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#4289 - Friday, June 24, 2011 - Editor: Jerry Katz
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How to apply nondual awareness to the phenomenal world
An exchange between Colin Drake and Hanumandass
Colin Drake: In my books I have a chapter that discusses the practical application of awakening, the gist of which is that one needs to become completely established in 'awareness of, and identification with, awareness', after which life improves effortlessly.
In response to a comment by Hanumandass that, "Ive been struggling lately with how to apply nondual awareness to the phenomenal world," I wrote:
As far as I have experienced one does not 'apply' this in the normal sense of the word for once one is established in this nondual awareness then this transforms ones interactions with the physical world, requiring no conscious application:
Awakening is immensely practical,
Transformative rather than tactical.
Existential angst does it banish,
This fear and anxiety totally vanish.
In this life unfolds with no personal story.
Then manifestation appears in all its glory.
When the world is met with a clear mind,
So vivid and alive do it we find.
Every sensation comes on so strong,
When not filtered through whats right and wrong.
Thus seeing things as they truly are
Our opinionated ego cannot mar.
When each moment is directly met,
The past and future go we let.
When the mind is still it does not distort,
So our experience does not fall short.
Sat-Chit-Ananda is another name,
For the source and essence of this cosmic game.
Sat What is, Chit Awareness of this,
Ananda of this awareness the Bliss.
When awake we respond, rather than react,
To each situation depending on the fact.
Spontaneously does the mind our problems solve,
If unclouded by self it will not revolve.
So I urge you all to awake,
Abandon self-image the great fake.
Investigate, discover whats really here,
Leading to a life with no angst and fear!
Firstly, thank you from the bottom of my heart for contacting me. I was at work last night when I received your email. I was familiar with your name but not with your work. However I read your poem (I assume that's what it was) quite casually to begin with. By the time I was into the second or third line something profound happened, or rather didn't happen.
I can only express it in terms of experience for I know no better avenue. Upon reading 'Awakening is Immensely Practical' I experienced two things simultaneously. The first being that everything in my mind, the whirling caldron of thoughts trying vainly to unravel nondual awareness, fell away. The second experience that sort of accompanied this falling away was that of a deep sense of freedom.
Colin, I wish to neither underestimate the magnitude of what has happened over the last hours nor turn the events into some sort of divine impartation of grace from the beyond. What has happened to me is so horribly simple that I feel something of regret for the years of seemingly hopeless searching but at the same instant it's been the most spiritual REAL thing that has befallen me.
Colin Drake interjected:
No need for regret, the years of searching have brought you to the point where you were totally ready just needing a gentle push to fall off the cliff, letting go of all your supports. Exactly the same thing happened to me ... see 'Spiritual Experience' in Beyond The Separate Self. Also once you are awake the past is totally irrelevant!
Was it awakening? My mind is telling me no, that I ought to sort it all out and label it and find out if it's valid. Something is different now however. The mind continues its machinations, but it's like I am watching it all take place. And this is different because there is no effort to be a witness like it's a spiritual exercise. Surely I fall back into identification with the mind and the body but it only requires a remembrance of the awareness of it all to put me back into a serene witnessing of it ALL.
Colin Drake responded:
That's exactly what awakening is: becoming established in awareness of, and identification with, awareness itself. When the establishment is complete no remembrance will be required.
Also you have hit the nail on the head in that awareness witnesses without any(one) 'doing' taking place. Thoughts and sensations just arise, exist, are 'seen', and subside back into awareness itself.
My mind says no, my body says no, but the core of my being says YES. It feels like home. It's as if nothing has 'happened' I have merely began to rest in a recognition of awareness without any effort on 'my' part. When I reflect upon it it seems like an experience. But what's different from my other experiences is this state of being, awareness of 'what is' as you have put it, is right here. It only seems like an experience when I think about it or try to remember it, etc.
That's absolutely right, 'awakening is not an experience' (see chapter of this name in A Light Unto Yourself) just a deep recognition of the fact that 'one is awareness'. This may engender many experiences, but freedom is obtained from cultivating, and honouring, this recognition.
Also it is a true homecoming, to the place we can never leave, and actually have never left. For more of my thoughts on this see 'Home is Where the Heart is' in Beyond the Separate Self.
My point in relating all this to you is twofold. Firstly I would like to ask you for your analysis since my mind keeps telling me no. And secondly, I don't know what caused you to contact me but I want you to know whatever the reason was you have done something no one else has been able to, point me to awakening.
The mind will keep saying 'no' until the establishment has taken place, as it is not in its interests to say yes, having for long held the place of honour (and power) as who you (think you) are. See Awareness of Awareness in A Light Unto Yourself, the second half of which deals specifically with this problem.
Also, I don't know how busy you are but if you have the time I would love to exchange emails with you concerning nonduality, Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism, and mainly this transformation that has taken place in my life among other things.
Lastly I would like to have your permission to post the poem in question on my blog. It has obviously rocked my world and I feel it could do much for my readers.
Again thank you for contacting me, it meant more than you probably intended, but will have lasting effects on me and those around me. I'm going to download your books in a couple of days also, the least I could do for you!
It didn't mean more than I intended, in fact the result is exactly what I intended, but it certainly meant more than I had hoped for or expected .... which is great!
Sorry for the lengthy email. I hope it's reassurance that your effort to bare the simplest message of all has had an effect!
What a wonderful e-mail, It's such a joy (and relief) to hear that there is one less mind running around searching for the unfindable. Unfindable of course because it is always here and can never be lost, just overlooked to our cost. I sent you my e-mail after discovering your 'struggles' on one of your blogs. Your reply shows a clear appreciation of awakening, which if you read it back carefully will answer all of your own questions!
In Love and Peace,
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