Click here to go to the next issue
Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day
Exclusive to the Highlights today, are excerpts from David Carse's Perfect Brilliant Stillness: Beyond the Individual Self. http://nonduality.com/perfect_brilliant_stillness.htm
I've been meaning to write a full review of this book and what's making me put it off is that this seems to be a turning point book, or a landmark book, or the taken fork in the road. I can't put my finger on it. Part of this book's attraction and power is the element of the personal that David incorporates.
A review if this book is going to require a good look at other books in the genre and a comparison and an analysis of why David's book is a landmark book, as it seems to be. Depending in part on how it is marketing, Perfect Brilliant Stillness could take its place as a well-known, outstanding statement of truth, reality, understanding.
Selections from Perfect Brilliant Stillness: Beyond the Individual Self, by David Carse
(typed, not scanned or pasted)
~ ~ ~
Ultimately, there is truly nothing to say. The dream continues; and there is re-entering the dream (not by choice but because that, apparently, is what is to occur to this dream character) with the full knowledge that it is a dream... . But you just can't expect I-I to take any of it seriously.
And that hermit's cave still looks awfully good. Nothing is needed. It is so completely not important that anything happen, that anything come of this. No need, no requirement, no mandate, no role. Simple. Utterly simple.
~ ~ ~
There are those who spend their lives thus, at the feet of such a teacher, but that's not what occurred in this case. Nevertheless, the pages that follow are an account of what happens when 'What is,' that which cannot be taught, which is beyond the consensus reality of things, ideas, thoughts, experiences, and sense perceptions, is suddenly and spontaneously seen or apperceived; and when all of this so-called reality is seen and clearly understood to be illusion, of the nature of a dream.
~ ~ ~
Behind the New Age pleasantries, this messianic idea of being the annointed one, saving the world, is insidious. Stop. The Teaching is universal, and there are many teachers, and they are always ready where they need to be. In the Understanding it is known that the world doesn't need any special message from any special teacher. That's all being taken care of. The dream in Consciounsess is unfolding perfectly, and personality cults around popular and well-funded spiritual teachers are part of that unfolding; but not in the way they, or their devotees, might think.
~ ~ ~
Humans seem possessed of the idea that there is something we can do to get what we want, and we have been convinced that there is something we have to do, or that we should be doing.
Listen. There is nothing you need to do. Nothing you need to make better or improve. Nothing to purify or sanctify or consecrate. Nothing to accomplish, nothing to prove. Nothing to construct. Nothing to deconstruct. Nothing to work at or to learn, nothing and no one to teach. Not even anything to understand or to 'get.' Nothing to balance or adjust or heal. Nothing to become.
Of course if it is in the dream of All That Is for a mind/body object to appear to 'do' any of these things, then that will happen: something for the dream characters to do while the dream lasts.
~ ~ ~
At the morning talks [with Ramesh Balsekar] recently there has been a musician who plays traditional Indian flute for the group after the talks. The flute does not know music: it does not know 'G' from 'B flat;' it does not know tempo or emphasis, and cannot make music come out of itself; it's just a hollow bamboo stick with holes in it! It is the musician who has the knowledge and the skill and the intention and the dexterity, and whose breath blows through the instrument and whose fingers manipulate the openings so that beautiful music flows out. When the music is ended no one congratulates the wooden stick on the music it made; it is the musician who is applauded and thanked for this beautiful gift of music.
It is precisely so with what we think of as our 'selves.' We are instruments, hollow sticks, through which the Breath, the Spirit, the Energy which is Presence, All That Is, Consciousness, flows. Just as it is not the flute making the note, but the Musician making the note through the instrument, so it is the breath which is Presence which animates this mind and body and comes out through this mouth to make it seem that this mouth is speaking words.
The basic misunderstanding, the basic ignorance, is this unwitting usurpation of the role of Musician by the instrument. This inversion of the truth is spontaneously realized when the Understanding occurs.
~ ~ ~
Thinking that you are an awakened one, or that it is possible that you might become an awakened one, or that your teacher is an awakened one, or that there is at least one awakened one in a cave in the Himalaya somewhere, is called being asleep. Awakening means popping out of the context in which awakening makes any sense.
~ ~ ~
Eventually U.G. Krishnamurti's apparently monstrous nihilism is the only thing that survives: there is nothing here for you. I have nothing for you. You have no true self, and the false self you think you are is of no significance. Go away. Sleep your happy dream life. Why would you want this anyway? Self-annihilation is never chosen. The only ones who come to this are dragged kicking and screaming. Or are tricked, lured into the jungle and then ripped open, hollowed out, gutted. Or accosted at a bus stop; blasted, moorings cut, left to drift. If you are going to be so dragged, so tricked, fine. Has nothing to do with me or with you.
~ ~ ~
Once when I was in
A particular specialty of the house was the carved wooden screens that are used as room dividers. Composed of several panels, each about a foot and a half wide by six feet high, four or five of these panels hinged together. One after another, these carved teakwood screens were unfolded in front of me, and they were dazzling. Every inch of every panel was intricately carved; and it was pierced carving, cutting right through the inch-thick wood so that the air could pass through the panels, which of course is why they are called 'screens.'
As I examined the carving on one screen, I found that the closer I looked the more I saw. It was amazing. There were elephant caravans, the palace of the Raj, tigers in the jungle, the great River Ganga, sadhus, temples, naked women, processions, the whole life of the Buddha, the myth of Lord Ganesha, Prince Arjuna in battle, more naked women, Shiva dancing the world into existence, and on and on, the whole history of India, of the world, of the universe. The carving was marvelous: the fringe on the carpets on the elephants' backs was detailed. The naked women were... detailed. No individual image on the screen was more than a couple inches high, and this went on for several square feet.
The carved screen had my complete and undivided attention for some time. Eventually, around the edges of that concentration, I started to become aware of something else. Something going on, that I had on some level been aware of but had not been paying attention to. The shop owner and his helpers were still at work, running around, hauling otu stuff: "And also we have..." "For you, special price..." "Please sir, if you would look at this..." I was sitting on the chair, still holding half a cup of sweet tea, leaning forward toward the screen standing a couple of feet in front of me, scanning the marvelous carved landscape, when...
Pop. My focus is changed, and I was suddenly looking through the screen. In fact, the screen and its carved universe which had occupied all my attention was suddenly vague and fuzzy, semi-transparent: I was seeing through it, past it, to...
...well, here the analogy breaks down, because what I was seeing though to was the rest of the shop, with its enthusiastic staff piling up rosewood elephants and brass engravings.
But nevertheless. Pop. A very simple thing, a very ordinary thing. The suddenness of seeing through the veil. To the background, the substrate. To what is always there, and ultimately 'real' and true, but not perceived because our focus has been on the propped-up artificial screen, on "the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth... A prison for your mind."
What is always there, What is. Who you truly Are, is precisely the background, the milieu, in which the phony hologram, the matrix, the maya, exists.
~ ~ ~
Perfect Brilliant Stillness: Beyond the Individual Self, by David Carse
top of page