Self-Awareness with Aaron Abke
Updated: May 8, 2019
On this interview with Aaron, we talk about increasing self-awareness, how you are in control of your reality and the importance of becoming the observer of your thoughts. We share personal experiences of connecting to source energy and how that experience brought us a deeper understanding of life. We go into the laws of the universe, the law of attraction, Christ Consciousness, his 3 step process and more.
So, come on and watch the video below:
Jofy: Hello everyone and welcome to The Spiritual Teachers Of Our Time Summit!
I'm Jofy Imalive. Today I'm delighted to be speaking with my friend Aaron! Aaron, welcome to the summit!
Aaron: Hey man, thanks for having me, it's my pleasure.
Jofy: thank you so much for being here with us. So, the first question that I have for you is… how was your spiritual awakening process like?
Aaron: Oh man, it feels like it's still going on in many ways… I guess that's the way it should be, right? But I think I know what you're asking: is kind of how how did I get involved or how did they get into enlightenment and self-realization and all that.
So for me it sort of began maybe six or seven years ago. I was born and raised as like an evangelical pastors kid. And so I was always very dedicated to my faith and all that good stuff. But when I was 23 I took my first job at a church as a full-time worship minister. And I was working at a church that was a lot more, sort of, fundamentalist than the ones I had grown up in. So I was confronted with a lot of very, you know, the sort of hypocritical religious ideologies that just didn't resonate with me. And so that was a catalyst for my spiritual seeking, that caused me to, sort of, put aside what I had been born and raised to believe and, sort of, find my own spiritual truth and start my own journey.
So from there I've just started, you know, everything… All bets were off, like, I didn't have any reference frame anymore, so I started looking into Buddhism and Hinduism and Taoism and a lot of Eastern religions. Started listening to a lot of Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Rupert Spira, people like that. and when I was 27, I've been on this spiritual seeking journey for, you know, four or five years, and I sort of had like an, I guess, you'd call “an awakening experience” listening to a Eckhart Tolle video during my lunch break at work actually… And, so yeah, I really… Everything kind of spiraled down from there and I just sort of accelerated at a pretty crazy pace, when I look back and think about it.. but it's been a it's been a real fun ride.
Jofy: Yeah! Eckhart Tolle was such a big help for me also! Like… I remember when I was on my journey, like, reading him, it's just, like, he would get me into the “zone” and to the present moment. He also helped me a lot with, like, talking about the “Pain bodies” because at the time I was feeling depressed, I was overthinking a lot. He just really helped me to, you know, not to feel connected to those thoughts and to that pain, to be able to let those go, you know.
Aaron: yeah, likewise.
Jofy: But yeah, can you tell us a little bit more about that moment? During your work break? How was it?
Aaron: Yeah, sure. It's kind of tough to describe, or, at least to do justice to, you know. But, um… So it was a video where Eckhart was sort of being funny and he was sort of mocking the voice of the ego in the mind and I was also, like you said, going through this long period of depression, I come out of this super messy relationship, I didn't know who I was anymore, what I believed in… And I just felt really lost.
And so I was spending my work breaks up on this balcony, listening to Eckhart Tolle outside. And this is probably like the second or third month of like every day in a row, of viewing this. I could just sort of feel myself getting more free, so I just kept going back every day at lunch and listening to different clips and stuff.
And so in this clip, he was, he would say, you know, silly things that the mind says to us and then the audience would laugh and he would chuckle. And so I was sort of laughing along with him. And you know he would say something like “if people would only treat me better, then I would truly be happy”. You know, and then he would laugh and everybody would be laughing.
"...and all the sudden I just had one of those moments of seeing, of recognition, that I was literally listening to my own voice in my head talk."
I started laughing, it was like, maybe the fourth or fifth one he said, and all the sudden I just had one of those moments of seeing, of recognition, that I was literally listening to my own voice in my head talk. Like, I resonated with it so profoundly. And it sort of shocked me and I started… I went from laughing to crying, like, instantly. But it was tears of joy because the realization was so powerful that it sort of felt like… the way describe it is: I walked into the room, like, a dark room that I believed all along was me in that room, right? And somebody flipped the light switch on and it was just a bunch of empty machinery running by itself. And I was like… My jaw was just dropped… like… I can't believe there's nobody there! It really is just a program!
