Saturday, April 23, 2016

Painted Objects

When you look at a beautiful painting, what do you see? Objects mostly; the the images the painting depicts. Perhaps you notice the colors first, enamored with the colors. But the colors are objects too, because we have named them.

Step back and the painting is an object as well. It is framed in wood and stands out from the environment. The surface is flat and it lays well against the wall. And the wall is an object, part of the house, or the museum. The wall is wood too.

All the objects in the painting are one thing: paint. Although there are many colors, carefully mixed by the artist, all the colors are a paste with color and oil. One base. And the white gesso cloth is one piece. You get the idea. All the objects in the painting are essentially paint. The colors are all reflected light. The painting itself is condensed light.

The frame is wood, the wall is wood. With all the labels gone, and looking past the apparent separation of everything we have named, all is One. That which is seen and that which is seeing, are One. There is not one separate thing in the universe.

Awareness is the base of all things seen and unseen. It is that which we appropriate via our body and call "I." Awareness through one body says "I am Jane," through another body Awareness says "I am John." Both John and Jane have borrowed Awareness.

Awareness is subtle because it is behind us. We are so enamored with what we see, think, and feel, that we forget who is looking. Awareness is looking. As Meister Eckhart  said, "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me." You are not who you think you are unless you know you are That. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Ephemerel Person

A few weeks ago I saw a video of myself some fifteen years ago. I was conscious of the fact that I had no identification whatsoever with the image on the screen. I was not entirely surprised because I had been contemplating many years on the insubstantial actuality of the person. This viewing was an unasked for confirmation that I no longer identified with the body mind. I did not identify in the least with the person on the screen, nor with the apparent person watching the video. 

I was conscious of the fact that I no longer had the same ideas or beliefs as the person in the video. Nor did I believe that the person watching the video would be the same person a week from today. It was similar to my feeling that my children were not mine, but belonged to life. 

If was fitting that in the video I was giving a talk at my father's memorial service. The main thrust of my talk was that my father tried to make me in his own image, but that I, and my brothers and sisters belonged to life, and not to him. 

My Father was an authoritarian, and his religion was authoritarian. He loved us through that prism. But the effect was not loving. He failed to know that we belonged to ourselves and to a higher power of our own understanding. 

I know for certain that this body-mind is an ephemeral thing, impermanent. It came and it will go, as all of us do. Our extinction is not a thought we love, since it places us on shaky ground. We all have a sneaky suspicion that we should be eternal. Where does this suspicion come from? Is there some missing truth? 

We have a nagging question, as the song says, "Is this all there is? Something knows there is more to the story than the story. What is That? 

That is what the non dual sages of ancient India revealed in their Advaita Vedanta. It is what the Christian mystics saw in their revelations. Meister Eckart, a Christian mystic said,  'The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing."

In ancient India the sages taught in the forest, and they taught only the qualified. They were wary of the public that would not understand and cause them trouble. Christian mystics were burned at the stake, and Meister Eckart was tried as a heretic by Pope John XXII and died before the verdict. 

Today, non duality is taught in the open. We are lucky to be alive in this day and age where this is so. If you find your way to this teaching and come to this understanding, you realize that our desire for eternal life is not unfounded. 

However, as the sages say, "Die before you die." This refers to seeing the person as an appearance, an aspect of something greater. That greater being is what we are, and That does not come and go.  

Saturday, April 9, 2016

This Is Beyond Freedom

There can only be freedom where there is bondage. This dichotomy shows duality, the sense of separation. Freedom here, bondage there. In truth there is neither bondage nor freedom. That which we are, the Absolute, is prior to freedom or bondage. Therefore there is no question of freedom or bondage. Only This.

The acceptance of This. The Knowing that you are the Absolute, lets the appearance of the person be what he is, without the tension of bondage versus freedom. The question of freedom does not concern the Absolute. For  that One, there is nothing to be free from. The idea of bondage cannot even arise.

If you are stuck on having free will, then this is a blockage that will prevent you from seeing the truth. This insistence on having free will is a sure sign of ego. For it is only the ego that will be insistent on this value.

