Let me welcome Ukraine and Indonesia to the growing list of countries visiting the website. They join Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. It’s quite rewarding to be able to transport this teaching beyond the borders of the state of South Carolina, USA, and into the world at large.
The returning viewer will note continuous site tweaks and changes to the site. I had no real idea of what I wanted to do with this blog, but I sense that it’s beginning to gel. For the time being, at least, I think it will be a rather simple site. My book business is apt to pick up rather dramatically with the advent of the school year, so we’ll just play it as it comes. What else can we ever really do?
Pick a World and Live In It
From: Notes on Spiritual Discourses or Shri Atmananda, Volume 1, Taken by Nitya Tripta
A disciple asked: “Why was secrecy so strictly observed in expounding the Truth in the old shastras?”
Shri Atmananda: “Evidently, for fear of jeopardizing established religion and society. Religion had no place except in duality and social life. It was the prime moving force of social life in ancient times. But the concept of religion could not stand the strict logic of Vedantic truth. The sages of old, who recognized the great need of relation in phenomenal life, expounded the ultimate Truth under a strict cover of secrecy, thus enabling religion to play its role in lower human society.”
[Shri Atmananda (1883-1959) was essentially advising his disciple to pick a world and live in it.]
For the past couple of installments of this series we have been utilizing a metaphor that had us viewing the world through a colored glass pane. We are just about ready to let that tool go, but we will use it here briefly one last time.
So long as we are identified with ego and the body-mind it identifies with, there is no way over, under, around, or out of our taking in and then representing a point of view. We see what we see from where we see it from, and that is that. Even if we intellectually grasp the notion, through Western psychology, for instance, that our position is not an absolutely true and substantial one, that notion itself is seen from our ego and body-rooted point of view. It may be clearer, but it’s not actually clear.
Truth is the cask of clarity. Clarity in this case means transcending viewpoint itself—by enveloping it. Spiritual awakening is just this. Awakening is seeing through the falseness of viewpoint and viewpoint’s presentation, which is essentially a self-centered storyline. Awakening is clearly witnessing the vacuity of ego. When this is truly known not just intellectually, but experientially the colored pane we have spent so much time talking about does not actually disappear, but a shift surrounding the colored pane takes place. We are no longer the object looking out into space; we are spaciousness looking out onto objects. The body-mind we have most keenly identified with, which since childhood we have called "me" and “mine” is seen to be just one more object. The luster of specialness drops away and the inherent emptiness of the “Fred suit” becomes plain.
(I have used the term “experientially” somewhat loosely here, for lack of a more accurate term, and will continue to use it throughout the rest of this piece. We are overrunning the very edges of available language throughout this installment.)
From the awakened view—which is not a viewpoint at all—a, b, and c—the colored pane, the view and the supposed viewer are all seen to be contained by and integral to a singular Reality. Thus neither the pane, nor anything that’s been seen through it, or even anyone who was thought to be looking through it, can be said to be inherently true, real, or valid on the Absolute level. Let me try to clarify this difficult idea a little more by saying that so-called enlightenment is, in fact, the living, breathing, right-now experiencing of seeing and living from the Absolute level. It might be even clearer if we say that it is the conscious experiencing of seeing from Being and it is more accurate yet to say that it is the conscious experiencing of actually being Being, always right now. Everything is of a verb-like quality.
Now, behold what this shift imparts: I don’t have to wonder where God is, what God is, what God might be up to, what Its will is, or any of a thousand other foolish questions if I’m It. Let me say that again, just to insure that it isn’t missed.
I don’t have to wonder about where God is, what God is, what God might be up to, what It’s will is, or any of a thousand other foolish questions if I’M IT.
Neither do you. Yes, of course you can say the same. There is just ONE. Hold up a single finger and then count it. Now, how many are fingers are there? There are just that many things going on here in the multiverse, too.
Reality is singular; an unbounded, undivided Wholeness. It is always and already here. If you can bite down on that, you can see that we can never be anything other than Being, for there is nothing other than Being. We can never actually be anything more or less than Being Itself, simultaneously seeing from Being and looking upon Being whether we’re aware of it or not. Those are the rules of the road on the Nondual highway. No center, no circumference, no separation. Your conscious participation is not required. Your unconscious participation is quite enough, until and unless you grow more tired of suffering than you do of riding the roller coaster in the dream you are creating as you go.
When you're tired of playing you come here. You always have. Nondual teachings have been called the alarm clock of the dream. You put it here for when you might want it. The body-mind you're currently wearing, if it's not precisely ready, is at least getting damn close! Hello, You!
Let us be clear: the teachings of Nonduality are not an effort to create, see, or find something new. It is the pointing out of what obviously is and always has already been. Take a look around; I mean do this literally. Stop. Visually or aurally scan around where you are. What do you see? When I do it, “I see and hear what I see and hear” and I notice that no matter what names and labels I throw at it, it still looks and sounds a lot like What Is. Don’t you experience the same? Sure you do! Since there is no “what isn’t”, you can only be looking at What Is.
There is nothing else to experience and you are experiencing your Self.
The single serious difference between the position of the Sage, or Jnani, or “realized man”, so to speak, is that when a Jnani looks around at What Is, he consciously and literally sees his own Self everywhere. He sees only his own Self everywhere. And there is seen to be an underlying beauty and perfection to this What Is just as it is. This is the Absolute view.
Now, just as we all caught our breath, we come to the more confusing part.
Absolute beauty, perfection and total oneness notwithstanding, there are nonetheless those tricky little things known as appearances. These appearances have another name. We call them the relative world. And here begins the apparent rub between our two apparently separate and different worlds.
To be continued…