Changes

Today you’ve landed on the updated nonduality website which is nearly complete. I’ve transferred most of the prior nonduality essays to this new site and I’ll be sharing nonduality teachings at this new web address: www.nondu.org.

I wrote you two weeks ago of these web changes, but in case you didn’t read the post here’s a recap:

Website changes are coming…

I’ve decided it’s time to migrate the current mindfulness pages and posts to a static informational website and focus on nonduality writings going forward. Perhaps turning 60 this year is a catalyst 😉

This site “Mindfulness and Nonduality” will soon be redirected to www.nondu.org.  

If you have already signed up for email notification of new posts, self inquiry sessions, and nonduality retreats you will continue to receive an email from MailChimp letting you know I’ve added new content to this site.

If you would like to subscribe to the posts on nondu.org please sign up in the top of the column to the right. I never share your information with anyone and all I need to subscribe you is your email address, not even your name!

Please stay in touch with your comments and questions and feel free to bend my ear anytime.  I’m here so let me know what you would like to read, and or where you believe are stuck on the pathless path.

anita

Advaita Vedanta

Nonduality at Juniper Level

I devoured the paradoxical and powerful teachings of the Ashtavakra Gita and other Advaita teachings on the spiritual path.

Advaita (the Sanskrit word meaning “not-two”) are the scriptures within the ancient Vedanta teachings pointing towards a singular omnipresent energy.  Meaning “not-two” and, as such, Advaita is the essence of all matter, all particles, visible, invisible, excluding nothing, and including all, even you, me, and God, Universe, Source.

What is is impersonal consciousness, uncaused and spontaneously appearing and disappearing as what we mistakenly perceive to be subjects and objects in a time and space filled universe.  What seems to be appearing is indivisible, immeasurable, edgeless, spaciousness, and infinitely and presently conscious… if anything is appearing.

I spent more time with this poetic yet disturbing scripture than any of the other ancient Eastern teachings I read and studied from 1992 – 2010. I read these teachings each morning upon arising and again in the evening before going to sleep.  I even carried a copy of this Gita in my shoulder bag to read while waiting in line at auto mechanics or the grocery store.

For me, the Ashtavakra Gita was a gift of wordless words pointing towards the vast and edgeless void, dissolving false concepts of the personal self and brain/mind like no other scriptures I’d ever studied.

The Ashtavakra Gita directly and clearly challenge the beliefs and concepts of a separate and personal self and a  separate and tangible reality or creation.  I prefer to read my teacher Bart Marshall’s translation of these sacred teachings.  Bart’s books are available here.

anita

Memory

Nonduality at Juniper Level

What is memory and what perpetuates this belief-trap?

Long ago and far away I lived in a state of mind that enjoyed and cherished pleasant memories and disliked or feared the icky and gut-wrenching memories…like the day I peed my pants in second grade…all the kids pointing to me, laughing about my lack of bladder control before dear Mrs. Southerland rushed to my rescue.

We are so deeply programmed by society and well-meaning loved-ones that we naturally struggle deeply with the “concept” of memory when inquiring into our cherished and rock-solid beliefs about the nature and mechanisms of time and relativity.

We discover that a “personal” memory can only operate with a belief in time and space… and a concurrent belief in a personal “me” or “I.”

In fact, the belief in a personal “me or I” also requires believing in the concepts of time and space. Are you seeing just how tricky the split mind is at convincing “you” that “you” are real, are separate, by creating and sustaining the concepts of time and space?

As the character Anita, it certainly appears I experienced a richly textured life with plenty of memories of all shades…bright, white, and grey…pleasant memories, painful memories, repressed memories, and traumatic ones.

We cannot imagine that what we know as a memory is simply an arising thought stream or image appearing here now as this aware presence or impersonal consciousness.

I surfed over to Wiki to look up memory…click here to read more at Wiki.

We so want to believe we exist in time and space, at a location, and a finite point on the map.  Memory helps reinforce this illusion. But don’t take my words for this…inquire for yourself. Is it possible for a memory to appear separate from an arising thought?

If you believe memory can exist without thought then how specifically does this occur?