It's one thing to know it, you know, but it's a totally different thing to experience it in your heart. And you can't really unsee a recognition like that. And so I came down from work back to my clients (I'm a personal trainer at Google) and I was just… I like to call it being “blissed-out”. I was just totally blissed out for like two weeks, like, I couldn't think a single thought, I was just in this perpetual silence of mind, it was most beautiful two weeks of my life. And I sort of started to believe it was gonna be like… this is my state of consciousness forever now, you know? But it slowly came back down, as the minds influence kind of creeped back in. But it never had us the same foothold on me again because from that point on I was sort of privy to the way it works and all of its little illusions that it plays to catch my attention. And so from there was just deconstructing these programs. And that process is still going on today but the amount of freedom I gained from that moment alone is just remarkable.
"...the amount of freedom I gained from that moment alone is just remarkable."
Jofy: Yeah, really can relate to that.
And it's funny, you were sharing about that moment that you were crying, and today I was doing a live and somebody was saying: “oh I just feel like crying right now”.
And I remember when I actually came to that experience, that realization that I was actually laughing and crying at the same time. I was, as you said, “blissed-out”. It's like, I wasn’t attaching the crying to a story - like I'm not crying because I feel like “this is bad” or “I miss this” or it's, like… I'm alive! As you said… it's impossible to translate it into words. It's like, we know what this experience is, right? It's like…
So yeah, and I remember I was playing hardcore punk before and stuff and then suddenly when I was having a similar experience, as you were describing, at the moment in my life, where I really reconnected to this deeper experience of being here in life, and feeling life, and you know, like, feeling that bliss inside of me, I remember one of the first songs I wrote it was like “Laughing and Crying at the same time” you know? Wow…
Aaron: Totally, yeah… Enjoying being
Jofy: Yeah, exactly… Just beingness.. it's beautiful, it’s so good…
Jofy: I always have this “knock” like, this need to feel. To feel that. It was always there. But we couldn't hear it. We were just processing the information from here (points the mind).
So yeah you were saying that you started looking into Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism. Can you share some practice or something that you did after, that had a big impact on you?
Yeah definitely. For me it was getting fascinated with the science of the Mind. How the mind sort of steals the energy from us Keeps us entangled in it’s patterns, In its programs, you know. So a lot of that was from Buddhism, but later it was more heavily in the Hinduism: Advaida Vedanta, and most Specifically it was, I don't know if you're familiar with Indian Sage Ramana Maharshi?
Jofy: No, I am not.
Okay. So he's a very famous Indian Sage, who sort of developed a practice of cultivating awareness Around your thoughts that he called “Self-inquiry”. And so self-inquiry is basically trying to get to the root of the source the thought is, Or who the thinker of the thought is. Not just letting thoughts kinda run amok in your consciousness, But is there something that is appearing that doesn't resonate with you, that is causing suffering in some way, Then to take that thought captive and to start investigating it. So the analogy I like to use is, to imagine if you're walking at a dark path at night and you see a snake laying down the road I ahead, and you frozen a fear of the snake. Well the snake was actually just the stick in the dark, but you can't tell cuz it's so dark, how would you ever know that it was just a stick? And the answer is you have to approach it and investigate it, Right?
So that's the same thing we have to do it with our thoughts, right? is To see their unreality Is to approach them and see the illusory Nature of thoughts and feelings. They aren't actually meaningless in themselves, but because we are so heavily conditioned, we just continue to unconsciously assign them to significance allow them to have all the real estate in our mind..
So it's kind of about winning yourself back step by step, thought by thought, moment by moment.
The cool thing about it though, it's that this whole process of investigating Your thoughts and being aware of your thoughts actually is an effortless process because It's not something you can do by an active effort, like stay on guard all day your thoughts. It's just a matter of your desire for freedom, you know?
"If there's a sincere desire present for you to be free, If you are more interested in your freedom then you are in your bondage, then your awareness just expands by itself."
If there's a sincere desire present for you to be free, If you are more interested in your freedom then you are in your bondage, then your awareness just expands by itself. And you find yourself going throughout your day normally all of the sudden different reactions you have different thoughts that arise in your mind… You start to go “ hey where the second...I don't like that one. I don't like that thought. I don't like that being around here.” And so immediately you are able to disconnect from it, right? Because when you're observing a thought you’ve now created a subject object split. So you are no longer entangled in the thought, But you are observing it from a deeper place of consciousness.
So I sort of came up with my own three step formula for doing this process of self inquiry, because Ramana was very good at dialoguing with people and walking them through it, but I wanted to be able to give people something more practical and tangible that they can do on their own, like any time when they are being confronted with thoughts and feelings that they don't like.
