Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Right now, there is a wakefulness, you might know it as "awareness" - it's a simple and ever-present presence, an effortless knowing, a cognizing which seems to contain objective content, yet upon investigation the very content of wakefulness is wakefulness itself.
It is the mind which attempts to divide this wakefulness into inner and outer, into here and there, into now and then.
This wakefulness is the most obvious aspect of reality - It is, what IS. Efforts to "find" it take place within it. Efforts to "seek" it overlook it's inherently present nature. The "seeker" is also a state or experience or idea or thought within it, although in differentiating what IS by the words "state", "experience", "idea" and "thought" is part of the mechanism which seems to divide the wakefulness.
Therefore there is no reaching wakefulness - there is no attaining wakefulness. This pure "state" is already fully present, fully already the case. THAT which the word "enlightenment" or "nirvana" point - THAT IS your true essence or nature already.
Another quote from the author, Ken Wilbur, from the book A Brief History of Everything:
"Every experience you have is already nondual, whether you realize it or not. So it is not necessary for you to change your state of consciousness in order to discover this nonduality. Any state of consciousness you have will do just fine, because nonduality is fully present in each state... recognition is the point. Recognition of what always already is the case. Change of state is useless, a distraction... subject and object are actually one and you simply need to recognize this... you already have everything in consciousness that is required. You are looking right at the answer... but you don't recognize it. Someone comes along and points it out, and you slap your head and say, Yes I was looking right at it..."
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Erwin Schrodinger - Nobel prize winner, contributor to the founding of quantum physics.
"Yet each of us has the indisputable impression that the sum total of his own experience and memory forms a unit, quite distinct from that of any other person. He refers to it as 'I' and What is this 'I'? If you analyze it closely you will, I think, find that it is just the facts little more than a collection of single data (experiences and memories), namely the canvas upon which they are collected. And you will, on close introspection, find that what you really mean by 'I' is that ground-stuff upon which they are collected.
Albert Einstein - Nobel prize winner, best known for his theories of relativity.
'A human being... experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison ...'
Stanley Sobottka - Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia. Stanley has an excellent paper available on his website for free, titled "A Course in Consciousness".
From the Summary...
"The following concepts, like all concepts, cannot describe Reality, but, unlike most concepts, they point to Reality.
1. The premise: Consciousness is all there is. Another word for Consciousness is the impersonal, yet intimate, I.
2. The conclusions:
I am not an object or entity.
Objects and entities are never real.
Whatever is supposed to happen will happen. Whatever is not supposed to happen will not happen. There is no doer, so there is no choice.
The entire manifestation is an expression of Love.
3. The practice: Don’t believe this—look and see it for yourself!
"But what exactly is this sense of "I-ness?" I use the word "I" hundreds of times a day without hesitation. I say that I am thinking or seeing something, that I have a feeling or desire, that I know or remember something. It is the most familiar, most intimate, most obvious aspect of myself. I know exactly what I mean by "I." Until, that is, I try to describe it or define it. Then I run into trouble.
Although the self may never be known as an object of experience, it can be known in another, more intimate and immediate, way. When the mind is silent, when all the thoughts, feelings, perceptions and memories with which we habitually identify have fallen away, then what remains is the essence of self, the pure subject without an object. What we then find is not a sense of "I am this" or "I am that;" but just "I am"."
Friday, October 23, 2009
It seems Mooji gets a bad rap from both "sides" of the Advaita equation. To the traditional, Mooji is another "false neo-Advaita satsang teacher" - as he prescribes no practices, preaches from no sacred texts.
To the more direct crowd, he is the epitome of the "guru type". He speaks softly, sits with flowers and a picture of Ramana Maharshi, and has the "feeling" of a guru.
Yet his message is consistently clear and direct - pointing to THAT BY WHICH the I AM-ness is known, your true essence.
