... INCREDIBLY SIMPLE ...
Look, it's all so incredibly simple. There is no one here. This is not a figure of speech. I mean there is truly no one here, no person, no individual speaking to you. You look at me and think there is a person here talking to you, trying to tell you something. I assure you, there is not. Look at me. If there were not Consciousness streaming through this body, what would be here? What would this body be if Consciousness were not here? A corpse, of course! Dead matter. There is nothing else here. There is only the appearance of a body, and Consciousness which animates it. You, along with the rest of the world, have assumed that there is a discreet individual person here: that the Consciousness which is the animating force here is an individual consciousness, unique to this body and separate from the consciousness in other bodies.
This is based on appearances: there appear to be separate bodies, so the assumption is that there are separate consciousness-es. The belief in this assumption blinds you to seeing What Is, and is also the cause of your experience of this life as disquieting, confusing, unhappy, and generally full of fear and suffering. But it is not the case. There is in no way an individual sitting here talking to you. This body is nothing, an appearance in the dream. All there is is Consciousness, and it is Consciousness which is streaming through this appearance.
There is nothing here that exists in and of itself. What we call the human being is not an independent being, not an originating mechanism, not a transmitter. It is a relay station, a pass-through mechanism for Consciousness, the One Consciousness, All That Is. That is what I am, talking to you. And it is the same One Consciousness listening to this, looking back at me out of those eyes you call your own. What I am when I say 'I Am' is exactly the same as what you are when you say 'I Am.'
Once seen, the irony of the situation is staggering. Look: what you think of as your 'self', what you perceive as an individual person, this idea of being a separate entity, a body-mind-personality-soul-intellect: this is a subsequent by-product, an artifact, an almost accidental side effect of this streaming, this flowing of Consciousness. It is the streaming of Consciousness in this organism which the organism inaccurately perceives as a 'mind' which it thinks is its own: it is the very Consciousness streaming in this organism which allows this perception at all, which makes it possible for this organism to think it is other than that same Consciousness. A simple, innocent misperception. And a silly one, because the very One who appears to be thinking this, who appears not to see, not to understand that it is not as a separate individual and is only as All That Is, is Itself the very I-ness that is the only Is-ness of all seeing, of all understanding.
Look into what is behind this perception. Investigate what you think of as your 'self'. This is the purpose, the meaning of all spirituality, of all seeking, of your very being: to understand this amazing intricate play of Consciousness by seeing what is this illusion, this mistaken perception, and what is its source which makes it possible. What you are, you always already are. It is by seeing what you are not that there is a stepping away from it, stepping out of the misconceived role of a separate fearful individual.
When you step out of what you are not, what remains is not something you have to become, but what you always already are. That is why there is nothing you have to do, or become, or learn, or practice, or work at, or purify. It is completely effortless to be in your natural state. What is full of difficult, constant effort is maintaining this false and unnatural idea of being somebody, of being an individual, a separate something. You are a non-entity! Let it go! When it is let go of, you rest in the effortlessness of All That Is, of what could be called your natural state.
Effortlessness is not something that can be attained by effort. No-mind is not a state that can be achieved by the mind. Peace cannot be achieved by striving. Trying to be aware of 'just being in the present moment' is a contradiction in terms; being 'self-consciously' aware of it takes you out of it. Trying to be aware of 'I Am' is a similar contradiction, and for the same reason. You can't try to be happy any more than you can try to go to sleep or try to act naturally. You only act naturally when you're not trying, not thinking, but simply going about life. People would come from all over India and the whole world to see Ramana Maharshi and ask him for advice on the spiritual path. His advice? "Just be yourself".
This is what Nisargadatta Maharaj said of your natural state, of what you are naturally, spontaneously, without effort:
"This state is before the appearance of beingness. It is prior to or beyond beingness and non-beingness. I Am, in that state which existed before the arrival of beingness and non-beingness. With the arrival of the waking state, all the world becomes manifest; because of my beingness, my world is manifest. That also is observed by that state which is prior to beingness, and you are That!"
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... Some more on the same Subject ...
~ Quotes from Nisargardatta Maharaj ~
When I met my Guru, he told me: "You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense 'I am', find your real Self". I obeyed him, because I trusted him. I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence. And what a difference it made, and how soon!
My teacher told me to hold on to the sense 'I am' tenaciously and not to swerve from it even for a moment. I did my best to follow his advice and in a comparatively short time I realized within myself the truth of his teaching. All I did was to remember his teaching, his face, his words constantly. This brought an end to the mind; in the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am -- unbound.
