If you want to change your thoughts, you will have to start by changing the universe.

Can we choose when to make the personal mind subside into its source?


Hi Rupert,

Do not worry about my taking offence over anything you have said. In fact, I myself believe all my interest and understanding in regard to Advaita, from the point of view of an individual, to be superficial and can never be resolved. All these questions are from ‘individuals’, as far as I can tell. For me, it’s when the individual stops that all is known and seeking stops, and all the expressions of ‘welcoming’, ‘standing as’ and other aids are found to be the natural expressions of such. 

When the person ramps up, of its own accord, everything becomes small and needs to be understood. Then, when, of it’s own accord as well, the personal recedes, everything is whole and known and all is well, and my God! It’s so obvious! It’s my self, pure is-ness, clarity, profound intuitive knowing, nothing needed, the fulfilment of all desire known.

My experience is that I have absolutely no say over such events. No matter what I read, hear, do or don’t do, such a happening or non-happening happens spontaneously. It’s filled with everything I need to know, as I need it, in a way that can only be described as multi-dimensional and whole. And then, even though such knowing is more right and natural, makes more sense and is filled with simple joy and love, I go back to where these words just make me sad because they seem so hollow. It is from this perspective that I disagreed with an answer you gave Claudia. Just because an ‘awakening’ occurred doesn’t mean that now it’s only a matter of old habits running down, or that we need to adopt a prescribed attitude and understanding. 

I don’t believe we do have a choice in any regard – not in some sad, ‘What’s the use!’? kinda way but in the ‘we are not personal’ kinda way, the ‘we are the ultimate reality of all things’ kinda way. We all continue with whatever we do. We make decisions and choices as we always do, whether we understand the truth of our existence and act from there or not. Some of us will hit the mark, others will be broad-sided by a train.

After a life filled mostly with doubt and despair in spite of my best intentions, as well as deeply moving and profound experiences, I have little or no faith in my ability to effect any change whatsoever. This is not a sad or tragic thing, simply another of the infinite ways awareness experiences itself. 

All I can do is trust that this is true and continue being open to the possibility that awareness will awaken to itself, or continue to awaken as the case may be. As Francis told me, my questions and yearning for truth is grace – and besides, it’s fun and it’s what I do.

I am happy to write in this open, exposed way to such a group. It is only within the last year, when I have been so humbled and shaken in what I thought I knew, that I can bare myself to you all. That comes directly from a wearing down of the firmly held belief that I am somebody who knows something and needs to defend himself.

Dear Rupert, you will not need to respond to this reply unless it can be of value. It is written from the point of view of an individual, one very adept at picking things apart to suit his own agenda. As long as I come from this position, there can be no lasting resolution capable of satisfying mind. Or can there? I often feel as if I am hovering between the personal, where all this needs to be explained and understood, and the impersonal, where all is well and all known eternally without question. 

I thank you for your time and efforts. I particularly enjoy the way you call us back to our own direct experience and ask us to observe and go from there.

All the best and thank you,
Chuckee

 

Dear Chuckee,

Chuckee: I myself believe all my interests and understanding in regard to Advaita, from the point of view of an individual, to be superficial and can never be resolved. All these questions are from ‘individuals’, as far as I can tell.

Rupert: An ‘individual’ or ‘separate entity’ can never be interested in non-duality. Insofar as a non-existent entity can be interested in anything, such an entity, being itself an object, can only be interested in an object, that is (in this case) an idea.

The ‘separate entity’ could be defined as the ‘apparent veiling of consciousness’. Unhappiness, seeking or the longing to be unveiled are inherent in this position. This seeking is, as it were, the light of presence shining in the mind that believes itself to be a separate entity. It is only the mind that misinterprets this seeking as belonging to a separate entity.

So yes, just as Francis said to you, this longing in our heart does not originate from a person. It is God’s signature in us.

It is true that it is, as it were, presence itself that has dressed up as the apparent entity. And just as when, in normal life, one who dresses up can still be recognised by his or her face, so even in the apparent person we take ourself to be, our original face is still recognisable. This original face is the taste of happiness that lies at the heart of all unhappiness.

So, yes, it is not the person that goes, turns or moves towards presence. It is presence that gathers that apparent one into itself. After all, presence projected it out of itself to begin with.

 

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For me, it’s when the individual stops that all is known and seeking stops.

This is the story of the Prodigal Son. The Prodigal Son reaches a place where he can no longer proceed. He is spent. There are no more possibilities within the realm of objects. His search collapses. That is, he spontaneously turns round. This is not a doing. It is the cessation of a doing. It is the cessation of the previous search for happiness in the realm of objects that sometimes spontaneously and effortlessly occurs as a result of despair or understanding.

Everything by which the Prodigal Son previously defined himself came to an end in that moment and he found himself facing the Father. However, it was the Father that came towards him and embraced him, not the other way round. That is, it is consciousness that withdraws its projection of an apparent entity, not the apparent entity that moves towards or becomes consciousness.

And all the expressions of ‘welcoming’, ‘standing as’ and other aids are found to be the natural expressions of such.

Yes, exactly. To begin with, when we feel ourself to be a person, meditation, self-enquiry, and so on, are considered to be something that we, as a person, do. However, in time we realise that meditation, contemplation or abiding as we are (which is the essence of self-enquiry) is in fact what we are, and the person is simply an activity of thinking and feeling that ‘we do’, that is, that appears in us.