[AARON'S 3-STEP PROCESS OF SELF INQUIRY]:
So the three step process is first to find the root of the thought. So what that means is... don't just you know.. let's see the thought is: “I get nervous in social environment. I get nervous around groups of people.“ Well that's just the thought you are believing in, What's causing The root of that thought? And so the root would be something along the lines of “I am insecure about who I am” or “I don't love myself” Or something on those lines. So only you can really know what the root is, right? Nobody else can tell you what we can sort of point you in those directions.
So identify what the root is that's causing the thought, and then the second thing find the thinker of the thought. So that sounds like a sort of obvious thing to say: “Oh, I am the thinker of the thought!”, But when you really check in with the experience, when you stay as close to your actual experience as you can, You will realize that there is no chooser of thoughts, There's no entity consciously selecting which thoughts appear - It's all an automatic program That is being triggered by stimulus, It's a complete product of your conditioning. What you are is..you are the intention. So let's say like I have an intention to go make a sandwich. So I just have that intention, it’s a Wordless causless thing, Just arises in my consciousness. My body goes up and goes to the kitchen and makes the sandwich. I don't have to go: “Left leg up! Right leg move! Left leg go! open the fridge, grab the meat!” I don't need to do that. My body does that automatically. My heart is beating automatically. There is billion chemical processes happening in my body - I don't control any of them! And so when you can really come to that realization that “Was there a moment I decided to think this thought?” No of course not! It was just triggered by something. So this also helps you to disconnect.
And then the third thing is to find awareness. And you know this I didn't said find THE awareness, like I said In the first two - find The Root, find The Thinker - Find awareness because awareness is not an object. Awareness has no perceivable or objective qualities to it, and yet, it is the most undeniable part of our experience. So if you can find the presence of awareness in you, so you can see that “Ah I'm actually observing this thought activity, coming and going, appearing and disappearing, So I must be something beyond that activity. I must be something beyond thoughts and feelings, If I can be observing them. I can choose to give them more attention, I can choose to disengage my attention. I can choose to journal about them, I can say “ today I had this thought this time of the day”, right? so I am the awareness which knows my thoughts.
So, for me personally If I can come to those 3 realizations.. And it has to be… You can't just go through this process like, you know, automatically, like “check, number one check number two..” Because that would be the mind doing that. It has to be a real experience and “aha” moment, where you have the “ oh yeah that's right, they got me again, but this time I'm aware.“ And it's those little aha moments is the weed that Consciousness really expands. Is when you have a moment of recognition, at that moment when you have that feeling, that's the feeling of consciousness-expanding and sort of adding more variables into the equation. And that's really what you're looking for.
Jofy: Yeah, beautiful. You know what that remind me of? Have you ever tried Ayahuasca?
Aaron: I haven't but I really want to.
Jofy: Yeah, because, like, I loved it how you said about looking into those thoughts, that sometimes we are afraid of them, that kind of stuff, you know, “the snake”. And when you're on this experience of ayahuasca it's like… It's scary, there's a process… That is like… All those little things that you try not to think about them, they are coming at you! You know? First people… the first thing is like they try to control, so it's like: “No, I'm gonna think positive thoughts instead of looking at the snake” you know? You're still, like, trying to control the situation. But at some point, ayahuasca wins. And those thoughts they start to come. And it’s that experience that you're saying: “Oh, it's just a stick!” It’s like “Oh!””Oh!”
Aaron: Psychedelics are so good at doing that. Because even like you know, I haven't taken LSD either but I hear it does the same thing. I have tried psychedelic mushrooms and it was definitely that kind of experience you were talking about, where it's sort of like puts this junk
that you've swept under the rug in your face and it's like: “Dude, you want to take care of this because otherwise it's gonna keep festering under the fridge and all that black molds gonna keep growing in your consciousness” and it's better to just rip the band-aid off, you know, face it, confront it, and realize that it's just something that you've given all this energy to, but if you decide to assign it no more significance and just collapse that program - you can do that! Like, you have the power to choose your preference, you have the power to see what resonates and ignore what doesn't. And it's when we you know, like you were saying, when we kind of hide from or control all those negative programs that have been built up through our conditioning, that really only gives them more energy. And so it's about bringing it into the light and exposing them under that light of awareness. Because what you bring into the light can't be kept in darkness.
Jofy: Yeah, for sure! And you can find a lot of gifts that are hidden behind those things that you fear.
So yeah I was gonna ask you also, I remember you talking a lot about the law of attraction. I don't know if there's something you'd like to talk about, but it's definitely something that's, you know, our community keeps asking about and is very interested in. So if you want to share something about your perspective on those things, on manifestation?
