The evolution of Tony Parsons | Radical non-duality | Neo-Advaita | Advaita Vedanta

Tony Parsons has a relatively unique expression of non-duality. His uncompromising message (which I’m sure he would point out is not his), has influenced many and now there are numerous other people who speak in a way very similar to him – apparently (the word ‘apparently’ is one of Tony’s hallmarks).

However his expression has changed significantly over the years, and for me this is quite interesting, and I hope my comments will be of benefit to the seeker who is trying to plough through all the teachers and teachings now on offer. He has now revised his oldest writings, so the extent of the change may not be apparent to those reading his older works now, but I found both an older and newer version of his first book, The Open Secret, and present some of the differences below. For those of you more familiar with Tony’s current expression, you may be surprised to read the following, which I presume he no longer agrees with:

If, however inadequately, enlightenment could be described in terms of qualities, I see them as unconditional love, compassion, stillness, and joy without cause.’

Tony Parsons, from an earlier edition of The Open Secret (this text has now removed from newer editions)

There are many more quotes like this later on in the post. Please note that my intention here is not to criticise or condemn, but to discuss how Tony’s expression has changed and offer my view on this, whilst also acknowledging that this is speculation on my part. My hope is that this may be interesting to seekers who are trying to find their way through all the various teachings and communications on offer.

Radical Non-Duality/ Neo-Advaita

Tony shares what his proponents refer to as Radical Non-Duality: in short, there is no acceptance of the reality of a separate individual seeker, a teaching, a path or an enlightened person, all of which are dualistic concepts that keep the apparent ‘me’ ensnared – apparently. There is no need to cultivate anything such as awareness or presence, there is no need to discover who you really are or be kinder, more compassionate, more loving, etc, etc, these all being dualistic illusions in the egoic game of becoming. In Tony’s own words from his website:

‘This is a communication which illuminates the paradoxical nature of non-duality and exposes the deluded idea that it is something that can be acquired and experienced….Life is not a task. There is absolutely nothing to attain except the realisation that there is absolutely nothing to attain.’

This same communication is also referred to as Neo-Advaita, a derogatory term used by his detractors. Tony says he is not a teacher, for that implies duality and separation – the teacher and the taught – and there is no duality or separation. For the same reason there is no teaching – but Tony suggests this could be spoken of as a ‘communication’ for want of a better word.

The evolution of Tony Parsons’ mode of expression

I understand from people that have met him and know him that he is open about the fact that his expression and language has changed over the years. I understand he now openly admits that when he first started to share this non-dual communication there was actually a bit of ‘me’ (ego/separation) left, and that has now since completely dissolved away, apparently.

A couple of years ago I bought Tony’s first book, The Open Secret, after having some conversations with some people who had met him. On the front cover I noted that it was first published in 1995, but that it had been revised multiple times in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005 and 2011. At the time I thought it would be interesting to see how the teaching expression had changed over the years, but at that time I couldn’t really be bothered and this was just an interesting thought that did not spur on any action.

For some reason today, I find myself writing this post. I found an earlier version of The Open Secret and compared it to my newer version and noticed that many of the older teachings have now been removed, and also in both versions there are many aspects of the teachings that are somewhat different from how he expresses himself now.

I have also looked at another book of Tony’s called ‘All There Is’ published in 2003. So, as The Open Secret was first published in 1995, the quotes below span at least the first 8 years of ‘him communicating’ this message, if not more.

Summary of my analysis

I have decided to place my summary at the start but I recommend you read the quotes below and come to your own conclusions. Is what I am surmising correct? There are also many quotes of Tony’s that I have not included as this post is already quite long, but if you are not familiar with him, just by listening to 10-20 minutes of one of his YouTube videos you will get a flavour of what he is stating.

For me, when I read how Tony’s expression has changed over the years, it seems to fit in very nicely – almost too nicely – with the classical progression of teachings in Advaita (non-dual) Vedanta. In fact, the gradual change in Tony’s expression that occurs over many years can be even found within single texts, such as Shankara’s Vivekachudamani. This is some ways is quite shocking, but in other ways is a testament to a teaching tradition which has centuries of experience underlying its teachings.

In Vedanta the teachings start off coarse and dualistic and then become increasingly more subtle and less dualistic, the idea being this will gradually but surely and effectively lead one to liberation with the least amount of suffering along the way. (This can sometimes be in direct contrast to the neo-advaita teachings which can often trigger anxiety and confusion and even worse – I have met many people like this who have come to my meetings over the years who are often very confused and anxious as their sense of self is falling away, like the rug being pulled out from under their feet. Of course, there are many advantages of the more radical expression too – see the next section in the post for links where I write about these.)

We see a similar progression with Tony’s mode of expression, with his earlier teachings being much more dualistic and a gradual progression to being less dualistic over many years. This is so strongly the case that we can see how it mirrors teachings found in single Advaita Vedanta texts. It is as if he is updating his teaching expression as his own ‘understanding’ progresses, and it is interesting how closely this mirrors the traditional progression of the teachings. I present some evidence below. Here is the basic step-wise progression that I infer from Tony’s writings.

(Of course, this is just my own theory, my speculation. I understand that Tony maintains that none of the spiritual-type activities he underwent himself had anything to do with an apparent liberation).

Step (1) Traditional spirituality, emotional healing and good works based on the notion ‘I am the body-mind’:

At the start of the Vedanta teachings, the teaching is highly dualistic – there is talk about the need for more traditional forms of Religion/Spirituality such as devotion and surrender to God and performing good works in society to purify coarser emotional and behavioural disturbances and this allows the mind to become open and receptive to higher less dualistic teachings, and also means when the rug of egotism is pull out from under you, there is much less anxiety and confusion. Tony writes in The Open secret about how he himself went through all of this, although he later says that this had nothing to do with liberation which happened later (apparently – as liberation itself is not real – we will see that the Vedanta teachings also state this, eg. at the end of Shankara’s Vivekachudamani).

Tony’s earlier writings also occasionally describe the use of ‘letting go’, something that was removed from later edits.

This stage is characterised by identification with the body-mind and practice done for the apparent body-mind.

Step (2): You are the Absolute

Now we come to what Vedanta calls Jnana Yoga or the teachings on Self-Knowledge. They state that your true nature is not that of the body-mind, but that you are sat-chit-ananda (see my section below on this) which is unchanging, eternal, ever-present, the nature of awareness and bliss. The emphasis now is on your identity – this is not something you need to acquire or attain – it is ever-attained and is already your true nature – you just have to realise this.

We can see this teaching very clearly in Tony’s earlier writings. This sat-chit-ananda is not an object – it is no-particular-thing – or ‘no thing’ as Tony refers to it – and it is also one with everything and the source of everything – again all ideas that Tony used to ‘teach’. Tony also emphases that this awareness is who we really are, that it is the only constant and that it never changes. He goes on to say this awareness is the source of all manifestation.

It should be noted that this is still a dualistic teaching, although this duality is more subtle than in the previous step. Even though relative and absolute are One, they are also expressed as being two, with the emphasis on the absolute in this part of the teaching. Also there is still a ‘me’ entity, albeit one that is now primarily identified with the absolute.

This step is characterised by identification with the absolute as opposed to the body-mind-world.

Step (3): The relative is the absolute

In this step there is no duality whatsoever – you could say there is no relative or absolute. Again we see this progression in both Tony’s verbal expression and also in texts such as Vivekachudamani and other ‘more advanced’ Advaita texts such as the Ribhu Gita and Ashtavakra Gita. Now there is no emphasis on the absolute as there was in Step 2, the relative is the absolute, beyond ideas of oneness or two-ness or any other conceptual formulation.

eg. Vivekachudamani verse 467:

Verse 467: There is only Brahman, the One without a second, which is neither to be shunned nor taken up nor accepted, and which is without any support, there is no duality whatsoever in It.

Verse 469: There is only Brahman, the One without a second, whose real nature is incomprehensible…

Before the emphasis was on knowledge – knowing your true nature – now it is stated that this is beyond all comprehension, from Vivekachudamani:

481. My mind has vanished…I do not know either this or not-this; nor what or how much the boundless Bliss (of Samadhi) is

484 …what is to be shunned and what accepted, what is other (than oneself) and what different?

485. I neither see nor hear nor know anything in this…

Traditionally texts such as the Ashtavakra Gita, Ribhu Gita and Avadhuta Gita are to be read at this point in the teaching, and you will see the same trend in these scriptures, with the latter verses removing concepts that were used in earlier verses. Even strongly help Vedantic concepts such as Brahman are also negated in the ‘final analysis’.

This stage is characterised by lack of identification. We can see that step (2) – identification with a (dualistic) concept of the absolute – is there to remove the idenfitication with the body-mind found in step (1). Both are for the ‘me’

This is now Tony’s predominant mode of expression, but he has retrospectively gone back and removed some of the modes of expression from step (1) and (2) from his earliest work, as we shall see.

Step (4): There is no liberation, no teaching, no seeker

Again, we see the same progression in Tony’s expression and in Vivekachudamani. Previously Vivekachudamani spoke of liberation and how to attain it, now it speaks of these as being illusions (Maya), fantasies for the mind:

eg. in the later verses of Vivekachudamani:

Verse 569: Bondage and Liberation, which are conjured up by Maya, do not really exist in the Atman, one’s Reality…

Verse 573: Hence this bondage and Liberation are created by Maya, and are not in the Atman [ie. reality]. How can there be any idea of limitation with regard to the Supreme Truth…?

Verse 574: There is neither death nor birth, neither a bound nor a struggling soul, neither a seeker after Liberation nor a liberated one [ie. no seeker or guru]…

This  step (4) goes hand in hand with step (3) and is not really a separate step, but I have just separated it out to make the above point.

The pros and cons of radical Non-duality/Neo-Advaita

I will not go into this too much here, but as with all modes of expression, there are both advantages and disadvantages. I have nothing against these types of more radical expression, and yes, they certainly do have advantages, but I offer my view on them in these articles (links below):

Are spiritual teachings prescriptions or descriptions? Sudden vs. gradual teachings.

3 stories of awakening: no path vs sudden path vs gradual paths to enlightenment

Ramana Maharshi on Neo-Advaita

The problem with radical non-duality or neo-advaita

Essential teachings for liberation | The ‘two wings’ of the teaching

The only one thing I will quickly add here is that there is a notable absence of any meditation or stillness type teachings in Tony Parsons’ expression, which of course is one of the hallmarks of ‘neo-advaita’.

Traditionally, without this deep stillness happening, either through deliberate practice or through spontaneous occurrence, eg. after insights or ‘awakening’, then the ananda (blissful) aspect of liberation-reality (sat-chit-ananda) and the morality aspect of the teaching (which happens when addiction/attachment to sense objects goes) will not manifest fully, and suffering will continue accordingly.

Similarly, for most, without prolonged deep stillness (abidance as the Self), whilst one may have frequent (apparent) awakenings and glimpses into non-duality, the sense of separation returns, and with it the suffering also returns. This is why these radical non-dual teachings can initially at least feel so liberating, especially when one is at the meetings, but then leave one in confusion, apparent separation and suffering.

Quotes from Tony Parsons’ Older Works

Love, Compassion, Stillness, Joy and Presence

In the earlier version of The Open Secret, there is an entire chapter called ‘Presence’, which was completely removed from the later versions of the book. Interestingly it is one of the longer chapters of this relatively short book. For that reason I thought it would be interesting to quote extensively from it. As I said, these quote are no longer present in the newer revised version of The Open Secret:

If, however inadequately, enlightenment could be described in terms of qualities, I see them as unconditional love, compassion, stillness, and joy without cause.’

This kind of expression is quite interesting and is notably absent from Tony’s current (apparent) expression. In fact he is openly dismissive now of these kinds of sentiments, eg. Tony states in All There Is page 175 he states ‘The idea that an enlightened person walks around in something which is totally blissful is complete bullshit. It comes from either a deep ignorance or a wish to manipulate.’ and on page 21 of the same he states ‘In the old conditioned idea of enlightenment we all wanted to believe, enlightenment happens and there is no character there at all – there’s just total bliss and utter goodness. It is nonsense born out of the ignorance of the mind. Awakening has nothing to do with goodness or bliss…

Here are some more quotes (bold type added by myself). We will see how the concept of there being a true self which has to be known, which here is called presence, is still there, in the expression at least, and there is also a subtle teaching of letting go, another subtlely dualistic practice for a separate ‘me’. There is also the notion that presence is the source of the manifestation. This, again, is typical of aspects of more traditional teachings.

Whilst I do not know who I am, I am bereft.’

‘Enlightenment, however, has another quality, which is the bridge between the timeless and my illusory sense of separation. That quality is presence. Presence is our constant nature but most of the time we are interrupting it by living in a state of expectation, motivation or interpretation. We are hardly ever at home. In order to rediscover our freedom we need to let go of these projections and allow the possibility of presence.’

Here above we have the notion of an ever-existing presence which we seem to interrupt, so the solution naturally is to let go or stop this interruption. Ramana Maharshi says something quite similar: ‘Peace is our true nature. We spoil it. What is required is we cease to spoil it’. Again, this is something that Tony would later criticise as a subtle form of duality. Here are some more quotes from the same chapter ‘Presence’:

‘To live passionately is to let go of everything for the wonder of timeless presence. When we are courageous enough to allow this we suddenly rediscover that we are the sole source of all and everything.’

‘At first it is enough to allow dedicated awareness to what is. Letting go of the one who is aware can easily follow, but it can never be a task.’

I cannot ‘do’ presence, simply because I am presence. So there is no process to learn because I cannot learn or achieve something that I already am.’

‘Presence is totally effortless and is nearer to me than breathing. Presence can only be allowed and recognised. What I tend to do most of the time is sidestep it or interrupt it.’

‘Existence would not be if it were not for presence. I am presence and you are presence. If we were not present, existence would not be.’

‘Presence emanates from the source of all and everything known or unknown. And that is what we are. We are the sole source of our own unique creation.’

