The Utter Simplicity of This

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Craig
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The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by Craig » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:08 pm

"The Utter Simplicity of This"

From the free extract of John Wheeler's The Light Behind Consciousness found at non-dualitypress.com:

The Utter Simplicity of This

Questions and doubts are thoughts arising and setting before
you. They come and go, but you remain as what you are.
You clearly exist and you are clearly aware. Everything else
is an object that comes and goes. Everything you can sense,
perceive or know is a thing, an object, an appearance. This
includes the apparent body, mind, personality and all else.

All you can say about yourself is ‘I am’ and ‘I know’ and
‘I am nothing perceivable or conceivable’. Awareness or being
are not things ‘out there’ that you see apart from yourself. You
are that which is present and aware. You are that pure knowing
presence itself. This is so simple and intuitively obvious that we
overlook the point that this is completely self-evident. Instead
of simply pausing at this point, we are apt to jump back into
the questions and doubts of the mind granting them a sense
of reality. Suddenly, we are talking about ‘I’ and ‘awareness’
and trying to piece it all together at a conceptual level, and of
course we come up empty handed. That is why the answer
can never be found in the mind. The mind, as such, has no
capacity to know your real nature. The mind is simply a label
for a collection of inert thoughts rising and setting before your
knowing presence. That is why all the questions and doubts
fail to lead us to the direct knowing of who we are.

Before the next thought appears, you are. This presence,
the sheer fact of being and knowing, does not need any confirmation by thought.
It is clear and certain knowledge that does
not need any mind activity to confirm. Everyone knows he or she is.
That knowing does not engage the conceptual mind at
all. It is evident. It is more than evident. It is beyond doubt,
even now. You cannot say ‘I am not’ or ‘I am not aware’. Try
it and see if you can convince yourself otherwise! That is
what is very interesting about this. The clear and certain self-knowledge
is already established. Our trouble is that we give
undue emphasis to the mind. ‘What about this? What about
that?’ But can those thoughts even be there without your own
existence?

The mind creates the notion of a limited ‘I’, a person, a
being standing apart from pure awareness, then we identify
as that seeming entity. But that itself is just a concept that
comes and goes, leaving us totally untouched and unchanged.
Taking that separation as real, we look for techniques to gain
reality, we wonder how we will achieve knowledge of who
we are and so on. But these are all founded on the notion that
we are a separate ‘I’ apart from reality. We take this thought
to be who we are, imagine a duality and seek understanding,
as if we do not have it. But it is all conceptual, because we
have never left reality. Reality is simple being, which is present
and aware. You are that even now. The notion of separation,
the ‘I’ thought, which is the basis of all concepts, is simply a
notion that comes and goes as an image in the pure untouched awareness
that you are.

Pause thought and know that you are already that
which you have been seeking. All the doubts and questions
are based on the presumption that you are separate from
being-awareness. But that separation never happened. You are that knowing presence,
even now. Words are apt to overcomplicate the utter simplicity of this.
Who am I?

James
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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by James » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:17 pm

Good stuff Craig, thanks for posting this.
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by Sighclone » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:39 pm

I'm about 3/4 of the way through this book. The second half is better than the first in that he responds to written questions presented by students -- the first half is fairly tedious. He has a variety of ways of saying the same thing ("You are nonconceptual awareness") and some of them are quite creative. He is a student of the jnani yoga school in that he believes that simply the cognition/understanding that you are not a person should be enough. That also places him in the neo-Advaita group ( "just do it" ) and he shows relatively little patience for sufferers who are at roadblocks.

That's fine for some, I guess. But I prefer teachers who seem to have a little more sympathy for people who are struggling with their ego...my two cents.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

James
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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by James » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:21 pm

That also places him in the neo-Advaita group
Thanks for the review Andy. There is something to be said for the immediacy of the Neo-Advaita approach, it sometimes can be effective; I've found some of the pointers to be helpful. But it has a "limited shelf life" in my view, as most will need a more comprehensive guide. The Neo's often only scratch the surface, and there seems to be a greater tendency of egoic co-opting. But the co-opting can happen in any tradition or approach. I'm partial to the direct path Advaita teachings. The quote above is excellent and sounds like something that direct path teachings would say. But if something resonates and works for someone that's all that matters. After all, truth is truth, no matter what tradition or approach if comes from. Of course the words themselves are not the truth, but the presence that it emanated from, and to which it points to is the "truth".
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by Ralph » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:32 pm

Andy wrote:
He is a student of the jnani yoga school in that he believes that simply the cognition/understanding that you are not a person should be enough. That also places him in the neo-Advaita group ( "just do it" ) and he shows relatively little patience for sufferers who are at roadblocks.
That's fine for some, I guess. But I prefer teachers who seem to have a little more sympathy for people who are struggling with their ego.
Yes, I agree with Andy. Understanding that you are not a person is not enough because if you are true and honest with yourself you will admit the the suffering is still there. For those seekers that had enough of teachers that simply state that you are not a person and stop there .. and yet you still suffer, I recommend a teacher who takes it further and talks about 'feelings' which is where most neo-Advaita teachers do not get into. His name is Burt Harding.

