Objects only come in and out of existence from the point of view of a subject, whilst I, Awareness, who am neither a subject nor an object and yet the reality of both, am eternally present.

Love Is Never Lost

If understanding leads to the absence of these emotional ups and downs, including sorrow over the loss of a loved one, regret when one inadvertently breaks a promise, irritation when another does something disagreeable, it seems -- to this limited mind -- unnatural.

Dear Rupert,
 
I found your exchange with Chuckee regarding the apparent person and suffering to be very powerful.
 
Your point is very clear:  suffering is only possible when we think and feel
that we are a person.  That is readily apparent in my own life.  Every instance of suffering is about how I want a situation to be different “for  me.”  In other words, as you say, I am rejecting the current situation.  

Without the “me,” it’s easily seen that various phenomenon are simply experienced, without judgment.  Even the concept of “acceptance” seems too much, because it implies a “someone” who needs to accept.
 
But at the same time, my mind leaps to a situation that would seem to be
intolerable, such as the loss of a child or other loved one.  No matter how
clearly I’ve understood that there is no person as such, I can’t imagine not
feeling sorrow and regret.  Would it be different in your case?
 
Or to take a more trivial example, if someone cuts me off in traffic, I get
irritated.  Irritation, it seems to me, is a form of suffering.  Surely such
emotions as irritation, sorrow, regret, resentment, etc., don’t simply
disappear in the case of one who sees that Grace is the totality?  And aren’t such emotions “suffering”—an overt or subtle rejection of a current
situation?
 
If understanding leads to the absence of these emotional ups and downs,
including sorrow over the loss of a loved one, regret when one inadvertently breaks a promise, irritation when another does something disagreeable, it seems—to this limited mind—unnatural.
 
Love,

Michael

 
Dear Michael,

Michael: “Your point is very clear:  suffering is only possible when we think and feel that we are a person.  That is readily apparent in my own life.  Every of suffering is about how I want a situation to be different “for me.”  In other words, as you say, I am rejecting the current situation.

Without the “me,” it’s easily seen that various phenomenon are simply
experienced, without judgment.  Even the concept of “acceptance” seems too
much, because it implies a “someone” who needs to accept.”

Rupert: Yes.

Michael: “But at the same time, my mind leaps to a situation that would seem to be intolerable, such as the loss of a child or other loved one.  No matter how clearly I’ve understood that there is no person as such, I can’t imagine not feeling sorrow and regret.  Would it be different in your case?”

Rupert: The child or friend may be lost, but love is never lost.

Think of your relationship with your child or loved one. The objective elements of the friendship are changing continuously, that is, they are always being lost. But what is it that remains throughout? It is love or friendship.

When our companion or child leaves for a trip or even when they simply go into the next room, we have no objective connection with them. But do we feel that something is broken or lost? No, the true content of the friendship remains. Love remains. In fact all relationship is defined by this quality alone.

Two objects can never meet. Two ‘people’ can never meet. What we call a meeting or a relationship is only the shining of this shared love.

In fact it is my experience that when a loved one departs, love shines even more brightly that usual. All that remains is the pure love in which and as which we truly meet.

The same is true of the great parting called death. The apparent other is no longer outside. They now reside in our heart as pure love, which is in fact where they always resided. Why would one feel sorrow or regret in such a case? The particular means of celebrating that love, which we had become accustomed to over the years, may no longer be available, but the love itself will be present and available, as always.

In fact death is simply the dissolution of an object, a person, in its source and substance, which is love. So death is not the problem. It is identifying ourselves as an object, as a fragment, and thereby identifying an other as an object or fragment, which seems to obscure this ever-present, all pervading love.

Our Friend is the face of this Love. Their parting is the great gift of love to itself, as was their presence.

In fact death and love are one and the same but from two different points of view. Death is for the person what Love is for the Self. Therefore, we never lose a friend.

If we do not mistake our loved ones for entities in this life, we will not mistake death for separation. And how is it possible not to mistake our loved ones for entities? By not mistaking our self for an entity.

I do not mean to suggest that when a loved one dies, we walk around with a smile on our face all the time. No…there is a melting of the heart at such a time, a tenderness, an openess, loving memories and possibly an acknowledgement that some issues were left unresolved…these are the residues of love, not the suffering of a person.

*****

Michael: “Or to take a more trivial example, if someone cuts me off in traffic, I get irritated.  Irritation, it seems to me, is a form of suffering.  Surely such emotions as irritation, sorrow, regret, resentment, etc., don’t simply disappear in the case of one who sees that Grace is the totality?  And aren’t such emotions “suffering”—an overt or subtle rejection of a current situation?”

Rupert: If ones sees Grace as the totality, then being cut off by someone in traffic would be seen, along with everything else, as a gift of Grace. It would not trigger suffering. We would simply say ‘thank you God’ in our heart, which is the proper response to Grace. If we find ourselves irritated or suffering as a result of such an occurrence it is precisely because we do not see it as a gift of Grace.

If we then come back and say, “Oh well, my irritation is also an expression of Grace,” then…..yes, you guessed…..pseudo advaita!
 
Michael: “If understanding leads to the absence of these emotional ups and downs, including sorrow over the loss of a loved one, regret when one inadvertently breaks a promise, irritation when another does something disagreeable, it seems—to this limited mind—unnatural.”

Rupert: Everything that appears in nature is natural. Nuclear war, a daffodil, pollution, a new born child, the ego, Ramana Maharshi…everything…..

Having said that and whilst understanding that ultimately everything is an expression of Reality or Consciousness, we can, at a more relative level, distinguish four types of response to situations: 1) those that are simply practical such as filling up the car with petrol, 2) those that come from understanding or love such as caring appropriately for a child or noticing that one inadvertently broke a promise, 3) those that seek to share, celebrate or express understanding and love, such as the desire to make a work of art or invite a friend for dinner and 4) those that are based on believing and feeling that we are a separate and limited entity.

When Understanding dawns, the first three types of behaviour flourish and express themselves uniquely in the case of each body/mind. Only the fourth type of response diminishes.

In fact it is precisely the absence of the belief and feeling of separation that enables thoughts, feelings, responses, activities etc. to really flourish. Our true individuality, no longer subjected to the dominion of the separate self, flowers, each according to the unique gifts of the particular body and mind.

And this includes compassion. Not compassion as it is usually understood as one entity feeling sorry for another entity, but rather ‘feeling with’ (com+patio, to feel together), that is, to feel as the other feels…to deeply share their grief or their joy as if it were our own. It is our own.

No longer clouded by the murky and distorting lens of the separate entity we are free to see clearly, feel deeply and act efficiently.

The natural state (I use the word ‘natural’ in a different context now) is one of openness, sensitivity, clarity, kindness, efficiency, empathy, tolerance….the separate entity simply dulls these natural qualities. As the separate entity dissolves, either dramatically or, as is more often the case, gradually, these natural qualities shine correspondingly brighter in our lives and relationships and flow out, as it were, into our environment.

Advaita is not a white-washing of our feelings and activities. It is rather the opposite.

With love,

Rupert