INTRODUCTION TO WEBSITE MONOGRAPHS
These monographs are detailed surveys of ideas related to Advaita and dealing with aspects of essential knowledge helpful in obtaining a rational and practical perspective of Reality-As-It-Is. Each of the titled monographs can be useful in some way for getting more clarity about an idea when read alone but will be understood in depth when connected with the rest of the material and especially with the two books, GNOSIS and HEART BLOSSOMS which are very in depth and detailed.
This information is quite abstract, but with a little diligence will prove practical and of benefit to those who may feel the urge to evolve into a higher perspective of life and living. Repetitive immersion in Advaitic ideas is a necessity for clarity of understanding. The format of this material is intended to provide a clear and easy approach to a difficult subject, aiding the reader to increase the momentum of understanding by increasing the capacity to digest the information and ideas. Hopefully, constructive and critical thinking, as well as a deep understanding of contemplative science, will be stimulated by reading these monographs. At first, some of the ideas and some of the terms used may be unfamiliar, but always there is at least a simple definition of terminology extant within the writings themselves. Advaita is abstract, yet it is the mind that exercises its abstract functions that can connect knowledge with understanding. The development of the abstract mental capabilities is necessary in order to correctly discern the real from the unreal.
These essays are intended to serve as an easy and condensed fundamental intellectual framework that supports a progressive spiritual discipline also described in some of the monographs. All the monographs are not presented from a theoretical or speculative view, but rather from experience – or at least from a conclusive and detailed reasoning. Most of the monographs do not present any sort of systematic approach to any of the ideas outlined in them, but rather are meant to suggest an attitude or mental posture that can help to gain knowledge and the understanding necessary for release from the errant dualistic view. According to how complete the dichotomous view is banished, illumination will be experienced in the corresponding degree. The pinnacle of understanding is a perceptive state of first-hand immediate understanding of all and everything as a oneness and an undivided, nondual totality. This is the perfect recognition of holistic reality. Can this perfect recognition happen just by reading these monographs? Probably not, but the practice in adjusting perspective toward the real esoteric recognition required can certainly be easily supported by the information offered here. The lone practitioner will decide how high to fly. With palms together, salutations.
The Sanskrit word ADVAITA means “not two”, or “nonduality”. So, what is it, really? Looking at the world from the standpoint of dualistic perception is partial and errant perception mixed with superimposed conceptual classifications with reference to ego-notions and selfhood. Awakening to the standpoint of nondual wisdom where there is certainty of understanding in spontaneous presence we can remain in the absence of false discrimination. What is usually taken as normal perception and cognition is, in fact, a state of false understanding in which nearly everyone abides constantly when they fail to honestly inspect their mental mechanisms and recognize the truth of things as they really are. Enlightening texts always suggest inspection and analysis of our inner and outer worlds so we can awaken to the real nondual situation. Even the “inner” and “outer” are mere conceptual designations and are not two in reality because reality cannot be split. But this is the way the mind habitually splits one reality into a relative pseudo-dualism.
The real nature of phenomena is nonduality. No single object or event has its own self-essence, so no two things can be ultimately different since they both are merged in the totality of the matrix of existence. The flux, the process, and all functions within the totality of existence are the matrix of reality. Reality has no opposite or anything that is not included within it. There is nothing outside the matrix; it is all-inclusive.
There is no thing that can be accurately or completely described and defined by limited language because characteristics are infinite. Therefore, reality is inconceivable, beyond any kind of conceptual elaboration, beyond the discriminations of the mind. All manifested appearances of objects and events are always simultaneously the same in their real identity, no matter what the apparent temporal differences and characteristics may seem to be. The reality of any thing is the same as the real reality of anything else. The interdependence of all phenomena is as it is because, ultimately, any one thing depends for its existence on all else, and all depends on each one, whether remotely or immediately.
The mind gathers in partial details and characteristics of things through sense contact, and then compares qualities and discriminations. The human mind is limited, while details of knowledge are limitless because of the limitless change and infinite motion taking place within conditional perpetual flux. Reality cannot be known through any intellectual construct; reality is known only through identity with it. This means it is crucial to dissociate with conceptual error. To try to conceptualize what is too vast to be conceivable by the discriminating mind is to quit the race one step short of the finish line.
Consciousness in the individual is just ordinary wakeful awareness interacting with the supposed differentiations of the manifested world. In its unobstructed and unconfined state consciousness has a natural lucidity. The individual contemplative, once having recognized his natural holistic presence, is then concerned with integrated wholes, or the total system of manifestation within the phenomenal matrix, rather than with deluded absorption in and attachment to the supposedly separate parts of it. All phenomena are then recognized as they really are, as interrelated components of the unified field of ever changing conditionality. In undifferentiating, nondual holistic lucidity all the implications of the afflictions of conceptual dualism have ceased to be and the phenomenal matrix is clearly observed and understood.
The basis of nescient dualistic concept-making and distracted inattentiveness is the ego-notion. That’s all ego is; it is not an entity, but only an habitual errant notion. The objectifying of one’s subjectivity is the dichotomy of errant perception to be transcended, and one who has stabilized his attention perfectly does not fluctuate back into conceptual aberration. This means one must learn to detect and recognize the very beginnings of distraction and gain a decisive understanding of its mechanics. When automated, reactive concept-making is stopped by attentiveness to present mental situations themselves, always based on the dualistic ego-notion, then the ego-notion will simultaneously subside and automated dualistic thought activity will stop. This is the nondual, nondichotomous realization of one’s true identity as pure consciousness, but possible only in the total absence of the counterfeit identity, ego.
A Sanskrit word that pertains to such a deconstruction process is apoha, or “what something is not”. So we can get a little closer to understanding what something is by knowing what it is not. When it comes to the realization of nonduality we need to exhaust every device, and apoha is an efficient device, up to a point. Eventually we will have to make a radical leap beyond all devices and beyond all of our usual conceptual strategies.
But it’s not easy. Why not? Most Advaitists keep on saying, “you are already that”. The Upanishad says, “Tat Twam Asi”, or “You are That”. So we accept the possibility that we are (already) that nondual whatever-it-is. But it will not be easy for most of us to uncover the evidentiary fact of our real identity since old mental habits die hard. This is the real meaning of “detri-mental”.
There is an old injunction that we should “just let go”. That won’t be too easy, either, since we have become so habitually automated in our misperception of ourselves as some objective identity (i.e., the body-mind vehicle). A conscious effort will be required to “just let go” of our fixated and abberated perceptions and conceptions. Those who say that no effort is required are mistaken because it is an effort to put a stop to any habit. The effort required will be one that is directed to recognizing our errant dualistic perspectives. When dualistic, or dichotomous, perception stops, then it is absent and nondualistic perception (already there) is present. Negating the dualistic perspective can happen when the error of it is understood, and when the process which creates such a wrong view is undone or deconstructed. Then it’s time to relax.
In this relaxation of errant perspectives, or when they are “just let go”, what is left over is the nondual totalistic apperception. So nonduality is the mere absence of the dualistic perspective, the presence of unconditioned truth. One step further and we can relax into the whole and perfect truth: dualisms are conventionally valid and can be described, at least partially, with language which, alas, always operates through dualistic terms. If the totality of seeming dualisms is known as the wholeness of functioning in our holographic and totalistic universe of unified interdependency, then that’s the big picture of nonduality. That’s what is meant by the Zen term “the one taste”. Vigilant persistence will be necessary. Another big question is: “Who will persist?” – Who? A dualistic “me” or “you” ??
The A in Advaita means “not”. Dvaita means “dual”. Nonduality doesn’t mean monism. Monism is the perception that there is only one. Dualism means that there is always two. Dualism and monism are not quite the whole real truth. If there is multiplicity in existence, this and the others, this thing here and that thing over there, then there can be no real monism. Yet, if all things here and there in time and space are the same in essential identity, the essence of the same one source, then this is a type of monism, a monism that contains in itself a multiplicity. So real monism is also real dualism. Yet there is no real dualism. So it is not possible to accurately speak of the inconceivable; it cannot be said, there is monism or there is dualism. Therefore, we say Advaita, nondualism. It’s as close as speech can come to describing the indescribable. We can know what IT is not: it is not two. Heterogeneity-homogeneity, yin-yang, all the opposites are not two. The mind cannot conceive of real actuality, therefore all the sages who learned to see the truth of this always gave the injunction to transcend the mind. The real truth can be known, but not through a dichotomizing mind.
True Advaita, true nonduality, means that within the absolute totality of existence there is no such thing as a real division between any phenomenon and any other phenomenon, between homogeneity and heterogeneity, between noumenon and its phenomena, between the absolute and the relative, between the yin and yang of Taoism, between the two truths of Buddhism, between the Shiva and the Shakti of Kashmir Shaivism, between the this and the that, anywhere or at anytime. True Advaita insists on an interdependent, intermingling, co-existing, co-functional totality of all and everything in existence. Even existence and non-existence must be considered as “not two”, with no division. Any division in any way must be known as concept-only; there are no real divisions, just appearances, illusory dichotomous conceptual fabrications of mind that seem to infer dualities. But the seeming dualities are always and only mentally fabricated delusive appearances. Advaita, and the non-division defined by Advaita, is a potent device enabling the complete understanding of reality and the living in certainty of all the implications of that reality, culminating in holistic apperception and the wisdom inseparable from it. Advaita means we can live with the sense and realization of unity while living individually; the integrated existential unicity that understands and realizes holistic differentiations is the complete Advaita.
The Sanskrit word yoga has many connotations, but its primary meaning according to the old writings is the integration, or yoking together of two or more things. Two oxen may be yoked together in order that a farmer can plow his field; the so-called higher self can be integrated with the so-called lower self; the noumenon can be in communion with the phenomena; the heart can merge with the mind; the male with the female; the yin with the yang; the polar opposites can melt together. Yoga means all these things and more, but the inference is that the two should become one. Actually, there is no need of becoming, because the inferred two (and all of heterogeneity) are always and already the essential one. Yoga implies that the two (the dual) can become one (the nondual), and the perspective of almost everyone is strict dualism, separation, absolute heterogeneity. The mind that tries to understand through dichotomies already posits that there are two things that need to become one. So the inference that the word yoga defines is one of faulty perspective, and the seeking to heal the fault through skillful ways and means. The direct path of all yoga is the simple understanding of nonduality. Yet, such a simple understanding comes about usually after a long series of mental exercises that help to adjust a faulty perspective toward real and clear perception and understanding. So the simplicity appears after a battle with the complexity of the mind. Most of the yogas in traditional approaches to liberation and enlightenment are structures of doctrine, ethics, and exercises in skillful concentration that help to clear the path of obstructions so that the traveler can make more speedy and efficient progress toward the “goal”. But the “goal” is already right here right now; all that is required is to just discover it and abide in it.
There are as many yogic methods as there are psychological states of a person. When a specific psychological state presents a help or a hindrance to achieving the needed transformation then there is usually a yogic method in some traditional context that can be profitably used to increase the positive factors or to decrease and even eliminate the negative factors in such a specific psychological state. There are several traditional systems that incorporate many diverse methods and techniques of yoga. The Hindu tradition has six basic “schools” of religion and philosophy, the most prominent of which is probably Vedanta. Vedanta philosophy culminates as the Upanishad writings attached to the ancient Vedas. The Bhagavad Gita is the condensation of the details of the philosophy of the Upanishads. The Bhagavad Gita generally breaks down its approach to yoga in three groups, the Yoga of Karma, the Yoga of Devotion, and the Yoga of Knowledge. There are eighteen chapters in the Bhagavad Gita, each chapter therein entitled as a form of yoga, a total of eighteen forms of yoga divided into the aforementioned three groups. Kashmir Shaivism divides its approach into four special areas, each designed to benefit students of four degrees of capacity to understand. One of the Shaivist texts, the Vijnanabhairava details one-hundred twelve kinds of yoga, each one belonging to one of the four degrees. Buddhism has many different “schools”, but each one teaches generally the same doctrines as the others, the difference mainly being the approach used to teach the details of the Buddhadharma. Many diverse types of yoga are taught within Buddhist teachings, including tantric yogas similar to the Hindu tantric yogas. There is also Hatha yoga which is a set of physical techniques designed to keep the practitioner healthy and physically fit. Kundalini yoga is the yoga of energies rising in the subtle body system promoting liberation and enlightenment. Buddhism, Hindu tantra, and Shaivism detail processes and procedures of Kundalini yoga, while Taoism has its own similar techniques such as Qi Gong, embryonic breathing, and transformational inner alchemy. There is also the synthesized yoga of Patanjali, and many different names for such yoga systems and techniques such as Eightfold yoga, Raja yoga, Siddha yoga, etc.
An integral perspective of all different forms of yoga brings about an understanding that all the different paths lead in the same direction and each of the principal “schools” are adapted to a part of the complex mentalities and capacities of practitioners and are designed to develop the highest potentialities of Being and Becoming. All yogic methods are techniques using psychological processes, functions of mind which are not normally known about or used, so that latent abilities might manifest. The general objective of yoga is inner and outer freedom, transfiguration of the lower nature into the divine higher nature, and a harmonious and perfected human life.
3. ADVAITAYANA YOGA
What is it? We know what Advaita means: it is the absence of duality, the absence of the main obstruction to clear vision – dichotomous perception – which is nonduality. Yana here is a Sanskrit suffix that generally means “vehicle” or “way”. So Advaitayana is the Way of Nonduality. Yoga means “union” or yoking, the putting together of two; the process of unifying or re-unifying two into oneness.
What Advaitayana Yoga boils down to is the activation of the process of disentangling oneself from the dichotomous view, the deluded way of perceiving the external and internal “worlds”. We become apparently disunited with our true and real identity with BEING when we get entangled in separative thinking which leads to the obsession with BECOMING. Getting rid of the ignorance that keeps us unrealized will leave us in our original and true existential nature. Once we learn how to sever the perceptive barriers by understanding our fictitious identity and the process of disidentification from it, we are left in the state of our primal unqualified Consciousness-Being. Preference and prejudice, attachment and aversion, and all the rest of the discriminative biases are gone from our mind processes when we depart from the clinging created by ego-based ambition and the fears and hopes of supportive belief notions. We get glimpses of correct vision and these short epiphanies eventually accumulate and help develop more stable abidance in real Being.
In the realization that Advaitayana Yoga can help to bring about, we can know that the real and authentic Being which we are is not the personality mask, nor is it the ego, the mistaken identity conjured up by conditioned identification with the body-mind complex or with any other objective referent such as one’s name and fame or dramatic history. Recognition of innate authentic Being results in spontaneity of conduct, whether in the body, the mind, or speech because Being-ness is based in the recognition of sameness with noumenal source essence. Re-identity is not a result of a re-structuring or transformation of ego-identity, as in “modern” Western psychology, but a de-structuring of the false identity. Authenticity has no conditioned structure in its manifestation in the phenomenal worlds; it is dynamic manifestation of its own truth and enlightened activity. Authenticity is spontaneously manifested by one who is in presence of perfect identity with noumenon, pure stainless consciousness wherein truth and transcendental knowledge spontaneously appear. The holistic vision of nonduality dissolves ego-based motivational illnesses, tensions, agitations, and delusions that hinder the relaxed presence of the awareness of reality.
The web of judgmental and biased thought is a strong entanglement but it can be broken through by learning wakefulness in the continuum of a stainless Consciousness not polluted with dualistic biases. We can unlearn our conditional and habitual reactive ways of perception and instead remain in a responsive and flexible “yana” of freedom that is unobstructed with fictitious identity complexes. We then find ourselves in a relaxed, non-conceptual naked GNOSIS, our original and real BEING, free from clinging and attachment to superimposed conceptual errors.
Generally, there are two classes of enquirers: (1) Those individuals who are merely curiously skeptical about unusual or arcane subjects, whose real interest lies in upholding their own particular beliefs, and (2) those individuals who are studiously enquiring into the basic and important questions about life and existence, searching for real knowledge concerning purpose and meaning and the truth, whose real interest lies in upholding that truth responsibly and conscientiously.
Any “spiritual practice” must accord with and be based upon a true and definite understanding of the way things really are. If some form of meditation is the “spiritual practice”, then its format and procedure must accord with that understanding and its intent must be to further that basic understanding unto perfection.
Experiencing the problems of life is the starting point of enquiry into the real nature of existence, the way things really are, both externally and internally. Through life experience and good reason, the “goal” of any particular practice is sought. Different seekers will seek different goals according to their individual levels of intelligence and developed reasoning abilities.
There are always multitudes of seekers but few finders. Most seekers have not been able to decide on the proper ultimate object of the seeking. Nearly everyone is, at some point in life experience, caught up in motivated curiosity about themselves, about the universe, about God, and death. Also there is the reality of the presence of turmoil, anxiety, distress, and the various dissatisfactions in life. Those who have pursued answers to the questions and who have had some insight into the way things really are, have understood that the source of all the turmoil and doubt and confusion of each individual, as well as of the whole human race collectively, is rooted in only one thing: ignorance. Herein lies the basic ground for all the false values, delusions, superstitions, and misconceptions with which people become entangled. All of the unwanted things and events that happen to people occur because of their inability to perceive deeply into the real nature of the causes of destinies.
The mistaking of conceptual illusion (which is delusion) for what is thought (or hoped) to be reality culminates always in the pursuit of that which is insignificant, and ultimately somehow, painful. There is joy in life, but it is always temporary, and instead of being a primary existential pattern of individual or collective existence, life’s joy, beauty, success, or harmony are happenstance momentary occurrences fitted into a daily life of disturbances and drab morosity. Even when some measure of success or happiness is attained, something occurs which dissolves a sense of security or stability. Everything is impermanent and fleeting; there is found no constant contentment, although there is motivation to keep seeking for it.
Instead of continuing obsessively in this mundane whirl there are a few who arrive at the point of saturation with the common pattern of experience. When this point has been reached, the search begins for a way or means to transcend that which before was thought to be the conventional idealistic pursuit.
5. CRITICAL THINKING
Those who claim to engage in critical thinking are very numerous, but those who actually know how to do so are very few. Critical thinking uses a definite criteria of established evidence and proven facts to evolve a rational and correct conclusion. Someone who merely accepts a statement as fact, without bothering to investigate the substance of the statement, is someone who is a stranger to critical thinking. Not knowing the false from the true is the mark of the lack of critical thinking. Acceptance of something as fact when tradition dictates it so is the common mode of passive acceptance of the average person who has been taught that traditional beliefs are traditional because of wide and long acceptance. Yet, when critical determinations have been made according to facts and evidence, a lot of past traditional suppositions fall into incredibility. People tend to accept something as a fact or as a falsehood simply because a mass of other people have already accepted it as such. The masses are not a dependable criteria for determining truth or falsehood, as historical evidence has repeatedly shown. All “believers” operate in their mentalities without a criteria for rational determinations.
Certainly, it is obvious that there are an abundance of philosophies, religions, belief systems, and superstitions. Because of the comparative contradictions between all the diverse systems and ideas and dogmas, it becomes obvious that there is no overall agreement about what is fact and what is fiction, or what is history and what is allegory and analogy. Systems of logic and interpretation are incomplete, errant, or deficient.
How to tell what the ancient author of Genesis had in mind when he wrote that the Serpent had tempted Adam and Eve in the garden? A plethora of methods have been resorted to in order to make the story comprehensible. Kabala, number-words, symbology, mythological analogies, different ways of interpretation, and a lot of guesswork and theories have been offered up that some sort of verity is embedded in the story. And this story is only one in the vast multitude of stories.
It remains a matter of conjecture, of theory, and of guesswork when most people enquire into human origins, the origins of the universe, the real reasons behind the existence of events perceived, and what’s really going on. The ideas we cling to sometimes do not seem to have much of a foundation based on reality and real experience. The bottom line hard fact is that most humans are not credibly established in the ability to discriminate between fact and fiction. “What’s really going on” is, for most, still a matter of conjecture, of philosophy, of religion, and of a multitude of different beliefs that are permeated with partiality, error, presumption, fantasy, and superstition.
So all the so-called scriptures, of whatever genre, can be theorized about endlessly as to what they say, what they might mean, what the right interpretation of them might be. Language presents great difficulties since it is structured according to dualistic perspectives. All the so-called “knowledge” written down in so-called scriptures has to be classed as one of two types: right knowledge or wrong knowledge. The science of how to get real knowledge, epistemology, is sadly lacking in systemic method. So when knowledge is mixed with truths and falsehoods, the mind cannot properly discern what is the reality. Knowledge is always dependent on fact or fiction, the limitations of the mind, and the world of relativity itself.
In the end it has to be admitted that in order to really KNOW, the mind and its partialities of knowledge concerning relativities must be transcended. The workings of the mind can only interfere. Real knowing has to come from yet another faculty beyond mind, if there is one. This is the great value of ideas concerning meditation and contemplation that posit ways to get beyond the grasping, diffused mind. So if something needs to be known, really known, the usual scriptures are of no worth at all unless they instruct on HOW to access real knowledge directly, immediately, and surely.
