Monday, November 12, 2018

Knowing and Bliss

There seems to be a pattern here of first awakening to unity, oneness, bliss, and then that dropping away and experiencing meaninglessness. It’s happened to me over and over again. One thing that helped was that during a short experience of ecstasy years ago, I was given this non verbal knowing: “You are surrounded by absolute beauty, you always been, and you always will be, whether you know it, or not.”

As you know, in awakenings, non verbal communication comes like a download of knowing. It is direct and without words, yet the understanding is there. These downloads are so profound and come with so much authority that there is no questioning of it possible. I recall thinking after one of these downloads, "No scientist, no psychiatrist, no friend, could disabuse me of what I now know." Too much authority came with this for any worldly challenge.

The absolute knowingness of these downloads always surprised me. It was not the knowing that surprised me, but the absolute unquestioning authority with which they came. The authority of this type of download astounded my intellect. Put it  in its place. The sense of authority, the unquestionable absolute certainty of this type of knowing is surprising. Not the message that astounds, but the authority of giver.

After the bliss, unity, and oneness passes, what do you do with the meaningless that follows? I suggest that it is relative. In other words, when the bliss is so full, so overwhelmingly beautiful and lovely, when it passes, what’s left in comparison, seems like nothing. Prior to the ecstasy there was nothing to compare it with.

When an ecstatic experience passes, the return to the previous norm is a shock. It feels like a loss. The mundane feels like a meaningless void. But this is relative. The meaning and bliss experienced in ecstasy, flatlines when it falls away. The deflation is relative, but it can feel like depression. The comparison didn't exist before.

It seems that enlightenment is a process that continues, even if the initial realization was sudden. The best advice I can give is that one must take it in stride. Time lessens the relative comparison. I am 69 years old and this has been going on for years. There is little personal self identity, but a body is still here, hanging around. It wants to eat and have shelter, so I still do what I need to do.

Perhaps it is wise to see that realization may not be permanent bliss, but a knowing of unity, of peace, of oneness. There is peace in just being, without the demand that it be blissful and ecstatic 24/7. Although there is an experiential side to realization, there is also a knowing, and that knowing remains whatever experience one is having.

Seeking

There is this myth that seeking is the problem. But, where does the seeking come from? None other than That. The inefable is all there is, any seeking is That seeking itself. My seeking was never to avoid anything. During my many years of seeking, I may have not been able to see or accept the deep impersonal implications of the Absolute, but my seeking was not in the way. Whatever detours I took were necessary or they would not have happened. Could not have been otherwise. Jesus said, "Seek and ye shall find." It works. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Joy of Emptiness

Many people and traditions speak of experiencing nothingness, emptiness, or void.
It is not an appealing prospect to the average person. It is also true that something experiences that nothingness, emptiness, or void. So, although the nothingness may not sound appealing, it is the closest one can get to pure being, often called pure consciousness, or awareness.

I think we could say then, that people who express gratitude and joy at experiencing emptiness, are actually experiencing a sense of fullness which comes from being close to the ground of being. This is consciousness at its core, prior to any expression of form, other than emptiness.

As we know, form creates limitation, and it is the escape from limitation that we are all wanting. In feeling that emptiness, we are also experiencing the lack of limitation, the bliss of letting go of form. This is the boundlessness, the freedom prior to form. This is the joy, the bliss of emptiness.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thought Experiments

One of the greatest scientific minds was Albert Einstein. He did not have a laboratory, a physical place in which to conduct experiments. However, he did have the greatest laboratory of all, his mind. His method was creating "Thought Experiments." He would set up the thought experiment and then contemplate on it until he could come to a precises logical conclusion. The results of his thought experiments have proven to be true in many cases. We need not go into all the real world applications his thought experiments made possible. The point here is how valid thought experiments are.

Since Einstein didn't have a lab, he read scientific papers, contemplated the various implications, and created thought experiments to explain and reveal the results. Without a physical lab, he used thought experiments to develop theories and conclusions far beyond what physical science could prove at that time.

A thought experiment considers some question or hypothesis, and then through contemplation using the mind alone, proceeds to arrive at the most probable conclusion, proving or disproving the hypothesis. It is a an intentional, structured process designed to reach potential conclusions.

So, what is the point of this in a blog about non dual reality? I would like to point out that thousands of years ago, the rishis of India conducted thought experiments just as Einstein did. The difference was that their thought experiments were not directed outward toward the physical world, but inward, towards the subjective world. The method is exactly the same. Advaita Vedanta calls their method a "word mirror" that reflects the true Self.

It's been in vogue for Western science to negate the subjective discoveries of the East as non-objective and unscientific. However, if we consider the contribution to Western science provided by Einstein's thought experiments, perhaps Western science might see that some humility is in order. The subjective science of the rishis is on just as solid ground as so called "objective science."

The greatest piece of laboratory equipment in any lab is the human mind. Whereas the physical lab has a variety of equipment to measure and quantify, thought experiments typically do not. However, in recent times, the ability to measure thought waves is bringing some measuring capability to the effects of meditation on the brain and body of meditators.

It seems to me that the hard problem of consciousness will be resolved as further developments in quantum physics begin to concur with the ancient rishis who discovered that consciousness is primary. It will only be a matter of time. There is only one reality and it is a coherence. I suggest that in the end that coherence will be that consciousness is fundamental, that the physical world is nothing but an appearance in it. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Realization Has a Downside

Realization may be great for the relief of the great existential questions and internal stress, but it may not relieve the issues you have with other people, especially those close to you that depend on you. Although  realization changes your perspective, it does not change theirs. This fact alone may create issues, especially with ones closest to you.

