Presence Volume I - The Art of Peace and Happiness Available from Amazon
Your self, Aware Presence, knows no resistance to any appearance and, as such, is happiness itself; like the empty space of a room it cannot be disturbed and is, therefore, peace itself; like this page, it is intimately one with whatever appears on it and is thus love itself; and like water that is not affected by the shape of a wave, it is pure freedom. Causeless joy, imperturbable peace, love that knows no opposite and freedom at the heart of all experience….this is your ever-present nature under all circumstances.
The Intimacy of experiencing
Wow - Jeanine Grobe
I've been a student of nonduality for many years, but this book has really made an impact on me. It goes deeply into the nature of experience and, for myself, makes other books seem like introductions to the subject. I usually mark up my books with underlining and notes, but I stopped with this one because every word was getting underlined. It seems to be tying up loose ends in my understanding and clarifying things in an uncompromising way. I literally read it with my jaw dropped, heart racing, catching my breath, and entering deep peace all at once. This is a very very good book and I look forward to reading part 2.
Get it! - J Ball
Fabulous book, I can't recommend it highly enough. I've read a lot of books related to spirituality but this takes the biscuit! I could only read a few pages at a time because each page is jam packed with little gems, you just want time to absorb them.
Can a book change your life? - Chris Hebbard
"Like the moth and the flame, the separate self we imagine ourselves to be becomes the flame as it touches it. At that timeless moment, resistance and seeking come to an end and with it the imaginary, inside self. All that remains is the flame in which the imaginary self has been consumed. All that remains is our essential being."
Rupert Spira, Presence
Over the years, I have come to realize that the basic quest of life is to discover where happiness resides. The hunt begins with the assumption that there is something missing "in here" and that something "out there" will complete me, thus bringing me peace and happiness. It certainly was the case here.
I spent most of my life pursuing the objects of desire--money, family, sex, drugs, glamor, vanity, food, television, the internet, even enlightenment, in a subconscious desire to fulfill some deep sense of lack that followed me throughout life. I was cynical, arrogant, egotistical, narcissistic and extroverted. Always looking "out there"--because I was frightened for my safety or in full pursuit of the next object of my desire. My only mantra was "More!"
The only relief from this endless cycle was the temporary enjoyment I seemed to obtain when the object of my desire was eventually acquired. These moments were short lived and were followed shortly thereafter by the pursuit of a new object which, presumably, would complete me. It never satisfied me for anything but a brief moment.
Late in life, a catastrophic, series of events resulted in a sudden and complete collapse of my entire belief structure. This event cracked open something in me, and profoundly disoriented my former confidence as a person. In short, my concept of myself and the world vanished, leaving me deeply disoriented and needing to understand "Who or what am I?"
It set off in me a singular burning desire: to understand what had happened and to discover the answer to my profound sense of disorientation regarding who or what I am. This journey, and serving others on the same path, has become my great obsession.
As I stumbled along, I have been blessed, truly blessed, by a growing group of humble, highly clear teachers, friends and mentors, who have patiently walked with me thru self delusion, confusion and erroneous beliefs spun tightly together like a spider's web of identity, so that I might recognize the significance of -- let me call a spade a spade--our divine heritage.
Of these angels, Rupert Spira holds a very special place in my heart.
Over the years, I have met many who have deeply explored the timeless basic questions, "What do I know to be really true?" and "What and who am I?" Like me, they have read countless texts, enjoyed the company of teachers, attended endless satsangs and endured all sorts of practices.
Like me, they have had a fairly clear mental understanding of Truth, yet, like me, there was something missing-- the enduring signature of the miraculous yet ineffable Self -- sat chit ananda-- the deep abiding love, peace and happiness from which all perception is born--the unshakable perfume of silence.
Long before he was an author or teacher, Rupert and I became friends through the sangha of Francis Lucille, our teacher. Perhaps, it was the common ground of Francis' teaching that made his original manuscript so intriguing, yet accessible.
