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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3562, Saturday, June 13, 2009, Editor: Mark
The outside world is not really concerned at all in man's dilemma of suffering. It is all within the fictitious 'me' of personal identity.
Realization of this fact is the ultimate Understanding.
- Ramesh Balsekar, posted to ANetofJewels
The changeful keeps on changing, while the changeless is waiting. Do not expect the changeful to take you to the changeless--it can never happen.
- Nisargadatta Maharaj, posted to ANetofJewels
Q: To actualize our potential, it seems there's something to learn or understand.
A: We must distinguish between learning, accumulation of knowledge, and understanding or knowing, the immediate insight into our real nature. Appropriation of facts is necessary when studying a trade, an instrument, a language, and so on. But we cannot acquire what we fundamentally are. We can only recognize it. Recognition is an instantaneous happening.
Q: How can I come to this recognition?
A: In daily life there are glimpses of your primal knowing state. There are brief moments when you are in quietness without the dynamism of becoming. Generally, you overlook these moments because you tend to know yourself only in relation to situations, events and objects. When you acknowledge these moments of stillness, you become aware of a new dimension in your living, a dimension not related to any event or thought. Once you are open to this dimension, it appears more often than you had ever noticed before.
Eventually you will see that what seemed to appear as moments is the continual background of all doing, thinking, feeling. It will envelope everything you do and think like an all-pervasive echo. It is this echo that brings you to look for the source of the echo, and to be ready for a guide on your journey.
- Jean Klein, from Who am I? The Sacred Quest
Sometimes a little clarification or a little clarity about this thing we call, whether we call the `me' or `ego' and if we really look at what it actually is in experience rather than in theory or a text book but if we really look at actually what the movement of ego is we see it's a phenomena, right? And the phenomena of ego is basically consciousness reflecting back upon itself. It's like consciousness always doing a u-turn, it does a u-turn, it reflects back upon itself and when it reflects back, it talks to itself. So it reflects back and it says, `I am, whatever, I am happy, I am sad, I am worthy, I am unworthy, I am capable, I am incapable. So always there is this movement of consciousness, self-reflective. It's like a reflex within consciousness that we do a very good job training in since we were very young to reflect back and we reflect back upon this immense screen of ideas and self-concepts and beliefs and opinions and judgments. You always notice when you reflect back in your mind, your mind is more than happy to talk to you. It always has something to say when you reflect back upon it, you know? It has an opinion, it has an idea, it has a belief system, it has all the rest. And of course in spirituality in one sense, in a very simplistic sense, sometimes to describe things in a very simple way makes them (Hey cool. I feel like I'm in Hogwarts. (laughter) Doesn't this hall kind of remind you of Harry Potter? I expect to see things flying around anytime.)
So there's this movement of consciousness, it reflects back. We call it self-reflecting. Reflect on yourself. Look at yourself. Of course that would be great if one actually did look at themselves and reflect upon themselves. That's a great idea. But when most people self-reflect what they do is they reflect back into that chattering noise. One's self concept just chatters and chatters. Often it's negative, sometimes it's positive. So spirituality is in some way getting that movement of self- reflection, consciousness reflecting back into the mind to tell it who it is, and what the world is and how everything should be and who's right and who's wrong. Consciousness always reflecting back into the mind, which the mind is completely conditioned to the hilt. Have you noticed? Your mind is completely conditioned to the hilt. From top to bottom it's nothing but conditioning. Mechanical. Does that make sense? That's probably stark enough. That's why people who know you very well can predict your behaviors with great accuracy. And the people that you know well you can often predict their behavior with some accuracy. Because you know given this situation it's going to trigger the conditioning and it's going to unfold pretty much the way it always does unfold and they are just going to live that out.
