Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The more you talk and think about it

The further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking,
And there is nothing you will not be able to know.
To return to the root is to find the meaning,
But to pursue appearances is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment
There is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.

--Seng Ts'an (d.606)
Nondual Highlights 2714

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Enlightenment is

a dualistic concept.

An exploration of non-volitional living

“Nothing perceived can be me or mine”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Cease identification with all phenomonality”
~ Wei Wu Wei

Why are we so unhappy? Because not everything goes our way. Because we dread doing the things we don’t want to do, but have to do. And we can’t do many things we want to do. All this boils down to the fact that we feel we are a person with desires that conflict with our circumstances and our responsibilities. In other words our ‘volition’ is not always in line with what is happening or what should be done. An understanding of what-we-are and what the mind is can free us from this false sense of volition and remove the burden of our responsibilities. Then, we actually will be happy. Without even trying!

1. You are not the mind.

We have been taught that the mind is ourself, thinking.

We cannot be the mind because we are what is perceiving the mind. Look for yourself right now! You are looking at thoughts from a higher (prior) level. We cannot perceive ourself just as our eye cannot see itself because it is what is looking. The mind cannot be ourself. The Chinese Ch’an master Hsi Yun (Huang Po) said, “A perception cannot perceive.” So, are you the perceptions (thoughts and feelings) or what is perceiving them?

We feel we are the mind because of the way the mind itself works. The mind understands things by comparing perceptions and creating objective concepts of them so it can compare one concept with another. This is knowledge. Naturally, it soon creates a concept of itself as ‘me’ and there the trouble begins. Thus, the mind associates the sense of ‘me’ with its operation and with the body and we believe and feel we are an
individual, thinking, acting entity. This is the origin of all our suffering. Once we feel we are an individual we begin to see and evaluate everything as it relates to us as an individual. We become a thing in a universe of things. A very small, vulnerable, but supremely important (at least to ourself) individual, in a vast, infinite, seemingly purposeless, uncaring cosmos. We lose our original, true sense of identity with the Absolute.

2. The mind goes its own way

By watching our thoughts over a period of time, we can see that the mind is operating literally ‘by itself ‘. Thoughts ‘just appear’ and keep on appearing automatically. We have this feeling that it is ‘me’ who is thinking, but this is just a conditioned reflex caused by the concept of ourself as an individual. By watching thoughts we can see how they appear unbidden, uncalled. Just try not thinking for a even a few seconds and see that it is impossible. No ‘me’ is controlling them. We may have the illusion of purposely thinking about a particular subject, but notice that the idea to purposely think about something comes by itself. Then we do it, automatically, but with the false feeling we are the ‘decider’. That feeling of being the ‘decider’ is not us, it belongs to the mind. It is something we are perceiving.

This is not proven in just a few minutes of thought watching. It often takes many months of diligent watching to really see it and to be convinced. This is because the conditioned feeling of being the ‘thinker’ is so deep that the very idea that the mind goes its own way seems ridiculous. But the payoff of this single discovery is enormous in terms of liberation and deeper understanding of ourselves and the universe.

The very idea that the mind is operating by itself is unacceptable for most people because it seems to remove the control of the mind from the individual and allows the individual to cease accepting responsibility for his actions. Then they will do all the ‘bad’ things they want. This is a valid reason from the point of view of an ‘individual’. Actually, because the mind conceives of itself as an individual, it uses this fear of harm to itself or reward for itself as a form of inhibition to keep from doing things that would be ‘wrong’ (ultimately harmful to it or to its image of itself). However, this is not you, it is the mind regulating itself. This is where feelings of bondage and frustration come from. Because the mind conceives of itself as an individual, it accumulates conflicting needs and desires. The purpose is not just to release the inhibitions that keep us under control, but to dissolve the mind’s illusion of itself as an individual in charge of and identified with the mind. That will, at the same time begin to dissolve the inhibitions as well as the need for them because the conflicting needs and desires will go with the illusory self!