Can you come to the point where Truth is more important than having free will? If so, then you are open enough to see the Truth. For it is only when you give up the separate self, invested as it is in free will, that you can know you are That.

Jesus said "The truth will set you free." But there is no free will in the Truth. The truth is you are That. That is not a separate personal self. That is the ground of being, the Absolute, the One, the Source, pure Awareness, where no separate self exists. That is the truth that sets you free. Free of any concern regarding freedom or bondage.

Upon realization you know that you were never bound and never needed freedom. The dichotomy of freedom versus bondage only existed as long as you thought you were a separate self. When appearance that you thought you were is seen through, the separate self disappears. Then you are the light. You know you always exist prior to bondage or freedom.  

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Spntaneous Love

A person is a set of positions and events apparently in time. Positions and events change. A person is then not what he was. When the mind knows this, the person is seen to be unsubstantial; not really a thing.  Only that which is the essence of things can be said to be. That is the Absolute.

Jesus said, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." He might as well have said, "You and I appear to be here, but in actuality, you and I are That. That formless essence is every form that is, material and immaterial. From That formless comes all, and into That all form, named and unnamed goes."

When this is known down to the core of the person, everything becomes spontaneous, as the person realizes he is not the doer. The personal will dissolves and love takes its place, as everything is That which you are. 

The Afterlife

Someone died and reported there was nothing but blackness. Like deep sleep. 

Who was there to report the blackness? Wouldn't it be the same person who would report an afterlife if the experience were different? If you really look deeply, the one thing you can't deny is that you exist. Since that is a basic truth, you then have to ask, "What is existence?" When you examine that, the only conclusion is that you are "Consciousness". That is why the sages say, "All is Awareness/Consciousness." 

The Absolute is not a thing, but all things come from That. The Absolute is no thing in particular, but it is all things in existence. I would describe awareness as a blank screen upon which characters come and go, such as you and me. We are focal points in Awareness. Once embodied you and I play out our experiences on that screen. 
If there is no thing after death, at least we are still That. Since That is what we are, the only thing we can do is Trust That. 

Is there is an afterlife as a person, a spirit, with past lives? It seems that if we can exist now as persons, the Absolute could certainly have us exist in different forms after death. The personality could still be there, but not in its current form. Why not? They say after enlightenment we don't reincarnate. But we are still That.

 What about people who go out of body at will? There are many records of that. For example, a neurosurgeon who died and was revived, who was an atheist before, but not after the NDE. Just the fact that there are so many NDEs points to something. 

In Sanskrit they say, Sat, chit, ananda (existence, consciousness, peace). If you know you are That, you can handle anything. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Awake or Dreaming?

I have known for a long time that I have no will of my own. Whatever will I have is God's will, whether it appears to be good or. Bad. This is why Jesus continually counseled to "Not judge."

Once you acknowledge that you did not create yourself (your body, your mind) you can no longer maintain that you make choices. Even if for many years you struggled to make a choices, and it seemed like you decided, you only decided based on the genes you were born with, the experiences you  had, and concepts and beliefs you picked up or developed. Can you see that even though you may feel that you've made choices, they were not your own.

Of course, to accept this is to know that you have never had any free will. This is a hard pill to swallow. No matter how much may feel that you have personal will, objective analysis will, if can stand it, provide clear knowledge that you never made a personal decision in your life. That which created everything, including you, set the ground rules that determined how you would decide.

That which is the source, the creator of everything, set this up. The appearance of you is no difference than the characters you dream at night. Do any of your dream characters make their own decisions? Do they have freedom of choice? We can admit that the characters in the dream may struggle to make a decision, but whatever they decide is a product of the dreamer, the mind that you take to be you.

So the dreamed characters are you, your mind playing out it's issues, creating the characters and situations. Are waking life seems more real as we wake up and say, wow, I dreamed I was in such and such a situation, and it was pleasant or unpleasant. But how real was it upon awakening?

It the same when the personal mind wakes up to its actual situation. It is a dreamed character! It is no more real that the characters in a dream. That is why enlightenment is called waking up, or realization. That which you took to be yourself, a decider, a doer is seen through. When the appearance known as you is seen through, you wake up to reality.