The approach to the consideration of ignorance is through the discernment of false views (or the determination of WHAT IS and WHAT IS NOT). False views are incorrect conclusions which are determined from faulty reason and unsound and inaccurate observation and discernment. Sound and accurate observation and discernment are the necessary prerequisite mental conditions which must always antecede any and all subsequent correct conclusions. All correct conclusions must invariably be determined by sound and accurate observation and discernment of verified facts and established evidence. This is critical thinking.
Facts are verified and evidence is established only through direct and immediate personal experience or observation, as opposed to rash inference, theory, or belief. Belief is the effect of the mistake of confusing theoretical assumptions or hypothetical conjectures with what is really the case. Passive acceptance of that which has not sincerely been enquired into, and accordingly, rejection of that which also has not been sincerely enquired into, is the activity of delusion. Delusion is the effect of the error of believing in something which contradicts reality. Evident contradiction is the established evidence of faulty conjecture determined from unsound and inaccurate observation and discernment.
Theoreticians and dogmatists go on talking about things they know nothing of. Their beliefs are founded on hopes and conjectures of imagination, not on direct knowing experience. The exercise of reason is the only rational and dependable approach to real understanding. Faith comes by hearing and acceptance of second-hand indirect knowledge and conjecture. Faith is a consoling, hopeful conclusion determined aside from facts and without established evidence. A profession of faith or belief is therefore a confession of the lack of sound and accurate observation and discernment.
True sanity is a sound mind with sound and accurate observation and discernment. Lack of these is the effect of an aberrated mental process, mental disorder, or derangement, more commonly defined as insanity. The whole problem concerning the confusion produced by false views is rooted in an undeveloped or crippled capacity to accurately observe and discern the unreal from the real. Doubt and grief are the inevitable final result of accepting the untrue as true.
Not bothering to investigate, people fall victim to their own ignorance and resign themselves to utter foolishness. Willing slaves to inventions of an uncontrolled imagination and fanatical superstition, they reduce themselves to the lower state of humankind and a degenerated intelligence. Something is not true simply because it is written down somewhere. Lies are easily offered and become acceptable to those who have become afraid of facts and truth because of their uninvestigated obsession with vanity. If truth comes, then lies are exposed and must collapse, and the ego-notion (upon which all vanity is based) is always built upon the foundation of falsehood, superstition, and lies.
People become confused and remain in ignorance and disagreement, not because of their sound and accurate observation and discernment, but because the cherished hopes and vain fantasies they are obsessed with and cling to are challenged by the truth. They are willing slaves and victims of their own fascinations and afraid to wake up out of their delusions for fear of losing their concocted dream.
Everyone is at liberty to have faith in and believe whatever they want to, and have the freedom to think and express their foolishness in the manner of their choosing, but their mistakes of perception and discernment can in no way effect facts and evidence which are established and evident. People will continue to live in the dark shadow of their superstitions and false beliefs, with doubt and anxiety as their only certainty until they progress to the stage where they give consideration and preference to the truth over hallucinated fictions of imagination.
False views are utterly rejectable and reprehensible. They are the source of wrong and meaningless aspirations and conduct, and are proven liable to imprison people within the most debased and grievous conditions of turmoil and suffering and depravity of the worst kinds. The eradication of delusion and the establishment of wisdom through the mastery of one’s own mind is the highest aspiration of humankind and the key to real happiness and contentment. People should not prey on others as the beasts do, nor should they follow blind opinion like automatons, nor follow along with those that make the most noise like stupid sheep do, but should develop sound and accurate observation and discernment, and with utmost vigilance and diligence hold the truth most precious.
Man is a multidimensional being, just as are all phenomenalities in the existential whole. Three dimensions are of objectivity; one dimension is of subjectivity. These are not separate dimensions. The first dimension concerns unity. It correlates with the state of man’s awareness known as deep sleep. This first dimension is the beginning point of all objective manifestation. Here is the totality of potentiality, an apparent absence of objectivity, yet the perfect fullness of what will be. There is only one-ness, primal unity and simplicity existing with no divisions or differentiations. This first dimension involves unity in motion, which could be considered as length, or the line (geometrically).
The second dimension concerns duality. It correlates with the state of dreaming. Homogeneous unity splits itself into the first movement of heterogeneity, the worlds of division, the beginning of the objective formation of the multitudes of polar opposites. The second dimension involves length moving in a bilinear direction, which could be considered as length and width, or the surface (geometrically).
The third dimension concerns multiplicity. It correlates with the state of waking consciousness. This is the dimension of physical matter, where the great complexity of the structures of the universe and all its events exist. The third dimension involves length and width extended in a bilateral direction, which could be considered as length, width, and thickness, or the solid (geometrically).
The fourth dimension is the key to understanding the mystery of existence. It concerns consciousness. Whatever is perceivable is phenomenal, objective, and transient. Anything transient is susceptible to change and conditions, whether in the external world of sense objects or in the internal world of memory and imagination of the mind. Everything within the three dimensions is perceived by consciousness.
The space-time continuum, in which the three dimensions of phenomenal existence are apparent, is not a different dimension outside of these three dimensions, but an aspect of them. Consciousness is not measurable geometrically as are the other three dimensions of materiality.
There are four states of consciousness; waking, dreaming, deep sleep, and the fourth state. The life of multidimensional man moves through the three states, but beyond the three is the fourth state, pure consciousness. These four states of consciousness are essentially correlated and have an interdependent symmetry with the four dimensions of existence. The fourth state is the ground and source of all being and becoming, the beginninglessness and the endlessness of timeless and spaceless existence, and the foundation of the totality of the phenomenal event-matrix in the so-called space-time continuum.
In the waking state, the mind operates and is focused outwardly toward objects of the senses, toward the gross objective realm. This state corresponds to the objective phenomenal world of physical objects. In the dreaming state, the mind operates and is focused inwardly toward its own mental, subtle objective realm. This state corresponds to the world of mental reflections. In the deep sleep state, the mind does not operate; there is a silence with no focus, a state of suspension of sense, thought, and reflection.
The first three states emerge from the fourth, but the fourth does not originate from anything other than itself. It is the self-existent eternal principle which is the secret source essence of everything and everyone. It is the primordial Self, the truth of all being and of all becoming. The first three states of consciousness are all transient, changeable, and are all permutations of the fourth and participate in its nature in varying conditional degrees. With the introversion of consciousness from its permutations back into its original primordial primacy, the obstructive clouds of the mind disperse, leaving the clear sky of free consciousness. With the contraction and confinement of consciousness in mental obscurations of ignorance, the clouds intensify, obstructing the clear vision of reality.
Waking consciousness is the field of experience in the phenomenal objective realm. Yet it is important to note that almost every person is not really awake in their waking state, since most of the time there is a passive absorption in distraction of one sort or another. The nearly incessant invasion of daydream is the main obstruction to lucid perception and it possesses the waking consciousness in a mechanical way. Subconscious levels of emotion, desire, memory, and imagination also impede the potential clarity of the waking state, making one subservient to habitual propensities and mechanical reactive thought processes, emotional impulses, and irrational conduct. Hardly anyone realizes this in its full import, while nearly everyone presumes they are awake, aware, and fully conscious in their waking state. But the real truth is that mechanical, habitual, or reactive activity, whether it is on the physical, emotional, or mental levels, is a state of partial and superficial consciousness.
The most important fundamental realization is when someone realizes that his waking state is far less than real awake awareness. When a person realizes he is fairly “asleep” in the waking state, only then can he begin to move toward a progressive awakening. First there is a periodical remembrance or noticing that daydreaming is occurring, that many activities of body, speech, and mind are merely habitual, that throughout the day there is a lot of mechanical and habitual reactivity, and the mind is easily distracted, focus is scattered, and the mind continues to wander unchecked. The cure for this condition is to willfully expand this core realization to be more attentive to the potential for the mind to wander again into the daydream, and lengthen the periods of this attentiveness and thus shorten the periods of habitual superficial awareness.
This progressive entrance into continual and clear self-conscious waking awareness overcomes the ignorance inherent in conceptual illusion and defeats all confusion supporting entanglement in the unwanted. Without real waking awareness the limitations of mundane existence cannot be overcome and one will continue to be enslaved by the easily distracted mind and subservient to all its insignificant desires, biases, attachments, delusions, habits, and projections, which are all semi-conscious mental activities. When these semi-conscious mental activities dwindle, or cease altogether, then the emotional and physical states become purified also.
The waking state is usually the field for the operations of thought and daydream. Thought, or thinking, is a willful act of reasoned, linear thinking that uses previous ideas accumulated from experience or from previous thinking in order to come to conclusion. The conclusion may be based on fact or on fiction depending on the quality of the thinker’s reasoning capacity. Willed thinking, or intentional thinking is done in a state of active attention. Passive attention, on the other hand, is a state of semi-hypnosis and half-sleep in which the daydream rolls on and on. When neither the waking thought state nor the waking dream state is functioning, then there is the lucid state. The waking lucid state must be based on active attention and willful intention.
The external world is perceived through contact by the sense faculties, but whatever impressions the senses receive and report to perception is always tinctured by and filtered through all the information accumulated by the mind. The mind will always project or add on something of its own to what is being perceived through the senses. Hence, the illusions of the world become dominant. But this is not the real world. By overcoming the projective tendencies of the mind, the real world can be known as it really is and clear waking consciousness will permit knowledge of the truth of actuality.
The dream state is based in desire, which creates attachment. When someone is attached to something, his dreaming can never cease. If dreaming does not end then real awake awareness remains an impossibility and real conscious freedom will remain only potential. The mind has a tendency to complete a cycle of thinking to come to conclusions. It is easy (and habitual) for the mind to come to errant conclusions because of ignorance, lack of information, lack of evidence, lack of capacity for reason, and wrong inference. Something false may be accepted as true merely as an escape from the anxiety caused by the feeling of incompleteness or unfulfilment. This creates a dream to artificially complete or fulfill some desire. Desire becomes the root of frustration and frustration is the root of tension, then the anxiety is the result of these and becomes dominant.
Ego-based desires are impossible to fulfill because they are always growing and changing, and left unfulfilled these desires provoke a feeling of lingering incompleteness and restless motivations. Attachment to an object attained or to an object sought for creates more frustration. There will be fear of losing the object attained or anxiety over trying to maintain possession of it; an object not yet attained creates the same frustration and obsession with seeking after it. It is possible to temporarily suppress these feelings of frustration and anxiety while in the waking state with tactics of purposeful distraction such as entertainment, but upon entering into the sleeping state the tension again becomes focused and active and a dream display is generated by the proclivities of the mind in order that the tension can be relieved through an illusion of completion, which the dream creates. This occurs from a deep subconscious level so that the tension can be relieved or at least reduced so the central nervous system may rest, unaffected by the irritations of tension. Dreams are involuntary and emerge automatically, not subject to the will.
In the dream state, the senses as instruments of perception are shut off and impressions from the external world are not registered. In the dream state all the perceptual impressions emerge from within, from the world of the conditioned mind, from the level of the subconsciousness. A multitude of anxieties, frustrations, and incomplete situations create the state of dreaming. In the common person, dreaming is so prominent that it invades the waking state almost continuously, unless there is an effort to purposefully focus attention. These purposeful efforts are intermittent throughout the daily waking activities but most of the waking period is otherwise occupied by daydreaming. In the common person, waking consciousness and the dream state have not been separated, so awareness keeps slipping back into the continuum of the subconsciousness, the dream.
Dreaming continues to emerge in the waking state based on memories of the past and ambitious motivations for the future. Living with the projections of dream is to be living outside of reality and inside illusion. Reality exists only in the present moment, while dreams exist in projected time, the past and future. Because of the fact that reality is so much mixed up with inferential projections from the tainted subconscious levels impinging on the mind, there can be no actual and clear encounter with reality.
Daydreaming and other obscure wanderings of the mind are never related to the present moment. Dreams are personal mythology, projections from the desire nature of the ego-identity. The problem is ego and egoic activity is the dream. A dreaming mind encapsulates and binds a person to a world of illusion and builds a barrier to the future; but dreaming can end by living in the present moment where there is a potential for a breakthrough to real awareness.
An efficient meditation technique has to be directed to the elimination of distraction, of which the ego-driven dream is the most prominent. When ego is involved, the mind constantly projects and imagines how to attain desires. Dreaming is not limited to a condition of sleeping, but occurs regularly in the waking state also, and when noticed in the waking state, then a meditation technique can be used. When it is clearly seen that nearly the whole day is permeated by the influence of automated tendencies in thinking, speaking, and acting then there will be no doubt that the mind is in a state of nearly continual projection and imagining. Becoming more and more aware of what is really occurring in the present moment allows the subconscious impressions and patterns of the mind to arise into the conscious layers of waking awareness again. As soon as one becomes aware of dreams in both the waking state and in the sleeping state, dreams lose their binding power and one experiences freedom.
Deep dreamless sleep is a state of unconsciousness. In waking consciousness one is always conscious of something, or about something, so consciousness is then based in objectivity. Something will be needed to be focused upon, whether it is an external object or an internal mental object, as in a dream. If there is nothing for consciousness to focus upon, consciousness will suddenly then cease motion and become unconsciousness. This means that consciousness cannot be sustained without its being related to some objective referent. This dreamless sleep is a state where mental functions are absent; there is here no thought, no thinking, no images, no whisper of a dream. In deep sleep the mind processes are temporarily suspended. Those who have had deep meditative experience have said that deep dreamless sleep is nearly the same as samadhi, except for one difference, that in the trance of samadhi one is aware of his awareness although it does not move in the operations of mind or dream, while in deep sleep one is in motionless awareness but is not conscious of the fact.
This state of deep sleep correlates with the first dimension, that of unity. There is only consciousness with no divisions, no processes, and no objectification. Deep sleep and samadhi are very much alike: in deep sleep the ego is suspended and does not create mind or dream activities; in samadhi the ego is also suspended and the practitioner is aware of the fact of his true identity.
With the waking state the ego-notion is dominant. In the dreaming state the ego is there but more hidden in the imagery. Deep sleep is a deep ocean of motionless silence, but one is not aware of it. In deep sleep there is an absence of multiplicity, an absence of duality; pure Being is the one thing there, but one is not aware of it because Being is the one thing that is not an object. When deep sleep can be entered in total awareness, then one has entered his true Being and is existential within the cosmic wholeness. The deep sleep state then is no longer a state of sleep, but a state of waking-lucidity.
Moving more and more toward the innermost center of Being, one realizes that the three states are functional aspects of the Fourth State. This Fourth is the knowing witness consciousness. The Pure Consciousness from which all starts and to which all must return. The Fourth is an eternal continuum, beyond all temporality, beyond conceptual notions related to space, time, or suppositions of causality. The Fourth is the basis of all existence, and can be found in deep introspection, here and now, not related to the linear movements of time, past or future. The present moment is not related to conceptual time; it belongs to the actuality of the eternal. In the fourth there are no distinctions of location, no characteristic identity, no edges, no boundaries. The fourth dimension and the fourth state of consciousness are the same; they are not two. The fourth is not a goal to be sought after or something to be achieved or attained, because it is already present. True Being is always unchanging and unchanged, undivided, nondual, and without any composite parts; it is itself only, absolutely and immutably one only, the essence of all that can be known. Realization of this center of innermost contentment requires a complete transformation of perceptual perspective, freedom from grasping at the past and expectations for the future, and maintaining a stable focus in the truth of the present moment.
Pure consciousness is the ultimate simplicity. It has always been presently available to those who can learn to re-identify with it. The first dimension, the first state of consciousness is pure simplicity, but so simplistic that it is, objectively, non-awareness. The fourth is the very same simplicity, but it is complete and totalistic awareness, the eternal dimension. To be limited and bounded by the other three states is to be confined in the relative objective world; to escape this confinement and enter into the eternal requires entering into the present moment, beyond conceptual time constructs. Presence is the only constant, the only continuum, the only changeless reality, and to become aware of it, as it, is to realize one’s own inner truth as the same as the truth of the whole existence.
The great mystery of our human existence is inferred by the presence of deep sleep. In deep sleep we are ignorant of the real state of our consciousness. Upon awakening from sleep we do not remember what occurred during deep sleep. There is a gap in our memory. Perhaps nothing occurred; just a period of unconsciousness. Perhaps something occurred, but whatever it was did not register in the memory. Either way, there is a gap, a vacancy in the continuity of consciousness. Consciousness seems to be there and then not be there. It is a great mystery, one to be solved by attaining continuity of consciousness. When the fourth is attained, then there is awareness that is continuous, and deep sleep no longer is that vacant time of unconsciousness. The ancient goal of immortality is just this gaining of permanent continuity of consciousness.
7. TO WHAT END ?
It would be of value to determine to what end our human life is served by the understanding of Advaita. Once having started the enquiry, or the thinking into the subjects presented in writings on nondualism it becomes ever so obvious that we have been perceiving and thinking in a way that is not really proper or correct. We find that our capacity for correct and errorless discrimination in our perceptions is not as good as we might wish it to be. But the value of understanding Advaita can easily be known by a little bit of enquiry into what delusion is and how deeply each of us is submerged in it. Most persons will not be able to discriminatively determine the aspects and details of their own delusion because they have not studied or reflected or enquired so as to develop the art of introspection. When somebody sees the truth about their own delusion and ignorance then there is a possibility to find that-which-is and understand it in the absence of the polluting factors of that-which-is-not.
There are some meditation practioners, contemplatives and philosophers who will have realized they have and do accumulate habitual mental patterns, the energies of the pervasive ego-notion. These patterns eventuate into thought process structures which can become serious obstructions and hindrances to the attainment of certainty regarding the fact of Advaita. Lack of certainty causes the contemplative practitioner to remain enmeshed and entangled in a subtle disharmony, in a subtle imprisonment which is a self-sustaining feedback loop of propensities that foster more energies that prevent the recognition of the way things really are. The insight that penetrates into the truth gets blocked by the tendencies of the habitual mind and this can generate an even more dense and obstructive hindrance. This is the illness to which the medicine of Advaita can be applied. Nondual apperception is that pure and present state of consciousness that can dis-integrate wrong views and give certainty and clarity of illumined understanding. This is how our human life is served by knowing Advaita.
On the other side of the coin, what may be the situation encountered as a result of not understanding Advaita? First of all, there will continue a persistent lack of confidence as to what is really going on in this existence. The knowing of the fact of nonduality is the cure for uncertainty in this matter. Throughout life we have made and continue to make our many plans and when we get a little older and a little wiser we see the whole thing as like a dream, lasting no longer than a dream, and so most of our motivations have been directed toward a lot of pointless preparations and schemes to acquire security and comfort that, at best, are questionable and, at worst, are temporary and fleeting. Trying to adopt what is wholesome and beneficial and to avoid what is unwholesome or even evil is not much of an assurance that disaster or death will not visit today or day after tomorrow. Whomsoever can understand nonduality will transcend uncertainty and will then live beyond most of the despair and frustration so prevalent in our materialistic and hedonistic world.
8. NONDUALITY IS FACT
Existence (Being) is the inherent characteristic of Unconditioned Reality, and therefore also of the Conditioned Reality. We call these two the Noumenon and Phenomena, or the Being and the Becoming, the Ultimate and the Relative. Being, or Noumenon cannot itself be observed by anything external to it because it is all-inclusive. It cannot be inspected as if it was an object because there is no separate place of observance different from Noumenon or Existence itself. Only those who are grounded in the nondual recognition of how things really are can realize what every arising condition was, is, and might be. The consideration of ignorance may help to somewhat relax the mind from its chronic patterned views and habitual set thinking and help clarify the true point of view of nonduality, nonseparateness.
Accepting something as fact when it really is not is a function of ignorance. In order to understand our real condition and situation in this plane of existence it will be necessary to do away with this ignorance. Where is it that we may search to find the root cause of this ignorance? When we look hard enough and honestly enough we find that the individual faculty of discernment is the fault, the root of all the ignorance. Whenever anyone does not perceive the aberrated condition of the faculty of discernment he will be confused by his acceptance of false or partial evidence and making all unverified and uninvestigated assumptions as fact and truth. Nearly everyone does this since the conventional “traditions” become traditions because there are so many people who presume, without personal investigation, that any thing traditionally accepted as true must therefore be true. An irrational or defective discernment sustains the continuity of false views, and the primary false view, the most tenacious view of all is called dualism. When the discerning faculty is relieved of its habitual error, then the primal darkness of ignorance dissipates and there is light.
We live in an ordered and systemically patterned universe. “Uni” is defined as having or consisting of one, a unity. (Whoever coined the term must have been an Advaitist.) It is usually presumed that the universe existed prior to its obviously presently ordered state in an unordered or non-systemic state of being. Chaos or unstructured form, even unstructured formless energy prior to form or matter as we perceive it, is an unfounded presumption. Yet it is a common idea serving as a basic existence from which formlessness eventually produces materiality in both simple and complex conditions. Seemingly static units or bits at the subatomic level eventually somehow group together and combine in ordered systemic forms and somehow evolve into a dynamic universe with its many worlds and scales of development. Everything simultaneously and interdependently arises in this dynamism in scalar profusion from beyond infra-subatomic to beyond ultra-supergalactic scales and self-sustains an ordered structural fluctuation of manifestation. From a presumed chaotic energy field appears an ordered and structured totalistic universe.