As with other posts on this blog, don't get stuck on the attributes of the messenger - let the message resonate. Follow what is being pointed to.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
THIS is inescapable - we try to wiggle our way out of it in thought. We race back, in memory, to the past, trying to second-guess, trying to analyze. We zoom forward in imagination, trying to anticipate, trying to plan, setting goals - yet when the past happened, it was JUST THIS. When the future unfolds, it will be JUST THIS.
In the spiritual search, we try to focus on being present. We try to "live in the NOW". What does that really mean? It means not racing into the past or rushing to the future, but remaining with THIS, right here and now. But what is NOW? What is the present? It is the present age, the present century, the present decade, the present year, the present month, the present week, the present day. It is the present hour. It is the present minute. How long is the present?
The minute has 60 seconds - so NOW is also the present second, which is the present millisecond, the present nanosecond...
So where is the present? What measurement is the "official" length of time? What length of time is THIS, right here and now?
THIS - is no length of time at all. If we're focused on this "moment", THIS feels like a short time. When we're preoccupied, THIS flies by. Yet it's always only THIS.
Therefore THIS is the timeless. THIS means - timelessness - eternal. Time is itself only a concept, only a mental function, a measurement of some kind, an arbitrary calculation, a conceptual splitting up of something which can never be split. That something is JUST THIS.
Where are YOU in all this? What is aware of the timeless beyond time? What is the condition by which this realization of the illusory nature of time takes place? THAT is the timeless itself. THAT, is YOU.
"Early morning, the orange sun is slowly rising, shining forth in empty luminous clarity. The mind and the sky are one, the sun is rising in the vast space of primordial awareness, and there is just this. Yasutani Roshi once said, speaking of satori, that it was the most precious realization in the world, because all the great philosophers had tried to understand ultimate reality but had failed to do so, yet with satori or awakening all of your deepest questions are finally answered: it's just this."
-Ken Wilbur, "One Taste"
Sunday, October 11, 2009
The Ashtavakra Gita is a teaching from an ancient Indian Vedanta sage, Ashtavakra. It is a dialog between Ashtavakra and Janaka, the King of Mithila. Here is a small excerpt:
"Bondage is when the mind longs for something, grieves about something, rejects something, holds on to something, is pleased about something or displeased about something." 8.1
"Liberation is when the mind does not long for anything, grieve about anything, reject anything, or hold on to anything, and is not pleased about anything or displeased about anything." 8.2
"Bondage is when the mind is tangled in one of the senses, and liberation is when the mind is not tangled in any of the senses." 8.3
"When there is no "me," that is liberation, and when there is "me" there is bondage. Consider this carefully, and neither hold on to anything nor reject anything." 8.4
Sengtsan was the Third Chinese Patriarch of Zen Buddhism in China. He wrote the text called Faith in Mind. Another excerpt:
"The Great Way is not difficult for those who are unattached to preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind. When the deep meaning of things is not understood, the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail."
Both these sages seem to be talking about the same thing, the same condition of mind. It seems that the mind, in holding on to preferences, in entanglement with the senses, in attaching to ideas or opinions, wraps itself in bondage, creates the very idea of limitation and separation.
So in the spiritual search, we are reading these texts and pondering the meaning, trying to decipher it. Yet this is very ironic, as you already have a front-row seat. Aren't you in a perfect position to watch the mind and it's leanings?
Saturday, September 19, 2009
A "state" is something arrived at. An example is Contentment - it assumes that you are not presently content, and in the future might attain contentment. According to the seeker's belief, "enlightenment" is not presently here, the "state" of enlighten"ment" isn't here, and through various practices that "state" will be achieved.
So let's flip it around. If we take the word and drop the -ment, what do we have? Enlighten. To enlighten. To supply with light.
And what is supplied with "light"? We might say that the senses are supplied with light. We might say that Consciousness is there, sentience is there, because of this light, because of this capacity. It is often called "knowing" or "awareness", but it is the "light" BY WHICH the senses operate, the light supplying sentience.
So that sentience is a function OF enlighten"-ment". And because of this sentience, there appears a world, a body, thoughts, which are then, within this sentience or Consciousness, conceptualized as "someone", as a separate "somebody".
