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Nondual Highlights Issue #2053 Wednesday, February 9, 2004 Editor: Mark

If at this moment one wishes to achieve liberation from the cycle of existence, one must recognize ordinary mind for it is the root of all things. That which is designated as 'ordinary mind' is one's own awareness. Left in its natural state, this awareness remains unstained by any [nonordinary] perceptive forms, unmuddled by any levels of existential consciousness, and unclouded by dullness, depression or thought. If one has discovered the identity of that mind one has discovered the self-cognizing awareness. If one fails to gain such an understanding, this ordinary mind remains with the coemergence of ignorance. However, the understanding of that mind is called awareness, the essence, the coemergent self-knowing, ordinary mind, unmodulated simplicity, nondiscrimination, and luminous clarity."

- Gampopa, from the book,
Mahamudra, the Quintessence of Mind and Meditation, by Namgyal, published by Shambhala.

Blessings to all. May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.

- posted to DailyDharma

Questioner: Gangaji, I have a question.

Gangaji: (Laughter) You also have the answer. (Laughter) So, why don't you give the answer first, and the question second?

Q: Yes.

G: (Laughter) Or, you can give the answer and then we could guess the question.

Q: The answer is, yes.

G: Oh, excellent.

Q: The question is, is there ever a time when awareness is no longer overshadowed by emotion?

G: Actually all the time. All the time. What happens is that individual awareness, which is a ray of universal awareness, gets fixated on a loop of emotional drama. But if at any point in that loop, the individual mind stops and investigates - all the way, then whatever the emotion, there is instant clarity. So then, every emotion is a vehicle. Every moment of every emotion is a vehicle. Awareness is not overshadowed by anything. Ever.

Q: Yes.

G: Ever. We speak of awareness, but often what we are talking about, is a state of awareness. It gets called mindfulness, or equanimity, or samadhi, or clarity. Those are states of awareness. And then we also have what we call the negative states: confusion, anxiety, lack of equanimity, negativity. Those are also states of awareness. But you cannot have any of those states without awareness. This is not illogical. This is very logical. You can also have awareness without any state. You do not need any state for awareness, as some people here have discovered. There can be a moment when nothing is happening, when there is just awareness: as you just said, "no trees, no me". There is just awareness and then the trees reappear. Does awareness disappear? Well how did you know there were trees, if awareness disappeared? How did you know there were no trees if awareness disappeared when there were no trees?

So what happens as a result of spiritual conditioning, is that we learn to equate the elevated state with the truth of awareness, rather than recognizing that awareness is present in all states. Awareness is omnipresent. Awareness is God. It is always here, omniscient. Awareness knows everything, is aware of everything. That does not mean that it is some powerful "thing" that knows what you are thinking, and that you blinked or you didn't blink. It means that everything that occurs or does not occur occurs in the presence of awareness. The shift that can occur in individual awareness happens when you recognize that you are here, regardless of emotion or state. Emotions are like weather. So the winds came up this morning and there were white caps on the lake, and then rain came. But here you are. You did not change. Life did not change. Individual awareness drops deeper and deeper into its source. I am not saying that you have to "stay in the source" because you can not be separate from the source. If you are trying to "stay in the source", then there is still some latent belief that "if I do not stay here, then I will not be aware." This is fluid, effortless being.

Identification with particular states of awareness is perhaps part of the organism or part of the evolution, but it is a source of suffering because there is identification as a sufferer. The sufferer is an image that appears in awareness, and gets identified as "me" and is associated with the physical body. But always there is awareness, aware of the suffering, aware of the sufferer, aware of identification, and yet free of that. The mystery is how it gets overlooked. But you don't have to solve that mystery. Just stop overlooking it. Just tell the truth.

I would meet spiritual teachers and they would tell me they had always been awake. And I would say, "Well that is not me. I am not awake. I have never been awake. I want to be awake." I had in my mind some idea of what "awake" was. But then to awaken in an instant, and have my teacher point to me and challenge me, to discover: "Oh that? Oh, that has always been here. It has always been here." But because it had always been here, and because I associated "me" with suffering, I figured that must be worthless. "That could not be it. Not that. Give me that." And so I searched for that, and found that in my teacher, and he threw me back into that. And it is the same that.

