Closer Than Close Encounter

For many of us the title brings to mind the great Spielberg movie, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind.’ This post is definitely about a close encounter, but, with a nod to Rupert Spira, we could say a ‘closer than close’ encounter of the only kind.

Just as the images on the screen – spellbound humans exchanging hand signs with an endearing little alien – is just a temporary appearance and has no affect on the screen whatsoever, so to does consciousness, that which knows both the knower and the known, the witness and the observed, stand undisturbed by anything that occurs in it.

A closer look at our experience shows that there is only one thing going on – that there is no division between the experiencer and the experience – the seer and the seen, the hearer and the heard, the knower and the known. Can you find the point where the hearer ends and the sound begins? No. It is one seamless experience – hearing – that takes place in the boundless field of consciousness.

And where do we go to find this boundless field of consciousness?

The instant you realize that there is no direction you can go to get any closer to the original source of your being – where can a cloud go to find the sky? – the only thing that remains is an all-pervading stillness and peace that can best be described as love.

And this is as close as it gets.

Now Showing: THE PARADOX

For someone who is deeply interested in the nature of being, the most important thing to discover is that there is no individual self. There is no ‘me’ that we’ve come to identify ourselves with. There is no one to improve, no one to get liberated, no one to be born, suffer, and die.

To get at the centerless center of our being, a serious seeker may ask ‘Who am I?’ But don’t get sidetracked by the question. Don’t waste your time with answers like ‘I am a man or woman who is of a certain age, has a family and a job, practices a specific religion and votes for the popular candidate.’

The individual self can be likened to a character in a movie that thinks and acts as though she or he is real. But it’s obvious that these activities don’t really belong to the character, they belong to the screen, come and go on the screen, are made of the screen. From the screen’s point of view, there are no characters. It only knows itself, just as consciousness, the aware presence in which all people, places, and things arise, only knows itself.

When the movie ends, the character on the screen disappears, but the screen remains unstained by anything that appeared on it. Similarly, when our thoughts, sensations, and perceptions come and go, which is their very nature, consciousness remains untouched, unchanged, ever-present, and aware. Always.

Now shift your perspective from being caught up in the movie, from being a character in the movie, and simply, naturally, notice the screen. Be the screen. Be unlimited consciousness. Be yourself.

Actually, you don’t have to make an effort to be anything. Any effort would be on behalf of a separate self that we’ve discovered doesn’t exist. So what can you do? Absolutely nothing. Absolutely not nothing.

The paradox – we are and we are not; we can and we cannot. In the helplessness of the situation, Richard Sylvester might suggest that we just relax.

In this non-doing doing, all vestiges of a personal self fall away and we stand revealed as our original, naked, innocent being. All residual concepts of self and other dissolve in what can be called the nameless, endless, absolute knowing of all-embracing oneness.

Warning: Total Waste Of Time

We tend to spend a lot of time on the idea of ‘time’, yet when we look for it, just as when we look for an individual self, it can’t be found.

Where’s the past or future other than a thought? Can we follow a thought to some location? Has time travel been invented? Time is a practical tool, but when it’s used as a vehicle towards something like spiritual advancement, e.g., ‘Just a few more years of intense meditation and I’ll be enlightened,’ watch out. You’ll never get there. The progressive path never ends.

We can’t go anywhere in time because there is only this. Ever-present this. But just for fun, let’s name some of the ways we use time (might not be enough time to list them all):

All in due time

All time high

All time low

Big time

For the time being

From time to time

Give it time

High time

In the mean time

In the nick of time

Long time

Lost time

Make time

Marking time

Not enough time

No time to lose

On time

One time!

Out of time

Play time!

Plenty of time

Running out of time

Saving time

Short on time

Small time


Time after time

Time bound

Time flies

Time heals

Time in

Time is dragging

Time is money

Time is not on our side

Time is on our side

Time off

Time out

Time passes

Time’s up!

But to discover that you are not an individual self is well worth the time, which, you’ll be surprised to find, takes no time at all.

Why would we want to discover that we’re not an individual self? Its absence reveals our unnamable, invisible source as an open, loving, limitless field of knowing. And being limitless there can be only one – no separation between any thing. All is embraced in the all-embracing all.