This energy field of presumed chaos must itself, in its potentiality, be imbued and permeated with a principle or law of systemic order, a symmetry in potentia that eventually is manifested throughout energy-events. Everything is thus self-ordering and self-patterning according to this law of symmetry and pattern and all assembly-structures are interdependent, co-functional, and able to interact and thus manifest multiple scale levels of more and more complexity and efficiently integrated systems which in their own turn become further bases for yet greater patterned order and systemic functionality. All this shows obvious intelligence and consciousness in localized perceptivity and comprehension capacities. In other words, this universe is growing and getting better, observing itself through its parts, with consciousness, at various scalar levels, observing the whole process, and this process is one of totality, interdependency, and nonduality.
Consciousness is eternal and flows as a continuum, a dynamic movement with purpose. This purpose is yet unknown and not understood by our current materialistic science, but those who have become identified with consciousness itself have, through this identity been able to come into that knowledge. We humans are spiritual beings progressing through the vehicles of corporeal physical bodies and incorporeal minds, organized and systemic psychosomatic organisms that we use as vehicles for our becoming. Yet, when we get obsessed or fixated upon this lower corporeality and identify ourselves with this material body and subtle mind, it begins to demand all our attention and our consciousness shifts its focus from our spiritual being to our material needs and desires, and then these desires become the dominant aspects of our lives. Our progress slows down, even stops, as we get obsessed with the ego-notion; our idea of separateness gets stronger and we begin to habitually perceive our world and life in a dualistic fashion. We forget our real selves and assume a mistaken identity and our intelligence suffers from a perceptual dysfunction. Nearly the whole human race has become deranged.
10. ESSENTIAL ONENESS
Nondualism means that there is an essential oneness, everywhere at all times, in all places. The essence of all real nondual teachings is that this essential “one” is consciousness. Supreme consciousness has a double, but not split, nature of both static and dynamic functions. What we call matter is a multiplex aspect of static supreme consciousness, rather a material becomingness of an immaterial beingness. Our own human beingness is just this fundamental supreme consciousness localized in some particular bodymind organism. Being so related to a particular stratum of existence, whether it be of a mineral, a plant, or a sentient being provides supreme consciousness with a vehicle for its own evolution. In this process, both matter and consciousness evolve in a polaric relationship. But it is crucial to remember that all polaric relationships require both poles to exist simultaneously.
The problems, the suffering, the turmoil, the bondage any individual experiences is because of a kind of self-limitation of multiplexity, the variety of things in our universe exist because of relative limitations in their general structure. The primary and most obvious of limitations is ignorance. When lucid consciousness in an individuated sentient being emerges from this limitation then the ignorance is dissolved and the individual is set free. The world of separate subject-object no longer appears as such, but a radical oneness is seen to be the apparent fact. No longer is perception partially dysfunctional; perception evolves into apperception, true seeing. The objective phenomenal world is no longer something separate from consciousness; subject and object are realized as a oneness of functionality and the knower knows the known as itself. Everything is known as a pure process. In light of this it becomes obvious that consciousness can itself never be individuated permanently as a separate individual. This brings the inevitable conclusion that consciousness, through the processes of Nature, is evolving matter through scalar hierarchies to serve as ever better structural composites for the expression of consciousness.
11. THE CONSCIOUSNESS FIELD
Consciousness is generally thought to be produced by the brain’s neural networks, similar to the functions of a computer. This presumption posits that thought and thinking, as well as memory is somehow stored in the cellular structure of the human brain and the information in this storehouse can be accessed through determined thought. Other explanations include the possibility of the existence of a quantum field of information that is integrated with and accessed by the different cellular structures of the brain which allow for recollection, ordering of information, collection of information though the senses, perception, and cognition. This has been detected by scientific investigations and measurements of brain and neural functions, usually termed alpha, beta, gamma, and delta wave functions or frequencies. These waves or frequencies are known to interact with perception and memory in the brain; other ideas are that the interactions take place in the quantum field, or that consciousness itself is the quantum field. Physical sciences, or physics, cannot measure activities of consciousness because consciousness is not objectively physical. Brain activities can be measured though, but this is because cellular tissue is objectively physical. A quantum field is different from an electric or magnetic field; science still knows very little about consciousness itself. From ancient writings we can easily deduce that consciousness has always been THE quantum field and information is received by the senses and minds of sentient life (psychosomatic information processing mechanisms) because of the sentient ability to perceive changes in the interconnected quantum particles in the matrix of the quantum holograph of existence. Understanding interactions and processes within the hologram is a task pursued by science, yet the real sages and rishis and buddhas of all time have known the truth about consciousness as the primordial essence and quantum field. Of course their terminology is a bit different than that used by “modern” science, but they knew nevertheless. Consciousness is not a localized field; it is all-present. An individual may seem to possess what is considered an individual consciousness, but this is just a seeming presumption. The individual interacts with the collective and non-local quantum field through an individualized psychosomatic sentient organism that has a developed capability to acquire information. Individuality, so-called, pertains to the specific patterns of attunement and receptivity to the whole matrix of the holographic universe. The whole consciousness field is accessible once the limitations of individual resonance patterns have been transcended. To transcend such limitations is the reason for the practice of ways and means to know, such as meditation, contemplation, and yoga.
A deep understanding of non-separateness, interconnection, interdependency, and holographic existence helps people to reduce and even eliminate limitations and helps in recognizing and realizing the greater collective quantum consciousness field. The kind of yoga described in these writings is supportive of the contemplative science requisite for getting that recognition and realization for a total and complete harmonization and attunement with the resonant dynamism of the matrix and re-identity with the essential nature of true Being. Consciousness is not a localized field within the brain; the body-mind organism/mechanism is the receiving apparatus for universal consciousness-information and the functions of cognition and perception inherent in the field of pure consciousness itself. A portion of the Western scientific community supposes that consciousness is a product emerging and evolving from objective materiality; this supposition deems matter as primary and consciousness as secondary. Sages and yogis say that consciousness is prior to all objectivity which is secondary and that the UNIverse is a unified field of consciousness. Consciousness is what is and all there is.
12. IMMANENT PRESENCE
All presumed dualistic separation, division, and expansion manifest from the one consciousness, the ground of Being and the basis of Becoming. Consciousness is self-aware and possesses limitless potential; it does not have any form, it does not fill any space, and it is not subject to time. But only by its presence is form, space, and time capable of either conceptual or material existence. Consciousness is the divine source and inherent nature of all beings and all else that exists. Consciousness is a unified wholeness, yet it manifests in multiplicity and individuality, sentience and non-sentience. Multiplicity is the potentiality of the static Being of consciousness in dynamic Becoming. From an invisible point of infinitesimal stasis all that exists in the worlds and galaxies and universe is the dynamis of consciousness. In expanding its multiplexity consciousness establishes new points of unique Becoming.
Whether perceived as local or distant, all spatiotemporal multiplicity and individuality is immanently intelligent; an omnipresence of consciousness penetrates all units and all of totality with a self-aware and self-organizing dynamism, a repetitive rhythm of action, resonance. Everything emerging into existence begins from a noumenal root source that is a oneness, homogeneous in its Being. The first movement into manifestation is one of polarity, creating an active heterogeneity. This heterogeneity is the yin and yang of all existential Becoming, a pseudo-duality that is appearance-only. Everything has its own oppositional polar forces, both static and dynamic – not actually yin and yang, but yin-yang, and always remains as one with the primordial root source. From primary units are produced all the energies, forces, and primary material elements and their resultant combinations. These infinitely dispersed units are the interdependent multiplex manifestations of the unicity of the primal root source, emerging from inward stasis to an outward movement. Each unique point or unit is co-dependent with all other points of manifestation and thus is the beginning of pattern fields in phenomenal objective causation, all being directed from within, from immanent presence, by the universal principle – consciousness.
The great mystery of consciousness is the greatest mystery of all mysteries. Within limitless extensions of consciousness is contained the totality of the synthesis of all aspects and qualities of the manifest phenomenalities and their endless diversities. Consciousness can be said to have two aspects, absolute consciousness and its isolated and relative individualistic aspect, localized consciousness of beings. Consciousness, however, in either of these two aspects, being totally subjective and not an object subject to clear analysis by limited mentalities, is only one undivided consciousness. When it is associated with a particular body-mind vehicle, it seems as if it is relative and localized.
No finite and limited mind can comprehend the absolute because mind defines its objects of perception by boundaries, either phenomenal or conceptual, but the absolute is not limited by boundaries, conditions, or relations of any kind whatsoever. Consciousness is usually thought of according to the qualities inherent in it, such as cognizance, discernment, feelings, perception, knowledge, recognition, awareness, etc., but in the context of scientific knowledge humans still know almost nothing about consciousness, yet it is our most important subject and the one which holds the deepest mysteries and clues to existence.
Both consciousness and material objective phenomena are ultimately identical in the unified totality of Being. In the relative context of perceptual categorization that we nearly always use at the level of everyday mind, consciousness is subject while phenomena are objects. These are useful terms for describing functional processes but appear dualistic, the awareness that observes over against the object being observed. This dichotomy seems real enough, but is actually only a mental categorization, twin concepts that emerge in the mind because of ignorance of the actuality of integral functional process. Everything is the Eternal Absolute, the One Reality; its pure subjectivity appears as temporal phenomena of objectivity. Through the inherent power of limitation the Absolute appears to Itself as relative multiplicity, an apparent (but not actual) kosmos of separated objects in space appearing and disappearing in time. The generic term usually adopted to describe this is “illusion” or “maya”. This process is the cause and effect matrix of the generation of phenomenal Becoming within subjective Being; but it is not an actual dualism. To understand this is the nondual awakening. This awakening occurs when this initial dichotomy of subject vs. object is no longer created by the mind. This initial dichotomy is the primary cause of all the further fragmentations of perception that culminate in the separative notion of ego, and this is the point at which a person forgets his kosmic identity and starts to be identified with his body and mind. The sense of duality is where all the trouble starts. Dualistic perception and thinking is the primal spiritual schizophrenia.
Consciousness is subjective. It has no qualities or characteristics that we usually attribute to the realm of the objective. Objects existing in so-called time-space-causation are very numerous; the objective phenomenal realm is highly complex, a multiplicity of apparently heterogeneous relativities. Consciousness is evident in all beings that have life and sentiency; the subjective realm is not complex at all, but is the ultimate simplicity, an obvious homogeneity. Yet the consciousness evident in all living beings is totally devoid of any objective phenomenality; consciousness is pure subjectivity, pure noumenon, unmanifest. All else is objectivity, phenomena in their manifest relativity. Each and every being exhibits the subjectivity of its consciousness relative to its body-mind complex, its organism of sentiency, yet this subjectivity of consciousness is only one subjectivity, one awareness. Body-mind vehicles, what we usually call persons or beings are each unique since each is a collection or accumulation of different characteristics, and consciousness seemingly identifies itself with each of these body-mind vehicles. Consciousness remains as simple awareness no matter which individual body-mind complex it is identified with. In each of these beings consciousness remains as its simple subjective noumenality; consciousness is not different in any sentiently aware being. Consciousness is verily only one, but “appears” as many since it is related to specific individual beings. This “appearance” is the result of an error in the discriminative faculty of the mind and so we have the development of the errant notion of dualisms. Duality seems to be everywhere, up vs. down, positive vs. negative, yes vs. no, this vs. that, us vs. them, I vs. other, noumenon vs. phenomena, wet vs. dry, large vs. small, so forth and so on. But actual duality is nowhere, doesn’t really exist. What really exists is only the notions of the falsely dichotomizing mind producing “appearances” of duality. “Apparent” duality is a fiction that obstructs the pure perception required for liberation and enlightenment. When the notions of duality are absent then the truth can be known.
13. HOW TO DO IT?
The entire universe has just one foundation which is unconditioned – an unutterable, self-originating, limitless expanse of potentiality. All beings who remain ignorant of it will continue to wander in the clutch of bewilderment and conflict. Knowledge of the fundamental source is the only way to be released from the progressive conditioning sustained by the ignorance that accompanies each moment of perception. A ceaseless, unmindful, distorted cognition, and the powers of distraction sustain the error of dualistic discrimination, the basis of all delusion. What is needed is the spontaneous and continual gnostic lucidity that heals the disease (dis-ease) of dualistic perception.
The “how to” accomplish this disentanglement has not been a very well-addressed subject in some nondualist writings perhaps because it is a very deep, abstract, and sometimes complex process of introspection into the causes and conditions of the individual human mind. All individual minds are unique and different in their modal operations, yet all do have a definite structural process that is the same for each mind. Although some characteristics and propensities may be a little different from mind to mind, all the same factors and processes exist in each mind, no matter to what conditioned degree. The philosophy of nondualism is that there is a necessity to discern correctly the way things really are, that we live in a nondual matrix of conditioned objects and events, and only by achieving the right perspective, or right view, can it be possible to wake up to the real Reality. There are two aspects of the waking-up process: (1) adopting the correct view and (2) disentangling from the wrong view. These both go together, support each other, and are interdependent and co-functional, or nondual. With the increase of one comes the decrease of the other and vice versa. Even if and when the wrong view ceases entirely in the mind of one who has perfected the correct nondual view, the wrong view still continues to exist in the minds of other individuals. Those individuals do not comprehend this, but the one who knows the truth of the nondual perspective does know it. The Advaita philosophical approach is one of analysis that promotes a transformation of the way we perceive, but it is by practicing this correct nondual view by remembering it continuously that it gets perfected.
There are many instances in both ancient and modern Advaitic writings that a student of these types of teachings has to become somewhat of a “scholar”, familiarizing himself/herself with all the particular aspects of Advaitic knowledge. Yet, there are records of self-realized individuals who were completely or nearly illiterate. This mention of Advaitic scholasticism had virtually nothing to do with reading and writing skills, although these are a prime necessity if one has no access to a realized teacher. The skill of “scholarliness” referred to is “skill in knowledge” – a certain kind of abstract knowledge (or Gnosis) which eventually can be used to transcend the usual limitations of knowledge processed at the level of the body-mind. The paradox of good Advaitic teaching is just this use of knowledge in order to transcend the limitations of the mind; this is why Advaita can be such a highly abstract system. Ultimately it is necessary to accumulate enough of a certain kind of knowledge so that the relative limitations of mental data can be overcome. Ignorance has to be invalidated with knowledge, then knowledge (at the limited level of the body-mind) has to be invalidated also. This is called Moksha (liberation) or enlightenment (bodhi) or self-realization (atmabodhi) and a great number of other descriptive terms, all of which denote the fact that it is possible to recover one’s primordial essential freedom, Avadhut – “the ever free”.
Liberation from the ego-notion, self-realization, self-knowledge, Avadhut, and several other descriptive terms and phrases denote a condition of mind in which the truth is to be known. In several traditional approaches there have been several duties to be performed which have been determined to be helpful qualifications that support and advance the quest for knowledge of the truth. These can be roughly listed as duty, devotion, preliminary study, thoughtful reflection, meditation, dispassion, indifference, virtue, concentration, wisdom, discrimination, yearning, faith, tranquility, and many other terms that indicate stepping-stones to advancement in preparation and achievement of the goal. Of first importance at a higher level of advancement, after the preliminary preparatory phases have become well established, is the developing ability to discriminate between the real and the unreal, the true from the false. Within this subject is found also discrimination between the state of pure witnessing consciousness and the functions of mind. This is important in attaining a capacity to be able to turn away from the activities of desire based on the egoistic motivations. Patient endurance of suffering, pain, misery, sorrow, and frustration is important and gets easier when we understand the temporary nature of all relative phenomena. Only those who have become firm in prerequisite qualifications can actually approach getting any meaningful understanding through knowledge. Only knowledge can defeat ignorance.
Moksha is a Sanskrit word meaning “liberation”. It describes a condition of the individual person that has eliminated or transcended all the unwanted aspects of human life such as ignorance, pain, and suffering. Another description of moksha is that the individual has ceased to identify himself with his body, with the contents of his mind, such as his life story, his race, creed, name, fame, and all other mistaken identities; in this sort of dis-identification the individual enjoys the absence of all the attachments and aversions associated with the identified ego-notion and experiences a true liberation from such things. Yet, this moksha is not experienced by any identified and separate ego entity. Ego is not an entity; ego is only a mistaken notion constructed on the absurd idea that subjective noumenon could be a separate and isolated objective phenomenon. A mistaken identity cannot enjoy liberation from itself because there is no self to it. But noumenal essence does enjoy the bliss, the ananda that emerges when the false view of ego is no longer present.
A “person” is a continuity of changing events, process itself, a complex flux of conditions that, when investigated, is all that a person really is. A collective set of conditions is not a self; it is not an isolated collectivity since all is related and interdependent, each with all, and all with each. A collective set of conditions is usually conceived of as a self, but there are only conditions, no real self-being or “eternal” entity of any sort. Albeit, this pseudo-entity, as a collectivity, does have the capability of altering the conditions of its collective conditionality, changing dysfunctional or unskillful characteristics into better ones, or vice versa. Since there is no definitive boundary anywhere in the totality of the flux of conditionality, there is nowhere that an isolated self can be found. All is process; all is functionality.
The common individual is quite effectively limited by the conditions of environment, of ignorance, of intellect, of karmic heredity, and of all sorts of external and internal conflicts and restrictions. Always motivated by some desire or some dislike, for-and-against attitudes and mental sets, nobody seems to be fully satisfied or content. All the objects and objectives of personal motivations support a condition of longing and restlessness of the mind and create situations of identification with some of these objects and events. Thus the ego-notion becomes the basis of all fixed percepts and mental sets, all opinion, all preference, all prejudice. But when the situations supporting the ego-identified perspectives are transcended then there is potential to recognize a higher state of being. This higher state cannot be created or produced by some method, some technology, or some device or discipline, for it is always already the present fact. In this higher state, all distinctions of duality disappear and the apperception is nondual. Peace comes to the fore when mental disturbances supported by the dualistic perspective are done away with, and for this a method or device or discipline can be a help. But all helps cannot produce the beatitude that is already present. The way to understand that subjective purity which is always present is to learn to subtract the obstructive tendencies that seem to continually hide and cover over that pure subjectivity. The key to learning to do this is to repeatedly make the distinction in awareness of the difference between external physical objects, internal mental objects, and pure subject which is the pure consciousness that perceives all objectivity.
If “I” have a point of origin, what is it? If the “me” starts somewhere, where is that? Can we trace our “selves” to some beginning point, or is this impossible? If it is possible, then first there must be a definite knowledge of exactly what this “me” or “I” is. How many people do “you” know who have enquired into what they really are as an “I” and where and how it came to be? How is this to be done if it is possible? It might be asked, “What am I and what is my point of origin?” Or it might be asked, “What am I not and what is the point of origin of that?” Either way by means of via positiva or via negativa enquiry, or both, this has to be done, otherwise there can be no real fulfillment; no real truth can be found. This is the whole axis upon which the wheel of delusion revolves.
In order to stop this wheel of delusion there are points of insight to be realized. Getting beyond the widely accepted conventional view of dualism will be difficult, but only at first. Doubt may arise when confronted with the proposal that there is no entity, no object, no phenomenon, no event, no thought that has its own reality separated from the rest of the totality of the matrix of existence. No action or motion, no speck of dust, no galactic cluster, no thing is a separate substantial entity. All are composites and all composites are impermanent. No thing can be accurately defined or characterized or described as having specific qualities or marks that come into being from some definite location or point of time or space. Every thing is open to change, but there can be found no real thing that does change. Change is going on but there is no permanent, definite, self-existing thing that changes. A permanent, definite, self-existing thing could not change into something other or something else. There is no such thing. And whatever the composite aspects of any thing are, they are not separate permanent entities either. So no point of origin can be posited for any thing or any part of anything at any place in time or space or presumed causation. What a mystery! But what we are is not a separate objective phenomenon, so we need not posit a point of origin for what we really are. What we are is unthinkable and we realize ourSelves when we understand the limitations of mind.
The capacity of the discriminative, discerning mind must be developed to its limit so that reality can be correctly discerned. This kind of correct discernment pertains only to the relative objectivity of our phenomenal world, and hence the discerning mind is limited to that field in its functional capacity. In the absence of discriminative aberrations, which we have named dichotomous perception, there would be no conflict, no notion of egoistic separation, no duality, and no false images continually floating around in the individual mind. In the absence of the ego-notion there is no false identification with the contents of mind or the qualities and history of the individual body, so in this condition there is every possibility for an awakening. But there won’t be a persona (mask), personality, ego to be awakened. There will be only the original primordial awakened state that has always existed anyway, but could not realize itself because of all the obstructive “coverings” it was hidden behind. In the absence of the “coverings” the reality becomes obvious. The sages have always and repeatedly given advice indicating the removal or “subtraction” of these “coverings” instead of advocating the accumulation of vast quantities of knowledge. It is paradoxical though, that enough of the right kind of knowledge must be gained so that this “subtraction process” can be skillfully put into operation. This is the real meaning of “Self-discovery”, a dis-covering of the Self, of “Self-realization” or real-izing the real Self, instead of continually being immersed in the illusions of a pseudo-self.
