A Me in the World

Have you ever questioned what’s looking through your eyes or what exactly is appearing? I’m not referring to your name, age, or address as these are descriptors about you. I’m asking if you have explored the nature of what you are.

I’ve come to realize that the brain and mind create stories about what is appearing and put us at the center of these stories. I now realize we’ve all been programmed since babyhood to believe we are separate…to have a name, an address, and a specific location in the world. We believe there is a world out there…outside-of-us. This outside-of-us world includes the people, places, and things we believe we are perceiving with our visual and auditory organs and our master processing organ, the brain.

Image by Sand Crain @sandcrain

Most of us humans believe we are born with a separate and unique consciousness, a personal consciousness within us – as us. The Perennial Wisdom Teachings offered by the sages and enlightened beings across all ages and cultures write that this is not what we are.

Getting closer to the Truth is all about our changing or eliminating our limiting beliefs and perspectives. For instance, there is no actual physical separation of reality into subjects and objects…it only appears so because this is what we have been taught. Quantum physics makes clear that this assumed separation into this or that is not what is actually happening in the universe.

But if this is all you have ever known, then how would you know any differently? Indeed, the consensus view that all objects are separate is reinforces by a relative language that encourages separation into this and that.

Anita

Inquiry – Absolute

“If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all backgrounds, of all cultures, of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being man or woman, or even human should be discarded. The ocean of life contains all, not only humans. So, first of all abandon all self-identification, stop thinking of yourself as such-and-such or so-and-so, this or that. Abandon all self-concern, worry not about your welfare, material or spiritual, abandon every desire, gross or subtle, stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and now, you need absolutely nothing.”

— Nisargadatta Maharaj —

Many pilgrims inquire about Absolute or God when plowing through mountains of beliefs and concepts pertaining to the spiritual life, existence, and the afterlife. It seems there is nothing scarier than to ponder an endless oblivion at the end of living.

As humans, feeling there is something more after death, and believing in an enduring personal soul or spirit in an afterlife seems to draw and sustain many to God.  I certainly believed this as I applied a Christian framework onto God for more than 40 years. God was like a devoted loving parent, promising an afterlife in Heaven, if all the dogma and doctrines were practiced and obeyed.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

The belief in a personal soul that would unite with God upon physical death and spend eternity with God in an afterlife was at the core of the beliefs. Upon reflection and inquiry, the concept of God implied that God was changeable, flexible, and able to exist in a relative relationship  –  God and other – creator and created – bound together in a relationship (relativity) enduring through time.

The belief implied that God was not already everywhere and everything, and that some things were created in the image of God and somethings were not. This belief implied that God was not timeless and ever-present since God was not with those labeled as evil or assumed to be living in hell or those who did not believe in God.

There was a clear line of who was with God and who was not with God, and it all depended on a particular set of beliefs and an allegiance or commitment to those beliefs. This pilgrim even taught this doctrine to children and adults in Sunday School classes for decades.

And then the urge for teaching fell away during the long passage of the dark night of the soul. Afterwards, life and existence  were viewed from a different lens, a new and impersonal perspective, when relativity fell away and was seen to be a mere belief arising on a framework of subject and object. You and me. Up and down.  Here and there. Now and later. Good and bad. Birth and death.  Past and future. God and not God.

This is the realm of relativity, how one object or subject compares to another object or subject, the relative world or creation.  In relativity, all things are true and factual until they are not, meaning relativity is changeable and dynamic.

For instance, we used to believe the world was flat and now we no longer believe this.  We used to believe that man could not fly, until in seven short seconds, Orville and Wilbur instantly changed our beliefs. And mankind would never walk on the moon, until we did. And we’ll never make it to Mars…

But now science is moving us into the fluid world of quantum physics…moving consciousness beyond relativity and into empty particles, dark matter, and entanglement. This is the fascinating world of exploring the nature of invisible particles and matter changing just by being observed.

The issue with quantum physics is the same as the issue with all science dealing with relativity – that the quantum scientists and physicists are assuming that the consciousness that is observing matter or energy through the microscope (or telescope) is a personal consciousness within them. Obviously this skews the observation – and adds a layer of misinformation to the observation.

