Nonduality


ADVAITA-ASHRAM
and Moller de la Rouviere

INTRODUCTION:

ABOUT MOLLER
ABOUT ADVAITA-ASHRAM
TEACHINGS
A FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION

ARTICLES AND ESSAYS:

TRANSCENDENCE
INTELLECTUALISM versus REALITY-CONSIDERATION
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

(editor's note: references to 'forum' and 'list' refer to email lists; reference to 'posts' refers to letters sent to email lists.)


TRANSCENDENCE

Non-duality is not created and sustained by thought. Thought as a response of memory, fragmented in its operation and therefore presuming the already existent sense of limitation on our being, cannot reach out to, or transform itself into that which is not of itself. Non-duality is therefore of a different category of being than the fragmentary operation of thought as it manifests in its dualistic vision of reality. Non-dual reality may include thought when thought is present. But it manifests as an unfathomable, centreless sense of BE-ing, inherently not interested in objectifying itself as verbal definition and description. Not having its source in thought, no amount of thinking can reveal the truth of the non-fragmented disposition we may refer to as non-duality.

From this perspective it may be clear that any thought about the non-dual condition of being is in essense nothing other than thought, and therefore an illusion if mistaken for the Real. So whether we think about non-duality or not, or whether we believe that our thinking about non-duality has any reference whatsoever with the actual living reality of centreless BE-ing, is totally beside the point. It stands 'beside the point' as something categorically different to the genuine article. Thought is ‘about', and 'about' is not the living reality of the thing itself.

This realisation, (and by realisation I do not mean any form of mental clarity, intellectual argument or thought-created certainty, but rather the revelation as living reality), is not generally our disposition when we start out on the path of self-enquiry. We start out as thought constructs called 'I', conditioning, psychological problems and complexities, unresolved emotional issues, and so on. In other words we start out as seekers for freedom from our perceived problems. If we were all happy, non-fragmented human BE-ings, we would not feel the need to enter upon any search for freedom, spirituality or truth. In fact it may even be argued that the search itself is a measure of our unhappiness and dis-ease. The free, sane and fully functional person has no need for such extreme measures as sitting quietly for hours practicing meditation, counting one's breath, trying to become quiet, relax out of contracted states of body, emotion and thought, or try to appear clever by writing about all the highest truths obtained from books, scriptures and teachings from the completed ones.

It is precisely because we are not completed in the wholeness of our already existing truth of BE-ing, that we enter upon the path of the great search, not realising that that which we are searching for may never be found by the instrument which we use in our search i.e. thought. For the very reason that thought cannot transcend itself, it cannot find or experience the answer to the most fundamental question it can ever ask, i.e. is there any truth beyond the truth of its own projections? The answer to this question lies in the direct experience of the non-dual sense of BE-ing and is not to be found in the measure of the fragmented thought process.

So it is perfectly clear to me, and this much my practice has revealed to me, that despite all the very clever arguments my thought has projected over the years relating to the wholeness of the living moment , behind even the most clear and insightful thoughts, lurked the separate self-sense. All these thoughts appeared to 'me'. Not the ‘high' Me of which the mystics speak. Just the ordinary me as presumed observer of my thoughts. So although very clear about all the arguments presented by my own enquiry and intellectual endeavour (including deep insights during profoundly quiet times of meditative practice) about the non-dual 'nature' of myself, (and everything else), over time it became clear that I was still separate and unwhole. The most reasonable deduction that could be made from this was that I was using the wrong instrument to reveal the wholeness, or non-dualistic nature, of the living moment to itself.

It became clear that thought can ask questions it simply cannot answer. Also it can make statements about things it has absolutely no ability to get 'in touch' with, or to become one with. My thoughts ‘about' non-duality were as empty of the genuine article as the religious mind's thoughts about metaphysical projections such as God and other idols.

This was a watershed realisation in my own practice. When it became clear that thought cannot answer the problems of 'I'- consciousness, (which is clearly a problem created and sustained by the activity of thought itself), it also became clear that whatever thought might do to relieve itself of this dilemma in human consciousness was just part of the proverbial monkey chasing its own tail. Thought cannot wash away thought. It can only try to suppress aspects of its own projections with some presumed 'higher thought', (or projection) or counter a fondly held argument with some more refined argument. But in either case, thought is still the active principle, and cannot relieve itself of itself by itself. And as we are more or less completely identified with our separate self-sense or ‘I'-conscious state, no freedom is possible within thought.

