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#3797 - Thursday, February 4, 2010 - Editor: Gloria Lee

The Nonduality Highlights -        

NO SELF  Hello Everyone,

I wanted to send out one more post before I go.

This question was posed to me recently and I think it is very relevant to some of what we've been talking about here in the forum:

From the questioner:

"How can you talk about no self and also give relative descriptions from within a story in your answers?"

From Scott

Great question!   .....because this is all we have....stories.  All descriptions are relative.  No one has ever expressed the truth or non-duality.  All that we can do is point. 

The moment we begin speaking, we are speaking within a dualistic language.  No self has no meaning except in relation to self.  So one has to know and experience "self" for the words "no self" to resonate as an insight.  In that way, the words "no self" are just as dualistic as any other words.  They appear to point to an absolute truth, but do they really?

No self is basically a story that goes like this:  "I once thought of myself as a separate self, but through a particular recognition, I now know that there is no separate self."

That's fine.  A very important insight actually!!

But do you see how each word refers to other words?  How do we know anything called non-duality without reference to duality, for example?

All words exist in a pair of opposites.  And language is this finite web of symbols.  No matter how we rearrange them, and no matter whether our arrangement is labeled traditional advaita, neo-advaita, zen, taoism, direct path, indirect path, christian mysticism or fuddy duddy, the arrangment still falls within dualistic language.  In seeing this, we can stop pretending.

We can stop pretending that non-duality is like a big club and once you have a powerful experience, you are in the club.  As a member of the club, suddenly you are speaking "the truth." 

Is anyone speaking as awareness?  Is awareness some detached, transcendental cloud of nothingness, and once you recognize the nothingness, all words you speak are truth?  No, that's just another story.  If nothingness is anything at all, it is everything.  It is every voice--from the uncompromising nondualist to the unclear, compromising dualist.  All equal appearances of nothing.  This isn't bad news.  It's great news, because we can stop pretending.  Stop fighting. Stop believing that language is delivering truth and "my truth is better than your truth."  It's like a child saying, "na na na na na, my dad can beat up your dad." 

You see, I once thought that I didn't exist.  And I walked around believing that.  It was the best story ever.  And I met others who claimed they didn't exist.  And so we picked at each other, often pointing the finger at each other, deciding who existed less...who was less of a self...who was more absent.   But this was just another ego game.  The game of who can be more humble, more non-dual, is just another aspect of the ego game.  But because one can walk around saying "I'm a member of the non-dual club," somehow I thought I had a free pass to act arrogant, to think of myself as special, to think that I was expressing truth.

And in the fog of that ego crap, I missed the fact that my brother, the Christian, was also the truth.  I missed the fact that the guy whose non-dual expression I hated the most was also the truth.  I missed the fact that scientists, philosophers, and atheiests were the truth, that the guy down the road who has no interest whatsoever in seeing that he doesn't exist is the truth, that the quaker, the baker, and the candlestick maker are also truth.  Every story is truth.  What else do we have on earth but our stories?

In trying to claim the truth by believing that I didn't exist and therefore that I was the truth, or that I stood for or spoke from pure awareness, I created a point of reference against those pesky others who "still believed in separation" or "who weren't speaking the truth as I was speaking it."  It was the biggest ego trip of all.  The story that tried to one-up all other stories. 

And something clicked in seeing that.  I began to be able to talk about my personal experience again.  I began to talk about Scott.  I began to be able to share more about my own messups, my own boxing of shadows, my own silly little feelings of jealousy, frustration, and self-centeredness.  I didn't do this as a part of a game of trying to be the most humble, which is another ego trip.  I did it because I wanted out of the club of the truth.  The truth began to feel like the dogness of Oneness, like a little room that felt very small with no room to move, to breathe, to be human, to enjoy stories again.

So now I enjoy stories.  And everything is a story to me.  The greatest non-dual pointers are seen as just more stories.  But I love them all.  It's just that I don't consider them truth.  They are helpful, yes, but not the truth.  And none of these words are the truth either.  So there is no one who transcends being "no self" or transcends "non-duality" either, which would just be another ego trip.

In this freedom, I no longer feel like I'm betraying the club to speak in relative terms.  All terms are relative.  Is truth real?  Yes, but I don't own it. I can't have it to the exclusion of others.  And so truth is everywhere I turn, in every question and answer, in every self and no self, every choice and no choice, in every person, group, nation, political view.  They are all me.  I am them.  And that is a view that just has more room.  It feels freer with nothing to defend and nothing to own.  No conflict.  Just love.

So it is very easy, as you can see, to use relative dualistic terms to point.  All the insights that I've had along the way are empty.  They feel just like any other thought.  Yet, they are all relevant in their own right.  They are relevant because the word relevant points to the word RELAtive.  They all have their place, but none of them sits on top of the mountain of truth as the last and final word on truth.  In this view, everything is allowed and loved. 

Some words are clearer than others, but only relatively speaking.  What is clear to me might feel like total mud to you.

You see, my friend Bruce has no interest in non-duality, so the words "no self" are not clear to him.  They are meaningless.  And my other friend who just experienced an awakening this week finds the word "no self" to be irrelevant also.  He sees it as a great insight, but in the end...just more words.  And there is a guy I met from my website recently who believes that "no self" is the last and final truth.  But it's just the truth for him, right now, at this moment. I know a dear friend and teacher who experiences what he calls "Unique Self." It's not ego.  It's the sense that no matter how clearly we recognized our real identity as timeless awareness, and it truly IS, there is still an individual expression with individual talents and skills.  No one ever transcends these individual talents and skills. So for my friend, "no self" is true in that ego can be seen through, but so is "Unique Self."   There is nothing final about any thought or insight.  There is no final club that we join. 

This mess I've written here may seem like a bunch of contradictions.  To someone it may appear that way.  To someone else, all of this may be really clear.  It's all relative in that sense.  What is clear depends on where you sit in your perspective, and every perspective is relative, even the guy who claims that he is looking from the ultimate perspective.  There is really is no such thing.  There is no special club.  If I had to put words to it, I would say there is only love and we either embrace that or we turn away from it in each moment. 

Much love


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