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.

Is this the 'Final Understanding?'

Nisargadatta said: "For you, you appear in the world. For me, the world appears in me." This is one of those statements that, if one "gets" it, it is the end of story. There is nothing further to get.

Dear Rupert,

Nisargadatta said: “For you, you appear in the world. For me, the world appears in me.” This is one of those statements that, if one “gets” it, it is the end of story. There is nothing further to get.

Best wishes,



Dear Dan,

If this is the end of the story for you, I respect that and what is said here may not be of interest. However, for those who understand from their own experience that the world arises in them and yet still wonder what this world that arises within them, really is, then there is more that can be said about it.

The formulation ‘The world arises in me’ is true in relation to the previous belief that the world arises or appears at a distance from and outside of myself (and it was probably in that context that Nisargadatta said it.)

However, it is not the final understanding.

There is still a subtle dualism in this statement between the world that arises, albeit within myself as Awareness, and Awareness itself.

Further and deeper contemplation of experience reveals that in fact nothing arises or appears within Awareness. Where would it arise or appear from and out of what would it be made?

The ‘world’ is simply the belief that there is something other than Awareness which arises or appears from time to time. However, if we look for such a world, for something that arises or appears, we find nothing.

Our experience, whether or not it is recognised, is always only of one ever-present, homogeneous, changeless substance, that is both knowing and present.

This is all we are, all we know and all we love. We, this Presence, never move, change, go anywhere or do anything. We are always in our own place, this placeless place of our self.

We simply abide as we are and sometimes this abidance seems to be coloured, as it were, by the taste of tea, the sound of conversation, the image of the street and cars, San Francisco airport, the grey of the London sky, the texture of sheets, the image of a dream, the ‘nothingness’ of deep sleep and then an email from a friend…..

In this placeless place, nothing appears or arises inside of Awareness. There is no world, others or objects, as such. I, Awareness, am the sole substance of all (but there is no ‘all’) and every apparent thing is my own self taking the apparent shape of tastes, sounds, sights etc. but always being only my self.

Having seen clearly that there is no world, object or other, as such, we then ask what then is this Awareness, this sole substance? In order to give it a name we have to objectify it even slightly. We make it a ‘some’ thing, and therefore not ‘another’ thing. We are back in duality.

So when the idea of the world collapses in experience, the idea of Awareness collapses with it. If there is no object, there cannot be a subject. If there is a subject, there must be an object. So even in the idea of Oneness, duality is implied. Oneness is one thing too much.

And then we realise how wise the early masters were. They didn’t say it was One or Oneness. They just went as far as saying that it is ‘not two.’ (I am not criticising the use of the word ‘Oneness.’ It is of course valid as a pointer.)

The mind simply cannot go further than this. We end in silence. Not a silence that is an absence of sound, but that which is prior to the absence or presence of sound or, more broadly speaking, prior to and beyond the mind, body and world. And yet, when the mind, body and world seem to appear it is only this silence that is known.     

The concept of ‘I,’ or Awareness, is the first to arise and the last to go. There is good reason for this: it is the only ‘thing’ that is ‘real’ and therefore the only thing that truly merits conceptualisation.

In fact we realise that all names and words are in fact the Christian names of Awareness, the names that seem to qualify it. Tea, sounds, street, cars, airport, sky…. It has no name but is called by all names.

So in some ways, we are back where we started, pure experiencing. Everything is simple again. Thinking about and contemplating the nature of reality has done its job. It has come to its own end. We find ourselves back on the streets again, so to speak, deeply at the heart of all experience, as love, free to take the shape of all experience and yet independent of all experience, that is, we find ourselves as peace itself.

With love,