How does one discover that they are not an individual self? Take the time and look for what you are not. You will experience your body-mind as an unending parade of short-lived thoughts, sensations, and perceptions, none of which can be considered the real you. The real you is that which is ever-present and unchanging. That which experiences, yet cannot be experienced.

We say that there is no time like the present.

But experience says that there is no time, only presence.

We are not that which comes and goes. We are that which knows the coming and going of all things. We are that in which all things arise and with which all things are made.

And who is it that knows this?

The Timeless One.


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.

Nothing New

Nothing new. Nothing old. Nothing in between.

All things arise in consciousness. Consciousness being that which is seeing the words on this page; that which is hearing a faint ringing in the ears; that which is feeling the weight of a body sitting in a chair; the changeless knowing presence that has been with us our entire lives.

Consciousness is not new. It was never born or just magically appeared. Where would it come from? Can a beginning to consciousness be found? And if so, who would find it?

Consciousness is not old. Something that is changeless cannot age. If something has no beginning, where could it end? And if an end could be found, who or what would be there to find it?

If consciousness has no beginning or end, where or what is in between?

No beginning, no end, no in between. Unending. Boundless.

Where is there room for two?

There can only be one consciousness knowing itself – knowing knowing knowing. And, in the realm of concepts, you, I, we, are this knowing presence.


Nowhere to go. Nowhere not to go.

Nowhere is Everywhere. 

Changeless Presence.


Nothing to do. Nothing not to do.

Nothing is Everything. 

Changeless Beingness.


The Changeless One

Radiates Peace, Love, and Happiness

And You, I, We, cannot find It

Cannot lose It




Let It Be

‘Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.’ ~ The Beatles

If you pick at a scab, it will never heal. Just let it be. When you simply observe it, it gradually dissolves and vanishes back into its source, the body. In the same way, if you try to remove some distasteful personality trait, like a bad temper or the tendency to judge others harshly, it will never go away. Just let it be. Simply observe it from the core of your being – that knowing aware presence we call ‘I’. Your temper, judgments, or whatever it is – the particular issue doesn’t matter – will arise, linger for a while, then dissolve and vanish back into its source, the one source that all of us share in common – unlimited consciousness. This is the nature of all experience.

Universal Law

‘Welcoming is a universal law. The night is welcoming, the sky is welcoming, the birds and the trees are welcoming. When we are surrounded by welcoming human companions, we live in beauty. Our shared presence gives us a taste of what the lost paradise might have felt like.’                                                                                                                                   ~ Francis Lucille, Eternity Now

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.

Killing In The Name Of _____

Fill in the _____ with such things as contempt, hate, jealousy (a mistaken form of love), revenge, retaliation, the oppressed, any random deity or religious doctrine, any political or philosophical dogma, and on and on.

In the realm of concepts, we can debate forever whether or not one human being killing another is a natural act, but if we understand that to kill another is to kill ourselves, all debate would cease and compassionate behavior would prevail.

Some seek martyrdom in the name of a god or extreme belief (actually, all beliefs are extreme) by killing themselves and taking as many others along with them. Some commit suicide to end the personal suffering caused by the belief that negative inner voices are real.

Once you discover that there is no self that is not other, in other words, a self becomes an other as an other becomes a self, you find that there’s no one to disagree with and therefore no one to kill. With this understanding the desire to harm dissolves in the loving embrace of that which is one without a second.

Self and other arise in consciousness and are therefore made of consciousness. Have you ever experienced any thing, any object, any appearance, coming from outside of consciousness? If you check it out in your own experience, no ‘outside’ to consciousness can be found. Actually, no boundaries of any kind can be found. With this understanding we have the direct experience that there is only one consciousness – not two – no division between any things. Therefore, self and other are one, and one cannot kill one. It would be like asking the sky to cut itself in two.

Optimists, idealists, dreamers ask: will the killing ever end? Human history will play itself out in its own way, but even if it were just one human being who understood the limitlessness of being, the inclusiveness of consciousness, that all things are one, not two, ethical behavior would be a natural part of life and he or she would not kill, could not kill in the name of . . . anything.

‘Love is the discovery that others are not others.’ ~ Rupert Spira