Be The Changeless

The phrase ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’ commonly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, is often heard around self-help and self-actualization groups, as well as in numerous spiritual and political circles. It’s a wonderful concept: instead of trying to change others to lead a better, more conscious life, change yourself first and lead, inspire, by example.

But change is just that, change. In other words, we change the image or behavior of ourself in the hopes that it will rub off on others. Who is to say that our ‘change for the better’ is good for someone else? And if we can change once, what’s to say that we won’t change again, perhaps in another direction?

For a more stable and conscious society, shouldn’t we be trying to locate that unchanging element which is common to all of us? Something that we can all relate to as a neutral starting point for dialogue and action?

Our body-minds, made up of mortal flesh and bone, are a constantly changing flow of thoughts, feelings, sensations, sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells. Granted, some changes are imperceptible or gradual, and others more obvious, but there is constant change, nonetheless.

But there is an unchanging element to our experience, an unchanging element to our being that has been with every one of us for our entire lives, and is with us now at this very moment.

What is this changeless element? How do we identify it? How do we identify anything? We acknowledge its presence and observe its behavior.

With a simple investigation, you can discover for yourself the changeless element to your being. Sit quietly for a moment. Notice a thought as it comes to your attention, lingers for a short time, and then disappears. The thought comes and goes, but that which notices the thought remains.

This changeless element is that which notices all experience of the body, mind, and world, but is not itself an actual experience. All experiences come and go, but that which knows all experience doesn’t come and go with them. This is the changeless element to our being.

Once we identify this changeless element to our being, we might think that it is unique to our personal self. But upon further investigation, we discover that this changeless element is not in our personal self, our individual body-mind, but that our individual body-mind, our so-called separate self, is in this changeless element.

You can check the validity of this for yourself. Ask yourself, can anything exist outside of this changeless element? If you say yes, where would it come from? If you look carefully, no boundary can be found to that which knows all experience, and there is no time when it is not present. In other words, it is infinite and eternal. We have to conclude that nothing can exist or come from outside of this changeless element, and, this being the case, we can further conclude that we all must be made out of it. We are all unique manifestations of the same limitless, timeless stuff. All one. Not two. 

Instead of being the change that you want to see in the world, discover the changeless being that you want to see in the world – the open-hearted, clear-seeing, right-acting being that we all are at our core. Maybe, just maybe, this might inspire someone else to do the same.

Path To Happiness

We all seek happiness. All 7.8 billion of us are on one path or another in search of happiness.

Some of us seek happiness through financial success and material gain.

Some of us seek happiness through relationships.

Some of us seek happiness through substances.

Some of us seek happiness through experiences, sometimes extreme or even death defying.

Some of us seek happiness through a spiritual practice or philosophical dogma, some through the world of science or a political movement.

Whatever your path, it will be endless, as there is no end to the search for happiness. You will achieve one objective and be satisfied for a time, but then the thrill of the achievement, whatever it may be, fades and you are off in pursuit of the next objective.

Experience tells us that there is no path to lasting happiness.

Except for one.

The pathless path.

On the pathless path there is nothing you need to acquire to attain lasting happiness.

On the pathless path there is nothing you need to become to realize lasting happiness.

On the pathless path there is nowhere you need to go, nowhere you can go, to arrive at lasting happiness.

And where is this pathless path?

In which direction do you turn to find it?

In which direction does the sun turn to illuminate itself?

The seeker is the sought.

You are already the happiness for which you seek.

Now, go out into the world and spread the good news.

Without saying a word.

Do Unto No Others

Once you discover that there is no self, and therefore no other, your relationship with all things, animate and inanimate, changes dramatically. You no longer say, I am this and you are that, but that we are this and that, or simply, we are.

We distinguish ourselves from others by our individual body-minds. We each have our own unique body type, our own private thoughts, conditioned as they may be, our own feelings, sensations, and perceptions of the world.

But when we examine our personal attributes closely, we uncover the truth of our being: there actually is no individual self. All of our characteristics are ever-changing, temporary occurrences, no more real than a cloud in the sky. Yes, just as a cloud appears in the sky, we appear for a moment in time, but then, just as the cloud dissolves back into the sky, we, that is, the body-mind, come to an end and, one way or another, returns to the earth.

What is the only thing in our experience that does not appear or disappear? Isn’t the one unchanging element in all experience the knowing of it? Discover this knowing element in yourself right now. What is it that knows your present experience, such as a thought?

Observe a thought as it arises in your mind – it appears, seemingly out of nowhere, lingers for a moment, and then disappears. In what is this all occurring? Don’t say ‘mind’, as mind is just a part of our temporary body. It is something beyond mind.

Whatever it is, you can’t really name it, you can’t see it, hear it, or touch it, but it is undeniably present and aware. A knowing within us that is always here.

We do try to name it, calling it Consciousness or Awareness, perhaps God or the Absolute. But it needs no name, as it exists before, during, and after any attempt at conceptual identification. It just is, and at our core, this is who we are.

