Friday, October 26, 2012

We Are The Space of All Experience: Guest Teaching by Isaac Shapiro

WELCOME TO THE TWENTY-NINTH EDITION of the Awakening Clarity Guest Teaching Series.  There's a lot of news this week, so I'll get right to it. 

Let me blow my own horn first.  The Beyond Recovery website is now up and running!  Marcus Fellowes with zendao  designed it with input from Julian Noyce, publisher of Non-Duality Press.  It's a great looking, informative site, and if you pop over there, you can read both the introduction and the first chapter of Beyond Recovery: Nonduality and the Twelve Steps.   There's also a page of helpful Nondual FAQs, and the BR blog, which has migrated from this site to that one.  There will be a permanent link here leading to it. For those of you who have already been following that blog, let me share that a new post went up today.  The book is scheduled to be released in early December.

The Science & Nonduality Conference is upon us!  It's happening right now in San Rafael, California.  A bunch of our guest teachers are appearing: Ellen Emmet, Francis Lucille, Gangaji, Jeff Foster, Mukti, Peter Dziuban, Richard Lang, Rupert Spira, and Scott Kiloby are eight that I know about.  This is a great event, recommended by every cell in my body.  It's killing me to miss it, and attending next year is way up on my to-do-or-die list.  There's a deal with where you can attend this year via web stream.  If that's not doable, they'll be offering special conversations with many of the speakers via DVDs a few weeks after the conference is over.  I buy those every year and just eat them up.  The scientists are as interesting as the spiritual teachers.  There is nothing so compelling as brilliance, regardless of the field it plays in.  Good luck to all of our friends who are there!

There's another opportunity to see and hear about the scientific side of consciousness research that I want to share with you.  After an email exchange with Nick Day at the University of Arizona Center Consciousness Studies, I received a large packet of DVDs aptly named The Consciousness Chronicles.  I've been watching them ever since.  Each of the three sets contains two DVD's with a total running time of well over four hours each.  It's interview after interview with some of the greatest minds on the planet, representing a wide array of disciplines, including physicists, philosophers, neuroscientists, nano-tech researchers, writers, and a host of other fields. I'll get around to reviewing these discs when I'm finished watching them, but from what I've seen, they're absolutely terrific.  The filming is excellent as well.  Nick Day directs.  You can buy each set separately, or all three sets for fifty bucks, which is clearly the way to go.

This issue's guest writer is Richard Sylvester.  I recently watched a Nondual panel on Conscious TV that included Richard, and I really enjoyed what he had to say.  His vision is clear, and his approach is often funny.  I know you'll enjoy this selection from First Chapter Preview from his wonderfully titled I Hope You Die Soon.  Here's a link that two-part CTV panel on YouTube: Nondual Panel.

I first heard of Isaac Shapiro quite a few years ago, but at that time he didn't have any books for sale on Amazon, so I was out of luck in pursuing him.  Fortunately I'm a bookseller and seven or eight years ago I stumbled across a big cache of Nondual titles one year at a large acquisition sale in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Out of that lot came a bunch of Ramesh Balsekar's stuff that I'd never seen before and that was not in general distribution, six or eight copies of A Course In Miracles, small books by several teachers I'd never heard of--and a book of satsang teaching by Isaac Shapiro.

I was immediately taken both by Isaac's clarity, and by his ability to verbalize it.  Being consciously awake does not qualify anyone to be a teacher.  The gift of being able to effectively share that conscious awakeness does.  Isaac Shapiro has that gift.  His teaching for us today is from a book that he never published.  So far as I know, it's never seen the light of day anywhere other than Awakening Clarity.  I'm honored to present it.

I asked Isaac for a short bio to share with you, and he sent a great one.  Here it is:

Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. No television when I grew up and strong censorship of all publications. Someone smuggled a playboy magazine into the country and as an 18yr old was happy to get my hands on it. Timothy Leary had an article in that issue about LSD where he mentioned 1000's of orgasms a second which as an 18yr old, got my attention and a week later I met an American student who had some. Had no idea about "medicine". My context, aspirin and getting drunk once.