When the great "Who am I" question is answered, much of relative life and its pursuits lose their meaning. Motivation regarding such goals drop like extra baggage. They are no longer required for your happiness, but those around you, not experiencing the great relief, may find your lack of motivation to be a disaster, a loss of what it takes to make life worth living: chasing experience, getting things done, getting things, the pursuit of happiness. 

When you have a sense of completeness, of wholeness, and any moment is as good as the next, where is the motivation for the pursuit of anything? You are no longer looking for "new and different." Now is good enough. The moment you are having is perfect as it is. You don't ask "What's next?" 

While this is wonderful for you, those who have depended on you to share their pursuits will find you lacking, may find you lazy, no fun anymore. When you have lost the wanting of more things, a bigger house, a newer car, more money, you are no longer on their team. They may turn on you, not understanding where their partner in pursuit of things got lost. 

How do you explain to someone you are already complete? That there is nothing more you need to do to feel okay? This perspective is yours, not theirs, and unless they realize, they will not understand. You may be told you are no longer helpful, understanding, or living in the real world. Try telling them the world they are in is a zero sum game and you're not in it. It doesn't go over well. 

Others will not understand what happened to you. They will feel they have lost you. They have, but how do you tell them that you also lost yourself? How do you tell them you are no longer the personal so and so, but are the impersonal Self? 

There is a moral hazard to realization. You may have found peace, but those around you may find you frustrating, indifferent, unattached. And you are. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Perfection

The world cannot be other than perfect.

From our human construct we may disagree. That is to be expected. We appear to be a body that has needs and desires and a wrong move may cause pain or even death.

But from the perspective of Self, nothing could possibly be wrong. From the source which we can know as Awareness itself, manifestation arises. The universe, and beings of infinite variety appear, provide experience, and disappear. But nothing arises other than That. Existence itself is nothing but That.

Being that Awareness/Consciousness is all there is, the essence of everything is That, doing as it will, as every particle and every sentient being. There is no second Self to judge, or compare, or determine that anything less than perfection exists. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Intuition

The intuition I had from childhood created a continual neti neti process that I was not conscious of. The intuition was that there was a truth that I needed to know or understand. The intuition insisted I had to find that something which when found I would know. This intuition was powerful and unyielding and drove me to examine everything.

The paradox was that the intuition did not directly point to what it was that I had to know. This resulted in all experiences, beliefs, and concepts, being subjected to examination in the light of the intuition. The intuition could not directly give me the understanding, but it was without failure in saying, "No, not this. No, not this."

This process went on for years. When I finally realized, "I am That," the intuition that was the driving force of my seeking, relaxed, and felt satisfied.

It is interesting now to know that one of the Vedic principals is "Neti Neti," Not this, not that. There is the admonition that what you see, or feel, or think is not it. The directive is designed to force you back out of experience into the subject of all experience, the Self.

I did not have that directive because I didn't know the Vedic tradition, but I did have the intuition that created that same process. Intuition was the directive for me, but it could not point directly, so I spent many years exploring, only to continually discover, not this, not this.

In the end, it did know what it wanted me to realize, and it did prove to be true. It was the strongest  tool I had. Although it could not me give me direction, it recognized the goal when it was found.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Silent Potential

Awareness is the potential. That is why it is called silent. It is still, available, ready to accept whatever appears. It is a void, open to whatever comes into existence.

Awareness is whole, non judgmental, undisturbable, blank. It is inviting. It is being itself, the ground of infinite potential. Everything in existence appears in it.

Consciousness is whatever appears in awareness, be it a thought, an emotion, a view, a touch, a sound. Any movement in the field becomes a conscious experience to awareness. Anything may appear. All is allowed. Therefore we call it love.

Enlightenment is the consciousness of that silent blank field. It is the knowing of the silence. The knowing of the eternal ground from which all things arise. It is the knowing of "I am that."

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Freedom

My freedom does not exist as a separate self. As a human individual, I cannot maintain freedom because I am limited. As a limited separate individual I can desire much, yet not attain, fear much, yet have little power to assuage. No matter how much motivation I have, drive, determination and stamina, the limitation remains. Where is there freedom in this? On what basis can I claim free will?

As an apparent limited self, I easily admit that I have no free will. This is so, even though I may appear to make choices. The struggle with choices is just the tug and pull of preferences. I have no sense as an individual that I have any free will at all. I am subject to the setup of this creation, like it or not.

But I do have freedom. It is the freedom that belongs to the Self of being. The freedom that comes with  knowing "I am That." That freedom is not limited, it is not contained. It is not a separate self, and it has no other to compare. There is no definition to confine that Self, and no desire that could arise, as it is all that is. Nothing is needed to complete it.

In knowing I am the Self, the Absolute, the creator and sustainer of this universe, I know that I am beyond even freedom. With no other to compare, neither bondage nor freedom apply. In knowing that, this apparent individual knows that despite appearances, I am That. I am free. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Suffering Cannot be the Natural State

What is the pain that causes suffering? We're not talking about the pain of a broken leg or stomach ache. We're talking about the mental anguish of beliefs and conditioning challenged by the direct experience of reality.