The reality you wake up to is not personal. When you realize that you are character in a dream, you are That which created the dream. That which sees the character cannot be named, cannot be described, and yet, you can be nothing other than That. When the sages say, "You are That," that is what they mean.

So, are you awake? Or are you still caught in the dream?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Understanding Is Not An Experience

Understanding (realization) is not a state. States can come and go. Understanding doesn't come and go. When you know everyone calls you by a certain name, is it affected by what state you are in? When you know you know. It doesn't come and go.

It follows that understanding (realization) is not an experience. Experiences come and go. Realization is just That. Suddenly you know you are That. It is clear. From then on unavoidable. It is so much the reality, that one need make no effort to sustain it. It is not something that can be lost. It is the one and only reality that always was, just not recognized.

There is no trying to remember it, or keep it. Everything is what it is, as it is, without effort. It doesn't come and go because it never left. It was always right here, right now, ever present, and just needed to be recognized. You can't escape it. You just didn't realize what you really were. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Do You Have Two Hands?

If you look at your right hand and your left hand you see two separate hands. But neither hand is really separate from the body. They are one with it. If we did not have the concept of right and left, would there still be two separate hands? If you still want to say "Yes, there are two hands," then I say, what if you didn't have the concept of two? Could there possibly be two hands?

You see, it is the mind that breaks all this one thing into parts. Language is just a labeling function that divides everything up. All this dividing is useful, but false. No division is real. The appearance of many things are just facets of perception. Nothing has ever been separate in any way. It just appears that way.

Man creates a web of concepts and imprisons himself in them. As Jesus said, "They know not what they do." Drop your labels, drop the concepts and the prison doors will open. Non-dual means not two. There are not two things. There is only what is, whole and complete, and you are That. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Let Go and Let God

In stillness there is beauty, wisdom, and the answer. That's what happens when you let go and let god.  Anonymous

I've heard a lot of people proclaim this quote. It's a good one. I suspect this quote comes to mind when someone is broken and they have no other option. This is a rather tragic way to come to this conclusion, and I suspect it is quite common. I took the long haul, piece by piece. Not the best route, but that's the way it was for this appearance.

Some of us have pretty strong egos and instead of having some grand collapse, we resist and resist and decompose in small pieces. I was one of this type. I do remember a period of time in my late twenties when I felt like I was dying over several months. This was not a physical death, but the death of the ego. Interestingly, I was probably still resisting, and in actual fact, the death was letting go a small miserable ego, into a more expansive one. A more inclusive one. Still, this was change. It was disruption.

I recall that during this time and later I would search out books. But I was very proscribed in what I chose. I would always chose a book that was very much in line with my current thinking, but just enough further out than where I was to challenge me. This process went on for a long time before I became conscious of what I was doing. Once I became conscious of what I was doing, I thought to myself, "Why don't I just abandon all of my positions and save myself a lot of reading time?"

Toward the end of this phase I saw in the bookstore a small book entitled, "You Are the World. It was a book by J. Krishnamurti. I had never heard of this author, and the cover was just a black and white photo of an old man with white hair. But I loved his face. It was wise and androgynous. I picked it up, read a little bit, bought it and brought it home.

I began reading and was totally enthralled. I knew at the bottom of my heart that I would love to be in the space he must be in to write what he wrote. I could sense the space, but I had nothing to compare it to. I had nothing to grasp it with. It was a book of his talks, and I was captivated.

Since I couldn't put the book down I kept reading. My wife and kids had gone to bed and I was still reading. About half way through tears started running down my eyes. Then a much deeper crying started. I didn't want to wake anyone up, or upset the kids, so I went into the bathroom at the other end of the house. I closed the door, curled up in a corner and cried my heart out.

It was a very strange and profound effect. One of the major feelings I was having, was one of forgiveness. I felt utterly forgiven. Can't to this day tell you what it was in the book that elicited such a response, but effect was explicit. I went on to read everything J. Krishnamurti ever wrote.

This was the opening into the world of the unknown. In fact, one of J. Krishnamurti's most famous titles was "Freedom From the Known." It was along the lines of Jesus saying, "No one puts new wine into old wine skins. Otherwise, the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. But they put new wine into fresh wine skins, and both are preserved."

