‘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
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.
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
“On the level of the mind, ordinary understanding, the nearest we can come to objectless truth is a clear perspective, a vision of the objectless. I often call this a geometrical representation. The contents of this representation are what could be called the facts of truth: that the mind has limits; that truth is beyond the mind; that truth, our real nature, cannot be objectified, just as the eye cannot see itself seeing; that truth, consciousness, was never born and will never die; that it is the light in which all happenings, all objects, appear and disappear; that in order for there to be understanding of truth, all representation must dissolve. When this representation, the last of the conventional subject-object understanding, dies, it dissolves in its source–the light of which the mind was informed but could not comprehend. In other words, understanding dissolves in being understanding. We no longer understand, we are the understanding. This switchover is a sudden, dramatic moment when we are ejected into the timeless.” ~ Jean Klein
To paraphrase friend and teacher Rupert Spira, there is no distance on the direct path. That is why it’s also known as the pathless path. The direct path referred to is the spiritual path of self-inquiry – ‘Who am I?’ – or, more accurately, self-abidance – ‘I am’ – which can lead to the understanding of our true nature – the realization that our essence is that of eternal and infinite consciousness.
When we consider the nature of reality, the core of our identity, what feelings arise when we hear the words ‘no distance’? Nestle into this statement like a newborn nestles into its mother’s embrace. Imagine how that feels. How it felt. Warm. Secure. Intimate. Close.
If there is no distance on the direct path, and therefore pathless, what step need we take? There is nothing we can think, do, or say to get any closer to the truth because we’re already there, already it. The relationship between the one who knows and that which is known is, as Rupert is fond of saying, ‘Closer than close.’
The discovery that the knower and the known are one begs the question, who or what knows this? All that’s left on the conceptual level is the knowing presence of awareness in which everything arises, is known by, and made of. This knowing presence of awareness, or consciousness, has no edge or boundary, no beginning or end, and is therefore everywhere and indivisible, infinite and eternal. In other words, there is only one thing going on. Only this. The seeker is the sought.
We dance gracefully along the direct path, going nowhere, no distance, because in every moment we are already there. And with this understanding, this indisputable knowing, the heart bursts with the all-pervading sense of unconditional love. And you, I, we are that.
On the Direct Path, the Pathless Path
Travel No Distance and Discover that All Manifestations
Are but Unique Expressions of Unchanging Awareness
That Only Knows Itself
And We are That
Closer than Close
“Deeply buried within you is the conviction that all objects and your surroundings are separate from you, outside you. In the same way, feelings and your body are just objects amongst others, which can also be considered separate from you. If we adopt this point of view, the ego loses its substance. You will come to see that your thoughts, your I-thought, emotions, likes and dislikes are equally only perceived objects. This standpoint will lead you to realize spontaneously that you are the ultimate knower, and your notion of being a personal entity will thus lose all meaning.” ~ Jean Klein
Where exactly does consciousness begin?
And where exactly does consciousness end?
If neither of these locations can be found,
Then where are you?