Regardless Of What You Think

Regardless of what you think, feel, sense, or perceive, you are not that. We have been conditioned since birth to believe that we are made up of our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, but if we look at the facts of our experience, nothing could be further from the truth – they are all temporary attributes, they come and they go, and therefore can’t be considered real.

If we aren’t our thoughts and feelings, who or what are we?

Ask yourself, do I know my thoughts, do I know my feelings, do I know my perceptions? The answer is obviously yes. And then ask yourself, when my thoughts disappear, when my feelings disappear, when my perceptions disappear, do I disappear with them? The answer is obviously no.

You, your essential aware self, knows the coming and going of all thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, but doesn’t come and go with them. Identify with this awareness that knows the rise and fall of thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, not with the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions themselves.

And then see clearly that even this so-called awareness, this witness that observes the coming and going of all things, is itself a concept known by something beyond it.

We are That.

Already A Masterpiece

‘Someday, everything is gonna be smooth like a rhapsody
when I paint my masterpiece.’
~ Bob Dylan

The background of all experience is like a blank painter’s canvas. You can paint any image on the canvas – in the style of a Picasso collage, a Rembrandt landscape, a Pollock drip painting, or a Dali surreal image – and it has no affect on the canvas whatsoever. Underneath the paint the canvas rests in its original blank state – pristine and wholly receptive.

In just the same way, your essential being, awareness itself, is unchanged, untarnished, and unconditionally receptive regardless of what is happening in your body, mind, or world. Myriad thoughts, good, bad, and neutral, fantastic or disturbing images, wild emotional swings, intense or subtle bodily sensations, and perceptions of the outside world, all come and go, but your essential nature remains still, peaceful, pristine, open, aware, and knowing.

Before paint is ever applied to canvas, before you, that is, you as aware, knowing presence, experience a thought, mood, or perception of the world, all is ‘smooth like a rhapsody.’

Already a masterpiece.

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.

A Knotted Rope

Your essential being is ever-present Awareness that only knows itself.

You exist prior to anything manifest in the phenomenal world.

Anything you can observe, you are not.

You exist prior to your heartbeat, during your heartbeat, and in the space before the next heartbeat.

You exist prior to space.

You are before the are that you think you are.

Just as a knotted rope is still a rope, a tangled Awareness is still Awareness.

You can tie a hundred knots in a rope and it’s still a rope, just as you can flood our shared essential being, the infinite and eternal space of Awareness, with countless objects – from fleeting thoughts and painful feelings to flowing rivers and shooting stars – and it’s still Awareness.

What we crave most is going home to love.

Love loving Love.

Such Is Life

A dear old friend died recently, and when the news was relayed to a mutual friend, he said, ‘Such is life.’

Such is life. Impermanent. Fleeting. Our body-mind is made up of temporary thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, all bound by the limits of time and space.

Not so Awareness.

If we look closely at our experience, there is an unchanging presence from which we actually view this life. A presence that cannot be denied. An unchanging presence, without beginning or end, without limits or boundaries. An unchanging ever-present knowing that is infinite and eternal.

While alive, or as Mooji likes to say, ‘while our body is still warm,’ recognize this Awareness, this being-ness that exists prior to, during, and after ‘life’ as we know it begins and ends.

Acknowledge the aware presence that knows the coming and going of all things – including the body-mind with its ephemeral qualities and so-called birth/life/death cycle – but doesn’t come and go with them.

Everyone’s essential being is this unchanging, knowing, aware presence that exists even before we utter the words ‘I am.’ Recognize this, and then discard the notion of any presence, even the thought ‘I am’, as ultimately we are prior to the idea of . . . anything.

For Advanced Seekers!

There was a recent YouTube post with the tag line, ‘A MUST WATCH for Advanced Seekers!’ If you are an advanced spiritual seeker, or a spiritual seeker on any level, this is a wonderful clip and must be watched. The question here is, what exactly is an advanced seeker?

Someone who’s an advanced seeker has done a lot of homework – put in endless hours of spiritual study, chanted mantras and meditated for long periods of time, studied with a guru or mystical guide, attended meetings and retreats, perhaps learned yoga, maybe ingested psychedelics, spent time with like-minded people, the sangha, and tried to live a life in accord with whatever teachings they lean towards, be it an established religion or philosophy, or some new age enlightenment movement.

What is actually being sought? If you surveyed a random group of spiritual seekers, you could distill their response down to something like, ‘I am seeking lasting happiness through the dissolution of the ego and the discovery of the Absolute.’ Or simply, ‘I am seeking happiness.’