J. Krishnamurti was a major catalyst to the emptying of my mind. But, it would be many years of emptying because I had a lot of beliefs and concepts that would need to be dismantled. I joined a Gestalt group and worked on exposing everything I had bottled up inside. Meanwhile, I kept reading.

All this boils down to winnowing out what had been put in by society, my religion, and my own conclusions that were made with poor context, and therefore erroneous. I did not throw out my mind. I just emptied it. I needed to find the truth, and the truth couldn't come into an already full vessel. I have always had a strong mind and it needed to work to come to the point where it could see its limitations. Ramana Maharshi explained it this way. "You use a thorn to remove a thorn and then you throw both away. There is the way of the heart, but with a strong mind, Jnana yoga was more profitable for me.

It took many years to dismantle what I had stored up. Persistence did pay off. In the end there was nothing left but that which is beyond freedom, ineffable, unlimited, unbound, The Absolute.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Perfection of Clarity

Perfection is all around. It is unavoidable. Why? Because all is That. There is no other, so what could be wrong with anything? If one is in this position, then there is compassion for all. Essentially, you can't argue with That. Surrender is the only option. Understanding that all actions are That, what other option do you have? Our judgments can't stand up to That. Reality is bigger than the little self.

The significant fact of enlightenment is understanding. Why, because enlightenment is not a state. A state can come and go. True understanding cannot be undone once it is seen. An example that comes to mind is 2 + 2 = 4. You have to learn something to know this, but once you know it, it lasts forever. 2 + 2 = 4 doesn't suddenly become 2 + 2 = 5.

When the understanding comes, there may be an immediate and great change. Perhaps, even an unraveling of your life as you know it. However, if one has been a seeker for many years and done a lot of contemplation, much of the possible changes have likely occurred. That is the reason that for some, it's just a matter of "Oh, I see. I finally see. I understand."

For this appearance, there were no bells or whistles, no grand excitement upon realization. It was as if I knew the understanding would come. There was an intuition that it was close. I didn't know when it would come because I was not the author of the search. I was the vehicle. The understanding was just out of reach until it wasn't. Suddenly it was there. It was simply a denouement, a culmination. Suddenly the understanding was there.

For many years I had lost motivation. Didn't feel like there was much of a self. Certainly not a self that had goals or ambitions. I didn't compete, except in a manner of doing my best to contribute at work. I had many ecstatic experiences, but they came and went. And, as with many others, I thought that was enlightenment. But again, experiences don't necessarily equate to understanding. They are a state. And states come and go.

My only desire for forty years was to know the Truth. I knew I had done my homework. There wasn't much more that I could do. The search didn't seem like a curse any more. Though in my early years it had. It was a curse because I couldn't stop the search. It was as if a program was running that wouldn't stop without finding. I didn't know it was That looking for Itself.

Of course, the seeker is the sought. But you only realize this at the end, when realization happens. I had heard "The seeker is the sought" a thousand times. But it didn't make sense. "The observer is the observed," was another expression of That fact. You might say I was first cursed by the search, and then surrendered to the search. The search was a given, programed into this appearance. Surrender was the only option.

There was the fact that I was getting to the age where I knew I could die without the understanding. But there was also peace because I knew that whether I was enlightened or not, I was That. But the understanding I had seemed intellectual, not fact. There was something more that was needed, but I had no clue what it was. Simply reading Robert Wolfe's "Living Nonduality" brought the clarity that was the "Aha."

For realization, it seems that it is a matter of conviction. Feeling like the understanding is just intellectual just means that the understanding has not gone deep enough. It hasn't yet hit the core of the self. You might say that after forty years of contemplation, the momentum had it's own trajectory, and reading a book with clarity on the subject finally struck home. Clarity finally ca,e amd went deep. The understanding just slipped through on soft slippers as gently as a breeze.

In this appearance, forty years was necessary because that's the way it happened. It couldn't have been any other way because that's the way it happened. The Absolute is in charge. Not a me. So when teachers say, earnestness is all, they mean it. And when you realize, you know that if the understanding had never come, that too would have been perfect, and ultimately, of no consequence.