Here is a sample of his work.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM_ZPJGbgYQ

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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by James » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:10 pm

I'm not familiar with Burt Harding, but I agree with your remarks Ralph about feelings. One way of putting it is that the glimpse of one's nature as impersonal awareness is often referred to as "Enlightenment". And that may be an instant realization although usually not immediate. In other words there may be some preparation such as inquiry, contemplation, meditation, or maybe just suffering; then suddenly there is an instant realization of one's true nature and that it always has been. Now the Neo's might leave it at that and say there is "no doer and nothing to do." But the term "Self Realization" as used in the direct path teachings, refers to a process of realignment of the body, mind and functioning in the world. And this almost always requires clock time for this integration or reorientation. And it may involve further exploration, investigation, contemplation and inquiry.

The mind is impatient and wishes for instant results, so the term "process" is often treated as a dirty word in non-duality. Of course one may come along and say enlightenment and self realization are just concepts and that is true, one can get hung up on definitions and meanings; but what these terms refer to as described briefly above, I find to be helpful, as others might as well. Ultimately this does all boil down to a "radical simplicity", but at the same time it may be paradoxically difficult to discover and allow such simplicity.
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by Sighclone » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:33 pm

But the term "Self Realization" as used in the direct path teachings, refers to a process of realignment of the body, mind and functioning in the world. And this almost always requires clock time for this integration or reorientation. And it may involve further exploration, investigation, contemplation and inquiry.
Yes, indeed. Moreover, the first glimpse (satori or kensho) is rarely "enough." Wheeler had been a seeker for a long time before he found Sailor Bob Adamson, who helped him pull the plug on the ego-life-support system. First glimpses can be splendid and confirming and transcendant. Then you have to deal with your life in form. Yup, that old movie is still running.

It's the integration of Self, or pure awareness with the movie (with its main character, You) which is running not only on "your screen" but everyone elses (except you play a supporting role in their movie, whose main character is ___) that requires some psychological and clock time. It is my opinion, formed from personal experience, the experience of others and much reading, that conventional and/or nonduality-based talk therapy can help here. None of that therapy brings about enlightenment. But it helps to smooth over the eruptions from the unconscious which inevitably surface, and can have some pretty sticky velcro.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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RCharles
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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by RCharles » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:04 am

Andy, that last post is exceptionally well expressed. I love Wheeler's description of the simplicity of the experience, but as you say, life goes on and there is still much to deal with.

Making it personal, I have now had numerous experiences such as Wheeler describes, and at the time, they are wonderful. Even afterwards, I have had a long-term joy and freedom from fear, not perfect and not 100% of the time, but much of the time. Now here's the rub--the awakenings brought many emotions from the unconscious to the surface that I had to deal with in real life, not always in a state of perfect unity, although the joy has been there and pretty consistent. These feelings can leave you off balance, not sure how to deal with them, and you actually need the rational mind to help you understand the experience and find some balance. You have to learn how to live in real life and deal with real people who don't understand enlightenment while you have this new awareness and these new emotions. Maybe everyone doesn't have this, but I did.

Additionally, the ego still comes back and tries its little nefarious tricks to hijack the experience. In many ways, as I said, my ego has been helpful in bringing understanding and balance to the experience. But the ego also tries to get little ego satisfactions, such as "Oh, this is enlightenment! 'I' must be enlightened." Of course, with a new clarity of mind, it's easier to recognize this stuff, and you can return to presence and let go of these little ego thoughts. But the point is they don't go away--you just have more clarity in recognizing and dealing with them because they are such a contrast to the joy of unity.

As another example, the latest ego-happening for me went this way. The joy and fearlessness has brought a new extroversion, and as I mentioned elsewhere, I've been out and about town making new friends. Recently, I had a day at home alone, and it was all I could do not to jump in the car and visit my favorite coffeehouse to be around people. The ego was co-opting the extroversion and turning it into a need! In other words being a "popular extrovert" brought some ego satisfaction that the ego missed when it was not happening.