I simply followed (my teacher's) instruction which was to focus the mind on pure being 'I am', and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with nothing but the 'I am' in my mind and soon peace and joy and a deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared -- myself, my Guru, the life I lived, the world around me. Only peace remained and unfathomable silence.
My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense 'I am' and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense 'I am', it may look too simple, even crude. My only reason for doing it was that my Guru told me so. Yet it worked! Obedience is a powerful solvent of all desires and fears.
There is no sense of purpose in my doing anything. Things happen as they happen -- not because I make them happen, but it is because *I am *that they happen. In reality nothing ever happens. When the mind is restless, it makes Shiva dance, like the restless waters of the lake make the moon dance. It is all appearance, due to wrong ideas.
...in whatever role I may appear and whatever function I may perform -- I remain what I am: the 'I am' immovable, unshakable, independent.
When I say 'I am', I do not mean a separate entity with a body as its nucleus. I mean the totality of being, the ocean of consciousness, the entire universe of all that is and knows. I have nothing to desire for I am complete forever.
Words betray their hollowness. The real cannot be described, it must be experienced. I cannot find better words for what I know. What I say may sound ridiculous. But what the words try to convey is the highest truth. All is one, however much we quibble. And all is done to please the one source and goal of every desire, whom we all know as the 'I am'.
Just like the sun is reflected in a billion dew drops, so is the timeless endlessly repeated. When I repeat: 'I am, I am', I merely assert and re-assert an ever-present fact. You get tired of my words because you do not see the living truth behind them. Contact it and you will find the full meaning of words and of silence -- both.
...I trusted my Guru. What he told me to do, I did. He told me to concentrate on 'I am' -- I did. He told me that I am beyond all perceivables and conceivables -- I believed. ... You may choose any way that suits you; your earnestness will determine the rate of progress.
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.. Excellent ... Excellent ..
! ... There is no Other ... !
Awakening to the truth of perfect Unity, means to awaken from the dream of a personal self and personal others to the realization that there is no other. Many spiritual seekers have had glimpses of the absolute unity of all existence, but few are capable of or willing to live up to the many challenging implications inherent in that revelation. The revelation of perfect unity, that there is no other, is a realization of the ultimate impersonality of all that seems to be so very personal. Applying this realization to the arena of personal relationships is something that most seekers find extremely challenging, and is the number one reason why so many seekers never come completely to rest in the freedom of the Self Absolute.
Inherent in the revelation of perfect unity is the realization that there is no personal me, no personal other, and therefore no personal relationships. Coming to terms with the challenging implications of this stunning realization is something that few people are willing to do. Because realizing the true impersonality of all that seems so personal, challenges every aspect of the illusion of a separate, personal self. It challenges the entire structure of personal relationships which are born of needs, wants, and expectations. It is in the arena of personal relationships that the illusion of a separate self clings most tenaciously and insidiously. Indeed, there is nothing that derails more spiritual seekers than the grasping at and attaching to personal relationships.
The revelation of perfect unity reveals the true impersonality of all relationships. The ego always interprets "impersonal" as meaning cold, distant, and aloof. However, "impersonal" simply means not personal, or void of a separate me and a separate you. The mind cannot comprehend of a relationship without separate entities. Much as a character in a dream cannot comprehend that all other dream characters are simply manifestations of the same dreamer. Yet when the dreamer awakens, he instantly comprehends that the entire dream, and all the characters in it, were none other than projections of his own self. In the dream there is the appearance of separate, personal entities in relationship, but upon awakening one comprehends the impersonal (non-separate) Self that is the source of all appearances.
To deeply inquire into the question "Who is another?" can lead to the direct experience that the other is one's own Self - that in fact there is no other. However, I have seen that for most seekers, even this direct experiential revelation is not enough to transform the painfully personal ways they relate. To come to this profound transformation requires a very deep investigation into the implications inherent within the experiential revelation that there is no other. It is in the daily living of these implications that most seekers fail. Why? Because, fundamentally, most people want to remain separate and in control. Simply put, most people want to keep dreaming that they are special, unique, and separate, more than they want to wake up to the perfect unity of an Unknown which leaves no room from any separation from the whole.
There is a powerful tendency in most spiritual seekers to avoid probing deeply into the implications inherent within profound spiritual experience and revelation, because these implications are always threatening to the sense of a separate self, or ego. It is the implications inherent within profound spiritual revelation that demand the transformation of the apparent individual.
