The subject that is being discussed here, non duality, is not something that can really be talked about simply because the words or concepts are not what they are pointing to and in themselves are only symbols, noises, sounds and vibrations whose meaning has been collectively agreed upon before hand. The words and language are only acquired by the young child around the age of two years. The very young child doesn’t have any words or language at all and only begins to acquire language around the age of two and a half years and onwards.
You are not born with any words at all, yet you are functioning quite naturally and spontaneously even without having any words or language right up until the age of two years old or so. This natural functioning of the very young child is the natural state, the spontaneous non dual functioning of nature as it is in itself, which has no fixed point or ego, no static point anywhere, all is in flux or spontaneous timeless functioning. So in that sense nature is not in conflict with itself, as so called human beings are. The incoming tide is not fighting with the outgoing tide, day is not in conflict with night, sound is not in conflict with silence, nor does summer oppose autumn or winter, everything flows harmoniously in an eternal rhythm with nature or what we call in Advaita, the natural state.
That being the case and it is fully understood that the word or concept ‘water’ is not the actuality of what water is. The word water is not water. Therefore all we can do here is point to the very actuality of what is, this very fact of your own being right here and now. Please note, that under no circumstances can you negate your own being. You cannot say I am not, as the very saying of it only affirms it, as pure being has to be there even for you to negate it by saying I am not.
However what you are, what this infinite being is, you as the person or acquired entity, So and So, don’t know. You know that you are, good enough; start there and don’t move away from there into the mental concept of time, the endless thinking and conceptualizing, trying to grasp this that is being pointed to with a concept. Dictionary definition of what a concept is – “An idea of something formed by mentally combining all its characteristics or particulars; a construct.” Now, a construct is something that is made up, it is not the actual. “The result of all of your arguments is that you have tried to grasp this with a concept and you have failed, and you are bound to fail.” Leave off with all the mind stuff and mental concepts, trying to grasp this limitless being with a thought or concept by going into the mind which is time, past, present and future and trying to work it out there. See that there is no such thing as the mind which is only a bundles of thoughts, memories and concepts from a past that is dead.
You can recall the past but you cannot live in the past as it is dead. You can anticipate the future but you cannot live in the future as it hasn’t arrived yet. The present moment is the only moment you can ever live, so this is where the living is in this presence or immediacy. When you are recalling the past, when are you recalling it? Aren’t you recalling it presently in the immediacy? When you are anticipating the future, when are you anticipating it? Isn’t it presently? So you see you never really leave this presence or immediacy except in thinking or imagining. So start from the fact that you already are That non dual Absolute that you have been endlessly seeking and never finding. The very search itself is the problem for how can you find what you have never lost, your own Self or being? See that this being that ‘you are’ is not a becoming, as becoming implies time; you know, some future time when I am going to become enlightened. Laughable isn’t it when you look at this clearly.
Time is only a mental concept, there is no such thing as time, it doesn’t exist, and it can be likened to the child of a barren woman. Now a barren woman never had a child in the first place, so whose child are you, the child of time that doesn’t exist? You see you have to look into this for yourself and fully investigate it. “O ignorant man, whose son are you?” Stop ignoring your true nature, this ever-present unqualified immediacy, this space-like awareness-emptiness — “Your glassy essence”, as Shakespeare declares in his play ‘Measure for Measure’.
The key to all this is the knowledge, the consciousness I am. “This knowledge ‘I am’ is the charan-amrita. Why is it called amrita — the nectar? Because…..by drinking nectar one becomes immortal. Thus a true devotee, by abiding in the knowledge ‘I am’ transcends the experience of death and attains immortality.” Now this consciousness which is the animating life essence, the godliness of you so to speak expresses through the mind as the thought or concept, I am. That thought or concept I am, is not the reality that is being referred to but it is the closest you can come to it with the mind. Hence the admonition of the wise to stay with the I am, to hold on to the I am, and to ‘be’ in the I am; does not refer to the concept or idea I am, but rather to the non verbal presence of this impersonal consciousness.
The consciousness that animates nature and the human being when one abides faithfully in it reveals itself as the dynamic manifest consciousness, the universal consciousness. Consciousness appearing as the phenomenal universe is seasonal and time-bound, yet its true nature or essence is the supreme reality, the non dual Absolute that transcends time and space, life and death, as well as any and all dualistic appearances and expressions.
