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.


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.

All We Know

‘Experience is all we know. Knowing is all we experience.’ ~ John Lopis

To Feed A Hungry Ghost

In the news: another young adult from a western culture runs off to join a radical terrorist group known for its viciousness and total disregard for human life. All done based on the belief that ‘we are right and they are wrong.’

Disillusioned by the trappings of materialistic greed, unable to find happiness in ‘things,’ the young (or old) may go in the opposite direction and turn to religious fanaticism – the complete surrender of the supposed self to a higher cause – even if it means sacrificing one’s life. Or, conversely, someone living under a dictatorship or other oppressive regime might escape to a democratic country, join the military, and fight for its particular definition of freedom.

Most young adults want to know what life is all about. Why are we here? What’s the point? They want to know because they still have vestiges of their newborn innocence, openness, and curiosity. Even as they are being swept into the mainstream of mindless mediocrity, instinct tells them no, no, no, this is not the way, there is something more meaningful – there was something more meaningful, but I’ve lost it. But society says yes, yes, yes, this is the only way – you are basically a slave to your thoughts (beliefs), feelings, sensations, and perceptions, and we know the way to manage them.

But as long as we identify with these fleeting qualities of the body, mind, and world, we create a false sense of separation, which breeds isolation, loneliness, helplessness, depression, and despair. When a young mind is assured that fighting for some random idea of freedom will make them part of something greater, something powerful and dominating, this sounds like a real sense of purpose, a true sense of self-fulfillment.

The problem is that the separate self can never be satisfied because it is not real. You can’t satisfy something that doesn’t exist. It’s like trying to feed a hungry ghost. The only thing that is real is that which never comes and goes, in which all appearances arise and are known by, not, as we commonly think, some ephemeral thought or perception.

Our essential being, everyone’s essential nature, call it consciousness or awareness, is that which is always present and aware, untouched, unchanged, unstained by all appearances, yet contains all objects of the mind, body, and world. And because of its infinite and eternal nature there cannot be two. We are one, and one cannot harm one. The knife cannot cut itself. And our, its, essence is peace and love.

Pointers Point

In the direct spiritual path, a ‘pointer’ is something that points to the truth, but is not in itself the truth. It’s only a vehicle used to propel you towards the truth, then to be discarded, like a stick used to stir dying embers into flames can then be thrown into the fire.

There are pointers everywhere, of course – in nature, in all of the arts, in love at first sight – in those moments when our breath is taken away by some unexpected and extraordinary beauty.

In the seeker’s world, it is often the written or spoken word that acts as a pointer, such as ‘Who am I?’ or ‘Show me your original face before you were born!’ or a poem by Rumi. Chanting a sacred mantra or singing a devotional song can often evoke peace, happiness, and love.

But without drifting too far off course, who or what is reading, hearing, or speaking the words in the first place?

Does it matter what the pointers point to when it is that which is aware of the pointing that is the point? HA! The pointer really only points to the fact that there is an aware knowing presence that knows the pointing. Can you actually find a personal ‘you’ who is doing the pointing? No. The pointer points to itself. Dissolves into itself.

Pointers can become a distraction. This one worked . . . for a while. That one worked . . . for a while. But the one who knows the pointers, the pointing, is not ‘for a while.’ The one who knows – anything – is always here, unchanged by, untouched by, and embracing all that comes . . . and goes. And you, I, we, are that.



Everywhere We Look

What is it that exists?

Everything we perceive appears to exist, but also comes and goes and therefore can’t be real in the truest sense. But what can we say exists prior to anything else? What is the one thing that we can always count on being here? The one thing that doesn’t come and go?

What is it that knows all objects, yet has no objective qualities of its own?

What is reading the words on this screen, hearing the hum of the traffic, feeling the texture of the laptop keys on the fingertips? It’s not the eyes, ears, or hands.

Isn’t it awareness, the sense of being, that is reading the words on this screen, hearing the hum of the traffic, feeling the keys under the fingertips?

What else could it be?

Awareness is the first thing we know that exists – the awareness of the sense of being, that ‘I am.’

So what is it that is aware of this existence?

In other words, what is it that is aware of awareness? Wherever we look, even though awareness is everywhere, it can’t be found, but it is the one thing we know that exists with absolute certainty. So who or what knows it? We think that thought knows it, but who or what knows the thought?

Awareness is aware of itself.

We can’t turn our eyeballs around to see ourself because we are already that which we are looking for. It’s like the sun trying to turn around and shine its light upon itself.

It takes no effort whatsoever to be awareness, our eternal self. The instant this is recognized, the mind is no longer needed and dissolves into the infinite silence of the heart.

Everywhere we look we see the face of God.