Thanks to Bill Rishel for letting us repost his
his excellent discussion about that which can't
be discussed. Another way that he shares is in
his art which well demonstrates the adage
"One picture is worth a thousand words".
His enlightening work can be found at:
Being present and "practice"
To practice anything in order to change oneself is a
process of becoming. A process of becoming involves
time. Being present "this moment" is a timelessness.
But this deserves a deeper discussion...
I've been on a "spiritual path" for my entire adult life
(over 40 years). I am able to look back and see how
differently certain concepts have appeared to me at
different stages. The concept of "living in the present"
was one that was presented to me from very early on.
My understanding of what that means has changed dramatically
over the years. This tells me that saying something like
"being totally present" means widely different things
to different people. How am I to make clear what I really
Early on I understood the notion of "being present" as
simply noticing my sensations in a given moment. I
experienced that as me being in the moment *for a
moment*. Being in the moment in a sustained way - such
as what Nisargadatta talks about - I didn't have any
Being in the moment in a sustained way requires a
losing of any sense of "self". Is this not obvious? For
in the moment there are only sensations. There is no
time, nothing persists. All is totally immediate. Yet,
to go from experiencing as with a sense of self to a
total immediacy without a sense of self involves a
profound transformation. It is not something that can
be comprehended intellectually, nor can it be "tried"
experimentally to "see what it is like".
As I see it, complete honesty in the face of
experience leads to an end of sense of self and the
total immediacy of what is. By "complete honesty" I
mean a dedication to honesty, to truth, that goes
beyond concern for outcomes.
For me experience has totally changed to where I can't
really even speak of "my experience" per se. When sense
of self has died into "immediacy of now", it becomes such
a profoundly alive depth, it is utterly undescribable.
It is continually astonishing, and yet never the same.
The very notion of "what it is like" is even
meaningless. Yet that last statement will be
incomprehensible to all but those who already know
directly for themselves. There is a real difficulty in
speaking of that which is beyond description!
Immediacy, what is, the present... is a richly deep and
dynamic vastness (though a vastness that is not a "space"
in that there is no sense of location nor even of "inside"
of...; so the word is used here for its connotation, not
its denotation.). But when experience is through the
lens of a sense of self, it is as if seeing through a
tiny straw, and the fullness of "what is" not beheld.
When experience is fully confronted with complete
honesty the illusory nature of "self" comes
(eventually) to be realized. It comes to be seen that
the nature of things already is detachment, that
nothing needs to be changed. A notion of "waking up"
then, is a coming to see unflinchingly what is, as the
distorting lens of "self" dissolves and "what is" comes
to be seen ever more directly.
The account above is not based on ideas or theory,
nor is it based on accounts by others. It cannot
really be said that it is based on "my experience"
in the sense that in a very real way what is written
here comes from a place of "absence". These words
come forth from imponderable silence.
Presumably the sceptical reader will be dissatisfied
with this account. But nothing can be done.
A reasonable question remains to be addressed, if not
answered. If "the moment", Now, is timeless, and so
nothing persists in Now and there is no continuity in
Now... then how is it that things appear to continue?
The clock on the wall continues to tick, the refrigerator
continues to hum. Or, what is perhaps the same question
put a different way, if the moment is only sensation,
how is it that there is what is not only sensation,
such as ideas, and things (in the world)?
That is perhaps the most difficult question for which I
have sought an an explanation for some time. The short
answer is that things only "appear" to exist and
continue. [Note that to exist and to continue are
essentially the same, hence the two quesions above are
essentially the same.]
There is at this moment alive, vibrant sensation...
"what is" teems with sensation, yet the typing goes
on. There is no "sense" of the typing as an "act",
there is no "sense" of a "someone" doing the typing,
there is no "sense" of a topic or of a point being
made. There is no "steering" involved. All is happening
of its own. If there is any magic, that is it. But
it has always been happening of its own. Before it
seemed as if there were someone doing what is done.
Now it is clear there is no one doing.
The difference between "normal functioning" and
"selfless functioning" is in the absence of a sense
of self as driver of what is going on. The sense of
"onself" as a driver is an unnecessary encumberance
that clouds full, open consciousness and creates
distortions in both perception and action.
 I don't actually *know* that, but am quite certain
nevertheless. It seems to follow from the conclusion
that "there is no self". Do I *know* that there is
no self? I can't see any basis for one. It is a
concept, and is not immediately experiencable.
What presents in the immediacy of the moment is all
I am willing to call real. Based on that, I say there
is no self.