That's why when you get to know somebody you can predict them so well. Because they're just you know a mechanical unfolding of egoic consciousness. Totally mechanical. Uncreative. So in spirituality actually endeavours to know ourself as we actually are. When we know ourself we come to know the self, the greater Self. To know ourself as we actually are, our existential being, rather than our psychological conditioned phony sense of self that rattles around in our brain structure. The phenomena of the movement of mind. Spirituality is getting us to actually peer into what we really and truly are. And so that sounds good, doesn't it? And so when you look within, still consciousness reflecting back and you look past or through the mind, `cause the mind is actually, it's ephemeral. The mind is like cellophane with writing on it or something. It's not actually a thing. It's not like a barrier you bump into. It's like space with noise in it all the time. And so you can actually look right through it. And of course when you look through it, on the other side of that mind is no-mind. Or no-mind also then gives you the experience of no ego. Cause ego is just something that just swirls around in the mind. Something that's beyond ego. Very simple actually.
And maybe there'll be a shift and you'll realize, `I'm not just this swirling morass of thoughts, images, beliefs, opinions, shoulds and shouldn'ts, blames and regrets. There's actually something much more to you or much less to you. That often triggers in someone a sort of a dual reaction. One of them can be the intriguing, peering into your own nothingness. Intriguing because it's kind of amazing to realize your own nothingness or to look into it. Also it can trigger fear. Because from the ego's point of view, the only way it knows itself is to be reflecting on itself all the time. It's the only way it knows itself. And so you stop doing that for a moment. You stop reflecting back into the mind to find yourself. It may feel good, it may not. You never know depending on how you're hooked up. But to your ego, this is a type of death. It's a type of death because if it's not reflecting and not defining, `This is what I am, this is what you are, this is the world, this is what should be, this is what shouldn't be.' All the rest. If it's not doing that, to the ego that feels like death, because it is. It's the death of the idea of you and me. It's the death of what we think things should be, the world as it should be, and so for the ego this is very threatening stuff. That's why it's often not too long, before the ego will start again, reflecting back and listening to the mind and recreating its whole sense of self and recreating its whole world and spinning it around and around. Anything to avoid this annoying emptiness. The great immensity of the void.
However if you can go through that barrier where the ego starts to feel a little nervous, it loses its equilibrium. It starts not quite knowing where it is, what's up, what's down, what's here, what's there. For some people it's just a strange little phenomena, for some people it might be some form of fear or terror. If you can go through that sort of imaginary barrier then there's a shift in consciousness.
Because when that shift happens, you're no longer the ego looking into emptiness. You're actually emptiness looking into emptiness. You're awareness looking into your own nature as awareness. And then there's no fear and there's no problem. It's actually a wonderful relief. To be relieved of this immense burden of the `me.' So the only reason that I'm describing this cause you can't necessarily stop this self-reflective mechanism from happening. So I'm not describing it so you try to stop it from happening. Once you see it, you just see it as something almost automatic. It's very impersonal, is it not? It just happens. Until it doesn't. But until it doesn't, it just happens. And there's not much you can do about it, cause everything you try to do about it, is more of the same self-referencing. `I have this problem and what am I going to do about this problem and how am I going to work with this problem.' It's like self-referencing thoughts trying to get rid of self-referencing thoughts. It's enough to make you feel a little nutty.
But when you see it's just a mechanical process, it's just something consciousness does, sort of a phase it goes though, like childhood or adolescence or all those phases you go through as you grow up. Ego consciousness is kind of a phase. Unfortunately most people never grow out of it. Probably because they don't know there's any such thing as growing out of it. If we don't know there's any such thing as growing out of it then we may not. But once you just realize is just an impersonal phase the something in you relaxes and you stop trying to control it. And as soon as you stop trying to control it then you're no longer controlled by it. Because you may have noticed, everything you try to control you actually end up becoming a slave to. You are controlled by the very things within yourself that you try to control. So when you see the impersonal nature of it, the automatic nature of it, it doesn't occupy all of your awareness, `cause you're not fighting it any more. You're not defining yourself by it anymore.
So again the key is always not necessarily what we do about something but how clearly we actually see it. Once you see something with absolute clarity, bringing light to darkness dispels darkness. The light doesn't come into darkness and go' well, gee, it's awful dark, how am I going to go about dispelling this darkness?' The light dispels darkness.