One moment of presence brings more light to the world than a thousand years of “good works”. In presence all action is uncluttered and unsullied. It is spontaneity born from stillness.’

‘When there is presence there is awareness and this is the light that enters the darkness. The light enters the darkness and dissipates those illusions that appear to interrupt oneness. Awareness does not divide or suppress and thereby give energy to the unreal. It simply sees what is and brings the light which allows that which is illusory to evaporate.’

‘When there is presence there is total intimacy and the senses are heightened to a degree previously unrecognised … I see and touch in innocence, I taste and smell for the first time, and hear a new sound that is vital, fresh and unknown.’

You are That!

Here we have Tony proclaiming ‘You are That!’, one of the great sayings of traditional Advaita Vedanta, and clearly from Step (2) in my proposed schema above. This is from page 90 of ‘All There Is’. You can see that he is quite confident and sure in the way that he expresses himself, abruptly cutting off the questioner mid-sentence:

Tony: Awareness simply is, and you are that. It has nothing to do with great depth or great sacrifice or great intelligence. You are already that.
Questioner: Theoretically, yes, but.. .
Tony: No, you are already that. You know that you are the one that sees, that you are joy without cause.

Tony even stated above that ‘you are the one that sees’, ie. the seer or the Self, and ‘you are joy without a cause’, ie. ananda in Sanskrit.

From ‘All There Is’ page 45:

‘And there is nothing out there that says, ‘You will be enlightened’, because there is no one who will ever be enlightened. You are enlightenment – you are that.’

From ‘All There Is’ page 67:

‘So how can anyone tell you to meditate or sing mantras or be serious or be honest or any of those things? How can anyone tell you that, when already you are that? All that’s going on here is that I’m telling you it’s already like that; you already are oneness; you are already that. That’s the difference. And there are a handful of people in the world who are talking like that’

From page 97:

Q. Could you say we’re the screen on which the film is projected?

Tony: You are the light that allows the film to be. And if you see it all from another point of view, you begin to open up to the possibility of dropping the idea of a journey towards somewhere that you’ll never get to. You’ll never get there – you already are there. And so in a way, the film is sacred. It’s telling you that you are that. I want to get you out of the idea – or rather I don’t, but something wants to get you out of the idea that you’re on a journey. When there is simply presence, all meaning ends. Meaning is always attached to a story – ‘We are going somewhere’.

In the earlier version of The Open Secret we find the following from the Chapter called ‘The Park’. This was subsequently removed from the later editions:

‘It is my birthright. It is my home. It is already that which I am.’

Sat-Chit-Ananda

Here is this excerpt from All There Is, page 87, we can see that Tony is essentially talking about Sat (Tony calls this ‘presence’) Chit (Tony calls this ‘awareness’) Ananda (Tony calls this ‘joy without a cause’), Sat-Chit-Ananda being a traditional way of speaking of liberation and the absolute. This Sat-Chit-Ananda is our true nature (‘what you already are’ according to Tony) and is not a thing or a person or an object (‘no thing…) but is the Source of all manifestation (…out of which everything arises’). It is not something to attain, for it already is, as per the traditional teachings. This is very much a step (2) teaching in my stages above. See if you agree with my analysis:

Q. Tony, when you talk about the presence, is that an illusion too? There isn’t a presence?

Tony: Well, there is only no thing, out of which everything arises. When there is no one and there is only presence, then you can come and tell me that it certainly wasn’t illusory, it isn’t illusory.

The joy without cause is the only thing that isn’t illusory. It’s the only constant. Awareness is the only constant, presence is the only constant. Everything else arises out of that. Without presence, there can be nothing.

Q. What about recognition? The word ‘recognition’ came to my mind you recognise the presence.

Tony: Yes, you remember, there is a recognition of what you already are. That’s it. It’s directly behind you now – it’s just back there, watching you watching me. You are the one that sees that looking at this.

You can see in the above the questioner is asking if the notion of Presence is actually itself an illusion. Tony states that this is not the case, that presence and awareness are the only constants.

Self-Knowledge

One feature of how the teaching expression has changed is that in the earlier days there was a teaching reminiscent of Vedanta-style self-knowledge teachings, things such as ‘knowing who you really are’ or ‘what you really are’. These notions are now often criticised by Tony, and he openly dismisses many traditional Advaita and Buddhist teachings. This is from an earlier version of The Open Secret, from the chapter ‘Context’:

‘Part of that realisation was that enlightenment is absolutely beyond my effort to change the way I live, or even of changing life at all. It has to do with a total shift in the realisation of who it is that lives. For I am already that which I seek.

We can see here that Tony is using the language of identity, knowing who you are or being that which is sought. In a later version of The Open Secret the same passage reads:

‘…It has to do with a total shift in the realisation of what it is that lives.’

You can see this is a subtle change, implying that our true nature is not personal but impersonal. Of course later Tony would go on to say that there is no true nature at all, but back in the 1990s and early 2000s he spoke differently. Here is another example from the same Chapter called Context:

‘For the sake of clarity, the terms enlightenment, liberation, fulfilment, freedom, oneness, and so on, are all seen here as being the same as the absolute realisation by anyone of what they really are.

Again, the language of self-identity and self-knowledge is being used, ie. the notion of knowing what you really are. In the later version of The Open Secret this passage now reads:

‘For the sake of clarity, the terms enlightenment, liberation, fulfilment, freedom, oneness, and so on, are all seen here as being the same as what I call liberation.

We can see that the emphasis on self-knowledge has been removed entirely in the later edit. Here is a quote from the chapter called ‘The Park’, which was later removed from later versions:

‘It is my birthright. It is my home. It is already that which I am.’

From the Chapter called ‘Fear’:

‘Until I recognise who I really am, my life can be largely driven by that which I fear.’

From the Chapter called ‘Relationships’:

‘When I have rediscovered who I am, however, there is no longer any question of relationships. In this open and welcoming presence there is no need for memory or repetition, comparison or expectation. No place for one part meeting another. There is no distance between the two and therefore nothing needs to relate.’

Letting Go

Letting go could be thought of being a Step (1) type teaching according to my schema above, in that it is dualistic and equates the person to be the body-mind rather than presence-awareness (which is step (2)). The last chapter in both the earlier and later versions of The Open Secret is called ‘Seen and Unseen’. Here is an excerpt from the earlier version:

This is a book declaring that enlightenment is a sudden, direct and energetic illumination that is continuously available to anyone who is ready to let go and allow it. It is the open secret which reveals itself in every part of our lives. No effort, path of purification, process or teaching of any kind can take us there. For the open secret is not about our effort to change the way we live. It is about the rediscovery of who it is that lives.

In the later version of The Open Secret the notion of needing ‘to let go and allow’ has been removed and the in last line the word ‘who’ has been changed to ‘what’.

Neti Neti

In the Chapter entitled ‘I Am Not…’, Tony write the following:

I am not …

. . . my life story, the mind, the body, feelings, experiences of pain or pleasure, struggle, success or failure. I am not loneliness, stillness, frustration or compassion. I am not even what I think is my purpose, the seeking, the finding, or anything which is called a spiritual experience.