3. You are not the doer.

You have never done anything! Because the mind has conceived itself to be an individual it also conceives of itself as the Thinker and also the ‘Actor’ or ‘Doer’. Yet it is not anyone. The mind is not a ‘thing’ or entity but a process. The thinking process. Simply a process that is happening automatically, the same as the heart is beating automatically. This is why we cannot live the perfect life even though we have been taught how a ‘good’ person should act. We know we shouldn’t get angry at our spouse or our children whom we love, but despite the greatest resolve, we still do. Why? Because we are not the thinker of our thoughts nor the doer of our actions. Because they are not our thoughts or our actions. We are not even the experiencer of the experience. What are we? We are what is perceiving the mind and that is not anyone.

We are what is perceiving the doing, but we are not the doer. We never were. We have never done the bad things and we have never done the good things either. Thoughts are affected by the environment (such as this article), inner habits and tendencies, and by the mind’s concept of a ‘me’, but not by any actual ‘me’. We are incapable of interfering with the mind. Why? Because there is no one to interfere. We aren’t anyone. Thus, we absolutely cannot have any volition. The concept of being an individual is an invention of the mind itself. It is an artifact of the way the mind works. The feeling of volition is an illusion spawned by this concept of ‘me’.

We can never find our own will (volition) in any action. Every so called action is actually an automatic re-action of the mind with an accompanying feeling of volition. It is not ‘me’, it is the mind automatically going its own way! Simply watch the mind. Be aware of it. That’s all that can be done because that is all we are doing right now. That is all we ever do. That is all we have ever done. It is the mind that thinks and feels otherwise and we are what is aware of what the mind thinks and feels. We are perfectly open, empty and still. We are not in space or time. We can never be affected in any way. We have no needs or desires whatever. We just shine brilliantly, effortlessly.

We are what perceives what is appearing. In fact, it is because of this perceiving that anything at all appears. What we are is the beingness of what appears. The isles or the am-ness, if you will of the very sense of ‘I am’. Another way to put it is that we are the Awareness in which everything appears (the here-now, the sense of presence, consciousness). See that we are simply and only the awareness of the mind while it goes its own way. Every sensation and feeling it has belongs to it, to manifestation …not to ourself. With everything that appears in any way, we can say ‘Not me, not me.’

We are the Watcher, not the thinker, or the doer, or the experiencer.

Once this is deeply and completely understood, the mind can let go of its sense of volition and its sense of being an individual, relax and just be knowledge. Everything happens by itself. Everything happens as it should. Everything happens as it must.

When the mind lets go of its sense of self and volition there is the deepest sense of complete peace and fulfillment. It is the Bliss spoken of by the ancient masters. All fear disappears.

We are now looking from our true Source (as we always were but didn’t realize) the timeless, spaceless
Absolute. The unmanifest. This is what we all are. This is the ultimate source of our light of awareness. We are perceiving the manifest from its source, the unmanifest and it unfolds spacially and temporally as it eternally IS.

(c) 1993, Galen Sharp

Just be

We think we know what the result of awakening will be - namely a lessening of pain. So we make up stories - a story that we must say ‘yes’ to everything, that acceptance will help us awaken. A story that things will be easier if we awaken, that we will love unconditionally if we awaken; that our lives will be smoother, happier. If we awaken.

We make up a story that we are drawn to truth. We make up a story that our yearning is opening our hearts. Ha! All this thinking is just a mind crying out for a good therapist.

If you are unhappy or unfulfilled or not at peace, then I would suggest you see such a person - she will probably be of far more help than some self-proclaimed teacher touring around giving ’satsang’ and helping you dream nicer dreams.

Awakened state, unawakened state … such things are the storybooks of children. Look around - do the animals spend time wondering about an imagined God, a Nirvana, a state of happiness, a oneness with all? Have a little humility my dear friend - notice that you are not as clever as the gentle little field mouse who lives quietly in the grasses and never for a moment wonders about becoming one with the universe. She just lives and is. She does not need or think of the pretentions of evolving, of gain, of being something, or of attaining. For her this moment is it - everything and everyone appears and receeds into and out of her own quiet awareness. She just lives.