16. PSEUDO DUALISM
What is usually taken as normal perception and cognition is, in fact, a state of false understanding in which nearly everyone abides constantly when they fail to inspect their mental mechanisms and recognize the truth of things as they really are. Enlightening texts such as the Heart Sutra always suggest inspection and analysis of our inner and outer worlds, and awakening to the real nondual situation. Even the “inner” and the “outer” are mere conceptual designations and are not two in reality because dharma cannot be one-sided. If one side is denied then the other side is automatically affirmed and if the opposite choice is taken then the opposite is the result. This is the way the mind habitually splits one reality into a relative pseudo-dualism.
But a pseudo-dualism is no actuality; anything pseudo is false, and a false dualism is always as-it-is, false, as all dualisms are always false, not real at all. Dualism is a perspective adopted by a mind endowed with accumulated perceptive filters tainted with ignorance and false knowledge. Dualism does not actually exist anywhere or at any time, just because all it is is a false idea, a false perspective, and such a perspective comes to be believed as fact when the untrained mind operates in its habitual tendency to dichotomize or split parts of reality into opposing factions. If there is an absence of the dichotomizing and falsely discriminating mental dysfunction then there is also the corresponding absence of the false view of duality. This kind of delusion is common in almost everyone but can be eliminated by simple recognition of the dichotomizing conceptual error. Just recognizing what mind is doing in its mechanical processes can deconstruct the errant mental tendencies. Dualism is then seen truly as only conceptual, only a product of the diffused mind.
In the approach to real liberation we denominate as Advaitayana Yoga this diffused mind becomes more and more clear and undiffused, more of an efficient tool useable for meaningful thinking in an active attentiveness instead of in the usual passive and daydreaming modus. Just by being more and more attentive to what the mind keeps habitually doing is the effort required. A lot of skills will be developed as a result of this kind of effort such as persistence, control of attention, ability to focus powerfully and unremittingly, the capacity to escape entanglements of conditioned reactivity, capacity for intelligent response instead of the old reactive habits, determined thought recognition of what really is, Self-discovery, volitionless living, depth perspective, freedom, and a whole lot of laughs while re-emerging back into Real Reality.
Being “on the path” is a common phrase, but what is the actual “path”? It is a fairly simple procedure that can include many complexities, such as trying to remove hindering factors that could obscure the possibility of recognizing our Being in the fullness of truth and clarity. The truth of what we are, each individually as well as collectively, is our treasure of which there is nothing more precious. The “path” is the how of the rediscovery of that treasure, and what we require, our only real need in order to attain the goal, is something that can never be acquired – because we already have it, already are it. All we ever needed is our own immediately present awareness. To look for the path anywhere else than our own consciousness would be folly. Our pure consciousness is unconditioned and without any inherent error in it; errors arise in the conditioned mind due to ignorance. Everyone’s real and true identity is this lucidly clear and knowing awareness and there is no other “path” than this. The “how” is the simple recognition (or re-cognition) of this and never forgetting it.
There may be many different ways to “achieve” what is called enlightenment, hence so many different approaches or “paths”. But near the end of the so-called “path” one inevitably comes to the realization that all “paths” are simply aspects of the one real great path. As there are many differentiated elements of the “path” so then there have evolved many coinciding formulas for reaching the understanding which is needed to proceed to the next “stage” along the “path”. Primarily, in the upper extremities of the approaches to the “goal” one discovers there are basically two ways to find the “end” of the “path”. The first way is to introspect deeply into the functions and content of the mind. Finding there the many dysfunctions and obstructions to clear thinking and clear recognition one decides to develop ratiocinative abilities in order to determine the correct next “stage” of the “path”. This probably also includes the replacement of unskillful mental qualities with skillful qualities, which takes much introspective effort. The second way involves a format of analytical thought and meditation whereby one eventually realizes a more obvious “way” or “path”, which is to learn how to detach from the error of motivation for transformation of the sentient vehicles, including senses, body and mind, through “paths” or practices, and instead, at a higher level, re-seat oneself in the original primal Gnosis itself, transcending all motivation to seek by means of a “path” that supposedly goes from dualistic “here” to “there”, and just relying upon the understanding and realizing of one’s essential Gnosis, beyond all pseudo-identity which generates such motivations, and just remaining in the spontaneous apperceptive “seeing” of all there is as-it-really-is.
Whether the goal is liberation (moksha) or enlightenment (nirvana) the necessary preliminary will be the experience of nondual realization. At the base of dualistic and relative perception is the subject-object relationship, subject being the perceiver and object being what is perceived. Yet, in the vision of unified Being these are not two, not a duality, since clear vision has finally determined that subject and object are interdependent function. When the entirety of phenomena are experienced as pure functionality, then there is no presumed necessity to attach oneself to anything or act upon ego-based separative motivations. Everything perceivable is somewhere in the chain of action-reaction sequentiality, and as such, all is in harmony, already. The certainty of this recognition is the end of delusion.
Mental contractions called attraction-repulsion, preference-prejudice, love-hate, and all the rest of the discriminative pseudo-dualities, are just mind fabrications, so just recognizing such is a basic discipline. We don’t want to get absorbed in the delusion of them, and the way to avoid the habitual delusion is to attentively stay in an unfabricated state. This means that the mind has to be mastered. There is an old saying in Buddhism:
“Learn to be skillful;
Master your own mind.
Such is the advice of all Buddhas.”
In order to master one’s own mind there must be a spontaneous continuity of attention in the present moment, the refusal to be entangled in daydream and distracted modes of attention. These are binding activities of mind when it is allowed to run loose and stray off into unskillful and habitual obliviousness. This negation of unskillfulness can be known and recognized in the present moment as the freedom from mental constructs. Attention gets captured so easily because of prior conditioning and reactive habits. But it is possible (and essential for progress toward peace, moksha, bodhi, nirvana) to free the attention from old functional habits. It is like a de-programming of prior programing, a deletion of delusion. The essential point is to notice how frequently one gets distracted or loses control of attention, then become relaxed and stable in the present moment, not allowing the mind to run toward distraction.
The absence of distraction is the freedom of liberation. Liberation is the experience of nondual realization. This liberating experience starts as short moments, gaps in the almost continual mode of distractedness we get captured in. The gaps get longer with practice, then the distractedness starts losing its hold. Those who do not understand and do not practice will never notice this. The mind has ability to stop its incessant motion; it can come to rest. Then there is a most extraordinary kind of perception, as apperceptiveness which is not polluted or adorned with the presumptions and superimposed ideas. Looking at this apperceptivity, nothing can be seen except the brilliance of subjective and vigilant awareness and understanding. Apperception is the relaxed but vigilant awakened state of being, but it is nothing specifically objective at all; it is the ultimate fullness of nondual knowing. It comes to those who conduct themselves in non-attachment.
Mental projections can run on and on when attention is passive, but not when actively mindful. Getting attached to passive thoughts and wildly running concept-making is a fetter of delusive distraction. The mind is like a drunken artist and it is easy to get seduced by its pictures and words. Relaxed and stable in the present moment will put the mind at rest. Attentiveness is the prerequisite. When the mind runs on in its mechanical way, we are distracted slaves to it; when in relaxed presence we are the masters of it.
19. FREE AGENCY
The other day somebody was heard to say, “We all have free agency”. Let’s enquire into this statement. Why? Because this idea seems to be generally accepted as true by most people, yet most people have not enquired into the possibility that this statement may or may not be true. Just because something is heard or something is written does not make it true or real. Falsehoods, lies and some dogmas become acceptable to those who fear truth, or to those who find solace in falsehood, having done no critical reasoning for themselves. So let’s do a little critical thinking about this “we all have free agency” idea to be sure we are beyond any absorption in a deluded state of mind.
Absorption in compulsive delusion generates conflict. When patterned habitual mental sets become so deeply ingrained that the majority of thinking and conduct fall below the level of attentive awareness and into subconscious automatism, the individual becomes regularly absorbed in the compulsive and reactive levels of physical, emotional, and mental experience. Absorption means being engrossed, captivated, and perpetually locked into inattentive modes of passivity and distraction. Absorption is the deluded state of passivity of attention in which one is almost continually lost in dichotomous identity fixation and the activities of mechanistic automatism. Human beings, when thinking of themselves as their imaginary conceptual counterfeit, the ego, then believe their thoughts and subsequent actions are acts of a decided volition, or free will. But this cannot be true because individuals only react through the mechanics of stimulus within the limitations of conditional phenomena and the psychosomatic organism, and all completely within the chain of metamorphic cause and effect sequentiality.
Volition, or free will, that an individual may suppose he possesses as uncaused, unlimited, unbound, unconditioned, and free power of choice, cannot be and does not exist as such. The notion of volition unbound is an errant judgement and not true because every object and event within the various aspects of environments are factors of relative mechanical causality and result in the development of tendencies, propensities, and traits of personality and character. Any decision or supposed willful choice is inevitably linked to the multitude of conditions within the chain of causality. Choice-making which is totally and completely separate from conditions of the causal nexus cannot exist. The notion of free will rests upon the antecedent errant notion of ego, the base propensity. The deluded notion of having free will is another fundamental hindrance to the recognition of the true and the real. All volitional acts are always linked with accumulated mental propensities such as preference or prejudice, for-and-against attitudes of attraction and repulsion. However, a spontaneous act of free volition might be possible by beings who are not self-identified as egos, but this is an extreme rarity as there can be spontaneity only in the absence of compulsive absorption.
So we see that so-called “free agency” does not and cannot exist in a completely deterministic universe. So the next logical question would be, “Do we actually live in a completely deterministic universe where each and every objective effect is the product or result of previous conditioning factors?” The answer to this will have to be determined by you, the reader. Try searching out any action you have ever experienced, any movement at all, anywhere, at any time. Was this action a result of previous conditioned events or not? If it was, then it is within the chain of causal action-reaction. Now look back in time to any thought or decision or choice you ever had or made. Is it also bound into the chain of conditioned effect? Do you presently decide to have each and every thought or daydream you get caught up in, or is this also a connected series of mental events, all conditioned in some way by pain and pleasure, or “what I want” or “what I don’t want”? Where in life’s multiplex drama are we free from the causal web? What is the difference between the deluded masses and the Avadhut? How can the Avadhut claim freedom from the causal web as “The Ever Free” ?
20. NONDUAL HOLISTIC LUCIDITY
Consciousness in the individual is just ordinary wakeful awareness interacting with the supposed differentiations of the manifested world. In its unobstructed and unconfined state consciousness has a natural lucidity. This clarity is the original face, the primordial, conditionless condition of free and pure consciousness. The individual contemplative, once having recognized his natural holistic presence, is then concerned with integrated wholes, or the total system of manifestation within the phenomenal matrix, rather than with deluded absorption in and attachment to the supposedly separate parts of it. All phenomena are then recognized as they really are, as interrelated components of the unified field of ever-changing conditionality. In undifferentiating, nondual holistic lucidity all the implications of the afflictions of conceptual dualism have ceased to be and the phenomenal matrix is clearly observed and understood.
When mind does not cycle through remembrance of the past time or through imaginations of the future time then there is the presence of unimpeded, unhindered wakefulness. When, in a relaxed way, the mental functions are investigated in an attentive manner, it will be noticed that, whatsoever kinds of thoughts have been arising, they all arise in the arena of consciousness. So thoughts are seen as object and what is looking is subject; the subject-object relationship is nondual functionality. Consciousness, subject, does not change just as space does not change; but thoughts as objects change into various subtle displays of mental structures. The onlooker, the spectator remains always beyond all the mental constructs. Understanding this makes it easier to be aware of the fact that the ego-notion has become the pseudo-identity, the identification of subject with one of its objects of perception. When the false identity has been repeatedly recognized and re-cognized then the major task of re-identification begins, as confusion and non-realization also begin to wane. An open receptivity to the habitual mental functions is the right way to get the required recognition. There should be no for-or-against attitudes toward what goes on in the mind. A detached and open receptivity exposes the hidden dichotomies of conceptual structures. This kind of contemplative practice exposes what we are not so we can recognize what we really are, and begin to live in that. This nondual holistic lucidity is the free and pure awakening.
21. VIMALAKIRTI’S SILENCE
In the Mahayana Sutras there is a story about the Licchave Vimalakirti when he was on his sickbed. He invited a multitude of bodhisattvas to his home and a very interesting discussion began. Vimalakirti asked them all how the bodhisattvas enter the dharma-door of nonduality. Thirty-two bodhisattvas gave each their own explanations, all quite abstract and conclusive. After the bodhisattvas had finished their comments. Vimalakirti was asked to elucidate how to enter into the principle of nonduality. Thereupon, the Licchave Vimalakirti kept his silence and said nothing, and was applauded for having given the most excellent explanation of all.
Amongst our ancient and more modern sages there are some who have written or said that it is impossible to define nonduality. Presuming that the term “impossible” is itself a type of definition also, we still do not have any alternate way to keep taking potshots at nonduality, but maybe someday somebody will come up with a definition better than all the rest we have seen so far. But then will this “last and best” definition be the utmost final truth? That’s very doubtful.
Now if we look closely at how we usually define our concepts and ideas with words and actions (in Vimalakirti’s case – no words and no actions) we find that our attempts to conjure up a good definition for nonduality are based in three types of approach:
(1) defining by comparison with a word’s opposite meaning
(2) defining by listing associated qualities
(3) making no attempt to define (as was Vimalakirti’s tactic)
So, in everyday parlance we usually say that “long” can be thought of as “not short”, or “big” seen as it is compared to “small”. Perhaps “air” is thought of as “oxygen” or “wind” or “sky”. In all cases though, every word term we can invent or use has to be used with our mind and mental capacity. Yet, in all verbal or conceptual cases whatsoever, the definition or idea will never be complete or totally accurate. Perhaps enough associated terms and opposites can be collected by the mind that it may become possible to get a pretty clear idea about something, some idea or some object, but always it will be incomplete since any word or definition is limited by its relativity, and as all and everything is interconnected and interdependent with everything else, then everything else would also have to be perfectly defined and perfectly understood in order that just one “single” thing would be properly defined. Obviously, all that is “impossible” since relativity and change is infinite and endless. No thing is the same as it was a moment ago, and certainly the individual mind is never the same as it was a moment ago.
Then again, “nonduality” has its opposite term also, so let’s make use of it: “duality”. If there is an absence of duality, then that is nonduality. There are many and various cognitive obstructions to real understanding, some so obnoxious as to curtail further advancement or even to set the traveler on the Way into a reversal of direction. The modus operandi of an adept traveler or contemplative should be to remove or subtract these obstructions by identifying them and recognizing their detrimental effects. There is nothing quite so obstructive as false views, wrong views, or partial views, yet such views can be eliminated through transcending delusion and conceptual error by deconstructing errant mental structures.
22. THREE TRADITIONS AGREE
In traditional Vedanta, both Nirguna Brahman (Brahman without qualities) and Saguna Brahman (Brahman with qualities) are conceptual terms. In Kashmir Shaivism, Shiva is posited conceptually and Shiva’s energy, Shakti, is understood conceptually also. In Mahayana Buddhism, emptiness (shunyata) is a term used to confirm that a positive and conceptualizable subjective source principle, such as Shiva or Nirguna Brahman, cannot be known with the intellect. All these three traditions use both via negativa and via positiva approaches in their literature in order to allow a general understanding. All three also posit transcendence of the mind as necessary for realization, since pure subjectivity is inconceivable. Although the usual terms in Vedanta like Brahman, Paramatman, Parabrahman, and in Kashmir Shaivism, Shiva or Paramashiva, and as well in Buddhism terms like shunyata, tathagatagarbha, etc., may sometimes be perceived to describe some sort of ultimate objectivity, they are only pointers. They are only indicators of what is inconceivable, indescribable, indefinable, and unknowable by intellect. Hence, in the meditational processes at the highest level of all these three traditional approaches there is always the admonition to transcend the workings of the everyday mind, since it is the primary hindrance to transcendental realization.
Vedanta, Buddhism, and Kashmir Shaivism are all very persistently pointing to the nondualistic view. These three traditions posit many divergent ways and means to recognize the truth of Advaita and it appears that there are a multitude of paths leading to liberation and enlightenment. This is because different persons will start from their own differences of view, different opinions, and different capacities. All the so-called paths can lead to the simple recognition of what’s really going on; some are more suited to some persons than others, but the final truth is known when the nondual view takes precedence.
23. DEPTH PERSPECTIVE
What is depth perspective? Instead of the common run-of-the-mill type of surface perspective, we can develop a perspective that has the quality of deepness and intensity, a profound and penetrating view, a true view of things as they actually are – instead of the way things may usually merely appear to be. The right perspective is a totalistic and holistic understanding – without the conceptual overlays that are usually present in the way we habitually tend to evaluate the things in our worlds. Instead of taking surface values and characteristics as our whole perspective we can learn to subtract that which tends to corrupt a holistic or depth perspective. The “how to” accomplish this is our primary interest.
Subtracting all the layers of superficial dualistic perspectives may take some effort; enough effort will be needed to break up the patterns developed over a lifetime, and some of these mental patterns are quite well established, and quite well entrenched. But no matter how deeply dug in and fortified they are, they can be put to the sword on the battlefield of Advaitayana Yoga.
Nonduality is the reality. Understanding nonduality comes about by developing insights concerning the actual unity of relativity and all its conditional relations. This can only occur when attention is actively and directly placed in concentrated focus on the object of interest, so there must be a disciplined training that results in a developed capacity to keep the attentiveness stable and from falling into its habitual passive laxity. In passivity of attention, random thoughts and images will arise, speedily and continuously. By assuming an attitude of detached observation toward these random thoughts and images, attention resumes its active state and the mind stops producing the distractive arisings. Thoughts are allowed to go back to where they came from, whereupon vigilant receptivity toward further mental functioning again resumes. Repeated recognition of the difference between passive thought activity and vigilantly attentive presence of awareness has to be accomplished over a long period of time. Just monitor the status of attention and repeatedly place it again and again with vigilant receptivity in the gap between thoughts, waiting silently for the mind to run wildly on again. This practice gives a profound recognition to the difference between passive and active attention. The nearly continuous stream of deluded thinking and passive daydreaming comes about in conjunction with the overlay of memory impressions stored up for who knows how long. The discriminative function of mind gets confused and dysfunctional for this reason. Thoughts are the constricted expression of mental impressions linked to the primary delusion of the ego-notion, the primal dualistic perspective, and its consequent desire motivations. This kind of contemplative practice is a means of extrication from the perverse separative attitude of ego-based conditionality and all that consequentially occurs based on it. When attentiveness is directed to the recognition of dichotomizing mental events, it is possible to detach from these processes and just let be. This is the requisite freeing of constricted attention.
There is always a lot of talk about freedom – but very little understanding of what freedom really is. Real freedom is something beyond all talk, something only to be known experientially. But some amount of talking must be done so that we can at least point ourselves in the right direction to make the search for freedom. We experience freedom when there is an absence of restriction, an absence of binding influence, an absence of restraint and hindrance. In order to have real freedom it will be necessary to identify what these restrictions, influences, restraints, and hindrances are, the conditions under which they persistently function, and through a deep understanding learn to simply detach from them. What we will certainly find is that real freedom is not a concocted event that may happen to us in some future time if we submit to certain guidelines or commandments. Real freedom is our actual primal nature, or real essential status and all that is lacking in order that we can experientially know this is our understanding of the real situation.
Our awakening, awakeness, and freedom can continue uninterrupted. But at first there will be many interruptions and many distractions, many gaps of long and short periods of passive attention and its companions, delusion, wrong thinking, conditioned reactivity, emotional disturbance, daydream and all else that is distraction and false identity. But it is only understanding that can destroy ignorance and false knowledge; there is no other antidote. Understanding causes the uncertain mind to be dissatisfied with the commotions and turmoils of the samsaric worlds and to aspire toward nirvanic perfection. Just as there are infinite degrees of ignorance so too are there infinite degrees of understanding. It is a matter of intensity, but eventually ignorance must perish. It’s what’s really going on – the final and complete demise of ignorance. Whether or not ignorance remains as an aspect of the present moment, Reality itself remains uninterrupted and never ends. Reality permeates all and even ignorance is real, while it lasts, but when the delusion of mind disappears the Real stands out shining, obviously, and this is the real situation of our real freedom.
25. ADVAITA IS THE STANCE OF NO STANCE
How to stand in stability in nondual perspective? A separate “you” or “me” can never do it. So stop thinking in the dualistic way. Simple. So simple it will take a lot of practice, a lot of repetitive remembrance of actuality, to break the old perspectival habit. The old notion of ego and the separative stance has to be put aside. Once the ego-notion is seen for what it really is, then there is no pseudo-self to presume that a stance is needed. This is the liberation spoken of in all the old texts.
