All writings herein serve to open up the world towards knowledge that matters, to piece together the greatest philosophies of living, and to expound ways towards
the path of freedom, happiness & choice.

#116 Stand in Your Own Two Shoes, by Adyashanti

Posted: December 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Life | 1 Comment »

The real search isn’t a search into tomorrow, or to anywhere other than now. It’s starting to look into the very nature of this moment. In order to do that, you have to “stand in your own two shoes,” as my teacher used to say. What she meant by “standing in your own two shoes” is you have to look clearly into your own experience. Stop trying to have someone else’s experience. Stop chasing freedom or happiness, or even spiritual enlightenment. Stand in your own shoes, and examine closely: What’s happening right here and right now? Is it possible to let go of trying to make anything happen? Even in this moment, there may be some suffering, there may be some unhappiness, but even if there is, is it possible to no longer push against it, to try to get rid of it, to try to get somewhere else?

I understand that our instinct is to move away from what’s not comfortable, to try to get somewhere better, but as my teacher used to say, “You need to take the backward step, not the forward step.” The forward step is always moving ahead, always trying to attain what you want, whether it’s a material possession or inner peace. The forward step is very familiar: seeking and more seeking, striving and more striving, always looking for peace, always looking for happiness, looking for love. To take the backward step means to just turn around, reverse the whole process of looking for satisfaction on the outside, and look at precisely the place where you are standing. See if what you are looking for isn’t already present in your experience.

So, again, to lay the groundwork for awakening, we must first let go of struggling. You let go by acknowledging that the end of struggle is actually present in your experience now. The end of struggle is peace. Even if your ego is struggling, even if you’re trying to figure this out and “do it right,” if you really look, you might just see that struggle is happening within a greater context of peace, within an inner stillness. But if you try to make stillness happen, you’ll miss it. If you try to make peace happen, you’ll miss it. This is more like a process of recognition, giving recognition to a stillness that is naturally present.

We’re not bringing struggle to an end. We’re not trying to not struggle anymore. We’re just noticing that there is a whole other dimension to consciousness that, in this very moment, isn’t struggling, isn’t resentful, isn’t trying to get somewhere. You can literally feel it in your body. You can’t think your way to not struggling. There isn’t a three-point plan of how not to struggle. It’s really a one-point plan: Notice that the peace, this end of struggling, is actually already present.

The process is therefore one of recognition. We recognize that there is peace now, even if your mind is confused. You may see that even when you touch upon peace now, the mind is so conditioned to move away from it that it will try to argue with the basic fact of peace’s existence within you: “I can’t be at peace yet because I have to do this, or that, or this question hasn’t been answered, or that question hasn’t been answered, or so-and-so hasn’t apologized to me.” There are all sorts of ways that the egoic mind can insist that something needs to happen, something needs to change, in order for you to be at peace. But this is part of the dream of the mind. We’re all taught that something needs to change for us to experience true peace and freedom.

Just imagine for a moment that this isn’t true. Even though you may believe that it’s true, just imagine for a moment: What would it be like if you didn’t need to struggle, if you didn’t need to make an effort to find peace and happiness? What would that feel like now? And just take a moment to be quiet and see if peace or stillness is with you in this moment.

– Adyashanti, from Falling Into Grace: Insights on the End of Suffering

(Him: Recently, I’ve been more and more at peace with life. Strangely, I would say the same a year ago, and mean entirely different things. Today, it’s more like being able to be so present, that I can discern thoughts, feelings and emotions from a foundation of stillness and still let them play their roles as they need to.

On the other hand, as this article describes, I also constantly stand back instead of moving forward. On the material world, I am indeed moving forward. But all actions are done more from a presence that reminds itself of equality, what matters to me personally and philosophically, and what makes me at peace (it’s a subtle passion which runs the train from behind the scenes). And these reminders don’t happen in such a way that my mind is clogged with it. It’s an understanding, and this understanding just sweeps away things in the face of the really important things in life.