I arrived at college with a set of beliefs and conditioning that included a lot guilt. There was foremost the guilt of being human, carrying the burden of original sin. Tied to that was all the joys of the flesh that were considered evil. I was not taught that suffering was a part of life, but that suffering was to be glorified. To suffer was a sacrifice made to the glory of God. Tell me how this kind of conditioning was suitable to get any joy whatsoever out of life?

I would stare out the college dorm window at the young men and women playing frisbee, or just tossing a ball without a care in the world. I could only imagine what freedom they had compared to me, who felt guilty about having any good feelings at all, let alone joy. I could only stare and wonder what was wrong with me.

A conundrum was very present in my mind. I thought about the life force cruising through me, wanting to run, to play, to be free. I compared this to my mental state of repression, fear, guilt and self loathing. There was no way I could justify my mental suffering in the face of the simple joy of living I saw in animals, insects, and other students. My only conclusion was that there was something wrong with me. I tried telling the few friends I had that I was not normal, but they brushed it aside. They had no idea of the seriousness of my suffering.

At least, placing the issue of suffering in myself was correct. It was I that had the problem. I just didn't know the cause. How was I to know that my conditioning was in conflict with reality? How was I to know that what I had been taught was false? That my conditioning was based on beliefs and attitudes designed to hide the truth? How was I to know that I couldn't hide and so was unlike those who brought me up?

Somehow, in my suffering, I knew that it was not a "natural state." I could see that life could not have the drive to continue if suffering was its daily bread. There had to be some joy, some satisfaction of desire to make life want to continue. What were all these desires for, if not to produce some direction for satisfaction, for peace, for contentment?

This was the start of my journey. It was the only direction I could see that held any truth. The natural state had to be one of contentment, of peace, of joy in living. The life force driving everything had to have some reward, some pleasure, some how, some way. My suffering had to be a mistake. I was living the mistake and the answer needed to be found. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Chasing Experience

One of the results of realization is that that one does not chase experience. I can recall riding on the bus to work every day and listening to the other riders. One finds oneself listening to others' stories, hopes, and dreams. I was fascinated by what they thought they needed. They revealed the pursuit of new and different experiences. They needed to purchase a second home on the lake, a boat, the latest car, or attend a major musical concert. Sports was also a major topic of conversation. I could not listen to this without experiencing my own lack of interest in these things. More than that, I felt that such pursuit would distract from my own constant state of peace and contentment. I never felt these distractions would add anything to my sense of satisfaction. In fact, they would take me away from my present okayness, my sense of satisfaction already present. I didn't need these extra experiences to be happy or content. The pursuit of them would be a lessening of my current experience which was already OK. It was obvious they did not have a sense that the present was already satisfactory. An escape was needed. It seemed they lacked discernment between needs and wants. My needs seemed few, while theirs many. Nisargadatta said, "Want what you have, and don't want what you don't." This makes sense to me. The effort needed to gain these new experiences did not appeal to me. The feeling of effortlessness was much more attractive to me. To allow what came naturally seemed much more inviting, and what was allowed was always effortless compared to having a goal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

From Seeking to Allowing

Initially there is seeking. There is the intuitive sense of something missing, something in the periphery that wants to be found. When that which is being sought is found, this phase ends. It is the knowing that I am That. I am what I was seeking. Once this realization is in place, another stage opens which does not have the urgency of the first.

This second phase is not so much driven as allowed. In this phase the personal will has faded into the background and open awareness is allowed to reveal. It is a phase of openness to guidance, to following what opens up naturally. There may not be a goal. One simply takes the next right step.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Putting a Teacher on a Pedestal

I always followed what resonated with me. It is as though I had an inner string that would vibrate when a teaching or teacher struck a chord. Even though I couldn't name the note or chord, I could feel the resonance.

I never took any teacher as my sole guide. To me they were all provisional. As long as they resonated, I was in for the ride. The second I felt the resonance stop, I moved on. You could say I was unfaithful to the teacher, but I was never unfaithful to myself.

I recall when I was in therapy that I was the one who chose the therapist. It was I who did the work. I worked because there was resonance, truth that played to my own heart. However, I also knew that as I progressed, and truth was clearer to me, I might move on to find deeper truth. 

We are responsible for the teacher we follow. Who we follow says as much about us as it does about the teacher. If we are growing, if we are owning our own truth, we may find that moving to a new teacher is the truest honoring of our self.

At some point, if we have done the work and imbibed the teachings, we come to stand with the teachers. Our own true Self stands as One with all who have gone before, having discovered the teaching in our own heart. We have realized that what we were seeking was here all along and the teachers were only pointing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Intuition That Something Is Missing

I never wanted to be saintly. I never wanted to be good. I didn't want to be perfect. I just wanted to know the truth. From early childhood I felt out of place, in the wrong place, not able to accept what other people accepted. I was introverted and highly intuitive. I was aware that something was missing. There was a drive to know what was missing. To know what was missing I needed to find the truth.

I was in a boarding school in the DRC. I recall a period of time when I was about 9 or 10, that I would wake up in the middle of the night and go to my hostel mother and tell her I was cold and dying. It was an overwhelming feeling of death, of emptiness. She would come to me and stay with me till I was able to go back to sleep.

The feelings of emptiness, of something missing, of oblivion,  were constantly with me. Nothing I heard in school helped. No adult could dissuade the emptiness. I was acutely aware that what satisfied the other children and adults in my environment could not satisfy me.