Beyond dogmas and doctrines and anything objectively definite is the Advaita, the stance of no stance. Nonduality is simple; but the mind is scattered and illusive, confused about the truth or falsity of its points of reference. Nonduality cannot be willed to be, cannot be imagined, cannot be desired or felt – but it can be known when all the mental sets and discriminative errors of cognition are recognized and put aside. Nonduality cannot be known through comparison with duality; the mind wants to always compare opposites in order to try to understand things in relativity, but it won’t help in trying to understand real nonduality. This is because there is no standard to compare against or to measure against. Reality has no opposite. Every attribute of the phenomenal realm, every detail of objectivity, all within the infinity of space and the eternity of time belongs to nonduality and applies to every conceivable attribute of existence. This is why nonduality is inconceivable, because no discriminative mental process of comparison is relevant or formulatable. Not a single detail of anything whatsoever is totally conceivable, since in order to understand one single detail of anything, all else in relativity must also be totally understood since all and everything is interdependently existent. All of the infinity of the matrix of interdependent relativity is essentially indivisible, unimaginable, immeasurable, incomparable, and inconceivable. No thing exists in the way we have become used to habitually perceiving it. In the expanse of infinite reality there is no true divisibility so there is no possibility of understanding nonduality with a mind that keeps splitting things into opposites and relative associations. To go beyond conventional views and to know without the interference of the habituated mind, is the stance of Advaita. But Advaita cannot stand on any sort of conventional view because all conventional views are by necessity limited and bounded by some degree of partiality or error of perception. Advaita has no such stance and transcends conventional perception by its apperception.
26. WHAT IS TAO?
The Tao is unchanging, never diminishing nor increasing, yet, without pause, both static and dynamic, noumenal and phenomenal. The myriad of things in existence are copies of its indeterminability, being born, declining, and finally dissolving into other structures and energy-events. But the Tao itself is unique and free from decay or dissolution; it is absolute, not limited to the relative but at the same time not different from it either. The Tao is unaffected by any changes in the relative but is also the patterns of change in the multifarious kosmos.
It is mistaken discrimination to suppose that life-death, order-disorder, dark-light, male-female, inside-outside, yin-yang, etc., are mutually exclusive, contradictory dualities. It is folly to presume one polar opposite can exist without its other, so obviously there can be no actual duality. We live in a kind of polar monism in which there is an apparent regularity of dichotomous oscillation, a ceaseless back and forth movement that exhibits a patterning process. Everything thus is an interrelated unity and in actuality is a multiplex oneness, the Tao.
“If you speak about the Tao, that’s not the real Tao.”
(~Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu)
27. LUCID OR NON-LUCID?
A noble, rational person, that is , a ratiocinatively adept and advanced person, having realized his/her dilemma of embodied entanglement within the phenomenally manifested structure of time, space, and causality eventually becomes less and less gullible and susceptible to scalar limitations of objectivity and then can move upward and onward through the gradations of individuated evolution and progress. These gradations, or levels of perceptive and rational capacity, increase toward more and greater mental lucidity and are actually what determine the gradations of evolutionary status of any individual, self determined by the measure of ignorance and confusion still remaining in the non-lucid mind.
Consciousness is our subjective center; the non-lucid mind is at the objective periphery. Our primal subjectivity is the center of Being, while mind’s activities are in the objectivity of Becoming. Within Being there is knowledge of the vastness of holistic totality; through mind there can be only knowledge of time, space, and causality, and whatsoever can be known through mind is of the relative, of the limited objectivity. To re-center and re-identify in the primal subjectivity is to contact the knowledge of the vast. The center is the point which is identical to the total holism. All and everything in the existential matrix arises dissolves and re-enters into the center, into primal consciousness without there ever being any real separation or duality. All thoughts and all external phenomena are projections of consciousness power and non-different in this respect. The center cannot be brought into being, attained, or cultivated because it is always what-is already. What can be cultivated is the stability of recognition that we are already in perfect presence at the center. It is not possible to become the center because Becoming is restricted to the periphery, to the relativity, whereas the center is pure Being. Becoming is an aspect of Being and non-separate from it, nondual. Basic delusion is of the mind and its aberrant functions, so the cure for the dis-ease of delusion does not lie within the dis-ease itself, within the non-lucid mind.
28. NOUMENON AND PHENOMENA
Noumenon (singular) and phenomena (plural) are usually perceived as two different things, subject and object, but the whole truth is that noumenon is the non-perceivable aspect or source of all phenomena, immanent in all phenomena. Phenomenality does not arise into existence from itself and has no essential nature of its own, other than the noumenon which it actually is. Since all objective phenomenality is the manifested aspect of noumenon, and each object is essentially noumenon, then not only is noumenon immanent in each and all objective phenomena, but it is also transcendent of all objectivity. Because of the simple misunderstanding of nondual reality, seeing subject and object as separate entities, ignorance has become pervasive in the way we tend to perceive our world. Ignorance is that through which our perceptions are filtered and warped into a wrong view of the real reality in which we exist. Our notions of separate existence, as subject vs. object, as noumenon vs. phenomena, as this vs. that, as me vs. other than me, etc., are the filters through which dualistic, dichotomous perceptions originate and persist. The basic notion of separation or dualism arose because of the idea that the perceiver of an object is different than the object; so there is a basic idea of separate existence of subject and object. This misunderstanding can be overcome only through a comprehensive analysis that leads to a recognition (or re-thinking, re-cognition) of the true and real condition of the totalistic functioning of the whole matrix of existence until the misunderstanding gives way to the full understanding of nondual subject-object process. It’s all process.
29. PRECAUSAL PRIMAL AWARENESS
Become established in the nature of the original existential condition. Cut through the knots of attachment and aversion and all dichotomized opinion. When the mind is free of all ego-motivated ambition and all belief supports, that is correct vision and the proper way to abide. Judgmental thought may come but it is an old web of habit to avoid getting entangled in, so stay present in holistic lucidity, responsive and not reactive, flexible in unobstructed freedom. We cannot perceive non-conceptual truth with a structured intellect, so remain in contemplative relaxation, real Gnosis free of dualistic projections and subtle compulsive delusions.
This is a direct experience of primordial consciousness. This induces a quiescent state of mind that breaks the vicious circle of moral and mental cause and effect. Formless contemplation deconditions consciousness. Formless contemplation does not use concentration on any objective form, but is intent on discovering that primordial consciousness which is able to perceive all forms, all sense impressions, and all thoughts. Formless contemplation consists of just letting the original existential condition prevail spontaneously, moment by moment; this existential condition is actually conditionless, the state of precausal primal awareness.
This superior apperceptive awareness is a knowing consciousness beyond mind and mental functions. It will be impossible to enter into formless contemplation unless mind subsides. Mind is like a distorting filter; it blocks true vision and true understanding because it places superimpositions everywhere. Apperception is beyond all the processes of Becoming, all the processes of mind. Apperception is like the clear sky while mind is like obscuring clouds. When the clouds are not present then the sky is fully present and totally visible. When mind subsides, the spectator, the witness, comes to its center. The more the false identity disperses the more the true identity is experienced.
30. FREE CONTEMPLATION
Being in “free contemplation” means being present in pure, stainless consciousness without any mental or emotional obscurations. Free contemplation is presence with wisdom, with understanding, observing with unhindered lucidity. Our pure consciousness is like a mirror; the reflections can be seen in the mirror but the mirror does not cling to them and the reflections are free also to go their own way. In this way of free contemplation there are no superimposed conceptual structures to get in the way of clarity and everything can just be allowed to exist as an event in a process without any attempt on our part to modify anything, change anything, prefer anything, or be prejudiced against anything. Even thoughts are karmic process and they can just be left alone to go their own way. A non-attached understanding is all that is required. We come to an understanding by reasoning and analysis to the point of certainty, and then, without any elaboration through words and concepts, we can observe all in presence as it actually exists.
31. PURSUING THE ENJOYMENT OF TRUTH
People pursue the enjoyment of a lot of different things. Mostly the objects of their pursuits are related to the intentions to fulfill mundane desires like the accumulation of wealth, fame, power, prestigious name, and going to heaven to finish getting these is the pursuit of those who have not got them yet in this life; so heaven becomes a sort of final shot at getting what is wanted – the ultimate pleasure that will override all the pain and suffering of a human life. But there are very few that pursue the enjoyment of truth. These are the truth-seekers who know that the secret desire of all beings is to be content and happy and that this idealistic pursuit can only be made to happen when, after all is said and done, the truth about what is really going on is finally realized. Only then can any individual being know what to do. Only the truth can give real freedom and enjoyment. Truth is the real bliss. It is the final and permanent bliss.
32. “YOU” AND “I” WILL NEVER SEE THE BUDDHA
In Mahayana Buddhism there are many Buddhas portrayed who depict certain special qualities and characteristics. Vairocana is perceived by all sentient beings in accordance with their developed capacity to properly discern Reality. But Reality, when seen with a tainted perception, one lacking in the understanding of selflessness (absence of the ego-notion) then the Buddha cannot be seen or known. When the superimposed notions of “you” and “I” disappear, then the Buddha appears.
The ego cannot be done away with; it cannot be gotten rid of. The ego cannot be destroyed, annihilated, or dissolved because the ego does not exist as an objective entity. The ego is nothing more than a conceptual notion, just a notion, a mistaken belief. The notion is a real notion and can be gotten rid of, dissolved away, because a notion is a temporary conceptual structure, always modifying, always changing. It can be de-structured. A real ego cannot be overcome because there is no such thing as a real ego. An ego-notion can be overcome because it is a temporary, fleeting mental structure. This ego-notion is the tainted perspectival filter through which we habitually perceive our gross and subtle worlds. Continually looking through this filter we cannot see things as they actually are, but when the subject ceases its identification with one of its objects then the filter is absent and apperception of reality happens. Then, obviously, the Buddha appears as always having been there.
33. JUST WATCH
Look at your watch. What time is it? We are so locked into our habitual conditioning about schedules and time of day relative to daily duties that we are nearly constantly checking on the time. In some forms of meditation, such as Buddhist Mindfulness and Vedantist Enquiry, the processes require the development of a mental mechanism, a mind-triggering device or technique that can help to remind us to periodically check the state of our mind. A very efficient way to develop a reminder device is to incorporate a device that has already been formed. We can use an already formed habit as a reminder to be present. What time is it? Time to awaken from the dreams of delusion. What time is it? It is NOW, right NOW; to be present is to exist in THIS moment, not mentally absorbed in the dreams of memories of the past or imaginations of the future. Look at your watch again. What time is it, really? It is the present moment to which we have assigned a conceptual number. We use this looking at our watch to remind us to JUST WATCH, to just be a knowing witness of the present event-structure of conditionality that is happening NOW, whether in the mind or in the externally appearing world. This kind of persistent reminder allows us to develop a more stable shift in perspective, from a separative and dualistic view toward a unified and holistic view. This can culminate in a samadhi of holistic apperception, living in presence in a spontaneous watching of everything being part of everything else in a unified interdependent matrix beyond all conceptual time.
34. REAL NONDUALITY IS BOTH WHOLENESS AND UNIQUENESS
Appearances and phenomena are not false; they are real, but they are usually perceived in a false manner. Perceivable dimensions of existence, if observed as a holographic system, will appear more clearly as what they really are. Coincidences, accidents, and synchronicity are then subjects susceptible to logical exploration as events coinciding dependent on the continuum of the conditions in the existential matrix. Things can be individual parts of a continuum of undivided wholeness, being the wholeness itself yet retaining individual uniqueness. Nothing is ever separately unique because the concept of uniqueness depends on comparison with “others”. The ongoing misconceptions of things as separately “self” and “other” are the fault of the discriminating mind. In actualizing the correct view by way of understanding Advaita, every supposedly single thing is then known as a subtotality complex, a speck of color in a mosaic of infinity. Within relativity is a static original essence of absolute holism as well as a dynamism of interwoven functions and processes that are the substance of the existential matrix, a fused oneness-and-multiplicity, homogeneity-and-heterogeneity in perfect fullness.
35. THE SUPPOSITIONS OF DICHOTOMY
The act of perceiving is a universal function occurring when there is consciousness and objects of perception. The function of perceiving requires both object and perceiver together; there is no real plurality. Without this understanding perceptions are always subliminally tainted through the suppositions of dichotomy which always superimposes something unreal from the mind onto whatever is being perceived. Perceiving is a self-function of the universal matrix, and both consciousness and objects of perception are the polar aspects of this self-function. There is no real separateness, no absolute individuality, and no real dichotomy, but this errant discriminative process maintains the mental factors producing irrationality and the resultant afflictions of confusion of various sorts and permits an increasing potential, in an already aberrated mental-set, for irrational supposition and increasing delusion. But there are answers to these problems when the problems are recognized.
36. VIA NEGATIVA
There are many forms of ignorance and many devices that can be used to overcome it. The most pernicious form of ignorance is perhaps the ego-notion, the mistaken identity assumed through identification with the body and mind. This continues to be very difficult to understand and realize, but is a prerequisite approach to self-realization or self-knowledge, etc. The requirement is to achieve an absence of the notion of the body and mind as self. This is the approach of via negativa, or getting closer to seeing what-is by learning to see what-is-not. We learn to dissociate from the falsities we have accumulated in our discriminative mental functions through this via negativa. The next step, through seeing what-we-are-not is to recover the understanding of what-we-really-are.
37. ATTACHMENT AND AVERSION
Attachment is a binding attitude, a tendency to be devoted to an object or person, situation or idea, or to be tied or fixed to such an object of desire, or “What I want”. Aversion is a state of mind that seeks to avoid some type of specific situation that could by considered harmful or undesirable, or “What I don’t want”. Both attachment and aversion are hindrances to clear discernment and accurate observation and insure that there will be a continued wandering about in some condition of a conflicted life. Attachment and aversion are understood when the primal delusion of the ego-notion is understood. Attachment and aversion are companion terms with preference and prejudice, all indicators of pervasive dichotomous (dualistic) discernment based in a separative view, but healed by the lucidity of a holistic understanding.
38. DETACHMENT AND NON-ATTACHMENT
There is a significant difference between the meanings of the two terms, detachment and non-attachment, and understanding clearly of what these two terms indicate can help us with our introspective contemplations. Detachment, in nondualistic insight indicates the previous situation of attachment. When attachment to an object of desire (“what I want and what I don’t want”) is absent, then there is detachment. A detached attitude occurs when delusion about the desire based on an object is done away with. Delusion is done away with only through understanding. But to achieve detachment is to first perceive, recognize and acknowledge the process and consequences of delusion. Once detachment fades away, non-attachment becomes the present case. Stability in the absence of attachment is the state of non-attachment. Detachment is a momentary event. If we get caught up again in the same delusion then attachment again persists. If we see the whole point, then detachment again occurs and if it continues and is not just momentary and temporary, then we can rest in a free state of non-attachment. Seeing this process in this way gives a strong clue of how to continue in profound practice.
39. WHO WILL DETACH?
There are always a lot of injunctions and a lot of advice in old texts and statements of past sages to “just detach”, “remain detached”. This is going to be pretty difficult and stay alive at the same time. “I am really attached to the air I breath, to the food I eat, to the water I drink, and to the planet upon which I depend for sustenance.” But that is not what the sages meant at all. So what to detach from? The final conclusion of all Advaita is to let go of the ego-notion – then there is no longer a false identity who must “detach”. Anything that can be transformed is not the real “you”. The real “you” is your real identity. The false “you” and false “me” are fictitious identities. Advaitic understanding cures these identity diseases.
40. THE CONCEPTUAL SHOW
Whatever appears in the mind is only mental appearance, so we don’t attribute too much reality to it. With this attitude, we constantly reflect that conceptual structures are not very good indicators of deeper reality. This is the path. When free from automated concept-making we are truly free from dense ignorance and the revolving wheel of oppression. Just by taking note of the mechanistic thought patterns that keep arising on their own it becomes easier and easier to just dismiss them and not become attached and entangled in them. When the conceptual show stops, what remains is the true nature of mind, unpolluted free consciousness, our “original face”. Trying to stop thoughts and thinking is not needed and cannot be done purposefully anyway; all that is needed is to just stop following along with the flow of thoughts and stop speculating and analyzing every thought structure in relation to past and future time. This automated kind of daydream imagery and thought arises by itself without any help from the one who watches it arise. Intently and vigilantly watching thoughts tends to let them stop on their own. Free from such mental constructions, which carry in themselves errant imputations superimposing illusions upon all external and internal perceptions, the mind comes to rest and we experience our natural state.
41. UNTIL THE LIGHT DAWNS
The real nature of what we all are, and what everything certainly is, is the primordial consciousness with which the entire universe is totally saturated, and which the universe in all its aspects, subtle and gross actually IS. All beings that exist in the matrix of becoming that are endowed with sense organs in a psychosomatic vehicle are continuously THAT, but are blinded by ignorance of their real condition. Individual beings understand the external world of becoming according to their level of developed mental abilities to discern and discriminate correctly. A highly developed mind is one that knows and understands the hindrances and obstructions that can cause errant discernment. The paradox of spiritual advancement is that an errantly discerning mind cannot discern its error of incorrect discernment. This paradox is like a cocoon that a butterfly disentangles itself from, slowly, slowly, until it is finally liberated. In order to disentangle ourselves from our cocoon of wrong views we will have to learn to work at it piece by piece until the light dawns in our individual minds.
The very concept of “eternal” requires there be an unchanging state of existence. It requires that whatever it is that is the complete whole-being exhibiting eternal qualities be so without change. The very idea of a separate and eternal soul-personality residing within a body, observing that body’s thoughts, acts, etc., seems to be part and parcel of the taught assumptions of most religions. The dogma structure of religions also stresses in various ways the changing potentials for the individual person, stressing as part of the religious teachings the fact that change for the better is the way according to the teachings of their particular deity. The saving grace involved in this change process, after the “death” of the body, can then only be enjoyed if that eternal soul is able to exhibit those changes for the better of the personality involved in a state of being other than that which made the body possible. Such expectation-thinking is flawed, because an eternal soul, or anything whatsoever that is created, is incapable of being “eternal” since there is constant change taking place in all shape, form, and qualities. In our ignorance we usually do not consider such things, and if we do then the partial and errant expressions which language uses creates a jumble of mental formations that tend to finally end up in contradictory ideas. These ideas in their turn then create doubt and confusion which, when expressed, can quickly be put to rest under the comfort-blanket of “there are some things we can never understand and so must put our faith and trust in (place here your appropriate deity, cleric, guru, religious text, or whatever else gives solace).
43. HOLISTIC RECOGNITION OF NONDUALITY
To presume that enlightenment is the complete and total knowledge of all details of everything will produce a motivation to attain all possible knowledge. Of this the human mind is incapable. The mind gathers in partial details and characteristics of things through sense contact, and then compares qualities and discriminations. The human mind is limited, while details of knowledge are limitless because of the limitless change and infinite motion taking place within conditional perpetual flux. Reality cannot be known through any intellectual construct; reality is known only through identity with it. This means it is crucial to disassociate with conceptual error. Bodhi (awakening) is necessarily beyond conventional knowledge, yet inclusive of it and incorporating it into an all-inclusive holistic recognition of real reality. The relative cannot be excluded in a correct, holistic view of ultimate reality beyond all concepts. To try to conceptualize what is too vast to be conceivable by the discriminating mind is to quit the race one step short of the finish line.
44. UNDIVIDED ATTENTION
The senses receive information which is monitored by the mind. The mind is not as most people presume it to be, however. We cannot prove the mind to be an entity unto itself, for when we look for it, it eludes our grasp. All that is possible to say about the mind is that it is the nearly incessant flow of thoughts and thinking. The thoughts and the thinking can be found; they can be perceived, recognized, and inspected, but a mind is never seen. Sometimes the brain has been thought to be the mind, but recently science has shown that the brain is more like a switching-board, a circuitry panel that directs sensory impulses throughout the physical nervous system. The mind seems to be connected and interrelated with this circuitry, but not dependent upon it. Science has a lot of work left to do before the mind and thinking will be even minutely understood. A mind divided by the dichotomies of discriminative error becomes the creator of illusionary dreamscapes built from sensory information and tainted by faulty observation, lack of reason, and aberrated discernment. Add to this an unbridled and rampant imagination and then come the mental sets based on false views and blind opinions. This is the ground and support for the further structuring of fictitious identity complexes, the ego-notion, and then the dualistic dance spins a great web of confusion. People get absorbed in a hypnoidal life story and living becomes focused on a materiality and a hedonistic outlook dominated by a divided mental state. The process will continue to proceed until some catalyst, usually the experience of suffering, gets a person’s undivided attention. Then there is potential for enquiry and a possibility for conscious intelligence to step out of the dualistic dance.
45. WHEN DOES ENLIGHTENMENT HAPPEN?
Does it happen to anybody in past time? No, because the past is no more. Does it happen to anybody in the future? No, because the future is not yet. So that leaves only the NOW moment, the present moment. Because the notion of past and future are only of mind’s memory and imagination, we know that time itself is only a notion, something for the mind to help it conjure up ideas of relativity. If enlightenment happens to somebody then it has to occur in the present moment, and this does happen. The right effort is directed toward stabilizing enlightenment and this is directly dependent on the continuity of the understanding of nonduality. When we recognize nondual existence and live life from this base, that’s enlightenment. When we forget nonduality as reality then we, as presumed individuals subject to the notion of the separate ego, fall back into the old habitual tendencies of mind and separative thinking and perceiving. This is the instability we have to put forth effort to conquer. Stability of the nondual realization in the present moment is enlightened presence. This is why Sakyamuni Buddha was called “The Conqueror”. He never left presence.
