Let me share an experience with you, one that I had recently, which is very close to what you’re saying.
I had come back from the West Coast, a month or so ago, and had a space of about ten days where there were no demands on my time, and I’d been very tired with jet lag and…
So I was just living very quietly in our apartment in Oxford. My only obligations were to spend time with my son, who lives over the road from us, and so he would come over each day or I would over and see him for a few hours; and then I would come back to our apartment, and it was very quiet; I was finishing writing my book, so it was a very quiet, contemplative, restful time.
And then I got a call from an old client that we’re doing a project for, in the pottering.
And he’s an extremely demanding client;
very nice man, but very demanding,
and not the easiest character to interact with.
I had to go to London to meet with him. I knew it wasn’t really necessary to go to London to have the meeting –it could easily be done over the phone– but I felt it was the right thing to do in this relationship; we’re doing a big project for him, so I went; on a train to his offices in Kensington.
And I was struck; it shot me; because it was so long, actually it was only ten days or so, that I had been out into the world to engage with it. And I had… There was just… I felt so open, so borderless, and so… total lack of resistance… And then I went into the heart of London on public transport, and I felt exactly what you describe. The… the… the bombardment on all sides, belying me,
and in this meeting it was even more so.
It was this slight indignation I could feel from the other, that I… that I wasn’t fully… involved. And it even caused some irritation, on the other side, that I wouldn’t… that I couldn’t compl… come completely. And I felt the pull from the world, exactly as you describe, to “Be like me”; to “Get real”; to “Be some…”, to “Be somebody” [audience laugh], to be an object.
And I have to confess also, I felt some resistance to that; I felt myself for a moment [drawing-within-himself gesture]
Don’t… don’t… don’t do this;
don’t try and get hold of me…
And then I felt this resistance, and how that resistance was more of the same. It was a reflection, it was a mirror of the behaviour that was happening.
And… and then… so I saw this resistance come up, and then let it go and realised
… that I didn’t need to protect myself… from this demand from the world to be somebody; to be an object;
… that to protect myself from it, was… was one way that the world… of letting the world win. It was playing the world’s game.
By refusing to play the world’s game [drawing-within-himself gesture],
I was playing the world’s game [perpetuating gesture].
… that actually it was completely the opposite:
To be totally open.
Because that is where we are safe.
That is the only security.
Is to be just totally open persons.
And I could feel… [repetitive grabbing gesture]
that this character; I could feel that he…
the activity of trying to get hold of me;
trying to… [continuing grabbing gesture]
As long as I resisted,
he was winning.
He was… he was
making me into someone
a resisting someone.
But as long as I wasn’t that someone, as long as there was no resistance, he was just barking in the wind; he was just… There was nothing there. And he didn’t feel any resistance. So he didn’t feel that he was being frustrated, because there was no resistance there.
And the meeting softened
[sweet expression; open hand].
And we started smiling;
we started laughing;
It was so sweet in the end.
Everything that we needed to get done, it got done.
He actually ended up apologizing. He had thought that I had done a few things… I’d got things wrong, and actually I knew that in this case I had been very careful, and had done everything that he had… [writing gesture]
And he call… even called one of his guys in New York,
“I think this; and Rupert says this. So which one of us is right?”
And his guy in New York –I heard him on the phone speak– he said,
“Actually Rupert is right; he did the…”
And this guy, this… this…
[inhaling while tightening his lips]
… defensive, aggressive…
He put the phone… He said,
“I’m so sorry. You were right; all along.
What you had done was what we originally agreed.”
And he was so soft,
and it was so sweet,
at the end.
So… And then I went home; I just got the train home again.
And when I got home, I recalled
… this whole incident of… of going out into the world that seems, as you say, to demand that we play its game; that we become someone, or something;
… and the slight resistance to that, and how that actually subtly perpetuates…
… and how the letting go of that resistance…
That’s what I meant earlier, in the end of our meditation, where I say,
“We find ourselves at the heart of experience.”
I didn’t need to go back to the flat;
to find that peace again, to find that independence.
Right there, in the heart of this slightly awkward, intense situation;
right there, without the resistance,
that was where the peace and the freedom was.
Right in the midst of it.
The important thing is not to have an agenda with the person; not…
You… you may see a display of ego; a display of a sense of separation, trying to aggrandise itself, or trying to protect itself, or… one of the numerous ways that the separate self perpetuates itself. You may see that. That’s not a judgement; it’s an observation. It’s fine to see that.
But it’s another thing to have an agenda with it.
And to have an agenda with it, is exactly the same as the ego that you are observing.
In other words, it’s only the ego in our self that would have an agenda with another ego.
So, make the distinction, very clearly, between observing the sense of separation –in your self, but here we’re talking about relationship with others–
… make the distinction between observing this sense of separation, however it displays itself in another, and judging it.
Awareness does the observing;
the separate self does the judging.
Yeah? That’s the difference.
So you, take your stand as Awareness;
you do the observing.
But, that’s the first thing. Not to have an agenda, with this… Not to feel that it’s wrong; that it needs to be corrected. It’s OK just as it is. This display, is OK, just as it is.
You, Awareness, don’t have an agenda with it.
And then the second thing
is to realise that what this other really is,
is this presence of Awareness.
And there’s only one presence of Awareness.
Something that is without limits.
There can’t be more than one of it.
We know in our own experience,
this aware Presence,
it doesn’t have an edge;
it doesn’t stop anywhere.
There aren’t lots of awarenesses.
So this one
that you are speaking to,
Now, in between, like a kind of screen, there is a display of thoughts, and feelings, and behaviours, and gestures, that betray a belief that we are –in the other– the betrayer belief that we are something other than this presence of Awareness. So this display, that you are dealing with, is just a set of conditioned thoughts and feelings and activities and gestures.
So, you relate,
–when you speak to them, in your heart–
relate to who they truly are.
Don’t buy the story that they are a separate self, that they…
Don’t… don’t… don’t reject it, don’t judge it and reject it,
but don’t buy it.
Let it do its thing.
And… you can respond to it appropriately;
it doesn’t mean that you just ignore what they’re saying.
No. You respond. Appropriately.
the one you are speaking to,
is the Presence behind this.
And just that is enough. Because this will… that attitude will ensure that whatever words you use (that are responding to their words), are somehow impregnated with this understanding.
So though the actual content of the conversation may be “What you did, and what I did, and what…”; it may be relative… psychological… stuff. Nevertheless, your own responses will be… will be saturated in this deeper understanding.
And something of that, of your response, will percolate through the conditioning, to who they really are. And… In a kind of resonance. Who they really are… It’s as if they wake up.
This… this gentleman that I was meeting in London the other day, when his guy in New York told him that actually he had made a mistake… So right there he’d been… All the time he has been telling me that I had got it wrong, and then, right there on the loudspeaker on the phone, his guy told him, “No, no, you made a mistake. What Rupert’s saying is what we agreed.”
And, when I heard that,
there was just no response in me at all.
It wasn’t manufactured; I…
There just was no feeling of
“Oh, there! I was right all along.”
It just didn’t arise. It was just… those are the facts.
And he must have felt that. He must have felt that there wasn’t the least judgement. Of him. There was no, “OK, there you are. I told you; you’re wrong.”
So in other words, if I had felt that, I would have squashed him into a person:
“YOU, are wrong! And I, was right.”
And he would have felt… even if I had only felt it, he would have felt diminished. He would have… he would be made into a person.