This limitless pure consciousness has no size, shape, form or color and is the true and changeless condition of every apparent thing. This is your true position prior to conception in the womb and this is what needs to be known or re-cognized, Something cannot come from nothing – this space-like emptiness that is the non dual Absolute; although it ‘appears’ to do so. That is what Maya or phenomena really is, it only appears to be but never really has any substance or independent nature of its own whatsoever apart from the space, the no thing that it is appearing in like the reflections are appearing to be in the mirror. You can’t say that the reflections are not there in the mirror, as you can see them, but they do not exist independent of the mirror and if you try to take any of the reflections from the mirror all you will ever touch is the mirror surface itself. So the reflections in the mirror are both existent and non existent and this you cannot grasp with the mind which is limited and time bound and which can only think and operate in the pairs of opposites, that is dualistic ally, good -bad, happy- sad, and on and on it goes.
There are no experiences, no awareness, no consciousness in this suchness that is the non dual Absolute. It is a non experiencing state and nothing can be said or known about this suchness as there is utter silence and stillness that cannot be grasped with any thought, word or mental concept. In the Absolute there is nothing at all, no form, no emptiness, no awareness, no thing; not a void just non dual essence or limitless capacity and potentiality, uncreated, unborn, self-existing, self-shining, what we call Sat in Sanskrit – pure being. That is what Nirvana is, the highest good, the highest happiness, the extinction of self-centered activity, the end of sorrow and psychological suffering and you must come to know clearly and directly that you are THAT no thing, that non dual essence or Absolute.
In this world of Suchness there is neither self nor other than self. No intellect, words, or concepts apply here. In this connection, paradoxically: “Whatever you understand, you are not. In non-understanding you understand yourself.” Best therefor simply to be, without trying to think(on it) – ‘that is, without superimposing distraction as ‘mind.’ Therefore there is no answer in the mind and so it is pointless to keep looking there. This is what you have been doing all of your life until now, and you have never found any satisfactory answer there and so, quite obviously, it is useless to keep looking there. If you persist earnestly in this inquiry you will come to see and know, as the Buddha did, that unenlightened existence is inherently unsatisfactory, it is suffering.
If the truth of this really dawns on you what might the conclusion be? It may be that all of this time I have been looking in the wrong direction. When that dawns on you there may be the realization that whichever way I look, in whatever direction I look, it will still be in the mind, in time which has a beginning and an end, and in that way I can never enter the immeasurable. There is no direction in this, no path in limitless space. All paths and directions lead away from what is, from this immediacy in which there is a constant stirring, somewhat of a movement, a Spanda or spontaneous throb which is profound beyond any words, thoughts or imaginings. The only way out of the mind then is to full stop, to cease looking there. The mind which is the acquired word is not the thing that it is referring to. The word is not the thing, when one realizes that then one is free of the word. The quiet mind then enters into the immeasurable.
The quiet mind is full of energy because the energy has not been dissipated and wasted in endless resistance, conflict and disease. Remaining quiet is what is called wisdom-insight(jnana drishti). To remain quiet is to resolve the mind in the Self. Now again, can something come from nothing? No, something can not come from nothing so all of the content of space namely sentient beings, trees, planets and galaxies etc are nothing but the space-like essence itself. The contents of space which we have focused on exclusively are totally insubstantial, impermanent, dream-like, a phantom, water in a mirage, and so the actuality of space, the changeless and the real, the reality, has been ignored and this is what we are drawing the attention to.
Ignorance is to ignore this space at zero degrees and instead to take the appearance, which is in a constant state of flux and change to be the real. Maya means illusion in Advaita Vedanta which points to the truth of non duality – not two, never two, One without a second, and the fact of the great statement or word – I am That, and the realization that follows is that I can’t possibly be separate or other than That supreme reality, when THAT is all there ever is.
What is there when thought is paused briefly or when thought ceases by itself as sometimes happens? isn’t there a natural silence and stillness there when this happens? And yet people spend years and years in meditation practices trying to go beyond the mind, when in fact it is as simple as pausing a thought and you are naturally beyond the mind, because when the mind is temporarily stilled or stopped, you are still existing and have not disappeared without the constant input of the time-bound mind. You are not the mind or the body, you are the space of naked non conceptual knowING that all these things are appearing in. You are ever beyond the mind and body, as in deep sleep there is no world, mind or body present there yet you are blissfully happy and content in that deep sleep state. What does this tell you? Find out, I am not going to tell you as that would be more than useless to you without your investigating, inquiring, and seeing the implications of limitless freedom that is indicated in this discovery.
