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#3483 - Thursday, March 26, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights -  


Rupert Spira's new book, The Transparency of Things, was featured in Highlights #3441:

The book is doing well. In this issue, the Foreword is featured. The excerpt is from





The Transparency of Things: Contemplating the Nature of Experience, by Rupert Spira


This book is a collection of contemplations and conversations about
the nature of experience. Its only purpose, if it can be said to have
any purpose at all, is to look clearly and simply at experience itself.
The conventional formulations of our experience are, in most
cases, considered to be so absolutely true as to need no further
investigation. Here, the opposite is the case. Absolutely nothing is
taken for granted, save the conventions of language that enable us
to communicate.

From an early age we are encouraged to formulate our experience
in ways that seem to express and validate it, and these expressions
subsequently condition the way the world appears.

'David loves Jane,' 'Tim saw the bus.' Our earliest formulations
divide experience into 'I' and 'other,' 'me' and 'the world,' a subject
experiencing an object. From that time on, our experience seems to
validate these formulations.

However, at a certain stage it begins to dawn on us that these
formulations do not express our experience, but rather they condition

This book does not address the particular qualities of experience
itself. It explores only its fundamental nature. What is this 'I'? What
is this 'other,' this 'world'? And what is this 'experiencing' that
seems to join the two together?

The essential discovery of all the great spiritual traditions is the
identity of Consciousness and Reality, the discovery that the fundamental
nature of each one of us is identical with the fundamental
nature of the universe.

This has been expressed in many different ways. 'Atman equals
Brahman.' 'I and my Father are one.' 'Nirvana equals Samsara.'
'Emptiness is Form.' 'I am That.' 'Consciousness is All.' 'There are
not two things.' 'Sat Chit Ananda.'

Every spiritual tradition has its own means of coming to this understanding,
which is not just an intellectual understanding, but rather
a Knowingness that is beyond the mind. And within each tradition
itself there are as many variations on each approach as there are

This book explores what it is that is truly experienced. "What is the
nature of our experience in this moment?" is the question that is
returned to again and again.

However, this is not a philosophical treatise. It is a collection of contemplations
and conversations in which a few core ideas are explored
over and over again, each time from a slightly different angle, and
for this reason there is an inevitable element of repetition.

In some ways this book is written like a piece of music in which a single
theme is explored, questioned, modulated and restated. However,
each time the central theme is returned to, it will, hopefully, have
gathered depth and resonance due to the preceding contemplation.
The meaning of the words is not in the words themselves. Their
meaning is in the contemplation from which they arise and to which
they point. The text, therefore, is laid out with lots of space in order
to encourage a contemplative approach.

Having said that, the conclusions drawn are only meant to uproot
the old, conventional and dualistic formulations that have become
so deeply embedded in the way we seem to experience ourselves and
the world.

Once these old formulations have been uprooted, they do not need
to be abandoned. They can still be used as provisional ideas that have
a function to play in certain aspects of life.

The new formulations are perhaps closer or more accurate expressions
of our experience than the old ones, but their purpose is not to
replace the old certainties with new ones.

They simply lead to an open Unknowingness, which can be formulated
from moment to moment in response to a given situation,
including a question about the nature of experience.

There are many ways to come to this open Unknowingness, and the
dismantling of our false certainties through investigation is just one
of them that is offered here.

If our attention were now to be drawn to the white paper on which
these words are written, we would experience the uncanny sensation
of suddenly becoming aware of something that we simultaneously
realise is so obvious as to require no mention. And yet at the moment
when the paper is indicated, we seem to experience something new.
We have the strangely familiar experience of becoming aware of
something which we were in fact already aware of. We become
aware of being aware of the paper.

The paper is not a new experience that is created by this indication.
However, our awareness of the paper seems to be a new experience.
Now what about the awareness itself, which is aware of the paper? Is
it not always present behind and within every experience, just as the
paper is present behind and within the words on this page?

And when our attention is drawn to it, do we not have the same
strange feeling of having been made aware of something that we
were in fact always aware of, but had not noticed?

Is this awareness not the most intimate and obvious fact of our experience,
essential to and yet independent of the particular qualities
of each experience itself, in the same way that the paper is the most
obvious fact of this page, essential to and yet independent of each

Is this awareness itself not the support and the substance of every
experience in the same way that the paper is the support and the
substance of every word?

Does anything new need to be added to this page in order to see the
paper? Does anything new need to be added to this current experience
in order to become aware of the awareness that is its support
and substance?

When we return to the words, having noticed the paper, do we lose
sight of the paper? Do we not now see the two, the apparent two,
simultaneously as one? And did we not always already experience
them as one, without realising it?

Likewise, having noticed the awareness behind and within each
experience, do we lose sight of that awareness when we return the
focus of our attention to the objective aspect of experience? Do we
not now see the two, the apparent two, Awareness and its object,
simultaneously as one? And has it not always been so?

Do the words themselves affect the paper? Does it matter to the
paper what is said in the words? Does the content of each experience
affect the awareness in which it appears?

Every word on this page is in fact only made of paper. It only expresses
the nature of the paper, although it may describe the moon.

Every experience only expresses Awareness or Consciousness,
although experience itself is infinitely varied.

Awareness or Consciousness is the open Unknowingness on which
every experience is written.

It is so obvious that it is not noticed.

It is so close that it cannot be known as an object and yet is always

It is so intimate that every experience, however tiny or vast, is utterly
saturated and permeated with its presence.

It is so loving that all things possible of being imagined are contained
unconditionally within it.

It is so open that it receives all things into itself.

It is so spacious and unlimited that everything is contained within it.

It is so present that every single experience is vibrating with its

It is only this open Unknowingness, the source, the substance and
the destiny of all experience, that is indicated here, over and over
and over again.

Rupert Spira
October 2008

The Transparency of Things: Contemplating the Nature of Experience, by Rupert Spira

Rupert Spira's home page is

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