But because I didn’t feel that –not through any effort, it just didn’t arise– he felt that. So, at that moment, the sense of separation in him, it just… it couldn’t stand. Because there was nothing to fight against.
And at that moment,
the conversation changed its tone.
Because he was,
just for a moment,
He could, although he would never formulate it like this.
I wasn’t referring to an ignorant person;
I wasn’t in relationship with this person who was wrong in this case.
And he was liberated.
And I could see it on his face…
The whole tone, the body language…
Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros
Yes, if we think about it, even from a materialistic point of view: the world exists, and we exist.
Therefore existence is common both to what we are, and what the world is.
So, beyond the appearance of the world and our self, underlying these two appearances, existence is… We share existence!
So, even from a materialistic point of view, there is a profound connection underneath the way things appear to be –the self, and the world– there is an interconnection between these two seemingly separate realms.
And the experience of beauty is the… intuition… or the taste of that interconnection.
And very often the… awe… In the experience of awe, the mind comes to an end; the mind is struck, the mind is silenced.
Ah… We say… ehm… “It blew me away!” meaning: it blew my mind away.
That’s what Nirvana means; it means “blown out”, or “extinguished”.
In that moment, the mind was extinguished; the mind collapsed.
And the underlying, our shared existence was tasted.
That is the experience of beauty.
And it strikes the mind; it brings the mind to an end.
And when the mind returns again, it… it…. it notices that it has been struck, and it says, “I was in awe!”
It means, “I was brought to an end, by the exp… I was brought to an end by the experience of beauty.”
It feels like I’m merging… Right…
It’s a merging of two things that seem to be separate. It’s not really a merging, because in fact they were never separate to begin with…
… but from the point of view of the one who considered himself or herself separate, we feel we merge with nature, or we merge with our friend in love, or we merge in nature with beauty, it is a collapse of the “self and other” or the “self and object”.
Where you… you know it again, you know it…
… as the same as you.
Yeah. I’ve had it in different situations… Ahm… So I’ve had it with a tree [audibly smiling] so to speak…
… you know; where I stood long enough before that tree, with my attention completely given to that tree, and then there just was a moment… where there’s just a complete shift, you could say, of how I was experiencing that reality; that package that I call “the tree”, was a completely living being…
… with energy streaming out of it… In a way that was like, completely alive; it just… It overwhelmed me, …
… you know, to feel that.
Yeah. And then even with an inanimate object I’ve had it…
Well, that was… Absolutely! I was going to say, with objects, certain objects, or certain buildings… works of art, the true works of art…
… that have this power, within them, to dissolve the subject-object relationship.
So that’s what really, in my view, a work of art… or what we could call a particular category of a work of art called sacred art… Is art that… and it could be a piece of music, or a bowl, or a building, or a painting… An object that has the capacity to effect this dissolution of the subject-object relationship. And such an object can be tremendously powerful.
M-hm. Yeah. Surprisingly so, sometimes.
Yes. And that’s why we have art in our culture; that’s why we love art, because of this recognition that an object –be the object a three-dimensional form or a building or a painting or a piece of music– it has this power, this capacity to dissolve the sense of separation, to collapse the subject-object relationship…
… and that collapse is what we call… beauty.
Right. Yeah. I… I found myself in a museum once, in front of a painting that really a lot of people didn’t… had trouble, kind of, I think, appreciating as a painting? It was, you know, just a rectangular canvas that was… red. You know. That’s it. It was just red. And I stood there for a long time with it, ’cause I was really curious about it, and… it was fascinating that at a certain point, it’s like the whole thing just shifted, and it was…
… it became this incredibly beautiful… potent… deep…
… vibrating thing; and the docent came around and I told her that was my favorite, and she said, “Wow… Most people don’t like that one…”
Because it didn’t look like anything.
But it… So it’s really… us –right?– that allows things to take on, or that accepts that opportunity to connect, or to… ahm…
Yes, there has to be a sensitivity, a receptivity…
… to discover what’s there to be experienced beyond the label that’s on the outside.
Yes. Yes. I remember at one of my very early exhibitions, it was a private view and, lots of people milling around and talking, but I noticed that one young man was standing with his back to… just looking at a piece, and, while everybody else was moving and talking, you know, at private views, he just stayed there without moving, and he caught my attention. So after my twenty minutes, I made my way up to him and I went to say… and he turned around, and he had tears running down his face; and he just smiled and walked away; I never… we never had any conversation. But I remember it; I mean, I’m telling a story now, I remember this was in my twenties, this was over thirty years ago, but I remember it; he was… It was one of The most… It was one of the most complimentary… silent compliments that I ever received.
Because I… I… I could feel what was taking place… or what was taking place between him and the object.
Hm. M-hm. So it seems in way that’s just another almost doorway back to the “being aware of being aware”.
Absolutely. It’s Rupa Yoga, the Path of Form; the third path, the path of perception.
The Path of Knowledge…
the Path of Love…
and the Path of Form, or Beauty.
Absolutely. The way of the artist.
Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros
(Uphill above our bay today, outside this church)
One breath of oneness; then one more; one at a time
Thus ever gratefully we breathe for one and all
announces, celebrates, indicates
God’s infinite being
Our only experience of the world is perception. That is; sights, sounds, tastes, textures and smells. All there is to perception in our experience, is perceiving, and the only substance present in perceiving, is knowing.
All there is to the mind, are thoughts and images. Our only knowledge of thoughts and images, are thinking and imagining. And the only substance present in thinking and imagining, is knowing.
See, that knowing, or consciousness, is the only substance that is ever actually known, or experienced.
Try now to find something in your experience –in your current experience; your remembered experience; your imagined experience– that is made of anything other than knowing.
Test your experience.
Go to the extremes.
A vision of God
A near-death experience
A deep depression
A moment of ecstasy
Or, simply the taste of tea
Is there anything to any of these experiences… Could there be anything to any of these experiences, or indeed to any experience, other than: knowing.
And ask yourself the question:
What is it that knows the experience of knowing?
Is it known by itself? Or is it known by something other than itself? Can you find anything other than knowing, with which knowing could be known?
Wherever we look in experience, there is only knowing. It is knowing that knows this knowing.
Now, ask yourself the question:
Is this knowing ever divided into parts?
If knowing were divided into parts, there would have to be something within knowing, other than knowing, with which it could be divided. In just the same way, that in order to divide the space of this room, we would have to build a wall through the middle of this room, made out of something other than the space.
Is there anything in empty space, with which empty space could be divided? Space cannot divide space.
Is there anything in knowing, other than knowing, with which knowing could be divided into parts?
See that this knowing is indivisible, there is nothing in itself with which it could be divided or limited, and therefore it is unlimited, or; infinite.
This knowing is not something foreign to our self; it is our very own self, the only self –if we can call it a “self”– there is.
This single, infinite, intimate, indivisible Whole, or Self, admits no other self or entity within itself.
No separate object or self ever comes into existence; existence, from the Latin ex-, meaning “out of”, and sistere, meaning “to stand”. No object or self ever exists, or “stands out from” this infinite, intimate, indivisible knowing, with its own independent existence.
There are no real objects or selves.
It is not blasphemous to say: “I am the infinite, perfect Whole.”
In other words, it is not blasphemous to say: “I am God’s infinite being.”
It is blasphemous to say: “I am a separate self.” That is the true blasphemy.
Because, to consider oneself “a self”, as separate individual, is to deny the only Presence of the infinite Whole. There is no room for the finite in the Infinite. There is no room in God’s infinite being for anything other than itself. To assert the existence of a separate self, or an object, is to deny the reality of God’s infinite being.