Investigate – to your own satisfaction – that all thought streams and memories are not what is appearing here now…as aware presence or impersonal consciousness.

anita

Politics

Nonduality at Juniper Level

I received these current events questions below via email:

Anita, here are some questions for you regarding conscious responses to the current political unfoldment:

  1. How to Be the accepting of all as is while saying no to actions that create suffering?
  2. How to resist harmful actions by seeming others without inner resistance? 
  3. Having no idea that anything should be other than it is while outwardly speaking and acting to create change?
  4. Would you share anything that arises for you about this?

Replies:

  1. How to Be the accepting of all as is while saying no to actions that create suffering?
    True nature, what you already are, accepts all as it is and welcomes all. True nature does not suffer. Suffering only arises to an illusory “you” a split-mind, a relative/dualistic mind that maintains separation of  “what is” into subjects and objects to name, label, measure, and compare.  The illusory person wants change so finding the source of the illusory “you” will help unravel the beliefs in a world of separation with a “you” at the center.
  2. How to resist harmful actions by seeming others without inner resistance?
    What wants to resist? Find the source of resisting…is there a personal “you” offering incessant commentary, labels, and descriptions of what is?  If so, inquire and locate this “you.”  
    Resisting may appear but there is no one resisting…there has never been a person who resists. Resisting appears spontaneously and uncaused, but not to a separate “you.”   Resisting is the same perfection as not-resisting, and neither is prompted by or owned by a personal and separate “you.”
  3. Having no idea that anything should be other than it is while outwardly speaking and acting to create change?  Changing may appear but there is not a personal or separate “you” initiating change.  Again, changing is the same perfection as not-changing, and neither is prompted by or owned by a personal and separate “you.”  Changing and resisting arise spontaneously as the dreamscape, but not to a separate you, a separate person.

Would you (anita) share anything that arises for you about this?   Notice the thought stream that is not happy with what is appearing and wanting change.  This is key.   Be still and inquire to uncover and notice the source, the root of what wants to divide, name, claim, and label life into subjects and objects…me and you…yes or no…good or bad…right or wrong…here or there..now or later.  Notice the energy, the voice, the thoughts wanting life to be different than what is appearing.

Once you determine the source of what resists, what wants change, what does not fully accept what is…that is the work of self-inquiry….of uncovering the millions and billions of beliefs, concepts, stories that appear to create a separate self and cover the infinite and changeless stillness that never moves, was never born, will never die.

Self inquiry was pivotal in perceiving and uncovering the silliness of maintaining any beliefs and concepts that supported an identity as Anita, as a separate self.

Here, now, as aware presence embodying as the concept of Anita, the imaginary personal self died in 2011 and nothing remains to prefer or desire what is appearing to change. There is only infinite capacity to accept all that is appearing and what is appearing is seen as perfection reflections of the intelligent light of awareness. Personal suffering and fear fell away.

As an aside, I see the newly elected POTUS as sadly entertaining storyline…the candidate I voted for did not prevail. Regardless of who is elected as POTUS, or what is appearing as life, the character as Anita is watching the nightly news, reading newspapers, and living life…and it feels like sitting in a theater chair and watching a juicy movie.

Life appears as what is ….just streaming upon a giant screen. In this analogy, I am the movie, I am the movie screen, I am the characters, I am the movie projector, I am the theater, and I am the edgeless, infinite, indivisible empty space of presence that all appearances seem to be appearing upon.

I am, and you are, indescribable…infinite, edgeless, formless, vastness, and more like the glowing no-thing-ness that holds the vaporous appearances of the every-thing…. and I would not change a tiny particle of this perfection we call reality….it’s how as human dream characters we feel and experience self and other as duality.  What a miracle that anything at all appears…and yet we as characters want to change it…aren’t we silly?

The dreamscape is an imaginary stage where the concepts of self and other can play as characters in a relative/dualistic movie script to experience the textures and feelings of duality, of separateness. And yet, not even no-thing truly exists, there are only fleeting appearances, just like the appearances of dreams while you, as a dream body believe you are sleeping.  When you inquire into the concept of time, you will realize it does not exist.  Not kidding.