I spent years meditating and praying about how to reconcile the scientific facts with spiritual beliefs.  i had been deeply spiritual all my life and who was i if i was no longer spiritual in the way i was accustomed?  And who was i in relation to what science calls dark energy, which comprises 95% of the cosmos?

And then the mystical teaching of Christianity and all the scientific information around quantum physics began to make so much more sense within the logical brain. St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross wrote at length about the illusory nature of the separate or personal self and their teachings lined up with the ancient teachings of  Nisargadatta Maharaj, Lao Tsu, the Buddha, Jesus the Christ, and Wu Hsin all described the ineffable, unchanging, omnipresent, and timeless attributes of an Absolute God. An Absolute God or consciousness resonated in the heart, down into the bones and marrow.

Yes, it makes logical and scientific sense to see and imagine God as Absolute and not relative.  Absolute, the word itself, by definition, is not measurable, is not relative, is beyond time, space, and location, is not changeable, is not endowed with human characteristics, is not quantifiable, is not able to be parceled or separated in any way.

In short, all matter and energy is consciousness or Absolute. Absolute experiences itself through the duality of consciousness projecting every-thing-ness concurrently as omnipresence. Every expression of form and formless is impersonal consciousness. Consciousness, Cosmos, Universe, Dark Energy….it’s all consciousness, and words fail miserably to describe the indescribable.

It amazing to see the perfection of impersonal consciousness manifesting Itself in an illusory relative framework we call creation.  And when all form and formlessness is seen as projections of consciousness, then nothing real exists, only projections of consciousness playing a game with itself.  The ancients called it That.

Anita

 

Caged Thinking

We’re conditioned to perceive life/reality as unfolding inside or outside a person/body. This caged way of perceiving life is held by the vast majority of humans and is the root of all emotional and psychological suffering. It’s been said by many folks, many times…with our thoughts we create our world. This is how the brain/mind works…conceptualizing, rationalizing, and objectifying what is perceived…and this is how we are programmed and trapped in the mind’s naming, claiming, and labeling cage.

After the unspeakable perceptual shift here in 2011, I noticed the perception of reality was replaced with a simple timeless, indivisible, immeasurable, unmovable, impersonal lens. I saw clearly…our beliefs and thoughts create and inform what we perceive as reality or life.

Pixabay

Before the awakening, I believed I was enclosed within a body as a separate and individual anita.  After the shift, I no longer perceived life as being contained and enclosed within the edges of a human fleshiness named anita. I appeared to extend as far as the eye could see…edgeless, undivided, unbounded, still, and vast.  There are no boundaries to the anita character anywhere…just fleeting appearances of edgeless, seamless, undivided, and timeless aware presence, a metaphorical canvas of no-thing-ness and not no-thing-ness…spontaneously appearing/not-appearing as uncaused and fleeting impersonal awareness.

Seekers ask what is “seen” when my eyes are closed…since I have to use words to communicate, it like this…appearances dissolve into a brilliant-yet-inky silent and aware endless void…the same aware, silent, and inky void present when consciousness ceases and the body appears to die. The felt experience of the anita character is of unbounded and overwhelming sorrowful gratitude that anything at all appears upon the silent stillness.

I know it sounds crazy and as a character would not have believed or conceived of this shift of perception fifteen years ago. These unspeakable shifts of perception and identity appear to arise spontaneously and to no one in particular, ignore words claiming otherwise!  There is no cause and effect in play here, life seems to appear here, now, spontaneously, edgeless, and uncaused.

I understand why the misunderstood and those perceiving differently (including artists, musicians, saints, and sages) are often ridiculed, reclusive, or sedated and locked in mental institutions. Society is generally fearful of what it does not understand or what is outside the leaky edges of normalcy…and the going consensus, whatever the majority agrees upon, is labeled normal.

Perhaps we might consider, even briefly, the nature of what is… a vibrant aliveness we call reality or life…perhaps even consider the scientific evidence suggesting humans are misperceiving themselves and the world. This is a sadly funny exercise for the few who question reality. Quantum physics attempts to describe and explain the unexplainable and unspeakable shift in perception in terms of probabilities and collapsing waves and particles. Words and descriptions move us away from the essence and into our thinking brain/minds so give attention to the intimate feelings of awareness — just don’t claim awareness as your awareness!