When Ramana Maharshi was asked by his devotees if he would like to take a tour round India, speaking to people in various parts of the country, he said: “What’s the point? I never see anything.” He didn’t mean that truly “I don’t see appearances”, but his vision was completely equal; he only ever experienced one thing, and travelling around India would give him no further experience of that one thing that he experienced at home in Arunachala. His vision was even, equal; knowing only knowing.
In the early stages of our investigation on the inward-facing path, objective experience seems to be a distraction from Reality. Objective experience –thinking, feeling, sensing, perceiving– seems to veil the reality of pure knowing, or God’s infinite being, and therefore we have to turn away from it.
But in the more advanced stages of our exploration in the outward-facing path, there is no question of being distracted from pure knowing. If there is nothing in experience, other than pure knowing, what could distract us from this knowing? What would be the need for the focusing of our attention; the resisting of any experience, or the accepting of any experience? In the more advanced stages of this investigation, objective experience is not a distraction, or an obscuration of Reality; it shines with Reality.
Every experience announces, celebrates, indicates God’s infinite being.
This is why Krishnamurti, when asked, towards the end of his life, “What is your secret?” he simply said, “I don’t mind what happens.” His students were expecting some marvellous new teaching; he just said, “I don’t mind what happens.” That was his secret. “I see the same thing in all experience. A vision of God; a deep depression; a moment of ecstasy; the taste of tea… It doesn’t matter. It’s all the same. Knowing; knowing only knowing.”
It’s why… – sorry, I can’t resist this…
[laughter in the audience, as they can tell he is about to repeat one of his favourite stories]
It’s why when William Blake was asked by one of his friends:
“When you see the Sun rise,
do you not see a round disc of fire,
somewhat like a guinea?”
“Oh, no, no, no…!
I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host, crying
‘Glory, Glory, Glory is the Lord God Almighty!’.”
Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros
So, just look around you now, and; what is your experience?
Or, let me ask you it in a different way, in order to guide the conversation a bit.
Look around you now.
Do you experience anything of “a world”, other than the experience of seeing? Or seeing and touching… Seeing and touching and hearing…
Yes. We think that we see a world; and that the experience of seeing takes place here, but the seen world takes place there. But can you find these two things in your experience: one, the experience of seeing, and two, the object seen.
No, I have no access to it, other than through the experiencing.
When you say, “I have no access to it, other than experiencing or seeing”, you’re implying that it’s there…
… but that you don’t have access to it.
How do you know it’s there?
The only thing I keep coming back to, when I try; really try as hard as I can to examine this, is: all my experience and senses working together.
So, for example, I don’t know that something’s three-dimensional, unless I touched it; so, it’s sight and touch, perhaps sound as well, working together…
… So it seems to be all… all of my experience.
So, what you’re saying is, because the experience of seeing, hearing and touching, all give me consistent reports…
… therefore what they are reporting must be independent of seeing, touching and hearing. They all seem to confirm the outside world, because the evidence from each of these three sources corroborate one another.
Yes, it’s… Yes…
And you interpret the evidence, as evidence of an outside world.
You not only say, “Not only is seeing, hearing and touching consistent, not only do they give me information about a consistent world; moreover, there are seventy-five other people that report evidence that is consistent…
… with my experience. Therefore, we must all be experiencing the same world.”
But why couldn’t you take the same evidence, and use it to support a completely different model of experience. Which is this: that each of our seventy-five finite minds –and by “finite minds” I mean a mixture in this context; seeing, hearing and touching…
… let’s just call that all “the finite mind”– each of our seventy-five finite minds is precipitated from within the same field of consciousness. And it is because each of our minds is precipitated, or downloaded, from the same field of consciousness, that they experience the same world. In other words, each of our minds is informed by the same source of information. And because they all come from the same source, they all give evidence of the same world.
Just like, if six different people are watching the nine o’clock news, they all see the same thing. Why? Because the programme is downloaded from the same source.
I can, ahm… I can see this other possibility that you present, and… work with it sometimes, but it’s still doesn’t somehow get me to that place where there is no world there.
Well, show us the world that you’re referring to, that you’re so convinced. Show it to us now… Point to it.
Well I would… I mean… I know this is… you’re gonna pull this apart, but it feels like this; this; this… [obviously touching things around her]
OK. Feeling, yeah?
In this case, yes.
Feeling, yeah? Is that right? Feeling…
Feeling and seeing…
Feeling and seeing. Let’s take feeling first. Where does the experience of feeling take place?
Ahm, within my awareness. Within awareness.
OK. So the experience of feeling, right there, it’s obvious that feeling doesn’t give us an evidence of the outside world, because you say it takes place in awareness.
Where does the experience of seeing take place?
So, go back to the outside world. Show us the outside world that you’re talking about.
Point to it…
Or point to…
This is exactly… this is…
… the experience that you’re having that seems to give you evidence of an outside world.
This is my dilemma. I… I…
I know it is! That’s why I’m asking you the question… [Everybody laughs]
OK. So… OK. So… I hear what you’re saying. I can’t argue with you, but nevertheless, my every fiber… of my… years of experience doesn’t seem convinced.
Yeah, it’s just called years of conditioning. You’re right. Every fibre of your many years of conditioning is at odds with what’s being suggested here.
Your experience is not at odds with what’s being suggested here; your experience –I’m just describing your experience for you–…
… but it is in conflict with your conditioning. And that is the problem.
Yes. So, what I’m asking is then: How… does that get…
You have to make the choice, “Am I going to believe my experience, or am I going to believe my conditioning?”
I mean, your conditioning is the conditioning of Western culture.
Look at Western culture.
[Laughter in the audience]
I mean, is it… is it so highly sophisticated and intelligent…? I mean… Why do you believe what Western culture tells you about your experience?
I mean, look around at our culture. It… It… Is it so intelligent?
If a being from another culture was to land in the United States, would they look around and think:
Wow! These people are reeeally smart, [laughter] they live such harmonious, loving, beautiful lives; they’re also kind to one another, they treat their environment and animals so nicely…
I mean, is that what they would think?
No, I’m certainly not gonna defend Western culture.
But your dilemma is whether to believe the conditioning that you have received at the hands of Western culture, or whether to believe your experience. That’s where it’s at for you.
So today, when you said, awareness… where we were… I believe you were to say about awareness… “It’s not something and it’s not nothing”. I hadn’t heard you say that before.
Well, that was because I was…
I was trying in this very minute way, to completely dissolve… –in a very detailed way, but in a very experiential way– our conviction that there is something other than consciousness.
So… We think there are things.
We think there is something,
and in reference to that belief,
we conceptualize awareness as nothing.
So, we think there are things [raising his glass of water] – objects, that is; subtle things, thoughts and feelings; or material things, bodies and objects…
and then, as opposed to that, we think there is… We conceptualize consciousness as being not a thing; empty; void.
And then we end up with statements such as… ahm… “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form”… which is a legitimate statement, but it’s basically saying “Nothing is something and something is nothing”.
But these ideas are said in response to the belief that there are things.
So the teaching makes a concession to that belief and says:
“OK. You think there are things. That which is aware of these things, is not itself a thing.”
So it postulates awareness as nothing; empty, or void. So we now have emptiness, and form; nothing, and something.
