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Definitions of Terms

Radical happiness is the happiness that exists at our core and doesn’t come and go with circumstances. The opportunity to realize this happiness exists in every moment—for anyone—when we are simply present in the moment. It is the happiness that comes from awakening to the truth of who we really are and living in the world as a unique expression of that.

The Now is defined most simply as the present moment. Of course, the present moment is all that exists, since the past and future are simply thoughts about the past and the future. But because we are programmed to pay attention to our thoughts, we often fail to notice what is actually going on now. Most people live in a mental world. When we drop out of this mental world into the Now, we experience a depth, a richness, and a joy and peace that feel sacred. This is the experience of our true self, or Essence. So, when we talk about being in the Now, we are also talking about this experience of Essence.

The false self is the idea of who we are (not who we really are), which is created by thoughts about ourselves: "I am fat, tall, a father, a hard worker, a musician, not good enough." These thoughts create a sense of being somebody separate and distinct from others.

The ego is the sense of being a separate self and is therefore behind the thoughts that make up the false self. The ego is a primitive aspect of human beings that is related to survival. It creates an ongoing sense of lack and limitation, of "not enough," and it is driven by fear. We need some remnant of ego to function in the world, but we don't need the egoic mind (see below). The ego has nothing to do with the personality, which remains even after enlightenment. The personality is the imprinting that makes us a unique individual and which serves our life purpose. Identification with the ego limits the positive expression of our personality and causes us to express our personality in negative ways.

The egoic mind, also called the thought-stream, is the aspect of the mind that reflects and is driven by the ego. It is the voice in our head that chats with us and chatters on. It is the ongoing mental commentary that we think of as our thoughts. The egoic mind is different from the functional or practical aspect of the mind (our intellect), which we use to read, learn, calculate, analyze, and so forth. The functional mind doesn't speak to us but is a tool we use when engaged in tasks that require us to think.

Conditioning is comprised of beliefs, opinions, judgments, “shoulds,” and any number of other ideas that belong to our psychological makeup, most of which we acquired from other people, particularly from those who raised us, from our culture, and from what we have experienced and concluded about life. This conditioning affects what we like and don't like and how we see and react to the world, and we often respond unconsciously to it without realizing we have a choice. Our conditioning belongs to the false self. Some of our conditioning is helpful and some isn’t. The thoughts in our egoic mind reflect our conditioning.

Essence is who we really are, the divine Self that is living this life through us. It is our essential goodness. We are actually spiritual beings playing at being human beings.

Spiritual awakening refers to the shift from identification with the ego, or false self, to the recognition of yourself as Consciousness. This shift happens whenever we are simply in the moment without all of our thoughts. However, generally "awakening" implies a more permanent shift to living from a place of non-identification with the ego and alignment with our true nature.
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