In high school, I was introduced to the existentialists. I took to this area of literature with recognition and a deep connection. The sense of isolation, of a boundless emptiness without comfort, I recognized. That others had seen this, had felt this, was at least a ray of hope. But this did not give an answer.

In my first year of college, with complete loss of my faith, with no ground to stand on, I aped the the other students, as there was no other basis for appearing normal. There was no security, no sense of ease or trust, just the void of unanswered questions. If not for the intuition that something was missing, and the drive to find it, I would have died.

There followed years of anger, of atheism. Over time the search in books was an anchor, a possibility of finding the answer. Years of therapy produced a return to a personal base of feeling, a connection to embodiment. This moved me to a more open minded agnosticism, which at least considered the return of spirit. The first time I heard the term enlightenment, there was an excitement to know that.

I had been through the loss of hope and oblivion. Those who have experienced this level of hopelessness know that it feels eternal. This eternal aspect of despair makes it unbearable, and to survive it seems impossible. Yet, the tiniest bit of intuition that feebly whispers "There is an answer," allows one to continue.

When the search turned up mysticism and references to the "dark night of the soul," I knew there must be a way out. In time, hope returned, and mystical experiences followed. States of bliss came and went. These convinced me that a final experience would be so complete that I would obtain enlightenment. But that was a mistake.

It took a good many years of reading and contemplation to realize that enlightenment was not just an experience. It also required knowledge, and understanding, and the removal of doubts. For me, all these aspects were required to arrive at the knowing that I understood, and I knew that I understood. There was a final knowing that I was That which was everything, that I couldn't be anything but that, and there was no doubt. That knowing stopped the search, and the intuition I had carried for thirty years was satisfied.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Realization and Further Refinement

If you take the position that souls move through various lifetimes, learning lessons and evolving in consciousness, then the idea of levels of consciousness has validity. We all know the expression, "She's an old soul." That this is a common expression is more cultural evidence of this evolution in consciousness.

The question then becomes, "What are the levels?" Various teachers express this in different ways. Some talk about "higher vibration," some talk about levels related to "states of experience." These are all models. Some may be better models than others. However, they are all pointing to the fact that people are at different levels of consciousness.

Other pointers to this phenomena are sayings such as "Birds of a feather flock together." The Urban Dictionary describes this phrase as: "When people that act the same, hang out together," and "People that have the same morals often tend to group." This can be easily interpreted as people at the same level of consciousness flock together.

Another phrase is, "If you want to know who you are, look at your friends." An example where this is applied is when someone points out that "All your friends are alcoholics." If this is so, it is quite likely that you are an alcoholic as well. A primary attractor field of alcoholics is denial, a common denominator at this level of consciousness.

Since cultures all appear to acknowledge levels of consciousness and spiritual groups have models describing levels of consciousness, it must have some factual basis. With science now measuring brain states, such as the effects of meditation on the brain, we may come up with more measurable models.

When it comes to realization we can say that it is an indicator of a certain level of consciousness. Tradition informs us that this is just the beginning and that further refinement may occur. In some traditions, one is obliged to refrain from teaching for at least ten years. Again, this implies further development which implies that after ten years the level will have settled in and perhaps risen further to a higher level.

To claim that upon realization one is finished, a cooked goose, is to ignore a process that is evolutionary and progressive. It appears safe to say that after realization, further refinement and embodiment continue. To say one has the complete knowledge and is finished upon realization seems counter intuitive and possibly arrogant.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Problem of Free Will

I recall being at lunch with some friends from work. We were having a lively discussions and the subject of 'free will' came up. I explained that I did not think we had free will. This horrified them! One of my friends said, "If I thought I didn't have free will I would kill myself." My response was that having no free will didn't bother me at all. This position was almost unfathomable to my friends. I explained that I was determined to live with Truth, whatever understanding it brought me.

My position on free will was brought about by self inquiry. First of all, I as a body did not create myself. The body appeared here one fine day. Secondly, I never felt I had control over my thoughts. The only response I seemed to have control over was whether or not I acted on my thoughts. I explained that I didn't create my mind, or my thoughts, they just appeared to me. It made little difference to me that I felt like I had choices, as that was just a feeling. What created the choice was just conflicts of interest, tendencies, etc. I knew the feeling of choice did not make free will a fact. It was just the appearance of the feeling of choice.

That conversation was many years ago. The fruition of my stance on personal free will has now come to fruition. The non dual perspective answers the question of free will very well. Knowing that I am the Absolute, and could be nothing other than the Absolute, were is there any lack of free will? The bodymind is simply a focal point of the Infinite. The infinite is playing the game of Lila with every creature in the universe. It is free to do whatever it wants with any of them. Knowing I am That, playing with this bodymind, where is my lack of freedom? 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Understanding Versus Belief

The Security of Understanding is much more profound than the security of belief. To make this starkly evident, understanding that 2 + 2 = 4 is inherently more secure than the belief that 2 + 2 = 3.

The belief that 2 +2 = 3 may give you a sense of security because you were brought up to think so, but you will have to defend it by rationalization, denial, and fanaticism because it doesn't have inherent support.

Understanding that 2 + 2 =4 leaves one open to changing one's mind if a deeper understanding occurs. Understanding this isn't a belief, but a knowing that is foundational in the realm of mathematical truth.