So "yes," is the right answer. Awareness is always here. Awareness is always free. Awareness is always unobstructed. Is mind always unobstructed? No. There are moments of clarity in mind, and there are moments of obscuration in mind. But for either clarity or obscuration to be present, there must be awareness aware of clarity, awareness aware of obscuration. And it is free of both. Free of clarity, not bound by clarity.

- Satsang with Gangaji - Silver Bay, New York Retreat - September 25, 2003

Living Life as a Question

Many of the questions and concerns in satsang come in a similar form: How do I get or keep a particular experience? How do I get or keep a sense of awakeness or expansion or openness or freedom or loving kindness or Presence? Or if worldly concerns are the issue, the question is the same: How do I get or keep more health, more wealth, more comfort, more security, more romance? Another form these questions take is: How do I avoid falling asleep or feeling stuck or being contracted or being sick or losing love? They’re good questions. There’s nothing wrong with them. They’re real for the person who’s asking them.

Within each of these questions is the assumption that you need to do something—you need to get or keep or avoid something. Right there, in that assumption, is our suffering. The effort to get or keep or avoid any experience is what makes life miserable, difficult, dis-easeful.

In satsang, another possibility is pointed to, a way of touching your experience without either trying to hold on to it or push it away. It’s a way of reaching out to your experience and really seeing what’s it’s like. In doing this, the questions become: How open or stuck am I right now? How open or closed is my Heart right now? How happy or sad am I right now?

And when the answer comes, the question becomes What’s that like? What’s it like to be expanded or contracted or whatever it is you are experiencing? What’s it like to have an open Heart or to not be in touch with your Heart at all in a particular moment? What’s it like to be filled with love? What’s it like to feel a lack of love? This is reaching out and touching the experience as it is and as it naturally changes. It’s not a static question, but an alive one; you’re never done with that question.

In doing this, rather than trying to change life, you’re living life as a question. What’s this like? And what’s it like now that I’ve noticed what this is like? And what’s it like now? And now that it’s changed again, what’s it like? Even your noticing something changes it, so by the time you’ve found an answer, it’s time to ask the question again.

We’ve been so conditioned to think that the point of questions is to get answers, that we overlook that the point of answers is that they get us to more questions. The questions are as valid and rich as any answer because every answer is full of questions. You can even begin to enjoy the questions, even trust the questions, as much as any answer that comes.

- Excerpt from
Living Life as a Question by Nirmala

Question: There are said to be six organs of different colours in the chest, of which the Heart is said to be two finger-breaths to the right of the middle line. But the Heart is also formless. Should we then imagine it to have a shape and meditate on it?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: No. Only the quest `Who am I?' is necessary. What remains all through deep sleep and waking is the same. But in waking there is unhappiness and the effort to remove it. Asked who wakes up from sleep you say `I'. Now you are told to hold fast to this `I'. If it is done the eternal being will reveal itself. Investigation of `I' is the point and not meditation on the Heart- centre. There is nothing like within or without. Both mean either the same thing or nothing.

Of course there is also the practice of meditation on the Heart- centre. It is only a practice and not investigation. Only the one who meditates on the Heart can remain aware when the mind ceases to be active and remains still, whereas those who meditate on other centres cannot be so aware but infer that the mind was still only after it becomes again active.

In whatever place in the body one thinks Self to be residing, due to the power of that thinking it will appear to the one who thinks thus as if Self is residing in that place. However, the beloved Heart alone is the refuge for the rising and subsiding of that `I'. Know that though it is said that the Heart exists both inside and outside, in absolute truth it does not exist both inside and outside, because the body, which appears as the base of the differences `inside' and `outside', is an imagination of the thinking mind. Heart, the source, is the beginning, the middle and the end of all. Heart, the supreme space, is never a form. It is the light of truth.

- Ramana Maharshi from
Be As You Are, posted to MillionPaths

Somehow it was very simple and easy in my case. My guru, before he died, told me: "Believe me, you are the Supreme Reality. Don't doubt my words, don't disbelieve me. I am telling you the truth, act on it". I could not forget his words and by not forgetting, I have realized. Once the guru told me: "You are the Supreme Reality", I ceased having visions and trances and became very quiet and simple. I found myself desiring and knowing less and less, until I could say in utter astonishment: "I know nothing, I want nothing."

- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

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