But this is a profound insight. It has to reveal itself through meticulous self-enquiry. It is not something to be read, understood by the mere logic of it, and then applied as a kind of ‘practice' of non-doing. Unless, of course, we are content to take the truth of another, make a concept of it, and parade it to ourselves and others as our own living understanding and reality. As such it will have little liberating power, and in most cases become just another thought-projection replacing previously held thought-projections, both devoid of integrity and active transformative power.

Seen from this perspective the wheel has to be re-invented each one for h/herself. There are as many paths as there are practitioners or enquirers. But what has to be revealed as a fundamental truth and reality by such enquiry, is that thought is not the thing. The talk about non-duality, the thinking about non-duality is false. Not because the thinking process itself is false, but because thought can only project its own version (mental creation) of these matters. And it becomes a double lie if we propagate these illusory, conceptually created, projections as having anything whatsoever to do with the living reality of the non-fragmented BE-ing. This is what I have once described in a post on HarshaSatsangh as the Advaitist's dream.

And because very few know the way from here, partially because the latter-day Advaitist guru's proclaim that the thought IS the thing, and so the idea ABOUT the non-dual state IS the thing itself, and so we are ALREADY 'THERE' so no work needs to be done, the enquiry has become stultified and this stultification has taken on the epidemic proportions from which so-called Western Advaita is unknowingly suffering.

This illusion has now become reality. And it is being repeated, and has thus become 'conventional wisdom' or ' perfectly obvious' to all. Non-duality is now common knowledge. It is no longer the exquisite confession of the true realiser alone. And as common knowledge, it is just that - empty, dead knowledge, devoid of the life and integrity which is revealed in the living reality of the living moment alone.

It is only ‘obvious' as a thought. Nothing else. Not unlike the existence of god being ‘obvious' to the religious mentality. There is absolutely nothing obvious about non-duality or non-doing. It is just thought presenting clever arguments to itself, and then believes its own arguments to be the thing itself, or relating to the thing itself.

Ignorance is nothing other than thought mistaking its own creations for reality. It is what keeps the dream of subjectivity alive. Because despite all the protestations from all the pseudo-advaitists on these lists, they still suffer the very same thing they are pretending to one another to have left behind. But in fact, nothing has been left behind. The 'I' is still there, with each and every futile explanation or argument to prove the existence of the non-dual reality, the very argument is a revelation of their state of dualistic vision. And because those ‘confessors' of non-dualism are mostly unaware of this inherent contradiction in their stance, they maintain the very process active and alive which is the very essence of duality and separation.

Once this problem of the monkey chasing its own tail has been seen as the very principle of delusion, we may start to enquire whether there may be something that could be done, which does NOT perpetuate the very thing we are trying to get away from. Before that, any proposition that there is no-where to go, nothing to do, no-doer from the start, and so on, is always, already part of the fragmented being's desperate attempt at pretending that separation and suffering is not real and does not exist. While in fact it is just mind on mind. Concept on concept. Delusion on delusion.

Once this process of self-observation and self-enquiry has done its work to the point where nothing remains certain anymore, not even the idea of non-duality as the ultimate truth of manifest existence, only then will the practitioner begin to wake up to the profound process of enquiry into the presumed fact of non-duality itself. Here begins the direct path of liberation from the sense of separation itself. The content of consciousness is no longer the main theme of enquiry. Rather the process by which duality is created and sustained is allowed to reveal itself in its functional reality in daily living. At this level the power of observation has taken on a very subtle nuance. It begins to sense the falseness of the presumed separation between the observer and the observed; of sense perception and its world ‘out there'. In fact all subtle aspects of dualistic arising come under scrutiny as they present themselves from moment to moment.

And gradually the sense of ‘seeing' itself loses its grip on our consciousness to reveal the natural, easeful arising of present reality all by itself. Only at this point of profound relaxation of will, attention and all identification with thought, can we enter the refined practice of non-doing. Non-doing is not letting go. Non-doing is already alive as non-separation from the living moment. It does not first cling, in order to let go. This is still a prior form of practice. In true non-doing everything which arises begins to appear as already existent freedom from its implications.

