Awareness of being is bliss. Conscious being is the natural state, the very storehouse of unalloyed happiness, this knowledge, I am. Being is not becoming and that is what needs to be seen. The very simplicity of what is being pointed to here generally goes right over the head of anyone who might happen to hear this. When is this happening, isn’t it presently? Can anything happen outside of this Omnipresence, this space of knowing?
Can anyone negate their being, can anyone say, I am not? Obviously not. What does this indicate? It indicates that I am That conscious being, I am That I am. Conscious being is not a thing or an object, it is no thing, an emptiness suffused with awareness, a cognizing-emptiness as the Buddha has indicated — form is emptiness, emptiness is form, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. The same is true with feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness, so it is the very emptiness that is doing the cognizing, the naked non conceptual knowing and not the acquired entity or person So and So. This is the fully rounded, all-inclusive, 360 degree view that excludes nothing and no one.
The person then can’t see or know anything as the knowing-sensing etc; this beginning less, endless activity of knowing is taking place quite spontaneously. To fully realize this fact is to be released from all entanglements. The truth of non duality is the realization that you are not the doer of any of your actions and that all happens by itself quite spontaneously without the input or need of any separate or imagined entity — “me”, So and So.
“If you expect any benefits from your search, material, mental or spiritual, you have missed the point. Truth gives no advantage, it gives you no higher status, no power over others; all you get is truth and freedom from the false.” This natural happiness of conscious being is the only happiness worth having and it is being ignored or overlooked in the misguided search for bigger and better experiences. Experiences come and go but this experiencing of conscious being is the only constant, it is ever-present, this fact of your own being. Therefore it is the very search that is the problem as you already are what you are seeking — pure conscious being.
“Nothing can make you happier than you are. All search for happiness is misery and leads to more misery. The only happiness worth the name is the natural happiness of conscious being.” This ever-present unqualified immediacy is nothing perceivable or conceivable and so is not able to be grasped or understood by the time bound mind, the “me” of memory. The mind even in its limited sense is not the enemy and is useful for ordinary functioning. However because of its limited nature, if it is not understood it becomes self-destructive. The acquired mind of memory and language can only think in one way and that is dualistic ally — good – bad, happy – sad, loving – hating etc.
That being the case you will never find any final answer in the mind, nor will you ever get peace of mind, as the mind is constantly in movement. Real peace, the peace that passes understanding is when the mind is not. See that, “The mind is a good servant but a terrible master.” In deep dreamless sleep every night there is no body, mind or world that is seen or experienced, yet you are still existent and present there without experiencing any of these objects. Are you in the world, or is the world in you? Ponder over this, have a good LOOK for yourself, no one else is going to do this for you. The subject under discussion here is Advaita, the truth and actuality of non duality — not two, not even One, just this ever-present unqualified immediacy – In this world of Suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self.
Samsara(the world of objects) is sorrow. Men want absolute and permanent happiness. This does not reside in objects but in the absolute. The non dual Absolute. It is peace, free from pain and pleasure. Self-realization is bliss. Happiness is inherent and not due to external causes. One must realize oneself in order to open the store of unalloyed happiness. Grief exists as long as one considers oneself to be of definite form. If you look inward so to speak, there at zero degrees from yourself where the actual seeing is taking place from on present evidence, you will notice that there is no head or neck or body or mind at all there in the limitless space where you are.
The very first thing that you are seeing there at zero degrees is space, with not even a speck of dust in it, with objects a little further out that are appearing in this space and are not separate or apart from the space. Space has no shape, form or color and is not perceivable or conceivable as an object. Space does not stand out, it is no thing to the mind yet it enables everything to appear. Could anything appear outside of space? If so what would it be in? It would have to be in space wouldn’t it? See that at zero degrees from your Self you are that space! Find out if you are physical.