Understanding is a security based on thorough openness to what truth points to. This position is secure because it is based on the best investigation one can make. Belief on the other hand is held firm without question or openness. This is why beliefs are hard to change, but understanding deepens.

Awareness and Content

Awareness is the field of potential knowing. Consciousness is the knowing of what appears in the field. This distinction is similar to the metaphor of the movie screen and the images that are projected upon it. The screen is always there,  but the movies shown vary. The screen is the field upon which knowing happens.

An example would be a person in deep sleep. Awareness is there potentially, ready to respond if content arises. A dream perhaps. It is also there to respond if the lights are turned on, or a loud noise arises.

Awareness is always available to the mind and senses. There may be no sound, but the second a sound arises, we hear it. If in the dark, our eyes see nothing, but the second a light is turned on, seeing happens. Taste is always available. When food is taken into the mouth, we know it is an apple or a lemon.

If this distinction were made between the word awareness and the word consciousness, a slightly more subtle and accurate description of non dual awareness and the various forms of content might be made clearer. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Therapy vs Meditation

I came to non dual teachings after having done years of gestalt therapy and primal therapy. The non analytical nature of these therapies allowed for release of incredible amounts of pain, anxiety, and constriction. The amazing side effect was a stopping of projection and therefore an incredible reduction of thought.

In effect my mind became very quiet. The peace allowed for clarity of thinking, a pure uncluttered thinking. So, when I started on the non dual path, meditation had nothing to bring up for cleansing. The Jnana yoga path was what was left for me. Of course there were ecstatic mystical experiences, but these came from reading. Intuition with the Jnana path brought me the teachers required and realization.

I believe discussion of the possibility that experiential therapies such as dream work, gestalt, and primal therapy, may have a cleansing and quieting effect on the mind very similar to what some forms of meditation do. It appears to have worked for me.

Some very recognizable current non dual teachers speak of the cleansing effects of meditation. They speak directly to meditation bringing up painful repressed feelings and the release of bodily constrictions. There are constant reminders in the non dual texts that meditation is necessary to clear up the mind and emotions. This requirement is deemed to be a prerequisite because the subtleties of non dual inquiry cannot be grasped without a pure mind with the ability to concentrate. I could not agree more.

However, from my experience, a number of the experiential types of Western therapies do similar cleansing of the pain and constrictions in the mind and body. In effect, the end result of a clear, quiet, non projecting mind, is the same as brought about through meditation. If this is the case, someone who has gone through intense therapy and self examination, may not need mediation to quiet the mind. If one of the major goals of meditation is the quiet, clear, mind, I suggest that some Western therapies can produce a similar effect. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Poor Wording

At the point where one knows "I am That," one has the distinct feeling that every word one says about That is a lie. Words are separative and objectifying, and cannot contain or accurately describe the Absolute. Words can only point.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Love Yourself

How can one be selfless when there is nothing but the Self? Even Jesus said, "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." (John 14:20) As one Self everything you do is for the Self. Doing for another is no more valid than doing for yourself.

Another pointer Jesus gave us is "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:30-31) The unavoidable implication is that your neighbor is yourself, and he didn't say "Love your neighbor more than yourself. Love you provide goes to the self, whether you do it for another, or yourself.

When you do for others and it feels like a sacrifice, that attitude will taint you, and the receiver. A sacrificial attitude can become a major ego problem when you do for others and take pride in the self sacrifice. True giving feels good. It doesn't hurt, and there is no pride in it.

Remember, love your neighbor as yourself, not instead of yourself. 

One Reality

If there is only one reality what conclusions can we make.

1. Reality exists, always has and always will, whether a universe is manifested or not.

2. No matter what form appears, it is an emanation of That, is That, and could be nothing but That.

3. Everything is related as there is only one source.

4. From the viewpoint of that absolute reality, there can be no good or evil. Whatever happens is allowed.

5. Despite apparent separation, name and form are only constructs. Actual separation is non existent.

6. Discussions of what to eat can have human concerns, but whatever is eaten is That, be it meat, plant or mineral.

7. Human morals attempt to provide a framework for the good life. Without consideration of the oneness of all, every moral framework will fail to a lesser or greater degree.

8. Whatever happens is ultimately OK, whether we like it or not.

9 We therefore have no option but to trust That. It is our very Self.

Peace and Drama

Funny how people think that awakening releases all problems. It doesn't. It helps. It helps a lot, but much of that help involves only the individual. In other words, the personal baggage one carries lightens.  The personal circular thinking and projecting of pain and anger stops. Things become less personal, and one finds oneself more relaxed. Best of all, one knows that ultimately everything is OK.

However, dealing with other people who are projecting and think your contentment is laziness, doesn't stop. You may have dropped drama, but avoiding it in others is not so easy. When you have to deal with what is going on in others, especially spouses, it can difficult. When you stop responding to projections, the whole dynamic changes and others can get really angry. No wonder there are hermits when being alone is the most peaceful place. When drama serves no purpose, enjoying being alone really starts to stand out.

With awakening one is very likely do change behaviors. There is a movement away from involvements that are dramatic and full of projections. For example, avoiding parties or gatherings full of gossip. Idle talk can be grating. Avoidance becomes a necessity. Others may feel that you have moved away from them. Support is now internal and the experience of contentment takes away the motivation to seek entertainment. One looses sympathy to what seems irrelevant, and others will feel slighted.