When I don’t know what I am I sanctify these experiences, take ownership of them and give them great significance. I believe they mean something which, once understood, will give me answers and provide formulas. But these experiences are only consciousness concealing and revealing itself in order to be recognised. When I know what I am I discover that I am not existence, I am the presence which allows existence to be. Existence either blossoms in that presence or reflects back my sense of separation.

We can see here a typical traditional ‘neti neti’ style in which various phenomena are pointed out as being ‘not me’. Interestingly at the end we can see that Tony has used several concepts, one of presence which seems to allows another concept, existence, to be. I’m not sure exactly what he is referring to but now this kind of expression is no longer used by Tony.

You are Divine

Tony: You are that, you are divine, and so what is there to find?

Q. Fine. I know that. We are all divine.

Tony: But knowing this intellectually is nothing. You believe you are Bill who is trying to find something. Be ready to be adventurous. Be ready to chop off all the heads that you have looking at you over the fence telling you how you should be. Be ready to drop all of it.

You know traditions talk about freedom, but this is the freedom – not something written on paper. Forget Buddha – chop Buddha’s head off.

Q.They say, if you find Buddha on the road, kill him.

Tony: Absolutely. And Buddha – or Buddhism – is apparently on the road telling you that you need to meditate, you need to have right mindfulness, wise action. Chop off its head and rest in the arms of the beloved.

Realisation

In The Open Secret, Tony also speaks of a realisation of some kind at times. This is from the Chapter called ‘No Achievement’, which has not been changed in subsequent edits:

‘There is absolutely nothing to attain except the realisation that there is absolutely nothing to attain.’

This sounds remarkably similar to many Zen Buddhist texts and also to Sri Ramana Maharshi who said ‘Realisation is nothing to be gained afresh; it is already there.’ (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk number 245).

From the same Chapter ‘No Achievement’ in The Open Secret:

‘All that is needed is a leap in perception, a different seeing, already inherent but unrecognised.

This last quote, which was completely removed from the later edits, admits there is some kind of recognition, some kind of different seeing – you can see this is Step (2) in my analysis above. This will become clearer in later quotes below. In the next quote we also see that Tony is almost giving credence to conceptual understanding and also uses a concept of Stillness which is implied as being our true nature, rather like the vedanta concept of being-consciousness (sat-chit):

‘No amount of thinking will tell me who I am, but understanding can take me to the river’s edge. Stillness is not brought about by not thinking. Stillness is absolutely beyond the presence or absence of thought. I cannot make myself still, but when that which appears not to be still is seen, then that seeing emanates from stillness.’

Presence-Awareness-Stillness

From Tony’s book ‘All there is’, published in 2003 we can read the following on page 49:

‘What we’re talking about here is something that actually already is the case. What we’re talking about here is something that has never come and never goes away It is presence, it is stillness . . . The words don’t express it, but it’s not a state and it’s not something that is here and then isn’t here. It is actually all there is.

Again, Tony is expressing something very similar to traditional Advaita teachings, pointing out the unchanging eternal presence in which all occurs and which is all there is. We see the same kinds of teachings from page 10 of the same book. Tony even uses the phrase ‘I-thought’, which is often used in traditional Advaita:

‘When separation takes place, the ‘I’ thought comes along and, like a cuckoo bird, lands in the nest and sits on present awareness. From then on, ‘me’ thinks that it is the entirety of the universe, and everything that arises is apparently seen from ‘me’.
So when we see a tree, we think ‘me’ is seeing a tree over there, whereas the tree is arising in present awareness. That which you have always thought of as ‘me’ is, in reality, present awareness. It never went away but was only misidentified. This is the one and only constant, and everything else is transient – including the cuckoo bird.’

We can see this is a typical Advaita style teaching, in which the ever-present presence-awareness  (sat-chit), our ‘true self’ is being mis-identified as a small separate ‘me’ (jiva). We see the same idea on page 1 of ‘All There Is’:

‘And in some way or other, the mind – the ‘I’ thought, the identity, the idea that ‘I am a person’ – takes over the energy of being and identifies it as Bill or Mary or whatever. It takes over being and gives it a name. Words begin, labels begin, and the whole idea of ‘me’ becomes the main investment of living.’

From page 4 of ‘All There Is’, Tony is subtly stating that our true nature is Being-Stillness which is the source (‘from which that comes’) of the appearance of duality:

‘Awakening has absolutely nothing to do with you. You are just a character in a play. Tony Parsons is simply a set of characteristics – that’s what is sitting here, a set of characteristics and a body/mind. But what you are is the being, the stillness, from which that comes. All that’s actually sitting there is stillness, being, present awareness – call it what you like.’

On Page 6 Tony responds to a question, firstly stating that ‘no one sees’ but then states that this ‘no-one’ is in fact ‘present awareness:

Q. So is it the mind that wakes up to see that you are that? Is it the mind that sees it? Tony: No, it is no one who sees it; it is present awareness that sees it.

On page 16 of All There Is Tony talks about being ‘established in presence’, again, very Advaita style language:

Q. OK, there was a recognition that at that moment there was no one but after that the ‘me’ comes back?

Tony: Not necessarily – there can be an immediate establishment in presence. But for most people it’s a flip-flop in and out at first.

Here is more of an awareness-style teaching in which Tony appears to be describing innate consciousness or awareness. Specifically Tony states it is always present, always seeing whatever is happening, it is what we are, it is all that is, and it is what he means by the word ‘being’, taken from ‘All There Is’ p.93:

All it is is a seeing. It’s a seeing that’s beyond you looking at me. All it is is sensing that which watches you looking at me . . . in this. In this there is that which knows what is happening. All your lifetime there has always been that which knows what is happening, which sees what’s happening. And always that is there. You know that’s there; you know that there is something watching you sitting there watching me. It is what you are – it is what is – it is all that is – it is being.

The Law of Attraction

From the Chapter called ‘My World’, we have notions of attraction and things being perfectly right in terms of a spiritual journey, together with the notion of self-knowledge or knowing who/what I really am. This is all part of Step (1) in my proposed schema above:

‘When I look back at my life as openly as possible, I see how I have attracted to me the people, the events and the patterns that have been perfectly appropriate to the kinds of influences and images that my particular belief systems have been broadcasting.

Many people have become very excited about this concept and have suggested and taught that if we can change our thought patterns and our belief systems, then we can change the way we experience life. It seems this could be so, but they also entirely miss the point. For who we really are is beyond the limitation of experience and belief.

Until I have rediscovered who I am, what kind of existence am I trying to create?’

A new chapter – ‘Nothing being everything’

In the later version of The Open Secret, a new chapter called ‘Nothing Being Everything’ has been inserted which was not present before. It, being a later addition, contains many inherent criticisms and clarifications of the mode of expression found throughout the earlier version of The Open Secret. This is now step (3) in my proposed schema. In it Tony writes:

‘That which the seeker longs for cannot be known as a something and so cannot be described. Putting a word to it turns it into an object and the seeking energy will then inevitably try to find, grasp, attain or become worthy of what it believes is a something that it can possess.’