Which is a legitimate distinction to make, as a concession to the belief, “There are things”. But having made this distinction, between emptiness and form, between nothing and something, we then have to – and this is what you were doing this morning, we were really exploring, not intellectually –although it was spoken in intellectual terms– but the exploration itself was very experiential. I was trying to guide you on an actual exploration of the relationship between things and nothing; between something and nothing. And hence we explored, “How is it possible for something to arise out of nothing? How is it possible for something to disappear into nothing? How is it possible for nothing to become something?” We were exploring this in our experience to see that that’s not actually how it’s happened. Nothing cannot become something; …
… something cannot disappear into nothing. Therefore, the reality of experience is neither something, nor nothing. If we think it’s something, then it’s legitimate as a half-way stage to say “Reality is nothing: not a thing.” But then –that’s a half-way stage– we then have to go beyond that, and say “Reality is neither something nor nothing”. And, as I said this morning, the mind can’t go further than that, because the mind thinks in terms of opposites – “something” and “nothing”.
Well, this then helps me a lot, because… because it… my mind actually seems much happier… ahm… in that non-dual place, or that non-binary place. Ahm, and where it’s… ahm… a kind of liminal zone, I guess, between no-something or something, I don’t even know how… I can’t put it in words, because words are binary, but that… that… It’s like a talk before precipitation, it’s like just before precipitate shows itself; something condensing out of a liquid. You know what I mean? It’s like that, it’s right on the edge, and to me that’s… I guess I have been thinking, awareness is emptiness; nothing. So, if it’s got that…
… no-something, no-nothing… that feels much more spacious to me.
You see, even to call it awareness, is to call it awareness as opposed to an object.
The only reason that it’s necessary to conceptualize awareness, is in response to our prior conceptualization of the object. OK. If we’ve conceptualized the object, then we can conceptualize the awareness that is aware of that.
So, all of these teachings arise in response to our beliefs and feelings. If we didn’t conceptualize objects in the first place, it wouldn’t be necessary to conceptualize awareness. So all the teaching arises as a response to beliefs, ideas, feelings, situations. And it’s legitimate for the teaching to make these… these provisional statements –“Awareness is empty”, etc.; “Emptiness is form”– because they’re all true, relative to the belief that they are responding to.
But in the absence of a question, or a situation, there is no teaching. It’s because ultimately it’s not possible to conceptualize reality, which is why I said earlier – quoted the Shankaracharya saying, “Real thinkers don’t think”.
In other words, people that have really taken thought all the way… Thought comes naturally to an end, because reality cannot be conceptualized or named. That is the ending of thought. Thought has brought itself to its own end. It’s not a discipline to end. It’s a natural end. Thought has… it’s like a candle… all the wax has been burnt, there’s no more fuel. The flame just comes to an end; there’s nothing else left to burn; there’s nothing else left to think about, so thought just comes to an end.
So when you talk about conceptualizing objects, the alternative is pure experiencing?
No. It’s necessary to conceptualize objects. It is the natural state, otherwise we would just remain like animals or infants, there would just be an undifferentiated mass of experiencing. It is necessary to separate oneself out and arrive at the “I am the body” experience. We’re in objects here…
… we’re separating out experience, it is a necessary stage. The ego is… is a natural stage we pass through.
What is natural is to carry on, passing through that stage, and arrive at the recognition of our true nature.
Right. So, would that be pure experiencing?
No, that’s pure awareness.
Pure experiencing is what the fish, and the bird, and the newborn infant experience.
Aaah, OK. Mm.
And what Finn is experiencing now [focusing somewhere at the front of the audience]. Finn doesn’t know that he is a dog; that he is lying in a room. For Finn, as far as we know –Forgive me, Finn, for talking on your behalf! [laughter]–, as far as we know, Finn’s experience is one undifferentiated mass of experience that is not separated out into “Me, a dog, and everyone and everything else”. In other words, it doesn’t… Finn doesn’t have an ego; it hasn’t developed, he hasn’t developed the “I am the body” experience. He is in a pre-egoic condition, there is only experience.
And that is not the same as the one who has recognized the nature of all experience to be infinite consciousness.
Although, in both cases –in Finn’s case, there is just experience; in the case of the one who’s recognized the true nature of experience, there is just consciousness– in both cases there is only one thing. So they… they sh… there are some similarities between the pre-egoic condition and the post-egoic condition. Which is why it is sometimes said that the… the sage is child-like.
Right; right. I was confused on your use of the words…
So, if, for now, I understand or work with… ahm… pure consciousness or pure awareness as “not something, not nothing”; is that, ahm, appropriate?
I… You… No…
Or is that still… is that still…
… because once you’re conceptualizing awareness, then you’re in the realm of conceptualization, that’s fine, and it’s best to say that “awareness is not the thing; it is nothing”. Because you… you c… it’s not possible. Try now to think of something that is either something nor nothing…
You can’t. It’s not possible.
No. I think what I like about that, is it leaves a little room for something.
It leaves a little room for something; haha
It leaves a little room for something; yes, yes…
Yes. I think that’s why that attracts me.
Yes. So, as long as you’re thinking about awareness, you’re thinking of something, and it’s best to think that awareness is not a thing.
If you’re conceptualizing awareness, you are already… we are already in duality, we are already…
And from that point of view, it’s best to recognize that awareness is nothing; not a thing. No thing. Not a thought, not a feeling, not a sensation or a perception.
M-hm. Thank You.
Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros
Why do we lose sense of time when we’re sleeping?
Why do we… ?
… lose sense of time when we’re sleeping?
Why do we lose sense of time, when we’re sleeping…
[Rupert takes a sip from his glass of water; thoughtfully turns towards this 13-year-old boy]
Try now… –you understand what I mean by… now; yeah?– and, if we represent the past, we could imagine that the past is like a vast space that extends endlessly behind the now, and that the future is a vast space that extends indefinitely in front of the now. Yes?
And that the distance between the past and the future is what we call time. Yes?
Or the distance between two events in the past or the future.
So. So now; let’s explore… time. The past and the future…
So now, just for a few moments, leave the now, and visit this place that you call the past.
Don’t… I don’t… When I say “visit it”, I don’t mean just think about it, or imagine it, because if you think about it – let’s say you take the image of breakfast this morning; that image doesn’t take place in the past; that image takes place now. So I don’t mean just “think about the past”, or “imagine the past”.
I mean, go there.
Leave the now, just step out of the now, and go into the past.
That’s not possible.
[Rupert smiles] OK…
… because, if I try to step into the past, that effort is happening now.
Exactly. So, can anyone here –just while we’re discussing– can anyone here step out of the now, and visit the past… Just for a few moments…
Can you imagine, Alexander, that anybody that has ever lived – not just us kind of weirdos that are interested in non-duality, but regular people, that, that… Can you imagine that any of them could, just for a few moments, step out of the now and actually go to the place that we call the past?
OK. So… If nobody’s ever been there – and presumably the same applies for the future; yeah? So, if nobody, nobody, has ever been there… how do we know that this place called the past really exists? Surely experience must be the test of the existence of something. So, if nobody’s ever been there, nobody’s ever got a glimpse of it… How do we know it’s there?
We don’t really.
We don’t know it’s there. We imagine it’s there, but we don’t know it’s there. We have no knowledge of it; at all.
Could it be that it’s not there?
And wouldn’t that be in line with our experience? In other words, could it be that the past and the future don’t exist in the way that our minds imagine them.
After all, have you ever experienced anything apart from; now.
And, how many nows have you experienced in your life?
Or let’s just take today; how many nows have you experienced today?