Realization or enlightenment is for the appearance, the mind of the self. And yet it is completely paradoxical that on realization, the understanding is that you are not the self, but the Self, the Absolute, the ineffable, the only One that is. The appearance, the self, appears to realize, but it is the Self that just recognizes Itself.

The joy in the understanding is that all that the teachers said that didn't make sense, suddenly does. All the contradictory mumbo jumbo becomes clear. The sun comes out and everything is seen. The search is over. It's so simple it's embarrassing.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Enjoying Realization

Things get very enjoyable once you've realized. Why? Because once you know that everything is ultimately OK, you can just relax into doing what you do, whatever you are doing. Everything becomes fun, enjoyable. In a sense, it doesn't matter what you are doing. Even work. Why? Because all activities are ultimately equal.

Why are all activies equal? Because there is ultimately no good or bad. Nothing is really happening. That is doing what That is doing. Free will for the appearance? No way, and it doesn't matter. Free will can't come into the picture because That, not having ever been bound, knows nothing of freedom. Essentially freedom doesn't enter the picture.

Yesterday and today I took apart my espresso maker. I descaled it and took it apart to clean inside. Difficulties, yes, took me two days.  Yesterday I couldn't get some of the parts off. Today I was successful, even found a duplicate screw in my garage. Two days on an espresso maker? Yes,but not frustraing. All fun. If I hadn't fixed it, or broken the machine, I would just revert to making drip coffee until I could buy a new one.

It is wonderful to know that although there are still preferences, doing what I need to do is just That doing what It needs to do as this appearance. This appearance didn't go away, it still has it's needs, but knowing That is doing all the doing gives space to any doing. Can't really go wrong. That's the experience now.

Any idea of saving or fixing the world is gone. Whatever happens is OK. What happens had to happen, and what doesn't happen is perfectly OK. Very radical from the former viewpoint where everything mattered. But this is a much better view. Think I'll go make some espresso. 

Knowing Is All

I finished "Living Noduality." It was wonderful to read as it took me Home. I can't thank you enough. Seems as if 99% of the understanding was here, but there was this residual belief that, "Surely I can't get it. Who am I to think it could happen to me?" Just a doubt. But that doubt kept a veil of separation, just enough to leave me with some, still lingering, sense of not fully knowing. Your book really did bring the "understanding" home.

The sense of there being no me was already here. Knowing that nothing ultimately matters was here. But, I think I was still, at least unconsciously, thinking there had to be some big, mind blowing experience that would let me know I had arrived. But that wasn't that way it turned out for me. I just knew that I knew, felt a deep satisfaction, and went to bed.

Over the years I have had many mind blowing experiences. A heart chakra opening that put me in the hospital overnight. Of course the doctors couldn't figure out what had happened to me. Short description: Walking with my wife, a huge amount of electrical, prickly sensations started moving down my shoulders to my fingers and I kept asking my wife, "What is this."Then I had an overwhelming tiredness come over me, and I had an internal voice saying, "If you take another steep, you're dead." It was a very powerful internal voice.

Then I collapsed next to a telephone pole on the ground. An overwhelming experience of expansion took over. It was like someone had put a super high pressure hose into my center and was blowing me up like a balloon. My body felt like it was exploding and expanding into the universe. I was certain that I was dying. I gave up.

There were other experiences of absolute bliss where I was not. I could not stay there as there was no me there. As the experience left there were these words, "You are always surrounded by Absolute beauty, always were, and always will be, whether you are aware of it or not."

But that is NOT enlightenment. I had studied Nisargadatta and he repeatedly said, "Understanding is All." James Swartz has some books out, and he also stresses that enlightenment is an understanding. I knew that to be true, but it escaped me. I didn't feel that I needed all the rest of the Advaita Vedanta that Swartz taught. I was looking for something simpler.

Then I read your "Living Nonduality." As I told you, I had read everything J. Krishnamurit wrote, years ago. And I got a sense of the presence from his words. Very mind blowing, but the final understanding did not come home then. "Living Originally" gave me the same sense of presence I had when reading Krishnamurti. It's a sense of the space from which the words come. Not the human author.