But the appearance of this "world" or "body-mind" is DUE TO this Consciousness or sentience, which is "supplied light" or "enlightened". We might say that the light "behind" Consciousness is the truth or reality - what that light is changed into, through this prism of Consciousness - is the appearance of the world, body and idea of individual.
Therefore the appearance can take any shape or size. It can be conceptualized as anything. The mind is the mechanism by which this pure light is divided into "thingness". There isn't anything wrong with it, except that it's taken to be the absolute reality, the absolute perspective. The individual is a creation of this conceptualization.
The Christian Bible said that God is the Truth, the Life, the Light. The Bhagavad-Gita states "Brahman appears as the attributes of all the organs, is free from all the organs, is unattached and is the sustainer of all, is free from the qualities and is the experiencer of the qualities." Nisargadatta Maharaj said "When you see the world you see God. There is no seeing God apart from the world. Beyond the world to see God is to be God. The light by which you see the world, which is God is the tiny little spark: ‘I am’, apparently so small and yet the first and the last in every act of knowing and loving." The Yoga Vashistha says "The light of self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by it's own light. What is the light by which one 'sees' (knows), if all the lights in the world from the sun onwards become inert? Only the inner light... The inner light of consciousness shines for ever within and without..."
John Wheeler's latest book is titled "The Light Behind Consciousness". Here is an excerpt:
"The whole world appears in the light of consciousness. Consciousness itself is a time-bound, phenomenal state, an appearance on that unconditioned source which is prior to consciousness. Reality is non-conceptual awareness that does not even know that it is. Simply put, you are the one who is aware of being and of being conscious. That ‘you’ is entirely beyond the body, senses, mind, consciousness and anything else that can be perceived or conceived. It cannot be grasped or even be understood, because it is what you are."
You are not the individual. You are the light. You ARE Enlightenment - what you are illumines or "enlightens" the "Consciousness" or mind and remains while it subsides. You are the light by which darkness is known. You are the light of knowing which is the very substance of the world seen and taken to be made up of separate entities.
What is it all these "gurus", "saints", "teachers" and "seers" are saying? It's blindingly simple, and overlooked because you are the "looking". We are looking FOR our true nature, when all the while we are already looking FROM our true nature. That light of I AM-ness isn't a state to be achieved. It is the true Being-ness.
Now where will enlightenment be found?
Sunday, September 13, 2009
This placing of individual self-ness upon that ever-present "I" or "awareness" is itself the concept of the individual. That IS the identification, the very mechanism which seems to construct this individual "I".
What's being pointed out is that the true "I" IS what you are - only it is not the body or mind. It is not a separate being. The true "I" is the light behind perception, the essence of seeing. It has been called "awareness" or "consciousness". If you know "I", you know your true Self already. But what IS this "I"? Is it merely the body-mind?
Here are two examples of expressions about the true "I".
Wei Wu Wei
The eye that sees, the ear that hears, the tongue that tastes are only apparatus, but the "I" that sees, hears and tastes is Reality. We only need to realize that and the first perception becomes satori.
Consciousness, the true 'I,' gets exclusively mixed up with a body and seems, as a result, to become a personal entity that is endowed with Consciousness and Being. It becomes the personal knower, feeler, thinker, doer etc., the 'me.'
There is only the true 'I,' the true Self, Knowing Presence or Consciousness, and it is always only itself. There is nothing other than itself. It is 'One without a second.'
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
True Self is the Self that existed before the division of heaven and earth and before one's father and mother were born. This Self is the Self within me, the birds and the beasts, the grasses and the trees and all phenomena. It is exactly what is called 'Buddha Nature".
This Self has no shape or form, has no birth, has no death. It is not a Self that can be seen with the aid of your present physical eye. Only the man who has received enlightenment is able to see this. The man who does see this is said to have seen into his own nature and became a Buddha. It is to use neither thought nor reasoning and to look straight ahead.
