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"Behind The Thoughts"


A short introduction might be called for...

Non-duality (Advaita) is NOT a system or method, so cannot be taught or learnt. Precisely because there is nothing to learn or acquire, which is not what you are already. While it is impossible to see this truth directly, for who is there to see this but your self, it is possible to strip away the limitations of acquired false beliefs preventing you from recognising what you truly are.

It is the Truth that sets you free, even if both you and freedom are concepts dependent only on the idea of an imaginary bondage. It is therefore necessary to transcend the limitations imposed by dual mind, the opposites between which our lives swing - pain, pleasure; love hate; good, bad and so on. The irony is that it initially requires the mind to do this, as illustrated by the analogy of the thorn that is used to extract another thorn, after which both are discarded. Thorns here are representing concepts.

So we begin with who is observing - the ultimate perceiver (Subject). This insight entertains the paradox: what we are cannot be known, because there is no knower other than what we are to know what we are.

A word of warning. Expounding these observations will more than likely expose you to accusations of bordering on madness, which is completely understandable from the standpoint of an individual. For it is that individual we believe ourselves to be that now comes under the utmost scrutiny. Then it takes a form of madness to observe the madness of our current situation, even when we secretly suspect all is not right with the world and our lives. For a few however there will be the resonance of truth, which will in turn evoke a need to investigate this whole matter a little further. Then there is no saying what might happen!




"Ten Choices You Will Regret in 10 Years" - An Alternative Viewpoint. - 04/06/2014

I recently stumbled upon an article entitled: "Ten Choices You Will Regret in 10 Years" There then followed the ten choices that ultimately lead to this phrase of regret, with various solutions on how to elude them.

The whole article can be found at: Ten choices you will regret in ten years.

As it happens the solutions offered include many methods and courses of action which I have attempted in my quest to come to a better understanding of who I am, my role in this life and the numerous other questions that generally stump us, and for which all our reading, encounters with 'intelligent' people, invaluably comes to naught. Or should they happen to offer some form of respite, such medicine is only temporary. Rather like being in prison, going to sleep and dreaming of being free, then waking up in prison again. There eventually comes a point when we become tired of temporary fixes and yearn for something permanent.

Though I cannot claim to offer any answers, the reason for which should become apparent by the end, I can attempt to point out instances where, in our confusion, we find ourselves looking the wrong way for such answers. Though in my experience, and rather disconcertingly, this wrong way is often in completely the opposite direction.

Should you still be reading this, my method has been to take each of the ten choices and place my own spin on them (signified by the choice number followed by the letter 'A' for 'Alternative' I guess). For many of you, what I have written, will no doubt come across as 'spin' and most likely will be dismissed accordingly. However, there maybe some who find something of use, if only that means looking at age old problems with a different eye.

After all what it eventually boils down to, is 'seeing' from a different place - the place we term our 'Self', even if there is no one to know it other than our 'Self'. Rather in the way we might observe an old decrepit looking gate which leads into a beautiful garden. Only by stepping to one side to enable us to peep through the gate can we know what wonders confront us, though in so doing we find ourselves already in the garden. We were too focussed on the gate notice this. But then, like all analogies, this is an attempt to describe something lying beyond all description.

Ten Choices with Alternative viewpoints.

1. Wearing a mask to impress others. - If the face you always show the world is a mask, someday there will be nothing beneath it. Because when you spend too much time concentrating on everyone else's perception of you, or who everyone else wants you to be, you eventually forget who you really are. So don't fear the judgments of others; you know in your heart who you are and what's true to you. You don't have to be perfect to impress and inspire people. Let them be impressed and inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.

1A. The mask we show to others is always the face they see. We never see our own face for who is there to see it except you who is looking out of it? What is looking is what you are, so there is always the real you behind the mask which does not change though it is witnessing constant change. It's not a matter of forgetting who we really are rather remembering who we are - that which is always here now. Yes, you know in your heart who you are - not in your mind. What you are is beyond perfection and imperfection which are only relative opposites.

2. Letting someone else create your dreams for you. - The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are; the second greatest is being happy with what you find. A big part of this is your decision to stay true to your own goals and dreams. Do you have people who disagree with you? Good. It means you're standing your ground and walking your own path. Sometimes you'll do things considered crazy by others, but when you catch yourself excitedly losing track of time, that's when you'll know you're doing the right thing. Read The 4-Hour Workweek.

2A. The greatest challenge is discovering who you are - true. Happiness comes as a result and is not separate from the knowing of this. Goals and dreams will always be goals and dreams belonging to a fictitious future. They are a distraction from being what you are now, which is all you can be. Don't believe anyone who tells you it will happen at some future date, even if you face criticism. Being who you really are will means losing track of time, as 'being' is out of time, while 'becoming' (future) is firmly locked in time.

3. Keeping negative company. - Don't let someone who has a bad attitude give it to you. Don't let them get to you. They can't pull the trigger if you don't hand them the gun. When you remember that keeping the company of negative people is a choice, instead of an obligation, you free yourself to keep the company of compassion instead of anger, generosity instead of greed, and patience instead of anxiety.

3A. As your 'true' Self you are untouchable. When you imagine you are someone other than you are, then you become vulnerable. As as supposed individual you enter into conflict with another individual. Become invisible, become one with your surroundings. Then negativity will melt, as will anger and greed. All these arise with desire. Without desires we realise happiness.

4. Being selfish and egotistical. - A life filled with loving deeds and good character is the best tombstone. Those who you inspired and shared your love with will remember how you made them feel long after your time has expired. So carve your name on hearts, not stone. What you have done for yourself alone dies with you; what you have done for others and the world remains.

4A. First learn to love yourself for what you really are. Once you know your true Self you will not impose it upon anyone. It is rare to meet someone who truly doesn't demand anything in return, but is simply there to give you their full attention. It is as if they have disappeared just for you. In the reflection of the nobody you too will discover what you are at centre - which is no centre. Most people are obsessed with 'doing'. But 'being' is where it is really at.

5. Avoiding change and growth. - If you want to know your past look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future look into your present actions. You must let go of the old to make way for the new; the old way is gone, never to come back. If you acknowledge this right now and take steps to address it, you will position yourself for lasting success. Read The Power of Habit.

5A. The only steps you can take are no steps. For stepping anywhere is leaving the place where you are - Now - the only place you can be. By all means step into the past or future, you will anyway, for they are just thoughts appearing. The (thoughts of) future can only appear in the present, the (thoughts of) past can only appear in the present. So yes, allow yourself to let go, it is the only way the 'new' can appear. But the 'new' is not 'new', it is 'you' who are, have always been, but all this time have remained absent.

6. Giving up when the going gets tough. - There are no failures, just results. Even if things don't unfold the way you had expected, don't be disheartened or give up. Learn what you can and move on. The one who continues to advance one step at a time will win in the end. Because the battle is always won far away and long before the final victory. It's a process that occurs with small steps, decisions, and actions that gradually build upon each other and eventually lead to that glorious moment of triumph.

6A. Once again where is there to go? What is this goal you seek on some distant horizon. So distant that the attempt to reach it will invariably result in failure. And should one be successful, what then? Success and failure are two opposites, they share a relationship as in a marriage. Leave them alone. Just as expectations are desires unfulfilled. Desires will continue to gnaw away at your heart. Leave them alone too. The battle is always won right now - where there is peace; not at some future time amidst the noise of uncertainty. When the moment of triumph does arrive it endures for a short while. While what you are now is timeless.

7. Trying to micromanage every little thing. - Life should be touched, not strangled. Sometimes you've got to relax and let life happen without incessant worry and micromanagement. Learn to let go a little before you squeeze too tight. Take a deep breath. When the dust settles and you can once again see the forest for the trees, take the next step forward. You don't have to know exactly where you're going to be headed somewhere great. Everything in life is in perfect order whether you understand it yet or not. It just takes some time to connect all the dots.

7A. Again, stay where you are and let life come to you. Just as in the phrase, "take life as it comes". If we are present to it, we will know what action to take. If we try to predict, micromanage, anticipate we will most likely tie ourselves into knots - more than we already are. Enjoy life as it is and don't waste energy trying to connect all the dots. No human mind has ever succeeded - will ever succeed.

8. Settling for less than you deserve. - Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve. Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand up taller than you ever were before. Sometimes your eyes need to be washed by your tears so you can see the possibilities in front of you with a clearer vision again. Don't settle.

8A. Find a place where you can watch all this. Who is perceiving all that happens to us? Knowing this truth will help us see through clear eyes. The eye of the beholder, that disappears in the beholding.

9. Endlessly waiting until tomorrow. - The trouble is, you always think you have more time than you do. But one day you will wake up and there won't be any more time to work on the things you've always wanted to do. And at that point you either will have achieved the goals you set for yourself, or you will have a list of excuses for why you haven't.

9A. Ask yourself sincerely what are these things you really want to do? Where do these thoughts stem from? Isn't it best to wake up now to understand that this moment is the only time free from the desire to be other than you are - which are essentially thoughts based on various memories. If you 'are' here' and not somewhere else, any excuses (regrets) will evaporate.

10. Being lazy and wishy-washy. - The world doesn't owe you anything, you owe the world something. So stop daydreaming and start DOING. Develop a backbone, not a wishbone. Take full responsibility for your life - take control. You are important and you are needed. It's too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now; the somebody the world needs is YOU.

10A. The world doesn't owe you anything. You don't owe the world anything. In order to owe someone you have to be separate. We are not separate from our surroundings, we are one with it. Just as we share the air, without which their would be no life as we know it. Man needs to stop 'doing' and start 'being'. Just as we are not called human 'doings' but human 'beings'. Only then can we listen to what is required and work in harmony; instead we trample over everything before us with our incessant need to quench desires, mostly born from fear - the root being the death of the 'individual', with who we identify.

Only those who are sincere will try seeking for this individual we believe to be ourselves. Then perhaps, if they are honest, they might discover it to be an illusion - a bundle of concepts acquired, sustained by memories. The leads to the most important question of all, "Who is perceiving this?" The question that cannot be answered. Not only is there nobody to answer that question for you, but You who is asking is at the same time the answer you are seeking.


Buried treasure for no one. - 21/11/2013

All we can do is is witness. But the question arises, "Who is witnessing the witnessing?" No one! That simple. There cannot be another without separation and we are dealing with wholeness as in Self/God/Consciousness is all, entirety, 100%. What can appear outside wholeness? Where is the 1% outside 100%?

Witness appears with Consciousness. No consciousness, no witnessing. When does consciousness arise? No idea. Then who is there to know it? Only Consciousness. Consciousness knowing itself as it were.

Like buried treasure of great worth it appears. One is tempted to say one stumbled across it, for it has been here all along - yet how it became noticed remains a mystery. Even so, it is being held gratefully in these arms, in it lies true wealth. At the same time it is utterly worthless. It cannot be sold. It cannot even be shown it to anyone.