When a friend and I ingested, I experienced unconditional love and had this download of
understanding, knowing and seeing, which I recognised as real. I was studying medicine at the time and could see that if I continued on that path, my life would be an expression of confusion and contraction, so resigned the next day before I could change my mind. I could see that "my" thinking was completely polluted and needed to be reexamined, every aspect of it.

Became determined to live in alignment with what had been revealed. Had not heard of teachers or enlightenment, only had this direct seeing and keen interest to light the way.

The seeing opened my eyes to what was happening in South Africa politically which I had been unaware of and I became involved. 

One thing led to another and I now find myself travelling the world holding meetings inviting those interested to see for themselves.
And now...

Isaac Shapiro

is not about
 any particular experience
it’s about
 recognizing we are the space of all experience
and being the embrace of our experience.

Life, the universe, time, space, our bodies are all simply an experience to us. We experience all this with our five senses. So therefore, all the above are merely sensations to us.

Check and see if this is true for you.

Specifically with your body, close your eyes for a moment and contemplate how you know you have a body.

Your body is an experience to you, right?
That being so, is the experience of your body in you or are you in it?

We are aware of all experience including our thoughts. Experience is always changing so better to speak of it as experiencing, as our experience of now is always changing.
Awareness is ever present and is that in which all experiencing appears. 

Is awareness an experience?

Can we sense awareness with our senses?

No, we can’t.

Can we know it with our mind? No.

We can be aware of our mind and of our senses and that’s why it’s said that awareness is beyond the senses, beyond the mind, beyond everything. We can understand that with the mind. The invitation is to know this directly.

Is there any beginning or end to awareness? Take a moment and check in your own knowing.

All experience appears in awareness. The universe is an experience to us, so it is at least as large as the universe.
Can you find a boundary to awareness?

Another word for no boundaries is freedom. In truth, awareness is free even of freedom, because it doesn’t have any concept of freedom in it. Boundaries or borders belong to our thinking, which we call the mind. No thought, no mind, so both freedom and borders are irrelevant to awareness.

How does life seem from the perspective of being awareness?

To awareness, all of existence appears in it. So there is nothing to gain or loose.

Awareness is ever present. Experience is always changing. Most people have the funny habit of trying to measure awareness by the experience they are having, and not only that, but to measure themselves by their experience.

Is it possible to measure awareness by experience?

“I feel so sad” – does that mean I am not aware. All this contraction, this means I’m not awareness. Only when I feel expanded, then I’m aware.’ Funny habit, isn’t it?

Try to describe awareness. You will see it’s not so easy!

This awareness that is everywhere is already here, but when it gets tied to experience, in other words, when we measure it by experience, we are confused. All experience appears in awareness. Once you know that, then every experience is free to come and go and no experience can trouble you.

It’s always
the resistance to our experience
that hurts far more
than any experience
can ever hurt

When there is resistance to the experience we are having, we hurt. We have then both the experience and on top of that the experience generated by trying to get away from our experience. Usually this trying to get away from our experience is an automatic, unconscious movement. This movement is a complex combination of many processes that go on in our bodies and mind and involves every cell in our body. We experience this as contraction, confusion and emotion, in short as pain.

As unconsciously we then try to get away from this pain, this activity makes it hurts more, and when we don’t want this increased pain, it hurts more. We don’t want the pain, but still feel it, so we feel out of control, and start to make stories about ourselves, I am messed up etc. Awareness isn’t concerned.

Awareness is everywhere. It can’t be increased or decreased, it’s everywhere.

The unconscious habit of resisting our experience shows up in us as contraction.

Take a moment and notice the experience you call your body. Notice where there are contractions.

Consider if the contractions you notice serve you in any way.

In noticing where there has been a habit to tighten, as you gently notice the tightness, does this already produce a subtle shift?
One change is you are now aware of it.

Notice whether it is possible to simply let go.

Do you need to know why you are tight in order to let go or can you simply let go on noticing any contraction?

Letting go can be relaxing the tightness or simply allowing the tightness to be there without trying to fix or change it.

As letting go happens, notice what happens.

Awareness has no limits, it’s infinite, but our capacity to embody this awareness is limited by tightening up.

