Rupert Spira was giving a talk about the nature of awareness. When he mentioned ‘images on a screen’ he looked at his watch and said, ‘I think I just broke my own record. It took me a full thirty minutes to mention the screen.’
Many teachers of non-dual understanding have used the ‘screen’ as a metaphor for awareness. Back in Ramana Maharshi’s day it was a movie screen. For Nisargadatta Maharaj, a TV screen. Today, billions of us stare at screens, big and small, for some part of the day. Along with being a source of information, entertainment, and connection, they can also remind us of and point us toward our essential nature.
Entertain the possibility that all things you perceive are images on a screen and that you, the one who perceives the images, are the screen, or, as Rupert would say, an aware screen. You, this aware screen, exist prior to the appearance of any image, during the image’s life on the screen, and after the image disappears.
As the screen, you are unaffected, unchanged, unstained, by any image that appears on it – if there is a fire on the screen, you don’t get burned. And you don’t come and go with the images. The images come and go on you, in you, as you.
And just as images come and go on the screen, all objects, that is, thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions – sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells – come and go in awareness, but awareness doesn’t come and go in them. And your essential being is this unchanging awareness.
Also see that ‘awareness’ is only a thought that comes and goes, just as all objects come and go. So the real you is beyond thought, beyond the idea of pure awareness. No matter where you might settle in your search for the truth that will not be it. When we understand this the looking stops and our essential nature is revealed.
There is just this precious moment – ever-present, still, peaceful, and loving. And you, I, we – all of us – are made of this moment. See it, taste it, feel it, move in it, sing in it. It can’t be any other way because this is all there is . . . and we are it.