Later entitled "The Transparency of Things", the book struck me forcefully-- lightning igniting a wild fire. It seemed to build a bridge from the limits my mind could take me to into the experiential realm of direct perception. Many of the finer points I had heard from our teacher began to reveal their fruits to me.
This required a thorough, methodical inspection of the realty of my moment to moment experience. My inability to"see" required deep reflection on my direct experience--uncovering the hidden assumptions that my imagination had added; this fictional "web" of identity which Rupert refers to as the located, "separate inside self" .
This "sense of me" --as an object-- is born from ignoring true nature--ignorance-- of the mind and also, just as importantly, of the body.
I call this examination the Path of Perception or Tantra. As an artist, Rupert sometimes refers to it as the Path of Beauty.
Revealed in the ancient texts of Kashmiri Shaivism, the detailed work of Atmananda Krishna Menon, and the teachings of Jean Klein and Francis Lucille, it's fruit is the direct and palpable sense of transparency, of freedom.
It requires interest in closely inspecting sensory perception and bodily sensation in addition to belief constructs, imagination and thoughts.
Reading Rupert's original manuscript, I wanted to explore first hand some of his conclusions. Although the exploration detailed in his book revealed the same conclusions as our teacher, the path was laid out in patient, loving detail, letting me walk through them, step by step, to their logical conclusion.
Rupert's proximity to the sangha was my great luck. We met many times before the book's publication offering me the unique opportunity to explore and experiment with him, in the privacy of my home here in the DeLuz mountains above Temecula.
This is when I discovered Rupert's great gift for teaching.
It is one thing to be awake, it is quite another to be a good teacher. One is the gift of Grace, the other more like an acquired skill. I have not met many who were blessed with both.
For me, there are three teaching qualities that are unique to Rupert:
First, he is an artist of the first degree. His keen sense of observation and expression of the wondrous beauty of being can be seen in his ceramic work; luckily for me, his expression of Truth exudes this same love of perception itself. His teaching is, thus, prosaic and poetic. It sings to me.
Later, I would be honored to interview Rupert on the subject of Art and Consciousness for both Conscious.tv and StillnessSpeaks.com, the website I founded to delve into issues of Self Inquiry. Out of these exchanges grew my fascination with the expression of Presence thru the Arts: painting, film, ceramic, poetry, fiction, dance. To me, art can be an expression of our divinity which has direct access to the heart.
Second, Rupert's expression has a thoroughness that honors exactitude. In other words, he dissects and approaches everything he discusses with great care not to overlook any detail. The result of this patient thoroughness for me was the discovery of many hidden assumptions still parading around in me as facts. It was the purposeful pace of our mutual exploration that revealed these hidden biases.
Although I had previously examined thought, perception and sensation in depth, it became clear with Rupert, that my work had been, frankly, a bit sloppy. There was much more to examine than first met the eye.
As Rupert is fond of quoting, Paul Cezanne, the great French Impressionist painter, put it this way:
"The day is coming, when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution."
A revolution, indeed.
Third, in my experience with teachers, there appears to be two different ways to approach the subject of truth: one from the absolute and one from the relative. The former approach is necessarily unmoving. It "stands as awareness" and transmits the unshakeable nature of peace.
For instance, the comment that "there is nothing to do" is true in the absolute sense--there is no doer. But, this truth may not be helpful to the student who still experiences himself as the "separate inside self" set apart from the world. As Rupert once said to me,
"It may be true that there is nothing to do, but, if you believe yourself to be a human being on a journey through time and space, there is, in fact, something to do. It is to examine carefully whether this is true."
And here is Rupert's greatest gift, something I simply had to experience first hand to understand. Without judgement, Rupert listened to my questions, and, then, allowed himself to "stand in my shoes" and look around.
Once he was familiar with the underlying territory that the question arose from, he invited me to explore this perspective and walk with him as we examined the truth hidden in my questions. From here, we inevitably returned to the only place one can: Presence.
