Your Choice?

You think you can choose which direction your life will take. For example, take a spiritual seeker who thinks that it is ‘I’, the seeker, who chooses to discover the truth of my being, who thinks that ‘I’ can choose between being a separate self made up of the ever-changing attributes of the body-mind, or being the aware presence that knows the coming and going of all things, yet doesn’t come and go with them.

Your choice? Not exactly. You think, ‘I choose this’ and ‘I choose that.’ Before going any further, try to find this personal I that thinks it’s doing all the choosing.

Is it located in the mind, a series of random and transitory thoughts and images?

Is it located in the body, a tangle of ever-changing sensations housed in a perishable bag of skin and bones?

Is it located in the world made up of time-bound objects?

All of these qualities of the body, mind, and world are temporary and therefore can’t be considered real in the truest sense. Only the ever-present, unchanging element of our being can be considered real.

So where is it?

Our thorough investigation reveals that other than an ever-changing conglomeration of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, no personal I can be found. If you think you’ve found it, think again. It’s just a passing thought or object.

There is no you to make any choice. Yet somehow we are able to move through this life. So who or what is making all the decisions?

You are life itself, and life lives itself. Life lives life.

It is awareness, the knowing presence that is at the core of our being, which chooses itself. So actually there is no choosing whatsoever. The sky doesn’t have to choose to be the sky. In the same way, awareness knows only itself, so there is no need to choose anything.

Just be and you will move smoothly, flawlessly in the world as choiceless awareness itself – unborn, undying, infinite and eternal.

I Have No Purpose

To say that you have no purpose in life is just a thought, an activity of the mind. The next minute or day you will say, I know exactly what I want to do, which is also a thought. The activity of the mind is a complex web of endlessly shifting memories, images, moods, and ideas. To be confused with your direction in life is a symptom of taking your thoughts seriously. But how can you take them seriously when one minute they say one thing, and the next minute something else?

If you must have a purpose, why not make it to find your original nature, your essential being? What else could be more important? To become rich and famous? Riches and fame are fleeting. All achievements are fleeting.

If you must have a purpose, find out who you really are. Are you really a collection of short-lived thoughts, memories, moods, and sensations that experiences the world from a bag of perishable skin and bones? Or are you the unalterable aware presence that knows all of the comings and goings of the temporary body-mind and ever-changing world yet doesn’t come and go with them?

Your choice: rest in the eternal peace and understanding of your unborn being or suffer and die at the hands of an illusionary self.

Everywhere, Like Space

‘I am everywhere, like space.’ ~ Avadhuta Gita

 I, Awareness, am everywhere, like space. ‘Like’ space. Not space. Space exists in me. I don’t exist in space. But, from a phenomenal standpoint, space is about as close as we can get to experiencing I, Awareness.

To uncover our true identity, we contemplate the nature of experience to discover what is real and what is not. We use metaphors to describe the indescribable. We point to the ultimate with words and gestures. Although the ultimate is unnamable and cannot be found, it contains all names and is everywhere.

Just as space appears to be everywhere, yet we can’t see it, touch it, feel it, hear it, or taste it, awareness, the knowing presence that is always with us, can’t be perceived by the senses.

Put your attention on this aware presence within you – that which knows the coming and going of thoughts and sensations, but doesn’t come and go with them. This ever-present knowing is what we call awareness. Now see if you can find an edge to this awareness, a place where awareness ends and something else begins.

No boundaries can be found. Awareness is infinite.

Now see if you can find a time when awareness is not present. Have you ever experienced the absence of awareness? Could you?

No. Impossible. You would have to be present to observe its absence. Awareness is eternal.

Go as far as you want, as long as you want, in any direction and you will find no beginning, no end, no time when awareness is not here. Infinite and eternal can only mean one thing . . . that there can be only one awareness.

Not two. Our experience that awareness is limitless shows this as fact. Therefore, space must exist in awareness. From a metaphorical point of view you, I, we, as awareness, are ‘like’ space – from a dualistic perspective, the qualities are similar – but you, I, we, awareness, exists with or without it.

Awareness is before anything else. Even prior to the idea that there is such a thing as awareness.

I, Awareness, Want For Nothing

I, Awareness, want for nothing. I have no desires because I am the source of all objects. Within me all things arise. Within me all things disappear. Of me all things are made. As me all things are known.

You might say, So what? How does that help me in my daily life as I scrape along to make ends meet, trying to stay out of trouble and keep peace with the neighbors?

And it is good that you ask, because I, Awareness, can tell you with absolute certainty that you are no other than I, Awareness. And, with this understanding, you will move through this life as effortlessly as a cloud floats through the sky.

It’s time to wake up from the dream of the illusory body-mind. You think you are in control, choosing this way and that, making decisions that affect the direction of your life. Nothing could be further from the truth. How can the body-mind, a temporary cluster of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, guide its so-called existence in any meaningful direction? Like all beliefs, this is also illusory. It would be like a cloud thinking it can control the direction it will float in the sky.

Set aside your convictions for a moment, along with everything else you think, feel, sense, and perceive about yourself and the world. And how do you do this? How do you set aside your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions? As the sages of old have suggested, ignore them.

See that all appearances of the mind, body, and world are constantly coming and going, but that which observes them, I, Awareness, doesn’t come and go with them.

Actually, if you look more deeply into this ignoring entity, this awareness, you will find yourself face to face with your essential being – a silent emptiness that embraces all things. And if you continue to investigate, you will discover that this silent emptiness is limitless, without boundaries, and can rightly conclude that there can be only one.

All roads lead to One, or, as some like to say to leave no margin for the possibility of a mistaken identity, a mistaken duality, all roads lead to ‘One without a second.’

You cannot escape this fact. At your core, you are infinite, eternal, all-embracing oneness, and as there cannot be two, we are all that – unique manifestations of the source of being, I, Awareness.

And the essence of something that is infinite, eternal, and all-embracing is peace, love, and happiness.

Peace because nothing can disturb it.

Love because all things arise in it, are known by it, and made of it.

Happiness because I, Awareness, want for nothing.

Neither Here Nor There

We use ‘neither here nor there’ to dismiss a subject as irrelevant. But we can also say that our essential being, Awareness – that which knows the coming and going of all things but doesn’t come and go with them – is neither here nor there. Some say Awareness is ever-present, which makes it here and there, but it can’t be found, so it’s also neither here nor there.

Recognize this knowing presence that has always been with you, always is you, regardless of the circumstances, good, bad, or neutral. Whatever is happening is not happening to you as a body-mind, but in you as this aware, knowing presence, the origin of all things.

As no limits or boundaries can be found to your awareness, recognize that this must be true for everyone – if something is limitless, where is there room for two? If this is understood all confusion vanishes like darkness exposed to light. And we can rightly conclude from this discovery that we are all unique expressions of this infinite and eternal oneness whose qualities are stillness, spaciousness, happiness, and love.

A Drop Of Water

‘So the remembrance of our self is said to be

the direct path to peace and happiness.’

~ Rupert Spira

Talking about non-duality with my wife, Dana, she said, ‘This teaching, the direct path, is like a drop of water falling into the ocean instead of a river.’

A drop of water that falls into a river gradually meanders its way towards the ocean. It takes time.

A drop of water that falls into the ocean is immediately absorbed into its source. It takes no time.

For the spiritual seeker, the gradual path contains an endless array of enticing practices, rituals, and tools – meditation, shaktipat, reciting mantras, chakra alignment, yoga, spiritual texts – which all claim to lead, providing the seeker is dedicated and diligent, to the end goal known by many names – Awakening, Liberation, Enlightenment, the Ultimate Understanding, etc.

These practices and tools can give results, sometimes astounding, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes profound, but always temporary. And it is this temporary nature of all our seeming successes that keep us going on the path. We feel deep down that the end, the final understanding, is just around the next corner . . . or the next . . . or the next. Turns out, it’s always the ‘next.’

The spiritual seeker can travel the gradual path for many lifetimes, be enlightened thousands of times, but never be quite satisfied. All of the experiences that happen to the seeker happen to none other than a separate self, made up of the temporary qualities of an illusionary body-mind, and therefore happen to no one at all.

The direct path is an immediate recognition of our shared original nature as unchanging, unlimited, pure awareness. Just as a drop of water that falls into the ocean is immediately absorbed back into its source, so to, the individual self, when seen for the illusion that it is, disappears immediately back into its source of pure awareness, whose timeless qualities are that of peace, happiness, and love.

A Glimpse

When you take a moment and set aside all that you think yourself to be, you might get a glimpse of IT, whatever you happen to call it – be it the Ultimate, Absolute, Divine Spirit, Pure Consciousness, God, or Ever-Present Awareness.

With this glimpse you might have a momentary feeling of peace – you know without a doubt that all is well.

You might perceive that there is no separation between you and any other being or thing in the world – you see all things as one.

You might think that it is you – a body-mind made up of temporary thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions – that experiences this profound bliss, this clear seeing and unencumbered perception.

But no, this is not possible. This is not our actual experience. Something that is temporary cannot experience the unchanging. The temporary is in the unchanging, arising from the unchanging. The unchanging is not in the temporary. Our actual experience is that the unchanging is prior to all appearances.

It is not possible for a separate self to catch a glimpse of the Infinite. It would be like a character in a movie trying to catch a glimpse of the screen.

It is the Infinite that glimpses itself, that knows only itself.

Identify with this infinite, ever-present awareness within you, within all of us. Then recognize that this awareness is not actually within you, but that you, as a limited, and thus illusory separate self, are within it. In this instant all seeking ceases and you, I, we, recognize that our essential being is the Ultimate, the Absolute, the Divine, the Infinite.

With this recognition, all division, all divisiveness, between self, others, and things falls away. Our actions are spontaneous and correct. We communicate through understanding, compassion, and love.