as if they are things or issues or coming from somewhere needing our attention so they can be fixed, then we only see the waves a waves, as problems and as imperfections. And this perpetuates the cycle of inadequacy.
But when we relax all focus we bask in the timelessness for those two to five seconds, we don’t know anything, we’re just happy, we’re just causeless, surrendering everything.
That’s like a dive into the water, and we realize that every wave is pure water, whether it’s small or big or ugly or beautiful, every emotion is pure, perfect awareness, is pure perfect being, and so we don’t need it to change anymore for our wellbeing to be evident; because our wellbeing isn’t projected on to things and their outcome.