46. PHILALETHIA, LOVE OF TRUTH
What’s true is not false. In the absence of truth the false has power. What is the origin of falsity? What is the origin of truth? In the case of the false, its origin is none other than the mind. The false does not really exist; it’s just that the mind superimposes the false on what is real reality. The true truth is reality itself, actuality, thusness; whatever is just is, without the superimposed descriptions made about it by the fragmented mind.
The love of truth, or philalethia, is an acquired love. It happens when a person becomes capable of determining what is false. When truth dominates someone’s idealistic pursuits, a lot of enquiry into the real has already been done. The result is cumulative; the more enquiry, the more the false loses its power to deceive. Finally it is known that the false does not exist and never has existed.
Someone might say, “The dam has broken; run for your lives.” If the dam has broken, that’s the truth; if it has not, the idea is false. The falsehood is just a statement that engenders an idea. The statement is a statement; it is a real statement, but its content is a falsehood. The idea the falsehood produces is a real idea, but its content is a falsehood. Falsehoods exist only as notions, ideas, and imaginations, but they have no true or real basis of support.
A lie is a falsehood, yet it can truly exist. Lies exist, but there is no support for their real existence, so we can say that lies and falsity exist only as an imaginative absence of the real and true. Once the truth is known, the false cannot stand and it becomes absent. This absence can be known too, although there is nothing there to be known except the absence. Someone who has understood in this way is set free from the influential powers of the false. This absence of the binding power of the false has been described in traditional literature about such subjects as moksha (liberation) or bodhi (awakening). The most toxic falsity that becomes known to an enquirer is that of the ego-notion. It is conquered only by the philalethian, the lover of truth.
47. COLLAPSING TIME
The notion of time is that it flows, from past through the present moment on to the future, as a linear motion. The present moment does not exist as a line of motion; it does not exist as a flow and it is only known by the mind in reference to the notions of past and future. The present NOW moment is not in the three dimensions of seriality measurements; it is in its own real dimension of eternality. The present moment never ends and so is eternal and also infinite; it is not measurable, just as consciousness also is not measurable. The present moment is the only moment wherein it is possible to inspect the notions of past and future. Past and future exist only in the mental realm, which is internal. Past and future, or so-called “time”, does not and cannot exist as an external reality. The only reality is to be found in the present moment, aside from mental superimpositions of time and of space and of causation. We remember the past and expect the future, but both are mental notions occurring in the present moment. Misunderstanding the processes of the thinking principle allows perception to be distorted by the illusion of time.
When a person is lacking in the capacity to comprehend, it is because of one of several factors. Low comprehension may be because of karmic heredity, or of lack of developed skill in learning, perhaps the environment of educational resources is insufficient, maybe laziness, or perhaps some trauma of physical or emotional situations has contributed to lack of higher abilities in comprehension. Perhaps a false idea of security imposed by religious beliefs or by other mental and emotional conditioning has stymied the desire for enquiry. There are multitudes of factors which can alter perception, obstruct consciousness, and subvert understanding.
Gaining insight into actuality, getting to know the real, pursuing the truth at all costs, and understanding thoroughly, comprehensively, is what we call comprehensciousness. This is the consciousness that comprehensively comprehends all as it really is, actually and really.
49. EXHAUSTING THE WANDERING-ON
The aspect of mind we call the intellect habitually processes information from sense data through a perspective of duality. Since an unpurified mind has not yet seen the unity of the processes of the matrix of existence, the errant notion of separateness is the primary obstruction to the correct function of the intellect. The understanding of the actuality of non-separateness heals the habitually dichotomizing mind used to being attached to subtle desires and cravings that eventually harden into compulsive separative motivations of the ego-notion. All that is really going on in the dichotomizing intellect is delusion based in errantly motivated desire and subtle clinging to elements of mistaken dualistic perceptions. Without understanding the whole process of dualistic perception egoistic motivations can never be exhausted. Without the exhaustion of these there can be no release from the wandering-on in the samsaric whirl, no liberation, no enlightenment. When the fruits of separative dualistic motivations ripen, then we can surely expect to experience what we don’t want to experience – the turmoil associated with ignorance and misunderstanding, and all the frustration of never being content. All-discriminating awareness is that awareness which understands things as-they-really-are, as aspects of the totalistic functionality of the wholeness of existence. The habits of dualistic perception cloud the capacity of the intellect to discriminate the truth of things correctly. The requirement essential in opening the door to perfect nondualistic perception and understanding is a thorough study of Advaitic principles, thoughtful and often repeated reflection, meditation that promotes mindful remembrance of the right perspective, and finally the certainty of the truth about our existence will dawn and we can live abiding in the true gnosis.
50. SIMPLE PROCESS
After a time of sifting through the seeming complexities of the path of contemplative practice, an understanding arises that there is not such a complexity at all. Of course, the human mind is very complex and it will tend to make complexities out of everything. But the actual process of awakening to holistic nonduality is a simple process of first understanding the real depth of presence, in order that it will be possible for us to clearly distinguish between our mind and our consciousness. The “mind” is the thought process, the continuity of the sequential arising of thoughts. Consciousness is the ground of all phenomenal events, external as in the outside world of sense observation, and internal as in the thoughts arising. Whatever arises, it arises in consciousness. When ignorance is present we live in the condition of mind, thinking dichotomously, in terms of duality. When wisdom is present, ignorance is absent, and we live identified not as an object particularly, but as the consciousness base in which all subject-object referentiality occurs. This way of contemplation is more important in our quest for truth than all the speculations of religions and philosophies. The errant suppositions of identity and the stabilizing in real identity is known directly, not religiously or philosophically.
The fundamental tenets of the higher levels of instruction in most traditional meditation systems is that when attachment to all conditioning associated with the ego-notion is transcended, one is then situated in the primordial state of unconditioned Being, beyond all conditioned Becoming. All conditioned states of mind, as well as all external objective phenomena, are temporary, whereas the primordial state of consciousness is not temporary, but is the base (or ground) of all temporality. The essence of most of the higher meditational techniques and contemplative science posit just this recognition of the conditioned and the unconditioned as primary understanding. Correct and meaningful practice derives from this distinction. Distinction must be made between the conditioned and unconditioned states of consciousness and doing this as a contemplative practice in short sessions throughout the day we can achieve a more and more stabilized and constant presence. When attentiveness to this is in an active state, then there is presence. When attention decays again into a passive or semi-passive state of distraction or daydreaming, then presence is lost again. Keep alert to the arisings of distraction and passive attention. Distinguishing between thoughts and presence like this repeatedly in short sessions will keep attention active, then thoughts which arise unbidden will decrease while presence increases. This is the simple process of awakening.
An awake being is free from the conditioning called karma, based on the ego-notion; then the primordial state of unconditioned Being is the inner directing force of the phenomenal Becoming.
51. PERCEPTION, RECOGNITION, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, UNDERSTANDING
The conscious state of being present is not just a uninvolved blank observing or witnessing of whatever seems to be going on either externally in the world or internally in the mind. Understanding the way things actually exist cannot be just a watching or witnessing; there has to be understanding also. To be liberated from the ego-notion, from all attraction and repulsion, from preference and prejudice, from all attachment, from all superimposed mental filters, and from all judgmental obscurations, there has to be observation with understanding. This understanding need not be conceptually constructed; it is actually transcendent of all conceptuality. Conceptual constructs usually overlay our perceptions; there is always something of the mind added to what is being perceived – such as preference or prejudice, and this is conceptual construction impressed in mind by our cultural conditioning and social programming. Along with all these layers of perceptual obscuration is added also our inheritance of tendencies and predispositions and karmic propensities. Perception, recognition, acknowledgment, understanding, is the sequence through which things are known as they really are. Conceptualizing in word terms is not needed when simple karmic process is perceived, recognized, acknowledged, and understood. Then there can be a non-attached observation of actuality. It’s all process.
A time comes eventually, after thinking things through to a point of clarity, that everything begins to be experienced as OK – just as it is. Everything is pure already. There is nothing actually wrong with anything, even say, a pile of dog-doo. As it is, it is perfect dog-doo; couldn’t be more perfect, actually as what it really is is a result of previous structures of causation, a perfect product created by a series of prior conditions stretching back into the primordial mists of time. There is no necessity to have preference or prejudice, love or hate toward the pile. It is only what it is and nothing more. No need to superimpose a label onto it. Even though it may appear to be disgustingly reprehensible to a human being, it is just lovely to a fly. It all depends on what the mind superimposes on the pile; then comes the preference or prejudice.
Mental contractions (mind) are superficial fabrications, so we don’t allow ourselves to get absorbed in the delusion of them; we just stay clearly stable in the state of unfabricated, non-superimposing awareness. This is a spontaneous continuity of presence, not allowing habitual formats of past thinking to cloud perception. Freedom from the influences of mental structures is the freeing of bound attention, the de-programming of constricting mind-habits. This is the entry into the real heart of existence, the heart of Being, into the ever-free, ever-awakened pure gnosis. Lack of understanding this is the only real defilement to be overcome. And yet, even defilements do not have to be overcome or purified, for they are already perfect defilements. The only thing needed is to just learn how to step back and look at how things really are. This is seeing with a clear eye.
53. THE REAL AND THE SEEMING
The “goal”, if it can be called a “goal”, of striving to understand nonduality is to adjust and correct the malfunctioning of the discriminative processes of the mind in order to transcend the errant dualistic perceptions and stabilize in nondual and holistic apperception. This will require a sustained and attentive effort on the part of a serious contemplative practitioner. There is really nothing esoteric or mysterious about nondual apperception; the fact is, though, that the so-called “goal” is so very obvious that it can be extremely difficult to see because it is so obvious. But until there is a gap in the continuous habitual discriminative error of the mind, the vision of the liberative and radical leap into nondual apperception will continue to remain postponed. Hence, in these monographs on Advaita there is a predominance of analytical and suggestive enquiry into the way things really are as compared to the way things merely seem to be.
54. HOPING , WISHING, DESIRE
The nondualistic approach used in Vedantic texts is a positive (via positiva) one. Vedanta says that liberation is attained through Self-knowledge. If we could find our real Self (Atman) we would be liberated and free from our false self. Vedanta also uses a negating approach (via negativa), “neti, neti”, meaning “you are not this, not that”. The approach most often used in Buddhist texts is through via negativa; there is no self at all. A “self” infers that there is something or someone separate and completely independent of all else. Buddhism emphatically teaches the emptiness of each object phenomenon as well as each person. There is no independent being or becoming anywhere; all and each is connected and interdependently existing; there is no self-arisen or permanent separate entity anywhere. In the nondualistic teachings of both Vedanta and Buddhism the dissolution of the ego-notion is primary and culminates in liberation (moksha) and enlightenment (bodhi). When the separative desire for personal attainment is finally absent, the ego is absent, so not hoping for, wishing for, desiring for, planning for is the final hurdle, the final obstruction overcome, the transcending of the hindrance that prevented the clear knowing of what things really are and what we really already are. When the hopes, wishes, and desires are absent then the ego-notion is not present and we can know the difference between mind and pure consciousness, the difference between dualistic perception and nondualistic apperception. At their higher levels of teaching, Vedanta, Buddhism, and also Kashmir Shaivism are teaching vehicles approaching Advaitic apperception. There are also several modern writers on Advaita who have developed an abundance of helpful insights into Advaita, and it is a growing movement, capable of giving a practical and profound experience of Real Truth, something still rare in our world.
55. REDEEMING QUALITY?
It may be that the one redeeming quality of humankind is its discontentedness. Beyond the basic will-to-survive is an insatiable longing to know, and throughout human history this longing is the base motivation for all serious investigations concerned with pursuing knowledge and finding real answers to the perennial questions of philosophy, science, and religion. In the end, with all the scriptures underlined and all the sermons reiterated and grown old, uncertainty still remains and discontent persists just like a magnified shadow that follows along with us every day of our lives. The unknown something that no finger can definitely point to, that no intellectual analysis can seem to penetrate, and that no faith or surrender can fully rely upon – whatever it is that seems to be missing – that something persists in remaining missing. Even as I write this, the world we live in seems to be still searching for solutions to the most simple problems, always in a process of making some sort of “adjustment”. Eighty countries and a thousand cities are undergoing demonstrations, riots, and breakdowns. It is as if someone has pushed a collective reset button. “Enough of this unnecessary suffering,” people seem to be saying. Yet how much positive change can or will come if those who suffer do not know of the real origin of suffering? Only by eliminating the originating factors that produce suffering can relief be found. The basic cause and condition for what remains missing and for what subsequently goes wrong is our sense-based mind, that which maintains ignorance. However, no one need live a life saddled and constrained by ignorance and its consequential actions. So it is crucial to know. An awakened understanding of the true state of being allows freedom to anyone who is willing to see. Knowledge releases one from the bonds of ignorance and obsessions based on a false notion of self and other. An integrated, dynamic consciousness is a necessity for knowing the real situation of the human condition, whether individually or collectively.
56. REAL FREEDOM OF GNOSIS
The goal of contemplative exercise is the eradication of the dualistic fixated perspective. Doing this repeatedly over a long period of time will weaken and eradicate unwholesome memory impressions in the subconscious layer of consciousness. These seed impressions are the basis of hindering and subverting tendencies and proclivities. When attentiveness wanes, passivity of attention comes to the fore and then proclivities are allowed to arise in reactive thinking and behavior. Abandoning the submissive attitude to the passive process of automated reactivity is the contemplative practice, but this cannot be efficiently performed without first recognizing what it is that is continually arising from the depths of subconscious memory.
Passive attention must be reformed in the reformatorium of contemplative science into active vigilant attention. That’s why the sages have always termed the basic experience of gnosis as an “awakening” from a state of “sleep”. By slipping repeatedly back into daydream passivity, reactive thinking and related conduct again arise. The “trick” of this kind of advanced contemplative science is to learn to stay attentive to the condition of your attention. The goal is free attention, the absence of bound attention through the eradication of passivity. A silent and powerful mind is thus developed. This kind of mental silence is not some kind of trance or mental stupor but an active and cognizant attentiveness that knows “what-is”. Hypnoidal reaction to stimuli, whether arising externally or internally, is not conducive to the evolution toward awakening, but a silent detachment from passive attention which allows conditioning at the subconscious levels to wane and dissolve is the real beginning of real freedom.
All phenomena have the same essential nature, that is, each phenomenon is empty of its own self-existence. All phenomena are nondual, meaning that apparent diversity is only an illusory appearance. In whatever way any thing may seem to appear, its real essential nature cannot differ from every other thing, and this sameness is not a concept but the true fact of nonduality. All phenomena are beyond any sort of thought fabrication because the limited human mind is not capable of conceiving correctly all the details and characteristics of everything in existence, of all the infinite causal and relative correlations and endless potentialities and possibilities inherent in the totality of conditional relations. What is ultimately real is beyond thought constructs since it is both immanent and transcendent, within and beyond each particular objective form. Elaboration by means of concepts and ideas cannot ever truthfully or completely represent the infinity of form or emptiness. In Buddhistic thought, the one word that indicates this inconceivability is “thusness”.
The relative and the ultimate are seen as a unity. All is thus, as-it-is. There is no interference between form and emptiness and there is no barrier between the relative and the ultimate. Waves in the ocean cannot be isolated from the ocean; the ocean is differentiated into waves only descriptively, conceptually. Waves are the same as the ocean, but they do have difference, but the difference and the sameness must be fused together in the mind of thusness. There is no real duality anywhere.
“Buddhas abide in the matrix of the kosmos of real thusness, signless, formless, free from all the taints... In each mental moment they observe all things abiding in the state of true thusness; they comprehend the ocean of all phenomena.” (∼Buddhavatamsaka Sutra)
58. FINGER IN THE MOON
The great mistake in our thinking processes is to assume that we can understand nonduality by using conceptual terms, but this is the big joke we play on ourselves because the processes of thinking use concepts and terms that are themselves dualistic. The most we can expect through using descriptive terms and explanations is to notice the finger (terms) that is pointing at the moon (nondual seeing). When all the obsession with the finger is transcended, we can intuit the reality (the moon) that the terms (finger) might indicate. Then we can jam that finger right into the moon itself and experience it firsthand. Terms are always secondhand approaches. The great ignorance of conceptual thinking can keep us swimming around in the ocean of repetitious habitual wrong view. It is impossible to reach the meaning of reality, which is beyond concepts, through the use of concepts, yet these same concepts can get us quite a way down the path so at some point we can see what it is that the finger is pointing to. Through the structures of meditational practices we cannot reach the non-constructed ultimate liberation or enlightenment. If we want to realize reality of nondual pure awareness then we have to enter an unconstructed presence beyond mind and its conceptual structures. This becomes possible through structured practices like meditations using mantra repetition or breathing exercises or scriptural recital. These structured practices help to develop a stronger and stronger attentiveness that will be required to become stable in our new nondual apperception. Recitation is a potent method that can be used to help remind us of what’s important to know; it can serve to implant seeds in memory that changes the unwholesome thought structures into wholesome ones. This way the finger can gently merge itself into the moon.
Everything in our physical reality comes and goes. There is no permanence anywhere and even our perceptions are impermanent. Phenomenal objectivity, or objective reality, cannot be separate from our subjective reality, consciousness. All and everything in objective reality is perceptible only by our subjective reality which receives a vast amount of sensory data, then the mind conceptualizes and names things. This naming procedure creates an illusion that things are separate from other things because they are conceived of and related to through different names. What is lost in this name game is the fact of conditional functionality. No thing actually exists separate from the totality of the conditional flux of the matrix of existence. Nonduality is a mode of accurate perceptive function that recognizes and understands the conditional non-separateness of all and everything. Names are not a reality, although there is a conventional and conceptual rationale for using words and names; at best this use of language can only be a descriptive finger pointing at the moon, useful in its own relative way, and a necessary step in approaching the reality that cannot be named.
60. CEASELESS FLUX
Everything is a ceaseless flux, a continuously changing event, but there is no definite thing that changes. Whatever is mistakenly conceived as an entity is only a set of conditions impinging on a sense faculty – which makes another set of conditions that we know as sense consciousness and sense data together with conditional elements. All of this is process interdependency, and there is no self at any location or point in time and space that is in any way separated from the entire process. What things are, as appearances, are abstractions made by mind, and the procedures of meditation can help reveal this. Things DO have a relative validity in terms of how they are referenced and comprehended and used, and there is a utility on the mundane level for the use of these concepts and verbal expressions, but what they describe are invalidities from the point of view of absolute truth.
61. UNMANIFEST AND MANIFEST
Consciousness is subjective, subject. Phenomena are objective, object. Consciousness is unmanifest and noumenal and manifests itself phenomenally. All that exists is subject; subject in its unmanifest noumenal condition is not perceivable, not conceivable. Objective phenomena are the manifested, perceivable, and conceivable aspect of subject. While noumenon is singular, all-pervasive, all-penetrating, infinite, and immaculate, phenomena appear as plurality, individual, separate, limited, finite, and imperfect. Subject, the unmanifest, is considered to be the cause and source of our existent objective universe, the essential reality from which all things and beings emerge and into which they eventually are re-absorbed and re-merge. There is only one reality, yet it has two aspects: being and becoming, unmanifest and manifest, subject and object, noumenon and phenomena. This could be termed as “monistic polarity”, the yin-yang of existence. The identity of spirit and matter is one identity, not two. The real Advaitayana Yoga deals with the annihilation of the errant dualistic notions that prevent true seeing into the truth of nonduality and disposing of the false identity we have mistakenly assumed.
62. HOMOGENEITY AND HETEROGENEITY
All phenomena, all objects and events, derive from only one essential essence. This one essence is the homogeneity from which all heterogeneity is produced. Phenomena are noumenon, the relative are the absolute, and all becoming in objectivity is, in actuality, subjective being. Since all phenomena whatsoever have the same essential source and same essential nature, all have a basic same identity and all are thus nondual. Diversity in relativity is real, but diversity, or heterogeneity, is only mere appearance as we learn to see in a deeper perspective. In whatever way something may seem to appear, its real essential nature cannot be different from the one homogeneous base, and this sameness is the primal fact of nonduality, although each particular phenomenal thing is unique in its specific relative relationship with all else, it can be defined and categorized by mind. Mind can come up with all sorts of conceptual fabrications but cannot conceive all the qualities and details of all phenomena, all the infinite causal and relative correlations, and all the endless possibilities inherent in the totality of conditional relations. Elaboration by means of concepts and ideas cannot truthfully or completely represent the infinitude of conditional relativity. In the same way, noumenon has no definable boundaries or limits of itself and is beyond conception by the limited human mind. Heterogeneity and homogeneity are nondual and beyond the limits of mind, but this does not mean we cannot understand this nonduality, it only means that mind is not sufficient for the understanding. The fact is that mind becomes the obstruction to final understanding. We will have to find a way to transcend and surpass the mind of perceptions and conceptualizations and beyond that to find apperception.
