4 Ways to Achieve Satori

“Like they say in Zen, when you attain Satori, nothing is left for you in that moment than to have a good laugh.” ~ Alan Watts

Satori is when a speck of dust realizes it is a star.

Satori is a Japanese Buddhist term for awakening, or a deep comprehension and understanding of one’s place in the universe. It is derived from the Japanese verb satoru: “to know” or “understand.” In Zen Buddhism, satori refers to a deep experience of kenshō: “seeing into one’s true nature.”

It’s a peak experience, a profound spiritual epiphany, a Meta-catharsis. It’s a moment of total presence, a flash of insight and awakening that jolts the soul awake. More importantly, it’s a serene tranquility, an unconquerable calm, that comes from realizing, finally, that all is one and therefore all is well.

Some call it sudden enlightenment. Some call it No-mind. Some call it nirvana. Some call it satori. Either way, it abruptly cuts the uninitiated ego out of the equation and then sneaks in the initiated ego, which utilizes Soul as a tool to leverage a heightened state of awareness. From this heightened state comes the deep interdependent realization that everything is connected to everything else.

Here are four ways to achieve satori…

1.) Square the circle:

“God is an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Seek the center. As Black Elk echoed, “The center is everywhere.” The center is here. The center is there. The center is thence. The center is whence. The center is me. The center is you. We are the walking, talking, meditating squares at the center of an eternal circle. We are finite, yet the circle is infinite. We wreck our mortality against its immortality, but in the wreckage we are complete. 

What are you? You are the thing that transforms itself. You are that which creates itself into further existence. Thus, you are metamorphosis in action. You are both self-creating and self-overcoming. You are story-weaver, myth-mender, center-mover, death-bender. 

As George Bernard Shaw said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

Your imagination is your greatest superpower. When you couple this superpower with your understanding of “the center” you go from caterpillar to butterfly. You go from being a moth to being Fire. You go from dead ashes to reborn Phoenix. You go from nihilistically asleep to existentially awake. In short: this mighty coupling sparks the fire of satori.

You become Transcendiary (adj): Transcendent and incendiary in pursuit of elusive enlightenment.

The center is everywhere. You are a mortal square that doesn’t realize that it’s a part of the immortal circle. Before this realization you were merely God asleep. After this realization, you become God awake.

2.) Die to everything of yesterday:

“Die to everything of yesterday so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigor and passion.” ~ Krishnamurti

Be flexible. Be adaptable. Be teachable. You are the student. Infinity is the teacher. Bow at the feet of infinity and Knight thyself with eternal wisdom. When you bow to infinity, you surrender what you think you know to what could be known.

Unlearn what you have learned. As Lao Tzu said, “To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”

Don’t sacrifice what you could think for what you currently believe. Which means, if you have to choose between transforming your perception of reality in a healthier more expansive way or maintaining your current position then it’s almost always better to transform it in a healthier more expansive way.

Don’t get hung-up on beliefs. Allow yourself to shake off the things that you might be pathologically attached to — habits, people, outdated ways of thinking. The magic of rebirth cannot manifest itself otherwise. Shake them off. Shed the old skin. Burn the dross. And watch, soul-shocked, as satori slips in and brings it all together through an interconnected sense of self.

3.) Surrender to Flow:

“Anxiety is thought without control. Flow is control without thought.” ~ James Clear

Find something that you love so much that you have no choice but to lose yourself in the moment. Complete surrender to a challenging yet enjoyable task is the secret decoder ring that reveals the hidden door to satori. 

A flow state inverts the world. And once you’ve inverted the world, you awaken the creative warrior within. The world opens wide. Self-mastery becomes a possibility because it reveals how the self must be transcended for sacred alignment to occur. 

With your “Self” out of the way, you are able to get out of your own way and satori reveals itself in all its non-attached splendor. You gain the power to steal fire from the gods. Catharsis becomes the lifeblood of your art.

Through your radical detachment from “Self” you maintain your connection to the Truth Quest. You become the process of Truth unfolding. Your art becomes a manifestation of aesthetic arrest. 

By never settling at any point along the process and just allowing each point to unfold in an interconnected flow state, you see how the journey is the thing, not the destination. You see how non-attachment is the thing, not attachment. You see how the Truth Quest is the thing, not the “truth.”

The flow state is “God awake” in action. It’s a mirror that reflects the center onto all things. From this center, you overflow, a mighty fountainhead. 

From this center you can finally relax into No-mind and Wu-Wei. You can finally learn how not to take yourself too seriously. You can finally get a grip on being-in-itself and being-for-itself because you’ve embraced the greater power of being-in-fate. You are free to be in Flow with your own destiny.

4.) Fall in love with fate:

“There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.” ~ Michel de Montaigne

When you fall in love with fate, you fall in love with “being in love.” Indeed, you fall in love with “Being Love.” It’s a recipe of courage, forgiveness, appreciation, gratefulness, steadfastness, honor, humility, and humor. The finished product of which is the magic elixir of Satori. And there is nothing more powerful.

Satori teaches you how to become paradoxical: Defeated yet defiant. Conquered yet transcendent. Interdependent yet non-attached. Dying yet more alive. Fated to become nothing, yet loving fate enough to create something.

As the Vedanta states, “Undifferentiated consciousness, when differentiated, becomes the world.”

When you face your mortality with amor fati—that is to say: with dignity and honor, with humor and honesty, with radical forgiveness and unwavering gratefulness, with love and appreciation—you discover the ability to adapt and overcome all things. 

Your ego becomes baptized by Soul. You learn to see with “Over Eyes.” You learn to feel with the Overman’s Oversoul. You get outside of time, shot into the stratosphere, walking the bridge between Everywhere and Nowhere. 

You transcend egocentric codependence through soul-centric interdependence. You see how everything is transitory. How all things are fleeting. How the be-all-end-all is always beginning and always ending. You see the absurdity of it all for what it is, and you say, “Okay, bring it on. I will become sharper for it.” 

Tragedy is an opportunity not an obstacle. Dark circumstances are a secret doorway to hidden light. Hardship, resistance, tragedy, defeat, these are fuel for the fearless. These are whetstones for spiritual warriors. These are the steppingstones of the gods. 

As Pema Chodron said, “Only to the extent that we can expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.”

Please share, it really helps! :) <3

Gary Z McGee
Gary Z McGee
Gary 'Z' McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.

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