Like seeks like. Once the shift happens one finds oneself gravitating to reading mystics and enlightened spiritual masters. Though the seeking has stopped, the best reading is in these areas. This type of reading and contemplation becomes one's entertainment.

All problems don't go away. There is peace and happiness as a background, but relationships can suffer, and backlash from friends who no longer find you supporting their ego agendas will call you out. Friends will drop away. New friendships will develop, but with or without them you are never alone, presence is always here. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Trusting the Unseen Force

I have no sense that this is my life. My sense is only that life is. This bodymind belongs to that life. Any purpose for this bodymind, therefore, belongs to life, to that which created it.

This bodymind did not create itself. It is an object. It belongs to that which created it. In no way can I say this is my life, I am in charge. The more honest position points in the direction of surrender. It actually becomes easy to surrender when one realizes that one is not in charge of one's life. The purpose and path one must take requires openness, pliability, and honesty. One must remain in listening mode.

From the position of surrender, the ego looses its place as the central guiding force. There is first a resounding silence from the universe. But, in time, the still small voice begins to be heard. One begins to follow that silence that only speaks through intuition in wordless gentle nudges.

Personal doing is left behind to be directed by an unseen force that one must trust. There is no other option when the ego knows its only job is listen and follow the desire of spirit. One instinctively knows that one must follow that force which created the universe.

That impersonal force comes to be trusted. It is obvious that trusting this impersonal life force is the only honest path. The motivations and attachments of the ego self diminish. Memories of the past cease to be motivations. Personal will looses all power. More space opens in the mind for musings from the unseen.

There is no one here needing to save the world. If something is to be done, the universe will conspire to get it done. If this bodymind is needed in the endeaver, it will be brought face to face with the necesary means. The unseen force supplies the events that make it obvious what is to be done. One follows the obvious without resistance, and things get done. This is a simple life. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

No. Everyone is NOT already enlightened

The crap about everyone is already enlightened causes a lot of botched progress on the path. The jiva is the one who gets the knowledge, the knowing, the freedom. The Self is already free. Only the jiva needs knowledge and only the jiva needs freedom. So, although everyone and everything is the Self, to say everyone is already enlightened is a misuse of language and a lack of understanding.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Void

Any void experienced or conceived of can only exist in Awareness. Awareness is, nothingness does not exist.

My personal experience of the void was always painful. It felt wrong, and I could not embrace it. The void drove me on to discover the fullness which is. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

When the Search is Over

The search is over when you no longer wonder what you are.

The search is over when you know that despite appearing to be a bodymind, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are in fact Awareness itself.

You know the search is over when you know there is nothing more you have to know or do. You are already complete. All that's left to do is play.

This does not mean that you are no longer curious, or that you no longer read nondual books. In fact, once the search is over, it is a joy to read how others express this understanding. The variety of expressions is endless. It's pure joy to consider the clarity and subtleties of the various expositions.

Once the search is over, it's like having a diamond in your hand. You can look at it this way or that, looking at the sparkle from this angle or that angle. The shape and light will be different, but it's all the same diamond.

Once the search is over, there are subtleties to see and investigate. There is consideration of ways of embodying the understanding. All this is done with delight. Your manner is playful. You're not looking for another answer, only enjoying the levels of understanding,  and considering their application. It's now an effortless playing in the field.  

Some Paths May Be More Complete

We are ignorant of our true essence until our ignorance is removed. Because we are wired for survival, our ignorance does not easily come into question. It takes someone who's ignorance has been removed to show others the path. Advaita Vedanta is one of the more advanced paths and has a long teaching tradition.
Many people have had mystical experiences and not understood the implications. The significance, meaning, and import of these experiences needs to be deduced. Without a complete teaching, such as  Advaita Vedanta, it is very hard to reach the full flowering of what the experience points to.
People with a little spiritual knowledge think because they had an experience they are awake. Most likely not. The experience is a pointer, like the proverbial finger pointing at the moon. Typically a mystical experience or two will rouse curiosity. This is the beginning of the path. Not the end.
Experiences come and go. Awareness does not. Until it is pointed out by an astute teacher, the mystical experience becomes the be all and end all. This is a mistake and will likely subvert further progress on the path. Advaita Vedanta doesn't have this problem. It is a complete teaching. Someone who gets the complete teaching and understands, is free. Even then, further application or embodiment of the understanding needs to be taken on.
Neo Advaita teachers may know they are awareness, but an incomplete teaching leaves many seekers frustrated and without any direction. To say "You are awareness and there is nothing to do about it, just accept it," is more like a belief system. In contrast, Advaita Vedanta is a scientific explanation of consciousness that satisfies the intellect while it also opens the heart.

============================================================

NOTE:
When it comes to enlightenment, there are many paths. Depending on the person, one path may be better than another. If someone is really ripe, a zen Koan, or a profound experience may cause them to become aware of their true nature as Awareness. If there is only one reality, any path that points to it is useful. This post started as a comment I made regarding Advaita Vedanta being helpful for understanding mystical experiences. My only point is that Advaita Vedanta was helpful to me. There are many paths and some are more helpful than others. Some are more complete than others. For me Advaita Vedanta as traditionally taught was very clarifying, removed doubts, and satisfied my intellect. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Automatic Value Judgments

One of the best definitions I've heard about emotions is that they are "automatic value judgments." This definition carries a lot of weight. First of all it is seen that they are judgments, and we know what that leads to. Secondly, they are automatic, which means they may have been picked up in childhood, or from some group or culture without thorough unpacking. If we act on them without consideration we may fall into patterns of response that are not in line with dharma or reality for that matter.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Consciousness Can Only Investigate Itself

Because anything we look at or investigate is in consciousness, we can never escape it. Since this is the case, to know what is out there, we have to investigate what consciousness is.