That’s a trick question. [Alexander and everybody laughs] One… One!
One. Yeah. So… so, all your life, you’re only going to experience one now.
And, that now… We’ve already discovered that, contrary to popular belief, the now is not this… fraction of a moment, sandwiched between these vast spaces of the past and future. The vast spaces of the past and future aren’t there.
So, now is not a moment in time. We normally think that the now is moving slowly through time, yeah? How fast is the now moving through time, in your experience?
It’s another trick question…
It’s not moving.
It’s not moving. It’s not going anywhere. It hasn’t come from anywhere, and it’s not going anywhere.
So this now, is the only now there is. And this now is not a moment in time. How… how long does this now last?
And you understand that by eternal… Eternal doesn’t mean “everlasting in time”; it means “Ever present now”.
So, if we are just simple, and we just stay with the facts of our experience, time is never experienced. Time is what the now looks like when it is filtered through our mind. In other words, time, it doesn’t exist in our mind, it seems to exist in our mind. And therefore, if that’s the case, wouldn’t it make sense that when our mind disappears in sleep, the seeming existence of time disappears with it?
That’s why we don’t experience time when we’re asleep.
Actually, we don’t experience time when we’re awake, but we; seem to.
But when we’re asleep, we don’t even seem to experience time, because no mind is present; in sleep. So, that’s why you seem to wake up, in the same moment that you fall asleep. Because there is no time in between two waking states, or two dreams states.
OK. Ah, that’s confusing, but it makes sense. [Laughter]
It’s confusing that it makes sense?
No. It’s confusing, but it makes sense.
It’s confusing but it makes sense, yes. Yes. It’s… Exactly.
It’s confusing because we compare… ’cause…
Everything that I’ve said, you’ve understood, in your own experience, and you’ve agreed with. And it’s very simple, what I’ve said, if you just stick with your experience.
But when we compare that, with; the way reality seems from the point of view of the mind, it conflicts with the mind’s view of reality.
So, it is the mind that superimposes its own limitations on reality; and makes reality appear in a way that is consistent with those limitations.
Just as I said this morning, if you put on a pair of orange sunglasses when you’re skiing, you very quickly forget that you’ve put the glasses on, and the snow appears to be orange; you think the snow is orange.
The snow is appearing in accordance with the limitations, or the colouring, of your glasses. Because you have forgot that you are looking through this limited medium, you think that the orange colour belongs to the snow.
Now, each of our minds is a limited medium. Our minds are the orange glasses; but the orange colour, is time and space; that’s the tint of our minds: time and space.
So, when Consciousness looks through the time-and-space glasses of our mind, it sees a three-dimensional wo…; a four-dimensional world; three dimensions of time and one dimension of space. And we think time and space belongs to the world. No. It doesn’t. Time and space are the orange glasses, through which Consciousness is looking, at, Eternity.
That’s what I meant when I said some time, today or yesterday, that the world, as we normally see it, is; a reification, or an objectification, of the limitations of our mind. The limits that we seem to see in the world, belong to the glasses of the mind, through which we perceive. If you take away the limitations of the mind through which we perceive, what is out there is eternal, infinite Awareness, or God’s infinite being.
And that’s what the Sufis mean when they say, “Everything is the face of God.”
It’s what William Blake meant when he said, “When the doors of perception are cleansed, everything will be seen as it really is; infinite.”
The doors of perception; that’s the… the glasses of time and space, through which… That’s the doors of perception. When the doors of perception are cleansed, when the mind is cleansed of time and space, what seemed to be finite, will be seen as infinite. In religious terms, as God’s face.
And what does that look like?
It… It is…
I know you can’t really… you can’t see it technically.
No, you can’t see it…
You know it through the experience of beauty.
That’s what the experience of beauty is.
That’s how you experience it.
And exactly the same way that when your relationship with other people, and animals, are cleansed, from the limitations of the mind, what seems to be a relationship with an “other”, is felt as love. Closeness. Friendship.
OK. So, you mean it’s the same beauty as like looking out the window?
And admiring the mountains? It’s the same…
When you experience beauty, in any form, that is… that is reality.
Eternal, infinite consciousness. Filtering in, to your finite mind.
Beauty is… is… is… ah… is the… is the experience of the collapse of the distinction between consciousness and existence; or between “self” and “other”.
I’m giving you a rational explanation of it. But the actual experience of it, is the experience of beauty. Or love.
So, the way the world appears, doesn’t change. But the way you experience that appearance, does change. So don’t expect suddenly the world to… to be transformed into some magical appearance. It’s not the appearance that changes, it’s your experience of the appearance that changes.
Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros
Now, I don’t know if it is a question, but it’s more experience, for me. Uhm… That, when you say, if you realize that you become so happy, that it makes you so… That’s so amazing… that it makes you so happy… when you follow your… things. And, how come… how come… Why is that?
Well, if the happiness is the result, or the inevitable consequence, of exploring the nature of our experience, the nature of reality, then ignorance of the nature of reality must be the cause of unhappiness. So, if happiness is the side-effect, or the inevitable consequence of recognizing the nature of reality, or the nature of our Self, then happiness must be the nature of our Self.
Everyone is here, because we… We are all here, because our search for happiness in the world –that is, our search for happiness in the objective experience– has been… has, to a greater or lesser extent, failed us. None of us would be here, if our search for happiness had been fulfilled by objective experience; by substances, relationships, activities, states of mind… etc. In fact, we are all here, because, to a greater or lesser extent, our search for happiness in objective experience has failed.
So we are here, hoping to find happiness, hoping to find peace, or fulfillment, in… in another direction. A direction which we have yet to explore. A direction which is in a… a non-objective direction. A directionless direction. And this is the… the great secret, which is an open secret; it’s a secret that is available to everybody; the great secret that… that for which we long –peace; or happiness– can never be found in objective experience; can only be found in knowing our own being, knowing who we are, as we really are. And the experience of happiness is the inevitable consequence of that search; if we take that search all the way.
Then why is it so difficult, ehm… to, eh… to stay in it? Why…
It’s not difficult. How difficult was it for you to follow our meditation this morning? Was it very difficult? Was it very complicated?
No… No no…
Anybody, any of the seven billion of us, as long as they understood English, could have been here this morning; they would all have understood what was said.
There isn’t a single step that I took that could not have been followed by anybody, in their experience.
And your question is… is a… is a beautiful question… Why is happiness the inevitable outcome of this exploration… Because happiness is the nature of reality; happiness is the nature of our Self. It’s that simple!
But it’s so strange that you cannot… that I can’t experience it here very quickly and immediately, and it is all around me… But, ehm, to make it a little more personal, ehm…
I’m an old woman, but I’ve been falling in love recently. Very much. And… and then, I had very much the experience, that it comes from the outside, from the other; from this man I met. But I know underneath, that it only outshined of myself, and that he was a mirror to me. But it is still difficult now, to… ehm… er… to make this, ehm… er… what is it… er… ehm…
[Another voice from the audience:] Distinction.
Distinction; between what is this falling in love, and… ehm… and this… ehm… what I know experience, is really only here in my heart…
… but now it falls together with somebody else, but…
So do you experience the happiness inside of yourself, or outside of yourself?
Ehm, both! Both! It’s this… it’s… eh… when I…
When you… When you say…
I understand experiencing happiness within yourself. But when you say you experience happiness outside of yourself… Can you describe the experience of happiness that is outside of yourself?