My higher awareness caught on very quickly and saw that more alone time and more presence were the antidotes to counterbalance the new ego need, but the point is, the ego continues to try to regain control. Maintaining the awakened mind requires a certain vigilance and "self" examination when the ego tries to arise. Perhaps for some there are additional stages where there is less tendency for the ego to return, but that has not yet been my experience. :-)

Other posts in this thread already said most of this, but a lot of it sounded pretty theoretical, so I thought perhaps a real world personal experience might help illustrate what this is like. :-) Hopefully, others will recognize from this that enlightened experiences are not necessarily what we think they are or expect them to be, especially that they do not bring permanent, perfect bliss. They do bring new joy, clarity, and freedom of mind, but they also have to be integrated into a real life and psyche. They also require some "post-experience work" in which we use awareness to defeat the ego's attempts to return and take over.

Peace and namaste to all,
RC
"They are all...perfect..." --Ken Watanabe, dying scene in the movie The Last Samurai

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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by Sighclone » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:15 pm

vigilance and "self" examination when the ego tries to arise
How true. Your example of the "new extrovert RC" needing to be "fed," is a good one. However, it is very forgivable. Adya spent a couple of years bursting at the seams about his discoveries and shift. Then he realized that it was counterproductive. By the way, his video with Loch Kelly titled "The Journey After Awakening" touches on this stuff also.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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RCharles
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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by RCharles » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:19 am

Thanks again for the pointer to Adya, Andy. I forgot to check out the video when you mentioned it previously and am very appreciative that you mentioned it again. You are a wise guide, and I am grateful for your presence in this forum. :-)

Update: Just found and watched an excerpt of the video on YouTube. Outstanding! That is the experience exactly!

Thanks,
RC
"They are all...perfect..." --Ken Watanabe, dying scene in the movie The Last Samurai

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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by great2be » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:14 am

Craig wrote:The mind creates the notion of a limited ‘I’, a person, a
being standing apart from pure awareness, then we identify
as that seeming entity. But that itself is just a concept that
comes and goes, leaving us totally untouched and unchanged.
Taking that separation as real, we look for techniques to gain
reality, we wonder how we will achieve knowledge of who
we are and so on. But these are all founded on the notion that
we are a separate ‘I’ apart from reality. We take this thought
to be who we are, imagine a duality and seek understanding,
as if we do not have it. But it is all conceptual, because we
have never left reality. Reality is simple being, which is present
and aware. You are that even now. The notion of separation,
the ‘I’ thought, which is the basis of all concepts, is simply a
notion that comes and goes as an image in the pure untouched awareness
that you are.
Isn't it interesting that such a clear statement is so quickly lost and the conversation goes back to "my ego does this, my ego does that"?
Ive created a thread which is looking expressly at this here http://eckhart-tolle-forum.inner-growth ... =10&t=7613
An imaginary seeker, seeking an imaginary goal.
Realise the nature of imagination and the fallacious effort ends.

Have you ever seen a dog chasing it's tail?

What happens when the dog runs faster?

James
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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by James » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:50 pm

This quote from Adya fits this topic:
"For most people it's difficult to rest for more than a few moments, because their mind keeps trying to entice them - you know, like a seducer or seductress: "No, no no, see if you really understood this one last thing. Then you would rest so much easier, you really would, I promise. Just think about this one thing." Have you noticed that. Just think about this one thing. Just solve this one thought and then it will be so much easier to rest as awareness. Isn't that what thought is often doing: "You did a nice job for resting five seconds, but it could be so much better if you could just understand this or understand that, or how do I do it and how do I incorporate it into my life.
-Adyashanti
Thanks for sharing your personal experience RC. Your signature reminds me of Suzuki's quote:

"All of you are perfect just as you are and you could use a little improvement."
~Shunryu Suzuki-roshi


In Zen they have a saying "always being, always becoming", which expresses the paradox of reality. The mind can't understand the paradoxes of life so it is always landing on one side or the other of duality, which is why there is seldom agreement in spiritual discussions. The same debates have been raging for ages, not just on forums like this: Being versus Becoming, Ego vs. No Ego, Choice vs. No Choice (free will vs. no free will), Form vs. Emptiness, Doer vs. No Doer. The mind thinks it can't be both or all at the same time, because it's not logical. But Life is paradoxically mysterious and embraces and displays as the entire infinite spectrum of potentiality, and possibilities.
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: The Utter Simplicity of This

Post by RCharles » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:17 am

James, that's wonderful! Sometimes a post here approaches an art form. Yours is such a post. Thank you for that profound yet simple gift.

RC
"They are all...perfect..." --Ken Watanabe, dying scene in the movie The Last Samurai

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