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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3772, Sunday, January 10, 2010, Editor: Mark

To any conceptual problem there cannot be any valid answer except to see the problem in perspective as an empty thought. There is no such thing as a "problem" which is other than merely conceptual.

- Ramesh Balsekar, posted to ANetofJewels

Mind is interested in what happens, while awareness is interested in the mind itself. The child is after the toy, but the mother watches the child, not the toy.

- Nisargadatta Maharaj, posted to ANetofJewels

When you truly penetrate to see the present, with its arisings and ceasings, it's really no great affair at all. Whatever one thinks about will naturally come to a close. But if you can't foresee its cessation, then whatever comes up will be grasped and held, plunging you into turmoil and continuing thought proliferations. You must stop this stream of conceivings and imaginings. Cut it off! Secure mindfulness and fix your total attention on the mind, and the chain of thought and fantasy - which had become an obsession - can be broken and stopped. You can do this at any time and the mind will always release its hold and become still and free. This must then be guarded as the normal state of mind by repeatedly keeping the thought proliferations in check. Whenever they run out of control you must be aware of the situation and stop them. You should practice like this until you become skilled, until the mind is no longer stuck in its obsessions.

- Upasika Kee Nanayon, posted to DailyDharma

Is Self Realization a Lottery?

Is Self realization really a lottery? Are we struck awake? Is nondual awakening difficult? Or is it simply another thought arising, appearing as a seperate "me", setting itself apart from the present recognition of that which is aware of that point of view?

Here is the Question we fielded for Scott Kiloby, yesterday:

As I understand it, Satyam Nadeen says it's a lottery as to whether one becomes realised, indeed there's a balancing process at work to ensure the ratio of awake to unawake stays the same. Also, the act of seeking itself only intensifies the perception of separation, a fact I can attest to. I find it hard to rest as awareness, not do or surrender but is there any point anyway, since it's all up to God?

What approach would you suggest?

Scott Answers:

Hi! When we emphasize a point of view about the difficulty of recognizing awareness (i.e., becoming realized),  it can--in my experience--become a subtle belief. These kinds of beliefs are like a conceptual lens through which we are looking at life, reality, awakening, the self, etc.

If there is an emphasis on the thought, "awakening is difficult and like a lottery," that is the reality I see. It is one way the sense of "me" continues to appear to set itself apart from the present recognition of that which is awake TO the point of view, "awakening is difficult and like a lottery." In not seeing that this viewpoint is merely an appearance of awareness, it can easily be believed. And then it becomes like reality.

As you sit here reading this email right now, let that thought arise: "Becoming realized is difficult and like a lottery." Just look from a "place" that is farther back, so to speak. Notice that there is "something" that is looking at that thought. This is miraculous because it can give an immediate sense of what the word "awareness" is pointing to. Immediately we see that, far from being something that is realized by some guru living somewhere else who was fortunate, the word awareness is pointing to what is looking right here. It's what is looking at that thought about the "lottery." And now it is what is reading this sentence. For now, go ahead and locate that awareness in the body and mind at first if that is helpful. We can point out of that body/mind container later.

But there is something right here, right now that sees the thought, "Awakening is difficult and like a lottery." Feel into the simple sense of this non-conceptual awareness that is awake to that concept. See that the point of view (when it isn't manipulated and when other stories aren't added to it to make it more believable) just dissolves away or resolves itself very gently back into awareness. It is seen to be just a passing point of view rather than reality. It just fades very sweetly back into its source. And what is left is STILL this that is looking. Perhaps a new thought appears or nothing appears for a moment or two. In any event, the one, changelessly present aspect of your experience is this simple awakeness. It is the same awakeness that sees these words and allows each one of them to just fall away very naturally.

The only thing that can be directly known to be happening is that there is this awareness and whatever viewpoint is appearing in it right here and now (or whatever is appearing in it now including feeling, sensation). To say that anything else is happening is speculation, is it not? Even if the thought appears, "There is a party in my neighbors backyard right now," that thought appears to present awareness, right here and now. Even if the thought "awakening is difficult," reappears while reading this post, it appears in this present space. We cannot know that it is pointing to anything beyond what is being experienced right here and now. The thought that tries to prove that awakening really IS difficult and then gives other examples of other fortunate people "out there," is actually happening right here and now in this present awakeness. There is no way to touch or experience "other fortunate people who have become realized" except as a presently appearing thought, which always appears within this present space of looking.