Douglas Harding. - 03/11/2013

Here is a wonderful film about a wonderful man. I am particularly grateful to Douglas Harding for providing a means to by pass the conundrum of "Who am I?" which had entered an intellectual loop with no apparent way out - at least through the mind. His direct pointing cut straight through all that - to the space in which all appears - which in essence is 'oneness' not 'two-ness' or any other 'ness' - simply pure 'Being'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q3VacEvh8M


Who is experiencing what? - 22/10/2013

There is a Zen story which goes as follows:

Keiji, a long-time Zen student, approached his master and said: "I don't see how there can be any enlightenment that sets you free once and for all. I think we just get ever greater glimpses of Buddha-nature, the vastness that is our true Reality. It's an ever-expanding process."

The master, looking penetratingly at Keiji, replied. "That may be what you think. But what is your experience, your experience right now?" Keiji looked momentarily confused. "My experience right now, Master?" "Yes. Do you know yourself as Keiji, having ever-expanding experiences of Buddha-nature? Or do you know yourself as Buddha-nature, having the experience of Keiji?"

The Master hits the nail on the head by asking Keiji the question, "Right now who is experiencing what?"

If we see ourselves as lone individuals (defined by our names) experiencing this daunting and confusing world outside, ever changing before our eyes, then truly we will be overwhelmed with fear and doubt.

But if we can 'Know' our unified centre and look out from that. See that we are 'Oneness' manifesting all that appears - which includes ourselves - how can we then╩feel separate, alone, confused and all those qualities we attribute to pain of a separate individual?

The irony is that we once knew this. Not even knew it - we lived it. Somewhere along the way we forgot our true place - stepped out from our Garden of Eden.

But we haven't gone anywhere, everything is just as it is waiting to be recognised once more. So open your eyes - now!


A life of searching for... - 14/10/2013

Surely all that searching and seeking over so many years for answers and reasons must amount to something. But the question arises: to what?

For where I am is where I have always been. Which implies there was no need to search and seek elsewhere. The only conclusion is that it must have happened in some form of dream. I envisaged I was somewhere else - on a journey - then awoke to discover it was all taking place in my imagination.

At centre - being who one is - is unlike anything that has gone before or will come. That is because nothing has gone before or will arrive. Being is 'now' - not even that - for time too belongs to the imagination and 'now' only has relevance in relation to a past and a future.

So empty and changeless one is open to everything and all change. One without the other could not exist. They are One - appearing otherwise. At heart a unified boundless reality - a phantasmagoria in appearance.


Luminous texts. - 09/10/2013

Now and again one runs across texts which in the words of the Advaita masters point luminously at 'that'. Although 'that' is beyond description or definition for 'that' is 'this' which is trying to describe 'that'. 'Oneness' is merely revealing itself in its appearance as the many, which originate from that 'Oneness'.

This perceived by itself, as itself is the end of all seeking. Nothing more can be said, needs to be said. All is as is. And while it is true that once this truth is seen through nothing will remain the same for illusion has lost it's power to deceive. At the same time we succumb to a life of conditioning which if we are not careful drags us into ingrained habits - even if we know these habits to be nothing but ripples upon the surface of our being.

So when we read or listen to these luminous texts by the great non-dual sages who are the embodiment of "Know Thyself" we are led back to the place where we are - which had been temporarily veiled from us - just as the sun is obscured by clouds - (which were originally formed from the sun's heat).

Recently a friend brought my attention to such a text by Ibn al-'Arabi called: A Treatise in Being. It is one of the clearest examples of that pointing.

Another such text is the Hsin-hsin Ming by the Third Patriach of Ch'an Seng-ts'an.

The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu begins with the memorable lines: The Tao that can be spoken of is not the eternal Tao; The Name that can be named is not the eternal Name.

Then there is the Ashtavakra Gita, the Heart Sutra and many more.

So many jewels, lying on the table right before your very eyes. Open books,╩their secrets waiting to be uncovered. But are they withholding any secrets? Or just pointing to that which is already here.

Is it not for this reason this everyday miracle is often referred to as the Open Secret?


It all comes down to Knowing. - 07/10/2013

Yet no one is knowing this Knowing. It just is that. The Knowing that, without thought or anything arising, wholeness remains intact. A wholeness free from shape or form or substance. The Knowing itself or itself.

This Knowing is of a type that cannot be sought out, nor even thought about. For any thoughts or conceptualisation only introduces separation - even if it is a false separation for wholeness cannot be divided. However the imagined separate entity - a pseudo subject (object posing as subject) lives out the story of separation and all the intricacy, change, nonsense that this entails.

Within this fictitious separation lies doubt, fear, reasoning and all the other factors that complicate what essentially is pure. For it was the Zen masters who referred to that Whole state as Pure Mind - One Mind - Empty Mind - to differentiate if from the ordinary mind which is constantly vying with random thoughts, life's injustices, all that is now appearing in its seemingly random and unfathomable complexity before us. Even if in actuality this too is the 'living energy' expressing itself.

Dare I say it. Though it is not I, but the Knowing. The Knowing that 'I am' - and subsequently have fulfilled what is required - the recognition that I never was other than this. From the place of stillness, where is there to go? What is there to do or achieve? Just watch as it all unfolds - appears. Participate not merely for the fun, but because there is no other choice. Now is now and One is inseparably part of it - is it. That to be otherwise would imply being outside of it - just as 1% over 100% is totally without substance.

That is not to say there is some thing, some entity that frequently arises trying to claim this 'Knowing' as its own. Whereas at one time this imposter succeeded - has succeeded for many years - with Knowing came Truth invested with a power to dispel this masquerading energy appearing in all it's varying disguises. Like a magician, whose secrets have been exposed, he has little option but to sidle of stage to avoid being heaped with further humiliation.

Once you give up thinking about it, Knowing is so incredibly simple. It is basically what is left.


The true knowing that lays all knowledge bare. - 25/09/2013

There is a well known analogy whereby a thorn is used to remove another thorn and then both are discarded. The obvious question is: to what is this referring? I would suggest knowledge. More specifically knowledge in its various forms. Just as many words we encounter have various levels of meaning.

Knowledge can refer to the generic facts we are all fed from childhood. Facts which clutter our minds, are used to pass exams and are quickly forgotten. People are revered for their ability to remember countless details and facts, they form the basis of quiz shows and there are many who are keen to correct you should you mix up your Ps and Qs.

But there is also the rarer form of knowledge known as Truth. As a great teacher once exhorted "know the Truth and the Truth will set you free."╩In our above analogy this translates as: find the thorn that removes the thorn. The understanding that our over preoccupation with the contents of our mind is the cause of our confusion and ignorance and inevitably suffering. This is most apparent at times of uncertainty, for life has an inconvenient habit of tossing up, often quite unexpectedly, challenging situations forcing us to have to ask honest, often difficult, questions of ourselves.

The Truth underpinning this healing / relieving thorn is the knowledge that we are not who we imagine ourselves to be. The part of us which suffers is the product of our conceptual thinking. In other words that which we believe we are, have been told we are, though with absolutely no foundation when viewed from who we recognise ourselves to be right now - on present evidence.

Seeing through - or having an insight - into this self-delusion, is the second thorn working out the one that is lodged. The process can be painful, but the relief is worth every twinge. With its removal we are clear and empty within - no longer ignorant of the source of our pain.

It is at this point both thorns can be discarded for we are in no doubt of our true nature - who we are.

perspective


Seeking what? - 14/09/2013

It only requires a little thought to realise how ludicrous is the idea of seeking something other than what we are.

The problem arises because we begin from a faulty premise. We believe we are imperfect, separate, incomplete, in need of something to make us happy, content, whole. It as if we are trying to view a landscape with blinkered vision.

Instead let us start with the assumption we are complete, whole, not lacking anything. Fulfilment is ours, as is the panorama we now behold with our single open eye wide open.

Herein lies the truth. We are not lacking, we have everything. We just don't realise this. It is the belief that we are poor which is causing us to live in poverty.

So what is preventing us from realising our true, whole nature? The simple fact that we cannot realise it. Not from the viewpoint of this poor individual - who feels him or herself ╩separate, alone, divided - brought about by erroneous thoughts. For the imagined individual is destined to live out its squandered existence unaware of the its true nature. Even if we should think about an alternative existence, it would only be small mind trying to conceive the universal mind or which it can have no conception - as it truly is a case of the lower not being able to see (conceive) the higher.

Vision has to begin from 'here' - the source. Everything appears in that 'seeing'. No separation - no duality. Any seeking of it assumes there is something other to be sought. But that which is being sought is the seeker. It is One erroneously divided into two. Chasing its own tail.

So start from wholeness. Unspoken wholeness.


Subject - Object Dilemma - 05/09/2013

The question often arises 'Who' is seeing? 'Who' is hearing? 'Who' is tasting, touching, smelling? We look around us only to see a variety of objects. Man made objects in the form of furniture, vehicles etc. Nature's objects taking the appearance of trees, puddles and clouds. Then anything that can be pointed to is an object in relation to us - 'we' who are subject.

But now point to your own body. Try it. Point to your foot or leg. Hang on! Who is pointing at what? Who is perceiving this leg I'm presently pointing at? The senses of course. But are not our senses a part of the body? Can body observe body?

It is similar to saying can object observe object? Of course not. An object is an object simply because it is acted upon by a subject. But if our body is an object and not the subject, where is the origin of the awareness? For that is what we are indicating when we speak of the subject.

We are the subject. Our true nature is subject. I Am. From this subject arises the notion of object - but it is an object manifesting from the one subject - which 'I am'; and that so termed one subject is only called a subject providing there is an object to give it validity. But if the object has no substance per se, without the subject, then it cannot be said to exist as an independent entity.

In reality there is no object, just as there is no subject - at least nothing we can conceive of with the mind. Then this would imply duality and as we are told: there is no duality in non duality.

So you see the problem - the conundrum. We can only speak about subject as an object i.e. in duality. What we are describing is a representation of the subject which is not 'it'. We can only at most point to 'it'. The rest is Knowing. Not 'you' or any body knowing. Who is there to know? It's nearer to an 'impersonal' knowing. Though not impersonal in the way we normally conceive of it. This Knowing embraces all there is to know - personal and impersonal, which are after all mere opposites. Knowing rises above all distinctions, then as with all opposites they as they are seen to arise following the division brought about by so-called split-mind. Whereas as 'knowing' is whole Mind - undivided.

Which is what these words amount to. Split mind trying to get a handle on whole mind. It never will. Why? Because split-mind is the object of whole mind, which is subject. At which point, we're back to the beginning.


What do I know? - 05/07/2013

What do I know, except that I exist. That one 'I' that cannot be denied. The proof of which is in the stating of: "I don't exist". Who is saying that? You that don't exist? Are these not just words - superimposed upon our deeper sense of our known existence - about which we have no doubts. There is no belief required here.