When enough consciousness comes into any moment, it automatically dispels illusion. So it's not so much a doing, its more just being aware. Just being aware, just being very very conscious. And withholding that tendency of the egoic mind to want to get in and fix everything that it becomes conscious of. Cause when you look inside of yourself you see a lot more insanity than you ever imagined. The tendency is, `Good lord!' And if you don't see the insanity inside yourself, you're too insane to see it yet. But when you see it, it's shocking. It's like carnival going on in there. And so the tendency of the ego is, `I've got to do something about that.' Which is of course more of the same carnival. When you se it for what it is and see `Oh, it's just conditioning. I think of myself in the ways I think of myself because I'm conditioned to do so. I think about the way the world is, my thoughts about the world, I think that way because that's the way I'm conditioned to think about it. The ego always wants to convince itself that it has arrived at its conclusions and beliefs through very logical, independent analysis of information.
There is no such thing! There is no such thing. It's a myth. And so when you see all this and you see even the tendency to try to correct all this ego is actually just more ego then there is a different state of consciousness that comes into being. For lack of a better word. I'm saying a different state of consciousness but its actually just consciousness comes into the arena. And once you see a certain kind of insanity of mind and you realize its just sort of mechanical conditioning automatically you stop putting your reality into mind. You don't have to stop mind, just stop putting your reality into your mind.
Stop believing your mind. Stop thinking your mind is telling you the truth. Cause 9 times out of 10 its not. It's just telling you exactly what it was conditioned to tell you. Like a computer. Someone stuck a disk in you a long time ago and programmed you how to act and react, your society, your parents, your friends then you got so good at it you started to program yourself. You're like a computer programming yourself based on of course old programs. Old programs making new programs. So once you can actually see this, really see it, cause again ego doesn't want to see this. Ego wants to think its intelligent, logical, empirical, objective, does it not? That's what it wants to think. `I've come to my conclusion from pure intelligence.' That's ego. It's more humbling to go, `I've basically come to all my conclusions about myself, others, life, God and everything through sort of mechanical very garden variety conditioning. It's humbling. It doesn't mean it's bad, it's just humbling.
So when you allow that humbling to take place, you are not longer finding or looking for what's true or real in the content of thought. That's the most important thing. It's not that you stop thought. You can't stop thought. Thought will stop whenever it stops or slowdown whenever it slows down. But you can start to see through a sort of innate intelligence that everybody has, that everybody's born with, that intelligence that comes from someplace other than thought. You can come to see that that whole conditioned mechanism is not a good place to find the reality of you, life, others, God or anything else. It's not a great place to find it.
The mind has really good uses, don't get me wrong. Thought is a fantastic tool. I always have to say that because there will always be a defender of thought which is fine because thought is a great thing. Without thought we wouldn't be sitting in this building. It was a thought in someone's mind, engineers and carpenters and all sorts of people using thought in creative practical ways to construct this building, these microphones, this technology, the cushions you're on, everything. All of that started as a thought. So thought in itself isn't bad at all.
But in most human beings thought has become a cancer. It has taken over the mechanism and its no longer a tool that intelligence uses. Its masqueraded as the intelligence itself. Or the great philosopher, didn't end up being that great, "I think therefore I am." That's the ultimate statement of thought. The funny thing is, even though its ridiculous, as the flip side it has a certain truth.
From the ego's point of view that's true. No thought, no ego. That's where you find your ego is in thought. So from the ego's point of view `I think therefore I am.' Is very true, self-references, looks to thought, finds its identity, `there I am.'
But from Reality's point of view `I think therefore I am.' is ludicrous. From Reality's point of view it usually will be something more akin to `I think therefore I delude myself.' 90% of the time. So again the only reason I'm talking about this is cause when you really see it then spontaneously something about you, something within you stops looking for truth, the truth of you, in conditioned thought. It stops looking there and it looks elsewhere. That's the beauty of it. That's all you got to realize. And I'm sure a lot of you have seen this before but it always helps to see it again. To be reminded. `The Truth of what I am isn't to be found in the thoughts about me.' It's not to be found there. It's beyond. Once you get beyond mind then you can turn back and use mind as an nice tool. But until you do, you usually going to be used by it. Tough way to live.
- Adyashanti, Garrison retreat 2008, transcribed by Mark Scorelle, and posted to The_Now2
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