Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Around the Block

One person is meditating, another is praying, another is doing Jihad. All are trying to experience the truth while deeply immersed in it, as there is nothing else.

The mediating is happening where? In awareness. The praying is happening where? In awareness. The Jihad is happening where? In awareness.

All these activities would immediately cease were the participant to realize they were the awareness in which all this activity was happening. With that realization all foolishness stops.

All identities other than awareness are equally foolish. All efforts at getting somewhere, are going nowhere, as all activities are already home in awareness.

All paths lead to Rome since none of them is outside of Rome. How's that for a circle around the block? How much better was your path over another? How's that for nowhere to go and nothing to get?

You, awareness, never left home. You, awareness, never went anywhere. You, awareness, just had a grand tour around the block. You, awareness, never went to the theater, never left your seat, yet a pretty good show was had by all.

Enjoy the ride. You're going nowhere. It's a grand lila, a play, just act your part as well as you can. Nothing ever happens to you, awareness. Presence is all there is. You are that presence. Peace. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Advaita Vendanta, the Light and the Way

62. The inquirer said. “I negated the five sheaths but I see only emptiness. Is there something else to be known through inquiry?”
63–64. The teacher said, “Yes, it is the knower of the emptiness. That is you, limitless awareness. You are adept at inquiry.”   ~ From Vivekachudamini ~

Apparently "emptiness" is not the last word. The knower still exists when "emptiness" is seen. Existence, consciousness, bliss. This is a wonderful reminder that whatever we perceive is not who we are. So even emptiness is not the ultimate. The knower of emptiness is. It can't be empty because it is has no attributes. It is full of potential. And we are That! hallelujah!

After many years I came to the complete Advaita Vedanta teachings via James Swartz. He ties it all together so well, laying out a careful path that just can't be denied. The complete teaching was necessary for me. I intuitively knew there were missing parts, but I did not know what they were.

I do admit that I studied everything else first, so I was a pretty mature failure of understanding by the time I found James Swartz complete teaching. So much fun to be humbled in the right way. True knowledge is the light and the way. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Effortlessness Free of the Thinker

Seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling all feel effortless. But, as soon as we start thinking, we add an assumption that "I am thinking." With that assumption the whole bodymind thing takes off. We are stuck in that assumption and and never question it.

So, seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling now take on the same assumption, "I am seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, etc." It's a lie. These are just happening and you are not the owner.

And not  being the owner means you are not the doer, feeler, taster, hearer or thinker. You are bigger than that! You are the unbounded awareness in which all this is seen and done. Relax and be that. It's effortless. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Awareness and Potentiality

Awareness is the ground of potential. Any form may appear in it and become an object of consciousness. This conforms to quantum physics where the collapse of the wave function creates the material universe.

One of the conundrums of quantum physics is how can matter come from something as nebulous as awareness/consciousness. It seems the rishis answered this question long ago by examining our experience.

Their answer was that everything we see, everything we hear, touch and feel, is nothing but perception interpreted through our sensory organs. Since all these sensations are interpretations experienced in consciousness, everything in existence can be nothing other than awareness/consciousness.

Long before the invention of virtual technologies, the Vedas pronounced that this very universe we live it is a virtual world, a projection, an illusion in awareness. Not that our world does not exist, but that its existence itself is a projection, like a movie appearing on a screen.

Just as the movie is a projection on the screen, just so, all objects are projections created in awareness by our sense organs. Just as the movie has one source - the film - just so, everything we see has one source, awareness itself. Existence, consciousness, bliss; everything else is illusion, entertainment only, Lila. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

FALSEHOOD

If you believe one falsehood you are likely to defend it with more falsehoods. It's a downward spiral. The root falsehood is often unconscious. Its purpose is to protect the ego.

Falsehood propagates untruth, and since untruth is ignorant, one cannot follow dharma. The result is suffering.