The suggestion to meditate, investigate or explore the nature of the self or experience is given to one who considers him or herself to be a person. Doing, for such a one, is not optional. It is, by definition, unavoidable. The highest form of such an apparent doing is to enquire into the one who seems to be the doer. This is why Ramana Maharshi offered this way only to those who were not able to be, without doing, in silence.

If we find ourself thinking and feeling that we are a person and at the same time we advocate the idea that there is nothing to do, we have, as I have said before, simply not noticed that we are in fact already doing something.

It is very easy to detect the difference between the true understanding that there is nothing to do and the belief of such that an apparent person holds. The former is accompanied by an unmistakable ease and peace whilst the latter is permeated with an air of despondency and resignation. This is the difference between surrender and despair. The confusion between the two is a common misunderstanding on the contemporary Advaita scene.

In the case of the former, the question of whether there is something to do or not does not arise. In the case of the latter, we would be better off simply admitting the impulse to do something about our unhappiness and pursuing whatever means our love and intelligence dictate to relieve or understand it.

 

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My experience is that I have absolutely no say over such events. No matter what I read, hear, do or don’t do, such a happening or non-happening happens spontaneously.

Yes, as an apparent entity, we do and choose nothing. How could a non-existent entity do or choose anything? All apparent actions and choices come straight out of the heart of presence, as it were, their real cause or origin, unmediated by an apparent person.

From the point of view of the apparent person, all choices or actions that are taken towards happiness seem to be undertaken by itself, the entity. But from the point of view of reality (if such can be said to have a point of view), all such apparent choices or actions are in fact proceeding in the opposite direction. They are presence gathering the person back into itself, withdrawing its own projection. 

If (from the point of view of the person) meditation or self-enquiry is the apparent shape of this gathering, so be it. Why resist? Who resists? This resistance is in fact itself a subtle doing, a rejection on the part of the apparent person. Meditation and self-enquiry are in fact simply presence itself, disguised as an activity, welcoming itself back to itself.

Just because an ‘awakening’ occurred doesn’t mean that now it’s just a matter of old habits running down, or that we need to adopt a prescribed attitude and understanding.

It depends what is meant by an ‘awakening’. If it has been clearly and truly seen, in experience and not just intellectually, that there is no separate entity and therefore no separate object, other or world, then the reality of that apparent entity is profoundly shaken. It may return, and in fact in almost all cases it does, but it does not return with the same degree of apparent reality and voracity as it used to.

When we first see a tiger on the screen, we are afraid of it in just the same way that we would be afraid if a real tiger burst into our room. Once we have discovered that the tiger in the film is made only of the screen, we are no longer afraid of it in the way we were when we first saw it. We may still be afraid of it when it reappears on the screen, but our fear is not as profound as it would be if the tiger were to enter our room.

Each time we rediscover that the tiger is only made of screen, our fear of it diminishes, until a point when we can happily drink our tea, smiling and chatting, while the menacing tiger prowls around the screen. Likewise, each time we check out our experience and find that there is no personal entity at the centre of it, the unhappiness that revolved around the belief in this apparent entity diminishes.

I am puzzled by your comment about needing ‘to adopt a prescribed attitude and understanding’. I have certainly not recommended or prescribed any attitude or understanding, let alone suggested that anyone adopt it.

 

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I don’t believe we do have a choice in any regard.

At the risk of being repetitive, if it is clear that there is no separate entity, choices still appear, but they appear like the weather. They do not originate from a particular entity, nor do they appear to a particular entity. They simply appear, and that appearance, along with everything else, is known and felt to be made out of our own knowing presence.

However, if we think and feel that we are a separate entity, then that very entity is made out of the ‘I thought it’, ‘I chose it’, ‘I felt it’, ‘I love it’ thought. In other words, the separate entity is, by definition, the apparent thinker, chooser, feeler, lover, and so on. If we say, ‘I think that I am a separate entity and yet I know there is no choice’, we are in effect saying, ‘I think I am a separate entity and at the same time I know I am not a separate entity’.

This is a common position and results from having explored the belief in separation and coming, as a result, to the intellectual understanding that there is no such entity but not having fully explored the feeling of being separate. This dichotomy lies at the heart of much of the insidious sense of dissatisfaction that sometimes lingers in us in spite of decades of non-duality teachings.

I am happy to write in this open, exposed way to such a group. It is only within the last year, when I have been so humbled and shaken in what I thought I knew, that I can bare myself to you all. That comes directly from a wearing down of the firmly held belief that I am somebody who knows something and needs to defend himself.

Yes, I feel and am touched by your openness and honesty. If we think or feel that we are an entity, we already know something – we know one thing too much. It is this last trace of belief, which is the difference between resignation and surrender, which I keep trying to gently bring into focus. That is all, just to bring it to the light of awareness, to lay it at the feet of awareness and to say, ‘Here, this is my gift for You. It is all I have, but it is for You.’

You will not need to respond to this reply unless it can be of value. It is written from the point of view of an individual.

I do not feel that your email comes from an individual. I feel it comes from openness, intelligence, love and honesty, and it is that to which my response is directed – not ‘that’ in you or in anyone else, but simply ‘that’. It is there for the taking, to be ignored if irrelevant, to be pondered if not.

With love,
Rupert