Yeah, yeah! Law of Attraction is one of those things that… it gets a bad rap sometimes because it can… sort of like quantum mechanics, like, it gets abused a little bit by people that are trying to make it something that isn't, you know? So I'm really passionate about teaching law of attraction as well on my Youtube channel. I have a ton of videos about it. And what I want to do for people is to show them that it's really a very simple thing.
"Manifesting and creating your reality is something that you're already amazing at and you've already been doing since the moment you were born."
Manifesting and creating your reality is something that you're already amazing at and you've already been doing since the moment you were born. it's not a woowoo thing, it's not a magical thing, it is the way the universe works. And in fact there is only one true law in the universe that governs all the laws. Every single physical law we know through science is a manifestation of the law of attraction. And that's because the universe is one. Right? Universe is one being , everything is interconnected and intimately dependent on everything
else. So when you just start to realize that that's how it works and you realize that whatever my vibratory state of consciousness is, is what the universe is going to give me. That's really all it is. So from there it's about cultivating, again, awareness around your thought activity and knowing that - what I think about is what I create. Right? So why don't I select my desired state of being, why don't I choose to see what I want to see?
And that's the hardest part about law of attraction for people, is because thoughts and feelings carry so much weight, so much significance for us. And so, you know, the ego is built for evolutionary survival, it's built to keep us going, and so, by its very nature, it is majority negative in orientation. Like 80 percent at least, I would say, of what the ego will say to us is gonna be something of a negative value.
And the reason for that is because, you know, from an evolutionary standpoint negative thoughts have much more benefit, much more risk, reward, value than positive thoughts. Just a super easy example is: imagine there's two sisters, you know, a hundred thousand years ago, picking cherries or whatever in a bush. Blueberries in a bush. And let's say, there's a Bengal tiger hiding behind the bush. Let's say, that one of these sisters is inherently negative in personality, she's very paranoid, very anxious all the time, very fearful. And then the other sister is very positive, blissed-out, very happy, at ease. Which one of those sisters is going to notice the tiger first? Obviously the negatively oriented sister. And then the positively oriented one is probably gonna get eaten. Right? So from a purely survival standpoint, getting you to doubt yourself and second-guess your environment constantly, is a much more valuable thing for evolution standpoint.
So understanding that makes it a lot easier to disregard the thoughts of your mind. Because the ego is a product of millions of years of evolution, so it doesn't know that there is no tiger, it doesn't know that there's no inherent danger in our environment. And so we don't actually need it anymore. So we're actually evolving out of it right now and so it's really just the ego that makes it difficult for us to manifest things because, again, we give it so much attention.
But when you come to that grokking recognition, that I am creating my reality, and every moment based on what I am focusing on, what I am most interested in, then you know it's of absolute importance, to focus on only what you want, right? Your intention is your interest. And so the universe is just gonna give you what it thinks you're most interested in. What you're intending to experience. So if you're, you know, wallowing in negativity all the time, from the universe's perspective that's an equally valid experience to have. It's not judging and going cold “whoo-hoo on you! You should want a positive experience, young man!” It doesn't do that. It goes “Cool! You want a depression? Here's more of it!” And it's gonna keep attracting more situations and people and everything that creates more depressing feelings, right?
And so you might be in the midst of a ton of fear and depression or anxiety right now. And at any moment you can choose to change your state of consciousness by choosing to select the thoughts, select the things in your imagination that make you feel good and seeing only what resonates at the exclusion of everything else. So becoming blind to your circumstances, becoming blind to what other people think about you, what you think they think about you, anything of a negative value, choosing to just ignore it and give it no more attention than is required in the moment. And constantly returning to what makes you feel good. And sort of following that breadcrumb trail of joy. And so in theory it's very simple, and practice a little more difficult. But once you start to build momentum on this path, of just choosing to focus on what makes you feel good, it becomes a natural thing. And you don't really have to put any energy into it. It's just a natural reflex, where a thought appears in your mind that doesn't feel good, you go: “oh thank you that's not for me” and then the thought appears that makes you feel good, that reinforces who you see yourself as your preferred state of being and you say: “ah yes! I like that. I'm gonna hang on to that.”
And from there it just sort of happens automatically. And so, that's kind of how I teach and see the law of attraction. Is it really just needs to become a normal state of being for us.
Jofy: Yeah, for sure! Otherwise it can be a very big distraction.
Aaron: Definitely, yeah, yeah.
Jofy: Yeah, perfect. And would you like to recommend some books, I don't know, some Youtube channels, something that you like?
Aaron: For sure, yeah. I can never recommend Eckhart enough. The book for me that was my favorite of his was “A New Earth”. But the “Power Of Now” is another you can't go wrong with either of those.