If a man considers that he is born, he cannot avoid the fear of death. Let him find out if he has been born or if the Self has any birth. He will discover that the Self always exists, that the body that is born resolves itself into thought and that the emergence of thought is the root of all mischief. Find from where thoughts emerge. Then you will be able to abide in the ever-present inmost Self and be free from the idea of birth or the fear of death.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Thanks to Sandy for suggesting William Samuel as another example of what this blog is all about.
William Samuel, it seems, was a real hero, fighting in World War 2 and Korea, returning to a simple and ordinary life as a baker in Alabama. But somewhere along the way he discovered the simplicity and truth of what he truly was, and expressed it with unmistakable clarity, although not within the confines of what we call "Advaita" or nonduality today. William's site is maintained by Sandy and is located here. Here is an example of this clarity.
"Usually, atheists deny and agnostics doubt the actuality of God as they understand and define God. They are quite right, because God as they define Him could not possibly exist. But God as God is, is neither doubted nor denied by a single person on this earth and never has been. God, as God is, is accepted without question, even without resistance, by everyone because God is the very basis of being, the fact of real existence.Why, God is Life itself. Show me an atheist who will deny he is alive!
Well, be assured, God does not withhold Himself from aught. God is right here, right now, closer than fingers and toes, closer than breathing. There is no distance nor separation between oneself and God, mentally or otherwise. You will find that God is all that is here, and "They shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest, saith the Lord." God's simplicity is astounding. It is this very simplicity that the pompous intellect of mankind can neither see nor understand while struggling through its jungle of erudite beliefs. Let the beliefs go. Let what 'they say' go. Drop all the old personal opinions no matter how near and dear they seem. Start anew, turning with into the heart. Then when you arrive at your own meaning of God, you happily find you are also discovering your own Real Identity and its childlike simplicity. Just as it is impossible to put the principle of arithmetic into a single number ( or into all of them together), it is not actually possible to confine this alone Awareness to a single finite body."
We bloomed in Spring.
Our bodies are the leaves of God.
The apparent seasons of life and death our eyes can suffer;
but our souls, dear, I will just say this forthright:
they are God Himself,
we will never perish unless He does.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Traditional Vedanta starts with the seeker, it starts with the idea of an individual who is seeking, and attempts to, using knowledge and logic, questioning what we take as Reality, and leading to the realization that THIS is it. Of course once it is seen that THIS is it and there is no individual, it's the exact SAME realization.
We'll use two opposing viewpoints, one from each "tradition". The first is Jeff Foster, to some one of the "heads" of the "neo-Advaita" movement. Jeff doesn't proclaim himself to be a "teacher" - he doesn't live in an ashram, he takes the bus, lives a normal life. But he's unmistakably clear.
Jeff says "Nonduality (Advaita) means "Not Two". It points to the Oneness at the Heart of all things.
But it's not a "state" to be reached, not something that some individuals "have" and others don't. It's more like awakening from a dream, and realising, with crystal clarity, that it was only ever a dream. It's like being a newborn baby again. Present. Open. Uncontaminated. Seeing with fresh eyes. Seeing for the first time. It's not an intellectual understanding. It's not contained in words or systems of thought. It's your True Nature. And you don't need to do anything to see your True Nature, because you already are It. Fully.
Still, seeking for It may happen. And for the dream character, all that apparently needs to happen, is for the seeking to end, once and for all. And to the dream character, nonduality teachings may appear to be helpful. Until the seeking ends, that is, and the dream teachings dissolve, and with great Laughter, and great Lightness, the dream character dissolves with them. And then it's all over, and there is only ever THIS, and nobody to know it.
Radical nonduality is radical freedom."
The other viewpoint is from Swami Dayananda Saraswati - a traditional "teacher" of Vedanta, living in an ashram, dressing in robes and beards. Swami Dayananda is one of the clearest expressions of nonduality or Advaita Vedanta, although he would be targeted, by so-called "neo"-advaita, as the epitome of the false and progressive path-based teachings. Yet he is equally clear.