This is a magnificent process of meeting the student where he believes he is, rather than where he forgetfully stands at every moment. It is truly liberating. In a sense, Rupert is actually "doing the work" with us.
"All that is experienced is the experience of experiencing. What is it that experiences experience? Only experience. It experiences or knows itself. This pure experiencing is what we are. It is pervaded by the intimacy of our being."
The great gift of this inquiry is the sudden realization of the "substance" of experiencing itself: Love. My powerful subconscious attachment and determination to hold onto my separate "inside self" blocked Love itself, which was always present.
Francis Lucille once said, "Truth without Love is not Truth at all."
As I said, I am blessed.
Today, I call Rupert one of my dearest friends. In every moment, he "holds space" when we are together, never judging the occasional residual conditioning that may crop up. Without judgment, the absence of which is the signature of Love, he quietly and patiently "stands as awareness" , the greatest gift any friend could ask for.
His new book,Presence, Volumes 1 and 2, is a shining, stunning example of his work. I can not imagine a clearer guide. Get it. This is my very best recommendation.
OUTSTANDING read for the serious seeker that will end the search - D. Duarte
This is the FINEST book I have ever read on Non-Duality. I have been on a spiritual path of nearly 40 years and never fully understood what the term enlightenment was all about UNTIL I read this book. I thought that I knew but I REALLY did not ! Rupert has written a three book trilogy (THE TRANSPARENCY OF THINGS, PRESENCE, AND PRESENCE 2) that poignantly elucidates the journey of awakening from one's own moment to moment experience, not on some idealogical philosophy or practice. It is in the seeing of the actual human experience of coloring every experience that we have with an overlay that does not actually exist, that we can begin to see the folly of what the mainstream of human consciousness fails to recognize. It has taken me nearly 6 months to complete the reading of the three books mentioned above. Not because I am a slow reader, but because it takes some time to fully digest what is written. It will take everything you know to be true and turn it inside out and upside down ! It takes time for the mind to understand and accept what is true in our every experience. I HIGHLY recommend reading all three in the order that they were written because each book builds upon the previous one. There were so many ah-ha's that I stopped counting them, only to remain in awe at the brilliance with which Rupert explains Reality from the inside out, and one cannot help but resonate with that which he shares because it is our moment to moment experience. It will change the way you look at things and as the saying goes: WHEN YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT THINGS, THE THINGS YOU LOOK AT CHANGE. I have purchased several copies of these books to give away to close friends who might be ready to read them. These books are not to be read for "information" but are meant to transform your life by applying what is written to the way in which you see your own life experience and therefore prove the written words through your own personal experience.
He's the Real Deal - Happy John
I just came from attending a wonderful weekend seminar with Rupert. This guy is the real deal. And his books capture his offering. I've been lucky enough to briefly hang with some of the country's ( and world's) top teachers of non-duality, including Rupert's own teacher Francis Lucille. Rupert's expression is straight from the gold... and thus might seem to some (like our one star review guy) to be a bit difficult. But it's not. It's actually very simple. So simple and so direct that we are not accustomed to such richness in a single sentence. Thankfully, this is not a quick read. This is living satsang appearing between book covers. I love this guy, and his books. My walk around the block is brighter and lighter because of them.
The Highest Possible Pointing using Words - Mark McGrath
Rupert has stated himself that the clarity of the ultimate understanding may be difficult if it is stated in cultural terms that are unfamiliar. In Presence Vol 1, Rupert has created an entire new vocabulary for communicating the ineffable, that leads the reader into dissolution of separation. Importantly this is done by encouraging the reader to investigate experiencing itself. Rupert makes it impossible to escape the fact of experiencing; ie. there is no experiencer or experienced in experiencing.
Rupert introduces a new term for what has been conventionally called the 'ego.' His use of the term 'inside separate self' which itself creates 'an outside world' is the opportunity to see anew that the subject/object paradigm is a more subtle aspect of duality. In experiencing there is only the intimacy of presence knowing itself.