There is no end to Self-discovery which is ever-fresh and new in the immediacy, the greatest journey you can ever take is this journey of Self-discovery, the flight of the alone to the alone. There is no direction, no static point, no location, no fixed reference point anywhere in this ‘glassy essence’, this immediacy of what is, the natural state. This ever expanding perfection, the great perfection, can never be limited, pinned down or grasped by any mental concept, word, thought, dogma of organized religion, or idea. This simply is. Is is a verb not a noun – the verb to be, not to become, which is time that doesn’t exist. If you remove all labels which are just names or words and concepts, for example — human being and supreme being, namely God, what is left there?
Do it and see for yourself. Without the label human being and the label God the supreme being what is left there? Has being ceased without these labels? Isn’t there still being there without any labels – pure being, infinite being, limitless capacity or “what is”, your glassy essence as Shakespeare refers to this that is nameless, formless and indestructible? Don’t try to grasp this that is being referred to with a concept, with your acquired intellect or with any idea at all, simply relax back into it, merge with it and leave it ‘as it is’, unaltered, unmodified, uncorrected, without preference, partiality or comparison, everything ‘as it is’ in the natural state, the state you were in one hundred years back and prior to conception in the womb.
You are ever-existent, indomitable, fearless, ever victorious and you are not just what you appear to be as that limited human being that you see in your mirror each morning, and you are not the way that others see you either at three feet or so away from you. At zero degrees from yourself you are the complete opposite of the way that you appear to others to be who are not occupying the boundless space there at zero degrees where you your Self truly and ever are. You have to see this for yourself, you alone are the authority there, and no one else can possibly See this for you because there is no one else there in the empty space at zero degrees where you are and where the actual seeing is spontaneously taking place. You alone exist there infinitely and eternally, pure subjectivity without any object at all.
If you are relying on someone else, someone from outside this naked space of knowing at zero degrees, then you are back in duality again, back in fear, time and becoming, and what is being pointed out here is that there is no such thing as duality and there never ever has been any duality — no duality in non duality, how could there be? If there is, then what the ancients including Buddha, Christ and Krishna have told us is all false and untrue. All isms, communism, alcoholism, drug ism Catholicism etc come from dualism, so seeing this there is no need to engage in any of these things at all as they lead nowhere. You are already what you are seeking and always have been and not directly seeing and knowing this is ignorance. One is ignoring the no thing, the cognizing-emptiness, the emptiness suffused with intelligence at the very core or heart of your being.
This infinite intelligence has nothing to do with your intellect, nothing to do with your pride which is an obstacle to clear seeing-knowing. Keep seeing that there is no one, no person or entity, So and So, who sees. The “me” So and So, can’t see or hear anything, the seeing and hearing etc are happening quite spontaneously and effortlessly, just as all of the natural functions like the breathing are occurring quite effortlessly. Choice less effortless awareness is Self realization. There is no other self anywhere simply self-aware, self-knowing, self-shining, without the need of any thoughts telling you this. Do I need any thought, analyzing, or thinking to know that I am? Do I need to consult anyone else to know that I am? I am, whether I say it or not. I am That I am. I am THAT by which I know I am.
Rest and unrest derive from illusion. The Self does not rise or set, and I am That. With enlightenment there is no liking or disliking. All dualities come from ignorant inference. They are like dreams or flowers in air; foolish to try to grasp them. Gain and loss, right and wrong; such thoughts must finally be abolished at once. Absolute is absolute, nothing can be added to it or taken away from it, otherwise it would not be the absolute or what we call That in the maha-vakya or great word of Advaita in Hinduism – I am That.
That is the chair, the table, the person, the star, the galaxy, there is nothing that is not That non dual Absolute. Thou art That. All this is That – That is all there ever is. Is is not was or if. Is is the verb to be. Simply be. Nothing can be simpler than That. Abide as That and there is a natural sense of well being, in That. Being well, whole, healthy and complete as the totality. Thou art That!