All beliefs, defences, trying to control our experience etc, show up in us simply as tightening up in the body or mind. So if there’s any contraction in your body, simply letting go, releases the energy that was used to tighten up, and we are more at ease. Letting go happens in the recognition that the tightening up doesn’t help in any way. Then in a way the tightening up which was an unconscious process, now that it is conscious and recognized that it only hurts, it lets go of you.

Recognizing you are already the awareness in which everything appears gives the space for letting go.

The whole idea
of seeking for enlightenment
is still all about wanting
a different experience than we are having

We keep looking for other tricks or techniques we can use to have a better experience. But this is not about tricks or techniques. This experience of now is all we have. This is our life, now  and now and now. This is it, here and now. This is as God as it gets, life doesn’t get more God than this! If the word God bothers you, use the word good.

Here we are. What life is to us, is an experience. What our body are to us is an experience. All that there is, is an experience. To make it even simpler, experience happens through our 5 senses, so all experience is only sensations, which we interpret.

The way we are with our sensations, the focus through which our sensations are filtered, we call our attention. Another way of saying that is, where and how our attention is focused, determines our experience. Not only what we experience but also the experience of who or what we are.

Here we are, there is awareness of experiencing.

Look and see in your experience right now, the totality of your experience of now, is there any distance between you and it?

There is no distance between you and your experience of now, it’s not possible. If there appears to be a distance, it is the experience generated by the focus on your experience. The whole sense of separation is simply a certain focus of attention that we have become used to and so don’t notice. We have this capacity to focus on something where it makes it appear like there is a me and an it. This way of focusing is an unconscious habit, so we can say that it happens by itself. There is nobody that does it. It’s just something that happens and in that activity it feels like there is a me here and something, or somebody else. In other words, a certain focus of attention produces the sense of me, other, separation, the sense that something is wrong etc. All these are simply different focuses of attention.

Take a moment and notice your attention or focus.

Notice that it is constantly moving.

Who is moving it? Is it you or is it moving by itself?

Therefore these movements are simply movements in consciousness and we are aware of them. These movements just happen by them self, nobody does them. 

Here you are,
Your nature

Take a moment to see if it is possible to not have the experience of now you are having.

We can focus on something so we don’t really notice the fullness of our experience, but is it possible to not have our experience?

It is impossible to not have the experience we are having.

Even if we suppress an experience, this activity costs a lot of energy and all it means is we carry this experience with us all the time. Yet as our nervous system, our embodiment, was being formed in our mothers wombs, we experienced all the emotions and experiences of our mother, which of course included the experience of her relationship with our father. This resulted in some unconscious ways of functioning that is pre rational, pre thought, where our system unconsciously tries to not have the experience we are having.
When our system tries to not have the experience we are having, all that happens is that our system contracts. So as our mothers system was contracting, our system experienced this in relation to different sensations. And so the habit of contracting happens.

Awareness, that which is aware in you and that, which is aware in me, is not an experience. Who you are is this. We can give it the name awareness, space, Atman, soul, many names. But whatever that is, it is not an experience. So we cannot feel each other. There’s a knowing of each other, but it’s not a feeling. What we can feel when we are together, are the patterns that are there or another way of saying it is we can feel the organization of the embodiment. We can’t feel awareness, emptiness. Yet as you rest as this emptiness, this knowing, there can be an experience that your body starts to tingle, and a delightful experience can be there. People then tend to look for that experience as confirmation that they are home and to confirm that they are aware. But that experience happens when the involvement in any of the patterns drops away. Awareness is there, regardless. It is not a doing, no effort is required. It’s ever present and completely natural.

Life is an experience. The universe, time, space, light, heat, cold, contractions, love, your own body, are all experiences. Awareness is the space of all experience and is not an experience. But there is awareness of all experience,

If we notice in this moment, there’s no boundary between awareness and experience. They are just words. 

© 2012 Isaac Shapiro
All Right Reserved.  Used by permission. 


Isaac's Website:


I want to welcome Nigeria as the 106th nation-state to join our online family. 

As ever, the site continues to grow and morph.  Stay tuned.

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