Easy Breezy Waking Up

Nonduality at Juniper Level

Greetings,

I am not surprised to read the misleading content below from a well known and respected website about the science of nonduality:

Nonduality is the philosophical, spiritual, and scientific understanding of non-separation and fundamental intrinsic oneness.

 

For thousand of years, through deep inner inquiry, philosophers and sages have come to the realization that there is only one substance and we are therefore all part of it. This substance can be called Awareness, Consciousness, Spirit, Advaita, Brahman, Tao, Nirvana or even God. It is constant, ever present, unchangeable and is the essence of all existence.

 

In the last century Western scientists are arriving at the same conclusion: The universe does indeed comprise of a single substance, presumably created during the Big Bang, and all sense of being – consciousness – subsequently arises from it.

 

This realization has ontological implications for humanity: fundamentally we are individual expressions of a single entity, inextricably connected to one another, we are all drops of the same ocean.

 

With “factual” information like the nonduality information above circulating over the internet no wonder seekers are popping up everywhere lately as they “awaken to their true nature.”

“That there is only one substance and we are therefore all part of it.”  Tell me please how this works – how do you have parts and parcels of an essence that is timeless, edgeless, undivided, seamless, infinite?  Can you divide the sky and be a separate piece of the sky?

Nonduality is a philosophy of not-two, undivided, indescribable, immeasurable. But it certainly feels really good to hold hands and sing that we are all part of the same aware consciousness while ignoring the main tenets of nonduality: there is no personal self, is no personal consciousness, no personal awareness, no time, no location, no space.

The universe or reality may appear as awareness here, now, this moment, but there is no external reality. There is no separation into seven billion human units each with their own private thoughts, desires, and feelings.

There is only one…as in not two. And there is not even nothing beyond nor before this moment.

Moments cannot be strung together unless you are creating a fictional story or an irrelevant running commentary about what is appearing now. Even those claiming awakening are still believing in concepts of time and space, still believing in something, some essence, lasting beyond this perfect moment.

Be careful of most nonduality teachers until you completely vet them…some will use your innocence and take your money all the while feeling good and helpful since they honestly believe they really are enlightened.

Here is the gritty grit….it’s much too difficult, if not nearly impossible to awaken to absolute truth. The nonduality and new agey groups, seminars, programs and churches popping up now are teaching oneness, nonduality, and enlightenment but are sadly misinformed and/or they are misperceiving nonduality teachings and offering pleasant and upbeat pablum to folks to fill the offering plates and their wallets.

We long to uncover the natural, peaceful, and intimate timeless perfection as awareness since we have forgotten what we are…and it feels like a wound that will not heal.

And what better way to ensure the survival of the new-agey seminars, conferences, and churches than to tell you that you are part of the oneness, part of the whole, part of the infinite love and joy. Sounds so empowering and peaceful, right?

Certainly I am not suggesting all leaders of new agey programs are intentionally misleading the public…they may believe they are teaching nonduality.  A little bit of nondual language may seem impressive, and may soothe the hurt until you come upon a fully awakened nonduality teacher and begin seeing beyond the fabrications and the pretending. And yet, this too, is the perfection of the appearances.

So what’s the difference between human truth and absolute truth?  Let’s have a brief look below, while knowing this topic deserves a much deeper examination and self inquiry.

Truth projected from the relative brain/mind of a human is the sum of thoughts woven tightly from complex concepts, hypotheses, theorems, laws, norms, prevailing wisdom, consensus, facts, and conclusions accepted by all as collective truths. Like gravity, time, location, and chocolate 🙂

Absolute truth is a different critter… beyond the limits and dualistic nature of the relative human brain. So in order to awaken to what is, you must, must, must, understand how the brain/mind works, is programmed — to ensure you continue believing you are separate.  And that’s the focus and work of this website…to keep re-minding you.

  • Absolute truth is not relative and the brain is relative.
  • Absolute truth is not subject to language and phrases based on subject or object.
  • Absolute truth cannot be taught, shared, described…only pointed towards. If it is describable it’s not Absolute Truth.  Words like abyss and void come as close as any words I’m familiar with but even these words conjure beliefs and opinions of what a relative void or an abyss is, or could be.
  • Absolute truth is only uncovered by diligently peeling away the beliefs, concepts, opinions, convictions, and physical laws hiding the perfect silent brilliance.
  • Absolute truth cannot be earned, bestowed, transferred, diminished, expanded, refined, defined, or claimed and comprehended or understood with a brain/mind.
  • Absolute truth is not measured with time, location, distance or any other relative system of measurement since Absolute truth is all there is …and yet is ignored, overlooked, and dismissed by 99% of humans.
  • Awakening is not what you think. 😉  This is the reason self inquiry is the tool for exploring all the beliefs and concepts you worship and keep you appearing glued together as separate.

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

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

 

Wreckage

Pixabay

Rain falling, wind gusting, small chards of what I thought I was
instantly dissolving into bright shadowy formless forms
of loving empty
awe and wonder
as fierceness dies and lives and
beliefs burn upon
the silent hot waters of inquiry.

perceiving arises, uncaused, to no one and everyone to no thing and every thing,
as brilliantly beautiful
swirling and refracting watery songs
spontaneously appear singing heavy dirges of
who I once believed I was…and wasn’t
now seeing and knowing the seen and the unseen,
the knowing and the unknown
as momentary appearances of
empty fullness existing and not existing.

anita

 

 

Richard Rose

Richard Rose was my nonduality teacher’s teacher. Bart Marshall pointed me to towards the gateless gate and Richard Rose was Bart’s teacher. You will find Richard’s timeless words below quite clear and penetrating:

 

The path to Truth, or Reality, or Essence is very simple:

 

It requires a Selfish man, an individualist not afraid of the annihilation of individualism, a fearless man not afraid of powers within him that are much greater than himself, and a man of suicidal relentlessness once his commitment is given.

 

All that is necessary to find the Truth is an unconditional commitment, -not putting a time upon the commitment nor a greater value on any other desires or fears. If a person sincerely makes a commitment he automatically becomes a vector in a sure direction. 

 

But if we wish to see the commitment become an Absolute result in this lifetime, we must be conscious of our limited time, and of ways and means to expedite the realization. All energies must give priority to the vector. Every hour must be used in a way to expedite the success. 

 

So that as soon as the general commitment is made, we should immediately commit our energies which are generally used for anger or pleasure so that transmutation will bring Intuition. 

 

The voice of Intuition will be our most valuable teacher. It will furnish all future planning for the campaign. But do not rest. Make violent efforts but do not disturb the sleepers.”

 

 

— From The Direct Mind Experience by Richard Rose

anita

 

  • Breadcrumbs on the path...

    Silence is not the absence of thought. Silence is the absence of a personal self taking ownership of thought and thinking.