I felt the profundity of the words In "Living Noduality." I had the sense that in this book you were writing to yourself, clarifying the understanding you had arrived at. The writing was very clear. It was like a sense of coming home, coming home to the understanding. It's like the completion of something that was vaguely known. Like coming to the end of a sentence and placing the period.

Swartz reinforced the point of coming to the "Understanding." It seems that "Living Originally" gave me permission to stop looking for some particular experience, something special. After all, don't the teachers say it's ordinary. Anyhow, the simplicity of it was brought home. All is That. There is nothing outside of That.

Your call to me, although very short. was confirmation, as you said, there is nowhere to go, the presence is here now. It's not in the future. So, I'm really just writing to you, out of gratitude. The understanding was suddenly just there. I didn't need to have any experience. No particular experience of any kind required. Many teachers I found unhelpful. I didn't doubt their knowing, they just weren't helpful.

What is there to do or know when you are That? Whether you realize it or not, no difference in the big picture. Yet, the satisfaction of knowing is better than not for this appearance.

I am sure there will be many questions of curiosity that will arise, and further unfolding, but there is deep satisfaction here. Remaining questions will all be answered in the knowing "I am That." The implications of the knowing "I am That," will unravel whatever concepts and beliefs are still hanging around, but their days are numbered. Thanks again for your books. The clarity came through for me.

Again, I thank you for writing so honestly and clearly that the knowing came home to roost here.

Robert Wolfe's book is free on his home page at

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Understanding Is All

When you know --- you know that you know. Why is That? Because it is so simple! When you know that you are That, it is a realization, an understanding. Understanding brings clarity. The understanding is so obvious! How could you doubt it when it is so simple?

When you see that the understanding, the realization, answers all your questions. The search is over. When that happens, you feel a big relaxation and go on doing and being what you are, what you always were, even when you didn't know it.

The simple fact is, you are That, and not a person. There is an apparent person here that apparently understood something. But the understanding is that you are not a person, you are only That appearing as a person. It makes sense.

It becomes obvious and self proving, especially when you read the enlightened masters and you understand what they are saying. It's so obvious. What used to seem paradoxical, quixotic, now makes perfect and obvious sense. Clarity at last! You didn't change, you just realized something that you didn't realize before.

And then you can just be amazed that all that reading, all those years of contemplation were needed until the simple understanding behind all the words is taken in to your very core and acknowledged. Once you admit to the truth of it, and see beyond your little self. Then the understanding takes root.

The understanding is: You are That. All that is, is That. The observer is the observed. The Absolute is everywhere present, undisturbed, unlimited, unavoidable, and you are that. 

All Questions Answered

I see that realization does answer all questions. Why is the sky blue? Because of That! Why is the grass green? Because of That! Why is water wet? Because of That. What more needs be said?

Maybe a little more explanation would help. OK. Here we go. Why is nothing happening? Because there is nothing but That. That being eternal, omnipresent, and the only essence there is, doesn't change. If That doesn't change, nothing is really happening.

Why don't I have to change myself or the world? Because no matter what happens, no matter what I change, in the end, what remains is only That. I am That.

The first cause and the last cause is That. So what is there left to do? Nothing. Might as well sit back and enjoy myself. Whatever happens, That is That. That's all there is. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Only That

You could say that I searched for nonduality for many years. But, after arrival one does not claim to have searched at all! He who searched has left town, never to be seen again. Who was the doer? That!

I am not the doer. You are not the doer. That is the doer. All one doer, not two doers, as in a me or a you. "The sinner and the saint are just exhanging notes" to quote Nisargadatta. Where is good and bad when there is only That? 

Some have called nondual awareness impersonal. But in fact, when there is only you, nothing but intimacy remains. When there is only all that is as you and me, everything is intimate. Nothing could create more intimacy. When the "observer is the observed", as Krishnamurti says, where is the distance? 

Where is the harm when no one is doing anything to you, nor you to them? What opinion can you have about what is going on? Everything is allowed. There are no winners or loosers. Only That. Only That, being what it is. Loving what is. No one to save. Only That.  

Sunday, December 27, 2015

No Worries

There is no need to struggle to be somebody.
You are not a body. You are not a mind.
You are that which is beyond the body and mind.
Beyond anything you experience.

