Thought divides knowing into a knower and the known, loving into a lover and the beloved, and perceiving into a perceiver and the perceived. As such, it is thought alone that abstracts a subject and an object from the seamless, unnamable intimacy of pure Knowing or Experiencing.

Contemplating Feelings of Separation in the Body

How can I uproot the sense of separation hidden in feelings such as sadness?

Dear Rupert,

Lately, I’ve seen clearly that the sense of continuity is given by Awareness alone. And is it correct to say that the “me ness” of every thought, sensation, feeling, perception, is the I of Awareness? And yet, the question is about the deeper layers of feelings in the body in which the imaginary self hides itself. When I explore a feeling, that is, I face it, I can see clearly that it is nothing but a sensation, if I don’t attached any story to it.
So what is it to be done to go more deeper in this exploration of the feeling? Let me take, for instance, a feeling of sadness. Without any story attached to it, it is only a sensation, known by Awareness. But, how can I uproot the sense of separation hidden in that feeling ?

Many thanks in advance for your answer.




Dear Linda,

Yes, the ‘me-ness’ of every thought, sensation, feeling and perception, is the I of Awareness. That is, the knowing with which all thoughts, sensations, feelings and perceptions are known belongs to your self, Awareness. In fact, that knowing is your self. And as all that is known of any thought, sensation, feeling or perception is just the knowing of them, therefore all that is known is your self, Awareness.

And yes, you are correct to say that feelings in the body are neutral sensations accompanied by a story that revolves around an imaginary inside self.

The desire to uproot or get rid of the sense of separation hidden in a feeling such as sadness, is itself a feeling that is based on a subtle resistance. It is a resistance to the feeling of sadness. In other words, it is a resistance to resistance. In this way, the sense of separation is perpetuated by trying to get rid of the sense of separation.

So what is to be done? Do not make the sense of separation into a problem that needs to be solved. We cannot understand something we we are trying to get rid of.

If separation were real, we would have to get rid of it. However, separation is an illusion. Attempting to get rid of an illusion only asserts its apparent reality, thereby strengthening it.

So what needs to be done to an illusion? Simply to see it clearly as such. In this clear seeing the illusion may or may not disappear immediately but in either case its power over us diminishes and gradually dissolves.

So do not go after the sense of separation. Rather, allow it to come to you, gradually revealing itself in all its depth and complexity. Welcome every face of its appearance with love, as a mother would a troublesome child.

To begin with the investigative mind explores the sense of separation in a proactive way, seeking it out with the sharp tool of reason. However, once the illusion of separation has been revealed for what it is, the investigation gives way to a more contemplative approach in which the subtler layers of separation that have been hiding undetected in the body for so long are gradually revealed and in time dissolved in the loving and contemplative presence of Awareness.

Imagine a dirty dish cloth. To begin with we may put it in the washing machine and this will remove ninety per cent of the stains. However, there remains a small amount of dirt that is ingrained in the fabric of the cloth and that does not come out even after several washes. What to do? We run a tub of warm soapy water and immerse the cloth in it. Gradually and imperceptibly the deeper layers of ingrained dirt are dissolved effortlessly.

That is how these deeper layers of apparent separation are dissolved out of the body. We simply abide as this Aware Presence allowing layer upon layer of separation to be revealed in our loving contemplation. No longer met with the normal attempts to relieve or get rid of them, these feelings gradually come out of the woodwork, so to speak, like creatures at the bottom of a well gradually waking up when the sun is above them at midday. These feelings respond to our loving contemplation like a sort of invitation, rising to the surface when the sun of Awareness shines on them.

So simply abide as this Aware Presence welcoming layer upon layer of feeling, being very sensitive to the old impulse to get rid of them, feeling/understanding this impulse itself as one such residue of separation.

Allow these feelings to come to you; don’t go towards them. Don’t become their accomplice by trying to uproot or get rid of them. This may require courage and love. The old impulse to get rid of these uncomfortable feelings is so strong. Remain gently but resolutely your self, the self. Separation cannot stand the bright but gentle light of our own dispassionate contemplation. Apparent separation thrives on our resistance to or agenda with it and it is for this reason that so many years of spiritual practice often seems successful at first but in the long run fails to bring about the peace for which we long.

So, no more uprooting! Just loving contemplation interspersed with the bright light of investigation from time to time whenever the water in the well gets murky.

With love,