Please email anita@nondu.org if you have questions.

anita

Karma

Many pilgrims worship and explore the nature of an Absolute or God when pondering a spiritual life, existence, and the afterlife. It seems there is nothing scarier than to imagine an endless oblivion at the death of the body, or while appearing to live, for that matter. 

As humans, most of us yearn for there to be something more, something enduring at the last inhale since most of us deeply believing in a lasting personal soul or spirit when the body dies. This powerful belief and conviction seems to draw and sustain many to an Absolute being-ness or God.

 

Christian Perspective…

applied a Christian framework to my definition and beliefs in God for more than 40 years teaching adult Sunday school classes, Bible studies and women’s groups. I attended a progressive Baptist or Methodist church for most of my life with God secretly being my admittance ticket at death promising an afterlife in Heaven…if all the teachings and doctrines were practiced and obeyed. At the core of this belief was a personal soul as Anita that would unite with God upon her physical death and spend eternity with God in an eternal afterlife or heaven.

Fast forward to 2009…and with several years of deep reflection, writing, and self-inquiry, my understanding of God became clearer and clearer…shocking, in fact, as I saw that I viewed God as relational and able to exist in a relative relationship – God in relation to other as creator and created and bound together in a relationship (relativity) enduring through time and space. How could this be? It made no sense. This belief also implied that God was divisible, not already everywhere, and everything.

Dark Night of the Soul…

This deeply seeing my concept of God was disturbing to say the least and propelled me into a Dark Night of the Soul and a deep depression and confusion. Did I fabricated a God that is relational like humans, and if this is the case, did I invent God according to my beliefs? I dived into self-inquiry for several years…withdrawing from family and friends while I sat in a simmering stew of darkness and confusion. I prayed incessantly to God, whatever God is or isn’t, to deliver me from the hell of my thoughts and understandings and to show me Truth at all costs.  All costs…even if I had to die to know Truth.  

Aware Presence or Consciousness… 

Mystery, or something totally undescribable and unknowable, opened wide “my” perception in 2011 to perceive deeply beyond the brain/mind, and know directly that I am appearances of Aware Presence or impersonal consciousness in a dreamscape.  Several months later during a solitary retreat I saw the teachings of Jesus the Christ as instructions for living as gratitude, acceptance, and worry-free as aware consciousness presence.

From this perspective, Jesus is not about establishing or teaching any particular beliefs or dogmas…but simply reminding us of what is…already here, now, and fully available if we only change the way we see…change our perceptions, our perspectives, to receive what is here now as little children see and perceive…with openness, acceptance, and a sense of wonderment…without judging, naming, labeling, or claiming what is as belonging to a separate person or entity as a “me.”.

Jesus pointed towards…

Jesus points towards a Truth beyond words…beyond the relative brain, beyond the imaginations of the dualistic or split mind. How else can Jesus the Christ, or Buddha, Krishna or Lao Tzu communicate to brains/minds that cannot comprehend what is beyond a relative nature, beyond relativity? Of course it now seems clear — these Masters used paradoxical words and stories….which make no logical sense to a relative human mind. Using relative or everyday language to describe “This” or “What Is” will never convey or describe what is beyond the relative brain/mind. Period.

For those interested in re-reading the paradoxical words of Jesus in the New Testament, a quick internet search will produce many websites offering these paradoxical teachings of Jesus. I love Jesus and His teachings though I never understood the deeper meanings behind His words until I awakened to see the personal self as a mistaken belief perpetuated by 99% of humans.

Is there a me…

Of course, we can feel the experience of seeing and perceiving life from a localized point we label as “I” or “me” yet we never investigate this “I” or “me” to see what it really is….we just blindly assume a “me” is located at the center of our perception. The existence of a personal center or “me” is the greatest lie every spoken, revered, and claimed as true.

Jesus and his disciples knew this belief in a “me” was the root of all suffering since Jesus awakened to his true nature as infinite brilliant aware stillness, and Jesus knew the strength and seduction of the belief in a personal self.