I do know I am liable suffer every time I am drifting in thoughts. Thoughts are either memories evoked from the past, or hopes, desires and fears conjured up in relation to a perceived future time. Though these thoughts can only take shape as a result of past experience. Don't we relate to objects / concepts based upon knowledge we have gained? I couldn't identify the chair before me if I had not previously learned that such an object is referred to as a chair. This applies to everything we encounter - I include ideas, opinions, prejudices, likes, dislikes etc. It's how we relate to the world around us.

But why do I say I suffer? When I am trapped in memories, hopes or fears I am in effect day dreaming. And dreams as we all know are imaginary. By indulging a desire or supposed fear I am wishing things to be different than they are and this can only mean a form of suffering even if it appears in a positive glow as in the lover we know is waiting for us around the next corner. We have to snap of of this and ask ourselves, what what is wrong with now? What else has any substance but now? That same substance as that sense of 'I exist' which we had previously identified.

Even the subtlest of desires - the desire not to desire to be anywhere but where I am. Still I am not, but have been spirited away.

Just as here is nowhere. It's a concept - as is the idea of a 'present'. For true freedom is 'being' - free of thought - of concept. When thinking (which will always go on) is no longer attached to thoughts (which will always come and go).

So how to cultivate a no-thought state. By withdrawing into an intuitive understanding of the inevitable suffering accompanying any attachment to imaginary notions. This way we touch on the possibility of no-mind, a place where the mind rests empty, pure and untainted. Though in truth it is nearer to a state.

By resting in the no-mind state, one is in a timeless place. No future or past, and without these how can there arise a present? A present in relation to what? A continual present if you wish - which is all 'now' is - no beginning, no end. Not flowing out of some imaginary past into an imaginary future.

It just is. Being.


In Practice. - 03/07/2013

The irony here is I'm writing this social media blog and virtually the only person who is reading it is me. Yes - I am talking to myself. Or more accurately - it is my Self talking.

Then the decision not to publicise has been taken for now, even though there is always the chance some seeker will run across it.

Well, I'm going to talk to myself some more and look into reasons why I might be doing this. Especially given that what is being discussed over the course of these posts is notoriously difficult to talk about. Some would say impossible. Then I'm not talking about 'it' - only pointing to 'it'. 'It' being Truth, One, Self or a raft of other names used to conceptualise what is effectively non-conceptual.

And from the simplicity of the non-conceptual Oneness arises the complexity of the conceptual universe of forms, or as Lao Tsu puts it: the arising of the 10,000 things (from that no thing which is Tao). For that in effect is the world as it is - as seen from out our living window - the eye. An endless collection of complex objects continuously changing, as if infused by a wondrous life force permeating the infinite space with a potential energy.

So why am I trying to talk about it? Acknowledging the hopelessness of the situation, there is at the same time a sense of having no choice in the matter. Like the play of opposites we as individuals are subjected to, it's a case of damned if you don't, damned if you do. So some of the time I write about it, some of the time I don't.

But then again why does the non-conceptual seemingly need to conceptualise itself - void into from and vice-versa? Both being opposite sides of the same coin i.e. One.

Naturally there is a temptation to seek possible reasons. The most obvious being that it is part of the 'realisation' process. That is until we reflect that time and again we are told that there is no temporal process as such. This is 'it' now. What happens within the process is mere appearance - a fictitious individual stuck in a time warp where even time is an illusion. So why not just remain still and be content?

Indeed several non-duality commentators specifically say there is nothing to be done. (Even those that appear to be making a living spreading this very message). And from one place they are probably right. For if we are perfectly honest with ourselves, it does appear that anything of any worth seems to arrive in the form of a gift. Though often after we have spent a huge amount of effort only to give up in despair.

And here I believe is a clue. For if there is any practice at all, it is in the giving up. But not an active giving up - as in depriving oneself of some desire. Then we're back in the illusion of opposites. This form of giving up is divesting oneself of an ignorance. The ignorance that one is in a position to give something up.

But what could it mean: giving up ignorance? Is ignorance a tangible quality? Or is it just smoke and mirrors? If it is the latter, which I suspect it is, there is nothing to give up. Just a seeing through the haze and many reflections. In other words it's knowing the Truth. A Truth that will set you free (from the illusion).

Wei Wu Wei* has this to say on practice.

"And the only practice is seeing this, which is Awareness, which is this which an eye cannot see when it looks at itself."

He continues, "Practice is deepening understanding, for understanding is at first an intuitional glimpse of the truth of this, then the obtaining of this intuitional glimpse at will, and finally, the permanent installation of this inseeing when walking, standing, sitting and lying, in public and in private, asleep and awake."

Finally, I have often been struck reading the lives of past sages, Ramana Maharshi and Nisagadatta Maharaj being two prime examples. How, following this initial glimpse of the truth, they spent years in apparent isolation. Which was obviously aimed at focussing this glimpse into a more permanent inseeing alluded to by Wei Wu Wei, whose own journey produced eight books recording his though processes.

This is in contrast to the many Advaita 'teachers' who pop up with a message addressed to no one. I am in no position to comment whether this acceptable practice, whether this people are in the right place to inform others of the truth. I can only say that there are occasions when I feel an urge to divulge this knowing. Yet another part pulls me back. Perhaps a possible reason is also revealed in the lives of the two great sages mentioned above. They never actively sought an audience. Somehow seekers managed to find them, even though they were both hidden from view. One on the side of a mountain, the other in the midst of a teeming city.

There is well known expression, "Silence is louder than words". For often with that silence comes a powerful energy.

* Wei Wu Wei- from his book "All Else Is Bondage" (Sentient Publications)


Not THIS, not THAT. - 02/07/2013

A new understanding of what is often referred to as neti neti (neither this nor that).

Until recently I've mostly associated the 'this' and 'that' with objects. As in: I am neither 'this' nor 'that' - referring to any attempt at Self definition. The question naturally followed: "So what am I?" Good question and still a valid course of reasoning - but that is all it amounts to.

And haven't we told ourselves, 'What or who am I' is the one great question that requires solving? The root of all other questions possibly.

At the same time it is the question that can never be answered. At least not using our customary approach of mind dependent reasoning. For all attempts to reach that 'I' using an intellectual approach are doomed to fail and can only lead to frustration and confusion. (Though it is this eventual hopelessness which can reveal an underlying truth, glimpsed by the giving up of the trying to find the answer).

Why is it so problematic? Well put simply - one needs to ask who it is who is asking the question? Are not both questioner and question joined by the process of questioning? Are the questioner and question not opposite ends of the one questioning stick? Can either exist independently of the questioning?

A scientific analogy might help to illustrate. Twentieth Century scientists who had begun studying the minuscule particles that were supposed to make up life forms ran in to a fundamental problem. They reached a point where they were unable to study the objects objectively i.e. independent of any subjective influence. For the mere observer's act of observing now had a direct effect on that which was being observed. (If scientists followed this through, they might touch upon the true meaning of String Theory i.e. at ONE level nothing is not connected, we just imagine it to be).

As perviously alluded to, both observer and observed can only be joined by the process of observing. Observer, observed are an artificially separated part of the one process of observing - which is happening now i.e. is timeless. Just as is hearing, touching, knowing etc.

So to return to not THIS, not THAT. Are not THIS and THAT referring to the same space - for want of a better word? A timeless space. For there is no THIS or THAT as such - only apparently.

Wei Wu Wei* put it very succinctly when he proposed:

THIS which is seeking is THAT which is being sought and THAT which is being sought is THIS which is seeking.

He goes on to say:

Every time you try to name THIS-HERE-NOW you are an eye trying to see itself.

As with all paradoxes which seem to make sense intuitively, the moment you try to apply reasoning you start tying yourself up into knots.

* Wei Wu Wei- from his book "All Else Is Bondage" (Sentient Publications)


Subject without object. - 26/06/2013

You are the One Subject in which the many objects appear. You can witness this now by looking out of your eyes and witnessing your bodies - hands, legs, feet - as objects. Just as the chair, table, computer or whatever is before you are also mere objects. But what is the source of this seeing, this knowing? What is looking through these eyes and is the source of this witnessing? Is there a witness? Isn't it rather the witness one supposes is witnessing this scene is not the Subject with a big 'S' but just another object masquerading as a pseudo-subject; its source being the One Subject without object. That Single Subject - referred to by a variety of names which are never it - only pointing to it. The Subject which is in truth no Subject, for without a genuine object how can it be defined? So once again we are compelled to drop our conceptions, understanding that any such paradoxes exist only at the level of (imaginary) subject and object. Whereas upon recognition of our one, true Subject Self all else is mere appearance (form) happening within a boundless spaciousness (no form).

"A single understanding, 'I am the One Awareness', consumes all suffering in the fire of an instant. Be happy." (Ashtavarkra Gita)


A thought cannot think. - 21/06/2013

A thought cannot think. I read this somewhere. It got me thinking.

Our lives are made up of thoughts. Most of our waking day and our sleep too when we are dreaming.

But who is it who is thinking these thoughts? These seemingly random, mental appearances that pop up uninvited.

Naturally we would reply, "I am". Until we ask the question - "who is that 'I'"?

Then we might come to realise that that 'I' we assume is thinking these thoughts is itself only a thought. A supposed object of a supposed subject (which is neither subject nor object per se).

So the thoughts 'we' are thinking are secondary thoughts - or the thoughts of a thought which is itself the thought of 'I'. In fact it's all just thoughts - I, we, every thing.

Yes - it all sounds rather confusing. But only because we are trying to think about it. And that is rather like standing at the bottom of a mountain and trying to describe the magnificent views from the summit. We might be able to recreate an enticing and convincing picture depending on our ability to mould words.

However on top of the mountain all words fail - thoughts temporarily cease. Mind is returned to its rightful place. We become transported in wordless awe. Awe at the simplicity - the pure naturalness - at the very heart - the very essence.

It's as simple as stating - "a thought cannot think". Then it doesn't have to. Just as You don't have to think a thought - which you think to be You.


A matter of perspective. - 22/03/2013

For so long we have been conditioned to believe that to get something we need to make the effort. It's a rule of life!

And suppose we decide to rebel and decide we want nothing. Do we still not have to make effort?

Then both these instances assume some thing or state pertaining to a future date. We don't have it now, so we must strive to attain it.

But what if someone were to tell you that 'knowing' or 'realisation' or whatever you wish to name 'it' is effortless and only available right now?

To illustrate using an analogy. What is more taxing: peering through a very dirty window or seeing clearly through a transparent pane of glass?

One could claim it's merely a matter of getting our seeing right.

The accepted way is for us to appear as individual objects in a world full of complexity - rife with conflict and strife. This is the effort equating to peering through the dirty window.

With the clear seeing comes a world of changing energy forms appearing within us as subject. We are one (subject) the world is many (objects). How can conflict arise if there is only one? And without conflict what effort is required? One effortless seeing.