What you are…is…what you are…improvement is not possible or needed…as the “you” is simply impersonal awareness, always aware presence, appearing as a vast and edgeless field of fleeting potentialities.  Yes, most misperceive what is and believe what is to be distinct, measurable, and operating within time and space. I have seen the folly and felt the suffering of these tenacious and socially endorsed beliefs.

Our perceptions and sensory experiences are shaped by conditioning, the influences of society, science, religion, philosophy, and various tribal and ethnicity beliefs. There are many perceptual lenses and ways of seeing. For a simple example, just imagine seeing life with the fresh and clear eyes of a pre-verbal toddler…seeing life/reality as a little child sees it…undivided, spontaneous, outside of time, unmeasurable, and fleeting.

Anita

David Bohm

I came across this little gem from David Bohm, (December 20, 1917–October 27, 1992), an American physicist and scientist who has been described as one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century.

Below are Bohm’s words from a 1977 Berkeley lecture in which Bohm offered a poetic formulation of the interplay between our beliefs and what we experience as reality:

Reality is what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is what we believe.
What we believe is based on our perceptions.
What we perceive depends on what we look for.
What we look for depends on what we think.
What we think depends on what we perceive.
What we perceive determines what we believe.
What we believe determines what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is our reality.  – David Bohm

Origin of Nondual Philosophy

Nondual philosophy slowly migrated to the United States as the foundational teachings of many ancient Eastern spiritual practices for perceiving and experiencing a peaceful life. This fundamental foundation includes the teachings of Zen, Tao, Vedanta, and Sufism, along with the mystical Christian teachings of Jesus the Christ, St. John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, St. Teresa of Avila, as well as the Perennial Wisdom literature and teachings.

These ancient philosophies of “not two” point towards perceiving awareness, consciousness, and all appearances as impersonal and “not two.” Another way of saying this is awareness, consciousness, and appearances are not divided, do not exist in time and space, and have no elements of being personal…though awareness feels quite intimate to the body/brain.

Anita Avent

Modern nonduality teachers like J. Krishnamurti, U.G. Krishnamurti, Alan Watts, and Ramana Maharshi pointed towards nonduality by exposing the illusory veil of self-identity to the latest generations of nonduality speakers, teachers, and writers in the US and around the world.

Many are highly motivated to explore the “nondual” nature of awareness, not understanding it naturally appears spontaneously, impersonally, and completely uncaused. Awareness is not divisible so there is no possibility of there being a personal awareness or consciousness. Believing that you have a personal awareness or consciousness does not make it so.  The very fact what humans seem to notice the aliveness they feel spurs them to know more about the ‘personal’ awareness or consciousness they believe they possess.

The personal ego, forming around the age of 12 – 24 months begins the programming from parents and caregivers to name, label, and claim appearances in reference and relation to itself as the seeing.

This budding little ego continually and relentlessly works to promote itself as it grows in accumulating what it labels as facts, truths, identity, and knowledge of itself and what it perceives and labels reality. This little ego is innocently taught by parents to misperceive awareness and claim it as personal too, being clueless about the impersonal nature of awareness.

As it grows, the little ego claims ownership over the body and brain/mind, just like its parents and grandparents appear to do. In most spiritual traditions, dogma encourages and supports a personal ego or personal self to make choices towards one belief system or another to preserve the personal self after death, not understanding that all is the impersonal play of awareness in an illusory dream of itself as itself.

Truly, a personal self can never be enlightened or self-realized since the personal self is simply an illusory projection by the brain/mind to perpetuate the existence of itself. There are only momentary appearances of impersonal awareness, if anything appears at all.

First, we must first look directly at the nature of our perceiving, our perception, since it informs the nature of the light we see/perceive with the eyes. And we mistakenly believe awareness to be personal to “us” to a “me” since it feels so intimate and seems to originate within the center of the body/brain. But this is not so, it’s only a story we’ve believed and never questioned.

Quantum physics clearly shows there is only awareness and it is not personal nor limited, nor can it be located to a specific GPS location, even though it often feels close. The brain will argue otherwise, since the brain’s main task is to claim a personal ownership of awareness and claim what is appearing each moment as happening to a “me.”

You may or may not be asking these deeper questions of identity and philosophy. No worries. If you are pulled towards this path of inner inquiry you will notice you’re reading nonduality books and in a self-inquiry group peeling the layers of beliefs.

Anita