Pain gives us valuable lessons. The challenge is to understand what these lessons are, and heed them on a neutral basis. From there, we learn more and more. Today, I live to be humble and to serve. You see, there is no one particular way to live. There is only a present moment which asks us whether we’re up to serve what’s around us, to appreciate what’s around us, or to love whoever is around us. From there, just sometimes, maybe letting the mind play itself some dramatic or beautiful motion picture for a little while, is fine. It’s entertaining in its own right.)

“One day at a time – this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone: and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.” – Ida Scott Taylor, 1820-1915, Author.


#115 Wrong About Everything, by Vicky Woodyard

Posted: December 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Life | No Comments »

I am wrong about everything when I am in my head. My head has been on so many trips it flies Medallion Class, but that’s another story. Once it got stranded at the Munich airport for three days and lived on head cheese, which luckily is available there. Another time I took a head trip to a famous guru who also lived in his head. He thought he was enlightened and so did his students. We all sat around and sang “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” but turns out he was lacking a heart as well. One by one the students caught on and became entangled in yet another head trip.

That leads me to yet another conclusion. We are all wrong about everything when we are in our heads. The head is no place to live; there’s just not enough room in there. We have all heard the phrase that some place had no head room; well, the head has no heart room, which is even worse. Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” He thought he was A Head of His Time, but we all know better. It should read, “I think, therefore, I am wrong.” For head trips are extraneous; no one need make them.

It is healthy to be wrong; try it sometime. You don’t have to wait until you get a ticket for following too close, which happened to a zealous spiritual student I know. His guru slapped with him a ticket and made him stay ten feet behind him at all times. He said he didn’t have ten feet, so his guru reduced the sentence to two feet. (I am writing this, so I can take ridiculous liberty with the law. By the way, the Law of One states that there is no duality, so be advised. You can’t really stand on your own two feet, much less stay ten feet behind anyone.) Someone is writing this and someone is reading it, which already confuses the heck out of me. Who is my audience and why are they reading this drivel. One of us is clearly wrong. As the Everly Brothers sing, “Let It Be Me.”

I love being wrong; it makes no sense, which proves that I am out of my mind and therefore not in my head. (I am inventing theorems as I go along.) People that make sense are up to no good. The Talking Heads made a movie called Stop Making Sense. I may make Look Who’s Talking III, about how no one has it right. The love of being wrong should be taught in every womb before the fetus even emerges. That way, we could start our lives with one big cleansing apology. Our parents would forgive us. Our mothers for giving them stretch marks; our fathers for depleting their bank accounts.

I just have one more thing to say. Being wrong is the new right.

Vicki Woodyard,
http://www..nondualitynow.com

(Him: I fully endorse Vicki Woodyard’s teachings. Why? Because her life was surrounded by cancer, by enough pain. Her daughter died of cancer, and her husband as well. She had to endure countless pains in order to learn what she knows today. As I believe, “Pain enlightens one”. It makes people mature. It makes one wiser than the rest of the world when it comes to the subject of peace and happiness. If you’d like to learn more from Vicki, please kindly visit: http://www.nondualitynow.com. Thanks.)


#114 Everything Under the Sun, by Adyashanti

Posted: December 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Life | No Comments »

Look around you; there is only one reality. The reason that you are here, wherever here is for you, is because it is the only place that you can be right now. But even though reality is right here, and even though there is quite literally nothing but reality, it is very possible for you to miss it altogether. By miss it I mean to imagine that reality is something or somewhere other than here. As strange as it may sound it is very possible, even probable, that even though you have eyes to see, you do not see. And even though you have ears to hear, you do not hear. What you see and hear is not exactly what is actually here, but what you imagine is here.

