Simply Stay With This PresenceI am afraid of trading the spiritual practices and beliefs that I was never completely sure of, for the slippery tenuousness of an intellectual understanding of duality.
Thank you for responding to my email.
I guess the sense of anxiety which arises concerning the distance I feel from my spiritual friends is mostly my reaction to the apparent search. Understanding now that what I am IS this search, and the search of course is still happening, but it feels faded, “less than” somehow. And yet my spiritual friends continue steadfast, and I am in the distance. There is difficulty relating, and there is a pull to continue the search, unauthentic ally, as in simply to not fade completely - to hold on, knowing there is no one and nothing to hold on to. In short, I feel disinterested in those practices I once felt reliant upon, once felt so sure would bring me closer to God, lessen suffering, especially for those I love, and once looked forward to in the fostering of community.
If I look deeper, this isn’t the real reason. Simply I am afraid. Afraid I am only trading the spiritual practices and beliefs I was never completely sure of for the slippery tenuousness of an intellectual understanding of duality. Everyday my mind works overtime, consumed by desire to know the truth, reminding myself constantly to remain with experience, fighting to continue existing.
I am now reading your book, very slowly. I must re-read every sloka a few times to allow it to penetrate. Everything rings so true and seems so obvious, but how to see through this or allow the seeing through to happen?
What you are as a personal entity is, as you say, the search. However, that is not what you truly are. That one is a bundle of thoughts, sensations and perceptions, all strung together by a concept of a continuous entity that posses them.
What you truly are is the Consciousness which knows all those passing phenomena.
And yes, as this becomes more and more obvious, the resistances and the demands of the seeking entity, being seen for what they are, die down.
However, this does not mean the cessation of our search for truth - rather, it implies a refinement of it. We are no longer interested in what the separate ‘I’ is searching for - we are interested in the separate ‘I.’
When we direct our attention towards it, in order to find out exactly who this one is that is so unhappy and that has been ruling our lives all these years, we are surprised not to find it. In its place we find impersonal, unlimited Consciousness. And what is it that finds this? Only Consciousness, of course. In other words, Consciousness, as it were, recognises itself.
This shift of attention marks a dramatic cessation of interest in objects and a corresponding interest in our true nature, the non-objective presence of Consciousness.
If we have been used to hanging out with people who have a deep interest in objects, that is, in states, however apparently spiritual, this more refined interest may distance us from them, relatively speaking, but there are also many people who have a deep interest in truth.
However, don’t worry about the effects that this more refined interest will have on your social life!
You mention ‘the slippery tenuousness of an intellectual understanding of duality.’
There is really no such thing as understanding duality. Understanding duality means understanding that duality is non-existent.
Understanding is never intellectual. If it is ‘intellectual,’ in a derogatory sense, then it is belief, not understanding.
In order to understand that we are Consciousness behind and within all phenomena, we have to first look at our experience and say, ‘Yes, that’s true.’ That ‘Yes’ comes from seeing, not from belief.
Start with the conviction of that ‘Yes’ and allow it to infiltrate all areas of your thinking, feeling, acting and relating.
It is good for the mind to work overtime on these matters. Every now and then it comes to understanding and in that moment it dissolves, leaving you in the peace of your true nature. Then simply abide as that.
As soon as the mind starts up again with another objection, meet that objection and explore your experience again. In time there will be less and less exploring, because all the ground has been covered, and more and more abiding.
You say, “...fighting to continue existing..” Really? Do you have to struggle to be? Are you not present and aware effortlessly? Do you have to make any efforts to be this presence of Awareness?
See, in fact, that it takes an effort to be something other than this presence of Awareness, such as a body or a mind, but we have become so accustomed to this subtle effort of self-contraction that we no longer notice it and take it as normal.
Simply stay with this Presence, as this Presence. Take your stand there, as that.
You are right to read The Transparency Of Things very slowly. It is a deeply contemplative, meditative book. Each sentence is like a sip of fine wine that should be tasted slowly and deeply and allowed flow into every recess of the mind, body and world.
Just stay with each consideration until the mind dissolves in understanding. Then put the book down and explore all realms of your experience in relation to this new understanding. Think, feel, act and live this understanding in relation to everything.
Then have another sip!