Really - isn’t all this talk and more talk of awakening just a small death you are giving yourself? Isn’t this imagined answer to all your problems blinding you to what is here, now? If you are unhappy or lack peace, see a therapist. Or perhaps quiet and free, with pain or without it, just be.


Just live!

No one knows what is best for you. Not the local psychologist, friend, lover, or advaita teacher on her sofa throne. If you want to awaken (whatever you think that means) follow your own heart, not someone else’s.

Once someone sat under a bodi tree and ceased to suffer. So for more than 2000 years people all over the world sit in meditation in the hope that they too will cease to suffer. But why should what worked for Buddha work for you? Chances are, it wont.

It does not matter how ‘awake’ your favourite guru appears to be. In This you are really on your way alone. Not lonely - but alone. And no guru can stand beside you. Follow your own heart into love. If your mind is luxuriating in suffering, it will continue to do so until it tires. So you may as well ignore it now.

Forget the imaginary lineage from Ramana to Poonja to a another to another. This is foolishness. Truth has no lineage. It either siezes your heart forever or it does not. The rest is just psychological nonsense - though of course very appealing and soothing in its way.

Why try to quiet your mind with spiritual practice? The mind’s function is noise - let it natter away. Its coming and goings have nothing to do with you. Really now, the only mind that is forever still is a dead one

You can notice though. You can notice what is behind every action and behind every appearance. And you can smile and live.

Whether you know yourself to be the consequence of everything, whether you jump or not, JUST LIVE! You will anyway.


Truth Comes at a Cost

If I was to translate the enlightened state down into human terms, I'd have to describe it as contentment. Being nobody, going nowhere, needing no reason to exist. To the ego, that probably sounds a little boring and of course to an ego it is. But then again, there's really nothing for the ego in enlightenment. [...] I'm not saying that ego is bad or evil because it's not. I'm saying that ego is a social and personal construct and therefore an illusion. But there's nothing wrong with an illusion. A painting is an illusion; a movie is an illusion; a good novel is an illusion. The problem isn't with illusion; the problem is with the emotional attachments and addictions of ego.

To most people "attachment" is a very abstract word that they think they understand. People in spiritual circles think of attachments in terms of things that they are attached to. They identify the things attached to and endeavor to let go of them, but this misses the whole point of what attachment really is. Attachment isn't about things attached to; it's about emotion in the form of a magnetic energy of attraction. That energy is how you know who you are as an ego. That energy is who you are as an ego. Ego defines itself by what it does and does not like. There is no ego outside of this emotional energy of attraction and repulsion -- better known as love and hate, like and dislike, good and bad, right and wrong, us and them, me and you. Without emotional investment in the ego's points of view, what's left of ego but a hollow shell with a little personality mixed in?

You breathe life into your ego in the form of emotional addictions. Emotion is the very life-force of ego. So the point of detachment isn't to detach from things, but to detach from your emotional bonds with things. And you don't simply let go of emotional bonds; you burn through them with investigative awareness. You see them for what they are: prisons, false structures holding you in spiritual infancy. You may think that I am being a bit harsh -- which I am, but awakening to truth is a harsh business. Bottom line is "What do you want more: to feel better or to realize the truth?" Sure, truth realization feels really good, but no one gets there whose driving motivation is simply to feel good. Feeling really good is a byproduct of the awakened state; it is not the state itself. The state itself is reality, and it's won at the hands of unreality. Simply put, ultimate truth comes at a cost, and the cost is everything in you and about you that is unreal. The end result is freedom, happiness, peace, and no longer viewing life through the veils of illusion.

- Adyashanti
Nondual Highlights 2712


In Pali, heart and mind are one word (citta), but in English we have to differentiate between the two to make the meaning clear.

When we attend to the mind, we are concerned with the thinking process and the intellectual understanding that derives from knowledge, and with our ability to retain knowledge and make use of it.