We must continue to ask ourselves, "What is our reference point?" and "To whom or what does it pertain?"


perspective


A continual fascination for what we are not. - 18/03/2013

It's quite a revelation to realise that what 'one is not' is the source of our continual fascination. I am speaking of the world of phenomena, that is everything we are looking out at, hearing, touching etc.

Eventually one is forced to pose the question: "Who is is who is perceiving all this?" For surely there must be someone or something at centre. But when one seriously looks for what it might be, one cannot find any 'one' or 'thing' or 'centre'. It's as if this show of forms, constantly appearing and disappearing before us happens against a back drop of emptiness.

But can it be any other way? Surely for some thing to appear there must be no thing for it to appear on. To paint a picture one needs a blank canvass. If a pattern was already present on the canvass, it would interfere with the new picture. Or supposing the surface of the canvas was orange, the artist could no longer use that particular colour. In other words anything present here will interfere with what is there.

But is there a 'here' or 'there'? If so, where is the line of demarcation? Are we not unlimited emptiness for all that which is appearing? A boundless, still, blank canvass for this busy picture which is constantly metamorphosing before us. Aspects seemingly so opposite, yet sharing the same source. For how could one exist without the other?

But then it's not two - nor is it one. It just 'is'.


We know the truth when we hear it.. - 08/03/2013

It is no coincidence that some of the most quoted words, phrases, poems strike a chord within us simply because they are conveying an eternal truth.

While many will be happy sit back and listen to the flow of the words or find solace in the message they appear to promise, I believe a more responsible course of action is to investigate what it is beneath the surface that makes such a phrase or poem so rich in meaning.

By way of example, let us take Jesus' timeless words, where he gives us the following advice:

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34 - 1611 King James Version)

I am sure many of us have heard these words at one time or another. Immediately there is something about this verse which challenges our automatic beliefs, for most of us have been conditioned to think continually about our future as we go about our everyday lives.

But what Jesus appears to be saying quite adamantly is that we should instead consider what is happening 'now', for there is plenty to attend to this very moment. Surely this contradictory advice warrants some further investigation.

Firstly I wish to discount the slightly absurd notion that this is in some way an affirmation of Horace's famous "Carpe Diem", and usual frivolously hedonistic meaning attached to it, which runs along the lines, "enjoy today with no heed of tomorrow." Basically an excuse to indulge one's selfish whims with little consideration for others or one's surroundings. We only need to turn on the news or open a magazine to see this behaviour being enacted out on a daily basis.

In order to have an understanding of its depth of meaning, we literally have draw a halt to the momentum of our lives. Stop Now! Observe the never ending flow of thoughts which race before us like clouds across the sky on a gusty day. Thoughts which are continually pulling us this way and that - either into the future or the past and so rarely into now. To be here and now requires the effort to arrest thoughts - such as the moments we are able to give our attention to viewing a painting or work of art. But how often does this happen?

Surely a better course would be to try to understand the concept of time as we are accustomed to view it i.e. how it has been taught to us. For this is essentially what Jesus is alluding to. Few would dispute that time as we know it consists of a past and future, divided by a thin line known as the present. That we are usually in the former two, and only occasionally between them - in the present.

But what if we start at Now i.e. what we call the present? Stop focussing on thoughts - the clouds streaming before us. What can be added to this now? Where is past and future right now? Surely any past you conjure up can now longer be past because you are dragging it into the now. And where is the future?

Try this experiment. Focus fully on now and raise your finger when the future arrives. Of course it never will, providing you honest with yourself and are fully attentive to now.

Seeing this might lead you to the uncomfortable realisation that we in effect never live. If living is occurring now - which it is - with continual thoughts for tomorrow, when we reach tomorrow we shall be thinking of the following tomorrow and so on - until that final tomorrow of our lives. At which point we might take a glance back and think to ourselves... hang on! Maybe I missed something.

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself."

The truth of this will become apparent when one is able to dispel the myth of time. There is no past, no future - and without them there can be no present either. All there is is Now. No use thinking about it. We will never comprehend this from the point of view of mind, just as we will never understand what we term life. Then do we need to know? Isn't 'living' it enough?

Or as Jesus says, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."


Nothing to look forward to any more. - 28/02/2013

If I were to say to someone, "I don't look forward to anything any more." I'm sure most people would look at me and think to themselves, "Poor fellow, he's lost all enjoyment in life - he might as well be dead." Or words to that effect.

But let's not miss the irony lurking behind such a response. For to look forward is to be somewhere else but 'here'. The future is a concept after all - as is the past. But then so is the present, for without a notion of future or past, there wouldn't be that thin dividing line we call the 'present'. All is 'now' - a continuum without beginning or end. So no time either - then many stories do begin with those four magical words, "Once upon a time."

As long as we are ignoring this truth, we are dead. Dead to the possibilities or real living in contrast to the imaginative kind where, for the most part, we dwell.

Enjoyment is only possible while it is appearing before us through the medium of this remarkable collection of sensory structures we call the body - which is happening continually and animated by a living energy. Why look to the future - that will never ever arrive? Just as the past will never ever be retrieved - except in the moment and then it is no longer 'past', but something that is appearing now.

All rather confusing? Remember, there is more that one perception possible. Just as a small movement to the right or left can cause something at a distance, previously unidentifiable, to become instantly obvious.


The best gift to those you love. - 11/02/2013

Surely the best gift you could leave your family and friends - far better than a sum of money left in one's will - is to be able to tell them with certainty that 'dying' holds no fear. Rather it is an illusion, the mere passing of a form, completely natural and in many ways a wonderful thing. Besides it is not 'I' that is dying, but the appearance of 'I'.

Yet in order to pass on this 'knowing', it is necessary to experience it for oneself. Otherwise it remains in the realm of 'hope' or 'faith', both of which are very meagre substitutes - in fact no substitute at all.

Bankei Yotaku, the 17th Japanese Zen master cited his motivation for discovering 'Truth' was to be able to reveal it to his mother before she parted this life, which he was able to realise.

How much happier we would all be if we saw our loved one's smiling when we or they bid those farewells we all must at some point; knowing that what was doing the bidding was not who we or they truly are.


"Self Remembering" - what is it? - 24/01/2013

For many years 'I' was preoccupied with the effort to 'Self Remember'. With the mistaken belief that the 'Self' was a separate entity trying to do the 'remembering', it was a preoccupation doomed to failure and frustration.

So what a relief to realise that 'Self' is the remembering (and the forgetting) - aspects of this our true nature - which is not two (nor one).

We don't disappear when we go to sleep at night. The sun continues to shine even when we don't see it (which tends to be the case if you live in the UK).


Pondering Existence. - 22/01/2013

We really have no divine right to exist in these bodies. But we are, just as the flower in the vase on the table is existing. But to whom is the 'we' referring? Why that which is 'conscious'. That which exists as a result of us appearing in this form. For it takes the appearance of form to reveal to us our true nature - consciousness.

Perhaps that is where a flower has an advantage in as much it doesn't need to question its existence - it just 'is'. While we humans are more complex. Our consciousness operates in such a manner that in order to 'be' we have first not to 'be', by being something other than we are. As it stands, we are - yet we are not. When this being who we are not becomes unbearable we start yearning to be who we really are again - though this time with the knowledge of the knowing. 'I' knowing itself.

Why do we need to have our true state revealed to us? Why have we forgotten? Who knows? However, we have learnt to identify with the appearance i.e. our bodies and minds. Yet we say this is 'my body', 'my mind'. Who is saying this?

Answers to these question start coming when we begin to pose the question to ourselves: "To whom is this 'my' referring?"


'Who Am I?' again. - 10/01/2013

It recently struck me that this question, 'Who am I?', the question Ramana Maharshi, as well as numerous sages down the ages have advised we ask ourselves, functions in a similar fashion to a Zen Koan.

Now let me clarify, I've had no direct experience with Zen Koan's whereby a Zen master gives the student a puzzle in the form of a paradox to 'muddle' over. I have on the other hand had plenty of experience (practice) posing the question to myself: 'Who Am I?'.

What I have observed is not dissimilar to, at least from what I've read and been told, the way a Koan is intended to function, which is by directing the aspirant toward an understanding of 'That' to which it is pointing - essentially 'no thing'. For in a similar manner, by constantly posing the question, 'Who am I?', as in a situation where one might find oneself feeling upset and expressing under one's breath, 'I'm not happy about that!' By asking 'Who am I that is angry?', the very question who it that 'I' can become a mighty conundrum to the point of becoming demoralising.

And that's part of the reason for doing it. For if one is really honest and tries to offer an answer, it's extremely tricky to pinpoint that 'I'. In fact if one is really, really, really honest, it turns out to be impossible. For that 'I' is beyond definition, at least via the mind which is doing the questioning. So we work ourselves into that 'ball of doubt' which seems to be one of the primary functions of a Zen Koan.

For it's the very doubting that leads to any break through. Just as we have often witnessed that a way can appear - seemingly out of nowhere - when all other avenues have been exhausted. For the very reason that while it is 'you' who has been struggling with finding a way out, the means of escape has nothing to do with the 'you' - that has been making the efforts. It seems that the moment one resigns one's self will - the realisation that the answer to 'who am I?' cannot be sought by mere human effort alone. At which point something not unlike what we might term divine intervention occurs.

But this is no divine intervention from on high - after all where is on high? The divine is your True Self - that simplicity which lies behind the complexity. Yet at the same time two sides of the coin without which neither one could exist. The 'void versus form' dynamic which unpins the great teachings, such as Buddhism or Taoism.

One can point to this space now. For it is you that is looking out at this very moment. Point to yourself now - see you are the 'mirror' in which everything appears. You can't locate this mirror, just as you can't define it. It's there simply on account that there is something (a form) to reveal it. It's there just as you cannot deny your existence - for you must exist in order to deny it. However, when we become lost in 'outside' form the mirror goes dark.

It's both wonderful and frustrating to find ways to describe this, for the very reason it is beyond description - or should one say transmission. We point to it. But it's here for every one of us to see for ourselves.


On reading words by eminent masters. - 04/01/2013

I can now attest to two kinds of reading. The reading that goes on 'before' as opposed to the reading that comes 'after'.

By 'before' and 'after', I am referring to the periods prior and subsequent to the realisation of 'Truth'. For this realisation is truly of a tangible nature - as is the nature of 'Self'.

This intrinsic quality is further echoed in one's subsequent reading of the works of eminent masters, sages and those who have managed to cast aside delusion.

For prior to this state, while reading profound passages or illuminating words, we might find ourselves exclaiming, "How interesting!" or "I believe that's the truth". Or "Wouldn't it be wonderful to really know that". For while performed with all the vigour of an exciting search, it is still nonetheless a search for the the 'Knowing' of Truth.

But once that seeing of Truth abounds, such reading takes on a completely different aspect.* Then writings, such as those of the 17th century Japanese Zen Master Bankei, when viewed with this newly discovered eye, only go to confirm what has now been realised. So one simply finds oneself uttering, "Yes.. yes... yes..."