Examining the nature of this consciousness, we find that it has no beginning or end, and is therefore limitless or infinite. And upon further reflection, we realize that it is never not here, thus it is timeless or eternal. And then it dawns on us that there can’t be two of something that is infinite and eternal. It would be like trying to make room for two skies.

With this ‘not two’ being a fact, where can we find an ‘other’? We are all made out of the same stuff, the same consciousness or awareness. When we look at each other through the eyes of consciousness, I becomes you and you becomes I. I is you, you is I. Whether we recognize it or not, there is only one thing going on. Knowing this, our interactions in the world are spontaneous and true.

So do unto no others as you would have them do unto no self and all will be golden.

All I Know Is Myself

Thoughts come and go, yet I remain.

Emotions come and go, yet I remain.

Bodily sensations come and go, yet I remain.

Perceptions of the world come and go, yet I remain.

Who am I?

I am ever-present awareness. I have no boundaries, no limits. I am infinite and eternal.

I know the coming and going of all appearances, but don’t come and go with them.

As nothing exists outside of me, I am the source of all appearances of the body, mind, and world.

All I know is myself.

Without me nothing exists.

I am fullness itself.

I am emptiness itself.

I am the I am

before

the I am.

Skyless Cloud

You don’t have to go far to discover your essential being. In fact, you don’t have to go anywhere. Does the sky have to travel to find itself?

We think and feel that we are an individual self, a body-mind housing its own personal awareness or consciousness, viewing the world through its five senses. But this is not our actual experience.

Try to imagine a skyless cloud – a cloud without a sky. Or to put it another way, can an object appear without space? Not possible.

Now try to imagine a cloudless sky – a clear blue sky. Easily done.

Isn’t it true that the sky exists without clouds, but clouds can’t exist without the sky?

Now try to imagine you, as an individual self, without the aware knowing presence that has been with you, unchanging, since you were a child. Can you remove this awareness from your body-mind? Can you take away the aware presence that knows that you exist, that says I am?

If you answer yes, you are contradicting yourself. You would have to be aware to know that you have taken away the awareness that says I am.

Just as the sky exists with or without clouds, awareness exists with or without the individual self or body-mind. Clouds appear and disappear in the sky, but the sky doesn’t appear and disappear with them. Thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions of the body-mind come and go in awareness, but awareness doesn’t come and go with them.

Now ask yourself, when a cloud appears in the sky, where does it come from? Does it come from outside the sky? Could it come from outside the sky? Obviously not. Where would it come from?

Then ask yourself, when a thought appears, where does it come from? Does it come from outside awareness? Could it come from outside awareness? Obviously not. Where would it come from?

Just as a cloud must be made of sky, the individual self or body-mind must be made of awareness. And if you look at the qualities of awareness no limits can be found. It never begins or ends and is ever-present. And this being the case, there can only be one. Where is there room for two in the infinite and eternal?

Identify with this unchanging, limitless, ever-present awareness and relax into the cloudless sky of our collective being. With this recognition, you, I, we, will effortlessly share the peace, love, and happiness that resides in and as the centerless center of our original self.

Die To Your Imagined Self

Die to your imagined self and abide in profound peace.

‘Imagined self’. What does this mean? You say, ‘I am this being, I am this self, and I don’t think I am imagining it.’ But is this you, this self, the real you or just an image that has been created by your conditioned mind?

The separate self we have come to call I, as in I am a woman, a man, I am old or young, etc., has no lasting qualities. All attributes of the body-mind we call the self are temporary and therefore unreliable measures of reality.

You imagine you are real, but you are only a conglomeration of passing thoughts, changing emotions, subtle or strong sensations, and endlessly shifting perceptions. What in this collection of characteristics can be considered real?

When you strip away the imagined attributes of your so-called self, what remains?

You still remain, or more to the point, your essential being, a knowing and aware presence, remains.

As you rest in this, as this, knowing presence, empty of the ephemeral, full of unchanging emptiness – your original Self – what is your experience?

Die now or die later and your experience will be the same. The knowing presence at the core of our being, devoid of the clutter of the body-mind’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, is revealed as an infinite and eternal peaceful stillness.

No limits can be found to this great emptiness. It is always present in the background of all experience, and when experiences fade, which they all do, it alone remains, unchanged.

And, as the background of all experience, all appearances must be made of this background, whatever unnamable stuff that might be. And if all things are made of the same stuff, all things are, at their core, the same. No separation, no division, no self, no other. And when all boundaries dissolve all that remains is love.

How do we strip away the imagined attributes of our so-called self? ‘Strip away’ is just a manner of speech. We really don’t have to do anything. In the stillness of not-doing, our essential shared nature, ever-present awareness, is revealed. And with this revelation all of our imagined attributes fade into the background just as the darkness of night fades in the coming dawn.

Nothing To Know

When you are searching for ultimate reality there is nothing you need to know. All knowledge is a hindrance to realization. Basing understanding on knowledge is like thinking that the reflection in a mirror is the real thing.

