Take your time with each of these, really take your time with them…
1. Do not get involved with life. Allow the body-mind to look after itself. Allow everything to come and go.
2. Relax and be still.
3. Do not take yourself to be a person, a body-mind. Here the questions ‘Who am I?’ and ‘From where does ‘I’ arise?’ can be useful initially, as can the assertions ‘I am not the body-mind-world’ and ‘I am That’. Relaxation and stillness are also useful here.
4. To rest in that state where one is aware but no ‘I’ thought arises is stillness. In time resting here will lead to realisation, but there must be no thought of realisation as this itself is a disturbance, a distortion.
5. Know that all is nothing,
Everything is nothing,
Nothing is here…
There is only That…
…not even That.
It usually starts off with a ‘me’ or ‘I’ wanting to be happy.
If ‘I’ meditate ‘I’ will become happy or enlightened. If ‘I’ do the right practices, listen to the right teachers, read the right books, etc…’I’ will become liberated.
Here there is the triad of the ‘I’, the desire, and the desired object (that will bring the desired lasting happiness). All of these three are mental projections. Contemplate on this. Each one of the three: the me-subject, the desire, and desired object, are all mental projections.
Though almost everyone inevitably comes to spirituality and nonduality in this way, a true teaching encourages or facilitates a deep letting go, in which all our concepts of attainment (desired objects) and ‘me’ (conceptual subject) are let go of and ultimately lost.
This is the liberation that we were looking for, and it is never found by the me, and cannot be put into words.
Its depth is profound, as is its superficiality and obviousness. It is always here, as it were, as it is simply everything and all-inclusive.
There is no concept of freedom or bondage here, for both these are projections of the ‘I’, itself a projection. Or, if these concepts are here, they are not clung onto and taken seriously.
We could put it like this:
We start off as ‘I want to be happy/realised/free/enlightened’.
Later on it is seen more like: ‘no-I…only freedom…simply this’.
Now this too is liable to be made into a concept and grasped by the mind.
My advice is to listen and absorb and think about what is written above, so it is understood on a conceptual level initially by the mind. Ask questions if you need to and allow a teacher/teaching to resolve any major doubts (in Sanskrit: sravana and manana or listening and reflecting).
Then, once contemplated and understood, to let go and forget everything. Allow all notions and ideas of self and liberation to fall away. (in Sanskrit: nididhyasana or meditation/actualisation)
Perhaps sit still with a straight back, and after some chanting and simple deep breathing exercises to calm the energies, let go and simply relax. Maybe follow the breath (my preference) or use a mantra to allow the mind to become calm, then let go of these practices too.
Allow thoughts to settle down and do as they please.
Relax. Let go. Breathe. Be happy.
Allow everything to be as it is.
Notice awareness is untouched by everything and is one with everything, and you are that awareness.
Let go of all distinctions.
Notice that which was thought of as being ‘I’ or ‘me’ is actually just empty, objects on a screen, a play of colourful light and shadow, insubstantial.
The body and mind that were formally taken to be you, are just objects arising and not you at all.
Every-thing is like this, empty and formless, a play of awareness.
Don’t make this into a concept, but in letting go, let go of these phrases and allow a deep seeing to arise in its own time by itself.
Insight and clarity will naturally arise, naturally and spontaneously, in the depths of silence. There is no need to believe the teachings. Intend for any realisation to be genuine and not a mere copy of my or someone else’s words.
All insights too are just a play of Oneness, worthless and wonderful, just like everything else. Allow them to come and go in your Light.
In the midst of daily life allow yourself to meet life fully with the insight-intelligence that has been gained. This is just a letting go of the triad of me, desire and desired amidst daily living. (this is still nididhyasana)
Where there are no operative thoughts (in Sanskrit: samadhi), where are you? Where am I? Where is this precious teaching? Where is this bondage? Where is this liberation?
This cannot be put into words, but for some reason, right now, I am moved to express it like this: total peace, only peace, everything is peace, totally unattached yet excluding nothing. The illusory me not in play, plunged into the depths of stillness, one with everything. Pure innocence, total naivety, suffused with natural innate intelligence, natural, raw, ordinary, all-inclusive, no thing and simply this.
Yes, this really cannot be put into words. Re-reading the above paragraph is like reading the poetic rantings of an infatuated dog! Don’t be fooled by poetic sounding verbal expressions, no matter how nice or right they seem. It is all more illusion. Don’t get (too) involved in the poetry and words! They are a breeding ground for ego. Much better to let go of concepts, be still and be happy: allow all illusions and projections to fall away and see for yourself.
In Peace, Love and Light
Q. This has been a source of confusion to me. If Brahman, Presence, whatever you want to call it is unconditioned, one without a second, then why do teachers go on to explain how it manifests the universe. Or, encloses itself in matter. Once an action takes place, it is no longer unconditioned…So then what is this dream, and why do so many non-dualists talk about it as though it is the Source wanting to know itself, or something like that. Thank you.