The struggle was over before you were born.
Because you never were born.
You were there. Watching the birth.
Without expectations

You were and are always well. Just watching.
The myriad forms are just dancing.
Being here. Being there.
Then gone.

Nothing to worry about. Nothing to capture.
Nothing is really happening.
So just enjoy.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Enlightenment is Knowledge

Are you your thoughts, feelings, actions? No. You are that which experiences those objects. That which experiences the varieties of the body-mind is the essential subject, and that subject is beyond those things. The subject is awareness. Realizing that you are the subject, awareness, is enlightenment.

Enlightenment may seem personal as it frees the body-mind from identification with the body-mind. But, enlightenment is not ultimately personal, as awareness is impersonal. We all take our existence via awareness without ever realizing it. Waking up, or realization, adds nothing to awareness, but it frees us from the body-mind. Enlightenment is simply the knowledge that we are awareness, and not the body-mind we mistakenly identified with. Enlightenment is the knowledge that frees us from attachment to the body-mind.

The body-mind remains, but it no longer takes itself to be real. It is only an appearance in awareness. That freedom from attachment brings a lightness to our being, a loss of fear, and a loss of suffering. It becomes clear that the body suffers and dies, but awareness does not. It simply changes form.

Awareness is simple. It is obvious. It is pervasive. It is all there is. But this doesn't mean that the realization is easy, or that anyone can have it at will. There has to be a burning desire for freedom, and there has to be a search for knowledge rather than experience. Experience may follow, and the enlightened may change, but it is knowledge that is the vehicle.

For the knowledge to take place, there needs to be a means, and the means is Vedanta. Thousands of years of teaching Vedanta has revealed that certain qualifications in a person are necessary to absorb the teaching.  James Swartz in his teaching provides these qualifications.

1. You need a burning desire for freedom.
2. You need to be open to being taught.
3. You need to have come to the conclusion that life is a zero sum game.
4. You need to see that joy is not in the object.
5. You need to realize that you need knowledge of who you are, not more experience.
6. You need to be willing to practice discrimination.

Once you have come to the end of your rope, and your ego has been softened up enough to have a little humility, you may find yourself in agreement with these qualifications. You will realize that it is not another experience you need to set you free. It is understanding that you need. Understanding that comes from knowledge. And that knowledge comes from being taught. Enlightenment is not an experience. It is understanding produced by knowledge. And the knowledge is that you are awareness, nothing more, nothing less.

When you are ready to hear this, you will know that it is true. And when you know that this is true, the teacher will appear. Before this point, you learned a lot, but you weren't ready for the true teacher. But when you have these qualifications, the right teacher will be obvious. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Lens of Awareness

Is the lens of the projector showing a movie affected by the images passing through it? No. Is the screen on which the movie is projected affected by the film? No.  Are  the characters on the screen really separate from each other, or do they only appear to be separate? Are they not all just light? Any separation of the characters is just the play of light. So, does anything really happen on the screen, or is it just dancing light?

Awareness is the movie screen of our apparent lives. Our senses provide the framework that makes us seem separate from all the rest. But everything we think and feel is nothing but awareness. We are dancing in the light of awareness, one substance playing with myriad forms. We are aware, and the separateness we feel is also in awareness. Existence is knowing we are aware.

We are Awareness. Nothing more and nothing less. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Advaita Vedanta Sets You Free

I came to James Swartz teachings because I wanted to be clear where I was going. I knew there were too many half baked, unclear, descriptions of enlightenment. I had been searching for the Truth for many years, and I finaly realized that without knowing with absolute certainty what Moksha, or enlightenment was, I would never have a true means, or direction on how to get there. 

It became absolutely crystal clear to me that I needed to get to the root of where the idea of enlightenment came from. I became only interested in who originated the knowledge of enlightenment. I knew that I needed to know their understanding. Only then would I have the goal clear! My search for the originators would take me to India and the original revealers of the knowledge. 

In that search I discovered James Swartz. What was absolutely appealing was that Swartz taught in plain American English the original teachings. I didn't need to learn Sanskrit, I didn't have to read old English or modern partial knowledge and misinterpretations. I could get the original revelations in video talks. What a Godsend!

