#3373 - Saturday, December 6, 2008
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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3373, Saturday, December 6, 2008
The mind is only a bundle of thoughts. The thoughts have their root in the I-thought. Whoever investigates the True "I" enjoys the stillness of bliss.
- Ramana Maharshi
It has been said: "Stillness is the language God speaks, and everything else is a bad translation." Stillness is really another word for space. Becoming conscious of stillness whenever we encounter is in our lives will connect us with the formless and timeless dimension within ourselves, that which is beyond thought, beyond ego. It may be the stillness that pervades the world of nature, or the stillness in your room in the early hours of the morning, or the silent gaps in between sounds. Stillness has no form--that is why through thinking we cannot become aware of it. Thought is form. Being aware of stillness means to be still. To be still is to be conscious without thought. You are never more essentially, more deeply, yourself than when you are still.
When you are still, you are who you are beyond your temporal existence: consciousness--unconditioned, formless, eternal.
- Eckart Tolle, posted to The_Now2
Adyashanti at Omega 2007
Adya: I remember one time, the first time I opened up, many years ago, the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Probably some of you have heard about the Tibetan Book of the Dead. It's basically this guidebook for after death. If you are a Tibetan Buddhist it's a guide book. If you are a Christian and someone reads it to you, you are not going to know what the hell it says. Don't read it to a Christian after they die cause its all Tibetan stuff. You'll confuse the hell out of them. It's true by the way. You definitely don't want to do that. I stayed at a Zen Monastery for awhile, and the abbess, this wonderful woman, she had said that she had memorized all of the last rites for all of the religions. So that if she was in the presence of anybody who died, if they were religious at all, that she could give them their last rites. So she was a Buddhist priest and yet she had the good sense to know that you can confuse somebody if you try to impose your trip on them and speak in a way that they're not used to, in their language. That's a whole other story but...
So I opened the Tibetan Book of the Dead and it basically is various descriptions of various states, bardo states you can get into. And as I'm reading through these various bardo states, it's kind of like little realms of existence you can get into and if you boiled it all down the whole book is basically telling you 'don't get stuck in this state, don't get stuck in that state, don't get stuck in that state, just keep going, just keep going. None of it's really real. It's all a projection of your own consciousness. It may seem real. There'll be great tendencies to go there. Some are hellish realms, some are absolutely unbelievably heavenly realms but don't get stuck. Visit. Pass through and keep going you could say towards the Light.'
And I'm reading through these various bardo states and I'm realize, 'I'll be damned! Every single one of these bardo states exists while people are alive.' This isn't just a book of dying, this is a book of living. We actually can create these states in our consciousness all the time. So we can create a hellish nightmare out of nothing but thought. That's why you can have 300 people in a room like this having 300 different experiences. 'Cause each mind is creating its own bardo state. It's creating its own state. Some very pleasant, some not so pleasant, some people will feel like they're in heaven, some people may feel like they're in hell, some people may be bored, but actually we are all sitting in the same exact room being exposed to the exact same stimulus and yet we can have such an incredible variety of experiences and this is exactly what that book was talking about. We will do this after death as we do it in life. After death it will just take on a different type of reality. You know, you'll think it and there it will be. This is actually kind of like that but - that's another story too. But none-the-less on a psychological level much less on a deeper level, that's why people can be in a room like this having the same stimulus and having so many different experiences.
That's our bardo states. That's the way our conditioning is taking in information and creating its unique dream state about what's happening. And as long as we take that dream state that our conditioning creates to be real, then of course we're stuck in that state. And just as the book suggested to people, after death, over and over and over again, that state is a projection of your consciousness, don't get caught in it, don't attach to it, don't reject it, just let it go. Dwell in the pure light of awareness, just dwell in the pure light of awareness. No matter what happens, no matter how good it gets, no matter how bad it gets, just dwell in the pure light of awareness. And these are not only great instructions in this event we call death, but its great instructions for life. It is great instructions for waking up. Because underneath the created worlds that the conditioned mind constructs, literally a virtual reality. I'm sure you've noticed that human beings go around creating their own virtual realities. Just like a computer virtual reality except ours is even more complicated. Virtual worlds! We are all walking in seemingly the same world, most human beings are in totally different worlds. The believer world, the non-believer world, the Buddhist world, the Christian world, the atheist world, the scientific world, the spiritualist world, the lover's world, the hater's world, the victim's world, the victimizer's world. Human beings literally walking around in their own virtual realities talking them to be real.
That itself is a type of death. In fact its much more real death than your heart stopping and them having a funeral over you. A much more real death is to be caught in a dream, our whole existence because that is not to be consciously connected with self, with what we really are. We are always connected with what we really are. We always are what we really are but as one great old master said, 'It is true, indeed, that all beings are inherently already enlightened from the very beginning but a fat lot of good that does you if you don't know it.'