Our imagination is a very powerful force in determining what we perceive. If we imagine that the world is teeming with evil forces, we will surely perceive the world as evil. But if we imagine the world to be essentially good, we will perceive it as good. Either way it is the same world that we are looking at. But the world is neither good nor bad in and of itself; it is simply what it is. And if we see the world as either good or bad, we will not be able to see it as it actually is. We will only be able to see it as we imagine it to be.

Now take this idea and apply it to everything and everyone in your life. Try it for a moment, or an hour, or a day. And if you do, you may begin to notice that the world you imagine to exist does not exist at all. This may cause you some fear, or possibly the thrill of discovery, but either way the important thing is to get some distance from the habitual way the mind contorts and creates perception.

But even though our mind imagines the world and everything in it to be other than the way it actually is, the reality of existence remains eternally untouched by our misperception of it. This is both relatively good and bad. It is good in that existence is eternally what it is. We need not worry about reality becoming something other than reality. But it is bad in the sense that the world we imagine to exist is always colliding with the world as it actually is. This collision is the cause of immense human suffering and conflict.

So we are trapped within our illusions and misperceptions. And the greatest illusion of all is to believe that we are not trapped. But even when we realize that we are confined within a prison of our own making, we are trapped because all the ways we struggle to get out of our illusions are illusions themselves. So, yes, we are trapped, and helpless to boot.

But there is a very strange thing that can occur at exactly the point where you realize that there is no escaping the imaginary world of your illusions. You bare your heart open to illusion, surrender your eternal struggle against it, and admit to being bound by its cunning imagination. I don’t mean that you become despondent or resigned to your fate. I mean that you truly let go in the face of your utter defeat and stop struggling.

And when all the struggle ceases, we realize that the prison of our mind cannot hold us in anymore, because the prison was all along something we imagined into existence. And imagined things aren’t real, they don’t exist. But we could never really see this as long as we were fighting the phantoms of our minds. We needed the one thing that our imaginary minds could not bring about, could not fake or create: the genuine surrender of all struggle.

In the blink of an eye, we are no longer confined within illusion nor our attempt to avoid illusion. When all struggle ceases, there is nothing to bind us to a distorted perception of existence and we can finally see. What we see is that we do not simply exist within existence, but all of existence exists within us as well. And although everywhere we look we see the endless diversity of life, we also now see our own true face in everything under the sun.

– Adyashanti

(Him: Adyashanti has a strength, and that is he doesn’t hold back from saying what people may not want to hear. Because he’s willing to include the downsides in his teachings, people are able to embrace the truth and try to rise above it themselves. Of course, some people may not like what he said. But truth isn’t something that everyone likes to hear. For those who seeks truth however, it is every bit as valuable as diamond. To learn more from Adyashanti, you can visit: http://www.adyashanti.org)


#113 So Preposterous It Has To Be True, by Jeff Keller

Posted: December 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Life | 1 Comment »

Many of us who are attracted to nonduality messages can’t explain why we became interested in the first place. We may be fed up with certain aspects of life, or have a nagging realization that our models of reality are not valid and will never lead to peace and harmony. Some are introduced to nonduality after they have gone through a specific crisis that opened them up to new possibilities.

At the beginning of our exposure to nonduality, what we read and hear might sound like lunacy. So much of what we took to be real is now being questioned. As the investigation unfolds, our beliefs are being demolished, and we are thrown into “not knowing.” All of our apparent foundations are crumbling, making room for a new way of seeing.

The wild thing about nonduality is that amidst the chaos that arises initially, there is something in us that knows we are being introduced to the truth about ourselves. This doesn’t always happen until there is some openness to investigate our true nature. It seems possible to “bail out” of nonduality teachings if you are not open and willing to investigate. But once you even start to engage in an honest inquiry, you wind up being hooked.

Once hooked, there are signs along the way to keep our attention on the nonduality messages, and that allow us to continue even when confusion and discomfort arises.

For me, one of the most important early signs came from reading books by Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle. I was led somehow to pick up the book, Loving What Is (Three Rivers Press) by Byron Katie (often referred to as “Katie”). Katie, while in her mid-40s, was in a dark, deep depression and full of rage. She checked into a halfway house for women.