Vedanta goes to the root of ignorance, the falsehood that "I am the bodymind." With realization that falsehood is removed and following dharma then becomes easier, or natural.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sat Chit Ananda

Pain totally focuses attention. That was a major point I was making. Pain so severe that one can only look at it, examine it, feel it out, and know it entirely. Then there is only one question. What is the error that is causing the pain? I went looking for that error. It was my own thinking, my own beliefs, my own bias that was wrong. The answer was dropping all beliefs, starting from scratch and examining my own experience. Quantum physics and non duality agree, existence is primary, awareness itself. Any form that arises in Awareness points directly to awareness, as only that can be conscious of anything. The bottom line is that my bodymind, your bodymind, are appearances only. I am that eternal Awareness, and so are you. Knowing this dissipates mental suffering. Only the dream remains. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Peaceful Mind

There may not be different truths, but there certainly are different levels of understanding. Having determined that I was missing something, I went looking. I read everything in psychology, philosophy and religion. I did therapy. There was progress, and suffering lessened. The process I went through could only be described as deconditioning. It stands to reason that this had to happen because I had beliefs, and misunderstandings that had to be undone. Unfortunately there were layers and layers that needed undoing, and that takes time. I remember telling so many people that I was cursed. Why? Because I had this mission to find the truth, and I could not let it go. It was karma. I had no control over it. The pursuit was a given, a fact of my life that was not to be denied. The result of all this inquiry, this undoing, was a more and more peaceful mind. Instead of a million conflicting thoughts, only a few major questions remained. There was now enough space to contemplate these few. These were now fundamental questions, subtle questions. After forty years of this process, with mental anguish much diminished, I found Advaita Vedanta. What was beautiful about it was that it corresponded to my experience. For example, Advaita says that one must be qualified to understand it.
I remember telling so many people that I was cursed. Why? Because I had this mission to find the truth, and I could not let it go. It was karma. I had no control over it. The pursuit was a given, a fact of my life that was not to be denied.
The fundamental fear is death. We want permanent happiness, and we cannot avoid wanting this even though life contains a lot of suffering. The existential question has always been, "Is this all there is?" Perhaps we could not even ask this question if on some level we knew that this was not the case. When I was in my twenties, I suffered greatly. It was mental anguish, and it manifested in the body in various ways. The suffering was so great that I could only surmise that this had to be an error. No being would choose to live if this were the truth. The only conclusion was that I had a error, a misunderstanding. It turns out that I was correct. There may not be different truths, but there certainly are different levels of understanding. Having determined that I was missing something, I went looking. I read everything in psychology, philosophy and religion. I did therapy. There was progress, and suffering lessened. The process I went through could only be described as deconditioning. It stands to reason that this had to happen because I had beliefs, and misunderstandings that had to be undone. Unfortunately there were layers and layers that needed undoing, and that takes time. I remember telling so many people that I was cursed. Why? Because I had this mission to find the truth, and I could not let it go. It was karma. I had no control over it. The pursuit was a given, a fact of my life that was not to be denied. The result of all this inquiry, this undoing, was a more and more peaceful mind. Instead of a million conflicting thoughts, only a few major questions remained. There was now enough space to contemplate these few. These were now fundamental questions, subtle questions. After forty years of this process, with mental anguish much diminished, I found Advaita Vedanta. What was beautiful about it was that it corresponded to my experience. For example, Advaita says that one must be qualified to understand it. A major qualification for a student of Advaita Vedanta is a quiet mind. Various yogas are prescribed to obtain a quiet mind so that one can hear and understand. I never liked meditation, but I was contemplative and inquisitive. I was a knowledge seeker. It just so happens that one of the yogas is Jnana yoga (knowledge yoga). Jnana yoga is a thinkers yoga, best for intellectuals. That fit me to a tee. Vedanta also goes through a process of stripping away false premises. That's what I had been doing. In other words, what I had been doing was what Vedanta proposed. Vedanta confirmed a process I had been doing for years. I did not on my own come up with the answer. I was close, but Advaita Vedanta not only supplied the answers, but the questions as well. Right before my eyes was a complete system pointing the way out of the wilderness. It also confirmed a process I had been doing for forty years. Vedanta is very scientific, very thorough, and provides the means of knowledge to know the Self. It confirmed my experience that a primary requirement is a quiet satvic mind. By the time I found the complete teaching (the means of knowledge) I was ready. It was a quick trip to realization once the means of knowledge was found. It is humbling to know that this knowledge has been around for thousands of years. "There is nothing new under the sun," is a true statement. It is also true that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. When I was ready, I found Vedanta. I had found the Christian mystics much help. And I found the Indian sages extremely helpful, but it was the actual study of Advaita Vedanta that finally brought peace.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Awareness Is Like Water

Awareness is like water in a bucket. If you place a rock in the water, it takes the shape of the rock. If you place a hammer in the water, it shapes itself into the form of the hammer. Whatever is placed in the water, the water conforms to that shape. When the objects are removed, the water goes back to its original state.
Awareness is like water. It accepts whatever form is available, makes it conscious, and when the form is no longer available, it returns to unqualified awareness. Nothing happened to awareness itself.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Awareness as Presence

All a sentient body does, is shape Awareness into a particular form of consciousness. The awareness behind the form taken, is unaffected.

