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#3441 - Thursday, February 12, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz
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RUPERT SPIRA: The Transparency of Things: Contemplating the Nature of Experience
In this issue, a review by Joan Tollifson and an excerpt from the new book from Non-Duality Press, The Transparency of Things: Contemplating the Nature of Experience, by Rupert Spira
Review by Joan Tollifson:
Rupert is a contemporary British ceramic artist and student of Francis Lucille who is now holding meetings on non-duality. This beautiful and exceptionally clear book leads the reader through a series of "contemplations" designed to explore and illuminate our actual experience here and now. This is a rare and excellent book that I very highly recommend, perhaps the best book on non-duality I've seen. The insight and expression is clear, simple, subtle, intelligent, and truly non-dual. Rupert avoids so many pitfalls that I see many other nondual teachers fall into, pitfalls such as turning themselves into special people, making enlightenment into a coveted future attainment, getting stuck on one side of an apparent duality like choice or no choice, falling into new belief systems, or withdrawing into a kind of detached transcendance that regards the world as merely an illusion. Rupert steers clear of all such pitfalls and reveals the Truth with such clarity, simplicity and subtlety. You can also see two very fine interviews with Rupert on Conscious TV: http://conscious.tv/consciousness.html. And you can find more about Rupert here:http://www.rupertspira.com/ Very highly recommended.
Excerpt from The Transparency of Things: Contemplating the Nature of Experience, by Rupert Spira
Whatever it is that is seeing and understanding these words, is what is referred to here as 'Consciousness.' It is what we know ourselves to be, what we refer to as 'I.'
Everything that is known is known through Consciousness. Therefore, whatever is known is only as good as our knowledge of Consciousness.
The mind has built a powerful edifice of concepts about Reality that bears little relation to actual experience and, as a result, Consciousness has veiled itself from itself. These concepts are built out of mind and therefore their deconstruction is one of the ways through which Consciousness comes to recognise itself again -- that is, to know itself again.
Consciousness is in fact always knowing itself. However, through this deconstruction of concepts, Consciousness comes to recognise itself, not through the reflected veil of apparent objects, but knowingly and directly.
Concepts are not destroyed in this process. They are still available for use when needed.
In the contemplations that comprise this book it is acknowledged that the purpose of reasoning is not to frame or apprehend Reality. However, it is also acknowledged that the mind has constructed complex and persuasive ideas that have posited an image of ourselves and of the world that is very far from the facts of our experience.
These ideas have convinced us that there is a world that exists separate from and independent of Consciousness. They have persuaded us to believe that 'I,' the Consciousness that is seeing these words, is an entity that resides inside the body, that it was born and will die, and that it is the subject of experience whilst everything else, the world, 'other,' is the object.
Although this is never our actual experience, the mind is so persuasive and convincing, that we have duped ourselves into believing that we actually experience these two elements, that we experience the world separate and apart from our Self, and that we experience our own Self as a separate and independent Consciousness.
In the disinterested contemplation of our experience we measure the facts of experience itself against these beliefs.
The falsity of the ideas that the mind entertains about the nature of Reality, about the nature of experience, is exposed in this disinterested contemplation.
All spiritual traditions acknowledge that Reality cannot be apprehended with the mind. As a result of this understanding some teachings have denied the use of the mind as a valid tool of enquiry or exploration.
It is true that Consciousness is beyond the mind and cannot therefore be framed within its abstract concepts. However this does not invaldiate the use of the mind to explore the nature of Consciousness and Reality.
Ignorance is composed of beliefs and belief is already an activity of mind. If we deny the validity of mind, why use it in the first place to harbour beliefs?
By reading these words, we are, consciously or unconsciously, agreeing to accept the validity and, by the same token, the limitations of the mind.
We are giving the mind credibility in spite of its limitations. We are acknowledging its ability to play a part in drawing attention to that which is beyond itself or outside the sphere of its knowledge.
It would be disingenuous to use the mind to deny its own validity. Our very use of the mind asserts its validity. However, it is a different matter to use the mind to understand its own limits.
It may well be that at the end of a process of exploring the nature of experience, using the full capacity of its powers of conceptual thinking, the mind will come to understand the limits of its ability to apprehend the truth of the matter and, as a result, will spontaneously come to an end. It will collapse from within, so to speak.
However, this is a very different situation from one in which the mind has been denied any provisional credibility on the basis that nothing it says about Reality can ultimately be true.
As a result of the exposure of beliefs and feelings that derive from preconcieved, unsubstantiated notions of Reality, a new invitation opens up, another possibility is revealed.
This possibility cannot be apprehended by the mind because it is beyond the mind. However, the obstacles to this new possibility are revealed and dissolved in this investigation.
They are dissolved by our openness to the possibility that in this moment we actually experience only one thing, that experience is not divided into 'I' and other, subject and object, me and the world, Consciousness and Existence.
We are open to the possibility that there is only one single, seamless totality, that Consciousness and Existence are one, that there is only one Reality.
The edifice of dualistic ideas, which seems to be validated by experience, is well constructed with beliefs at the level of the mind and feelings at the level of the body, which are tightly interwoven, mutually substantiating and validating one another.
In the disinterested contemplation of these ideas and feelings their falsity is unraveled. We see clearly that our ideas do not correspond to our experience. This paves the way for experience to reveal itself to us as it truly is, as in fact it always is, free from the ignorance of dualistic thinking.
We begin to experience ourselves and the world as they truly are.
Our experience itself does not change but we feel that it changes. Reality remains as it always is, for it is what is, independent of the ideas we entertain about it.
However, our interpretation changes and this new interpretation becomes the cornerstone of a new possibility.
This new possibility comes from an unknown direction. It does not come as an object, a thought or a feeling. It is unveiled, in most cases, as a series of revelations, each dismantling part of the previous edifice of dualistic thinking.
And the unfolding of this revelation, in turn, has a profound impact on the appearance of the mind, the body and the world.
The Transparency of Things: Contemplating the Nature of Experience, by Rupert Spira
Rupert Spira's home page is http://www.rupertspira.com
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