This indeed is a very useful clarification, and help the reader understand why Tony moved away from using words such as presence and awareness. Throughout the earlier version of The Open Secret, Tony has referred to the importance of knowing who you truly are, that you are really presence and awareness, but here in the newer version he writes that this has no connection to discovering my true nature:

‘However, what is referred to here has no connection to the current popular ideas of ‘being here now or ‘living in the moment’ or ‘everything being consciousness’ or ‘discovering my true nature’ and so on.

Tony’s Spiritual Journey has all the classic hallmarks of a Modern Spiritual Journey

In The Open Secret Tony write about his seeking journey. It appears he passed through all the classic stages of formal religion, meditation, self-help, psychological development, etc, ie. Step (1):

I decided to try to become a Christian. Considering the information I had at the time, it seemed that this approach was appropriate….I felt I was doing my best with what at the time I understood and sanctified, and what I anticipated and expected would give meaning to my spiritual life…

…I involved myself in the deepest and most illuminating meditations, consumed the most recent and significant books, and of course threw myself with much enthusiasm into the latest therapies. They burst out of the ground like new fruits, to be sucked and digested, or tasted and thrown away…this breathing method, that affirmation, this integration, that special and significant energy…all had a fascination for me in those early days.

I spent a year doing an intensive residential course experiencing many key contemporary therapies mixed with eastern meditations.

After a while I settled on those therapies or methods I felt suited me and brought me most benefit.

I experienced considerable movement of previously held inhibitions, and came to recognise belief systems and patterns that had strongly influenced much of my early behaviour.

Jiddu Krishnamurti Influence

As I read through the above material, another thing I noticed, more in the earlier writings of Tony’s, was a similarity of expression in some ways at some times to that of J. Krishnamurti. For anyone who has read J Krishnamurti (JK) extensively, as I have, it is very easy to see when people have been influenced by him. J Krishnamurti had a very unusual and distinct style that many others have copied and adopted, knowingly or unknowingly.

Because J Krishnamurti’s use of words is so distinctive, those familiar with it can often see when others are using similar language. Phrases in a spiritual context such as ‘what is’, ‘becoming’, and ‘choiceless awareness’ are a few key Krishnamurti phrases. I am not sure if Tony read J Krishnamurti or not, but I do know Tony was into Osho for a while, and Osho’s used to attend J Krishnamurti’s talks and the influence of J Krishnamurti can be strongly seen in the way Osho writes, with Osho often using the same phrases as J Krishnamurti.

In The Open Secret Tony narrates a story that was told frequently by J Krishnamurti, and as far as I know J Krishnamurti was the first person to tell this story. Here is Tony’s version. Click here to read J Krishnamurti’s version, as he said it way back in 1911:

I like the story of God and the Devil watching man as he discovered something beautiful in a desert. “Aha” said God to the Devil, “now that man has found truth you will have nothing to do”. “On the contrary” replied the Devil, “I am going to help him organise it”.

Here Tony uses the phrase ‘The first and last step’. This was a very famous phrase that J Krishnamurti used to use. Here is Tony in The Open Secret:

‘There is a subtle feeling of risk and serenity in presence. It is the first and last step. It moves beyond time and self-identity and provides the ground in which the discovery of what I am is made immediately and directly available.’

We have other phrasings which are also similar to JK’s: eg. what Tony writes here from The Open Secret could easily be a JK statement:

‘For life is its own purpose and doesn’t need a reason to be. That is its beauty.’

Even Tony’s use of the phrase ‘what is‘ is a phrase that, as far as I am aware, was coined by J Krishnamurti in the spiritual context. Same with the use of the word ‘becoming’ in a spiritual context. Here is a typical quote from JK demonstrating both of the above, taken from ‘The First and Last Freedom’:

‘But the real is near, you do not have to seek it; and a man who seeks truth will never find it. Truth is in what is – and that is the beauty of it. But the moment you conceive it, the moment you seek it, you begin to struggle; and a man who struggles cannot understand.’

Other Krishnamurti style language used includes the phrase ‘beyond measure’. From Tony’s Website (theopensecret.com) you can find the following:

‘Never found, never lost, never knowable, being is the consummate absence that is beyond measure.’

Here is a passage from J Krishnamurti, again from ‘The First and Last Freedom’:

‘Surely knowledge is always of the known; and with the known we are trying to understand the unknown, something which is beyond measure

In some ways there are other similarities between these two (there are many differences too!). One similarity is that earlier on in their ‘teaching careers’ both used much more traditional language in expressing themselves. Both had encountered various traditional teachings and expressed themselves in this traditional language. Later on, they both have developed very distinct styles, which has been imitated widely by others around them.


Concluding remarks

Anyway, this is what I have written so far. There is more I could write, as it seems there have been more changes in his expression in the last 10 years or so that may also be interesting to explore, but I would have to do more digging around for that, and they are pretty much among the same themes we have already mentioned of the teachings becoming progressively less dualistic in their expression.

Please note that none of this is meant to be a criticism of Tony Parsons or anyone else, just some commentary and observations, which I hope are of help to the seeker trying to find their way through all of this. Perhaps you found the above interesting, perhaps not! To read what Tony Parsons currently states please see his website and read his essays there. You will also find many clips of him on YouTube – I recommend you have a listen. And feel free to let me know your thoughts…

Namaste.

 

Ramana Maharshi: Bhakti Yoga as a complete path to Final Liberation

Here Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi speaks of Bhakti (devotion towards God or Guru or Self) as a complete path to the Divine and a complete path to Spiritual Liberation.

May we praise Sri Ramana for his words!

May we have gratitude to Sri Ramana for his teachings!

May we love Sri Ramana for His Presence in Our Hearts!

All praise to Ramana!

All praise to Him who is God!

All praise to Him in our Hearts!

42-reclining-on-the-sofa-h-563x400

SRI RAMANA GITA

CHAPTER 16: ON BHAKTI

1. Then, questioned regarding Bhakti, the best of men, the highly auspicious Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, spoke thus:

2. The Self is dear to all. Nothing else is as dear. Love, unbroken like a stream of oil, is termed Bhakti.

3. Through Love the Sage knows that God is none other than his own Self. Though the devotee, on the other hand, regards Him as different from himself, yet he too merges and abides in the Self alone.

4. The Love which flows (unbroken) like a stream of oil, towards the Supreme Lord, leads the mind infallibly into pure Being, even without one’s desiring it.

5 & 6. When the devotee, regarding himself as a separate, limited individual of poor understanding, and desirous of deliverance from suffering, takes the omnipresent Supreme Reality to be some deity and worships it, even then he attains in the end That (alone).

7. Oh best of men, one who attributes names and forms to the deity, through those very names and forms, transcends all name and form.

8. When Bhakti has grown perfect, then hearing once (about Reality) is enough, for it confers perfect Knowledge.

9. Bhakti not continuous like a stream is called intermittent Bhakti. Even this is bound to result in supreme Bhakti.

10. One who practises Bhakti for a desired end finds no fulfillment on attaining it and then again worships God for the sake of eternal happiness.