63. GUARDING ATTENTION
There must be a line of passage from the mundane and profane to the transcendental state, from delusion and distortion and distraction toward conscious clarity. Conscious clarity is already present, but it is overlaid with layers of superimposing dichotomous thinking and perceptions naturally latent in subconscious layers of the mind. This needs to be recognized and is usually a slow process. It’s a matter of how well a practitioner learns to guard his/her attention. Things are made profane and mundane only by the distorting influence of inattentiveness. The profane and the mundane are actually perfect just as-they-are, but an aberrated discriminative perceptual function makes things sometimes seem other than they really-are. We have to take extra care in changing our usual perception into a clear-seeing apperception. The difference between samsara and nirvana is only conceptual and exists as a difference only because of obscuration of understanding. Everything is always already free from the pollution of superimposing conceptual discrimination, and this is known when apperception is present.
64. WHAT TO DO?
Nothing needs to be done. Nothing needs to be created or changed or altered. The recognition of what-really-is is enough, and what-really-is cannot be susceptible to creation or alteration or destruction; it already and always is what it is. Anyone who wants to find it just needs to recognize it, yet it cannot be known in the usual way of perceiving subject over against a perceived object. Just knowing one’s pure consciousness from the non-conceptual perceptual position of pure consciousness is the knowing and the recognition. Alteration, transformations, and corrections are functions of a dichotomizing mind absorbed in the delusions of dualisms. When one’s pure consciousness is recognized it is because attention has introverted itself inwardly. The Upanishadic Vedanta calls this introversion “atma jnana”, or “self-knowledge”. The Taoist literature refers to this as “turning the light around”. Some of the Buddhist terms are “reverting to the onloooker”, or “Oceanic Reflection”, or “amalavijnana” and etc. The way things really are, whether of phenomena or of consciousness, are non-conceptual and devoid of any self-definition or mark of separate existence.
When pure consciousness is recognized as being self-perfected then all sorts of presumed transformations or alterations (like altered states of consciousness) will be known as wastes of time. Until this fact is realized however, some transformation or alteration of perspective may occur. This, when it happens is actually a dropping away, bit-by-bit of habitual propensities to see things as-they-really-are-not. Barriers and limitations are eventually overcome and tensions are relaxed and disappear gradually as everything comes to be known as a perfect process. Efforts and supposed obligatory actions arise from egoistic motivational illnesses created by a deluded mind. At some point this gets to be recognized, too. The contemplative practice is to remain relaxed and tensionless, recognizing the incessant coming and going of mental factors, emotions, daydreams, and all the multitude of internal and external objects and events, while recognizing the whole holistic movement as the matrix of reality-process. This is holistic apperceptive awareness. Stability in perpetual apperceptive recognition is the basis of radical freedom.
66. REMEMBERING THE TRUTH
Our theme here is presence, immaculate presence, bodhi, gnosis, moksha, primordial enlightenment, nirvana. After we get experienced in slipping into the gap between two thoughts, the gap where there is no thought, we get familiar with the distinction between thought and pure consciousness. We have introduced our self to our self. This is the simple recognition of what we really are in comparison with the mind of thought generation and the identified ego-notion. Because we learn to recognize, again and again, our primal essence we get to be more and more stable in our real Being and get adjusted in that relaxed presence. This is the unstained consciousness, the unattached spectator. A higher kind of knowledge, a gnosis, a vijnana, transcends all the movements and distortions of mind. Contemplation is the relaxation of the dichotomizing mind until relaxed presence becomes the continuity. For most people, the mind and its incessant chatter and the dreaming it creates is the continuity. The sage has changed the continuity and contacts the gnosis of reality. Everything is then known as a perfect manifestation of the energy of primordial consciousness and is therefore also known as fundamentally pure. Knowing this let the sage relax; this relaxation does not require any intent to relax. It just goes along with the innate state of presence and wisdom. Everything occurring in the “outside” world and everything occurring in the “inner” world of mind is known as “not two”; each simultaneously creates the “other” and they are nondual. The way we conduct ourselves is eventually integrated with this state of presence and gnosis. In perfecting our conduct we learn to see all conditions as occasions to practice detachment from previous identity constructs. Nothing needs to be transformed or modified. All that is necessary is to see the truth of it all and remember that truth.
67. NONDUAL FUNCTIONING
The heterogeneic multiple manifestations of the homogeneic unicity emerge from an “inward” stasis to an “outward” movement. Each and every thing is synchronous and co-dependent on and with all other things, and such is the emergence of pattern fields in phenomenal objective causation, all being of the same static noumenal identity in their dynamic phenomenal appearances. The entirety of the processes of causal objective manifestations and functions is a co-mingling and morphing of energies, forces, and structured objects and events within the one original and primordial unicity-identity. Everything existing is not only related to every other thing, but actually IS everything else in its noumenal supraphysical identity.
Eventually a simulation pattern of more-or-less balanced symmetry forms itself from a nearly infinite multitude of polaric units and this symmetry promulgates and extends itself in time and space into a more and more complex and balanced structure. The structuring of holistic interdependent formulations in systemic sets begins to resonate with other nearby interrelated sets of interdependent structures until more subtle pattern relationships are self-created. These subtle pattern events then become dynamic bases for the further modulation and structuring of hierarchical systemic sets until a vast co-mingling of pattern energies interact and form coherent and durable organized patterns in phenomenal matter and energy. Systemic groups of patterns can then evolve themselves into larger and more complex sets and then project efficient design into other extensions of pattern abstractions which eventually form more bases for creative extension. Thus, our uni-verse comes to be and is an ongoing movement of nondual functioning.
68. THE SPECTATOR
When we try to observe our thoughts, our thinking mind, and if we are very patient and vigilant while we watch for thoughts to arise, something quite peculiar happens. Thoughts will stop. While looking for a thought to arise, if we are attentive enough and don’t lose focus, the mind stops its functioning. Thoughts won’t be observed; they stop. Once our attention is not so actively focused and we fall again into distraction, then thoughts will start coming through again. We cannot observe any thought in its process of arising or development; when attention is directed to trying to do this, all that happens is that thoughts stop coming around. So it becomes obvious: what we think of as mind, or the continuous stream of thoughts arising, has as its supporting factor, as its requisite condition, a state of passive attention where intense focus is not present. Whenever attention is not actively directed towards its object, then thoughts will arise on their own. There is no one inside the mind projecting the stream of thoughts when attention is in a passive state.
Willful and deliberate thinking is another matter. A stream of directed thinking, using images and thoughts, can be created, following out a progressive train of thought and reaching a definite conclusion. This is also done with the requisite condition of active attentive focus. When distraction occurs, the train of thought is interrupted. This happens because attentiveness has again become lax or passive. Anyone can try this and get the proof; it is not a theory or matter of conjecture.
While attentively trying to observe a thought while it is occurring it becomes obvious that this level of attentiveness stops mind functioning. Then we can note that what is observing has nothing to observe. Introverting the focus to who it is that’s observing is the next step. It will be found that this observer is who or what we really are. All else, thoughts, ideas, or external objects (like the physical body) are phenomena that we get particularly identified with. But these objects are not our primal essential nature, our primal Being.
The observer, untainted, is the onlooker, the witness, the spectator, just a mirror beyond the mind. Whatever the thought-filled dichotomizing mind is conjuring up is merely a mechanism, like reflections arising in a mirror. We have to learn to be present in this kind of contemplative practice and get deeply familiar with it. The individual spectator is beyond the involved observer-consciousness that always is entangled in reactionary judging, accepting, rejecting, liking, disliking, and comparing and superimposing illusory meanings and values upon whatsoever is being observed. The witnessing spectator is just an impersonal witness, noumenon watching the process-functioning of the phenomenal worlds in the absence of any bias or reactionary distinctions made by the habitual mind. Opposites and dualities are viewed no more as separate entities unto themselves, but interconnected and interdependently existent as unified aspects of a totality in its holistic functionality. This spectator is pure consciousness disidentified from the processes of objective functionality, whether of the external world of phenomena and events or of the internal world of mental phenomena and events. When the disidentification and detachment from objective entanglement occurs then nonduality is known and truly understood.
Just to be the witness, the spectator, just to watch, to be a watcher, will be enough for basic contemplative practice. Watch for ideas to arise and try to determine where these ideas come from. Do they come from past conditioning? Watch and try to determine who decided to make that last decision, that last choice. Did it come out of nowhere or did it come from a doer of past actions, maybe it came from only conditioning factors in this vast mechanistic material world we live in? Just watch external events and see if they are or are not mechanisms of conditioned patterns. Just watch and observe to try to see how ego-based desire can promote attachment to external things and events. The unbiased spectator is able to know apperceptively many things that were before unrecognized through habitual modes of perception.
The kosmos is a self-presentation of itself, of its own energy-in-motion. Noumenon is the principle of potentiality in stasis producing the ceaseless motions of phenomenal becoming. Noumenon interpenetrates every aspect and detail of the entirety of the kosmos and yet its transcendence is never exhausted or diminished by the arisings and becomings of the endless multitude of phenomenal things and events. The continuous process of generation and regeneration of the various aspects of the kosmos is the noumenal creative and artistic phenomenal manifestation. Noumenon is not like a god or dictatorial force that determines an imposing order upon its subjects, which is a dualistic perspective. The kosmos is nondual, dynamic and processive, self-generated, and creative, disguising itself as presumably separative multiplicity with its distinct and supposedly irreconcilable oppositionality. But the so-called “disguise” is only a faulty discernment taking shape in an undeveloped mind. All and everything is interdependent and mutually arising since all is a phenomenal manifestation of noumenal Being. As long as ignorance exists in an undeveloped mind, some sort of suffering or trouble will be the inevitable effect. Yet trouble and misery do seem to be an essential part of the process of the kosmos and the primary driving force of potentiality promoting the evolution of intelligence in beings. The desire for escape from suffering is directly proportionate to the drive toward knowledge, wisdom, moksha, and enlightenment in any evolving being. Seeing reality in an all-encompassing, totalistic perspective heals the illnesses of the dualistic discriminative mind.
What is the proof that what we call “mind” is the functioning of pure consciousness? There are some that suppose mind to be something different from consciousness, but this is a mistaken notion. It can be proven that thoughts (mind) are a function of consciousness by anyone willing to do a little introspection. It can be noticed that when attention is lax, not focused on some particular object of interest, or not engaged in purposeful thinking, that thoughts arise apparently out of nowhere. They just appear automatically. But when attention is actively directed to waiting vigilantly for thoughts to arise so they can be inspected, then no thoughts will arise. This is because consciousness cannot be split absolutely into a perceiving and a perceived, or what is called a subject perceiving an object. Thoughts are objects, nonetheless, mental objects, that can be “remembered” a split second after they have arisen, or maybe an hour or a day or many years have passed; then a thought may be suddenly remembered. Thoughts appear in consciousness itself in these two ways, either automated thoughts when attention is passive and lax, or willfully directed thoughts, when thinking purposefully. Consciousness appears to split itself into two aspects, a pure perceiver and that which is perceived (in the mind). Consciousness is able to morph itself into images in mind, to reflect itself and its information back to itself, to see into itself and its functions, the mind. Shall we also consider that, after a diligent introspection into this matter of mind and consciousness being one, perhaps also physical objects are made of the same stuff as that which becomes images and thoughts in mind? All there really is is consciousness.
71. ULTIMATELY ONE
No matter what happens, it is all ultimately one with consciousness. The fact that we all are consciously present (in some degree) gives us the utmost advantage, as basically what we really are in the fundamental depth of our being and becoming is just that – consciousness. We are all sentient and conscious observers of forms and motions in the realm of phenomenal objectivity. This objective realm includes all of that which we detect as external as well as all that which we can detect as internal – such as the feelings we experience and the contents and processes of our own minds. In this case, both external and internal can be perceived as objective, because the witness of such events is situated at a deeper level than anything objective. We are the witness, subjective. All thoughts and physical phenomena are objective, constantly moving, always changing; The objective is of the nature level, and even our sentiency, our physical senses, are also the objective functioning of nature – from which the subjective receives information. This is called experience. Experience at the nature level is very limited and cannot completely reveal our ultimate status to us. We have to dive deep, deep into our own basic subjectivity to find our real freedom. We must know ourselves, our nondual subjective and objective reality. Subject and object are ultimately one.
Holistic awareness is present when there are no conceptual filters intervening; this is illumination. Repeated and concentrated immersion in knowing presence is what promotes the stability of illuminated apperception; all the rest of what occurs in the passive mechanical operations of mind are destabilizing conditions of distraction and lax attention. Nondual apperception is THE practice and action conforming to reality and is the fruit of study and insight and thoughtful reflection. This fruit cannot be searched for, nor found as something to be plucked as from a tree of knowledge; this fruit is always available, always there. All that has to be learned is how to look behind the veil, how to look into the gap between two thoughts, how to make the distinction between mind and pure consciousness. Neither can this illumined lucidity be developed, since already it is perfectly present.
In holistic awareness, all and everything is part and substance of all and everything else. The apparent complexity is really a simplicity, just like an ocean with its complexity of waves; the waves of Becoming are not different from the ocean of Being. They are nondual. Everything we usually call “else” or “other” is seen to be actually not so. There is no thing anywhere that could be “else” or “other” than what it really is, and the spontaneous apperceptive witnessing of the unity of the universe is beyond time, space, and causality, and is the unbiased holistic awareness of the contemplative of Advaitayana Yoga.
72. HOLISTIC APPERCEPTION
Our use of the word “apperception” regards how things are understood from the standpoint of illumined, lucid awareness, that holistic awareness which is not attached to any specific phenomenal objects or events, but which merely apperceives the flux of objective Becoming as the relative aspect of subjective absolute Being. This totalistic and holistic understanding embraces both the mundane and the transmundane as functional oneness without the influence of distorted preconceived notions or partial perceptions producing errant notions. Apperception is the wisdom knowing unpredicated, unfabricated Being and its function, Becoming, the actuality of totality as it really is, all delusion having been exhausted.
73. TOTALISTIC COALESCENCE
Supreme Reality has been given a multitude of terms that differ widely in different traditions. But they all point to the absolute subjectivity, pure consciousness. This pure consciousness is pure subject before it proceeds to congeal itself and its energies into formation of the objective realms. Some of these terms will be familiar to students of nondualist philosophy and contemplative science:
Our Everyday Awareness
And many more. Whatever term or name may be used it refers to that which can never be an object of verbal expression or definition. It is beyond ultimate analysis by conceptual structures. The case always has been, though, with those who have recognized the truth – and they have all said about the same thing all down through the ages – that when an individual re-identifies with this pure subjective source that illumination occurs and Reality is recognized. One who is truly illumined truly knows and there is no need for anyone else to verify what the truly illumined has come to know. And what have the illumined ones come to know? They have recognized and understood that ultimate reality is nondual, immanent and transcendent, internal and external, obvious and hidden, ultimate and relative, subjective and objective. The descriptions the sages, rishis, buddhas, and all the illumined ones have recorded for our consideration as to what they have realized indicates the method of contemplation used by them to recognize the ultimate truth. This unveiling of the truth primarily concerns one’s own original nature, one’s own real identity. This realization cannot be established through philosophy or theory or religious beliefs, but only through personal experience. Contemplation is an individual process through which a contemplative practitioner achieves a final transition from philosophical or theoretical knowledge to a certainty of direct realization. The process does entail a combination of analytical and insightful knowledge, using the methods of reasoning and critical thinking, along with the final vivid ascertainment of holistic nondual being and becoming, the totalistic coalescence of subject-object.
The method of contemplation presumes prior analysis and thoughtful reflection of the practitioner and confidence in the possibility of illumination based on the principle of nonduality. What is call “logical proof” is no proof at all because reasoning is partial and obscured by mental factors; mind is limited and insufficient for establishing “final proof”, which can only be found through direct experience. This type of contemplative science advocated by Advaitayana Yoga is a nonconceptual understanding that bypasses the mind, once it has been used properly to attain certainty in analytical formats. Beyond the analytical formats, the conceptual basis for further progress, a nonconceptual approach is the necessity. Rational and critical affirmations and negations must serve their purpose but must be swept aside once their utility is exhausted. The initial thrust of learning contemplative science is to notice what the mind keeps doing habitually. We don’t have to direct the mind in its habitual processes; it will do its own thing, it will go along on its own way. So we can learn to just watch it, just witness its operations. There is no need to correct it. There is, however, a need to let the mind rest and remain free and openly receptive. This is done by just remaining as a witness. When watching what the mind is up to an incredible event occurs: the practitioner feels himself as pure witnessing awareness, pure consciousness, and the mind stops its incessant chattering. At this point the Advaitayana Yogi gets a glimpse of original nature. This glimpse evolves itself out of obscurations and limitations into self-recognition of its universal omniscience.
75. PASSIVE AND ACTIVE ATTENTION
There are many details regarding the actual and efficient method of contemplative science realizing universal nonduality. One of the details of contemplative science is the eradication of unwholesome and hindering impressions retained in the consciousness of the individual. These impressions are made in past experience and past thinking. Most of past thinking has been stained by wrong views, errant opinion, and the dynamics of tradition, culture, education, and belief. These impressions, when becoming deeply rooted, are the base of subverting and hindering tendencies and proclivities. The Advaitayana practitioner will start looking inward at these tendencies and proclivities and at how they develop into subtle mental functions. He will find that his fundamental perceptual awareness is incessantly in motion, involved in the activities of conceptual structuring and attention toward momentary objective events, more or less in perceptive distraction. This is called mind. When attention is automated and distracted, mechanical in its movements, then reactive habituation according to developed tendencies takes over and this is what distraction is. Being in a mode of distracted attention is much different than a willful placement of attention. Distraction is a reactive activity of an undisciplined mind, an ingrained mechanistic automatism. This is lax or passive attention to whatever object or event happens to arise – either in the external world or in the internal mind or feelings; it is habitual and conditioned distractiveness, a perceptual format of semi-conscious reactivity. Beyond this, active attention is a willful attentiveness focused on a deliberately and specifically selected object or event, idea, or topic, a purposefully placed focused attentiveness. Active attention is the determined directing of concentration, whereas passive attention is the unconscious or semi-conscious reactive mode of perceptual awareness, perceptivity gone astray and lost in the automated distractions of daydreaming, distraction, and semi-sleep. The preliminary practice required for the progressing practitioner is to develop the capacity for stable and actively directed attention.
76. SIX ESSENCE VERSES
Abandon attachment to rising thoughts.
They will then subside back into their source.
Recognize the silent gap between thoughts.
Sustain attentive presence in the gap.
Flexible in unobstructed freedom,
Relax into wholetime lucid gnosis.
These six verses describe a fundamental practice through which a practitioner can become more attentive, more mindful, and distinguish more clearly between pure awareness and the activities of the mind. Piercing the veil of habitual obstructions that prevent the clear and lucid recognition of pure awareness is accomplished by repeatedly noticing distracted perception and learning to not forget one’s presence. Nearly everyone almost continually gets caught up in the wandering mind because attention is lax. The wandering mind will continue to go its own way until attentive presence notices the rising thoughts. When this automated mental process is noted it will stop its automated, mechanical process and the attachment to objects of desire that the rising thoughts are related to will also dissipate. Thoughts are a contraction of consciousness itself and when attention is actively present because of intention to awaken, then thoughts get absorbed back into the essence they emanated from. Thoughts are objective themselves and come from their subjective source. All objectivity, whether externally or internally perceived, has its source in subjectivity, consciousness. Between thoughts sometimes a gap can be noticed. This gap has no thought arising in it and is the background and source of all arising thought. This background is the very ground of being and becoming and everyone’s essential real identity. When it is clearly recognized then it is possible to become more and more stably present in this essential ground. Stability in this awareness entails the recognition that this fundamental ground of being is one’s true and eternal identity as well as the recognition that all objectivity is simultaneously a congealed form of consciousness energy. Consciousness is all there is and there is no thing that is not it. Understanding in this way dissolves all hindering obstructions and freedom emerges. It is not stressful to realize freedom; rather, the more one relaxes into stable recognition the more lucidity arises. This is the gnosis, the knowing.
77. ALREADY THERE
We should try to be unceasing in learning to be undistracted and mindful of what the mind seems to be doing. Different kinds and varieties of thoughts and ambitions and notions are all fabrications of mentality based on previous impressions and conditioning; these are habitual arisings in mind and as long as they continue we will not be able to recognize or sustain the nonconceptual state free of distractions. Simply recognizing the gap between two thoughts, the innate natural state of pure consciousness is present. This presence is what we really are, our true identity. To stand free of fixating on mechanical thought processes is to train in the non-fabricated state of clear awareness. There is no need to try to create a meditation state; the pure and perfect state is already available, already there as the background of all the different types of conceptual structures. Looking into the gap of non-conceptual identity it will be realized that what is looking is the looked for. The subject is looking for itself but cannot find itself if it is looking for itself as an object. Subject must recognize itself as subject, and this training must be kept up until realization of true identity occurs.