A bee sees a different spectrum of light than we do, and therefor sees the world in a different form. But, the awareness behind bee consciousness is the same as ours. That awareness is not affected by the bee's form of perception.

Our brains have different areas of function. Areas for sight, sound, taste, etc. However, these areas are just interpreting and creating a perception - a form of consciousness.

All sentient beings are just interpreting "what is" according to their form. They are not seeing or experiencing "the thing in itself." The thing in itself is the knower, the subject of all that exists.
So, we can say, "The observer is the observed," because everything is of the same essence.

Awareness is the base of experience, the field in which all appears. It is an open field of potential. Any living form has a certain structure of interpretation based on its sensory apparatus. Awareness interprets according to that pattern, that structure, and provides consciousness accordingly.

All of science is based on what we observe. But, do we appreciate that everything we observe is an interpretation by our senses. The true state of what we observe is never known. It is always an interpretation.

The hard problem of physics has been called materialistic reductionism. But, no matter how detailed science can get into the physical world, it cannot answer the question of conscious awareness.

What comes first, a dream or awareness? Without awareness would a person ever dream at night? To say a dream causes awareness doesn't make sense. But to say a dream appears in awareness does.

We can be nothing other than awareness. Awareness is the primary potential - the open field in which any form of consciousness appears. Since all living beings are aware, all are That. Thus the phrase, "That thou art." Beyond that we cannot go. We are the mystery.

Everything that exists can only be known by a conscious experience in awareness. Nothing can be said to exist without it being known, and the knower is Awareness itself.

All experiences are therefor nothing but appearances in awareness. Thus, when one is enlightened, it is known that one is That Presence that is aware - the one eternal essence that was never born and never dies.

With that identity, life is just an experience of a particular form. What we really are is Awareness, and knowing that, one knows one is eternal and can never die. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Can One Claim Enlightenment?

One aspect of spirituality that I find entertaining is the question of enlightenment. There seems to be some confusion. No two answers the same. Without a common definition, who's to say what enlightenment is? There is also the myth that "He who knows doesn't say and he who doesn't know, blabs all over town."

The statement, "Everyone is enlightened," also creates a lot of misunderstanding. If this were the case, we wouldn't even have the word "enlightenment." Saying "Everyone is enlightened" simply means, whether you are enlightened or not, you are That. Well, that may be the case, but since most don't know it, they are not enlightened.

This quandary, I believe, can be explained by using the expression "Realization." Already being "That" is of no use if one doesn't know it. The enlightened one knows he is "That," and the rest don't. That's the difference.

Enlightenment is simply the realization. "You are That." It doesn't change the fact, it's just an understanding. There is only one reason everyone isn't enlightened and it's that they don't realize their identity as That. As long as anyone holds to the idea of separateness, of individuality, realization of the fact of non duality doesn't happen.

Because duality, separateness, is an appearance only, it can only be a misunderstanding. So if you don't know all is one, you are in ignorance only. That's why all the ancient sages called Vedanta knowledge. When you get the knowledge and you bring it home, you understand, you realize, "You are That."

If you understand non duality, and you know "You are That," I believe it's okay to be bold and admit it.  It's not stupid to be enlightened. But it is ignorance to be unenlightened. To summarize, there is enlightenment or realization, and it is an understanding. Yes, it doesn't change the fact that everyone already is That. But there is a difference in those who know and those who don't. So let's not keep saying everyone is enlightened. It's not the fact. Let's admit everyone is "That," but some know, and some don't.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Time to Know

You can't see the Oneness because of all the concepts you already have. These concepts were taught to you, consciously and unconsciously before you were three and they stuck. All these concepts are the veil you are looking through. You are not even cognizant that you have never examined those concepts. You think you have to look from there. How can you see Oneness through that?