Jesus wanted to point the way to joy and freedom…to the essence and peace that is beyond the understanding of the dualistic brain/mind. He appeared as the embodiment of impersonal aware presence or consciousness and was deeply committed to sharing this truth…even to the cross and the illusion of death.

Within and without…

All perceptions and all appearances of reality feel quite intimate…and we believe these appearances and bodily feelings occur “within” this center we refer to as a “me” or a “you” and this creates safety for the personal self when there is no personal self, and no separation into a “within” or “without.”  What we call life is the appearance of indivisible, edgeless Aware Presence. Read Jesus’ words again, if you are so inclined, and look for the paradox he is pointing towards…you will not be able to miss it. Jesus says it’s easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. And yes, awakening feels like being squeezed through the eye of a needle as the beliefs in a personal and separate self fall away and leave only the appearances of an infinite, seamless Aware Presence and Consciousness as a miraculous dreamscape. And it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, it’s still a squeeze, although the rich may have more attachements and beliefs to sever.

And with awareness of the mistaken identity as a personal self, the confusion between what one is believed to be and what one appears to be can be explored and perceived as the imaginary character is it. Using a paradoxical spiritual analogy to point towards what I am saying here would be like this:  The “characters” as “me” and “you” appearing on the “movie screen” may change, but the “movie screen” itself does not. I am, you are, like the movie screen…as infinite, seamless, causeless, stillness….a void of nothingness upon which the everythingness as Aware Presence or Consciousness appears.

Realization and enlightenment…

This is the realization…actions are appearing through “you” as a dream character and not by a separate and tangible you that was born and will die as a  “you.”  Life appears like action verbing….for example…writing appears but there is no writer.  Listening appears but there is no listener.  Doing appears but there is no doer…..it just action verbing…..look deeply and see this…only verbing appearing.

So now, we’ve nearly reached this end of this post about karma and reincarnation. As you now may have concluded, karma and reincarnation are only beliefs and stories created and perpetuated by the relative or split-mind and applying to an imaginary personal self.

Logically, since there is not, nor has there ever been, a personal self, karma and reincarnation can be seen as false beliefs just like the belief of a personal self is false. Is karma or reincarnation even an issue when there is no doer, no “you” or “me”?

anita

Ease

Not long after awakening as what is, I withdrew from family and society to spend a month alone in nature. I rented a tiny cedar cabin at a wildlife preserve on a quiet lake in the foothills of Virginia to write, read, be.

Each day at the cabin included long walks in nature. This solitary communion with nature profoundly impacted the body/mind to the point that any remaining perceived boundaries of skin and sky dissolved.

And while retreating in this sanctuary, an unfathomable ease settled into every pore of my skin, absorbing and evaporating the remaining shards of the anita identity.  Nature peeled me to the core, blanched me in the rain, baked me in the sunshine.   Spontaneously, suddenly, I was, in every direction, and with every breath, unified as her, as nature, as impersonal consciousness. And this has not departed…now nearly five years later. The felt experiences at the cabin were like a simultaneous and paradoxical filling, deepening, and emptying. I could no longer locate myself as the center of anything, including the body.

Walking daily, my internal compass fell away. Critters were darting and playing everywhere…squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, feral cats, foxes, deer.  Birds, insects, and butterflies glided effortlessly as the perfection, giving not a care to any schedules, rules, beliefs, or commentary about what life should be or could be. Just ease with every breath.

No latitude or longitude, nor time and space remain…these concepts died within the brain/mind. There is only here, now. The only valid location or direction is here.  The only valid time is now. There is nothing to strive for…no longings, no hopes, no wishes for this to be anything but what is here…now…as this… aware presence.

There is no more efforting or trying, no special way to be, or to see, no particular state of mind to invoke, or particular emotions to crave. There is only this sense of ease here, now…as this…infinite edgeless awareness and knowing what is appearing is perfection.

anita

Sensating

Working with self-inquiry we notice a “me” that seems to always be present and aware. So what is this “me” that seems to be present? Most of the world claims the “me” as a separate and personal self where none actually exists. This is why self-inquiry is so very necessary….so we can see the intimacy of the aware presence we claim as personal and belonging to a “me.”  So what is perceiving?