One morning, she had been sleeping on the floor and woke up without any concept of who she was. She said “there was no me.” All was well — depression gone, rage gone. Something else was looking through her eyes but it was all joy and peace.

In an instant, and through no effort on her part, the individual identity had spontaneously combusted. She no longer saw herself as a body/mind, but rather as the Awareness or Consciousness in which this body/mind Katie was appearing. She has remained with that peace and joy for more than 20 years, and shares her insights through books and by conducting workshops around the world.

Then I was drawn to re-read Eckart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now (New World Library). I read the book when it first came out about ten years ago, but it didn’t mean much to me. I did the usual underlining throughout, but I wasn’t ready to hear what he was saying.

About three years ago, when I picked up the book again, I was open to receive his message. In the Introduction, Tolle talks about a period in his life in his late 20s when he was suicidally depressed. One day he woke up early in the morning and felt intense dread and lost all desire to continue living.

He experienced intense fear and then it passed. He then found himself in a state of peace and bliss and the sense of personal identification had vanished. As he describes it, “what was left then was my true nature as the ever present I AM: consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form.”

Another spontaneous combustion of the personal identity! And here again, the individual, having lost the sense of personal identity came to a realization that what he or she is….is the Consciousness or Awareness in which all objects are appearing.

This was my reaction: This is so preposterous it has to be true.

Nobody could make up a story like this. “I was just minding my own business (or suffering or whatever) and I woke up to the fact that what I am is not the personal body/mind — but rather an impersonal, intangible, field of Awareness which is peace and joy.”

This is so preposterous, I thought, that it has to be true.

What is even more startling is that Katie and Eckhart claim that they had no spiritual teachers and didn’t read spiritual books. It’s not that they had been reading and studying about nonduality, Zen or eastern religious traditions. There were no apparent reference points in their conditioning to explain this incredible, sudden shift in their perspective.

Who could make up a story like this? And now I had read TWO of them. Simply preposterous.

Now, I could see someone claiming to be the second coming of Jesus. In fact, I have seen several people claiming this on the streets of New York City. These deluded people have a reference point for such a story. They have read or know about the Bible and are familiar with some of the beliefs of Christianity. They have some tools from which to concoct their story.

But how does someone with no background in nonduality come up with a story where the personal ego vanishes and there is a realization of the true nature as Awareness itself? I know I’m repeating myself, but it is truly mind boggling.

It is so preposterous…..it has to be true.

After reading the accounts of Katie and Eckhart, I went on the internet and found several more accounts (including interviews) with people who had this same experience. One moment the personal identity was there — the next moment it had vanished. Most of the accounts I saw were from people who were not spiritual seekers and who had little or no exposure to anything resembling nonduality.

In most of these cases, the belief in the personal identity returned for some period of time. However, eventually, these people settled into a realization that their true nature is Awareness and not the personality or ego.

I also want to make it clear that those who have these realizations do not deny or run away from the personal identity. If you call these people by name, they will answer you. Their lives go on much like before; it’s just that they realize their true position or essence is not the body/mind but rather the Awareness in which this amazing play is unfolding.

Of course, most people who are drawn to nonduality don’t have a spontaneous combustion of the personal identity at the outset. The Katie and Eckhart instances are probably one in a billion, or close to that. I wouldn’t recommend waiting for a spontaneous combustion of your ego.

On the contrary, most people who find themselves exposed to nondual teachings go through what appears to be a process, with a roller coaster of openings and insights, mixed with lots of frustration and confusion along the way. In the relative play of existence, it often takes years for the nondual realization to mature.

When I first read the accounts of Katie and Eckhart, what they said sounded preposterous. Now what they said seems entirely natural and resonates as truth, even though I haven’t fully realized what they have come to see so clearly.

