No Leaders Please – By Charles Bukowski

Buk! My favorite poet.



Be here now.

Pay attention.

Do one thing at a time.

Do everything in a sacred manner.

Your purpose is to awaken, and to remain awake.

Let present-moment awareness be your spiritual practice.

This moment is the only reality; all else is abstraction, a mental construct.

Just look and just listen. No more is needed. Being inwardly still, looking, and listening activates the non-conceptual intelligence within you.

Attention is primordial intelligence, consciousness itself, the living God. It joins the perceiver and the perceived in a unifying field of awareness.

The present moment is deeper than what happens in it. It is the space in which it happens. Eventually, the focus is on the inner, silent, still presence of awareness itself rather than on its passing content.

You are responsible for reining in your attention, taking command of this power of focused awareness, and purposefully choosing how you will live the moments of your life. You can waste and dissipate them, or you can center yourself intentionally and live fully in the present moment. It all begins with a decision to live in such a way, a decision that you refuse to betray.


Things are the meaning of things.

In the godhead there is no thought of God.

Stop thinking, and there is nothing you will not understand.

Spiritual awakening is awakening from the dream of thought.

You are here to learn something. Don’t try to figure out what it is.

You are not the voice in your mind, but the one who is aware of that.

Call off the search for self-definition. Being must be felt; it can’t be thought.

The single most vital step towards enlightenment is learning to disidentify from your mind.

Observe all the content of evolving life without making any mental comment, criticism, or judgment.

It is when you are trapped in incessant streams of compulsive thinking that you lose the ability to sense the oneness of all that exists.

The world does not really need your personal opinions about anything at all. Attachment to views is the greatest impediment to the spiritual path.

When the criticalness and discrimination of dualistic perception are set aside, the absolute perfection and beauty of everything stands revealed.

Enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap between thoughts, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality. You can find the gap whenever you want. You have found the door to God. You have come home.


No drama.

No whining.

This, too, will pass.

Merge with the situation.

Enlightenment is the quiet acceptance of what is.

Surrender to the natural course and sequence of things.

Why is there so much suffering in the world? No reason.

Cast aside the mind that says this is good and that is bad.

When you become a lover of things as they are, the war is over.

Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When you don’t struggle against it, you are in harmony with reality.

All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. You are then at ease in the here and now and at ease with yourself.

Weather comes and goes, but the sky remains unchanged. Enlightenment is merely the shift of identity from the cloud to the sky.

The world is neither bad nor defective, nor is it in need of help or modification, because its appearance is only a projection of your own mind. No such world exists.

What will be left of all the fearing and wanting associated with your problematic life situation that every day takes up most of your attention? A dash, one or two inches long, between the date of birth and date of death on your gravestone.


God is not a being, but a state of being.

You are awareness, disguised as a person.

You are not in the universe; the universe is in you.

You are here to awaken from your illusion of separateness.

Your state of consciousness is primary; all else is secondary.

“In here” and “out there” are mirror reflections of each other.

Heaven is not a physical location, but a state of consciousness.

All the consciousnesses in your life are your own consciousness.

All the separate activities in the universe are actually one activity.

You are an aperture through which the universe is exploring itself.

Consciousness is continuous and present in everything; it is the one reality.

The eye by means of which God sees you is the same eye by means of which you see God.

There is neither a perceiver nor that which is perceived because they are one and the same.

Nothing in the universe happens by chance or accident. Everything influences everything else and is in perfect balance.

The entire universe was designed for the purpose of creating and expanding a consciousness capable of observing and understanding itself.

The very ground of the enlightened state is the absolute, unequivocal, unshakable confidence in the perennial mystical revelation that IT IS . . . and I AM THAT. It is experienced as a clarity that is empty of content; a weightiness that is full of nothing in particular; a profound knowing that dissolves all questions. You simply know, unequivocally, before thought, that I am. That’s the only answer: I AM. There is no why.


Don’t try too hard.

Practice and enlightenment are not two.

Laugh! Even seriousness itself is humorous.

The mundane and the sacred are one and the same.

Generate consciousness through the activities of daily life.

For most of us, enlightenment comes little by little — otherwise it would overwhelm.

Enlightenment is not the end, but the beginning of an unending process in all dimensions of richness.

Your life is your practice. Your spiritual practice does not occur someplace other than in your life right now, and your life is nowhere other than where you are.

The essence of spiritual practice is to activate by inspiration, dedication, and decision of will those aspects of consciousness that become progressively self-actualizing.

Seemingly small steps in spiritual evolution often occur almost unnoticed, but it is the small shifts which occur out of sight below a mountain of snow that result in an avalanche.

Live effortlessly. Enlightenment is not a desire, is not a goal, is not an ambition. It is a dropping of all goals, a dropping of all desires, a dropping of all ambitions. It is just being natural.

Enlightenment is not a destination or graduation into a permanent higher state of consciousness, but a moment-by-moment experience constantly fluctuating between degrees of wholeness and limited consciousness.

A given level of consciousness is not better than another but merely represents the level that is being worked on. It is the basic building blocks that enable a structure to ascend, and it is the dedication that ensures the completion of a cathedral.

Spiritual commitment simply means recontextualizing the meaning of your life. This needs to be done totally, all-inclusively, so that life does not become segmented into spiritual work versus ordinary life. All life now becomes spiritual practice. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.

* * * * *

Published in The Mindful Word, 12/24/2018. Thanks to Alan Watts, Evelyn Underhill, Anita Moorjani, Meister Eckhart, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, and especially Eckhart Tolle and David R. Hawkins.


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