Swartz is correct when he says that not many will come to his teachings. That is because you have to be done with experiences, including chasing bliss. You have to want the truth; the kind of truth that sets you free. The Advaita Vedanta taught in plain English according to the original revelations set me free. 

Having a heavy load of fundamental Christianity was lightened by the knowledge of Advaita Vedanta because Vedanta and Jesus aren't saying different things. The problem was that the people around Jesus could not understand what he was pointing at. They felt the power of it, but the understanding was not correctly grasped. 

Advaita Vedanta worked its knowledge and freed me of the bad Jesus theology I had absorbed. Vedanta calls Awareness "The Shinning One." As Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." His followers did not realize he was talking about the shinning one, Awareness. 

Jesus claimed he had eternal life and whomsoever followed him would also have it. He was speaking of Awareness. Unfortunatly, Jesus called Awareness his Father. He was using a metaphor that wasn't grasped. It was an excellent metaphor, but it was not understood. It wasn't the means of knowledge that Advaita Vedanta provides. 

Jesus said, "Ye judge after the flesh; but I judge no man." Who can do that? A person cannot. But when one realizes that one is Awareness and not a person, all persons are seen to be that. Everyone is essentially OK. They too are Awareness. From Awareness all are one, one essence, neither good nor bad. No one is above another. 

James Swartz makes if very clear that the original Vedanta teaching on enlightenment, moksha (freedom), is knowledge. It is knowledge that sets you free because you already are Awarness. It is only understanding this that sets you free. 

Awareness is fundamental eternal knowing. Everything in this universe subsides into, and cannot exist without awareness. Understanding that the light of everything is Awareness, is the truth. Therefore, one is is already free, already eternal, already complete, already unconditional love.

With this understanding you are free from striving for virtue. You are already pure and free. You only need the knowledge that sets you free. As Nisargadatta said, "Understanding is all." 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Enlightenment Is Freedom For The Person, And From The Person

Think about the word "somebody."  Broken down we have "some," as something in existence, and "body, a type of form." From this it may be seen that the "I" that develops as a person is a conceptual being. The "I" refers to the body's feelings and thoughts as a result of experience. As this collection of thoughts and feelings is logged into memory and referenced, it coalesces. This becomes the "I" character, the "me." Now we have what we refer to as a person. This is the diagram, the design, and the origin of the person. 

This person then is a conceptual being, conditioned in many ways, and changeable as well. It is not a tangible, or permanent thing. It exists entirely in thought. This is why non-duality refers to the "apparent" person. 

Once it is seen that the person is a concept, changeable and impermanent, one may begin to question if that is really who one is? The body, although more solid, is also impermanent. We are made of these two impermanent aspects, the body and the conceptual "I." When this is really seen, one can begin to question if a person is a real thing. Can it really be who you are? 

If reality is that which does not not change, the person can be seen as something appearing in reality, because it changes. As awareness of the body and awareness of the personality is seen, who is the seer? If you can see the character and the body, can you be those things? Who or what is seeing them? Perhaps the Awareness that sees the person and the body is who, or what, you really are. 

Reality, that which doesn't change, is the container of the person. Reality, as awareness, knows the person and the body. That awareness, the screen upon which the characters play, is the true essence of all that is. That is what you are. If a shift in identity takes place, and one sees oneself, not as a person, but as essence, that which is everything, the person is no longer taken to be the real "I." One then knows, "I am that."  

If I see myself as a body-mind, then I am limited. If I see myself as that which is everything, there is freedom. The person that was, is now free of the limited conceptual character, and free of the limited body. Body and mind are still there, but they are no longer taken to be who one is. 

There are apparently enlightened people. In other words, the knowing, the understanding, is known by a mind that used to think it was a person. That body-mind knows that the person was only an appearance in awareness. 

The enlightened person, an appearance, knows that it is only an appearance, that in reality, it is that, awareness, that silence, that is everything. The former identity of the person is seen and known to be unreal, impermanent. So even though the words are coming from a body-mind we call enlightened, that apparent person knows that it is the Awareness, the Stillness, in which everything appears.