Since there is nothing outside of consciousness, we must investigate consciousness with itself. The consciousness that is closest to us, obviously, is that consciousness which we are. So, we must begin right here, where we are, with our own bodymind.

When we investigate we see that there is a field, a screen on which everything appears. We know the screen is here because everything appears here. We are aware, as presence, yet we cannot describe it. 

The field we know is awareness itself. The bodymind also appears on this screen. The senses play on this screen. Hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, feeling, thinking, all appear on this screen. Whatever appears, the screen reveals.

As consciousness examines itself, it comes to the conclusion that there is nothing but itself. With persistent self examination, even the bodymind dissolves into presence. That presence, that pure awareness is what truly is. It is what we are.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Everything You Experience is Consciousness

When you taste an apple you are experiencing consciousness.
When you see the beauty of a sunset you are experiencing consciousness. When you hear the voice of your beloved, you are experiencing consciousness. When you feel the breeze on your face you are experiencing consciousness. When you smell the flowers on the breeze, you are experiencing consciousness. When are you not experiencing consciousness?

If you take this in, you will come to the conclusion that the only thing there is, is consciousness. The world out there is only a seeming. The entire knowledge of it, the entire experience of it, is in consciousness only. That knowledge points to consciousness as that which only is. You are that. Everyone is that. Nothing is outside of it. There is no separation anywhere.

The Thing in Itself

All the science on consciousness measures effects. These would be EEG brain waves, lighted areas showing on MRI scans, etc. All these scientific methods are noticing and measuring phenomena produced by consciousness, but none see the "thing in itself."

All scientific exploration of consciousness has an a priori problem. It is consciousness itself that is doing the perceiving, measuring, and concluding. Consciousness is the observer, and not an object itself.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Which Identity

The basic fact of ignorance or enlightenment is simply what identity we hold as self. If we identify with our body-mind, then we are limited and mortal. If we identify as awareness (the perceiver of body-mind), then we are unlimited and immortal.

Identifying with the body-mind causes suffering because anything that happens to the body-mind is personal. We resist. But, knowing oneself as impersonal, unlimited, eternal consciousness, removes personal suffering.

If you are not the body-mind, but that which perceives it, where is there room for feeling hurt or slighted? It's like watching a character in a movie. Resistance is dropped.

The only thing that needs to be done to receive peace and happiness is to examine your experience and determine whether or not awareness is limited to the body-mind. If not limited to the body-mind, you are that impersonal awareness, forever free.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Real You

The mind grasps various thoughts appearing in consciousness and says "This is me," or "This is not me." Rarely does the mind step back and consider the consciousness itself that provides thoughts the mind accepts or rejects.

You have happy thoughts one day and sad thoughts the next. But what is that awareness that knows both the happy thoughts and the sad thoughts? That awareness can look back and see that the mind was happy one day and sad the next, but it does not identify with either state.

That awareness, that open field in which happy or sad thoughts appear, is the real you. It is the observer of the various states, but is not one of them. That awareness is the real you. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Illusions

Our lives are experiments with illusion. When we've had enough of samsara, then we seek the truth.

Awareness Has Jiva Lenses

"You are what you consider yourself to be," until you go looking for the Truth. Then, if persistent, and lucky, and grace strikes, you discover that you can be nothing but pure awareness, looking through whatever lens the jiva chose.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Beyond Thought and Feeling

Anything that can be thought or felt is not It, because It is that which knows the thought or feeling. That which knows is beyond thought or feeling. It can only be the undefinable, ineffable, devoid of any attachment. It is the "I" of all. Pure Awareness.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Does Experience Last?

All experiences come and go. If enlightenment cannot be undone, then it must be knowledge/understanding. Experience comes and goes, but knowledge, if true, is permanent.

An experience can be said to be "enlightening." In that case the understanding has come or been extrapulated from the experience. Experience alone will not last, but understanding will, because like 2 + 2 = 4, true understanding is permanent.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Awareness Does Not See Itself

Just as the eyes cannot see  themselves, you do not see your real self. Just as the eyes need a mirror to see themselves, we need a word mirror to see our real nature.

When your next thought comes, you will be there to experience it, but you do not know what it will be. When your next feeling comes, you will be there to experience it, but you do not know what it will be.

If you contemplate this fact, you will see that you cannot be your thoughts or feelings. They come and go. You do not. So, what is this you that is available to whatever comes? Pure awareness, the witness, the one observer. You are that.

The next problem analize is the where the pure awareness resides. Is it limited to your body; limited to every individual body? Or is it a universal field from which all bodies partake?

Just as you know what your eyes see, so you know what your mind thinks and feels. But that knower is not dependent on what the body thinks or feels. It is independent of it.

True, if the body dies you will no longer have the thoughts and feeling of that body. But that does not mean that you have disappeared. You never were those thoughts and feelings. You were always the observer, the knower.

