‘Are we not wasps who spend all day in a fruitless attempt to traverse a window-pane while the other half of the window is wide open?’ ~ Wei Wu Wei
No way in.
No way out.
What are you?
You are like space.
Where are you?
If you were in, where would you go to get out?
If you were out, where would you go to get in?
For space, there is no in or out.
Space contains walls, but walls don’t contain space.
Just as there is the illusion that walls contain space, there is the illusion that the body-mind contains consciousness.
Space exists in its fullness regardless of what appears to exist in it. You can take things out of space, but you can’t take space out of things.
Space appears to be the background of all things.
Recognize the space-like element of your being – that which is ever-present, aware, and unchanging regardless of what comes and goes within it.
But you are not space. Space is also a thing.
You exist without space, but space doesn’t exist without you.
Who are you?
Mythology and folklore are filled with stories and legends of the undead – vampires, ghosts, zombies, etc. – dead beings that behave as though they are alive. With a little twist, human beings can be added to this legendary group – living beings that behave as though they are dead.
We think that we are alive, but everything we identify with as an individual self, as a body-mind – thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions – has a brief life span. Most thoughts pass within seconds or minutes. Moods pass within hours or days. And our body-mind gradually, sometimes suddenly, gives up and dies. In other words, all attributes of the body, mind, and world are bound by the limits of time – they are born, live for a while, and then die.
If we live our lives identifying with this illusionary separate self made up of temporary attributes all destined to vanish, we might as well be counted amongst the walking dead.
Why not discover that within you, within each one of us that is timeless, that is unborn?
First, recognize the knowing presence within you, us, that says ‘I am’. Now drop the thought ‘I am’ and what remains? Something remains because you are still here.
What is it that exists in the absence of thought? After all, when a thought comes and goes, you, the one aware of the thought, don’t come and go with it.
Is this aware you ever not here? Is this aware you that experiences feelings disappear when a feeling fades? No. It is ever-present, timeless.
This aware you that knows the coming and going of all things, yet doesn’t come and go with them, is the source of your being, the source of all of our beings, as there can only be one.
We think that our ever-present awareness is ours alone, yet when we investigate the attributes of this ever-present consciousness, no limits can be found, and something that is limitless allows no room for two. Would it be possible to fit one infinite sky inside another?
Ever-present awareness has no beginning or end, experiences no birth or death. It is timeless and beyond space.
It is the unborn.
And you, I, we, are that.
‘I don’t mind what happens.’ ~ J. Krishnamurti
Why would Krishnamurti say something like this? Because, relatively speaking, he was coming from the point of view of pure awareness. He didn’t mind what happened because, as pure awareness, all things happened in him, as him, not to him.
Just as clouds cannot disturb the sky, nothing of the body, mind, or world can shake the sublime emptiness of pure awareness, the core of our being.
Birth and death happen in you, not to you. If this doesn’t make sense, you are looking from the point of view of the illusionary personal self, illusionary because all of its qualities – thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions – are subject to the limits of time and space. They come and they go.
If this does make sense, you are observing the body, mind, and world from the point of view of pure awareness, in which all things appear and disappear and are therefore made of and known by, including the ideas of birth and death.
If whether something makes sense or not doesn’t matter, or as Krishnamurti says, you don’t mind what happens, you are looking at the body, mind, and world from beyond relativity, beyond any point of view, including that of pure awareness.
Call it non-conceptual awareness or choiceless awareness.
Then call it nothing at all and enjoy the silence, the peace.
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.
‘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.
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.