Er… Not… not really; of course not! But…
OK. If you can’t describe the… Or… If… If you can’t say something about the experience of happiness that takes place outside of yourself… Then are you sure it’s true, when you say that happiness takes place partly within me, and partly outside of me…?
Yeah, I know it is an illusion, but…
… it’s so strong!
No, no, no, don’t go so quickly! It’s not an illusion. I’m not suggesting or implying that your happiness is an illusion. All I asked you was: Does the experience of happiness take place inside you, or outside you?
This happiness that you’re feeling now: Was it put in, from the outside, by this man?
No. No. Because when I first met him, I only saw light.
Well, that may be the case, but the question was: Did this man place… take a little packet of happiness, which he possesses, and place it inside of you? Is… was that your experience? Or did the happiness arise from within you?
It… it arose from within me.
OK. And did you ever in your life experience happiness before meeting this man?
[Woman doesn’t answer immediately; Rupert looks at her with big expectant eyes and frowns and smiles closing his eyes and says:]
Please say yes!
[Audience just bursts in laughter, Rupert blushes a little and continues smiling]
Can, can you repeat…
… Eh, if I have… YES!
I mean, this is not your first taste of happiness, surely…
When you were…
… a teenager…
… a young girl…
… you must have tasted happiness… And a teenager… There must have been numerous moments through your life, when you experienced happiness.
OK. And each of them had a different cause; or an apparent cause. When you were a five-year-old girl, something happened in your life, which triggered the experience of happiness, yeah? And then, whatever it was that triggered the experience of happiness, vanished! And later on –a few days, or weeks, or years later– something else triggered the experience of happiness…
Yeah? And you’ve had numerous moments in your life that were… happy, and each one triggered by an apparently different cause. Yeah?
Now. Don’t tell us about the different causes, but tell us about these moments of happiness. What was the difference between them?
Mm. It’s long ago… Eh… Mm. It was strong!
Was there any difference between the experience of happiness when you were a five-year-old girl, the experience of happiness when you were a fifteen-year-old teenager, the experience of happiness when you were twenty five years old? Each of the moments of happiness: Was the happiness itself the same experience? Or a different experience?
I think it had the same root.
No; that may be so, but it wasn’t the question. The question was: Was the actual experience of happiness, always the same experience… Or didn’t happiness once come in a chocolate-coloured flavour; or happiness come in a… a… in a…
No, but the awareness of the…
No, I’m just asking you about the experience of happiness. Is it always the same experience, or do you experience lots of different types of happiness? Or is happiness simply happiness?
YES! Simply happiness!
Good! OK. So. If you have experienced happiness; the happiness that you now feel –that has been triggered by your new friend– if that happiness is the same experience that you experienced last year, and ten years ago, and twenty years ago, and forty years ago… Then this happiness cannot be caused by your friend.
Ah, that’s true… That’s true…
And that’s very important, for you to understand… Because if you don’t understand that, in a couple of years time, your friend will disappoint you.
[Laughter from woman and audience]
If you want, this new relationship, to be a loving, and lasting relationship…
… you have to withdraw your projection from him…
… right at the beginning.
He is NOT the cause of your happiness. And if you hold him responsible for your happiness, sooner or later –and probably sooner rather than later [audience laughs]– you will begin to feel dissatisfied… The perfect man… [Rupert straightens up and points in her direction] Is he sitting next to you by any chance? [Loud laughter]
No, no, he’s not here! OK! Ha ha ha…
The perfect man that he now seems to be, will gradually start to show imperfections… [Laughter]
… and you will start to be disappointed in him. And you will start to blame him… for not causing you happiness. And that blame will turn into resentment. And that resentment will turn into anger. And you will start to dislike the man that you are now in love with, because he fails to produce happiness for you.
So. If you want to have a relationship that is free…
… of blame, and resentment, and conflict, then you have to withdraw that projection now.
He is NOT the cause of your happiness, and he is not responsible for it. The happiness that you are experiencing, something about the meeting with this man, has caused your thoughts and feelings – the tension of your seeking all these years… your tension has relaxed, and as a result of that relaxation, the nature of yourself, which is pure happiness, is now shining in your experience. It was always there, but it was buried by this tension that you felt –this longing for friendship, this longing for relationship– and that longing caused you to lose touch with your innate happiness. Now that tension has been relieved through the meeting of this friend, and as that tension subsides, the happiness which is your nature, is shining through.
But don’t allow your friend to be a cause of your happiness. He’s not responsible for your happiness, and… and that is the secret of a truly loving and intimate relationship, and that will give your relationship the best possible chance… of developing into a truly loving, intimate relationship.
Thank you very much, this is very great help; but, ehm… I’m seventy-five, and so amazed that this happened in my life, and, ehm… It is, ehm… It’s a great, ehm… a gift, but I… of course I realized I had to withdraw my projection, but, ehm… there was also… I realized that something in me hasn’t changed from this little girl, and… All my life, that is still the same! Exactly the same!
Yes. The… If I were to ask you…
That in you, which now feels in love…
How old is she?
What would you say?
Now… Maybe five?! [laughs joyfully]
Exactly! Maybe five. Which is another way of saying: She doesn’t really have an age…
… she’s not seventy-five.
She’s just pure openness… Pure joy…
Because who you really are, doesn’t have an age. It is the same self now…
… that you were five years old, and nothing has happened to that self, all through your life. No experience has tarnished… You.
No, it hasn’t…
Or aged you, or changed you… And now, as a result of this beautiful friendship, that… that… something has dropped, the tension in you has dropped, and your self –the self that you always are– is… is shining, as it is: Ageless. Innocent. Full of joy…
So, what is important in a relationship, is… is… not to… To preserve that, in the relationship; and to allow the relationship –presumably he is feeling the same thing– so the relationship is this sharing, this celebrating of these two innocent, ageless beings.
What is… what is your task now, is not to let the… the… the differences, the relative differences –thoughts, feelings…– ahm… tarnish this… this innocence; this ageless, joyful innocence of yourself. To preserve that. That, that should be the altar of your relationship.
M-hm! Thank you very much!
Transcribed by Leon Hieros
For my Claudi,
whom I have not yet held in this life,
but whose innocent love is always in me
For all Loves who have ever sought happiness outside
that is, for each and every one of us:
You sometimes describe the end of seeking as the experience of love or happiness but calling it that just sets up another seeking pattern, another idea, about what this is.
Love and happiness seem to come and go like everything else. For instance, when you are just about to be sick from car sickness or when your dog has just picked up a deadly snake…. thinking that love or happiness should be present in such moments just makes me want to change the current situation and want something else – in other words it is just more seeking.
I write this because the desire to love and be loved has been such a trap for me in the past.
Thanks for your email.
Perhaps I should just say what I mean when I use the words, love, peace or happiness.
Love, peace and happiness are simply the words I use to describe the taste of our true nature. They are non-objective in the sense that they do not have any objective qualities. As such they are not experiences of the mind or body.
Seeking and resistance veil our true nature, present Awareness, and therefore veil the love, peace and happiness that is inherent within it.
As a result of forgetting our true nature of present Awareness and imagining ourselves instead to be a separate entity, we set out into the world looking for love in relationships, peace in situations and happiness in objects.
This seeking is, by definition, uncomfortable – it is the activity of suffering which defines the separate entity.
When the relationship, situation or object is found, the seeking comes temporarily to an end and our true nature shines – that is, Presence tastes itself – for a brief moment (actually it is a timeless moment, because the mind is not present there).
That timeless moment is what is called peace, love or happiness. It is also known as beauty and understanding.