What now seems preposterous are the beliefs I held before about being a separate individual running around in a world of separate objects.

(To learn more about Jeff Keller, you can visit: http://www.welcometononduality.blogspot.com/)


#112 The Mother of All Habits, by Nirmala

Posted: December 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Life | No Comments »

Saturday, 27 November 2010 21:58 Written by Nirmala

Someone emailed me describing their long lasting struggle to come to terms with their suffering. They finally asked, “I want to let go. But how when all the how’s are useless?!!”

Here is my reply:

Suffering is simply the effort to change, fix or keep our experience. And this is suffering since it creates a gap between what is and what we are paying attention to. Our attention, or really our love, is flowing to an idea in our mind about what should be happening instead of what is happening. And this gap can be very uncomfortable. In fact it is the source of all of our discomfort and pain. Sensation by itself is not painful. It is only when we think about or tell a story about how we want to change, fix or keep the sensation that it becomes painful.

However, there is a great momentum to our thinking and story-telling so there is a great momentum to our suffering. It is the mother of all habits. And so even though it is so painful, the tendency to strive to change, fix or keep our experience can continue to arise in both obvious and subtle ways. This is simply the nature of habits, they tend to continue.

Now here is a dilemma: anything we do to change our suffering is just more suffering. It is one more attempt to change or fix our experience. The antidote to suffering is not more suffering. The antidote to suffering is to see the underlying truth of suffering. In this way the end of suffering is quite similar to the realization of our true nature. They are both simply a matter of seeing what is true more clearly and completely. They are never the result of something we do, they are simply the result of something we recognize.

Recognizing something is not something we really do. It is more like something that happens within us. When you look at a photo in the newspaper and suddenly recognize your friend in the picture, it is not something you do. You don’t decide to recognize the person in the picture and then go about making that happen. The recognition just happens within you. It is a potential you already have since you already know what your friend looks like, and that knowledge is simply triggered by the photograph.

So what is it we need to recognize about suffering? The thing we need to recognize about suffering is that there is no such thing! Suffering is just an idea or thought, and there is not really anything happening that this thought refers to. Suffering ends when we see that there is not any “thing” called suffering and there never has been.

All of our effort to change, fix or keep our experience has been an imaginary effort to change, fix or keep our experience. It has all been something we imagined doing. This is because it is always too late to actually change, fix or keep our experience. By the time we decide to change or fix our experience, it has already happened. And by the time we decide to keep our experience, it has already changed. So the only thing we can really do is think about how we would change, fix or keep our experience. We never really get around to changing the experience we are already having.

But wait a minute, what about all of the things you do that do appear to change, fix or keep your experience? Here is the thing: when we actually get up and do something to change what is happening, that becomes our experience. And so in that moment there really is no suffering in the doing. It is just what is happening. In fact, often when we actually get busy doing something our imaginary suffering subsides since we are not usually imagining trying to not do something when we are busy doing it.

So it turns out that there is no reason to stop doing anything you already are doing to improve or manage your life. The doing itself is not the problem. The problem is imagining that what you are doing is going to make things better. The problem is imagining that your doing is going to change, fix or keep your experience. Experience always is changing whether you are doing something or not.

Suffering does not come from our experience, and so a change in our experience never affects our suffering except temporarily. It only relieves our suffering until we imagine doing something else. The trick is in seeing this so clearly that it no longer matters whether you are doing or not doing. This place where it does not matter if you are doing something or not is free of suffering, since what is happening is simply….what is happening, and that always includes anything you are doing or not doing. And ultimately, it has never mattered to our experience of suffering what we do or what we do not do. That is all just the natural movement of life and Being.

Here is where it gets very strange: even our suffering has always just been the natural movement of life and Being. Imagination is just what minds do. When you see the true nature of suffering – that it is just imagination – then there is no reason to even change that. The deepest healing is when we see that there is nothing here that needs healing. Suffering is like that. There is nothing wrong with suffering because it has never been real. It only exists within our imagination, and there is nothing wrong with imagination.