Here we may use the term Transcendence. Non-doing is the process which facilitates the Transcendence of all present arising, which finally leads to the Translation of all into simply non-dual BE-ing.

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INTELLECTUALISM versus REALITY-CONSIDERATION

In a reply to an enquiry a few days ago, I brought up the subject of what I called intellectualism. For the sake of clarity I thought it might be useful to elaborate somewhat on how I used this word as well as contrast it with what may be called reality-consideration. Intellectualism is fundamentally speculative. By this I mean that thought has the ability to project aspects of its own content beyond itself and then experience these projections as though they are both real and some'thing' to comment about. Thought may, for instance, create the concepts of god, heaven, hell, enlightenment, wholeness, truth, etc., and project these as somethings which exist independently of itself. Once projected as not of itself and with the status of having actual independent existence, thought now starts to speculate about its own creations, as though they were real. In this way it starts philosophy and metaphysics, but essentially dealing only with aspects of itself. Part of the great illusion of human life is not only this delusion of separation between thought and its projections, (which is in reality always a unitary process within thought), but because it is experienced as two separately existing things ( i.e. the observer and the observed). Yet, more fundamentally is the fact that this process usually takes place unrecognised or unconsciously. We are generally completely unaware that we are in fact the active participants in this subtle (or gross) form of dualistic creations or activities.

Being unaware of what we are doing, (and even THAT we are engaged in this activity) we generally believe explicitly in the projections of thought presenting itself as truth. In fact, one could argue that at this level of being we simply ARE our projections. If we think inferior thoughts, we ARE inferior. If we think about sex, we tend to feel a sense of arousal. If we think we are superior, we have the real sense of superiority. So, generally as we think, so we are. Our gods, metaphysical creations, assumptions about truth and non-duality, how great or small the guru is, our own I-conscious process, and in fact just about every aspect of such activity in daily life, all of these must be seen as part of this delusory process within thought. Yet we live our lives on the basis of this delusion where thought is under the impression that it has come to rational, reasonable and acceptable definitions of these things, while in fact, it has not concerned itself at all with something outside of itself. We get people going around telling people who and what god is. Others explain the origin of the universe. The one is called religion and metaphysics. The other science. Both have their origin in speculative thinking. Neither is more real than the other. So my personal uneasiness of explaining all the ‘truths' about non-dualism and wholeness in such detail as some of us tend to do on this forum, has been mentioned before. But I just wonder to which extent these clear descriptions and logically correct statements ABOUT non-duality which we so often find here, are in fact DESCRIPTIONS of the author's actual disposition and living reality, and to which extent they are speculative. If the latter, then according to the above description of intellectualism, they can only serve to prolong the illusion, simply because as such they form an intrinsic part of, and are the very stuff of which illusion is made. I think we must be sensitised to this possibility lest we delude ourselves further in our generally deluded present state.of thought- reality. Reality-consideration is the exact opposite to intellectualism in that this process of enquiry refuses to be deluded by the apparent reality of the projections of thought. Enquiry is made on the basis of direct personal experience, and is fully alive to the dangers inherent in intellectualism. Reality consideration has a further advantage. Because it concerns itself with personal experience and present evidence, rather than thought creations mistaken for reality, it can be applied, and is a relevant process anywhere along the way of self-enquiry. Nothing is too low or too high to consider. In fact low or high are seen to be further projections of thought, and as such part of that which has to be transcended.

Reality-consideration is not speculative. And if thought does operate in a speculative way, reality-consideration is fully cognisant of this and lets it be, without the complications of mistaking it for truth. The usefulness of such type of consideration in this forum, is that we have to be able to ‘walk our talk' lest we fall into the realm of speculative ‘truth'. And it does not matter where we stand in our individual search or self-enquiry, we will not be fooled if we act from
that which has the integrity of our own experience. This is why I said that if no-one has ever told us of the non-dual condition of being, judged by the present evidence of our LIVING REALITY, would we have been able to discuss this matter of wholeness so eloquently? If we ONLY had our present experience to go by, would it have been possible for us to DESCRIBE that which has in many cases not fulfilled itself in us as non-dual truth in each ongoing living moment? Or are we describing an aspect of our own thought projections, sincerely believing that we are in fact describing non-dual reality, from the non-dual perspective? Such ‘description' would again amount to speculative intellectualism, masquerading for real insight into non-dual reality.