But that is why you can't see. You are imprisoned in a web of concepts that you think are true. Standing on that platform, non duality, enlightenment, is not visible from that stand. But you don't know that.

First, that house of cards needs to come down. And since it is your home, the place you know, your security, you  only dismantle it a piece at a time. That creates a process that wouldn't take any time at all, if seen directly.

A second factor that adds to this dilemma, is the fact that you do not know what you are looking for. No doubt there is a strong urge for something; something that is missing. A known unknown. This not knowing the goal, and being caught in a web of unexamined concepts, creates a double whammy that will leave you seeking for years. Only in hindsight will you laugh your ass off at how simple enlightenment really is.

Once you know, it is amazing when you read the sages and realize that they were saying the Truth in numerous ways, in the most subtle and obvious ways possible in words. And how those words, at that time, were paradoxical, and strange, and confusing. And now they are not.

So many phrases now make sense.

"You are not the doer."
"You are That."
"Awareness is all there is."
"Nothing is really happening."
"You are the Absolute."
"You are everywhere."
"Nothing exists without you."

All are factual statements once you realize.

So, what are you looking for? Yourself. Not the body. Not the mind. Not your personality. But your real Self. And your real Self is not even a person! That's too small. In fact, you are the impersonal Absolute, Awareness itself, masquerading as all that is.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Jesus, A Non Dual Teacher

There is difference between science and theology. Much of religion is anthropomorphic and cultural. For example, the Jews sacrificed animals for their sins. It was a long tradition. So, when Jesus, a truly enlightened spiritual being, was killed, the Jews interpreted his death through their tradition. What did they come up with? He died for our sins. Just like the lambs they slaughtered, they called him "The lamb of God.

In the case of Christianity, Western theology doesn't understand Christ in the least. Being a direct realizer of the Truth, Jesus taught what he knew to be the Truth. Unfortunately, he was not in a culture where their was an understanding of Awareness/consciousness, so he had to speak in parables and metaphors. He did the best he could.

I come from a long line of protestant preachers, seminary presidents, and missionaries. Having been raised by Christian missionaries, I got to travel the world as a child and grow up comparing cultures, beliefs, and traditions. I know what fanaticism is. It took a big toll on me.

I recommend the book by Eric Hoffer "The True Believer" for a deep look into fanaticism. Hoffer discusses the psychological causes of fanaticism. It will aid in looking at your own beliefs. We are all looking for psychological security, but we can double down on beliefs, or we can examine rationally, coolly, who and what we really are.

You see, the bottom line isn't whether we believe in Christ, or Buddha, or Krishna. The bottom line is existential. The bottom line is the discovery of what we truly are. Quantum Science and Advaita Vedanta both point to Awareness/Consciousness as that essence. Vedanta, like Quantum physics is the result of investigation. One uses the discoveries of external world, and one uses the discoveries of the internal world.

Vedanta, like science, does not ask you to believe; it asks you to investigate. In both cases the evidence points to the truth of non duality. The point here is that although Hinduism may be a religion, Vedanta is not.

In my case, I never believed I was a sinner because I didn't create the world, nor myself. I knew something else was responsible for my existence. I guess I had a premonition from childhood that "I was not the doer." This being the case, I knew that Jesus did not die for my sins. You might say he died because of our sins, namely, the big sin of ignorance.

When I discovered non duality as edified by Vedanta, I was suddenly struck with an understanding of Jesus. When I looked at what Jesus had to say, it was non duality, pure and simple. What a delight to finally understand what he was saying. What a joy to finally be able to understand what he was pointing at.

If you ask the Vedanta sages about Jesus, they will say, "Yes, he was an enlightened master." Why because they recognize their own. It's not a matter of belief, it's a matter of knowing. I never found the reverse to be true. When you ask a Western theologian about the Eastern sages, they call them pagans.

Don't get me wrong. I love the Christian mystics. Meister Eckart stands out as a pure non dual realizer. However, I think it is much harder via Christianity to realize the truth of non duality. Why? Because it is not a science. That's why we call it mystical.