Bodies are appearances. You are the knower in all appearances. Nothing is known without your presence. You must be there prior to the body, and there is nothing to suggest you disappear when the body goes. You are that in which everything appears.

Friday, February 2, 2018

With My Consent

I am awareness. Everything else is an illusion, a mystery. But the mystery is in me, projected from me. What fear can I have of what appears?

I am the field in which all of this arises. The play is played, the music heard. It is but entertainment. I am unaffected.

Joy only in what is revealed. It does not affect me. Good or bad, a dream only. I enjoy it. 

All resolves into me, as I am, as I was, and will be. Nothing happened. But all was good fun.

Sound and fury appearing in stillness. Nothing to fear or change. All happens with my consent.

What could be better than this?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

We Are That Awareness

Where can I find a particle of the universe that isn't aware? I exist. To know that is to be aware. But what about the material world that surrounds me? Do I assume it is unaware? I do not.

We know that the molecules of steel cling to each other in patterns defined by their makeup. From iron to the various forms of steel, particles know when they are next to each other. They cling and hold together according to their composition. It may not be our level of awareness, but the atoms know what they are next to and respond accordingly.

In the paired particle experiments, paired particles, when separated, even from space, respond to any change of spin in one of them. At some level we cannot deny that awareness is there.

Water clings to itself until separated by a stronger force. Water, being a great solvent, dissolves much of what it comes in contact with. Can we not say that minerals are not aware when coming into contact with water? No, they respond by breaking apart.

Doesn't the earth spin in harmony with the sun, aware of it's place? And don't the stars have their orbits in response to the gravitational fields around them? Doesn't light bend around gravitational fields?

I could go on along this line, but you get the point. This is an aware universe, from the atom to the stars. Nothing is unconnected. Nothing is separate. Awareness holds this whole universe together.

As a sentient human we may have a more personal awareness than rocks or stars. But is it essentially different? I think not. We are one in this essential awareness. We are not separate, but one with all that is. We are that awareness.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Grand Show

When you know that you are that essence, and everything is that essence, where is death? Images arise, play their roles, and fold back into essence.

Where can there be any attachment when all is one? There would need to be separation for attachment to have any meaning. And there is none.

Aloneness is not possible, because that would imply two, and essence is all there is. No other for comfort.

Stillness speaks loud and clear. Distractions of otherness fade like dream characters. All possibilities arise and dance. All have their say. Then stillness takes them home.

Essence is still while the play goes on. The show is grand. So many stages. So many actors, lost in their roles. Who wakes up?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Presence of Objects

If you look at an object in front of you, where is it? The simple answer might be, "Over There." But if you dig a little deeper, you might say, "It is in presence."

Objects might appear all around you, but there is not one that is not in presence. Your body and mind are also in presence. Wherever you are, presence is there.

Consider presence as unconditioned, because anything that appears to your mind and senses will take up presence. This is so whether you welcome the object or not.

This unconditioned presence is what you are. Think about it. What else could you be. Even your mind and personality are present. And that presence is prior to body, mind. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ego Desires

As long as you believe the person is real, there are a lot of ego rewards. When you lose that belief, and awareness is your essence, ego desires drop like so much fantasy. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Peaceful

I am the awareness that watches Maury. It's so fun to watch. It's like being involved without being affected. It's peaceful and enjoyable at the same time. Maury's so enjoyable, even his problems. Maury is actually at rest in me. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Without Qualities You Are

Every one of us has a unique perception of the world and a unique personality. Each and every one of us is aware of this uniqueness. Few of us stop to consider that the awareness that provides our unique perception is the same.

Awareness does not play favorites. It is available to all of us. It is only the flavor of that awareness, filtered through our unique mix of vasanas, that is different. We are all aware, but we filter the objects differently.

Enlightenment is taking a step back from our filters and settling in awareness itself. From that vantage point, dispassion sets in, objectivity becomes available, and freedom arises as judgment ceases.

From the vantage point of awareness, our uniqueness as a person is just a set of qualities, an appearance only. This is freedom from the jiva, and freedom for the jiva.

All qualities and modifications in the world are dependent on you, but you awareness, are not dependent on them. You are qualityless. You, awareness, are deathless and limitless.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Unconditional Self Acceptance

From childhood we often take on self demeaning attitudes projected on us. If we were not loved in a way that gave us  confidence, we often continue that self demeaning conditioning long after we leave home. Consider this, and give yourself a break.

Best to continually step back from your automatic self response and take an objective look. Honestly, you are not as bad as you think, and a little self forgiveness is in order.

You already know you are awareness and can stand back and treat yourself with a little compassion. Wear your personality lightly. It's not who you really are.

Don't beat yourself up with inquiry. Look at yourself gently. Continually forgive yourself. Step back and look at your reactions. Just look. Consider your reactions from the standpoint of unconditional awareness. You might find room to give yourself break. That's progress. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Aware Universe

Existence = Consciousness. For me this seems self evident and means we live in a  universe of non dual awareness. This universe is one whole, non separate field of interconnected wholeness. Only name and form seem to separate.

Since this universe exists, something existed to create it. Since consciousness is knowing, whatever created this universe had to be conscious and knowing of what it created.

Beautiful, intelligent awareness is pervasive. Positive elections are aware of negative electrons. Magnetic forces respond to each other, and paired particles respond to spin from long distances.

This whole universe from micro to macro is aware of itself. To my mind this does not seem refutable.