When we speak of "heart" we think of feelings and emotions, our ability to respond with our fundamental being. Although we may believe that we are leading our lives according to our thinking process, that is not the case. If we examine this more closely, we will find that we are leading our lives according to our feelings and that our thinking is dependent upon our feelings.

Ayya Khmer
Nondual Highlights 2712

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Universe

What if someone said to an embryo in the womb,
"Outside of your world of black nothing
is a miraculously ordered universe;
a vast Earth covered with tasty food;
mountains, oceans and plains,
fragrant orchards and fields full of crops;
a luminous sky beyond your reach,
with a sun, moonbeams, and uncountable stars;
and there are winds from south, north and west,
and gardens replete with sweet flowers
like a banquet at a wedding feast.

The wonders of this world are beyond description.
What are you doing living in a dark prison,
Drinking blood through that narrow tube?"
But the womb-world is all an embryo knows
And it would not be particularly impressed
By such amazing tales, saying dismissively:
"You're crazy. That is all a deluded fantasy."

One day you will look back and laugh at yourself.
You'll say, " I can't believe I was so asleep!
How did I ever forget the truth?
How ridiculous to believe that sadness and sickness
Are anything other than bad dreams."

- Rumi,
Nondual Highlights 2705

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Everything happens

by itself.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

All things arise

Suffer change,
And pass away.

This is their nature.

When you know this,
Nothing perturbs you,
Nothing hurts you.

You become still.

It is easy.

--Ashtavakra Gita 11:1
From "The Heart of Awareness: A Translation of the Ashtavakra Gita,", Thomas Byron
Nondual Highlights 2702

Without consciousness

Time and space do not exist;
They appear within Consciousness
But have no reality of their own.

It is like a screen on which
All this is cast as pictures and move
As in a cinema show.

The Absolute Consciousness
Alone is our real nature.

--Ramana Maharshi
Nondual Highlights 2702

Saturday, January 13, 2007

This & THAT

THIS is my story,
THAT is who 'I' Am.

Friday, January 12, 2007


before the eagle was
before the sea
before the oak was
You are

before the lake was
and the cloud
before Ireland
You are

before this poem was
it pulsed in You
before the sun and moon
We are light
nothing else

~ Gabriel Rosenstock
Nondual Highlights 2695

Friday, January 05, 2007

The so-called “enlightenment”

or “Self-realization” has significance only to the spiritual seeker, the one who imagines himself or herself bound and who is in need of liberation. The actual event or change known as enlightenment is really a non-event. It involves the disappearance of the wrong assumption that there is somebody there who has something to gain. Spiritual seeking ends when it is understood that you are the one you were seeking. You are already yourself. When that dawns on you, naturally you give up the pointless pursuit of looking for yourself.

Enlightenment gets built up in the mind of a seeker so that it seems like something great and wonderful. That is the nature of “two.” It imagines separation and then longs for oneness. Oneness becomes “the goal.” But that’s OK. It is part of the natural process by which oneness, having become two, becomes one again. It is part of the play that it is not understood that oneness is all. Only after the famous “awakening” takes place does the understanding finally come and twoness finally goes away. Then “enlightenment” is seen as something of a joke. There never was any seeker!

~ Andrew Vernon
In Nondual Highlights 2689

"I" am not enlightened,

awakened, or Self-realized. There is no one to whom those words can be applied.

May all those who seek the Self come to this understanding—that there is no path that leads to the one who is seeking.

May all those who practise spiritual disciplines come to this understanding—that there is nothing you can do to become what you already are.

May all seekers everywhere come to the end of their seeking and live freely in peace and happiness.

~ Andrew Vernon

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sometimes a man stands up during supper

and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.

And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.

And another man, who remains inside his own house,
dies there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
so that his children have to go far out into the world
toward that same church, which he forgot.

Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Robert Bly

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Nisarga Yoga

(nisarga: natural state, innate disposition), the 'natural' Yoga of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, is disconcertingly simple—the mind, which is all-becoming, must recognize and penetrate its own being, not as being this or that, here or there, then or now, but just timeless being.