If heard, this can suck the life out of the notion that there is something else, besides your present experience, that is supposed to be known, experienced, or that you must attain, get, move to, or understand. This sucks the life out of the notion that there are correct experiences, thoughts, emotions, and states to have and that others are having them and you are not. What is appearing is all here is.

The falling away of every point of view is quite beautiful.

Here is a nice little experiment. Don't go back and re-read what I've said. Notice that every word that is being read right now just falls away on its own when it isn't emphasized and when you aren't moving to add more thoughts into the first thought, in some attempt to prove that the first thought is right OR wrong.

For example, this sentence is now being read. Now the previous sentence is gone and this sentence is now being read. Each of these sentences is presenting a point of view. If any of them are emphasized over the simple recognition of what is looking, any of them can become a subtle belief system. Our greatest viewpoints about awakening, as well as our scariest or worst, are all equal appearances of this space that is looking. We can attain a good conceptual understanding of non-duality. That can be helpful. And then we can see that it fades like your last breath just faded. In the death of that viewpoint, there is awareness, again, and again, and again. It's this space that never leaves.

We don't want to turn away from thought, but rather to see that thought comes and goes in what is changelessly present and awake. To be clear about this allows us to stop emphasizing viewpoints and to recognize the great space in which those viewpoints appear.

This is really about the possibility of allowing all these viewpoints to do what they want to do quite naturally and to be as they are. They want to appear and disappear. They have an energy of their own. They are dynamic and alive. But the viewpoints are the energy of awareness itself. They have no separate existence from the space that looks at them. This which is awake (this space) and that is looking at every sentence that appears here really has no agenda to grasp onto anything said here. To believe that awareness has an agenda to do something with what appears within awareness is to treat them as separate things, as if one is acting on another. It's as if there is really a "me" there that has to get rid of, neutralize, go back and understand, or do anything with what appears. The "me" itself is one of the appearances.

And so as this sentence fades, it's gone. Gone like yesterday's lunch. There is nothing to really revisit even in this post. Whatever meaning is being conveyed in each sentence conveys itself immediately and then disappears. There is a tendency to "go back" to what is said in order to hold onto meaning, as if meaning is only in the words. That is fine if that is what appears. But there is another possibility. When we look from and as awareness itself, as each thought comes and goes, we stop looking exclusively through these beliefs and points of view.

In sitting for one moment without the thought, "Awakening is difficult, like a lottery," we see that whatever that sentence was trying to convey, the meaning or conveyance is NOT there when the thought is not there. This calls into question whether the thought itself was conveying any reality at all. So when that thought is not being emphasized, there is no awakening. No difficulty. No lottery. They are thoughts that just aren't there anymore so whatever "reality" they were bringing leaves when the thoughts leave. So were they conveying reality at all????

What is left is what is always left... simple presence and whatever new thought appears (or maybe no thought). The new thought could just as easily be its opposite, "Awakening is easy. It's available to me and everyone else right now." Yet I'm not even asking you to believe that thought. That thought too passes like a breeze...

You can revisit what is said in this post. But even the revisiting appears and disappears. And yet the one constant is this present awareness that has no agenda to grasp onto any sentence. It simply looks. That is really all that it does. It doesn't have an agenda to hold onto any of these points of view. These viewpoints are inseparable appearances of awareness, but they are not the awareness itself. They are different "realities" appearing within and as the present space. So all these viewpoints, contained in each sentence, just fade very naturally.

Just as a thought appears, it is already on its way out... it's already in the process of disappearing. And we are left with the direct evidence, as each sentence leaves, that what is left is a simple, pure seeing. It's like everyday awareness. It's like every moment wants to reveal that our most precious viewpoints are like lightning bugs or shooting stars. They appear and then disappear. Nothing is held onto, everything just goes...

In this way, you never again have to believe what any spiritual teacher tells you including anything I say. It's all information. Certain pointers can be helpful and language is a tool of communiction which is really beautiful. It can communicate about this very natural way of being. But we no longer have to look to it for bedrock truth. We no longer have to emphasize thoughts like,"Becoming realized is difficult, like a lottery." That thought comes and goes, leaving no trace. When it's emphasized, it becomes a belief. It becomes the "me" that is setting itself apart from present awareness. But when investigating, there is no way to actually set oneself apart from awareness. The "lottery" viewpoint is appearing within present awareness.

I can't imagine that every post will be this long, but who knows? :) Perhaps you get a taste of how I point.

Hope that helps,

- Scott Kiloby, from StillnessSpeaks, which you can join here:

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