11. Bhakti, even when accompanied by desire, does not cease with the achievement of the desire. Faith in the Supreme Person develops and goes on increasing.

12. Growing thus, Bhakti in course of time becomes perfect.

By means of this perfect and supreme Bhakti, even as by jnana, one crosses (the ocean of) Becoming.

This is the sixteenth chapter entitled ‘ON BHAKTI’ in Sri Ramana Gita, the Science of Brahman, and the Scripture of Yoga composed by Ramana’s disciple Vasishta Ganapati.


Tom:

May we praise Sri Ramana for his words!

May we have gratitude to Sri Ramana for his teachings!

May we love Sri Ramana for His Presence in Our Hearts!

All praise to Ramana!

All praise to Him who is God!

All praise to Him in our Hearts!

The four types of Liberated Sage (Jnani) | Advaita Vedanta |Kaivalya Navaneeta

Kaivalya Navaneeta front cover ramana

In the text Kaivalya Navaneeta (The Cream of Liberation; a 16th century traditional advaita text that was often recommended by Sri Ramana Maharshi), four types of liberated sages are described starting at verse 94.

Understanding these descriptions can help explain and reconcile the different views of liberation one may come across, such as whether or not the body and world appear after liberation, what type of lifestyle a liberated sage would exhibit and whether or not they would experience any kind of afflictive or suffering-causing emotions at all. My comments are in italicised red:


94. The wise, remaining like ether and liberated even here, are of four classes, namely Brahmavid (i.e. a knower of Brahman), vara, varya, and varishta, in order of merit.

Tom: The four types of liberated sage are called Brahmavid, Vara, Varya and Varishta. First we will discuss the Brahmavid or or ‘knower or Brahman’ (Vidya is Sanskrit for knowledge). The phrase ‘remaining like ether’ refers to the previous verse 93 and means the wise sage abides as consciousness, fully liberated.

95. The Brahmavids who by steadfast practice have gained clear realization of Brahman, continue to perform even the hard duties of their caste and stage in life, exactly as prescribed by the shastras for the benefit of others, without themselves swerving from their supreme state.

96. Should passions rise up they disappear instantly and cannot taint the mind of the Brahmavids who live in society detached like water on a lotus leaf. They look ignorant, not showing forth their knowledge, and remain mute owing to intensity of inward Bliss.

Tom: the first type of liberated sage is called the Brahmavid. They continue to be fully engaged in society and the world whilst simultaneously being liberated. Occasionally afflictive emotions and passions arise but they are short lived and do not affect the Brahmavid. They may seem like an ordinary person with nothing particularly special about them, but they are often outwardly quiet.

97. Prarabdha, i.e., karma which is now bearing fruit, differs according to the actions in past incarnations. Therefore the present pursuits also differ among jnanis, who are all, however, liberated even here. They may perform holy tapas; or engage in trade and commerce; or rule a kingdom; or wander about as mendicants.

Tom: Prarabdha essentially refers to the destiny of the particular body mind based on its previous actions, ie. its karma . This verse states that the actions of the (body of the) jnani  or sage (jnani literally means ‘knower’, ie. ‘knower of truth’ or ‘knower of Self’) varies depending on what the activities the body did prior to realisation. So the sage may, for example, perform holy penance, or engage in the world, or be a ruler, or a wandering monk. Basically there is no fixed description of what a sage would do in daily life in terms of their ‘occupation’.

98. They would not think of the past or future; would partake of what comes unsolicited; would not wonder, even if the sun turned into the moon, or at any other marvel, whether the sky were to spread its shoots down like a banyan tree or a corpse were to be revived; nor would they distinguish good and bad, for they always remain as the unchanging Witness of all.

Tom: the last point on the Brahmavid is that they are unaffected by whatever appears to happen, no matter how marvelous, calamitous or ridiculous. Why? Because they are liberated, ‘fixed’ as the Self, remaining as the ever-unchanging ‘Witness of all’.

Now let us look at the other three classes of Jnani or Liberated Sage:

99. Among the other three classes, the vara and the varya remain settled in samadhi. The vara feels concern for the maintenance of the body; the varya is reminded of it by others; the varishta never becomes aware of the body, either by himself or through others.

Tom: Here the vara and varya are both aware of the body at times whilst the fourth type of Jnani, the varishta, is not even ever aware of the body at all, even though others may perceive him as a body. The vara has a desire to maintain the body, whilst the varya occasionally becomes aware of their body if someone else prompts them.

So which of these types of liberation is best? Let us see…

100. Although there are distinguishing characteristics in the lives of the different Sages, who are themselves very rare in the world, yet there is absolutely no difference in the experience of Liberation. What can be the use of the hard-won samadhi? The Brahmavid, who is outwardly active, seems sometimes to feel the misery of calamities, whereas the others remain in unbroken Bliss.

Tom: Here it is made clear: all of these four types of sage are rare, and all are the same in that they are all fully liberated. They all in theirselves have the same essential experience of Liberation, the differences being only superficial and present from the point of view of other non-liberated people.

However a point is raised that is dealt with in the next verse. The Brahmavid may appear to suffer and stress like the unliberated, whereas the other three categories of liberated sage are lost in eternal Peace and Bliss. How can this be? How can the Brahmavid be said to be truly liberated?

101. Now if the Brahmavids live like the ignorant, how are they free from the cycle of births, and how is their ignorance gone? The all-pervading ether remains untainted by anything; the other four elements are tainted by contact with objects. So it is with the Brahmavid and the ignorant.

Tom: The answer given is that, as Consciousness, the Brahmavid remains unaffected and untouched by whatever seems to happen in the world of objects that we ordinarily call life.


Tom’s summary: So we can see there are various types of liberated sage that are all fully and totally liberated, but appear different to each other only from the point of view of ignorance or the ‘unliberated’. Some jnanis are active in the world and appear to stress and suffer, some are immersed in constant experiential bliss, some are totally unaware of their body or only aware of it to some degree, and others seem to have a need to look after their body. Some appear to be holy sages, other just ordinary mundane people int he world.  However, all of this does not matter from the point of view of Liberation – Liberation is only One. Know Thy Self!

The simple way to Liberation (Moksha)

infinity birds swallows

The simple way to Liberation or Moksha is to (1) allow the mind be still and (2) not take yourself to be the body-mind.

That’s it

However, if you still want to know more about this kind of approach, I wrote an article about it here that goes into more detail.

Robert Adams: nothing to accomplish, you are already free

Robert Adams Advaita

Robert Adams Advaita

Recently someone briefly mentioned Robert Adams to me and for some reason it prompted me to take a look through some of his teachings. I chanced upon what I felt to be a highly powerful set of teachings given in Satsang in 1992, and this post is the result.

Here are a selection of quotes from Robert Adams that point the way to That which is beyond words and That which we already are/already is. The quotes are largely in order they were given during a single talk and I have inserted sub-headings which I hope makes the key points stand out more. Even though the teachings are largely self-explanatory, and there is something powerful in the phrasing of the actual quotes below, I have also summarised the teachings at the end of the post:


Trust in the Power that Knows The Way

The power that knows the way will take care of you. The one who makes the sun shine, the grass grow, the apples grow perfectly on apple trees, the food that sustains us, nourishes us. Everything has been lovingly provided for us. Have faith, trust the power that knows the way.