This timeless being is the source of both life and consciousness. In terms of time, space and causation it is all-powerful, being the cause less cause; all-pervading, eternal, in the sense of being beginningless, endless and ever-present. Uncaused, it is free; all-pervading, it knows; undivided, it is happy. It lives, it loves, and it has endless fun, shaping and reshaping the universe. Every man has it, every man is it, but not all know themselves as they are, and therefore identify themselves with the name and shape of their bodies and the contents of their consciousness.

To rectify this misunderstanding of one's reality, the only way is to take full cognizance of the ways of one's mind and to turn it into an instrument of self-discovery. The mind was originally a tool in the struggle for biological survival. It had to learn the laws and ways of nature in order to conquer it. That it did, and is doing, for mind and nature working hand-in-hand can raise life to a higher level. But, in the process the mind acquired the art of symbolic thinking and communication, the art and skill of language. Words became important. Ideas and abstractions acquired an appearance of reality, the conceptual replaced the real, with the result that man now lives in a verbal world, crowded and dominated by words.

Obviously, for dealing with things and people words are exceedingly useful. But they make us live in a world totally symbolic and unreal. To break out from this prison of the verbal mind into reality, one must be able to shift one's focus from the word to what it refers to.

The most commonly used word and most pregnant with feelings, and ideas is the word 'I'. Mind tends to include in it anything and everything, the body as well as the Absolute. In practice it stands as a pointer to an experience, which is direct, immediate and immensely significant. To be, and to know that one is, is most important. And to be of interest, a thing must be related to one's conscious existence, which is the focal point of every desire and fear. For, the ultimate aim of every desire is to enhance and intensify this sense of existence, while all fear is, in its essence, the fear of self-extinction.

To delve into the sense of 'I'—so real and vital—in order to reach its source is the core of the Nisarga Yoga. Not being continuous, the sense of 'I' must have a source from which it flows and to which it returns. This timeless source of conscious being is what Maharaj calls the self-nature, self-being, swarupa.

As to methods of realizing one's supreme identity with the self-being, Maharaj is peculiarly noncommittal. He says that each has his own way to reality. But, for all the gateway to reality, by whatever road one arrives to it, is the sense of 'I am'. It is through grasping the full import of the 'I am', and going beyond it to its source, that one can realize the ultimate, supreme state. The difference between the beginning and the end lies only in the mind. When the mind is dark or turbulent, the source is not perceived. When it is clear and luminous, it becomes a faithful reflection of the source. The source is always the same-beyond darkness and light, beyond life and death, beyond the conscious and the unconscious.

This dwelling on the sense 'I am' is the simple, easy and natural Yoga, the Nisarga Yoga. There is no secrecy in it and no dependence; no preparation or initiation is required. Whoever is puzzled by his very existence as a conscious being and earnestly wants to find his own source, can grasp the ever-present sense of 'I am' and dwell on it assiduously and patiently, till the clouds obscuring the mind dissolve and the heart of being is seen in all its glory.

The Nisarga Yoga, when persevered in and brought to its fruition, results in one becoming conscious and active in what one always was unconsciously and passively. There is no difference in kind—only in manner—the difference between a lump of gold and a glorious ornament shaped out of it. Life goes on, but it is spontaneous and free, meaningful and happy.

Maharaj most lucidly describes this natural, spontaneous state, but as the man born blind cannot visualize light and colors, so is the unenlightened mind unable to give meaning to such descriptions. Expressions like dispassionate happiness, affectionate detachment, timelessness and causelessness of things and being—they all sound strange and cause no response. Intuitively we feel they have deep meaning, and they even create in us a strange longing for the ineffable, a forerunner of things to come, but that is all. As Maharaj puts it; words are pointers, they show the direction but they will not come along with us. Truth is the fruit of earnest action, words merely point the way.

Maurice Frydman, 1973
in ‘I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta’.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

No inside, no outside

on the nondual highway home.

You are nothing

     when you wed the One;
but you are everything
     when you become nothing.

~ Fakhruddin Iraqi, Divine Flashes