And paradoxically, when it is profoundly recognized that there is no problem with suffering, the tendency to suffer can subside. This happens when we realize that suffering does not matter in the same way that we realize that a small cloud moving across the sky does not matter. Again it is not something we really do, it is simply a recognition of what is so. And yet we can know this truth in a way that is not purely intellectual, but in a way that has sunk into our very bones. You can know that suffering does not matter in the same way that you know that a hot flame can burn your hand. You do not have to think about it, you just know and pull your hand back.

When we know with this same degree of fundamental conviction that what we imagine does not matter, and how we suffer does not matter, then there is a natural tendency for the habit of suffering to fall away by itself. When we deeply recognize the nature of something, we naturally respond to it in the most appropriate way.

There is a story about a family who always cut the ends off of a ham before cooking it. One day the daughter asked her mother why they did that. The mother said, I don’t know, we just always did it that way. So they went and asked the grandmother, and she also said she did not know why but that was always the way they did it. Finally they asked the great grandmother and she explained that the oven she used for most of her life was very small and so to be able to fit the large hams that they got from the butcher in those days into her oven, she had to cut off the ends. After that no one in the family ever cut off the end of a ham before cooking it. Once you see that suffering does not matter, the habit can naturally fall away.

Suffering is like a mirage in the desert. When we actually get up close to it, we see that it does not really exist in the way we imagined. There is nothing we need to change about it or fix. And yet in seeing this, the tendency to spend a lot of time imagining ways to change, fix or keep our experience can simply fall away. It is not as interesting when you see it is purely imagination. After all, what good is an imaginary car? And what harm is an imaginary tiger? Imagination has such a limited reality, that there can simply be less interest in it after a while. Again, this is not something you do, it is just something that happens within you when you recognize the nature of your imagining.

What about right now? What is your imagination doing or not doing? How real is your suffering? Can you actually find it except in your mind? This mother of all habits is just a habit of thought. It can’t really harm you.

(To learn more from Nirmala, you can visit his website at: http://www.endless-satsang.com)


#111 Purpose and Meaning, by Colin Drake

Posted: December 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Life | 5 Comments »

Hindu cosmology will be used in this article below, but no belief system is necessary to undertake the investigation.

This article discusses purpose and meaning, showing how identifying with our deeper level of pure awareness leads to enjoying life to the maximum.

In this article I shall discuss Hindu cosmology and its divine ‘plan’, although ‘play’ would be more appropriate. I shall then consider whether this makes life meaningful. I will attempt to show that when one engages totally in this ‘play’, life becomes so enjoyable and pleasurable that no other meaning or purpose is necessary. Finally, I shall consider some objections that could be raised for such a view and offer counters to them.

For me the most plausible divine plan/purpose rests in Hindu cosmology.

In this, Brahman (the totality of cosmic power, energy, consciousness or awareness) rests as a single point before the creation of the universe. Compare this to the ‘singularity’ which modern physics/astronomy posits existed before the ‘big bang’.

From Brahman is manifested the universe and he pervades it, or dwells in it as it. In the gospel of Ramakrishna we find: After the creation the primal power dwells in the universe itself.

In the Vedas creation is likened to the spider and its web. The spider brings the web out of itself and then remains in it. God is the container of the universe and also what is contained in it.

Brahman is considered to have two aspects, the male which is the witnessing/awareness aspect (consciousness at rest) and the female which is the aspect of creation, preservation and destruction (consciousness in motion).

This manifestation of the universe occurred, according to modern science, as the ‘big bang’. The universe ‘grows’ until it reaches a certain point and then recedes finally resting back in Brahman at a single point. Compare this to the expanding universe which, it is theorized, will eventually reach a limit and then start contracting until finally the ‘big crunch’ will reduce it back to a singularity.

This explains the cosmology, but what of plan or purpose?

