What is Nonduality
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Nondual Highlights Issue #2119 Wednesday, April 20, 2005
the small mind finds its correct place in our big mind, then
there is peace - everything is our large mind.
"Transmission" of this big mind occurs with no loss
"of even a speck of dust" by the master, and no gain
"of even a thread" by the now awakened disciple. This
is because everyone is already within his big self.
- Shunryu Suzuki
The self's fear that it's existence may be called into question can manifest in a variety of ways. Confronted with an unusual experience that might be viewed as an invitation to inquire further, the self may simply respond with preoccupation, deciding that it has no time for such concerns, or no interest in them. Instead, it turns back to the well - known stories that proliferate from the founding story: stories of success and failure, sorrow and joy, gain and loss, praise and blame. Other concerns are rejected as childish, or as better left to 'professional' thinkers, or else derided as useless.
Another response to the momentary awareness that matters could be different is to interpret such awareness as the onset of confusion. Confusion is the self's response to the not - knowing that calls a story into question - a way of twisting not-knowing to gain control over it. The self expects to understand in terms of the old categories and old stories, and interprets the failure of the old ways as a failure of understanding: a sign of weakness that it quickly turns into a shield against the new. Aware that the old patterns have been brought under suspicion, it holds onto them as tightly as ever, catching awareness 'in a bind'.
Such a confusion is the self's version of the deep not-knowing that challenges existence...(and) in the substitution of confusion for not - knowing, a fog descends...The resulting emotional tone covers over the cutting clarity inherent in the original not - knowing.
... (Or) the self may respond to the challenge of not - knowing by moving to appropriate it, subtly turning not-knowing itself into a position and a structure. "Yes," the self says, "Yes, I understand! For so long I have held on to my positions and my stories, but now I see the truth! What Beauty! What Joy! What Openness! At last I have found my true home!"
Such affirmation is a ready cover for self - deception. Its 'yes' is the comfortable 'yes' of old patterns. It turns understanding into 'my' experience, something the self can manipulate through new narratives and interpretations. The self twists its concepts and meanings around until there is room for the element of not-knowing to fit in. Reacting to openness as a void, it rushes to fill it.
To appropriate not - knowing in this way is quite easy, even 'natural'. The self has a strong impulse toward the therapeutic, toward making knowledge into something that can benefit the self. Now it becomes a partisan of not-knowing. It sweeps the freedom of the unknown into the shadow cast by the self, then pretends not to notice as darkness falls once more.
- Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche from Love of Knowledge
The soil is faithful to its trust: whatever
you have sown in it, you reap the same.
But until springtime brings the touch of God,
the soil does not reveal its secrets.
- Rumi, posted to AlongTheWay
Q: Bhagavan said yesterday that while one is engaged in search of God 'within', `outer' work would go on automatically. In the life of Sri Chaitanya it is said that during his lectures to students he was really seeking Krishna within and he forgot all about his body and went on talking of Krishna only. This raises a doubt as to whether work can safely be left to itself. Should one keep part of one's attention on the physical work?
A: The Self is all. Are you apart from the Self ? Or can the work go on without the Self? The Self is universal so all actions will go on whether you strain yourself to be engaged in them or not. The work will go on of itself. Thus Krishna told Arjuna that he need not trouble to kill the Kauravas because they were already slain by God. It was not for him to resolve to work and worry himself about it, but to allow his own nature to carry out the will of the higher power.
Q: But the work may suffer if I do not attend to it.
A: Attending to the Self means attending to the work. Because you identify yourself with the body, you think that work is done by you. But the body and its activities, including that work, are not apart from the Self. What does it matter whether you attend to the work or not? When you walk from one place to another you do not attend to the steps you take and yet you find yourself after a time at your goal. You see how the business of walking goes on without your attending to it. So also with other kinds of work.
- excerpt from Be As You Are, The Teaching of Sri Ramana Maharshi, edited by David Godman, posted to MillionPaths
True meditation has no direction, goals, or method. All methods aim at achieving a certain state of mind. All states are limited, impermanent and conditioned. Fascination with states leads only to bondage and dependency. True meditation is abidance as primordial consciousness.
True meditation appears in consciousness spontaneously when awareness is not fixated on objects of perception. When you first start to meditate you notice that awareness is always focused on some object: on thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions, memories, sounds, etc. This is because the mind is conditioned to focus and contract upon objects. Then the mind compulsively interprets what it is aware of (the object) in a mechanical and distorted way. It begins to draw conclusions and make assumptions according to past conditioning.
In true meditation all objects are left to their natural functioning. This means that no effort should be made to manipulate or suppress any object of awareness. In true meditation the emphasis is on being awareness; not on being aware of objects, but on resting as primordial awareness itself. Primordial awareness (consciousness) is the source in which all objects arise and subside. As you gently relax into awareness, into listening, the minds compulsive contraction around objects will fade. Silence of being will come more clearly into consciousness as a welcoming to rest and abide. An attitude of open receptivity, free of any goal or anticipation, will facilitate the presence of silence and stillness to be revealed as your natural condition.
Silence and stillness are not states and therefore cannot be produced or created. Silence is the non-state in which all states arise and subside. Silence, stillness and awareness are not states and can never be perceived in their totality as objects. Silence is itself the eternal witness without form or attributes. As you rest more profoundly as the witness, all objects take on their natural functionality, and awareness becomes free of the mind's compulsive contractions and identifications, and returns to its natural non- state of Presence.
The simple yet profound question, "Who Am I ?," can then reveal one's self not to be the endless tyranny of the ego-personality, but objectless Freedom of Being - Primordial Consciousness in which all states and all objects come and go as manifestations of the Eternal Unborn Self that YOU ARE.
- Adyashanti, posted to RamanaMaharshi
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