Tom: In my view, and also in the view of many of the traditional scriptures, nobody really understands Maya. It is mysterious. How can the unconditioned give rise to the conditioned? How can One appear to be many? It’s a mystery.
And why does it (appear to) happen? Again, it’s a mystery.
However, to please seekers of differing levels of understanding, different explanations are given, such as ‘consciousness wanting to know itself’, etc. The various theories are given to appease the seeker’s mind and stop the questions so that the seeker can then get on with the real work of turning inwards and keeping quiet.
That is what all the teachings are pointing to:
Be unconcerned with the world.
Be unattached and happy.
All is well.
No need to worry.
Best wishes and pranams
Can you grasp consciousness with your hand?
Can consciousness grasp itself?
Can a wave grasp water?
Can the ocean grasp itself?
Can you get this?
Do you need to?
There are many ways that can lead an apparent individual person to freedom, a freedom that is already totally here and present and yet not always recognised or acknowledged. There is the method of direct pointing, the path or understanding or knowledge, the path of devotion or surrender or love, the path of mindfulness, or through meditation. These are just some of the many ways, and eventually they all converge and are seen to be the same One Path (if taught correctly).
There are paths that require no belief and no faith, and others that are faith based. Some paths delve into the esoteric whereas others do not venture away from normal, direct, everyday experience. Some ways rely heavily on words, concepts and thought, (which are hopefully later dismantled) and others transmit the teachings non-verbally. Some (most) paths initially seem to reinforce the sense of a separate ‘I’ whereas others vehemently deny this appearance of separation from the outset.
There are countless other adjuncts that can also be useful, such as prayer, chanting, physical exercises and other ritualistic and more formal practices.
Or perhaps none of the above are required.
My view is that all these teachings and paths (including those that deny any teaching, path or way) can often play a valuable role in the journey of a seeker, and the exact shape of a seekers path varies considerably and is ultimately unique. However there are some general trends that generally apply, and understanding these tends to quicken the path as well as make it considerably easier. I summarise these trends in this article here.
In today’s spiritual market place, many teachings are available and the seeker can often find themselves somewhat confused and disillusioned with the teaching, teacher or path that was meant to lead them home, but for some reason didn’t live up to expectation. Many teachers only teach in the way that worked for them, and sometimes they denigrate other ways that are, superficially at least, contrary to what worked for them.
When I was seeking, my journey lead me to explore quite a lot of spiritual teachings, both traditional and non-traditional, and I began to see how they all potentially fitted together. I especially explored Yoga, Vedanta and Buddhist teachings, and have been studying each of these teachings for over 20 years now. My sense is this understanding of how this realisation can be shared in a number of different ways is particularly valuable in a world of plurality where seekers come from many different backgrounds with many different experiences and there are many seemingly contradictory teachings on offer. The result is the seeker is often left in confusion and perhaps even disillusionment about how to go forwards, and there is often a sense of isolation as how best to proceed.
I humbly offer you what I have learnt in order to facilitate your Jouney Back To Your-Self, to the Here/Now, in order to recognise this Freedom that already is here. My plea is that you approach what I have to offer with kindness and an open heart, be willing to look beyond the words I use and be open to what they may be pointing to, and also to be open to the non-verbal aspects of the teaching and transmission. This plea is not for my sake, but I think you will find that this open kindheartedness is a major key in unlocking the door which is always open, but apparently hides what is already fully present.
In ages gone by, as well as today, this perennial teaching has been expressed in a multiplicity of ways, and paradoxically, the most accurate verbal expression is not always the most conducive for a genuine and full transmission to occur. In fact I have found that in many cases that when a genuine realisation have been achieved, it often leads to a unique way of talking about and expressing this, a way that is not simply a parroting of myself or any other teacher, but a unique expression due to the unique body-mind it is being expressed through.
I express this Freedom in different ways at different times, and if you decide to spend time with this expression that occurs through me, I hope you will see how there is no real difference in these expressions. Seeing unity amidst this apparent diversity will surely go a long way to improving mutual respect and understanding between individuals and traditions, as well as allow the teachings to reach those whom it may not ordinarily reach. We can also be aware of how not all teachings are equal, how some teachings are limited and even sometimes dangerous, and when certain teachings will be more effective in given circumstances.
If you feel I can be of any benefit to you, please contact me or attend one of my meetings
With best wishes
Q. Dear Tom, I hope you are well. How can one control the mind? Simple English please!
Tom: There are basically two ways of doing this. First of all by various practices to calm the mind and generate peace, of which there are different types (see the link below). Secondly by insight, which means seeing that there is no mind, or no thinker/doer entity, only a spontaneous succession of thoughts.
These two methods usually work together in tandem, like a virtuous circle, one helping the other which in turn helps the other, and so on.
Insight alone is usually not stable and leads to an ‘enlightenment’ that comes and goes, and calm/peace alone is not ultimately liberating, as peace also comes and goes. Both of these alone are not ultimately satisfactory. However the two together usually work wonderfully well.
I’ve written some blog posts here that goes into a bit more detail about some of this, so please take your time to read through these if you want to: