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#4350 - Friday, August 26,
2011 - Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights
The Razors Edge
by Colin Drake
It has long been held that following the spiritual life to its goal, complete awakening, is very difficult, like walking along a razors edge. This article addresses this and attempts to show that, whilst experiencing the first awakening is very simple and easy, to live this awakening requires great vigilance like walking a tight rope.
Let the wise merge the speech in the mind, and the mind into intelligence (philosophical reason); let him merge intelligence in the great self (pure awareness), and that great self into peace.
Katha Upanishad 1.3.13
This signifies recognizing that thoughts (mind) and sensations (speech in this case) appear in (and are seen by) awareness i.e. are merged in that. This is to be discovered by direct seeing which is informed by intelligence. Then by the same process one can discover that awareness, being always totally still and utterly silent, is always completely at peace. This is all fairly straightforward and easy to see as the appendix, from Beyond the Separate Self (and A Light Unto Your Self) attempts to show.
awake, enlighten yourself by resorting to the great (teachers),
for that path is sharp as a razors, difficult to tread
and hard to go by, say the wise.
Katha Upanishad 1.3.14
This next verse says that the path of direct seeing is sharp as a razors edge and thus we should abandon this and resort to the great teachers. However, this advice itself is very difficult to follow for the modern sceptical Western mind which does not trust anything that lies outside its own experience or direct seeing. Also the teachings of the great are often difficult to follow being somewhat cryptic and needing interpretation. resulting in different opinions leading to schisms and the formation of sects. From this also comes tribalism based on our teacher is the best or our interpretation is the correct one and the whole sorry saga of division and competition is perpetuated!
So based on this I think, on balance, we are better off following Buddhas final teaching which was that one is to become a light unto yourself. This can be achieved by the direct seeing of our essential nature by self-inquiry or investigation of our moment to moment experience see the appendix.
This results in an awakened moment when one sees that deeper than thoughts (mind) and body (mind) one is pure awareness and the ramifications of this seeing can be amazing. However, due to our habitual identification with the body/mind one soon drops off again requiring a further awakening by self-inquiry or investigation of experience. So to become totally awake requires absolute vigilance and commitment, akin to walking a razors edge.
However, this is not a problem, for as the periods of wakefulness (which are totally carefree) increase so will the commitment to identifying with the level of pure awareness. This will lead to more reflection and investigation, resulting in further awakenings which will continue the process. To call it a process may seem a misnomer for when one is awake theres no process going on, but the continual naps keep the whole thing running.
This does require us to be more interested in being awake than in our own personal story, and to prefer peace to mental suffering. It is amazing how many people identify with these and seem to actually enjoy them in a masochistic fashion. Assuming that this is not the case one can use mental suffering to be a wake up call that one has nodded off again and return one to awareness of awareness. So although staying awake is like walking a razors edge it is very easy to see when one has slipped off this and to hop back on again!
There is another danger for those that feel that they have awakened and that is spiritual pride based on the thought that now Ive really got it and thus cannot fall off the edge. It is easy to see that this thought now Ive really got it is dualistic involving a me thats got something (else). This is the difference between thinking now Ive really got awareness and directly seeing that one is awareness itself. Any thought that objectifies the I is to be avoided, for awareness is not an object but the constant conscious subjective presence. Once again vigilance is the key
Thirdly for those of us who attempt, in our own feeble way, to point to awakening there is another greater danger, which is believing that we are (separate individuals) pointing This belief can easily be strengthened by the appreciation that we receive by those who experience awakened moments based on this pointing. As awakening is the most profound seeing that can occur, often with momentous implications, the gratitude expressed is often of the most lavish proportions. So we need to walk the walk by continually realizing that we are ephemeral manifestations of That (consciousness), through which pointing is taking place, and that no separate pointer exists!
In conclusion, awakening is straightforward and available to all but is quickly countered by nodding off again. So we need to constantly reawaken by becoming aware of, and identified with, awareness itself. In this respect it is like walking a razors edge, but it is not painful and hopping back on again is simplicity itself, by the relevant shifting of attention from thoughts/sensations to the awareness that sees these.
Below follows a simple method to investigate the nature of reality starting with ones day-to-day experience. Each step should be considered until one experiences, or sees, its validity before moving on to the following step. If you reach a step where you do not find this possible, continue on regardless in the same way, and hopefully the flow of the investigation will make this step clear. By all means examine each step critically but with an open mind, for if you only look for holes thats all you will find!
8. This does not mean that at a surface level we are not the mind and body, for they arise in, are perceived by and subside back into awareness, which is the deepest and most fundamental level of our being. However, if we choose to identify with this deepest level awareness - (the perceiver) rather than the surface level, mind/body (the perceived), then thoughts and sensations are seen for what they truly are, just ephemeral objects which come and go, leaving awareness itself totally unaffected.
Firstly what is apparent is that this awareness is effortlessly present and effortlessly aware. It requires no effort by the mind/body and thoughts and sensations cannot make it vanish however hard they try.
10. Next, this awareness is choicelessly present and choicelessly aware. Once again it requires no choice of the mind/body and they cannot block it however they try. For example, if you have a toothache there is effortless awareness of it and the mind/body cannot choose for this not to be the case. You may think that this is bad news but it is not so: can you imagine if you had to make a choice whether you would like to be aware of every sensation that the body experiences? In fact be grateful that there is no effort or choice involved for awareness just to be - such ease and simplicity - which is not surprising for you are this awareness!
11. It can be seen then, that for each of us this awareness is omnipresent; we never experiences a time or place when it is not present. Once again be grateful that the mind/body is never required to search for this awareness; it is just always there, which of course is not surprising for at the deepest level we are this awareness.
12. Next, notice that this awareness is absolutely still for it is aware of the slightest movement of body or mind. For example, we all know that to be completely aware of what is going on around us in a busy environment we have to be completely still, just witnessing the activity.
 The theory of relativity, and string theory, show that matter and energy are synonymous
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Nonduality Publications also publishes Dutch Treat: 18 SlamSatS, by Zil Chezero.
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Nonduality Publications also publishes The Complete Index to Spiritual Enlightenment, The Damnedest Thing, by Jed McKenna.
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