Scrambled Or Fried?

(Conversations with Rad Dad)

Q: I can’t seem to rid my mind of negative thoughts.

RD: Scrambled or fried?

Q: Huh?

RD: How do you like your eggs?

Q: What?

RD: Over easy or sunny side up?

Q: I don’t like eggs that much.

RD: Everybody likes eggs. Hard or soft boiled?

Q: This isn’t very helpful.

RD: Poached or basted?

Q: Okay, I’m leaving. Basted?

RD: Cook sunny side up, add a tablespoon of water and cover. How about an omelet or frittata?

Q: Frittata?

RD: Quiche?

Q: Okay, okay, okay! What do eggs have to do with my question?

RD: You are the egg.

Q: I am the egg?

RD: The yoke and albumen in a shell – an egg.

Q: And?

RD: No matter how you fix the egg – scrambled, fried, poached, or boiled – it’s still an egg.

Q: What does that have to do with ridding my mind of negative thoughts?

RD: It’s really quite simple. Let me give you an eggs-ample. Our timeless and limitless essential being is like the egg in its shell. Your negative thoughts are like the scrambled egg. Ergo, all egg. Nothing to get rid of!

Q: Ergo?

RD: Eggo!

Q: Grrrrrrr!

RD: Perhaps I’ve laid an egg?

Meet Presence With Presence

No matter where you go or what you do, you meet presence with presence. Whether you know this or not doesn’t matter, it’s the only thing that’s happening.

When you glance at yourself in the mirror – presence glances at presence.

When you hug a loved one – presence hugs presence.

When you smile at a stranger on the street – presence smiles at presence.

When you get angry with someone – presence gets angry at presence.

When you lock eyes with someone and hold his or her gaze – presence looks deeply at presence. We all know this look – primal, penetrating, mysterious, and yet familiar – an all-knowing look.

The presence referred to is the aware presence in each one of us that is always in the background of our so-called individual experience. That which says I am, that knows I am, and that knows I am before there is anything else . . . present.

A presence prior to presence.

Go there.

Actually, you can’t go there because you are already there. Already it. In what direction would space go to find itself? You, I, we, are like limitless space, with no beginning or end, no edge or boundary. In other words, we are infinite and eternal.

Anything that is infinite and eternal must, by definition, contain all things. Must be the source of all things. Nothing can arise outside of that which is limitless. Where could it come from? There is no outside to the infinite.

Relax in the knowing that you are this infinite and eternal presence. You are that which exists prior to the arising of any appearance. All things come and go, but have you ever experienced the disappearance of presence? The disappearance of yourself?

No. You would have to be present to experience the disappearance of presence, the disappearance of yourself.

Not only are you this presence, presence is all there is. One presence. And we are That.

So, in the spirit of camaraderie, truth, and love, Presence . . . meet Presence.

Fugetaboutit

A friend and student of non-duality recently mentioned that during his stressful workday he often lost sight of his true identity, unlimited consciousness. That if he could just stop forgetting that he was unlimited consciousness everything would be fine.

How does he know he forgets? Who or what is it that knows the thought, ‘I have forgotten who I am’? The knowing of the thought itself is all that is needed to announce the presence of awareness – the unchanging, ever-present, infinite and eternal consciousness that knows all things that arise and pass away within it.

How can you forget to be the unforgettable? You are the knowing presence that knows the coming and going of all things, including the forgetting and the remembering.

Whatever you observe or know, you are not, so if you sometimes forget to remember this, fugetaboutit, relax, and simply be yourself being yourself.

Love Your Neighbor

‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ ~ Jesus

We are not who we think we are. We are not a warm bundle of flesh and bones driven by thoughts, images, memories, hopes, dreams, fears, pain, pleasure, suffering, and the fear of death. How can we be? All of these are ever changing and unpredictable qualities that appear and disappear, rise and fall like waves on the water.

Can you find one lasting quality in that which you call your individual, inside self, a mind housed in a body, and that which you call the outside world filled with objects?

No. The only thing that can be found with lasting, unchanging qualities is that which observes and knows all the short-lived comings and goings of the body, mind, and world – awareness or consciousness. Or whatever you want to call that which says, that knows, I am, or I exist – that aware presence that never goes anywhere because it is everywhere.

And if you look closely at this aware presence, no limits can be found. Like endless space, it has no edges or boundaries. Nor can a beginning or end be experienced. In other words, it is timeless.

The name we give to endless space is infinite. And timelessness equals eternal. If something is infinite and eternal, beyond space and time, we can conclude, and rightly so, that there cannot be two – there is no room for any overlap.

One shared consciousness for seven billion unique human beings. One limitless, unchanging consciousness expressed seven billion individual ways. One ocean, boundless waves.

One thing going on, not two – not you in here and someone or something else out there. You don’t have to love your neighbor as yourself. You are your neighbor.

The Screen

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.

Tsunami Of Dark Thoughts & Feelings

(Conversations with Rad Dad)

Q: For the past few days I have been overwhelmed by dark thoughts and feelings to the point where I really thought I was going to lose my mind. I’ve been practicing non-duality for a long time and really thought I had things under control, but apparently I’ve made very little progress. Besides being frustrating, it’s also at times truly terrifying. Do you have any suggestions?

Rad Dad: Didn’t you e-mail me awhile back? Didn’t we go through the ‘bad weather’ metaphor together and get you back on track? I guess not. Bad, bad teacher I am! But you’re not alone. A lot of people get stuck in the very same place. I’m right in the middle of a poker game, but let’s try this one more time: Ask yourself, to whom do these terrifying thoughts come?

Q: Yes, yes, I know all the self-inquiry exercises, but when I am unexpectedly overwhelmed I am unable to think clearly enough to enquire. I lose all sense of big self and become, once again, lost in thought.

RD: Awareness is never taken by surprise.

Q: Easy for you to say.

RD: Investigate your statement, ‘I have been practicing non-duality for a long time.’ The issue is that you are still relating to yourself as a separate self, an individual entity made up of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, when, in fact, you are that which knows all these elements, but are not the elements themselves. They are in you but you are not in them. There is no ‘doer’ practicing anything. That would be the epitome of duality.

Q: But what can I do in the middle of a thought storm?

RD: Your original nature is fearless and untouched by any and all appearances. Let’s try the weather metaphor again. Think of the calm blue sky, pure empty space. Black clouds appear, torrential rains fall, lightning strikes, thunder resounds. Eventually they all dissolve back into the calm blue sky, this limitless nothingness. Your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions are the clouds and rain, thunder and lightning. You, presence-awareness, are the sky.

Q: As I said, I get tangled up in thoughts and can’t free myself.

 RD: It’s just one thought against another. A thought comes, ‘I am stuck in my thoughts,’ and then another, ‘How can I free myself?’ Is this it?

Q: Yes. What can I do?

RD: Ignore your thoughts. The sky is not bothered by the clouds.

Q: Isn’t that just another thought?

RD: As long as we are conversing we will use thoughts. The point is to realize that which knows your thoughts. What exists prior to thoughts?

Q: I’m not sure anymore.

RD: Do you exist? Are you alive?

Q: Of course.

RD: How do you know? Did you have to ask yourself? Refer to anything?

Q: No, I just know that I exist. That I am.

RD: That’s all you need to know. You exist prior to thoughts arising, you exist as thoughts linger, and you exist after they have disappeared. You don’t come and go with your thoughts, feelings, sensations, or perceptions. You are that which is always present. Celebrate this fact and let me get back to my poker game.