Reality-consideration cannot allow for such a mistake. And by staying genuine, with its integrity always impeccable, the journey becomes real. And the sharing takes on a human quality with tentativeness, vulnerability and open-mindedness and open-heartedness, whereas the most fundamental characteristic of intellectualism is merely the certainty of the logical proposition. But life is not a logical definition and reality-consideration deals with life itself as an ongoing process wherever it may lead us through both confusion and clarity. Certainty is the death of growth, because in certainty, there is always only the stagnant pool of memory to refer to as the final arbiter of what is real, instead of the living truth of the living moment. Much depends on the motivation of our enquiry. If the enquiry is purposed towards finding something absolute, its motivation will most likely be that of a need for security. If it is motivated by an open-ended desire for understanding and clarity about all aspects of life, no security is envisaged. Only the ruthless enquiry into all that binds our being, including the search for security. Only reality is investigated and considered, with no imposition on what may come out of such an enquiry.

QUESTIONER:

I have always understood non-duality to include everything. No thoughts, sensations, feelings, emotions etc. can be seen to be outside or separate from Non-duality. Surely this must then also apply to what you have called ‘intellectualism'. Only the play of mind in the moment can create a belief where there is Reality and some place other you seem to refer to as delusion. Is this not a fundamental self-contradiction in your consideration?

MOLLER:

My sense of what you saying here is that you are still contradicting the very position you are trying to defend (explain). You come to the conclusion that everything is part of the whole. Yet, in the very next sentence you mention that by the "play of the mind" a "belief system where there is Reality and some other place called delusion" can be created. Now again, the point I was trying to explain still seems to hold here. That is, Intellectualism (which in this case has projected a particular belief system and then experiences this belief as the genuine article) is integrally part of the ‘play of the mind'. This ‘belief system' can be absolutely anything, or anywhere. It is all false or, to use your word, 'delusion'. Delusion is when one thing gets mistaken for another. That is why I maintain that well nigh our entire state is one of delusion. And this delusion is absolutely true and real while we are identified with it. In the same way as a dream is absolutely real to the dream-state. No argumentation, description or presumed clarity from within the dream state can ever give the dreamer even the remotest sense that there is another state called waking. For waking to be the case, the dream must be abandoned. And only THEN can the dream be seen for what it was. Only from the non-state of non-duality can everything be seen to be non-dual. But in this case non-duality is not the result of some mental conclusion. It is a simple living reality. Prior to that all our very precious descriptions of this non-dual disposition is nothing but Intellectualism. Thought mistaking itself for reality, instead of it being recognised as simply being an idea ABOUT reality. The contradiction is therefore only apparent and not for real. The IMAGE of the real cannot hold the two positions together because it is based on the logic of language which presents its own discipline and order within its own categories. But if present experiential evidence is to be taken into consideration, and not ideas, duality in the form of intellectualism, most definitely exists. From the point of view of duality there is ONLY duality. From the point of view of Non-dulaity there is ONLY Non-duality.

QUESTIONER: Or perhaps you are saying that you do not have this delusion of belief in particular belief systems etc., etc., but others do. "They" are dreaming but "you" are not? All this business about "dreamers" and so on sounds to me like a belief system - sounds familar - one of my favorites, too. But, demonstrate to me how YOU wake up - I don't know who these "we" are. If it works for you - I might just give it a try.

MOLLER:

I have indeed been trying to demonstrate to you one aspect of waking up. Until you see the simple fact of Intellectualism (as I defined it for the sake of simplicity) you, and for that matter any one of us who are not sufficiently sensitized to this particular human disability, cannot but remain engrossed in the delusory play of mind. This is not only your or my problem. Absolutely everyone who is not present in the living reality of the living moment is caught in this projected reality. I can assure you it will not be a waste of your precious time to investigate this matter in great depth. You may be surprised at how deeply rooted this process is in all of us. Thought-reality is deeply embedded in our entire field of consciousness.

