And Then We Smile

Someone recently argued that non-duality, Advaita, not-two-ness, was a bunch of baloney. That ‘consciousness’ was just a fancy idea and that all appearances, objects, things, are real in their own right. That they have to be real – our partner, children, friends, ice cream, house, car, trees, mountains – otherwise, what is there to live for?

It was pointed out that all of these things are objects that come and go in consciousness, including thoughts and feelings, and therefore, in the truest sense, cannot be real.

No, it was argued, everything comes and goes, even the idea of consciousness. That’s the nature of ‘real.’ It’s just something we have to accept.

It was conceded that all appearances are manifestations of consciousness – that all thoughts, images, emotions, sensations, and perceptions arise in, are known by, and made of consciousness, even the idea of consciousness. From that point of view, yes, they appear to be real, but they have no enduring qualities. Waves are made water, but how long do they last?

The question was then asked of the one who argued, what is the actual experience? For instance, can we deny the existence of something that is present and aware prior to the arising of any thought? No. How would we even know a thought if there wasn’t something for the thought to arise in? A wave depends on the ocean, but the ocean doesn’t depend on the wave.

We are not a thought.

We are that which knows a thought.

We are present and aware before a thought arises . . .

As it lingers . . .

And after it disappears.

We remain always . . . unchanged, unmoved . . .

Never disturbed by any appearance.

As far as words go, our actual experience is that our essential being is eternal and infinite consciousness. Eternal because it has no beginning and no end – it is beyond time. Infinite because it has no edge or boundary – it is not confined to any space.

The nature of this limitless, boundless, space-less space is peace and happiness, and because all beings are essentially this, there is an all-encompassing compassion and love.

Watch as all ideas, good and bad, dual and non-dual, of consciousness and parallel realities, or whatever they may be, rise and fall, appear and disappear, in that which is our true essence – that which knows. More precisely, that which knows it knows – the knowing. And then we smile as even this knowing vanishes in the Unnamable.