In fact Bankei comments on this very topic following a question he was asked about whether it was helpful in studying the Way to read through the Buddhist sutras and the records of the old masters. To which Bankei replied, "It all depends. If you rely on the principles contained in the sutras and records, when you read them, you'll be blinding your own eyes. On the other hand, when the time comes that you can dismiss principles, if you read such things, you'll find the proof of your own realisation." (from 'Translations from the Record of Bankei' by Peter Haskell)

"Yes... yes... yes..."

* Equally, there may be a repulsion for some of the prior material, in the same way as too much chocolate can make one feel sick. Though this is unlikely to be the case with the clear and simple writings of true masters, it is quite possible with some of the more convoluted works which focus on mental concepts or mere intellectual reasoning.


Seeing & Knowing. - 20/12/2012

First comes the Seeing of who you really are. 'Who am I?' Answering itself if you like. This Seeing is often accompanied by a sensation. Some might have an adrenalin rush with a feeling of 'wow!' Others might simply say, 'is this all it is - now what?'. In my case it was a huge sense of relief - namely because the 'search' was finally over. There was no need to go anywhere except where one was - right here.

And here lies the beauty of this no trip. For self realisation, or whatever word you wish to call this seeing of one's true nature, is as varied as there are individuals. Then it is the notion that we are each individual that we are trying to dispel. Which is not to say our fate is to fall back into one homogenised mass. Rather we assume a viewpoint which opens up a whole host of possibilities. Possibilities which we in our ordinary day to day state can barely conceive - though are constantly hinted at in works of nature and art. That all- Seeing state, with you at centre. Not as a small individual floundering amidst the many, jumping up and down, trying to get noticed. There's no jumping up and down here, no individual-ness here either, for without the many, that too disappears. What can be more individualised than 'One'? Equally, what can be less individual than 'One'? A realm so infinitely deep, empty - yet at the same time containing all things. A place where paradoxes effortlessly resolve.

Whereas this Seeing is direct, without compromise. There are no half measures. It really is a case of black and white. You either See or you don't. However to stay with that direct Seeing is almost impossible. To prolong it, make it a permanent state - always before you if you wish - can just as easily be a means of avoiding it. Then as long as we have to contend with this human form, as long as there exists the little ego - so necessary to interact in our day to day lives - to be constantly open as the big 'One', one senses would be the equivalent of living in a monastery - apart from life. That time will come.

Fortunately, along with the 'Seeing' comes the 'Knowing'. For once Seen, our true nature can no longer be completely hidden. For if it does disappear behind the veil, what once was ignorance is now replaced by 'Knowing'. This Knowing allows us to drawn aside the curtain at any time to reveal 'This', for it is always there in the background. Just as we know the sun is above us even on cloudy day.

"Know the Truth and the Truth will set you free." The Truth is always with us. What is important is whether we 'Know' it. Not knowing as in believing or trusting, but 'Knowing' in the deepest sense of the word, without a shadow of doubt.


Words, words, words... - 15/12/2012

Yet by writing here I'm in the act of adding even more words. The irony is that what I am attempting to discuss, describe, point out, is entirely beyond words. 'It' precedes word. From 'it' words arise to try and point back to that 'it' - whatever 'it' is. The only thing we can say for sure about this 'it' is that it's here, now - for all of us. When one says the words - 'I exist'. That's it. There's no denying 'it' - our existence. But to say what 'it' is directly - one can't.

So while we are 'it' - we are. When we try to describe where or what we are, we discover we can't. We can only attempt to point at 'it' using a raft of metaphors, similes, practical experiments. In fact, once one has the bug and is on the trail of 'it', there are no shortage of commentators out there willing to try their best to put their finger on this illusive quality. On the Web, YouTube, giving seminars, writing books. Each with their own story of what 'it' is and how they came to realise 'it'.

Some of these commentators (I don't use the word teacher as almost all will deny they are teachers) use many words, while others less. Some who use a lot of words are actually saying very little. But then what is there to say about something that is beyond words.

However in their earnestness to try and convey what they now 'possess', and no doubt born out of best intentions, it can be very frustrating for the seeker to hear certain commentators blithely remark how obvious 'it' really all is and the fact that what you are seeking is really right here. They may well be right and it's all very well if one has managed to realise 'it', but very ╩exasperating for someone who hasn't. It could even be said to depict an arrogance on the part of the proclaimer of this 'good news', which is certainly consistent with the teacher and student dynamic, which they deny.

Indeed, it's veritable minefield out there. Like all 'good things', when they start to become popular, many join the fun. Advaita / No duality - is no exception. It's been around for as long as man in many guises, but only over the last decade or so really become available, due no doubt to the growth of world wide communications; though one would still hesitate to call it main stream. Then a similar argument can be posited in reference to Quantum Mechanics, which still isn't properly addressed in schools, given its importance as a successor and compliment to Newtonian physics. Of course, a little investigation into both Non Duality and Quantum Mechanics might quickly suggest why this is the case. They both defy logic and the human's predilection for conceptual thinking. In other words they're wretchedly difficult to teach. Teachers have enough trouble conveying Newton!

Still, one has to have some sympathy with all those Advaitans out there trying to convey what is 'it'. There are plenty of them. At the same time it strikes me that part of the payment for realising this hidden treasure is that one must then help direct others to the place. As much for the guide's sake as that of the seeker, for that too is part of the realisation process.

It certainly appears that every individual comes to their own personal realisation of what it is to no longer be solely and individual in numerous ways. We each have 'our' story to reach 'the' Story. So it is as well there are so many paths which can enable this. And as is often stated, it is only we - our selves - who can tread that path. Others can tell you all sorts of things - pleasant and unpleasant - for all kinds of reasons, but yours is the final word.

So back to 'words'. I recall there was a point when I was reading anything I could get my hands on, by every Advaita commentator going. I was sure I'd almost got it. What they were saying made absolute sense. Why was there something missing? Well of course, I was still stuck at the conceptual level - a higher one, but still conceptual. Everyone was telling me it was non-conceptual. How does one figure that out. One doesn't obviously. Still it was driving me crazy (in the mind!)

How to get out of mind - or by pass the mind - or get upstream of the mind? That was what was required. Well I had to get away from words. So came the question, was their any way that didn't rely on words? For though they had done an excellent job pointing, "the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon", as the saying goes.

Enter Douglas Harding. Although he is no longer physically among us, what he bequeathed is invaluable. He used words - extremely well, I might add. He was an excellent speaker. Not only that, he spoke with authority. Best of all he gave us a suitcase of practical experiments to guide us to that place, which didn't require words. Only seeing.

Yes... SEEING.


Experiencing one's true nature. - 30/11/2012

For experiencing is all that it is. It is going on no matter what the weather is like outside. When the wind blows a bitter chill and snow is forecast, there is no better place to be than safely seated next to a real fire. One is heated from the inside out.

Just as it is a matter of letting life come to you, instead of the usual urge of meeting it head on. Why leave the cosy hearth to face the wind and snow? By opening the door one is only letting in the freezing air.

If we are still at centre we allow this to happen. However, if we become caught up with the sense and pressure of 'I should be doing' this or that, we open that door, step outside and become lost in the maze of a world of shadows.

The analogy of watching a film or play is very apt, only it is not 'you' that is watching. Rather it is YOU at centre - a blank screen - upon which 'you' are appearing as an individual interacting among your appearing individual fellow beings.

That blank screen is the space in which all appearance manifests. Far from being intimidating, it is our boundless, timeless, limitless freedom which can only be hinted at through words. Whenever we limit that space we immediately become bound.

This space cannot be known directly, only conceptualised. However, by enjoying the phenomena which appears within its boundlessness, one realises this space. It is why we are here, to know directly who we are - return to being 'that' within that knowing. This realising or knowing is one's true nature. So rest in that space and enjoy the play which continues to unfold.


Six months on... and what a difference. - 26/11/2012

Well it was toward the end of May when I last posted. Why the gap? Why the sudden halt? Especially when words seemed to be flowing so freely. Well from what I can ascertain, my words were replaced by other's words. For during the intervening period I have been delving into the works of the wise in an attempt to answer some of the questions that had bubbled to the surface. This was the result of a sudden and seemingly random insightful experience where I found myself directing my attention within, instead of the usual preoccupation with what is without.

On hindsight, I now realise that whether one is searching without or within, it is still searching. But the all important question did arise: "Who is doing the seeking?" It is this earnest such to discover the answer to "Who am I?" which sets the ground for discovering the purpose of our appearance at this mortal level. For it is as mortals that we are in a position to pose the question and in so doing find a way back from whence we came - or more accurately to what we are beneath this appearance / persona we show to the world.

So the major thrust of my literary journey took me firstly to the works by or about Ramana Maharshi, followed closely by Nisagadatta Maharaj. Sailor Bob Adamson, who spent time with the latter and is still active in Australia, provides some of the clearest pointing I have encountered. Of the neo-advaitins, of which there are plenty, I was particularly attracted to Rupert Spira's artistic approach, though Tony Parsons (not strictly neo-advaita), Robert Wolfe and several other non-duality commentators helped build a picture of the mystery that lay behind the "not two, not one" - our true nature, which we continue to ignore (through ignorance).

I then encountered Galen Sharpe, whose essay on "non-volitional living", made a very strong impression. He acquired his knowledge from a mystic who went under the name of Wei Wu Wei. I was to discover that this with the sobriquet used by a certain Irish gentleman whose real name was Terence Gray. He started life in the theatre and following a colourful life on and off stage, settled down to pen several books heavily influenced by Ramana Maharshi (who I believe he met) and his pet subject Zen Buddhism.

Wei Wu Wei's writing style initially required great attention, but once his message is seen, he (along with Bob Adamson) was able to take me to the point of a very deep conceptual understanding of what 'it' was all about. He was also able to strip the message of the Eastern / Indian baggage, which more often than not consisted of exotic sounding words depicting equally exotic, sometime baffling concepts - at least to Western ears.

Even so, with what appeared to be occasional glimpses of clarity, I still sensed I was up against the mind, with its crafty knack of appearing in order to explain, reason, dissect and add layers of complexity to anything with the slightest threat of danger (to the mind's continued apparent existence). To paraphrase St Paul: "Creating that dark glass which prevents us seeing face to face."

Then all the great sages, in their various ways, urge us to be rid of mind, or at least its influence, usually be exposing it as the illusionary entity it pretends to be. But mind is a very slippery character that can shape shift from object to pseudo subject in a blink of an eye (so pretending to be I). For even as the witness, we are still two!

The truth is, from our current viewpoint, we cannot know what 'it' is. Every word, every thought is conceptual. Even pointers such as "being non-conceptual ever present awareness" is a concept. To know (experience) directly requires another viewpoint - often described as a place prior to thought, even if that place is here now.

So it became a big mind game. No good trying to give up mind. That was still mind. Trying to read one's way out - seeking for that bit of information that would make the difference - the last piece of the jigsaw. That was simply mind prolonging the search. Then I was stuck in mind.