QUESTIONER:

Can we distinguish between intellect and intellectualism? We usually use the word "intellect" to mean the lower mind, what Berne calls the "computer mind."

MOLLER: Yes, I think that is a good discription. But I do not really see a great difference here. I have the sense that Intellectualism is a product of the intellect. It is the intellect taken to extreme where it has lost ALL relation or contact to reality and has gone kind of mad. If madness is the experience of something unrelated to reality (or at least conventionally agreed upon reality). Intellectualism is in other words ENTIRELY a creation of thought and is entirely sustained by thought as intellect. And because the identification with this process of thought is more or less total in our ordinary waking state (which is really not awake at all) we remain alive only to its CONTENT, but totally unaware to the FACT of it.

My sense is that one could more meaningfully contrast the intellect with Intelligence. Intelligence can, as it were, 'read' the intellect and apply the contents of it as and when it may be necessary. And as intellectualism is a product of the intellect, and self-enclosed and isolated within its own borders, it has no place in the acute clarity of Intelligence.

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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q and A -General

Q. Would you give us an example of the communications that you deem worthwhile, or unworthy, on this path?

A. I do not regard communication as such as either worthy or 'unworthy'. Communication is always in context, so this has to be taken into account.

But from the point of view of this matter called life, it would seem that there are indeed certain FORMS of communication which may be regarded as more or less worthwhile in relation to a specific aspect of this enquiry..

Allow me to bring the following to your consideration:

I see man (person, woman, etc.) as the measure of all things. High or low, Nirvana or Samsara, states of bliss, kundalini, Self, etc., all of these, in order to be real for us as a psycho-physical manifestation, must manifest through and as this human manifestation. Only man can experience the things we are talking about on this plane.

So this brings the whole thing down to a kind of humanistic 'spirituality'. Nothing outside of man will enlighten him, and nothing outside of man can hold him in bondage. It is already all here. No human enlightenment will be possible outside of the psycho-physical being, and no human suffering is possible outside of it. And each one of us on this list stands at some point of relative or complete awakening in terms of the things we discuss. Some are simply less awakened than others.

Now if my suggestion that man is indeed the measure of all things, is correct, then it would be worthwhile for us to discuss the possible human functions, or human ‘doings', which may be preventing the realisation of that which is the wholeness of our being. We will have to consider that we may in fact be ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING in every moment of dualistic activity ( even if we are generally unaware of our participation in such processes active in us) which creates the dualistic vision of reality.

So, to my understanding, our unenlightenment, the dream of subjectivity, is something we DO, yet it gives us the sense that it is something we ARE. From this perspective the I-sense is an ongoing PROCESS, rather than a THING. We may therefore have to consider our investigation into the whole matter of fragmentation (‘I' and myself) and duality as an investigation into a PROCESS. Only then may we discover for ourselves the intricate details of all the ways in which we obscure our inherent clarity and wholeness of BE-ing.

There is much to share along such a lines of enquiry. The question is whether we share the premises indicated above for starting such an enquiry. Once we stand on common ground, very meaningful discussions may indeed take place around these matters.


Q. You have mentioned a kind of ‘full bodily meditation'. Can you elaborate somewhat on this?

A. Yes, the full bodily form of meditation is related possibly to the kind of practice called ‘Shikantaza' or ‘just sitting' meditation as proposed in the Soto Zen tradition. But this is really quite an advanced form of ‘open' practice where even attention is temporarily suspended, leaving just the very direct sense of ‘bodily' sensation. I use the word ‘open' to point to a kind of practice which has no ‘supports' such as one would find in many of the forms of mindfulness practice suggested in the Hinayana tradition.

In this tradition there is always the object in its relation to the subject. The one is conditional upon the other. This object could be anything or any arising in the field of present awareness, be it a thought, bodily sensation, external sense perception, an emotion and so on. But there is always this relationship between the observer and the observed which holds attention in a stable disposition. This is an invaluable exercise in quieting down the instruments of both thought and attention in their tendency for random wanderings. It also brings the whole activity of these wanderings into the conscious arena. So one could say that during this practice we give the mind, as attention, a kind of support in the form of its object.