Everything that is appearing in the so called manifestation can be broken down into the basic elements, into pure energy, and finally into the basic space itself. This basic space of phenomena is being ignored or totally overlooked. Yet this basic space, this abstract no thing or noumenon, the unmanifest, is the reality and the phenomena that are appearing in the manifestation including human beings, planets, stars and galaxies are totally illusory and insubstantial without any substance or independent nature of their own. This is what we call Maya in Advaita, and Maya is illusion, as it only appears to be, like the mirage in the desert, the image in the mirror, the rainbow in the sky, there is no permanence in it whatsoever. You can’t say it is not there as you can see it but when you go right up to it you loose it and it merges into you as the space that you are at the center or core of being.
One still acts as though the world is real but knowing the truth about it one is no longer taken in by the appearance, and so the psychological suffering is no longer necessary and is spontaneously resolved into the emptiness from which it arose. “It is a great joy to realize that the fundamental nature is quality less.” Seeing into nothingness — this is true seeing and eternal seeing. Realize that seeing is happening and that there is no one who sees. The so called seer and the object seen are both conceptual and not actual. The seeing is not divided up into the seer and the seen.
It is thought that seemingly divides the observer and the observed, the thinker and the thought. The seer and the seen, the observer and the observed and everything in between are all contained in the seeing and are not at any time separate or apart from the seeing. If it is seen and realized, not intellectually or conceptually but directly and actually that the observer is the observed, then all conflict must disappear. As long as the observer is different from the observed then conflict is inevitable. Relationship is dualism, me and other than me. There is no relationship in non duality or what we call in Advaita, That, for the want of a better word. Every apparent thing is That whether this absolute fact is seen or not seen. The maha-vakya or great word of Hinduism — I am That, is the statement pointing to and confirming this truth.
All problems then are problems of relationship. Relationship is dualism, me and the other. Relationship is relativity which means relative to. Relative to what? Relative to “me”, the person or entity I am presently taking myself to be. It therefore needs to be seen that the person is not the reality and that it is a social convention, a convenient fiction that has been adopted and reinforced by the parents, teachers and society for practical purposes only and nothing else. If there is no “me”, then where is relationship? It can be seen that there is no static point, no permanent reference point anywhere in the manifestation as everything in the natural world is constantly in movement with no fixed point anywhere.
To resist this natural state, trying to control things and to make permanent what is impermanent is the root cause of psychological suffering and sorrow, and what we are saying here is that this need not be the case. “Phenomena are real when experienced as the Self and illusory when seen apart from the Self.” The Self referred to here is the non dual Absolute from which nothing can be taken and to which nothing can be added. Aren’t you in very fact That non dual Absolute when it is seen that That is all there ever is? No one else is going to see this for you as there is no one else, only That — not two.
Is space born, does it live, grow old and die? Of course not, space is insentient and you are as dead as a maggot there in that space at zero degrees from where you always and ever are. Space is utterly silent and still, it doesn’t come or go anywhere or move about all over the place as its content seems to do. Nothing ever happened to that space, it has not suffered any hurts, dramas or traumas, and nothing has ever touched it or affected it in any way and you are that space that every apparent thing is appearing in. So far you are taking yourself to be a limited perishable thing among various other changeable things appearing in this empty space of naked knowing and this is certainly what saints, sages and seers call ignorance or Maya. You are utterly ignoring the space and taking yourself to be an object in the space.
Do you think that you will ever come to the end of space? Does space begin at some imaginary point, like the so called “big bang”, which is a concept that scientists have invented to explain the appearance of the universe? Does space come to an end at some point? Of course not. ‘The result of all of your arguments is that you have tried to grasp this that is being pointed to with a concept, and you have failed, and you are bound to fail.’ Awareness is non conceptual, it is no mind. The Great Perfection of Dzogchen, the very apex of Buddhism is “non conceptual awareness.” Ever fresh presence awareness, just this, nothing else. Got it? Nothing other, not two, just this!
You are in fact the complete opposite of what you appear to be as the limited human being viewed by others form five or ten feet away, as when you turn your gaze around one hundred and eighty degrees and directly look at the place you occupy at zero degrees, you see that you are not physical at all but rather you are the limitless space that all and ever apparent thing is appearing in. You are in fact limitless boundless space or capacity on present evidence, right there at zero degrees from yourself, and not the limited creature or person that you ‘appear’ to others to be. Just notice right now what it is that is taking in this writing or words presently appearing on your computer screen or device and you will see that it is open space and not a person at all that is taking this in at zero degrees, and so See that you are that limitless space, you are That.