I began to wonder, is this when a living sage becomes necessary? By being in their physical presence are they able to provide that required nudge, which can surmount this mental cul-de-sac? Then╩I also knew if I remained patient and vigilant, answers would arrive (form one's inner guru). They had up until now.╩At the same time, intuition was telling me that I needed to find a means to bypass the mental conceptualising which had filled my head to bursting. Something practical.

So along came Douglas Harding with his very simple but 'practical' experiments into 'Seeing'. And did they make a difference! As if by magic the illusion was penetrated.╩Conceptual mind had been short circuited, and effectively disabled. Now direct perception could occur: "That clear, spacial emptiness out of which everything appears", about which nothing can spoken, only inferred.

It will be towards 'this' that any further posts will be directed. For apart from 'this' nothing is.


The Pure Illumination of Self. - 25/05/2012

A pure light emanates from Source (Self). At what point does it admit impurity?

The light stream encounters the prism of ego and becomes fragmented into a profusion of colour, delineating a multitude of forms.╩These colours of substance create the characters we believe ourselves to be. While some of us exhibit our lighter shades, others reveal a predominantly darker hue. But for the most part we display a mixture of both.

Whatever the combination, it is necessary to continually remind ourselves that the manifestation presented before us originated from that single source of pure light, which contains all hues.

Right now our prevailing view of the world is that of a palette of many colours. We mix them to our liking in the hope we will paint our dreams. But it is an eternal (external) quest of distant longing, which disappears into the distance just as the diverging lines within a perspective drawing will never merge.

Only by turning our vision inward toward who we are is that convergence, we are currently seeking outwardly, possible. We must trace the colours back to their pure, effulgent source, which is shining within us even now - as Self.


The Power of Symbols. - 18/05/2012


circumpunct



True Happiness. - 17/05/2012

It could be argued that everyone is seeking their ideal of happiness, no matter how perverse some of the pursuits might seem. Normally that picture of happiness consists merely of a vague delineation of a fictitious state, its only claim to reality being that it is better than the state one is currently in. For by deduction anyone seeking happiness must be unhappy with their current circumstances, for why be seeking otherwise? Often people will say they are happy in their pursuit of happiness. That is until some tragedy befalls them and their world is turned upside down.

Then paths to this fictitious happiness are many. Money is a chief delusion, for with enough of it you can buy happiness. Then so is finding the ideal partner to provide you with those things you are lacking. For others, a guru, or a method of teaching or seeking to take you to that goal holds the promise of bliss. And so on.

But as long as there is duality, there can never be true happiness. Happiness can only ever be relative. Relative to unhappiness. To the state you are in. For that relative happiness belongs to the past - born from memories - transported into the future in the guise of hopes. Whereas true happiness can only be accessed through the present, where past and future meet and dissolve.

But even remaining in the present is no guarantee for true happiness. For although without the trappings of the past or weight of future expectations, even when the world around us appears to be alive and fresh, if duality is still there there will still remain tension. For the nature of duality is tension - a pulling of forces. And as long as there is a seeker and that being sought (happiness), there will be tension which makes true happiness impossible, for it is one unto itself, without opposite, without the pulling of forces.

Just as the business of obtaining relative happiness involves "doing" something about it, in the form of an external pursuit,╩true happiness is found within and is about "being" who we are. A seeker who is not doing is no longer seeking. A seeker who is not doing is being. The seeker and the sought are one, so the seeker no longer exists. Happiness is no longer an issue - whether relative or true. As One, there are no issues.


The Ego. - 14/05/2012

The Ego is the root of who and what we appear to be to ourselves. It thrives on opposites - our pleasures, our pain. Out happiness and unhappiness. Our victories and failures. The Ego will attach itself to everything and anything and in that manner has complete control over us, yet giving us the illusion that we are in charge. But who are the 'we' in charge? Our Egos - our desires. Yet without the Ego we are nothing. It is the proverbial snake swallowing its own tail.We just need to observe how subtle the Ego is in expressing itself. It will seek out every nook and cranny where there is the possibility of finding a foothold, a place of purchase from where to apply its cunning ways.

Sri Ramana Maharshi tells us that the only way to overpower the ego is to destroy it. In other words, exposing it for what it is: nothing. Then how can one destroy nothing? He shows us how we can do this by seeking what we are in the "I Am". He goes on to warn that suppressing the ego, or temporarily subduing it using a variety of available methods is not the same, as it can always spring back into life tomorrow or in a thousand years.

Self realisation is recognising that the ego - the individual self - is a false creation with its origin in "I". The subjective Ego as "I" is pure. Once objectified as in I am this or that, it takes on a form. We believe that form to be real. We in turn are pulled away from out centre which happens every time we go along with one of these forms the Ego has acquired - our thoughts, our desires. We are bound by them and Freedom only comes about by divesting ourselves of the ties by returning to the centre - The untainted Ego - the "I Am".

At the centre we are like perfect actors, yet to assume a role. We are even free not to call ourselves actors. But once we attract a role we become actors by name. Good or bad it makes no difference. When we are asked what we are. We are actors - for that's what we see. And yet behind the thought of us being actors we find that place where we are free to choose whether we wish to be that which we are not. For that which we are, is free from choice. There is no choice. What is there to choose?

Ramana tells us to find the origin of these egoistic thoughts and desires, the product of our Individual Ego - the "I" Thought, which is in itself pure. So pure that once divested of the many colours of its assumed forms will dissolve once more into Self - as the white light of the moon vanishes with the sun's rays.

Out task is to discover that "I" Thought from which mind with its multitude of thought processes is born. Our own veritable Pandora's box. To tackle the contents would be madness, would drive us insane - though many try and continue to do so. But as Ramana tells us we must go straight to the source. Expose the Ego for what it really is. That in turn will open the door for all possibilities - contained within the Self.


Destiny proposes, but fate disposes. - 11/05/2012

I've often read and thought about those two well documented forces of╩fate and destiny and felt that in many instances they are treated as interchangeable. Though they are certainly intertwined I do feel they are fundamentally different concepts. For a start Fate strikes me as being completely out of our control, whereas with Destiny we do, under certain circumstances, have the possibility to influence the outcome. Just as we often refer to our personal star of Destiny.

So it is from this angle I which to approach these two notions. For by attempting to understand the questions Fate and Destiny invoke, this in turn might help us to understand more fully who we are, and the role we have to enact as human beings.

We talk about being buffeted by Fate, for which reason we generally view it as something undesirable. Then as long as we pursue our external dreams are we are at its mercy? But who is to say that the lessons Fate teaches us are not for our own good? To help us fulfil our Destiny, which lurks beneath the surface of our lives, making its presence felt through our perceptions of worldly disappointment and feelings of unfulfillment.

In similar manner, once our vision turns inward there is a strong sense that our Destiny has come alive. Take the obvious question: what is our destiny? Can we know this? Yes, I believe we can. But we have to be awake. Even then it might only be a glimpse, or a vague knowing. But if we give due attention, we may detect the affirmative self acknowledgement which reminds us that there is a reason for our being here?

Just as have to discover the path - the path that is straight and narrow. To enter this path requires a strong desire for uncovering Truth. Then the inner longing will take us on journey often with many twists and turns, until it eventually finds the resting place of True Knowledge. Though it is only a rest as it is at this point that our journey doubles back to return on itself. Just as we must turn toward ourselves to discover the source of that Truth.

With this turning inward and the journey that ensues, it is the guiding light of Destiny which will shine forth lighting our way home. Whereas before it shone with the muted radiance of a winter sun through heavy fog.

Are we willing to look and listen for the signs Destiny proposes for us, then act on them? Or will Fate continue to have its way? (Though it will no doubt deliver us up eventually.)

As Henry David Thoreau reminds us: "We are constantly invited to be who we are."


What's behind a name? - 09/05/2012

We all acquired a name at birth. It's quite amazing really how people generally suit the names they've been given. Once or twice you meet someone and you say, "He doesn't look like a Carl", or "I can never remember her name because she just doesn't strike me as a Florence." But usually the name accurately describes their personality.

And we certainly need a name, or there would be pandemonium. How would we identify one another? "The guy who likes football, you know the one." "I know lots of guys who like football." Almost impossible to identify that guy without a name. Often if they're are several people we know with the same first name we have to qualify it by using the last name. So thank heaven's someone invented names.

Still, what's behind a name? Isn't it an umbrella for a host of characteristics, traits, behaviour patterns, thoughts, desires, quirks which go to identify us as an individual? For someone who knows me very well, only one or two identifiers are needed. "Steven... Tall... Keeps to himself... Is so and so's dad..." "Oh that Steven". Whereas someone who didn't know me would need a more extensive description of my character and even then would have trouble picturing me. And when they did meet me I might turn out to be someone completely different to whom they imagined.

The point I'm getting at is that it might be a good idea to try to understand who we are, as that name we've been given. I ask myself "Who is Steven". What is my reply? "I am a collection of all those things you have mentioned above." I look at all those things: my desires, my wishes, my tendencies and wonder how they were formed, how they can so easily change and maybe realise how poor they are at actually describing "me".

But are they describing "me"? Next I ask, "Am 'I' Steven". If "I" am honest, the answer is no. Why? Because the mere fact "I" can observe "Steven" lends credence to the fact that this "Steven" - consisting of all this tendencies is not essentially who "I" am.

So the question arises "Who am I?" and is the part who observes separate from "Steven?" Well I have acknowledged that "Steven" is a name I was give to identify me. The "me" consisting of all tendencies "Steven" has acquired since birth to create what is commonly called the "Ego." But how permanent is this aspect? Could it not vanish just as it was formed? What is the fuel that keeps the "Ego" alive? Is it not the belief I am that name and everything "Steven" represents? A disconcerting thought (to the Ego.)

Now what happens if I observe "Steven", by engaging the "observer within" which has this ability? Will I not gradually come to see the true nature of what is behind that name? Surely "Steven" only has legitimacy in as much as "I believe it" to be so. But not the "I" that is watching. So there exists an imaginary "I". Can the Ego believe itself into existence? Just as with an actor who has yet to act in a role. Can they be called an actor? Or do they have to have acted to first? They could with validity at this point call themselves the 'perfect' actor, for until they have acted there is no way of knowing how good they are. But there are so many questions, conundrums, paradoxes for mind to grapple with, to fill books (and blogs.)

But the point I wish to make here is that we are at ease to watch ourselves as we appear behind our individual name. I am free to watch "Steven" right now. But I am not "Steven", just as you are not who you imagine yourself to be. Instead we are the "I Am" without an object attached i.e. Name or the stuff of name.

We know this, because to Be in the "I Am" requires no effort, whereas acting the role of "Name" is exhausting, as might be expected when trying to be something one isn't. So why choose to be someone we are not?

I ask myself that more and more frequently. And every time I do, this in turn helps me to be that which "I Am." With persistent dedication I anticipate there will come a time when I no longer have to ask the question at all.