But during the practice of being-as-the-total-bodily-sense, no support is given to attention. During this practice very little will is used, if any, and no attention is being paid to anything. In fact, even the ‘body' does not exist, because when the eyes are closed and therefore not seeing the body, then the mind, as thought, does not produce an image of the body as some -thing' out there. Everything is simply so quiet that there is just the sensation of what remains when thought is not projecting images, attention is unfocussed and no will is used to hold anything in place. One could say this is the beginning of the real practice of ‘non-doing' or ‘no-doer'.

But this form of practice really rests on considerable clarity and prior preliminary practices , such as mindfulness. What this form of practice reveals though, is that things don't have to be observed or attended to in order to be. The quiet bodily sense is present in full consciousness without any effort whatsoever to sense it, attend to it, or hold it in place. It teaches us that the observer really does not play any part whatsoever in the appearance of things. The eyes see by
themselves. The ears hear by themselves. Thoughts appear without anyone noticing. Bodily sensation is there when there is no one noticing. So this is a very powerful practice for the undermining of the separate self-sense. It reveals that present arising takes place by itself, and is self-aware, and this has a powerful effect on establishing the ground for the Wholeness of BE-ing.

When the last vestiges of the so-called Witness finally disappears in this act of direct ‘perception', there just remains the sense of what is, naturally existing by itself, yet in full centreless awareness of its own appearance.


Q. You seem to say that it is ‘dangerous' to teach the ‘higher' teachings of Advaita to the beginner practitioner, especially the information that his true nature is Consciousness. Are you proposing that it is better that the student be left in the dark about his true nature as Consciousness and instead be given kindergarten toys to play with, lest he discover some truth about h/herself that h/she may find unpleasant?

A. Not at all. What I have been critical of is the way in which these messages about Consciousness and non-duality have been brought to the beginner students, without at the same time making it clear that such instructions are really meaningless other than just a general introduction to the notion of the non-dual nature of things and better be put aside as soon as possible, if they want to avoid the mistake of taking their new-found knowledge about these matters for reality itself. Initial instruction along the lines you suggested is good and necessary. But it must be pointed out that it only serves a pointer and not to be taken as a revelation and living truth of his ‘true nature as Consciousness'.

You see, my problem with your specific argument lies in the fact by telling someone these high ‘truths' about h/her presumed true condition, you have actually not told the person anything about h/herself at all. Because it is generally not the living truth of the beginner student. Your telling h/her about Consciousness still leaves the person completely in the dark. You have merely given such a student an image of your understanding, which again may be limited or even wrong.

But let's assume there is such a state or non-state as Consciousness or non-duality, would it not be kind for you as teacher to point out to the student what the factors are which presently inhibit the revelation of such a truth? Surely in this it will not be expected of you to give the person ‘kindergarten toys to play with'. You may indeed start the process of direct perception of these blockages immediately. But this will depend on the ability and willingness of the student to approach these matters in such a direct way. Very often you may have go much more slowly and first help h/her mind and attention to stabilize to the point where such direct forms of practice could be used with any measure of effectiveness at all.. And even this may take a long time of considerable dedication.

Q. What you say makes sense, but I still feel that your position is rather elitist. Beyond that it is simply unworkable in the modern era. Before the age of mass communications, it was possible for ‘secret teachings' to exist. But now, you walk into any bookstore or log onto the internet and get the real stuff instantly. The cat is out of the bag! The masses are getting the truth whether you like it or not.

A. This is exactly the problem I am trying to point to. Despite all the knowledge being freely available on the internet, the FACT is that the truth is NOT out of the bag at all! Truth cannot be revealed to the mind which presumes it has understood it. Mind, as thought, is NOT the instrument for the revelation of truth - not if truth is the non-fragmented, non-dual condition of BE-ing. The knowledge which can be obtained from the internet just becomes dead memory unless thoroughly investigated, researched, contemplated and integrated into
one's being.

The truth will remain hidden until it becomes the living reality of the student. No amount of reading ABOUT it, or thinking ABOUT it, or confirming it to oneself will reveal the reality of the thing. By accepting your statement that h/her nature is Consciousness, it becomes just another aspect of self-delusion. All acceptance and rejection are resistances to what is. Such acceptance will only complicate matters. It becomes just another obscuring to be removed.