This is the first step, to have total faith and total trust in the infinite, the one. You may call this God, if you want to. Makes no difference what you call it. It is within you. It is without you. It is everywhere. All you have to do is to surrender to it. Surrender all of your doubts, your frustrations, your fears, everything that has besieged you for so long. Give it all up. It doesn’t belong to you. Be free of it.

No Body, no Mind, no World

When you’re able to do this, you can go further, and understand that there never was a body to begin with. The world, as it appears, does not exist. The universe, as it appears does not exist. Yet you are, and you will always be. What are you and what will you always be?

Silence.

There is no answer for that, for the mind can never comprehend the unknown, the transcendental, the Self. The mind can never know these things. The mind only knows itself as a body, as a doer. Therefore you have to transcend the mind, transcend the thoughts, transcend the world, transcend the universe, and enter the silence, where there is total bliss, and peace and harmony.

Do not be in conflict with yourself

Do not be in conflict with your thoughts and the self. When there is no conflict there are no thoughts. Thoughts only appear because there’s conflict. By conflict I mean, you’re worrying about getting rid of your thoughts, you’re doing sadhana, meditation, pranayamas, japa. All of these things cause conflict.

For aren’t you saying, ‘I’m doing these things to become liberated. I’m doing these things to become free.’ The reason there’s a the conflict is because you’re already free and liberated. Therefore when you give yourself the information that you have to do something to become liberated, there is immediately conflict.

Your programmed belief in being a body-mind causes this conflict

This is the only problem you have. It is your conflict. And this conflict comes from programming when you were a child, from samskaras, … This is where the conflict comes from. For it tells you, ‘I’m just a human being, I’m just a frail body. I have to suffer sometimes, sometimes I have to be happy.’ This is all a lie. There never was a you that has to suffer. There never was a you that has to be happy.

Nobody needs to be happy

There is no one in you who needs to be happy. There is no one in you who needs to be miserable. They are both impostors. So every time you try to exchange negative conditioning to positive conditioning, you’re causing conflict. This is the reason psychology and psychiatry does not work. For they’re trying to make you normal. Who wants to be normal? How boring.

Wish for nothing

The truth is do not wish to be anything. There is nothing you wish to be. There is nothing you have to become. There is no future, for you to become anything. Right this moment you are the one, and there never was another. Right this moment you are totally free, without thinking a thought, without trying to make anything happen.

Nothing to accomplish

Why not awaken to this truth? Why not awaken to the fact that there is nothing that you have to become, there are no goals to accomplish.

Your beliefs about karma

You want to believe everything is preordained, and it’s been mapped out for you. Or you believe that you’re just a victim of circumstance, going through many experiences, to learn a lesson. It’s really funny to me when people tell me, ‘Something happened in my life, but I guess that’s the lesson that I have to learn,’ or, ‘That’s my karma.’

Forget about karma.

Forget about lessons you have to learn. No one has to learn any lessons. No one has to go through their karmic experiences. Put an end to it all. Drop it all. After all, for whom is there karma? For whom are there experiences? Only for the I-thought, for the mind, not for you. You are bright and shining. You are the absolute reality, Brahman.

Words: ‘Reality’ and ‘Brahman’

Yet even those words are superfluous, redundant. For what do these words actually mean to you, absolute reality, Brahman? They’re just names that are given to the absolute reality, to the Self. Yet everything has to go. The absolute reality has to go. The Self has to go. The reason it has to go is because you’re thinking about this with your finite mind, and every answer you come up with is erroneous.

Always remember the finite mind can never know the infinite. It’s impossible. And there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Consequently the wise person becomes silent, quiescent. You’re not even trying to change your thoughts or stop your thoughts. For how can you try to stop something or change something that never existed to begin with.

The cause of conflict

Can you see now why you’re in conflict? You’re trying to correct something, you’re trying to become something, you’re trying to do something, and something does not exist.

Also what you’re trying to correct does not exist. What you’re trying to change does not exist. You get nowhere. This is why I tell you so often: leave everything alone. Have no opinions for or against. Do not be judgemental. Be nothing and you’ll be everything.

So why come to satsang?

Why do most of you come to satsang? As long as you have a reason it’s the wrong reason. There should be no reason. There shouldn’t be any valid reason why you come to satsang. For if you think back on what I’ve been referring to, you will see every reason is erroneous. For the reason that you’re trying to come to satsang doesn’t exist at all. You say you come to satsang to become enlightened, to know the truth. Who has to know the truth? Who has to become enlightened?

You come to sit with me. You can always sit with me, wherever you are. What I’m trying to tell you, do not look for reasons why you do something. When you start giving up all reasoning, all ambition, when you start surrendering all of your so called power, your human power that you think you have, this is when the mind begins to slow down.

Methods for stilling the mind

The mind will never slow down by trying to make it slow down. I don’t care what method you use. When you are using Vipassana meditation, when you’re using breathing, whatever method you’re using… Whatever method you’re using, you’re using your mind. It is your mind that you’re still using. That’s why you can never get anywhere.

You must use your mind, no matter what you do. Therefore stop doing anything. I know many of you have been practising sadhana for 25 years, 40 years, practising many forms of meditation, going to teachers, reading many books. And what becomes of you? You may get a good feeling, then it goes away, and you’re back where you started from.

The only practice

The only thing that you should do, or must do, is not to be in conflict with anything. Do not be in conflict with anyone or anything. When you’re not in conflict with anything, the mind begins to surrender itself, and goes back into the heart, and you become your Self. This is the easiest thing that you ever had to do. It’s simplicity itself. It’s simplicity itself because there’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to become. There’s no one you have to change. You are that.

Be open

Do not analyze what I am saying. Do not even agree with what I’m saying. Just be open. Open your heart by remaining still, silent. Allow the thoughts to come, do try not to stop them. Do not judge your thoughts, analyse your thoughts, or try to change your thoughts, or try to remove your thoughts. This will put you back in conflict with your thoughts.

No need to observe or be the witness

Do not even observe your thoughts. Do not even be the witness to your thoughts. Why? Because in reality there are no thoughts. The thoughts that you think you’re thinking, are an optical illusion. It is false imagination. Don’t you see? Everything that you’re thinking about is false. There is no thinker and there are no thoughts. So why have you been practising all these exercises all of your life? It’s like a person in the ocean going in search for water.

Awaken. Be free. Be yourself.

True Self

You are the joy of the world, the light that shines in darkness. You are a blessing to the universe. Love yourself always. When you love yourself, you love God. Forget about the past. Never dwell on the past. Remember, time and space does not exist. If time and space does not exist, then there cannot be a past or a future, for the past and the future is about space and time. If there is no time and space, there cannot possibly be a past or a future. So who thinks about the past? Who thinks about the future?