To adapt a well known phrase: "To be, or not to be - therein lies the answer".


A day in April lost in time. - 08/05/2012

Time to mention how and why this blog came into existence.

It would be true to say that it emerged at the time 'I' did. For just as someone who has been asleep wakes up to begin jotting down their dreams, this blog consists of mine. For any experience from the past, that is from memory is of a dream nature - "We are such stuff as dreams are made of." Still, the act of writing these dreams can be a constant reminder to nudge us into the present where Being opens the door to a space beyond the words.

Indeed it was just another day in April that a new dawn emerged in my existence. For it was as if the sun had entered a north facing room and in so doing illuminated each nook and cranny, sweeping away the dark spaces and shadows allowing them no place to hide.

The sensation that came upon me was all comprehensive and accompanied by a host of realisations (revelations), which I put down to little more than a shift of perception. But how important is such a shift. When our vision which once looked outward now turns inward. So, what was revealed?

•  I had now found within what I'd been seeking without.

•  Whenever my vision did stray toward external objects, there was a force that ensured it was soon hauled back in.

•  External objects and goals had all but lost their attraction and allure. Instead replaced by a stronger urge to delve and enjoy what was within.

•  The accompanying and gratifying realisation of "this is how is ought to be." Of being with no worries of doing. Knowing that all the other 'stuff' would take care of itself.

•  An overall sense of effortless being free from the constraints of time.

This state remained for most of the day, after which it faded though the energy that had accumulated sustained me for next 24 hours or so. Which is not to say that everything eventually╩returned to 'normal'. I don't believe it ever can. I distinctly recall saying to myself: "I have woken up". For I had. I have often read Sufi poetry where a poem alludes to a seeker tasting from the (spiritual) cup and becoming intoxicated. There is a subsequent desire for more of the same. Well I now understand this feeling. I too am thirsty for more.

Many of the above realisations are still present, though in a more dilute form. Whereas the vivid realisations which at the time seemed so effortless now require a mental effort of will to invoke merely a semblance of the state I had experienced, I do believe with a correct and sustained effort coupled with an integrity of purpose a return to this place is possible. More than possible - for it is our rightful home. But a focus of attention is required, not dissimilar to the act of meditation (something I have never had the patience to undertake in the past), but now seems almost requisite in order to find a stillness within to allow a sense of Self to emerge.

Nor has it all been positive in nature since the experience. Though I'm quite sure this has been due to over exertion on my part. There is a point where effort must give way to being.╩We are obsessed with doing╩and where we need to BE is at a point where doing has ceased. We try to be still and in doing so we are not. Discovering this balance is an art in itself.

Some of the after effects I have subsequently:

•  Much of the effort to delve inward has been of a mental nature. As a result I become very tired at times. Sometime my head hurts during periods of day.╩I am also apt to doze off. At night there is the urge to take an early night.

•  Sleep is now accompanied by so many vivid dreams. Whereas as before I had very few if any or rarely remembered the content.

•  There is a tendency to wake up early with a vivid realisation of observation of the self.

•  It has become an effort to enter into imagination or thoughts about past or future. Though this is not such a bad thing!

•  An overall vague perception that I am here

•  Taking in superfluous or non relevant information has become a challenge. Listening to the news is painful!

•  In a similar vein, I have found it difficulty in applying myself to purely intellectual or mental pursuits.

•  A perceptible resignation of the will and the realisation that most external events are out of my power. With an equally strong conviction that I need to concentrate on my Self. That said, I have had no urge to change anything in regards to my current lifestyle - externally that is.

•  A continual wish for stillness and space (to meditate). Though this is possible amidst the hustle and bustle of life.

•  Most important, there is a persistent voice within that is telling me that I am trying too hard. I am closest when I am able to relax and be. As in "Stop Looking."

The bottom line is that after such an experience╩which might easily be put down to grace (for want of a word), one is no longer the same. A kernel has been planted / revealed / awakened within us which now requires our attention, our vigilance and careful watering.

* * * * *

Note: I have since discovered a path of "Self Enquiry" which goes a long way to helping explain much of the above experience. Though I have encountered numerous 'methods', what is unique about this particular one is that it proposes to dissolve the power of the 'Ego', for that is what marked this state out from others I had had in the past: the subsiding of the individual "I". Whereas in the other methods I have encountered, this "I" has either suppressed or in some cases reinforced! The 'small' matter of the Ego has always remained a thorn in my side with its tireless ability to masquerade in numerous disguises to assert individuality - hence separateness from he whole (which is itself free from feelings of separateness and wholeness). But more on that in due course.


Stop looking for what you want. - 07/05/2012

Stop looking for what you want.

This was some advice passed on from a 'teacher' to student and it is worth investigating. For within this phrase there are several significant pointers.

Stop: How can we stop? What do we need to stop? We can sit still up to a certain point, but can we stop the mind from entertaining a continuum of thoughts? But isn't stopping a stillness of mind and body?

Looking: Infers action. Action is movement, not stopping. To stop looking we have to Be. Being is Now. Being in the Present does not allow thoughts to arise as it is free from time past, the origin of all our thoughts. Mind in a state of Being is without thought.

What we want: This is directed at those who have realised that this isn't going to be found in something external outside of oneself. Most likely if you are reading this, you have sussed this out. We may even have arrived at an understanding that what we have been searching for without is a reflection of that which we seek within. If we are craving acknowledgement or respect for something we have done, is it not our Self which has been feeling neglected?

So when we get round to directing our search inward, not only do we sense that completeness / wholeness is within reach, but it also draws a conclusion to our outward searching. For where else is there to look but within?

Still the final and most challenging hurdle has yet to be surmounted. And the clue to that is within the phrase: Stop looking for what you want. For what prevents us from arriving at what we intrinsically are: our Self? Is it not the action of looking for it? It is the Self we want.

To Be who we Are - our Self - we must Stop.

So take time out to BE that.


Our coats of many colours - 04/05/2012

Know yourself as you truly are, not as you imagine yourself to be.

Hans Christian Anderson illustrates this most effectively in his tale The Emperor's New Clothes.

The Emperor who had been perfectly comfortable with his self image is duped by a couple of rogues into believing that he needs to dress himself up. That way he will be able to gain the attention and respect of the multitude of admirers who constantly surround him and remind him of his importance.

When the time comes to parade these new garments, though the fabric is illusory, everybody goes along with show. It is the Emperor after all and they don't want to cause offence. What if there is something there and it is only due to a deficiency on their part that they can't see it. They would look foolish.

Only a small child who is able to see the Emperor for whom he really is, calls out exclaiming that the whole spectacle is a charade. He doesn't do it with an ulterior motive in mind, only because it's the Truth. That is all he can see, so he can not help it pointing to it.

Naturally this makes everyone extremely uncomfortable. Such can be the nature of Truth. So the child is admonished and told to keep quiet. Even the Emperor who began to doubt, reminded by the sound of the small voice, soon becomes satisfied once more that his image is real and appropriate for the occasion.

As for the rogues, they are long gone.


new clothes

* * * * *

So why do we feel the need to dress ourselves up? For that is what we do when we begin adding things to ourselves. Our Self which is pure and uncontaminated - just as white light gleams upon entering a prism.

Instead it is the array of colours emerging that attract us. We want to grab hold of one or more and in so doing are spirited away by. For some reason we have failed to realise that we contain all the colours within us. The pure white light of our true Self - which untainted resides as one with the Source.


How many words do we need? - 03/05/2012

Words can at once reveal or veil the Truth. Is there a sentence more powerful than these Words describing God's Word?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

When we feel a desire for more words, do we ask ourselves: Do I need all these words? Or are they merely acting as a distraction?

Especially if the purpose of those words is simply to point to the silence (behind words.)

Oneness is not the state of Oneness. Oneness is a word describing that state.


Becoming mindful of thought. - 02/05/2012

A few months ago I wrote the following under the title: "It is thought that makes us who and what we are."

Have you ever taken the time to watch your thoughts? It's at once fascinating and disturbing. Fascinating inasmuch as it is possible to be at a place where you can watch thoughts arise seemingly out of nothing or more often prompted by an association, only to be replaced by yet another thought and another. Sometimes relevant to the thought that has been before, often not. The disturbing part is, if you're not watching this it's going on anyway. Your actions, your day to day life is determined by these thoughts.

So how do we watch a thought? I suggest finding a quiet place to practice, then start watching. Yes, we have a faculty - call it a Watcher if you like - that can observe thoughts. We catch ourselves thinking about something: We have to remember to put the chicken in the oven. Next moment we find ourselves thinking about our guests for dinner and how you don't particularly like so and so and why on earth did you invite them. Though it wasn't you, but your wife; which sets you off on another thought stream about her.

Naturally, you cannot be in a position to observe the actual transition from thought to thought, because at the moment of watching there are no thoughts. But you can watch the thought that has arisen by intercepting it by the use of the Watcher. On reading this, you might try it out of curiosity, then forget about it for weeks, months or years. Then you might encounter the idea again as I did, when I reached a point in my life when I was being inundated by thoughts from every direction that I just wanted 'out'. Out was finding a place where the Watcher could observe them. As a result, intrusive thoughts which seemed so threatening lost their power as if rendered impotent. Where once the thoughts controlled you, you now had power over them. The power to decide whether you were going to let them affect you, or just let them go.

If I make it sound simple, it isn't. But with practice, the Watcher can be activated more an more frequently, though ultimately it depends on how much you want or need it. Most people are happy to ride their thoughts until the mind perishes with the body.

* * * * *

For the most part I consider the above to be accurate, though I might now be tempted to change the title to "It is thought that make us who we THINK we are." For what we ARE is not our thoughts.

In truth, the mind can only take us so far. To reveal our true Self requires that the mind with its thoughts╩is exposed for what it is: A coat rack upon which we hang our various garments, which give us our identity yet cover our true nature.

The analogy of stepping off a cliff is often drawn on. If the cliff comprises all the mental constructs of the mind which conspire to keep us from being who we are, stepping off would allow us to be free. But leaping into that unknown space requires courage. From where does this courage arise? Certainly not the mind, for stepping into the void would be nothing short of suicide. Grace perhaps?

One thing for certain, if we remain trapped within the world of mind, we remain a prisoner. Yet it is not in the interests of the mind to help us escape. But isn't the reason we're not free is due to the mind duping us to imagine we are in prison? So how can we convince ourselves that this is merely a trick of the mind? Our mind comprises thoughts which are effectively mental constructs formed from past experiences projected into the future. We can observe this in the now.╩The present moment which has no root in the past or future has the effect of rendering the╩mind inactive and hence any thoughts associated with it. And what are we if we are no longer thoughts?

We ARE. (Where is the cliff, where is the void?)

* * * * *

Looking out to sea, I spied a fishing boat heading to port. From the harbour, another boat was leaving. I was watching two thoughts bobbing around on the ocean of mind. A flock of seagulls came into view carried by the wind. Another group of thoughts - all inconsequential.