When the mind rises up again, it misinterprets this non-objective experience of love and attributes it to the relationship, situation or object.
It then sets out again in search of a new relationship, situation or object hoping to re-enact the experience of love, peace and happiness that it mistakenly believes was produced by them.
However, it is not the relationship, situation or object that produces the love, peace and happiness. It is the cessation of the seeking/resisting thought which enables the underlying love etc. to shine. That is, the cessation of seeking allows our true nature to know or taste itself as it is, unveiled by the activity of seeking/resistance.
Therefore, love, peace and happiness is not something that comes and goes any more than Awareness comes and goes. However, it is sometimes seemingly veiled.
So, it is inevitable that if we consider ourselves to be a separate entity, we will seek love and happiness. In fact, the separate entity is the search for love and happiness.
However, if we search for them as objects we tie ourselves to seeking in the realm of objects and activities ad infinitum. Sooner or later we have to see that what we long for is not to be found in the realm of objects.
It is simply the presence of our own being.
Allow your focus on objects, relationships, events etc. to go blurry – just let it relax. See that behind you, as it were, you, your own being, is present quietly shining. That is peace itself. That is the abode of love and happiness.
Don’t think of these things as experiences with objective qualities. They are transparent.
Even in the midst of difficult or unpleasant circumstances such as the ones you describe, this presence that you are is quietly shining in the background.
Become acquainted with it. It is what we most simply and intimately are. It is all we ever truly long for. It is that alone which is sought in all relationships.
That one is imperturbable and hence known as peace; it is free of the sense of lack and therefore known as happiness; it is free of the sense of distance or otherness and hence is known as love.
But most simply it is known as ‘I.’
Be that. Make friends with it. Live with it. Love it. Rest there.
Thanks Rupert for the reply,
I’m so grateful for your patience with these questions as I’m sure you’re very busy.
I still don’t think you’re understanding my question – When I talk of love I don’t mean love in the world – I don’t mean it as something you get from a lover or a beautiful sunrise. I’m talking about love that boundlessly arises inside – it may be sparked by seeing something beautiful or by words but it can just arise from nowhere – it comes with a feeling of feeling incredible presents and aliveness.
Sometimes I wake in the morning and just lay in bed with this boundless beautiful love inside of me, I walk in the forest crying at the beauty of it. I’ve had this since a child… it’s how I got on this path…when I first heard the heart sutra over ten years ago my hearted melted with that love and I was hooked… And my path started searching and seeking for this love (which is suffering) and here I am now, writing to you, knowing, although it’s a battle inside of me, that the searching for that love isn’t happiness and the love I’ve described isn’t happiness – it can arise in happiness but happiness is what is behind the love, gently sitting there watching – love too is in this world.
Although this is such a battle – as for years I believed it was that love and part of me still wants it to be… In fact I’m sitting here crying about this…in a way I can see how silly this questioning is – but it has to come out.
Maybe this time I’ve described it better but maybe I’ll still get the same answer, maybe you knew what I meant before…
The love you seek is not love – it is a state of the mind or body, however subtle. True love does not arise, it does not come and go, it cannot be found in the world, it cannot be found at one moment and lost at another.
Remember Shakespeare: “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds…”
Every appearance of the mind, body and world is constantly altering. What is it in you that does not alter?
That is love.
There is one ‘thing’ alone in your experience that does not alter. That is You, that is the love you seek.
You will never find it, because you are it. Therefore, seeking it is the denial of its presence. In seeking it, you compel it to seem as if hidden or lost.
It is You that does not alter, You, Awareness. You are that for which you long and your longing is this very presence of love coupled with a thin veil of belief that it is absent, that it is an object that can be lost and found.
In other words, the love you seek is present right here in your longing. Yet your longing for it as an object in the future, however subtle, veils its presence in you, as you.
“Lord, Thou art the love with which I love Thee.”
The same monk could equally have said, “Lord, Thou are the love with which I long for Thee.”
Let all directions towards which your longing flows, dissolve in this understanding, and the love that is at its heart will remain over.
Whatever is not present right now, is not worthy of the name love and is likewise not worthy of our desire.
Forget it. Whatever is not present now, even if it is one day found, will by definition one day disappear.
Why go for something temporary? It can never fulfill you. Let go of everything that can be let go of, everything – and anything that appears can be let go of – including all your, my and everyone else’s ideas about love.
In fact, as soon as we look for what is present…..it is gone. We cannot focus on or even think about what is truly present. We can only think about an object, about the past, about the future. In other words, we can only think of a thought.
The mind dies as it turns towards love like a moth in a flame.
Let the mind dissolve in the understanding that it simply cannot go to the place of love.
Let everything pass by.
Remember William Blake: “He who binds himself to a joy does the winged life destroy.”
The ‘winged life’ is love itself. It is apparently destroyed by our looking for it as an object, by ‘binding’ our self to an object, which means to the past or the future.
Let go, let go, let go.
Let your tears be the river into which everything you know is offered up, all your longing, everything.
Someone once asked Mother Meera if it was okay to offer everything to God or whether only ‘good things’ should be offered, and she replied: “A child offers its mother a snail, a stick or a stone; the mother doesn’t care what is offered; she is just happy to have been remembered.”
Offer everything. The love you seek is all that will remain behind.
You see, even when you smile at someone… When you smile at someone… It’s almost impossible to feel separate… from someone you smile at… So what is a smile? It’s the way the body expresses a momentary collapse of the sense of separation. In other words, it’s a little moment of lovemaking.
So preciously thoughtfully warm,
every single moment
Ahm… At 18 I left home again, and I took, you know, 13 years on a path away from religion. I knew that Christianity was not what I believed in… Ahm… Basically all was like forced down my throat… and I knew it wasn’t for me and I… I just went off. Did many things from the military to living around the world just trying to figure things out and figure out who I was… And, ehhh, I told you I’d read Power of Now, and that was the first thing on anything in spirituality since, you know, leaving home, and I was like, “Wow! Something… something shifted here.” And… coupled to that, ahm, last… this past summer –so this was the summer before– I was experimenting with psychedelics, mushrooms in particular, and I’d realized that every time I had done mushrooms, that it gave me that feeling of no-mind; that I was able to, you know, sit in… just be completely without mind. And going up I was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD… was on more medications than you could ever imagine –things that have, you know, now shown to cause psychosis along the way– addicted to medications… And… I could never stop thinking… I was obsessed with thought, obsessed with rituals. And I realized that one reading those books, and… and having that… that crack in me, if you will… And combining this with psychedelic mushrooms which have now… showing in scientific… in medical research, to kind of… access parts of the brain in a different way, I just felt… mindless! And I felt this… clarity wash over me, and every time it would happen, I started to learn to meditate while I did it, and things about my family would come up, and they would lead me… lead me to what… to… to… to… to… to make those things right, to see them as myself. And I… I felt good about it!
But… the battle… ha… the first battle in light is when I saw you this summer in London and we talked about the direct path and this being the indirect path. I was very intrigued, that’s probably what strung me back to here, is… you… you… you… Somebody asked a similar question, and I guess where I’m… My internal conflict has become as: I know from an experiential sense that it helps me. And it brings me to that place I feel closer to myself and I’ve tried… I’ve tried to…
You mean psychedelics?