Perceiving is the undivided dance of what is and the simultaneous, instantaneous, perception of it…what we see and the seeing (perceiving/sensating) are one and the same awareness, consciousness, but awareness or consciousness not a thing…awareness is what is.

Awareness is not the sensating or perceiving of phenomena (subject/object) but is the perceiving/sensating itself  —  there are no existing objects or subjects…no existing concepts.

Since we only have relative language to communicate in the dreamscape, we might nudge a bit closer to what is appearing if we look in this direction by using these words:  perceiving is perceiving perceiving…there is no perceiver or perceived.  We can also say awareness is aware of itself as awareness.

Awareness, consciousness, is the perceiving, is the sensating. There is no separate seer, no separate seeing, nor a separate what is (as a subject/object) to be seen. Nor is there a beyond or behind/above/below awareness or consciousness experiencing as the witness, the witnessing, or the witnesser of experiencing…there is only experiencing, sensating, perceiving…as aware presence or consciousness.

As characters we seem to have the conviction/belief that there exists an objective universe “out there” in which “we” exist. So…we (brain/minds) divide what is aware presence or consciousness – seeing, hearing, smelling,  tasting, feeling…and thinking, into a subject we claim as ourself, and the seeming objects that make up our belief in an external reality or world.

waking-up-to-who-you-are-requires-letting-go-of-who-you-imagine-yourself-to-beAnd we believe these cherished and revered conceptual ideas and beliefs are true and real…but they only exist conceptually. Awareness or consciousness is already seamless, edgeless, undivided, and has never been separated into anything…into relative subjects and objects, only brain/minds create and project separation and external reality where none could possibly exist.

And since all languages are based on a conceptual world, a relative world…a world of this compared to that, of up and down, of here and there, of past and future…this makes all languages dead. All words are dead…they are concepts. Concepts can never be real…only fig newtons of the imagination!

Nevertheless, in the dreamscape, humans like to use language to create concepts where none exist….we like to name, claim, and label what seems to be unfolding….we refer to this as life or reality, and we even teach our babies and children how to name, claim, and label everything that seems to be appearing.  This tendency to categorize and judge happens innocently enough though, since the vast majority of humans never question what they are taught about reality, especially humans in well-educated cultures.

Most humans judge and sort life experiences into relative concepts with categories/buckets such as:
“worthy” or “unworthy”
“perfect” or “imperfect”
“loving” or “unloving”
“good” or “bad”
“better” or “worse.”

These judgments, claims, beliefs, opinions, and convictions are the root cause of all suffering. We accept some of life, and push away what we do not like, value, believe, endorse, or condone. We create categories, labels, and names describing what we believe defines who we believe we are.  What if there is no “who” and only a “what?”

And yet, there is nothing really going on. It is seen directly that there are no separate objects divided by space or separate events divided by time. The angst and fear of believing we have control of our characters vanishes and it’s felt as a physical and psychological release of giant proportions.

It becomes obvious that life unfolds spontaneously and uncaused…that the idea of you being a doer is silly. It’s what Paul Hedderman refers to as “traveling lighter.” And it become as clear as day that the dreamscape, the illusory duality/relativity is what allows the experiencing of a perceived self and other. Without duality, there can be no appearances of self and other, no characters to play with. You might awaken to realize your external reality or life is a dream and see that you are a dream character, but you will never escape the dreamscape.

anita

Longing to Awaken

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

I believed I could experience awakening.  Bart Marshall set me straight and let me know awakening is uncaused and spontaneous…appearing to no one and beyond the beliefs of time and space. Perhaps like me, you believe, or you want to believe,  you can experience awakening…but you cannot…but this doesn’t stop seekers from longing to awaken and be present for the experience of awakening. Not going to happen.

Awakening is a very simple (too simple) and child-like seeing with an up-side-down perspective that is always available, and usually overlooked, every moment.  It’s ripe, ready, available, to be blinked with your very eyes, this very moment.  But the “you” that you believe you are is the very roadblock to simply seeing this.