All reflections in a mirror are made only of mirror, just as all appearances of the body, mind, and world are made only of awareness, or that which knows them.

To say that all knowledge is a hindrance to realization is not exactly true. There is one thing you do need to know, and that is the knowing element at the center of our being that knows all experience. And even this is not quite right, as it’s not something you know, it’s something you are.

All you can truly know is your original self, or the unchanging awareness that is at the core of your being, or more accurately, at the core of our shared being, because if you investigate the qualities of awareness you find that it is borderless and beyond time, or infinite and eternal, and therefore there is no room for two.

So polish your mirror, the one mirror, recognize the unchanging awareness at the core of our being that knows all experience, but is not itself an experience, and reflect all that is real – our original one self.

Then throw away the mirror.

Stepping Stone To The Sun

As a dedicated spiritual seeker it’s not long before you discover that there are two of ‘me’ – the individual self, made up of the body-mind living in the world, and the witness, that which observes the individual self and the world. As you investigate further, one ‘me’ emerges as more real than the other. In the end, both dissolve into pure knowing.

We think, feel, and act in the world as though we are an individual person, separate and unique from all the other beings. It’s obvious that we are all unique individuals, but if we look closely at our experience we are not separate. Nothing separates us from an other or anything else except the idea of separation. And how dependable is an idea? Dependable as using a cloud as a stepping stone to the sun.

There is an element of our being that is aware and unchanging. It exists with or without our body, mind, and world. It is the background of all experience, but is itself not an experience. Experiences come and go, but this unchanging awareness is ever-present. It is totally dependable.

If we identify with the changing elements of our being, such as ideas, emotions, sensations, and perceptions, we will be forever searching for some stability, some meaningful lasting peace, or, as the mystic Dattatreya sings in the Avadhuta Gita[i], the ‘unchanging bliss’ of pure consciousness.

The quickest way to identify the unchanging awareness within you is to notice that part of your being that is ageless.

When someone asks us on our birthday if we feel any older most of us might pause for a moment and then say no, not really. What if you were asked, do you feel any older than you did 10 years ago? Twenty years ago? Fifty years ago? You might say that my body definitely feels older, and my memory might not be as good, but there’s some part of me that does not feel any older. Where do you go when you answer these questions? Who is speaking? Which ‘me’ is speaking?

Something timeless is speaking.

This is it. This timeless element of your being that emanates from the light of pure consciousness or pure knowing. When you look at the core of all experience, the common element is knowing. Nothing exists outside this field of knowing. If you can find something that appears outside this field of knowing . . . well, you can’t.

Rest as this light of pure consciousness and know the unchanging bliss that is at the core of your being, actually, our being, as there can be only one. If we look at the qualities of this pure consciousness we discover that it has no beginning and no end and is ever-present, therefore, it is infinite and eternal. Where is there room for two in that? As Dattatreya ends the Avadhuta Gita, ‘I am everywhere, like space.’

Now back to the beginning, ‘all two of me’ – the individual self and the witness that observes this so-called individual self. This is a very interesting concept, but that’s all it is – just another one of our nebulous stepping stones.

Step beyond all concepts, all thought. Step beyond the beyond, dissolve into pure knowing, and discover the timeless self. Our timeless self.

[i] https://centerlesscenter.com/2017/04/21/avadhuta-gita/

Supreme Self

Trying to find the Supreme Self, or Absolute Being, with the mind is like a shadow trying to find its own shadow.

Paramatma.jpeg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramatman

Are You Experienced?

‘But first, are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have’ ~ Jimi Hendrix

We are all experienced. We live our lives one experience after another. We hopefully avoid repeating old experiences that were unpleasant and often seek new experiences to keep life interesting. We might even go to extremes, thrill seekers in search of the ultimate experience, one that will take us beyond ourselves, like feeling the adrenaline rush of skydiving or meditating ten hours a day to reach a blissful state. If we have a particularly powerful experience we may spend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to duplicate it.

Not only are we all experienced, we ourselves are an experience. For starters, each of us is someone else’s experience – the ‘subject/object-object/subject’ paradigm.

What is the nature of an experience, of all experiences? They are temporary events, arising and passing away. Experiences don’t linger, and the individual self is made up of experiences of ever-changing thoughts, emotions, sensations, and perceptions of the world.

The individual self thinks that it is experiencing all these experiences, but is itself an experience being experienced by something beyond itself.

What experiences all experiences, yet itself is not an experience, cannot be experienced?

There is an element of our being that is aware of all experience but does not share the ephemeral quality of all experience. What is this? Where is this? It can’t be named and it can’t be found, but is undeniably present at all times.

It is unquestionable that we know that we are. We are aware beings that know we are aware, but often overlook this fact and identify with the fleeting qualities of our ever-changing thoughts, moods, sensations, and perceptions. Identify with the unchanging, dimensionless awareness that is always with us and experience the changeless, formless, all-embracing source that we all share, as there can be only one. (Where is there room for two of something that is dimensionless and unchanging, infinite and eternal?)

This is the ultimate experience. No need to seek any further.