According to the Hindus this is all the ‘play’ of Brahman in the female aspect called the ‘Divine Mother’.

The Divine Mother is always playful and sportive. The universe is her play. She wants to continue playing with her created beings. Her pleasure is in continuing the game.

Before we can consider whether this makes our lives as human beings meaningful, we have to consider what we really are. Are we just puppets who are being played with by some divine force, or manifestations of that force participating fully in the ‘play’? According to the Hindus Brahman is ‘the container of the universe and also what is contained in it’. Thus we are, in essence, also ‘That’ (Brahman) and able to participate fully in the ‘play’.

However, this is not possible whilst we consider ourselves as separate individual beings trying to make our way in an alien world. This is mainly because this stops us ‘being’ the present moment and engaging totally in the ‘play’. Consider the play of children who totally lose themselves in the game and thus participate fully with maximum enjoyment. As long as we consider ourselves to be a separate ego we are always trying to better ourselves, achieve more (knowledge, possessions, power, fame etc.), polish our self-image and generally build ourselves up. This tends to make us live in the future and stops us from living fully in the present moment. The other side of this coin is to live in regret as to what might have been, self-loathing, melancholy or yearning for the past. This also stops us from seeing ‘what is’ here and now, either by making us live in the past or by the mind spinning on our failures and lack of self-worth.

I realize that this goes against modern western thought which finds meaning in achievement/purpose rather than the sheer enjoyment of ‘what is’ at any given moment. Consider the following quotes from The Meaning of Life:

~ What counts is that one should be able to begin a new task, a new castle, a new bubble. (Richard Taylor)

~ In so far as I have carved out my being in the human world, I go on existing in the future. (Hazel Barnes)

I am not suggesting that having and achieving goals is not a source of great satisfaction, but it does not compare to the bliss evoked when one comes across a stunning sunset which is seen with a still mind, or when you are at a concert and you hear the music so deeply that you ‘become’ the music. This occurs when you totally ‘lose yourself’ in the manifestation.

The point here is that the world is a wonderful place when seen ‘as it is’ with a still mind and no reference to a separate individual seer. In other words when it is seen in its actual reality and not through the narrow filter of the minds’ likes/dislikes, judgements and opinions. I can offer no proof of this apart from the fact that it is my experience and has also been pointed to by many mystics, past and present. This can, in fact, only be known through experience and not through reason and the intellect.

Why should this be the case? Our deeper level of pure awareness, an aspect of Brahman, is who we ‘are’ at a deeper level than mind/body. Our mind/bodies are the instruments with which It (as we) senses and ‘plays in’ Its creation. Thus when you filter any sensation through the mind you are ‘colouring’ it with something less (the mind’s likes/dislikes, opinions and judgements) than the pure awareness in which it appears, and so masking its actual reality.

Finally, consider the problems that this view encounters. The first, and for the philosopher the main problem, is that it cannot be proved by argument and reason. In fact these are the tools which obscure it. It has to be experienced, but for this you have to know, existentially, that you are not separate from ‘That’, the totality of being. Unfortunately, this knowledge is impossible to obtain as long as you identify with the mind/body or as a separate individual.

This is because we are identifying with our rational mind and using it to judge every moment, rather than just ‘being’ with a still mind and experiencing the actual reality of existence.

The point is that pure ‘being’ can only be experienced when one is not ‘thinking of the future, establishing aims and having preferences’; the two states are mutually exclusive, the second preventing the first!

Summing up: when one lives moment to moment, identified with the ‘totality of being’, one is able to engage fully in the ‘Divine Play’. This makes life light, not heavy, and thoroughly enjoyable not requiring any extra meaning or purpose. It is only when identified as a separate individual, living in an alien world, that such meaning or purpose seems necessary.

(Colin Drake has written a book called “Beyond the Separate Self”. If you’d like to learn more about it, please visit: www.nonduality.com/btss.htm)