Vigilantly expecting the next thought to arise, waiting receptively, then no thoughts will come. This is the gap between thoughts; there becomes apparent then a mental silence in which there are no words, no images, no arisings of waves on the ocean of consciousness. In this state of the absence of mental disturbance there is a silent quiescence, but the gap does not usually last very long – perhaps only for an instant – but that instant is long enough to recognize what pure consciousness is. There have been many terms concocted to describe this state: nirvikalpa samadhi, turiya, oceanic reflection samadhi, quiescence, samatha, and so forth, but what they all indicate is the primordial innate consciousness that all of us, at our core of being, are. This is not just a blank awareness, a screen upon which all images and thoughts seem to be projected, but a screen of awareness that is a knowing awareness. There are two ways that thought arises in our awareness: as concepts described by words or as concepts portrayed by images. Images, or mental pictures, are more subtle than discursive word-laden concepts, but both types of mentation are conceptual functioning and can be dismissed or let go of as soon as they are noted as having arisen. Then they subside back into their source. This process is one of active attentiveness to detachment and requires utmost vigilance.
79. RELAXED BUT VIGILANT LUCIDITY
Every time we engage in a session of practice we become more and more stable in a knowing attentiveness. What is it that we know? What do we realize? We discover the ultimate truth of nonduality. Subject and object are not two; they are two different names for the same one thing and its functions: consciousness. With each practice session the impressions of physical, emotional, and mental experience are put into a better order, an order related to the clear vision of reality, and then habitual reactivity starts becoming more and more dis-integrated; ignorance, nescience, and delusion wither away bit-by-bit, slowly, slowly, so that the mechanical arisings of the mind have less and less power. The mind becomes more and more free to serve as a friend than as an enemy. The automated and habitual mechanics of passive mentation is thus brought more and more into full view and distractive hindrances progressively fade away. The power of relaxed but vigilant lucidity is all that is required for approaching the goal-less goal of sustained and stable presence in the gap between thoughts. No matter what kind of thought or image arises we should just be aware of it as what it really is and just dismiss it, just let go of it. Continue with diligence and persistence until attentive presence is the state of awareness at all times.
Non-recognition of the silent gap between thoughts is a constant event, without break except in deep sleep, that keeps occurring because there has not yet been an insight distinguishing between consciousness with qualities and characteristics (mind) and pure stainless consciousness. The wandering-on through endless experiences of delusion and distraction is due to this state of non-recognition. Our mindful task is to learn to stabilize our attention in our true identity, pure consciousness, and this will be due to insightful recognition of the background of consciousness which we are. Being clearly aware of what is happening in the present moment is crucial, but it is difficult to remember to do this since old mental habits die hard. The task is twofold: remaining present and focused as the knowing watcher while dismissing all distraction; it is easy to keep slipping back into absorption in the mental chatter, the mental narrative. This contemplative practice is the monitoring of attention, being attentive to movements of attention, precision in alertness. By simply being attentive, in active attention, the old habits of non-recognition and unstable focus in passive attention will weaken and start to lose their power. That is what is necessary for old mental habits to fade out. But they will never fade away until we stop paying attention to them and letting them run on and on. They have to be starved out. This is what is meant by “abandon attachment to rising thoughts”.
81. PRESENT INPUT
All phenomenal events come and go, arise and fall away, appear and disappear. Along with the apparent temporality of external events there is also the temporal nature of internal events such as feelings, emotions, and mental images and words. These events, whether internal or external are nondual, as all occurs within consciousness itself. All that can be apprehended is an act of attention. When attention is lax and passive there is a lot of overlay or superimposed mental factors included in whatever event is being perceived. We sense the objective event but because of the mental factors added to the perception we do not apprehend the truth of it. This is what delusion is. The more we can distinguish between clarity and cloudiness in our apprehensions the more we find our clarity and apperceptive powers. The more we do this the more we learn about present input into the momentary perceptions we are sensitive to. The more we become sensitive to these kinds of conditional structures, the less we are subservient to them. Watch the show and learn. Find the silent gap within all this conditioned mentality and remain present there, in that gap.
82. HOW IT FEELS
Sensitivity and receptivity in the present moment require discipline and training in concentration. When a thought reflecting memories of the past appears, the only thing to be done is to simply dismiss it. Thoughts concerning past events and producing remorse have no further value once a simple analysis has clarified the unskillfulness of the thinking that produced the action of the past that is reflected by the memory of it. Since we are the heirs of our individual thoughts and actions, care should be taken to remain unattached to the desires that create such an inheritance of the unwanted. Let go of the chain of thoughts that are always arising mechanically and remain in the state of a knowing watcher, an understanding witness, in the purity of pure consciousness. Let all the automaton thoughts regarding the memory of the past and the imagination for the future just drift and subside back into their source and then just relax in a receptive attentiveness. Notice what this feels like.
The mind wants to keep habitually wandering, as it is an automaton of the metamorphic matrix we live in. Don’t let it be frustrating; it will keep on doing its thing until we learn to look directly at its functioning, to see what it is doing. Dismissing all the mental movements, they stop. They stop because we have activated our attention. Attention is not lax and undirected; it becomes actively directed. In active attention we are the director, the master; in passive attention we are the slave, the distracted, hypnoidal individual. When the mind settles down we can be really in the present.
Progress in contemplative proficiency does not mean we are getting closer and closer to a desired or projected goal because we are each that very goal we are reaching for. Its only that the one searching for the goal is already that which is being searched for. Real progress (or the fruit of the search, the possession desired) is actually an impossibility since there is no real goal to be attained and also no attainment because what is desired to be attained is already present. That is our secret real identity – pure consciousness. Stability in our real identity happens when old mental habits are dissolved away by just letting them go. They will continue to flow and arise until we learn to continue to dismiss them and let them subside. Then we are lucid and flexible, and we are able to understand.
83. THE ZONE OF AWAKE AWARENESS
Dismissal of a rising thought is possible only when a vigilant attitude is present; when vigilance is present, then no thought will arise, hence a paradox. Only in a state of passive attention will an automated, habitual, and mechanical thought-stream continue to flow. When vigilance is restored, then the stream subsides and only then can the thoughts be actively dismissed; its like watching them drift off into the distance of inner space. We can learn to become alert to already risen thoughts, realizing that all of these types of automated thoughts and daydreams emerge from the depths of the inner space of consciousness when we are not a vigilant spectator. So it boils down to the realization that we fall into distraction a lot, but we also emerge from the passive and distracted condition to again be non-attached to our habitual conceptual constructs. This is contemplative practice and the vigilant practitioner will notice his state of attentiveness many, many times during the day, each day purposefully striving to become more and more awake and aware. When it is noticed that thoughts and dreaming have been appearing, it is easy to just dismiss them all; they are results of a habitual mechanism of the mind. Slowly this practice creates an efficient alert system, the alert to awaken out of the long-held habit of dream delusion. There is a gap between thoughts which is a knowing awareness, free from the boundaries and binding activities of mental functions of the automated type; this gap is a momentary zone of awake awareness beyond mind, the place where we can become stabilized in our real identity.
84. ATTENTIVE TO ATTENTION
The vigilant sustaining of attentive presence is not actually just another habit developed as an aid by a contemplative practitioner; what it really is is the interruption or breaking up, the dissolution, piece-by-piece, of the conditioned mechanical structures that keep sustaining the functions of the automaton mind. Acute vigilance allows attention to remain in an active mode, falling not again into the usual passive mode. The practice of a vigilant spectator is directed primarily to attention itself, which is the contraction of consciousness upon specific objects or events. Attention, or the event of contraction becomes itself the object of attention. Passivity of attention is inattentiveness, whereas active attention is a willful direction of attention. Wakeful contemplatives monitor the status of their attention and when automated thoughts begin again to manifest, then attentiveness has once again waned again into passivity. The unbiased dismissal of automated thought is the re-activation of clarity and lucidity, the reclamation of will and sovereignty.
85. A FRIEND AND ENEMY
Thoughts are contractions and modifications of consciousness. They come from impressions made in past experience, from memory. The mind, when it has a sufficient store of impressions from past experience, can develop imagination using ideas and image-structures from the storehouse of memory. Memories of the past and imaginations for the future are mental functions and very useful for anyone who uses mind for purposeful thinking. The mind can be the most wonderful friend. When mind runs on and on by its own energy it becomes automatic and mechanical and this is not a purposefully directed mode of thinking; this is the waking dream state which can get to be so habitual and mechanistically reactive that we get into a deep bondage of ignorance and delusion and can stray far away from our clarity, our light, and our real identity. In this way the mind can be a most terrible enemy.
The root contraction, upon which all other mechanistic thoughts and motivated desire-seeking is founded, is the ego-notion. The ego is a notion of false identity, a consciousness contraction pattern that keeps unconsciously occurring; it is the root of the conceptual creations of all the false notions of duality and separation. The ego-notion seems to be a useful device at the stage in which an individual needs to be aware of survival-level necessities; an individual must care for his individual vehicle, the body-mind organism, in order to get experience on this plane of physicality. When this stage in the progression of development of intellect is complete, then the individual monad of consciousness next realizes that the ego-notion is a false identity, and then the contemplative awareness begins to emerge. The ego-notion begins to be known as a dis-easeful condition and when more and more recognition and understanding take the priority, then the “dis-ease” can be “healed”.
86. RELEASE FROM THE TRAP
The ego-notion superimposes all sorts of illusory and distorting factors upon our vision of reality, but there is no necessity for our remaining in such a distorted understanding. We can learn something valuable about reality-distortions by experiencing such things firsthand, but there is no necessity for subservience to unwanted conditionality. Understanding comes about by simply observing the root separative mental contraction, the contraction of attention associated with the habitual ego-notion; this observation eventually gives a deep insight into the automated mental processes which bind us into the unwanted. The binding is an illusion that can be undermined only by the understanding of it. First, there is a periodic awareness of mechanical thought and daydream imagery, all based on the root contraction, ego. Be attentive every moment (presence) to the ego-notion as a contraction promulgator of the dualistic view which then erupts as a motivation to seek after mechanically arising desire. This first step is made by periodically thinking purposefully about the processes occurring in the mind along with a simple analytic enquiry into the separative or dualistic attitude, and recognizing its delusory nature.
The second step is a bit more difficult, but is really only an extension of the first step; this entails reflection and insight into how pervasive the ego-notion has become and has thus become the root of the mechanism of inattentiveness and false identity. With this understanding as background, the fundamental intelligence we all possess can emerge more and more unhindered and a subtle recognition of the holistic, nondualistic reality becomes progressively more stable, while delusion and distractiveness become progressively more absent. Freedom is the freeing of consciousness from its mechanical contractions, our release from the trap of non-recognition in passive attention and the stabilization in our real identity. This has always been known by those who did it, but has remained unknown to all those who have not.
87. WILL ACTIVATOR
The simple re-cognition, and what it boils down to, is whether or not there is distraction in the waking awareness, whether or not there is absorption in passive attention and dream. The mind is habituated in absorption, encased in the daydream which is nearly perpetual, broken only by short apperceptive gaps of vigilant attention. Periodically, a remembering to check on the status of attentiveness, becomes a sort of internal enquiry, a look towards what is happening in the mind and whether a distracted mind has been running on and on automatedly. Thus, this kind of enquiry can start out as a periodical checking, but slowly, slowly it becomes easier to remember and then distraction and dream start losing their power to intervene in our process of awakening. All the implications of distractedness result in the continuation of the factors of non-awakening, so basically there are either distractions and dreamings or there is awakening. The efficient approach is just the regular recognition of distraction and mechanical mentality until re-cognition (or knowing once again) gets more and more stable. Then a subtle change in the awareness starts occurring; perceptivity returns to its original actively attentive state; slowly, but noticeably this change is more and more continuous, more stable, more lucid, and we get more and more securely established in our prior free and lucid being, our apperceptive identity. Our distractedness and inattentiveness are noticed to be more and more absent and the mind is relaxed into a silence of receptivity. The dreaming, reactive mind is a mechanical, automated function or contraction where every passing thought or image in memory and imagination is a reactive comment to the preceding thought. The difference between automaton reactivity and intelligent response is determined by the status of attention in its passive or active states, and the difference between these two types of attention is attributable to will and whether or not it is activated. The first and foremost act of will is the simple act of attention, purposefully placing attention where one wills it to be. The will-activator is the pure consciousness using the intelligence within itself. Without this contemplative science of will training, intent cannot remain stable. The samadhi of a silent mind is the result of efficient training in willful intent; this is apperception transcending habitual passivity of attention.
Samadhi is a Sanskrit word that generally means intense focus with a quiet mind. According to whatever is being focused upon there has evolved a multitude of different kinds of samadhi. If someone is very well focused on the sun there will be sun-samadhi; if on water, there will be water-samadhi; if on wind, there will be wind-samadhi, etc., etc. But we are primarily concerned with the aspects of only two states of samadhi, those of nirvikalpa and savikalpa. Nirvikalpa means the absence of thoughts while savikalpa applies to focus with related thoughts. Savikalpa is an approach to nirvikalpa and is required in order to learn and get knowledge about most things. Nirvikalpa occurs only in a contemplative practitioner when introverted attention seeks re-identity with itself as pure consciousness. Nirvikalpa is the gap we keep talking about in these Advaitayana monographs.
All thoughts, as soon as they are noticed to be arising into view are to be released; simply dismiss them and note the mechanicalness of their arising but give no mental comment. They just get put away and discarded and disappear into the state beyond and before thoughts. The other mode of thought construction we call “thinking” and it is willful and purposeful, practical, necessary, and useful. What we are concerned with here is the obstructive, habitual automaton mind of nescience and robotic mental activity. No matter what we are doing, it is upon the background of our own consciousness, and we can learn to be mindful and aware of the antics of mind. When this discipline of samadhi is mastered, over a long period of practice, the dreamlike propensities of mind are no longer the master and the mechanical habits of mind are weakened; we then get stability of attention without retrogression. As a result of samadhi we realize the oneness of reality and the sameness of essence (of consciousness) everywhere. There are countless kinds and types of samadhi, but the samadhi of the contemplative where he is not absorbed in various mental activities, but just relaxed, open, and free, is the samadhi that allows him to join the ranks of those who have also become entitled to enter supreme identity.
89. OVERCOMINGS AND SUCCUMBINGS
Most of what have been called prerequisite or preliminary practices refer to specific traditions of yogic or meditational practices, and the different goals or levels of accomplishment aspired to. For just about everybody, the trials and tribulations, overcomings and succumbings, will be quite enough prerequisite preparation, arriving at a point where the “profound and terrible” questions can be asked. In order to answer such biting questions, much study and thoughtful reflection must be done, and this too is a prerequisite preliminary to contemplative practice. Somewhat farther along we find that there are no preliminary practices or studies or analysis that will reveal to us our primal, original, pure, and perfect identity as pure consciousness; we are already where we have been trying to get to.
There is no method for entering into what we already are, for arriving at the place where we always are located anyway. From the standpoint of our ultimate reality there are no things to do or accomplish or attain, and it is conceptual error to presume otherwise. Thinking this way is the very reason we stay caught up in a whirligig conditionality, absorbed in continual expectations, fear, hope, and anxiety. When we practice remembering the truth of the world process and the truth of our real and universal identity, we find we have never left our nondual essential nature. Expecting future results from practicing contemplative science is valid in a relative respect but invalid in a noumenal absolute respect. Relatively, it can be posited that we re-cognize our true being in the future time. And this is valid only if it is admitted that re-cognition has not happened as yet. In the context of noumenal realization, we are already that which we seek to cognize, so the re-cognition of this truth is going to be in the present moment, not in future time. It is the realization of unity-consciousness. So in our contemplative practice we should have no fear or anxiety over continuing to wander through our states of delusion and non-remembrance, as the recognition of these states and their processes are the very modus operandi required to be used for learning to relax in the lucid and pure presence of consciousness that we always have been.
90. IMMACULATE INTROVERSION
In the present moment consciousness is in its natural state without any conceptual constructions or conditionings. We can be totally present in the moment, in the immediacy of the now, not obscured by thoughts of the past or of the future – or even by thoughts occurring in the present moment. This condition of the silent mind, nirvikalpa, is not within the linear measurements of conceptual time, but is beyond time because presence of awareness is beyond the mind, the linear succession of thoughts that create conceptual notions of time. Pure consciousness cannot be contained, confined, or limited within conceptual constructs, so its inherent clarity remains completely uncontracted and without conditioned fabrications of thought. When a thought arises, we just don’t cling to it and let it go on its way; attention is released from it and that is what stops the chain of further automated conceptualization. It is like a cloud slowly disappearing out of the sky. Our pure consciousness is like the sky with no clouds in it, but when a cloud (thought) starts to form, no attention is given to it and it dissolves away again because its life depends on the amount of attention given to it. Thoughts are like breezes and moving clouds, nothing tangible at all, just insubstantial appearances like the appearances reflected on the surface of a mirror. They simply arise and appear and are nothing more than what they really are. The background of thought structures is our pure consciousness, the gap we notice between two thoughts, the space between the trains of the mechanical hubbub of thought where there is a restful silence, the space of luminous clarity. Although this background of pure consciousness exists in everyone everywhere, it remains unrecognized. When awareness recognizes itself as the object of contemplation, it is realized that this is the only object which is not really an object, since it is purely subjective. In actuality, pure subject recognizes itself, but never as an object per se. This is the immaculate introversion of attention and the supreme samadhi.
91. MOSTLY UNRECOGNIZED
Looking again and again at what’s happening with our own mind it will be noticed that there is no place from which our thoughts come or any place to which they go. There is no specific locatable source from which thoughts are projected into our awareness, and when we look for such a source we don’t find one. The obvious conclusion is that thoughts come from our own subjectivity. When watching for thoughts to arise, we are in a state of active attention, and no thoughts will come. When we again lapse into a state of passive attention, then the thoughts start appearing again; this is the waking dream state. When no thoughts are appearing because our attention is directed toward their potential arising, we are in the space, the gap, between two thoughts. This is the gap of attentiveness and in this gap we find our own pure subjectivity, our pure consciousness, our inherent true nature that does not undergo birth or death experience. Countless cycles of time come and go but our primal subjective essence does not come or go anywhere, and although it has inconceivable existence and everyone is in it, it persists mostly unrecognized. Our own present awareness, in its immediate luminous being can never be an object of meditation. Pure consciousness ever remains subjective; phenomenal objects are condensations of consciousness energy and as such are limitations of consciousness energy that have taken form. Everything is of the same one essence and to recognize this and understand it is the pinnacle of inerrant intelligence.
92. FINDING THE NOT LOST
All the errant notions of the past are rooted in the dysfunctional discriminative capacity of the mind. The dichotomous view is an errant view; duality is a seeming appearance. The nondual, non-dichotomous view is the right view, the pure view; nonduality is the actuality, the vast, the true. To spontaneously abandon and relinquish the untrue dualistic view is possible through understanding only, yet this understanding remains stable only through practice of remembering, through continuous apperception. This is not going to be easy, obviously, because of such powerful habits of the conditioned mind. Getting to the point of awake awareness where arising thoughts do not distract us so much anymore, our mindful state of contemplation becomes more and more stable and we are able to observe and witness everything with a knowing understanding without falling into a superimposed bias of preference and prejudice that encumbers our perceptions.
Inherent clarity is without distraction or dream, and when we look deep inside ourselves we find our true being, our inherent lucid clarity. We don’t need to modify or change or attain anything, because when we “find” our real Self we recognize we were never “lost”.
93. NONDUAL ACTUALITY
The only difference between samsara (the wandering on in delusion) and nirvana (the absence of delusion) is the absence or presence of awake lucidity. Whether samsara or nirvana is a present experience or not, consciousness remains the same. Consciousness is present regardless of whether there is delusion or there is awakening. This condition is the same regarding errant or correct discriminative function of the mind. If we apperceive rightly then we recognize nonduality and the continuity of the flux of all emerging appearances is known as the energy of consciousness itself taking apparent objective form. Everything that has form is like a wave in motion on the surface of the vast ocean of consciousness; when a certain wave disappears it goes nowhere else except back into its ocean. The same applies to thoughts and dreaming in the conditionality of the mind. All relative consideration of the relative phenomenal world are transcended when we find ourselves in the nondual actuality.
The perfected spontaneous recognition of nondual reality is the right practice. Consciousness, as the knowing witness or spectator, has in some old traditions been called “naked awareness” and this is a very good description of how consciousness is in presence without the obstructions of overlays and superimpositions. Superimpositionless awareness is that nondual apperception poised just in the middle between Being and Becoming, the two aspects of pure existence. This knowing of both Being (noumenon) and Becoming (phenomena) simultaneously coalesced apperceptively will instantaneously destroy all presumed oppositional polarity between samsara and nirvana. While Being equates with noumenal oneness, Becoming equates with movement and multiplicity and presumed dualities. Being and Becoming are both undisputable facts. Yet neither exists alone, and when this is understood perfectly and finally, there is the awakening. The difference between a common person and one who is awakened is that the common person lives in a mind continually projecting and superimposing, not knowing his real status and identity. On the other hand, one who is awakened does not live subservient to a rampantly wandering mind; he knows he is awake and the others are asleep. Those who are asleep do not know they are asleep, nor do they know who is awake. The common people and those who are awake are the same except for this.
Written By S. R. Allen ©2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
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