You have done all of the things you’re supposed to do and had fleeting glimpses of happiness, but nothing has lasted. So the seeking continues – the ego fights dissolution tooth and nail – and continues to fail. After a while (decades?) it might dawn on you that all the seeking is futile. But if there is never any lasting satisfaction in all of these time-tested teachings, where can you turn?

In what direction can the mirror turn to reflect itself?

As a frustrated seeker, you might ask yourself the question, who is doing the seeking? When you examine the qualities of you, the seeker, you discover there is nothing real to invest your identity in. All you find are fleeting attributes of a limited body-mind. If our actual experience shows that there is no real seeker, then doesn’t it follow that there is nothing real to seek?

No Seeker = Nothing to Seek

There is nothing to do. There is nothing not to do. Relax in this invisible and indivisible balance point between being and not being and discover the inherent happiness in and of the infinite, eternal, and unnamable Absolute.

Just As The Snake

Just as the snake sheds its skin when it outlives its purpose, so too does the separate self fall away when it’s seen for what it is – an illusionary bundle of passing thoughts, images, sensations, and perceptions.

A snake’s skin doesn’t grow with the snake, just as the separate self is revealed as a limited entity under the bright light of ever-present awareness.

The snake grows a new skin under the old. When its growth is complete the snake makes a small rip in the old skin by rubbing on a rock or log. It then works its way through the old layer until it’s off.

In the growing light of awareness – the unbounded, ever-present sense of being that is the background of all experience – the separate self, or who we ‘think’ we are, turns out to be as useless as a snake’s old skin.

We outgrow the idea of an individual self, a temporary ‘skin’ made up of passing thoughts and sensations, rub up against the ever-present light of awareness, and the old skin falls away to reveal the infinite and eternal centerless center of our being.

Our one being, for how can there be two or more of something that is limitless?

This Too Shall Pass

There was a recent feature on NPR about the success of a program called Zero Suicide, founded by Dr. Ed Coffey and his team at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan (http://zerosuicide.sprc.org/). Program offshoots are springing up around the country.

The commentator was interviewing a participant who had attempted suicide many times. She said that the program had taught her that whatever she was feeling, e.g., depression or suicidal, she knew ‘it would pass.’

This too shall pass.

This phrase, or a variation of it, has been attributed to many different cultural, philosophical, religious, and spiritual traditions.

What we’re interested in here is the source of the phrase. Who or what knows that ‘this too shall pass’?

If we can answer this question, depression and suicidal tendencies will have no more influence on us than a reflection has on a mirror.

A thought says, ‘This too shall pass,’ but the thought itself passes, so it can’t be the source.

All phenomena – anything that can be observed or experienced, such as a thought, feeling, sensation, or perception – pass. All appearances, all objects, arise and pass away. Everything we know changes.

Whatever knows that ‘this too shall pass’ is an ever-present witness to the arising and passing away of all things.

Whatever the feeling, thought, emotion, sensation, or perception of the world, it’s guaranteed it will pass. And this passing is observed by an ever-present, changeless awareness.

Us.

One us.

Same Old Same Old

(Conversations with Rad Dad)

Q: Every time I ask you a question you give me the same old answer.

RD: You know you’re interrupting my Monday night poker game, right? Just kidding (not). Maybe I give you the same old answer because you ask me the same old questions.

Q: I ask you a different question every time.

RD: They might sound different – a lot of words spew from the human tongue – but you’re always asking from the point of view of a separate self.

Q: So what am I supposed to do?

RD: There you go again.

Q: Seriously. I’m really trying to understand.

RD: Ask me the right question.

Q: You always tell me that the source of I, you, we, me, all things, is unlimited consciousness.

RD: That’s not a question.

Q: That’s true, but I just wanted to say that over the years I’ve come to believe you.

RD: What? Did I hear you correctly? You’ve come to believe me?

Q: Yes.

RD: Okay, I give up. Beliefs are for amateurs and a dime a dozen. Every belief – no more than a muddled collection of biased, fleeting thoughts – has its opposite and equally absurd counterpart. Simple observation is all that matters – seeing what is. If you don’t know that by now, it’s hopeless. Go and leave me to my poker game. You’re wasting my time and I’m getting blinded out.

Q: Rad Dad, please! Just one more question. I promise it will be a good one.

RD: (Looks at his hole cards – 7 2 off suit – and folds.) Shoot.

Q: Why do I continue to ask the same old questions?

RD: (Wry Smile) Because you come from the same old place – a limited sense of self must ask, by nature, a limited question. Same old same old. But experience shows that the mind can’t go beyond the mind. My old buddy Nisargadatta used to say that all the time. As a side note, besides selling some fine cigars he could play a mean hand of poker.

Q: So you’re saying don’t ask any questions?

RD: Close, but no. I’m saying that if you can find the one who asks the questions I’ll eat my . . . cards.

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!

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.