How often do you hear the stark truth about awakening?  I was fortunate to meet Bart Marshall and learn that “nothing of you will remain” (Bart quoting Alfred Pulyan)  so I knew intellectually I had some lingering beliefs to dismantle about the personal self, eternity, and my concept and beliefs about God/Absolute.

Be aware that awakening will demolish and destroy all your beloved concepts of yourself, and all the beliefs you hold so dearly. All beliefs and concepts will die before or at awakening…and awakening will feel like the death of the self.  There will be deep grief and tears.

I found inquiry to be the best and most effective tool for backing away from content and beliefs of the anita character.

Grace knows when the character is seriously committed to jumping in the deep waters of surrender and finally willing to let go and die.  Only in complete surrender and rawness is there enough of a crack to let the Original Face (Zen phrase) shine through.

Upon hearing that the self must die, most expect the personal self to disappear with Awakening.  It does not. The self is merely seen for what it is – an illusory perceptual lens and “global positioning system” for the character reflecting and refracting awareness…aware…that it is aware.  For me, it certainly felt like the death of the personal self.

It is necessary in the dreamscape to have an imaginary two-ness in order to play as dream characters, to appear as self and other, to feel emotions, to experience virtual reality in the dream of separation.

You, dear one, ARE the painful belief in separation and the feeling you are a separate and distinct entity in a world of subjects and objects. You ARE the feeling of lack that cannot be soothed.  There is no inside or outside to what is, no boundaries to what is, to what seems to unfold…so how can you escape it when you are it?

Separation is a self perpetuating loop that cannot un-loop itself.  Yet, somehow (Grace – if there could be a concept of Grace  – all is Grace and/or nothing is Grace…)  the brain may see through the maze of words, beliefs, concepts, and recognize that all separation is simply a projected illusion.

And, with the direct seeing… it becomes apparent that no-thing and no one in the world needs to be fixed, improved, or sanctified. Life is seen as an elaborate game of smoke and mirrors, and then a quiet calm and perfect ease appears as no-thing-ness and floats like a wave upon a deeply profound peaceful sea and the brain/mind surrenders…and floats undisturbed…as ease and peace.

When it is realized and deeply sensed that there are no separate subjects and objects divided by space, nor separate events divided by time, “you” may finally relax as vast perfect stillness, of no-thing-ness and every-thing-ness, just perfect edgeless awareness appearing.

anita

 

Original Thinking

Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

The teachings on this website appear to be at odds with the prevailing beliefs of society, humanity, and reality. We seem to blindly take what parents, educators, religious leaders, and scholars tell us to be facts and truths. Most of us are caught in a vicious cycle of brain/mind numbing programming and daydreaming that serves to keep our perceptions personal, confused, compliant, and caged.

The vast majority of humans are unfamiliar with raw and unprocessed thoughts.  Most, believing thoughts are personal, twist these vaporous thought-clouds into stories and beliefs with a natural ease since we are taught by well meaning folks to name, label, and claim thoughts as personal. Nearly all absorb the teachings and beliefs of parents, teachers, and authority figures who themselves have simply passed along these concepts without much direct or critical analysis.

Thankfully, a few have dared to think outside the boundaries of traditional human programming to glimpse the edgeless aware presence upon which thoughts appear. These wild and weird ones are seekers with a budding seed for glimpsing absolute truth and they question what the majority deem as factual, concrete, valid, and true.

Noticing the power of habitual thinking may be shocking at first, and it is, and yet a sense of curiosity arises to investigate and explore what is actually appearing here now. Noticing when we are lost in thought, daydreaming, or zoned-out will help us see how deeply we are living in our tiny little worlds and overlooking the deep inner peace that is always available by simply accepting what is and questioning the questioner.

Once we begin to see that the brain labels what is appearing with only references to the imaginary past, we’ll likely feel energized to explore how we’ve missed the sweetness and peace of allowing what is appearing because we are lost in our head and the belief in a past.

Give it a try…simply notice the tricky little brain/mind as it’s playing its clever tricks and seduction to keep us believing we are separate and contained within the boundary of flesh and skin.

anita