My question is, how does one get past a blank state…
“… one get past…”?
A blank; a blank state that we seem to come across. So, it has no content, and it has no qualities. The background to the question is like… Sometimes you talk about namarupa, that is “name and form”… So the object… either in terms of a craving or an aversion… But once you see that, very clearly, that’s it’s actually just an energy pattern; so it’s nothing but a sensation. So if you see that clearly, the power that object has, it just disappears; that sensation diffuses.
[Rupert nods affirmatively]
And then what is left is, that object no longer has power over you. But it results in a blank state. So, where… That object does not have any power, but you’re not able to correspond to that object from a place of Consciousness, that is from peace, and happiness; or beauty. But it basically results in a blank state, where you are indifferent to that object, where that object is essentially dead to you. So my question is, how do we get past that blank state?
In relation to the object…
Yes. And I know, the answer is like, “So who or what is aware of the blank state? That is the doorway.” But, ah… But basically the object doesn’t mean anything to you…
… because it no longer has any attachment.
It’s just like, ahm… [turns to his left, searching in the audience; quietly:] Where are you? [Pointing joyfully with his finger] There! What is your name again?
Kay. It’s just like the conversation I had with Kay about… about our ex. You first of all have to withdraw from your ex; from the object in your case that used to have power over you. Yes? So now, from this… –you’ve put some space in between you and the powerful object or the powerful person– and from this new perspective, the person or the object has now lost their power over you, so you are looking at them from this neutral perspective, which seems a little cool, a little unloving from your point of view [looking at Kay]. From your point of view [looking at the man] you call it “a blank state”; it’s like neutral, blank; the object that once had power over you, either positive or negative, is now just neutral. For this neutrality is necessary, to begin with, in order to establish the distance. Now, when the neutrality has been established, and you know what you essentially are is no longer affected by the object, you can then come close to the object (this is when Kay contacts her ex in six months time and asks him out), you can then approach the object again. The original affection will come back, but it will no longer have power over you.
So this neutral stance in relation to the object that previously had power over you, is an intermittent stage, between the object having power over you, and you being able to have a positive relationship with it, without it overcoming you.
Okay. But… But is this the same as what traditionally has been talked about in terms of like… detachment? So basically you’re not so much concerned with the world?
Yes, but… but this… Again, going back to what we said about these traditions…
Detachment is… ahm…
Although this detached approach:
I am the witnessing presence of Consciousness
that is independent from, and unaffected by,
the objects of the world;
although this understanding was enshrined in some traditions,
and in fact became the central tenet of some traditions,
it is only a relatively early stage of the investigation.
It is… it is… For most of us, who are totally
immersed in the content of our experience
(thoughts, images, activities, relationships),
for most of us,
this stepping back from experience,
I’m not my thoughts and feelings,
I am that which is aware of my thoughts and feelings.
I’m not my activities and relationships,
I am that which is aware of my activities and relationships.
In other words, we take a step back:
I am the witness of experience.
This is… For many of us, it is the first stage,
and a necessary stage to establish:
There is more to experience than simply
an amalgamation of thoughts, images, feelings, sensations and perceptions.
There is the presence of Awareness, and that is what I essentially am.
So that’s the first step.
Then we abide,
not in the presence of Awareness,
but as the presence of Awareness,
and its qualities, its innate peace
–if we can call them “qualities”–
its innate peace, its wholeness, or fulfillment,
become obvious; reveal themselves to us.
And… but then it is necessary, at some stage,
to return to the objects of experience,
from which we previously separated ourselves.
So, this… the first step,
it’s what I sometimes call
“the inward-facing path”, or
“the selfward-facing path”,
it is the path of exclusion
I’m not this,
I’m not this,
I’m not this…
the Neti-Neti approach.
And this is the hallmark of the Vedantic tradition;
I am not my thoughts,
I am not my feelings,
I am not…
I am the presence of Awareness to which,
or with which they are known,
and in which they appear.
But the next step is,
I sometimes refer to it as
“the outward-facing path”,
or “the path of inclusion”,
as opposed to “the path of exclusion”
–it is the Tantric approach, not the Vedantic approach–
in which we return again to the objects of experience,
but now the distinction between our self-awareness and the object, has collapsed.
And it is understood, that all there is to the object, is the knowing of it, or the Consciousness of it.
So. And that is necessary for the full…
Unless we want this peace only to be
accessible to us in the privacy of our own bedroom,
where we’re bothered by no demands, no e-mails, no…
But if we want this…
that the peace of our true nature and its innate joy
to be fully felt under all circumstances,
then at some point we need to go back
into the world.
In other words,
the presence of Awareness
is not just a transcendent presence;
it is… it both transcends experience,
but it is immanent within experience as well.
So, although you may have started on the inward-facing path,
you may be well-versed on the inward-facing path,
you may be accustomed to knowing yourself,
(I am the witness of experience),
begin to explore the outward-facing path,
the dissolution of the subject and the object.
Okay. Thank you.
Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros