As the witnessing presence of Awareness, we stand in the background of experience; as the light of pure Knowing, we stand at its heart. 

'I' is Self-Luminous, Self-Evident, Self-Existent and Self-Knowing

To be honest, I can't really fathom what this is, or what I am. It just wont collapse down into something I can look at, and I have tried and tried. Just when I think I've got it, It slips through my fingers.

Dear Rupert
 
I grew-up believing that I was born on the 18th August 1967. I was told there was a time when I didn’t exist. My history lessons at school described events that happened before I was born: England had a succession of kings and queens, dressed in clothing that was popular at the time but wouldn’t be worn today. If I don’t believe my teachers or the books that depict events in history, I can look at the artefacts left behind- the letters written by Henry VIII or go to Cairo and see the treasures of Egyptian rulers.
 
All that I describe seems totally independent of me, this small insignificant person in a vast world that has been around for billions of years producing dinosaurs, fish and human beings. When I go to sleep, that dripping tap in the kitchen that started just before I went to bed has by 7.30 am, flooded the kitchen; something was happening in an independently existing world whilst I slept.
 
Having said all that, Rupert, here is the curious thing. A story has to be created to construct a series of events, and then the events themselves seem to be more story. I seem to always be there when anything happens. The story about the flooded kitchen appears the same time I do. The story of the flooded kitchen appears when the clean-up operation is underway. The feeling of annoyance of not speaking to the plumber when my wife asked me to is here now also. There seems no escape from this moment, and yet my mind forever doesn’t want to be here.
 
I guess the common denominator is me. I think I am using the word ‘me’ to talk of presence. I have never experienced anything without me being present- how could I? They seem to go together rather well, objects and me, that is. So objects seem to lose there solidity, I guess. The so called treasurers of Egyptian kings therefore become timeless: they can only appear now which funnily enough is when I appear. The story of some historical character placing them there is a story appearing now.
 
To be honest, Rupert, I can’t really fathom what this is, or what I am. It just wont collapse down into something I can look at, and I have tried and tried. Just when I think I’ve got it, It slips through my fingers.
 
I am new to all this kind of Non-dual stuff and if it wasn’t for someone lending me a book about this I would not be writing to you. The only reason my
ears pricked up when reading your book and others is that I know how it feels to feel separate: if there were a separateness scale on a meter ranging from
1-10, I would be a 10 and the needle would be bent over double. It is this idea of separation that something will not let go of until it knows what it is.
 
Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

Regards,
 
Richard




Dear Richard,

Richard: .....Having said all that, Rupert, here is the curious thing. A story has to be created to construct a series of events, and then the events themselves seem to be more story.

Rupert: Yes, all past events only appear as stories - they cannot appear in any other form.

In other words, ‘past events’ are never actually experienced. The story is experienced but not the event to which it refers.

Richard: I seem to always be there when anything happens.

Rupert: Yes, but the ‘there’ is always ‘here,’ not ‘here’ a place but rather ‘here,’ the placeless place of Consciousness in which all places (and times) appear.

Richard: The story about the flooded kitchen appears the same time I do. The story of the flooded kitchen appears when the clean-up operation is underway. The feeling of annoyance of not speaking to the plumber when my wife asked me to is here now also. There seems no escape from this moment, and yet my mind forever doesn’t want to be here.

Rupert: Yes, have you ever had or would it be possible to experience a place or a time that was not ‘here, now?’

However, the present is not a ‘moment’ caught in between a infinitely vast past and future. The past and the future are ideas appearing in the ever-present, infinite now. Have you ever known anything that was not ‘now?’

A thought may appear that ‘I don’t want to be here,’ but that thought, along with all other thoughts, things, people, events etc., appears here, now.
 
Richard: I guess the common denominator is me. I think I am using the word ‘me’ to talk of Presence. I have never experienced anything without me being present - how could I?

Rupert: Yes, exactly. ‘I,’ Awareness, is ever-present and nothing is separate from that. Moreover ‘I’ is ever-present whereas the mind, the body and the world come and go.

Richard: They seem to go together rather well, objects and me, that is. So objects seem to lose there solidity, I guess.

Rupert: Yes. In fact, they (you and the object) go so well together that if we make a deep enquiry into the nature of the apparent object, we find only ‘I.’

Another way of saying this would be to say that everything is made out of ‘experiencing’ and ‘I’ and ‘experiencing’ are one, not two. Hence the name non-duality or advaita -‘a’ not, ‘dvaita’ two.

Richard: The so called treasurers of Egyptian kings therefore become timeless: they can only appear now which funnily enough is when I appear. The story of some historical character placing them there is a story appearing now.

Rupert:
Yes. Everything is timeless. Time is a mental construct.

However, You do not appear. You are ever present. You are. Egyptian kings appear.
 
Richard: To be honest, Rupert, I can’t really fathom what this is, or what I am.

Rupert:
No, the mind cannot access the reality of experience although it is appearing in it and made out of it.

Richard:
It just wont collapse down into something I can look at, and I have tried and tried. Just when I think I’ve got it, It slips through my fingers.

Rupert: Yes, the reality of experience has no objective qualities and cannot therefore be ‘found.’ However, it does not need to be ‘found’ because it is what we always, already are.

In other words, experience collapses down into myself but we cannot collapse the self down into anything else. It is the primal substance of experience, not caused or known by anything prior to or other than itself.

Therefore ‘I’ is self-luminous, self-evident, self-existent and self-knowing.
 
Richard: ..... if there were a separateness scale on a meter ranging from 1-10, I would be a 10 and the needle would be bent over double. It is this idea of separation that something will not let go of until it knows what it is.

Rupert: Separation is 1) a belief in the mind - the belief that what we are, (that is, whatever it is that is seeing, knowing or experiencing the current situation, for instance, these words) is limited to and located within the body. In other words, separation is the belief that Consciousness or Awareness is limited, located and personal.

And 2) separation is a feeling in the body that seems to validate and substantiate the belief in a separate individual Consciousness. In other words, it is the feeling that I am located behind the eyes or am sitting on a chair.

Neither of these - the belief or the feeling - need to be got rid of or even let go of. They simply need to be seen for what they are - a belief and a feeling appearing in You, Consciousness, just like a table and a chair appearing in a room (relatively speaking).

Neither the belief or the feeling in separation have any power to actually make You, Consciousness, limited or local. All that is necessary is to explore your experience, discover that you are impersonal Consciousness and take your stand there. The mind and body will change their tune accordingly, in time.
 
With kind regards,

Rupert