Know Thyself - 01/05/2012

The aphorism Know Thyself has been passed down through the ages as accepted wisdom. Plato refers to it via the voice of Socrates who is quoted as saying: "But I have no leisure for them at all; and the reason, my friend, is this: I am not yet able, as the Delphic inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous, when I do not yet know that, to investigate irrelevant things."

He also states: "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." And: "The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being."

But how can this be? If Self is (unity), how can it know itself which implies duality? Who is doing the knowing? The same principle applies to Remember Thyself or See Thyself all Egoistic at root.

Surely it is more accurate to say Reveal Thyself, for that implies that you are already that Self, but in the current state you are not living to your full potential because of something preventing it, in the form of ignorance (of its true nature), or identification (with something external.)

So perhaps instead we might look at Know Thyself in the context of╩a method of Self enquiry. For if by Self one is instead referring to the "I" thought, the root of which we imagine ourselves to be. Knowing this would surely be regarded as wisdom.

What is this "I" thought? Well, "I" as in I am is pure and untainted. It is when we add to the "I", as in I believe..., I feel... or I think... that we become something other than we are, by identifying with the object of that "I".

So Know Thyself can be seen as the effort to hold on to that unadulterated "I" thought, which requires a presence of mind, or rather no mind? For by focussing on that "I" this in turn subdues the mind and the never ending litany of thoughts which are constantly enveloping us and dragging us this way and that, taking us away from our true Self.

Perhaps if we are able to remain consistent and sincere in our efforts, we might reveal the real Self (unity), which is both the subject and object of our initial enquiry. For without the Self none of this could take place and yet it needs to take place in order to realise Self for what it IS.


The Experience IS - 30/04/2012

Living the experience takes place in the present which is out of time. Anything else is an interpretation of a past experience. For the most part we are content to recall or hanker after the memories of these past experiences. Also recount descriptions, lines and passages we read in books which moved us at the time of reading. Or words related to us by someone special - which sounded so meaningful coming from their mouth.

Yet no matter how attractive all these thoughts are, the true experience can only be re-lived at this time - now. In the present with the activation of the discerning "I". The "I" that stands apart and observes. The "I" that IS. An aspect of our own Self (the true guide.)

What is that experience? Being aware of whom and what we ARE within the greater scheme. At once connected and disconnected, knowing we are in the midst of a dream, yet sensing the underlying reality. Such paradoxes are only troublesome to the mind, while living the experience transcends it. For the mind relies on the past and has no substance in the waking which is the present.

You know this is Truth. For at such a moment there will be no need to search further. You have found what is there all the time - YOU. This itself is a relief. You can never be where you need to be while you are busy searching for it. The mind with its thoughts, which loves the challenge of the chase, is almost invariably taking you off in another direction - the wrong one. How can you remain still if you are dashing around like a headless chicken?

The searching maybe over, but does it mean no more effort is required? Or is it a time for the consolidation of what you know IS the Truth?


On the nature of desire - 27/04/2012

It is wonderful to come to the realisation that one no longer has to strive for perfection. Waking up has nothing whatsoever to do with trying to be perfect. Consciousness IS perfection itself and is where we truly belong. Our current notions of becoming perfect is affiliated to the world of the mind and our ego's love for comparisons. To be great, rich or famous in this life relies on an opposite condition. But there is another greatness, richness and knowing which is without comparison.

True perfection is found through surrender. Surrendering the small ego to that which IS perfection - your Self, the Source, God or whatever word you choose. The ego will always strive for its idea of perfection in an attempt to master some worldly pursuit - be it in the form of a secular or spiritual practice. But that is outward perfection - always relative, continually open to debate, the source of heated arguments, war and strife, with a need to create names or identities, such as genius, teacher or a religion.

So by holding on to a desire to be perfect we lose our way. In fact we are going in exactly the opposite direction. Any striving takes us off course. Surrender, relax and enjoy and learn from the objects in nature that are beautiful in themselves yet strive not to be perfect. Most of all watch out for those thoughts that try to tell you otherwise.


What is perfection anyway? - 26/04/2012

It is wonderful to come to the realisation that one no longer has to strive for perfection. Waking uphas nothing whatsoever to do with trying to be perfect. Consciousness IS perfection itself and is where we truly belong. Our current╩notions of becoming perfect is affiliated to the world of the mind and our ego's love for comparisons. To be great, rich or famous in this life relies on an opposite condition. But there is another greatness, richness and knowing which is without comparison.

True perfection is found through surrender. Surrendering the small ego to that which IS perfection - your Self, the Source, God or whatever word you choose. The ego will always strive for its idea of perfection in an attempt to master some worldly pursuit - be it in the form of a secular or spiritual practice. But that is outward perfection - always relative, continually open to debate, the source of heated arguments, war and strife, with a need to create names or identities, such as genius, teacher or a religion.

So by holding on to a desire to be perfect we lose our way. In fact we are going in exactly the opposite direction. Any striving takes us off course. Surrender, relax and enjoy and learn from the objects in nature that are beautiful in themselves yet strive not to be perfect. Most of all watch out for those thoughts that try to tell you otherwise.


A changing landscape. - 25/04/2012

What has changed? The power of the Ego perhaps. Not its death, but a weakening. It no longer has the same hold over my actions and reactions. It is by no means tamed but more manageable.

There are still doubts that creep in as "mind thoughts" try to break their way in. What I do know is that where I am Now is a better place to where I was. Whereas before I thought I was the master, I now realise I was a slave. In that realisation alone, you gain a partial mastery.

As Steven there are external duties to fulfil on a daily basis. As my Self I am not bound to anything or anyone.

And as for ambition: to be in the company of that which I love and that which loves me. Which is one and the same. Love cannot be separate. Love is.

* * * * *

It was winter when I left the sea for the shelter of the estuary. From there, I followed the lazy river and its many meanderings until I reached the stream. By then it was summer and its bed was dry and cracked, but still I followed it up into the mountains until eventually I arrived at the source.

Tired and exhausted from my travels I reached out and touched the spot from where all begins and as I did water began to flow. At first no more than a trickle, but it was sweet and fresh to the taste and only a little was required to quench the thirst.

The stream is now filling and the dry bed has returned to its natural moist state. I have been drinking from it ever since.


An unsatisfactory state of affairs. - 24/04/2012

You book to go on holiday in six months. You then spend five months dreaming about it, planning what you want to do, see and so on.

At the last moment the holiday is cancelled. You've broken a leg, your husband has run off with another man - or whatever.

What came to fruition within the last five month is now a bunch of dreams that never came to pass. You are profoundly depressed. Even the bottle of wine you drank last night doesn't help.

Now be honest, how satisfying is that?

Then most of us live our lives in an anticipation for something that may in all likelihood never come to pass.

Better to begin dreaming about your death. That way you might start living your life.

* * * * *

When awake there are no thoughts to watch. thoughts belong to the past and future and being awake is being present. No room for past or future.

Part of you knows events are to take place, but you don't worry yourself over them. In a sense they take care of themselves.

Don't tell others this. They'll think you rash and irresponsible.

It's quite a skill to make Being look like doing. But sometimes that's╩required so as not to upset others.


I take refuge within... - 23/04/2012

Have you ever found yourself looking at some object and wondering what it could be? "It looks vaguely familiar, but then again it isn't." For some reason you decide to take a step back or to the side. It doesn't matter - only that you've changed your point of view. Suddenly what it is becomes obvious. "How could I not see it?"

Either we have to trust ourselves enough to make this step or find someone to push us.

* * * * *

Throw away the maps, the compass, the guidebooks. We have reached the spot. The treasure we are seeking is beneath our feet - I know it. Start digging. Sure enough the glittering facets of the first nugget appear and we have only scratched the surface. This alone is worth the effort of our search. But it is only the beginning, more treasure await us. First erect yourself a barrier to guard against thieves. They will be along shortly. A treasure such as this is just too tempting to ignore. Better still, hold it close to your chest.

* * * * *

Each of us are seeking something which underpins everything we do. Whether we are sitting contemplating the rights and wrongs of the world, or betting on the stock market in the hope of making a fortune, the aim is to satisfy that elusive something we label happiness. But what is happiness? Is it not merely "peace of mind?"

Unfortunately no amount of contemplation, no amount of money will provide that. The act of contemplation, or the betting, even the seeking itself by their very nature conspire to take one away from that stillness of the mind, which requires no action, just being.


What happens next? - 22/04/2012

Everything until this point in time has been plodding up a long hill. The search, the efforts, even the so called moments of realisation. Once over the crest, it is all running. But it's not me who is doing the running - I am being carried along. Am I able to sit back and enjoy the ride?

* * * * *

A Story about a Man carrying a Trunk

There was once a man who spent his life carrying a large trunk around on his back. He travelled to many faraway and exotic places, collecting more and more stuff, shoving it in his trunk. The trunk got heavier and heavier but never seemed to become full. Then one day he began to feel very tired. He staggered along a little further until finally he fell down on his knees. In pain and frustration he cried out, "I don't want to carry this trunk any more".

Unfortunately by now the trunk was part of him. It had become an extension of his person. There was no way he could remove it. Nor was there any way to relieve it of its contents. He was stuck and the trunk was stuck to him.

Depressed he lay down where he remained for several days and nights. Surely the man thought, when he had the energy to think, there must be something I've collected that will show me how I can unfasten this trunk from my back. But he could think of nothing of value and by now everything inside the trunk had become one big homogenised mess.

At his wits end, the man cried out once more, "Am I going to be attached to this trunk for ever and ever?" A little bird sitting in a nearby tree must have heard him, because at that moment it whistled a tune. It seemed to say "Only if you want it". Without thinking, the man decided he didn't want to be. And in that instant, the trunk disappeared - as did his body carrying it. He was free at last.


Finding a beginning - 21/04/2012

Finding a point at which to begin this blog is tricky. There is no beginning which I can identify, just as there is no current ending in sight. So I am simply going to have to plunge in at the middle - wherever that is.

Perhaps the most credible starting point is a desire that was born within me many years ago. The desire to be FREE. There was a problem, I had no conception of what freedom was or could be. All I knew was in my current state I was bound fast. So I reasoned that if I was to have any idea what "To be FREE" might mean, I had to understand what it was that was causing me to feel trapped.

I have since had an understanding of what that is and so prevents us experiencing that Freedom with a big "F". So I guess this blog will be about this quest: To free oneself of one's bonds in order to be FREE.

For those expecting a logical progression of events I apologise in advance. As I shall be putting down thoughts as they arise in the present, they might simply appear as a just bunch of random remarks. However I am trusting that as they have their origin in a sole source, together they might add up to form a bigger picture - just as a jigsaw puzzle is constructed of many pieces.

I shall also be incorporating stories as they arise. Stories can convey so much by their use of analogy and symbolism. They are also fun to write and to read. Shall we begin?



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Last updated: Fri, Nov 3, 2017