For me it was the discovery of Vedanta that set me free. I don't have to convince anyone else of this truth. It's for them to discover. The science of awareness/consciousness is fundamental, unchanging, and only requires understanding, not belief. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Understanding That

I was always aware that my seeking was not a choice. I always considered seeking a curse. Like an addiction. As a child I was a seeker of truth. Consciously or unconsciously, I wanted to know who was behind the curtain of all things, of all phenomena.

From the moment I first heard of enlightenment I was off in pursuit of understanding That. It was not a choice. I would look at others playing, enjoying themselves, while I was not. Playing didn't seem important until I knew what That was.

So, now that I realize That, is it a feather in my cap? No! It happened. This body-mind for whatever reason had the seeking bug. It was inevitable. It could not have been otherwise.

Being realized does not put me above another. It is simply an understanding, a knowing if you will. And that knowing is not mine. It never will be. The understanding belongs to That. The understanding is just an appearance in That. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Liberation

Jesus said, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Well, we know that life in this world is temporary. It will end. As will everything in the world. Whatever comes into existence passes from existence. All effects are transient. Our life is a wink and a nod. Jesus said, "Believe in me and you shall have eternal life." But believing in the person Jesus, was not what he meant. Jesus was speaking of his message. That message was, "The truth will set you free." All his teaching was pointing to that knowledge that would set us free. He died due to our misunderstanding. For all sin is missing the mark. Therefore, he died because of our sins, not for our sins. Moksha, or liberation, is the answer the Vedas provide. It is no different from Jesus' message. Both point to the pure knowledge that sets one free. Freedom from the person, from the body, from the mind. It is so simple and obvious that we miss it. It is the knowledge that reveals our true nature as Self. That ultimate. As the Vedas say, "You are That." The world does not disappear. Your body, mind, personality, do not disappear, but your identity changes. You shift from knowing yourself as a limited body-mind, to knowing you are the Absolute. In knowing that, all ontological questions are answered. The world and everything in it is simply That. That is ineffable, without beginning or end. It is awareness itself, and every appearance, every form, is That. All form and life manifests from That. All life borrows awareness and knows the form. That knowing makes us conscious. But we mistake our consciouses of form as who we are. A hardwired mistake. To free yourself, consider this. Think of your dreams. Everything you create in dream is immaterial. You make it up each night. It seems real, but is made up of consciousness only. Just so, the world is dremt by That. You are not the character you play by day, nor the forms and characters you create at night. You are That, the creator of all forms, all dreams, and free of all of them.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Absolute and Relative Truth

As for truth, it is not Absolute or Relative, it is both. There is that ineffable Absolute. However, it's application in consciousness varies depending on the level of consciousness in human beings. The levels limit or expand the view. Therefore the context varies. Whatever the Absolute Truth may be, we only have our own windows into it, and some windows are opaque. If we simply admit that our relative positions are just windows on that Absolute, we have both the relative and the Absolute truth. One does not oppose or deny the other. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

In God's Hands

You do everything for your self. But the results will be very different depending on who you think you are. If you think you are an individual, alone against the world, your efforts will reflect that limitation. If you know you are Awareness (the the ground being), your efforts will reflect that limitlessness. Either way, you cannot avoid being selfish. In the first instance you will be clutching and grabbing for your little self, in the second instance you will be a blessing to yourself and all beings. Everything is done for the sake of the self, but knowing who you really are, Awareness, will bring peace amidst the apparent struggle. As Awareness, being selfish does feel selfish, as there are no others. Being Awareness, all your actions will reflect the whole. As Awareness you will know and understand that you are the world. And, that the "Observer is the observed." You will know you are in God's hands. Your very own hands.

Monday, January 30, 2017

THE PRIMACY OF AWARENESS

Happiness and anger are very different feelings, but they both appear in awareness. Sweet and sour are very different tastes, but they are known by awareness. Light and dark are very different, but known by awareness. Hot and cold are very different, but awareness knows this.

In all these instances there is one constant, awareness. So, if you were going to describe yourself, would you use sweet, sour, hot,cold, light, dark, happy, angry, or awareness. Surely awareness is the one constant.

Does awareness ever leave you? No. So while the personality has traits, feelings, thoughts, and conditioning, they all exist in awareness. Think about it. Are you these thoughts, feelings, experiences, or are you Awareness? All the Vedas, all of non duality is simply pointing to this.