"When are you not self-evident? Tell me—when? It is because you are self-evident that you don't need to become self-evident at any time. All my experiences are because of my self-evidence. Therefore, the Self is already experienced—that's what I say. Self is experienced as the ultimate content of every experience. I say, in fact, that our very experience is the Self.
In all experiences, therefore, what is invariably present is consciousness, and no object is independent of that. And consciousness is not dependent on and has none of the attributes of any particular object. Consciousness is consciousness, and while it is in everything, it transcends everything. That's why I say: this is advaita, this is nondual, this is Brahman, this is limitless; timewise it is limitless, spacewise it is limitless. And therefore it is Brahman, and therefore you are everything already. This is the teaching, and what it means is that I need not wait for any experience because every experience is Brahman, every experience is limitless."
The pointing is exactly the same, although it's dressed up differently, expressed somewhat differently. But the mind takes the messenger and throws out the message. The ultimate message is that THIS is IT. Whatever THIS IS, is it. THIS is Reality. THIS is Brahman, to quote the Swami. THIS is Oneness, to quote Jeff.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
According to Wikipedia, Brahman (ब्रह्मन्, brahman, nominative brahma, ब्रह्म) is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this Universe.
But what does that mean? The word "Brahman" isn't as important as that to which it points. And that to which it points is obviously not something you're going to go out and find, not something you can get at a later time. It's not something to be achieved - it's a "description" of Reality, but because Reality cannot be defined by any one "thing" or a group of "things", it must be pointed to abstractly, and that is always confusing and paradoxical to the mind.
The reason it's confusing is because of the default belief that YOU are an individual, a separate "thing" among "things", that YOU had a starting point and will eventually end. That belief requires the parallel and conjoined belief in the world as separate.
Nagarjuna, a Buddhist, said that Nirvana (enlightenment, realization of Truth or Reality) and Samsara (suffering, ignorance) are the same. So what IS, right now, is Reality. It's Samsara when interpreted through the lens of the individual. It's Nirvana when that individual lens is seen for what it really is. Either way it's irrelevant, because it's always THIS.
To the Christian or other believer in a separate individual Creator, God is apart FROM the world, sitting outside of the world, acting upon the world, and that world is made up of pieces or parts, of which the individual is one small insignificant and temporary slice.
That template or paradigm IS Samsara - it's necessarily so because the appearance of a world requires the existence of the individual, in the same way that a mirror which reflects requires objects to be reflected. But Nirvana isn't the opposite belief, because that is one side which requires the opposite. Nirvana is the falling away of ALL templates or paradigms which might be laid upon Reality. Therefore even Nirvana falls away.
So Nirvana or Brahman or Reality isn't the individual reaching anything. It's the fact that what IS, right now, IS NOT divided or limited as this paradigm suggests. God isn't some external creator, apart FROM the world. "God" IS the world, the very form and functioning, the appearance and the knowing of the appearance. That intelligence, that singular essence, manifests itself through this template, through this process of division.
Therefore duality is necessary, samsara is necessary for "Brahman" to know itself. Duality is a celebration of diversity within the wholeness. Recognition of this annihilates all clinging to an "individual" who may recognize, who may find Nirvana, who may become "one with Brahman".
All that remains is the pure IS-ness of this moment, which isn't a "point in time". It's literally ALL there ever is.
This blog is dedicated to showing the common ground among all clear voices - showing the consistent focus of many paths and traditions - the ultimate "end" of all spiritual and religious endeavors - without preference to one tradition, path, culture, or way of expressing.
The blog will bring in voices from Advaita Vedanta, including so-called "neo"-advaita, traditional, direct path. It will find commonalities in teachers from Taoism, Dgozchen and other Buddhist sects, Kabbalah, Gnosticism and Christian Mysticism, and others.
There will be no restriction on so-called "teachers" - if the pointing is clear, it will be included. It will be shown that there are many ways of pointing out your true nature - sometimes that includes starting from the fact that you already ARE that, sometimes it's meeting the seeker where they are.