And if you're into law of attraction and interested in learning more about it, for me Abraham-Hicks is probably number one. And then another person I love is Bentinho Massaro - big influence of mine. And Abraham Hicks has a ton of books out. She has a book called “The Law Of Attraction”. You can get that on audible as well. And that's a really great place to start and from there you can start really kind of getting those basics hammered down and start putting things into practice, you know.
Jofy: Awesome! And tell us a little bit about the work that you're doing? Everything!
Aaron: Yeah yeah.
So I pretty much do most of my work on YouTube. I was doing a lot of posting on Instagram up until a few three or four months ago when they kind of like scuttled their platform with the new algorithm. So I kind of, like, you know, I wasn't seeing any real benefit from Instagram anymore, in terms of my engagement. So I'm pretty much on YouTube only now and I post one to two videos a week. My Youtube channel is www.youtube.com/christconsciousness
And yeah, I have a couple of whole playlists worth of Law of Attraction Videos. I have a playlist of the science of the mind, astral projection, meditation, all kinds of cool stuff. So you can check it all out there.
Jofy: Yeah, Christ consciousness. That's the real thing. It's cool because you were connected to the religion that was supposed to be teaching that. But not the real embodiment of that truth, right? And now you're doing it with your channel.
Aaron: Yeah. Yeah, it was cool to kind of come full circle with with Jesus because I grew up Christian and everything, and I always knew Jesus was the thing, like, he got it, whatever it is. But I didn't really understand most of what he taught as the Christian. Like most Christians don't. And so it really wasn't until I got into the eastern mysticism, Eastern spirituality, Buddhism and stuff just open Jesus up to me in a whole new way. And I all the sudden completely understood so many of the things that I grew up learning, that didn't make sense to me. So I really became even more passionate about Jesus after I left Christianity.
Jofy: Awesome. Any other practice that you would like to share? Like some specific kind of, I don't know, meditation, movement? You're a personal trainer so maybe… Do you know about any active meditation or anything like that?
Aaron: That's a good question. I feel like I meditate just all the time, you know? No matter what I'm doing. I like to take hikes for sure because nature really brings that stillness out in us. But for me, it's, you know, meditation is absolutely essential. It's not that I feel like I I need to do it or I'm dependent on it. It's just that I crave it and I want to do it because I've seen the benefits that's it's given me.
And so, you know, I haven't missed a day for at least a year now. You know, minimum of 30 minutes, sometimes 90 minutes, two hours. And for me it's very simple: I just sort of sit in
silence when I'm listening to music, like a meditation music, or binaural beats, or whatever. And I like to have like the sound of water, or rain, or something like that, and I just focus on
the sound of the water or the rain with as much concentration power as I can. And you know, thoughts come in, they try to drag you away, and as many times as that happens - just bring your attention back to the water, the sound of the water.
And I found that that's a much more user-friendly form of meditation than, even, like, using a mantra is. For me mantras have never worked super well, tends to just lead to me thinking about stuff. So having like a sort of clear sound you can lock your attention onto, has been super beneficial for me.
And it's builds up this sort of strength of concentration to where like, you know... when you first start meditating, you know... If you imagine your concentration like a laser - your concentration is kind of like a laser pointer or just a tiny little dot, you don't have very much ability to, like, cut through the mind. But as you cultivate this practice of meditation you become like Cyclops from x-men or something. And you know that laser is just like gigantic and you can really cut through the bullsh*t of the mind at any moment.
And when you're at work with friends in a tense situation or anything of that nature, that concentration power becomes detrimental to your success in any situation you find yourself in. Because if you can't cut through the mind like that, then whatever triggers coming up, whatever response wants to come up, just drag you away so quickly, but in that moment if you have that ability to stay present and concentrate and just be able to cut through the noise that the mind is making in that moment, to see what the most intelligent response is, what the most loving compassionate response is.
That happens, just like I said, automatically, without having to think or put any effort into it, because you've cultivated so much of that concentration power through meditation. And it's just as simple as focusing on the sound of water or rain for 30 minutes a day. It seems like an insignificant thing but it really ends up being the most significant thing.
Jofy: Yeah, that's beautiful! Yeah, absolutely.
Aaron, we're actually coming up on the end of our time. Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to share?
Aaron: Other than just thank you for having me it's been a real pleasure, no man!
Thank you, man! Thank you so much!
Aaron: Awesome! I appreciate it.
Jofy: So yeah, thank you guys all for watching, we'll see you on the next one!