What is Nonduality
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#2894 - Tuesday, August 7, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nondual Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights
Writings on Nonduality. Amazon site: http://nonduality.com/one.htm
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A note from Editor Mark, and an introduction to a new website and the writings of Harry Liantziris.
Do you ever find
yourself crying and laughing at the same time? I just
did, while watching a lovely POV program on PBS... The Hobart
Shakespeareans" Gosh, I'd love to be a teacher like Mr. Esquith... I
highly recommend the show.
an investigation into Being
Inquiring into the nature of existence is what this investigation is about. What we will focus on is the entity called the self and the ways that we have identified with this being. But unlike any intellectual endeavour, there is no point of departure, no starting point, from which we are to begin. Neither is there a finishing point, a point of arrival, at which we end. Instead, all we will do is begin and end right where we are, which paradoxically is right where weve always been.
My name is Harry Liantziris, and I was born in 1969, in Melbourne, Australia. I can not say when my interest in Self Inquiry began. For as much as I can remember, Ive often wondered about who we are, and what our place might be. There was a time though that the investigation became quite serious. What I mean is that I truly longed for finding out.
My search took me through the academic heights of Western philosophy, and then to the mystical and spiritual traditions of the East. For a decade, I kept asking questions, read a great deal of highly developed ideas, and was mesmerised by the writings of saints. Yet, something was still missing; a piece of the puzzle had not fallen into place.
It was not till I met Sailor Bob Adamson in 2005 that the searching finally ceased.
What Bob did for me was point out an amazingly simple thing. All he said was Harry, youre already what youre searching for. And that was it.
Today, I offer the same message to anyone whos still looking. So if you care to join this investigation, then welcome. I hope that what you find here is what your heart longs for.
Being and being
Being with a capital B is not anything we could say exists, like we say a tree exists. We would be closer though if we understood it as existence as such. So where the tree is thought to have existence, Being is existence.
Whereas being with a small b is the everyday way that we understand how we exist. For us, this is simply the manner in which we see ourselves. The word I like to use for this is the self. There are other words such as ego, or reference point, or identity which work just as well. What they all do is describe that being that we think we are.
Now this little b being is actually part of Being with a big B. In fact, everything that ever was, or will be, appears within it. To rephrase this, Being is the backdrop upon which the Universe and everything in it takes place.
You could even say that the very stars are suspended in the sky because of it. Planets are kept spinning by it. And our very lives are totally dependent upon it.
Yet in the blink of an eye, it is all gone, almost as if it never was. You, me, and the whole of creation vanishing like a puff of smoke.
When the Ancients made this proclamation all they meant was know that you are. What they did not mean was know who or what you are.
The problem with seeing ourselves as a who or a what is that we become thing-like. To rephrase this, you could say that we have become separated from ourselves. So instead of seeing our self as whole, or complete, we have divided ourselves in two.
Ultimately, it is this sense of fragmentation and division that keeps us from knowing our real self. What then occurs is that we accept our thing-like status as if it is who or what we are. And to some degree, this is expected of us.
What I mean is that life requires that we take on many roles, many ways of being. In fact, from our early developmental years, we start behaving like a particular type of person. So depending on whether were said to be a girl or a boy, we will act girl-like or boy-like. In other words, social expectations of who we are become enacted, or played out, in a role-like way.
As we mature, our lives diversify, meaning that they take on more complexity. So instead of just being a girl or a boy, we also perform other roles. We may have become a parent ourselves. Or we may be a career person, or perhaps not. The point is that there are a whole range of things that we could be. And yet, all these identities, or ways of being, are in effect roles.
So for all our elaborate and dedicated performances, we nevertheless do not know our real self. All we do know is that thing-like entity that we have come to believe is ourselves.
The nature of existence is not something that we can know intellectually. For in grasping for it with the mind all we do is create a concept for it. To know something in this way is to know it indirectly. But direct knowing is as the name suggests direct. In other words, there is no mediation by the mind or the intellect. All there is is a clear seeing. That is all.
Nevertheless, the mind does not want to accept this. And in fact, it cant. By its nature the mind is divided. What this means is that it can only think in terms of opposites. So if something is not one thing, then it has to be another, its opposite. For example, if a person is not male, then they have to be female. But there are instances when this is not always the case, as medical experts know.
My point is that the mind is divided in two. So when it comes across something that does not fit this framework it can not handle it.
As Ive mentioned, direct knowing is immediate and clear. No thinking, or contemplation, is needed. Therefore, right now, you know. I was not even needed to tell you this. After all, you just know.
The doer and the deed
A German philosopher once said, there is no being behind doing, acting, becoming; the doer is merely a fiction added to the deed by the imagination the doing is everything.
Identifying with the doer creates a false separation where there is none. It happens initially when the infant begins to see itself as a separate being through its interactions with others. Then day-to-day experiences develop this feeling into a seemingly fixed entity in its own right. In effect, this being that we refer to as ourselves is sustained through repetitive and structured social interaction.
But the doer has no independent existence, and it never did. Only through ongoing conditioning does this being appear to have any status of its own. In essence, this entity that we refer to as the self is no-thing. In other words, it has no existence apart from the environment in which it comes into being. So in short, it is nothing other than what the environment makes it to be.
Another way to describe this would be to say that we are being lived. After all, the person that we become is wholly dependant upon the natural and social world in which it lives. As such, it can not exist independently of that as a separate thing.
This is all that the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was pointing to when he said that there is no being behind doing. So to put this another way, you could say that all there is is do-ing, or becom-ing, or be-ing without any one in particular to be.
The paradox of Being
At the very heart of existence lies a riddle, a riddle without a solution. This is all that a paradox is. And in essence, this is what we are.
Attempting to uncover the ground of Being, or to find God, or to discover the Truth is a paradoxical endeavour. For what all these searches have in common is the belief that something needs to be found, or learnt, or discovered. They are therefore on a journey that has a point of departure and a point at which they are to arrive.
This is what all intellectual investigations do, whether spiritual, scientific, or philosophic. But what they can not see is that the journey has no actual beginning or end.
Try and trace back your path and see for yourself if there is a beginning. You can do so by following your lineage back to your birth. Is this where it all started for you? But what about your parents life before you were born? Did this not also shape who you are? Then so must have the life of your Grandparents, and their parents, and so on, and so on
The point that Im trying to make is that there is no actual beginning. And if this is so, then it follows that there is also no end.
What this means for any search is that there is no point of departure, or arrival. So essentially, this is it. It does not matter whether you are looking for God, or Truth, or for the Philosophers Stone. For in this very moment you are that which you are searching for. In other words, you are Home.
[Harry was also featured in issue #2481: http://www.nonduality.com/hl2481.htm]
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