This book represents the pinnacle of clarity building on the confluence of authentic 'Self-Realized' teachers in Jean Klein, Atmananda Krishna Menon, and Francis Lucille, with Rupert's writing in this case being an out-pouring from the timeless. I found I could only read about a page at a time, at which time I would put the book down to rest as timeless presence. In this resting the garment of the 'inside separate self' would also be revealed, allowing me to let go of this aspect of limitation that had been illuminated.
If you are a Truth Lover, this book is an opportunity to deconstruct the final residues of the ways you create separation, limitation and location.
A Tour de Force - Fred Davies
I read and review a fair number of spiritual books. For the first time ever, I'm going to post an update to a review in front of the review itself. I'm doing this, so that the message I'm putting forth regarding the unique opportunity these books provide will ring absolutely clear.
I'm going to run out of superlatives in regard to Rupert Spira's new Presence book set, so let me start right away: Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! In all candor, I am in awe. The clarity here jumps off the page and into the reader. The first volume (Presence: The Art of Peace and Happiness) has an opening section that is just over 30 pages long. It is, I think, the best description of its section title, Our True Nature, that I have ever read. It is worth the price of admission, all by itself.
Since the truth can never be told, but only pointed to, Rupert then goes on to share his marvelous "translation", so to speak, of the most direct path to this singular-yet-shared True Nature. It is wonderful to have a meticulous artist at the wheel here. If you've not been to his website, I suggest you add a "dot com" to Rupert Spira and go there immediately following this review, and the subsequent purchase of both volumes of this new set. When you go to his site, you'll see that Rupert's expression of our True Nature is seemingly divided between art and teaching Nonduality. In fact, there is Nonduality in the art, and there is art in his Nondual teaching. Let me add that both are HIGH art.
The field of Nonduality is not, shall we say, overburdened with quality writing. There is a lot of clarity out there; I'm not suggesting there is not. Yet the ability to transfer that clarity from one human to another is too often insufficiently translated by a writer's lack of facility with language, and/or technical writing skills. Rupert does not share this problem. Our field could also use a truckload of editors and proofreaders. Awakening lands where it lands, and everything's done on the cheap and I get that; I'm being more matter of fact than I am critical. But it is a sheer joy to stumble upon an exception. That truck I spoke of must have stopped at Rupert's house a long time ago. (Now, doubtlessly, I'll leave a glaring typo somewhere in this review.)
I recently watched a DVD set of Dialogue Excerpts of one of Francis Lucille's retreats (see the Stillness Speaks or Nonduality Press websites). Francis, who of course studied under Jean Klein, is one of the clearest, widest openings one could ever hope to find. He is also Rupert's teacher and has been for over a decade. When the camera plays on the audience, there is Rupert, eyes closed, silently soaking in what's being offered through Francis. There is something very moving about that. Call me unsophisticated, but my eye witnesses there the deep example of humility that also shines forth on every page of this book.
Let me say just a bit more about these books. The first book takes us through all of our methods of apparently achieving the miracle of separation, and ways to reverse that. When speaking of our core problem of misidentification, Rupert uses the term, "exclusive identification" when speaking of our normal mode of life. I love that. I have often said, "You are the body, but you're not JUST the body." I'm putting Rupert on public notice that I'll be stealing "exclusive identification" at every opportunity. There is one attention-stopping observation after the other as he leads you down the path bordered by fear and desire. The great quotes to drink in are simply too numerable to count.
In the second volume (Presence: The Intimacy of All Experience) we find something akin to "dialogues", where a question is asked and then Rupert answers it. What touched me here was the encouraging gentleness and sweet wisdom with which these questioners and their questions were welcomed and discussed. The clarity and brilliance is there to the last page and beyond.
It's a great book set. I'll read it again. Right away. That's the highest praise I have. Namaste.