So, the analogy I gave is –I spoke with Justin who was at the course with me– I… –in London– I said, I imagine psychedelics as a boom box, in the corner of the room, and it’s playing music, and I can hear it. I… I’m experiencing that. But if I put the headphones on, I can hear things that I wouldn’t normally hear. And when I do the mushrooms, and I have that experience, I literally feel like… my mind goes away and I’m able to face… I’m able to go inward in a way that… when I… when I try in meditation, I feel like I can’t! The vulnerability’s not there; I’m not able to express the things I wanted to express to my family, be real about the things I wanted to be with… with myself, and the suffering that I’ve caused.
But on the flipside my mind knows, this is impermanent; because as soon as it wears off, where am I? And I’ve learned that, it’s when it wears off, the… the effects in a couple of days, I go back up here; and I… I don’t… I’m scared to… I’m scared to get close to another, I’m scared to… to… to face… face myself. I can still do it, I can meditate, I can go to these meditations, but… it’s not as clear; it’s like listening to music over there, versus having the headphones. So… so where am I at that? Is it… Is it wrong to seek, if… if I know I’m… I’m having an ex… that experience it is… what I would say… pf… making me feel closer?? Making me come inwards?? In a sense?? Ah, I don’t know. But… I’m doing it because I… it feels that I am becoming more I am, if you will.
What are you in between two thoughts? Or perceptions?
But you don’t cease to exist in between two thoughts or perceptions…
So, what… what remains of your self? In between two thoughts or perceptions?
What was there before them. Nothing.
And then, what was there before there was… is… prior to mind? Or no mind?
Do you need mushrooms to go there?
How accessible now, in your experience, is that which is present behind and between your thoughts?
Could you say that again?
How available, how… how available to you, now, in your experience, is that which remains present behind your thoughts and and in-between your thoughts. This… this no-mind, this that is itself absent of thought.
It’s become stronger. I mean, two weeks ago was a very big pivotal point. And I… I expressed to my friend, I said, you know, “After this last trip, I realized that the next couple of days, I was able… when something come up, or if I felt the vulnerability…
… that I was able to… go without thought… I was able to express myself.
But if I were to ask you now, what is it that is currently aware of your thoughts or perceptions?
What would you say?
Consciousness. A stronger sense of consciousness, or the awareness now…
Yes, but, but what’s the… what’s the… what’s the common name for that which knows or is aware of our thoughts, or perceptions?
Even more common that that. The… the street name for it.
[Laughter by young man and audience; Rupert smiles.]
Ahm… I’m… I’m at a loss here…
I am aware of my thoughts. I am aware of the sight of this room. I am aware of the sound of this voice. Whatever it is that knows our thoughts, or is aware of our thoughts and perceptions, is not itself a thought or a perception; it’s that which knows them. Yes? That’s… that’s your self. Not your thoughts, not your feelings, not your perceptions or sensations… But that self is not inaccessible to you. It is that which is aware of your experience; it is… it is present behind, as it were, all experience. It’s actually present within all experience. It’s not hard to find… Is it not you, that is now aware of your experience? Can you not say to yourself, “I am aware of my experience now”?
Now, tell us about the I that is aware of your experience. Don’t, don’t think about it, but just from your current experience. By “your experience” I mean your objective experience; thoughts, ah… conversation, whatever feelings you’re having, the sight of this room… But all these objects of experience are known by you. It is I that is aware of them. Tell us about that I; from… from your current experience.
I’m aware of what I’m experiencing.
Tell us about the I that is aware of whatever you are experiencing. Don’t tell us about your experience; tell us about the I that is aware of it.
I can’t really place the thought. It’s…
… hard… hard to be in my mind.
Perfect. Why not?
‘Cause I’m present.
OK. So that’s one thing you can say about yourself. “I am present.” What else?
[Inhales; holds his breath a second]
Ye… Yeah. I can’t say much.
Well, you can say, “I am aware.” The… the I that is present…
… is also aware. Hence “I am awareness.” But… but just try… I know it’s difficult, but just try to tell us about the… the nature… If you were to… It’s not possible to really say anything accurately about it, I understand that…
... but just do your best. If you were to use words that are approximately accurate to describe “this I that is present and aware of my current experience” – what… what could you say about it? … From your experience of it now. That is, from your experience of your self now.
I feel aware.
Yes. Tell us more about it. … What is its nature… or its qualities.
I feel peace. I feel… I feel that I’m not in my mind at this moment.
Well isn’t that exactly the experience you told us a few minutes ago you got on mushrooms?
You see, these are really good quality mushrooms I’m giving you.
You see, right then you just had direct access to the peace of your true nature. Just by asking yourself, “What is it that knows my experience? What is the nature of that which knows my experience, that I am…” Apart from saying “I am” and “I am aware,” the first thing you said about it was, “Peace.” It’s a place of no-mind, that is no thought or perception. It’s… it’s the place of peace, it’s the place you long for. It’s… it’s right there; it’s shining right behind every experience. Even in the midst of every experience.
So then to go outward –it’s… maybe referred to as the tantric– taking that into living, into making things right with another…
Absolutely! So, it…
… that’s where a… a… the blockage comes. ‘Cause I just want to express something that I’ve just gone inward and felt… [Voice dropping] And now to express it outwards and another to see it as myself, and it… It’s like a wall comes up! The ego positions itself, “Can’t do that. You’re gonna get hurt. It’s gonna be painful…
… It’s going to ruin you.”
What’s your name?
Jeremiah… Jeremiah; you are doing now, what you are telling us you can’t do.
In a safe space. Huh. This is why I’ve…
OK. So, so this is one of them; one of the things we provide here is a safe space. But you… Is it… I don’t get the impression it’s hard for you to be doing this. You’re speaking very openly, yesterday you spoke very openly and very movingly about your relationship with your parents. We were all touched by it; you were very open, and you were very undefended, you were very honest. OK, you’re safe here. But just get accustomed to relating in this way, in this safe community of friends. And it’s only a small step, from here, to begin to relate like this with people outside this community of friends.
That’s what I’m missing. That’s what’s caused… all the… heartaches and suffering I my relationships.
But you’ll be surprised, Jeremiah… Just…
You know, the world will respond to this change in you.
Just… just remember the… the… the taste or the quality of relationship that you feel here –where you feel safe… you can be open, honest, vulnerable– and just begin to explore this in your relationships. Maybe it’s too much, with your parents, straightaway; that’s a very… intense, ah… sadhana. But… try it with… try it with people… with whom you have less charged relationships; more neutral relationships. Even… they don’t need to be very close relationships. They could be… It could be… it could be a conversation with a cab driver, on the way to the airport. You don’t have to tell your whole life story; but just… you could just be open in the conversation, just… Ah… Just practice having a conversation that is undefended, where you feel you share something of yourself. And you’ll feel [smiling] that the… the cab driver will respond immediately; he’ll tell you a story about his life, that he was longing to tell someone. So, it doesn’t need to be a close friend, sometimes it’s more difficult with a… or a close family member, because of the… the history. It can be a… with a stranger, and then you feel this quality of intimacy with a stranger, who you’re never going to see again. But it’s a moment of real intimacy, because you’ve just shared openly with them. And then, if you start like that, you’ll get little confirmations from the world –from the cab driver, and the shop assistant, and the…– you’ll get little confirmations that it’s OK; that it’s safe. And that will give you courage, and then you’ll try it in… in… in more and more circumstances. And then, one day, you may find yourself with your parents, just… undefended. Even if they are aggressive or hurtful towards you, you’ll find that you don’t do the usual contraction; you just stay open.
Transcribed by Leon Hieros.
Gratitude, dearest Rupert Spira.