#3441 - Thursday, February 12, 2009 -
Editor: Jerry Katz
RUPERT SPIRA: The Transparency of Things:
Contemplating the Nature of Experience
In this issue, a review by Joan Tollifson and an
excerpt from the new book from Non-Duality Press, The Transparency
of Things: Contemplating the Nature of Experience, by Rupert
Review by Joan Tollifson:
Rupert is a contemporary British ceramic artist and
student of Francis Lucille who is now holding meetings on non-duality. This
beautiful and exceptionally clear book leads the reader through a series of
"contemplations" designed to explore and illuminate our actual experience here
and now. This is a rare and excellent book that I very highly recommend, perhaps
the best book on non-duality I've seen. The insight and expression is clear,
simple, subtle, intelligent, and truly non-dual. Rupert avoids so many pitfalls
that I see many other nondual teachers fall into, pitfalls such as turning
themselves into special people, making enlightenment into a coveted future
attainment, getting stuck on one side of an apparent duality like choice or no
choice, falling into new belief systems, or withdrawing into a kind of detached
transcendance that regards the world as merely an illusion. Rupert steers clear
of all such pitfalls and reveals the Truth with such clarity, simplicity and
subtlety. You can also see two very fine interviews with Rupert on Conscious TV: http://conscious.tv/consciousness.html.
And you can find more about Rupert here:http://www.rupertspira.com/ Very highly recommended.
Excerpt from The Transparency of Things:
Contemplating the Nature of Experience, by Rupert Spira
Whatever it is that is seeing and understanding these
words, is what is referred to here as 'Consciousness.' It is what we know
ourselves to be, what we refer to as 'I.'
Everything that is known is known through
Consciousness. Therefore, whatever is known is only as good as our knowledge of
The mind has built a powerful edifice of concepts about
Reality that bears little relation to actual experience and, as a result,
Consciousness has veiled itself from itself. These concepts are built out of
mind and therefore their deconstruction is one of the ways through which
Consciousness comes to recognise itself again -- that is, to know itself
Consciousness is in fact always knowing itself.
However, through this deconstruction of concepts, Consciousness comes to
recognise itself, not through the reflected veil of apparent objects, but
knowingly and directly.
Concepts are not destroyed in this process. They are
still available for use when needed.
In the contemplations that comprise this book it is
acknowledged that the purpose of reasoning is not to frame or apprehend Reality.
However, it is also acknowledged that the mind has constructed complex and
persuasive ideas that have posited an image of ourselves and of the world that
is very far from the facts of our experience.
These ideas have convinced us that there is a world
that exists separate from and independent of Consciousness. They have persuaded
us to believe that 'I,' the Consciousness that is seeing these words, is an
entity that resides inside the body, that it was born and will die, and that it
is the subject of experience whilst everything else, the world, 'other,' is the
Although this is never our actual experience, the mind
is so persuasive and convincing, that we have duped ourselves into believing
that we actually experience these two elements, that we experience the world
separate and apart from our Self, and that we experience our own Self as a
separate and independent Consciousness.
In the disinterested contemplation of our experience we
measure the facts of experience itself against these beliefs.
The falsity of the ideas that the mind entertains about
the nature of Reality, about the nature of experience, is exposed in this
All spiritual traditions acknowledge that Reality
cannot be apprehended with the mind. As a result of this understanding some
teachings have denied the use of the mind as a valid tool of enquiry or
It is true that Consciousness is beyond the mind and
cannot therefore be framed within its abstract concepts. However this does not
invaldiate the use of the mind to explore the nature of Consciousness and
Ignorance is composed of beliefs and belief is already
an activity of mind. If we deny the validity of mind, why use it in the first
place to harbour beliefs?
By reading these words, we are, consciously or
unconsciously, agreeing to accept the validity and, by the same token, the
limitations of the mind.
We are giving the mind credibility in spite of its
limitations. We are acknowledging its ability to play a part in drawing
attention to that which is beyond itself or outside the sphere of its
It would be disingenuous to use the mind to deny its
own validity. Our very use of the mind asserts its validity. However, it is a
different matter to use the mind to understand its own limits.
It may well be that at the end of a process of
exploring the nature of experience, using the full capacity of its powers of
conceptual thinking, the mind will come to understand the limits of its ability
to apprehend the truth of the matter and, as a result, will spontaneously come
to an end. It will collapse from within, so to speak.
However, this is a very different situation from one in
which the mind has been denied any provisional credibility on the basis that
nothing it says about Reality can ultimately be true.
As a result of the exposure of beliefs and feelings
that derive from preconcieved, unsubstantiated notions of Reality, a new
invitation opens up, another possibility is revealed.
This possibility cannot be apprehended by the mind
because it is beyond the mind. However, the obstacles to this new possibility
are revealed and dissolved in this investigation.
They are dissolved by our openness to the possibility
that in this moment we actually experience only one thing, that experience is
not divided into 'I' and other, subject and object, me and the world,
Consciousness and Existence.
We are open to the possibility that there is only one
single, seamless totality, that Consciousness and Existence are one, that there
is only one Reality.
The edifice of dualistic ideas, which seems to be
validated by experience, is well constructed with beliefs at the level of the
mind and feelings at the level of the body, which are tightly interwoven,
mutually substantiating and validating one another.
In the disinterested contemplation of these ideas and
feelings their falsity is unraveled. We see clearly that our ideas do not
correspond to our experience. This paves the way for experience to reveal itself
to us as it truly is, as in fact it always is, free from the ignorance of
We begin to experience ourselves and the world as they
Our experience itself does not change but we feel that
it changes. Reality remains as it always is, for it is what is, independent of
the ideas we entertain about it.
However, our interpretation changes and this new
interpretation becomes the cornerstone of a new possibility.
This new possibility comes from an unknown direction.
It does not come as an object, a thought or a feeling. It is unveiled, in most
cases, as a series of revelations, each dismantling part of the previous edifice
of dualistic thinking.
And the unfolding of this revelation, in turn, has a
profound impact on the appearance of the mind, the body and the
The Transparency of Things: Contemplating the
Nature of Experience, by Rupert Spira