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#2376 - Friday, January 27, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz



This Nondual Highlights exclusive features a typed excerpt from Living Reality: My Extraordinary Summer with "Sailor" Bob Adamson, by James Braha.


An excerpt also appeared not long ago in Highlights #2358:


Living Reality reads like a cool glass of clean water and is a solid contribution to today's literature of nonduality. I very much like the inclusion of crisp, sharp color photographs. There are 15 color photos showing James, his family and friends, and mostly Bob Adamson and Bob's wife Barbara. I think that for twenty bucks, this 322 page book with color photos is a good deal. Throughout the book there is a sense of family - friends - guru that is untainted and without a hint of cliqueishness.


To read more selections and to order Living Reality, visit


Bob Adamson is one of the most unadorned, accessible nondual teachers around. Podcasts with Adamson are refreshing:





"It doesn't matter what your experience is." A brief excerpt from Living Reality.


Bob: So, how are you going?


James: Pretty good. I was thinking about something Nisargadatta said: "Either you live in a world of desire and fear, or you live in freedom." I still live with desires and fears. They're not nearly as intense as they used to be, but they're essentially still here. And I wonder how much this understanding deepens.


Bob: Well, it can't actually deepen. You're already that pure intelligence energy, which you've always been. But, different insights come up through the mind. You might call it clear understanding or better understanding. The essence is still the same. It's always been "one without a second;" it can't be added to and nothing can take away from it. It's already That.


James: Recently a friend of mine said something interesting. "Many people think they're enlightened. Wait until they hear some bad news, like having cancer, and then they see how real their liberation is."


Bob: Well, if they have the true understanding, they will realize that it doesn't matter because they were never born anyway. The fear of death disappears altogether. Naturally, the way you die gives some concern. You wouldn't want to be sick or in pain for a long time.


James: I've noticed that when I'm sick with a really bad cold, non-dual understanding doesn't make it a heck of a lot better. What that physical pain is there.


Bob: Yes, but even the intensity of that physical pain lessens a lot if you can stay with it moment by moment. If the mind is constantly judging and labeling pain, then it can snowball and get worse and become overwhelming. But there's always a sense of peace or well-being in the background. Nothing's been touched there.


James: I've also been thinking about the fact that, in essence, nobody's better off than anyone else. I hear stories and read books where people claiming enlightenment say they "live in paradise," and things like that. Then, of course, I start desiring what they have. I want that paradise. But that must be nonsense.


Bob: Well, have a look at all that. Those are all experiences. They come and go. What you are is the experiencING. The experience and the experiencer are conceptual. But the experiencing is the actual. The experience of silence is not better that the experience of chatter. They are both experiences. The experiencing, which they happen on, has never been touched. The experience and the experiencer are like reflections in a mirror. The mirror is the experiencing essence, which allows experiences to happen. It doesn't matter what your experience is.


James: That's where I start to get tangled. I would definitely prefer to have nice experiences. It doesn't seem like it's "all the same" whether I have a good experience or bad experience or flat experience. I want the good ones. That plays on my mind a lot, because I seem to have continual flat experience -- nothing great, nothing terrible. Just flat. And I wonder, "Shouldn't there be some nice experience happening"? I understand intellectually that that would simply be another experience but...


Bob: It's just what it is. It's that "cognizing emptiness," if you like. It's pure awareness, or pure intelligence energy. Things appear and things disappear. And if a preference comes, that appears on it also. You couldn't have preferences without that essence.


James: Is it purely conceptual about this "screen" or the "experiencing that's always there?" Does it give you some solace that it's there? Do you experience it?


Bob: You don't "experience" it, but stay with the subtlety of it and you'll see that in there is the uncaused joy, the uncaused happiness, the uncaused love... . This is not the pairs of opposites -- love/hate, joy/sadness, pleasure and pain. It's the uncaused love and compassion. It's subtly there on its own. As you're sitting with that subtleness, it'll become more pronounced. Sitting with your essence gives it a chance to become more pronounced. And even though the so-called pleasure or pain and things are going on, there will always be that underlying sense of well-being. Nisargadatta puts it in the negating way: "There's nothing wrong anymore."


James: This sounds like what often happens to me at night. I'll be in bed waiting to fall asleep, or I'll awaken in the middle of the night, and this experience occurs where all thoughts have abated and I'm with a kind of dramatic silence or subtleness. It seems like an experience. But it's not, is it? It's just what is.


Bob: Exactly. It's pure isness.


James: One night, this was happening and I notice my shoulder was hurting. And, honest to God, it became clear to me that the sensation was in fact a concept -- an idea in the mind! Then I realized all existence is an idea. What doesn't this happen more often?


Bob: Well, give it a chance. Allow it! You'll see it's happening all the time.


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