“Can I find myself in a mirror?” asks Ramana Maharshi, and continues: “Because you look outwards you have lost sight of the Self and your vision is external…..turn your gaze within.” Nor is it difficult he assures us: “Its absurd — the idea that to see other things is easy but to look within is hard. It must be the other way round.”
“When there is nothing except yourself you are happy. That is the whole truth.”
Do you see what is happening there? There is nothing happening; reality, non duality is not illusion, and it does not and cannot change, that is the very definition of reality. So what can be done about it and who is going to do it? Who is going to change the climate when the climate is changing by itself? If you think you have any personal power, try to stop the breathing process, try to stop seeing, hearing or tasting. You can hold your breath for a short period, yet some unknown power will force you to take another breath. See just what this means. Who is the choice maker? Choices are made, deeds are done but there is no choice maker, there is no doer. What is all this appearing on? Isn’t there an awareness of it, aren’t you in essence that presence awareness? Are you in any way separate or apart from awareness-emptiness? Are you unaware right now? No, you are aware, you are That whether you as the entity know it or not.
“When you understand that names and shapes are hollow shells without any content whatever, pure energy of life and light of consciousness, you will be at peace, immersed in the deep silence of reality.”
“You are the source and heart of all…..all is you and yours, there is no one else.” (Nisargadatta Maharaj) It is consciousness that is animating the body and giving life to it and by itself without the presence of the consciousness it is a collection of carbon elements and sub atomic particles. Can the body, which is insentient as a piece of wood, shine and function as ‘I’? No, therefore lay aside the body as though it were a corpse. ‘I am a man’ is not natural. You are neither this nor that.
Now we hear all this but true listening is an art that very few seem to have mastered and it includes a maturity of natural discipline that prevents the past from intruding on the pure experiencing that is ever-fresh and new from moment to moment so to speak. If it is “me”, So and So, the person or entity that is hearing, that entity being the accumulation of events and experiences from the dead past, then you are not truly listening or hearing what is being presented here. The person is not the real. The person So and So cannot see, hear or do anything, because the person is the accumulation of all the past memories, hurts, pleasures, pains and all the acquired experiences and history that is now and presently the dead past, and everything that occurs fresh and new in the moment is then referred back to this dead image – ‘me’, the freshness of this timeless immediacy is then loaded down by all this unexamined past history and accumulation.
So if the “me” So and So, the dead image has not been seen through and discarded, and if there is no genuine willingness or earnestness to see through this “me”, then you can forget about non duality all together and continue to live the unexamined life with all of its miseries and so on. The thought ‘I see’ is only a thought, and that thought ‘I see’ and ‘I hear’ cannot see or hear anything as the seeing-hearing is happening spontaneously 24/7 before the thought comes in and translates it as I see or I hear.
What is the difference between inquiry and meditation? Inquiry consists in retaining the mind in the Self. Meditation consists in ‘thinking’ that one’s self is Brahman, Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. What is liberation? Inquiring into the nature of one’s self that is in bondage, and realizing one’s true nature is liberation. Inquiry is to see who it is that is in bondage. Isn’t it “me”, the self center or the ego that is in bondage and this fellow is telling you that there is no “me” when you take the trouble to look into this. Who is going to look into this question of what is my true nature, my identity, position or location prior to conception in the womb? Someone from outside myself, some other dream character?
The practice of meditation is represented by the three famous monkeys who cover their eyes, ears and mouths so as to avoid the phenomenal world. The practice of non meditation which Sri Nisargadatta points to, is ceasing to be the seer, hearer, or speaker while eyes, ears, and mouths are fulfilling their function in daily life.
“Truth is in the discovery, not in the discovered. And to discovery their is no beginning and no end. Question the limits, go beyond, set yourself tasks apparently impossible — this is the way.”
…..When you go beyond awareness, there is a state of non-duality, in which there is no cognition, only pure being. In that state of non-duality, all separation ceases….. ( Nisargadatta Maharaj )
Author: Mark West