And so this is what waking up actually is. It's realizing that the virtual realty in our mind is just that, it's virtual. It's not real. The virtual self in our mind, is not who we are. That which we were taught we were, that which society and parents and friends, taught us who we were, and then later we got so good at it, internalized it so well, we started teaching ourselves who we think we are. And that's the dream of us. That's a bardo state. It's called an ego or a 'me.' And bardo states and virtual realities and dreams are very ephemeral. They can end and alter at any second. They are totally subject to the whim and current of other dreams and dreamers. And so they are very unstable. That's why in the state of separation actually it's just a state of fear, because it is so unstable. It is so subject to anything that's happening. And, of course, the deeper state of illusion is when we hear something like this and we think, 'Okay! Very good. I will then get rid of my own personal bardo state, my false self.' That is sort of the most illusory dream of all. It sustains the dream. As we've said many times during this retreat, 'Whatever you resist, sustains itself.'
It's like if you were to have a dream at night, and you thought, 'How do I get out of this dream? And you just started running in circles. It's not going to help you wake up. You'll probably stay asleep even longer because you're anticipating, 'When will I get rid of this rotten dream. Whereas if you just stop right in the middle of whatever is happening, we wake up and there is no more feeding of our personal dream. Again we feed the dream with indulgence. We all know that. And then we feed our personal dream with avoidance, with resistance. And when this starts to be understood, intuited, felt, and not resisted, not judged, not condemned, not pushed away, then consciousness spontaneously starts to come out of its dream. The dream still may be going on but consciousness is no longer obsessed with it.
That's why nonjudgment is so powerful 'cause it breaks the obsession. Whatever we judge we're obsessed with. Whatever we condemn we are obsessed with. Whatever we grasp we're obsessed with. So when consciousness starts to come out of this dream, simply by letting it be, that's what stillness is. That's what, 'be still' means. 'Let it be.' In perfect stillness, there's no pushing. There's no pulling. There's just a state of balance. And in that state of stillness, which is balance, consciousness spontaneously comes out of the dream. Cause it has no energy to hold it in the dream. And then we come into something that's not personal, that's not of the dream. Then we come into our being and that being is universal.
In that state of being, we all realize the same thing. All of us realize the same thing. In the state of dreaming, we are all having very different dreams. The state of being, when we really experience what we are, as the Tibetan Book of the Dead would say, 'just dwell in the clear light of awareness.' And that place, the clear light of Awareness, which always is, in the midst of the dream, it's not opposed to, it's always there. It's not something we find in a corner. It's not something that's tucked into a hidden place. It's not something that we have to concentrate really really hard to bring into consciousness. Everything is already happening in Awareness. It's ever present. Grasp it, try to control it, try to use it, and you can't find it.
Acknowledge it's existence, Awareness is. Period. It's already functioning. It doesn't matter if you understand it, it's still functioning anyway. It's still present anyway. It doesn't matter if you believe in awareness. It still is. It doesn't matter if you don't believe in awareness, it still is. And this quality is what's illuminating, what is taking in, what is witnessing, what is partaking of every moment. And this is the place where we realize we are One. Awareness here, and awareness there and awareness there, it's not different. The dreams within awareness may vary greatly but when we come back to that, to the clear light of awareness, the clear light of Being, we run into our unity.
As Being, we are not separate, we're not even different. Ego is afraid of Being because it's afraid of losing its individuality. But really what it is afraid of is losing its separateness. Because in the state of Being, you realize there isn't any separateness. There isn't any way for separateness to define itself. But it's not the destruction of individuality, that body is very different from that body, not essentially but as an expression. Individuality is not destroyed. Difference is not destroyed. Uniqueness is not destroyed. If anything if we come into the Oneness of our being, the uniqueness and the individuality and the creativity is released. It's liberated. Because difference doesn't mean separateness.
You go out in the forest and you look at, I don't know what kind of trees exactly you have around here. Where I'm from we have lots of pine tress in the forest. And you look at a pine tree, they're all pine trees but every pine tree is totally different. But they're all pine trees. Every human being is totally different but they are all Being. Once Being becomes conscious of itself, once Spirit becomes conscious of itself, there's an immediate knowledge that its deathless because its timeless. There is no death in it. There's no beginning and there's no middle and there's no end. Beginning, middle and end are thought creations. Nobody has ever had a beginning and nobody has ever had a middle and nobody has ever had an end. The only thing you can ever know for certain is ever happening is Now. And anywhere you are is always Now. So Now is not a succession. There's not a succession of Nows. There is one Now. It's constant. If you think of your past, you think of it now. If you think of your future, you think of it now. And so it goes.
So by questioning the basic dream that human beings have, our basic dream, the dream from which all of our other dreams come from, is the one that I am a separate individual someone. And simply by noticing that that dream itself is happening within something much vaster. The more you try to destroy the dream, the more it sustains itself. Believe me I tried.
Adyashanti - Omega 2007, posted to adyashantigroup
Pay attention to the gap - the gap between two thoughts, the brief, silent space between words in a conversation, between the notes of a piano or flute, or the gap between the in-breath and the out-breath.
When you pay attention to those gaps, awareness of `'something' becomes - just awareness. The formless dimension of pure consciousness arises from within you and replaces identification with form.
- Eckhart Tolle, from Stillness Speaks