Beyond Self-Enquiry

Even to say the I does, the I-thought does, this again is mostly for beginners. Self-inquiry is very important, don’t get me wrong. But the day has to come when you go beyond self-inquiry, when you just realize and understand that there is no I-thought at all. It never existed. Therefore you do not have to get rid of it. There is nothing to get rid of, because nothing exists. You are total freedom, right this instant, right this minute.

The unreality of thoughts and things

Whenever your thoughts dwell on the past, do not become angry with yourself.

Leave them alone. Do not observe them. Do not watch them. Do not be the witness to them. Just leave them alone. They will disappear of their own volition, due to the fact that they never existed. This is an important point. This is the reason why you leave everything alone. Now if things existed, if there was such a thing as negative thinking, karma to get rid of, then you’d have a job on your hands. You’d have to do all sorts of things to get rid of your karma, your past sins. You’d be working continuously, practising all kinds of japa, mantras, everything, to remove all of these thoughts of the past. But I say to you since these things never existed to begin with, why do any work at all?

Oh, it’s okay, if you like to work, but I’m very lazy myself, and the less work I have to do, the better.

Do not look for results

Do not look for results. Because it’s your true nature, sooner or later the results must presume themselves, but it comes without your help. You cannot help God. God does not need your help. Just be yourself. It’s difficult to be totally honest with yourself, yet this is exactly what you have to do. Forget about being a Jnani, or enlightened, or having self-realisation.

Nobody becomes enlightened

First of all, what does the word enlightenment mean? I’m not talking about a dictionary definition. To the path of Jnana what does enlightenment mean? The answer is, there is no such word.

No one becomes enlightened. There is no body, no I, no me, there is no thing that can ever become enlightened. The word enlightenment is used by the ajnani, by students. Absolute reality, choiceless awareness, sat-chit-ananda, parabrahman, those are all words that do not exist, except to the student, in order to explain that there is a state beyond the so called norm, a state of total transcendence. And we give a name to this, enlightenment.

When this actually happens or transpires in a person the I has been totally destroyed, totally annihilated. The me no longer exists. And to that being there is absolutely no one who became enlightened. That being is resting in his true nature, in nothingness, absolute nothingness. No one can become enlightened. No one can be liberated, for the you that thinks it can be liberated doesn’t even exist. There is no you. There is no person.

There is no human being who is a human being one day and the next day becomes liberated. There is only the liberated Self and you are that. There is not you as you appear. The appearance of you, which you think you are, is false.

Your problems do not exist

This is why I say all of your problems, all of your nonsense that you go on with, all your worries, all your cares, all your emotions, they do not exist. They never have existed and they will never exist. It is all the game of maya, the leela. It doesn’t exist. No one in this room exists. There is no you and there is no me. There is only the Self. And when the self becomes the Self it is no longer the self, for there never was a real Self to begin with.

This is the reason why I emphasise, stop thinking. Your thoughts pull you deeper into maya, into illusion. Do not think of enlightenment, or awakening, or being liberated, or finding a teacher who can help you. You are beyond help. No one can do anything for you.

The process of Realisation

Actually what happens is this. As you begin to realise you are not your thoughts, you are not your body, you are not your mind, you are not the world, you’re not even liberated, you are nothing, as you begin to think this way whatever has to happen in your evolution will transpire without you doing anything. If you are meant to be with a teacher you will be with a teacher. If you are meant to be by yourself you will be by yourself, yet you have absolutely nothing to do with these things. Remain in the no-thought state.

No need to look for liberation

The worst thing you can ever do is to search for enlightenment, for liberation. This keeps you back. It keeps you back because there is a self that is searching. There is an I that is searching. There is a me that is trying to become something and the whole idea is to remove something from your consciousness.

You are No Thing

Therefore the process of realization is removal, not adding. Removing this and removing that. Removing all concepts and all preconceived ideas. Removing all of your thoughts, no matter what kind of thoughts they are.

Good thoughts, bad thoughts, they all must go, and what is left will be nothing, no thing.

You are that. You are that no thing.

Leave the world alone

Leave the world alone. Leave people alone. Do not come to any conclusion. Do not judge anyone. Everything will take care of itself.

Doesn’t it feel good to be nothing instead of believing you are thoughts, and you are human, and you have a job to fulfill, and you have a mission? There are many spiritual people you know who think they have a mission. They have come to save the world. They can’t even save themselves and they’re looking to save the world. The world will go on the way it’s going on without your help, for or against. Leave the world alone.

The Current That Knows The Way

There is a power and there is a presence, which I like to call the current that knows the way, that takes care of everything. It is all part of the grand illusion. And even in this illusion, which appears in front of your eyes, there is a presence and a power that lifts you up. It will lift you up as high as you can allow it to, until it lifts you up completely out of your body, out of your thoughts, out of the universe, to a completely new dimension.

You’ll appear to be the same person as always to people, but you’ll not be that person any longer, for that person is gone, no longer exists. You have become Brahman. You have become all-pervading. You have become your Self without trying to do so.

Give thanks and love thyself

You must always have gratitude for the way you are. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Love yourself just the way you are. By loving yourself just the way you are you will transcend those things that have appeared to annoy you, to bother you, to cause you pain.

They will all go. You’ll no longer be aware of them. Let go of everything. Have no desires whatsoever. Dive deep within the Self. Do not react to the outside world or to your body. All is well.

When you are without thoughts, you are God

When you are without thoughts, when you are without needs, without wants, without desires, then you are God. You are the universe. You are divine love. You are beautiful. Yet when you begin to think about these things you deny it, for you think about the past and the future instead of staying centred in the eternal now. You think of the mistakes you made in life. You think about the dastardly things going on in this world.

You think about your future, about the so called recession. You are enmeshed in Maya. Do not continue to think this way.


Tom’s Summary:

You will see that the essential themes are:

1) Do not take any phenomena such as Body, Mind (eg. thoughts and feelings), World, Time or Space to be real (ie. all is illusion, part of the Jnana yoga teachings such as ajata). This means there is no real ‘you’ or ‘me’ or thoughts or practices or teachings, etc.

2) Be still/silent/without thoughts (ie. be still or the Raja Yoga/Dhyana yoga teachings)

3) All is well and nothing is required as:

a) you are already Indestructible Eternal and Free Timeless Being beyond words and things so there is nothing to do and nothing to worry about (ie. the Self-Knowledge or Jnana yoga teachings)

b) in the illusory world there is an illusory power that is already doing everything and this power will continue to look after everything in the absence of an illusory ‘me’ or ego, so there is nothing to do and nothing to worry about (ie. the Surrender or Bhakti yoga teachings)

4) Give thanks have have gratitude for what comes your way (ie. the gratitude or Karma yoga teachings)

What do you think – are the points I summarised above a correct representation of the quotes below? (clue: if you take point (1) to heart, where is the need for (2), (3) and (4)?) Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


Tom’s Super-Brief Summary:

Therefore trust in The Power that Knows The Way, allow the mind to be still, know all is well for you are the Self and be thankful! Do not take the world (including your phenomenal body-mind self) to be real –  nothing needs to be done or not done – it is all illusion!