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#4036 - Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

The Nonduality Highlights -    


Come to the Science and Nonduality Conference, October 20-25, 2010, in San Rafael, California.  

It's a great atmosphere. Mingle with hundreds of your favorite nondual people. You never know who or what kind of experience you will encounter. They even have one day tickets, I believe. The raw foods concession is amazing. I'll most my meals there.    

Here is part of the transcription of the interview with Chris Hebard on Nonduality Street:  

Transcribed by Dustin LindenSmith


Jerry Katz: This is Nonduality Street on CKDU, 88.1 FM in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I'm Jerry Katz. My guest is Chris Hebard. Chris lives in Temecula, California, and his website is Chris's passion is to create and distribute broadcast-quality videos of authentic, self-realized Western teachers. Chris Hebard's work is dedicated to seekers; those compelled to discover Truth.


I began by asking Chris what nonduality is. We're on "The Street" with Chris Hebard!


Chris Hebard: Jerry, these questions are treacherous. In order to answer them, we have to use words, and in order to use words, we're necessarily using concepts. The reality that we're pointing at is actual, not conceptual, and so therefore, when I answer these questions, some are going to hear them and complain that the answer is from the relative. But Jerry, if we're having a conversation about nonduality, it implies that there's one person having a conversation with another person, and for that reason, we are by definition talking on the relative level, and any discussion about the relative or the absolute, or teaching or not-teaching, misses the point. 


So forgive me, Jerry, I'm going to use the proper pronoun "I" and I'm going to refer to you as "you" and I'm going to talk sometimes about progressive things – or things that are apparently progressive – because you and I are having a conversation apparently in time and space.


Nonduality is a term which I use synonymously with the word "advaita," which literally means "not two" in Sanskrit. Nonduality is neither a philosophy nor a religion; it is an experience. It is the experience of no separation between subject and object. It is the seeing of the body, the mind, and the universe as one seamless totality. It is the pure experience of consciousness, of awareness, presence; all words pointing to the same thing, none of which in and of themselves are true.


None of these things in themselves are their reality. Once again, I'd like to suggest that all words are concepts. In ancient Vedanta, we've heard of these as namarupa, the artificial process of naming and differentiating the seamless reality into various parts. So namarupa does not represent the reality that it points to. 


The word reality in the context of this conversation – or at least the way I'd like to use it – is to point to something which never changes. Let's use that as the definition of reality. So, in order for things to change, there has to be a changeless element, and I'm talking about reality – and when I say reality, that's what I'm referring to. 


JK: Chris, why is the understanding of nonduality so hard for people to get?


CH: Jerry, I think that Westerners have a bigger problem with this than maybe even Easterners do – although that difference is becoming smaller and smaller as time goes on and as culture gets more and more civilized and industrialized – but the reason I think that people have a hard time understanding nonduality is because of the natural extroversion of our attention towards perception, sensation, thoughts and feelings. 


It is this chronic pointing at objects – or pointing attention towards objects – that causes us to miss the most obvious fact of all: That which is watching. So, my teacher is fond of saying – or defining consciousness as –that which is hearing these words in this moment. This question is an abrupt full stop for us to turn our attention away from the objects of perception and back to the subject of that. In and of itself, this process isn't the complete teaching, but it helps us take a peek at that which is observing thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions. 


It is our chronic attention to objects that causes us to miss that which is watching. In addition to this, there is a tendency for consciousness – when observing sensations and perceptions and thoughts and feelings – to identify with them. We call these "points of view." Some of these identifications become belief systems, and some of these belief systems parade around as facts. We very rarely take the time to investigate these "facts" to determine whether or not there's substance to them, or whether or not our assumptions on close inspection begin to dissolve.


An example of this type of identification would be the belief that thoughts arising within this boundless, magnificent space that I'll call Consciousness belong to somebody or something. This is learned behaviour, picked up early in childhood and developed over the years and decades of our lives until we actually become convinced that the thoughts arising within us are our thoughts, and that certain thoughts are ours and other thoughts are not ours; that one point of view is our point of view and another point of view is not our point of view. 


This belief in separation unfolds as we grow up from children onwards, in which we become certain we're separate from that which we perceive. There is no bridge of commonality between the edge of my skin and the rest of the world; between the thoughts that I have and the thoughts that you have. This sets us up for an eternal feeling that something is missing; that something is lacking on a very intuitive and deep level. This is what life is all about: the attempt to complete ourselves, the attempt to make ourselves feel whole, and an attempt to find happiness. 


The set-up here is that happiness is found in an object, whether that object be a relationship, a career, car, or any sort of addictions. Behind all of this is seeking borne of the belief and separation, and seen in the constant pursuit of happiness through objects. As we get older and older, we realize by acquiring these objects that we're desiring, that they may momentarily make us happy, but that after having them, that happiness seems to elude us, to be substituted by the desire for other objects, or bigger objects, or better objects. 


This search is perpetual and is based upon a sense of lack, and the sense of lack is borne of this fundamental belief that what I am is incomplete, and that there's something missing. So I would say that all people are only doing one thing: they're trying to find their way home; they're trying to find their true nature. Whether it is they're trying to buy a new Ferrari, find a new girlfriend, a new career, even pursue enlightenment – I would say that they're all doing the same thing, which is trying to address this profound sense of lack which comes from the belief that what I am is incomplete and separate from that which I perceive.


This constant seeking, by definition, is suffering. Suffering is the real consequence of belief in separation. It's inevitable and it's eternal until the Truth is seen. Suffering is truly the fruit of the belief in separation. Is there really any suffering? Maya is mentation: perceptions, thoughts, sensations, and feelings. Ignorance is the belief in maya. The difference between the sage and the ignorant is that the sage does not believe maya anymore. 


So pain, then, would be a loud sensation, perhaps, but suffering would be the same loud sensation with the sense of "me" attached.


~ ~ ~


Listen to the entire interview here:


Visit Chris Hebard's website:


Read Dustin LindenSmith's article on mindfulness and the raising of toddlers:


And go to the Science and Nonduality Conference!

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