Inherent within the revelation of perfect unity is the realization that there is no other. The implications of this realization reveal that in order to manifest that unity in the relative world, one must renounce the dream of being a separate self seeking to obtain anything through relationship with another. Indeed, personal relationship appears to happen in the relative world, but in reality, all appearances simply arise as temporary manifestations of a unified whole. In the relative world these appearances are in relationship, but not as separate entities. Rather, they are the play of the one Self projecting itself as apparent entities in relationship to one another.
As long as you identify yourself with the projection of separateness, you will continue to deny that you are the Source of all projections. When you truly and absolutely awaken to this fact, and comprehend the overwhelming implications inherent within this awakening, you will continually experience that all apparently personal relationships are in truth nothing other than the play of your Self. To realize that the personal me is an illusion born of false identification with the body, thoughts, and emotions, brings a profound sense of freedom. This is fundamentally the realization of emptiness, of what you are not. But contained within the realization of emptiness (formlessness) is also the realization of what you ARE.
In the most absolute sense you ARE this conscious emptiness which is the source of all appearances (existence). But you are the appearance as well. Not just one part of the appearance called "me", but all of it, the entire whole. This is the challenge, to let your view get this vast. To let your view get so vast that your identity disappears. Then you realize that there is no other, and there is nothing personal going on.
Contrary to the way the ego will view such a realization, it is in reality the birth of true love. A love which is free of all boundaries and fear. To the ego such uncontaminated love is unbearable in its intimacy. When there is no clear separating boundaries and nothing to gain the ego becomes disinterested, angry, or frightened. In a love where there is no
other there is nowhere to hide, no one to control, and nothing to gain. It is the coming together of appearances in the beautiful dance of the SELF called Love.
To the seeker who is sincere, an experiential glimpse of this possibility is not enough. If you are sincere you will find it within yourself to go far beyond any glimpse. You will find within your Self the courage to let go of the known and dive deeply into the Unknown heart of a mystery that calls you only to itself. ("The Heart of Relationship," 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)
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"Please understand that there is only one thing to be understood,
and that is that you are the formless, timeless unborn". -- Nisargadatta Maharaj
"Here is just emptiness. There is no getting my ego out of the way, and all that stuff.
There is just the seeing, shining in great brilliance and clarity". -- Douglas Harding
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! ... A Talk In Pacific Grove ... !
CA, June 9, 2006. by Adyashanti.
Inexplicably it comes. When you least expect it. For a reason you can never know. One moment you are striving, figuring, imagining, and then, in the blink of an eye, it all disappears. The struggle disappears. The striving disappears. The person disappears. The world disappears. Everything disappears, and the person is like a pinpoint of light, just receding until it disappears. And there's nobody there to witness it. The person is gone. Only, only awareness remains. Nothing else. No one to be aware. Nothing to be aware of. Only that remains itself. Then it's understood, finally and simply.
Then everything - all the struggle, all the striving, all the thinking, all the figuring, all the surrendering, all the letting go, all the grabbing hold of, all the praying, all the begging, all the cursing, too - was just a distraction. And only then is it seen that the person was, is, and ever will be no more than a thought. With a single thought, the person seems to re-emerge. With more thoughts, the world seems to re-emerge right out of nothing. But now you know.
The incarnation is nothing more than a thought. A thousand incarnations are but a thousand thoughts. And this amazing miracle of a mirage we call the world reappears as it was before, but now you know. That's why you usually have a good laugh, because you realize that all your struggles were made up. You conjured them up out of nothingwith a thought that was linked to another thought, that was then believed, that linked to another thought that was then believed.
But never could it have been true, not for a second could it have actually existed. Not ever could you have actually suffered for a reason that was true only through an imagination, good, bad, indifferent. The intricacies of spiritual philosophy and theologies are just a thought within Emptiness.
And so at times we talk, and I pretend to take your struggles seriously, just as I pretended to take my own seriously. You may pretend to take your own struggles seriously from time to time, and although we pretend, we really shouldn't forget that we are pretending, that we are making up the content of our experience; we are making up the little dramas of our lives.
We are making up whether we need to hold on or surrender or figure it out or pray to God or be purified or have karma cleansed - it's all a thought. We just collude in this ridiculous charade of an illusion pretending that it's real, only to reveal that it's not. There is no karma. There is nothing really to purify. There's no problem. There is only what you create and believe to be so. And if you like it that way, have at that way!
But we cannot continue this absolute farce indefinitely. We cannot continue to pretend this game we play, indefinitely. It's impossible. Everything comes back to nothing. And then it's a bit harder to hold a straight face consistently for the rest of your life.
*Transcribed from a talk in Pacific Grove, CA, June 9, 2006.* (c) 2006 by Adyashanti.