Q. Quote: " Jack saw Peter's new car. And then he identified himself with Peter and drove away. Peter returned and Beat up Jack. Where did Jack go wrong?"

A. This is obviously a case of mistaken identity. But I wonder if it would not be appropriate to ask whether or not ALL forms of identification have the same inherent flaw?

All forms of identity have in common one single process which involves the unconscious association between attention and thought. When John identified himself with Peter, he was unconsciously caught in the reality which was created by the association between attention and his thought that he was Peter. Were there not this association between attention and thought, the thought might have arisen that he is Peter, but it would not have had any sense and force of being REAL. Jack acted because his identity with Peter was total. Jack WAS Peter for as long as this process lasted. Nothing else was true. In fact, at that point Jack did not exist for any practical purpose at all.

But this is true of ALL forms of identification created by the unconscious association between attention and thought. Whether such identification is with one's country, the nation, a religion, a philosophy, an idea, a principle, a moral code, a way of life, one's role in a personal relationship, one's self-image, one's responsibilities, etc. All these forms of identification, when active, form a self-enclosed CONDITION OF REALITY which more or less completely dictates not only who and what we ARE but also how we will respond in a given situation or to a given challenge.

Because thought is deeply conditioned by culture and the general environment we grow up and live in, when we are so completely identified with the content of thought via the thought/attention mechanism, we take on the form of these conditionings. There is no other limitation on our being than just this process of being identified with the content of thought. It may then also become clear that because conditioning presents to us a fragmented and often contradictory response pattern to the challenges of life, we ourselves, become the active participatory agents for such fragmentation and contradiction.

In the unenlightened state of duality and fragmentation, we ARE this state of contraction created by the unconscious association between thought and attention. When attention comes to rest, thoughts may appear but because attention does not unconsciously associate itself with the content of such a thought-arising, the thought just tends to come and go quite naturally, entering and leaving the field of awareness without being contracted into the reality of its own content. And because this is clearly something we DO, and not something we ARE, the possibility does indeed arise for us to develop a kind of practice which may facilitate possible freedom from this self-limitation which is the very nature of Samsara.


Q. You made the atheistic statement that ‘God is just a concept', that ‘God cannot be known, and exists only in our imagination'. I find this somewhat disturbing and quite sad, however true it might be. Can you explore this a little further with me?

A. If God is really the beloved father, the benign and caring principle in the universe, the all-knowing, all-loving and all-embracing truth and beauty behind, and in all existence, (as you have indicated in your previous post), then I fail to see how such a god can ever make one feel sad. For to say all these things about god, surely these must be one's direct experiences which one is describing. Otherwise, clearly, it is just speculative. So the question which needs to be answered is this: Is it god who is making you sad, or your idea about god?'

Per your own definition, god cannot make people sad. But what CAN and DO make people sad is their experience of the THOUGHT ABOUT god. Such a thought, as thought, and because it is nothing BUT a thought, is naturally subject to all kinds of variables. Its certainty can be taken away by another thought called doubt. Its faith can be ruined by sudden negative life experiences. As a thought, the belief in god suffers and enjoys all the vagaries any thought and all thoughts tend to suffer and enjoy.

So to feel sad at the possible idea that god is just a thought, is a perfectly natural response of thought when something it has fondly believed in may be shown to be not the thing itself but just an idea. God was out there, or in here, or at least somewhere. When this is seen to be possibly just a projection, thought, in its search for security, now senses danger and projects sadness in order to shield off further investigation into the possible exposure of its own imaginings which it has mistaken for truth. The pain of the sadness generally precludes or pre-empts any further enquiry.

You see, thought has this wonderful ability to create images about everything and then to project these images apparently beyond itself, resulting in the strange situation where it then experiences these images as though in truth separate from itself. It has done just this with the image of god. Now god appears to have independent existence from that which created it. But clearly this is false. It is an illusion within the activity of thought, mistaken for objective
reality. So the possible loss of this ‘objectively existing' god, naturally brings sadness to the heart. But if seen in truth as explained above, the sadness quite naturally disappears in the light of the same clarity which has recognised the falseness of the entire exercise, including the projected image of god.


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