Non-Doing: The Space Between The Old And The New by Charles Eisenstein:

The Gifts of Nothingness

The problems we experience in our lives and in the world (whether relationship issues or world hunger) stem from energetic weakness and disconnection, from our lack of capacity to feel ourselves, each other, the earth, and how life seeks to move and evolve through us. The issue is not whether or not to act and “do something,” but what actually prompts us to act.

Dan Emmons

Before they are able to enter a new story, most people—and probably most societies as well—must first navigate the passage out of the old. In between the old and the new, there is an empty space. It is a time when the lessons and learnings of the old story are integrated. Only when that work has been done is the old story really complete. Then, there is nothing, the pregnant emptiness from which all being arises. Returning to essence, we regain the ability to act from essence. Returning to the space between stories, we can choose from freedom and not from habit.

A good time to do nothing is any time you feel stuck. I have done a lot of nothing in the writing of my book. For several days I was trying to write the conclusion, spinning my wheels, turning out tawdry rehashes of earlier material. The more I did, the worse it got. So I finally gave up the effort and just sat there on the couch, a baby strapped to my chest, mentally traveling through the book I had written, but with no agenda whatever of figuring out what to write. It was from that empty place that the conclusion arose, unbidden.

Do not be afraid of the empty place. It is the source we must return to if we are to be free of the stories and habits that entrap us.

Visiting the Empty Place
If we are stuck and do not choose to visit the empty place, eventually we will end up there anyway. You may be familiar with this process on a personal level. The old world falls apart, but the new has not emerged. Everything that once seemed permanent and real is revealed as a kind of hallucination. You don’t know what to think, what to do; you don’t know what anything means anymore. The life trajectory you had plotted out seems absurd, and you can’t imagine another one. Everything is uncertain. Your time frame shrinks from years to this month, this week, today; maybe even to the present moment. Without the mirages of order that once seemed to protect you and filter reality, you feel naked and vulnerable, but also a kind of freedom. Possibilities that didn’t even exist in the old story lie before you, even if you have no idea how to get there.

The space where the old world falls apart but the new has not yet emerged.

The challenge in our culture is to allow yourself to be in that space, to trust that the next story will emerge when the time in between has ended, and that you will recognize it. Our culture wants us to move on, to do. The old story we leave behind, which is usually part of the consensus ‘Story of the People,’ releases us with great reluctance. So please, if you are in the sacred space between stories, allow yourself to be there. It is frightening to lose the old structures of security, but you will find that even as you might lose things that were unthinkable to lose, you will be okay.

There is a kind of grace that protects us in the space between stories. It is not that you won’t lose your marriage, your money, your job, or your health. In fact, it is very likely that you will lose one of these things. It is that you will discover that even having lost that, you are still okay. You will find yourself in closer contact with something much more precious; something that fires cannot burn and thieves cannot steal, something that no one can take and that cannot be lost. We might lose sight of it sometimes, but it is always there, waiting for us. This is the resting place we return to when the old story falls apart. Clear of its fog, we can now receive a true vision of the next world, the next story, the next phase of life. From the marriage of this vision and this emptiness, a great power is born.

I wrote, “Possibilities that didn’t even exist in the old story lie before you, even if you have no idea how to get there.” This is a pretty good description of a place we are approaching collectively. Those of us who have, in various ways, left the old ‘Story of the People’ are the organs of perception of the collective human body. When civilization as a whole enters the space between stories, then it will be ready to receive these visions, these technologies and social forms of interbeing.

When we collectively enter the space between stories, we can reach new potentials.

Leaving the Old ‘Story of the People’
Civilization is not quite there yet. At the present moment, most people still tacitly believe that the old solutions will work. A new president is elected, a new invention announced, an uptick in the economy proclaimed, and hope springs anew. Maybe things will go back to normal. Maybe the ascent of humanity will resume. Today it is still possible, without too strenuous an effort of denial or pretense, to imagine that we are just in a rough patch. We can get through it, if only we discover some new sources of oil, build more infrastructure to ignite economic growth, solve the molecular puzzle of autoimmunity, deploy more drones to protect us from terrorism and crime, genetically engineer crops for higher yields, and put white colorant in cement to reflect the sun’s rays and slow global warming.

Given that all of these efforts are likely to produce unintended consequences even worse than the problems they intend to solve, it is not hard to see the wisdom of doing nothing. As I will describe later, this does not imply that the activist should focus on obstruction. Doing nothing arises naturally from the breakdown of the story that had motivated the old doings, calling us, therefore, to do what we can to hasten that story’s demise.

My brother–whose clarity of mind is relatively pristine because he rarely reads anything written after 1900–described to me his vision of how the changeover will finally manifest. A bunch of bureaucrats and leaders will be sitting around, wondering what to do about the new financial crisis. All the usual central bank policies, bailouts, interest rate cuts, quantitative easing, and so forth will be on the table, but the leaders just won’t be able to bring themselves to deal with it. “Fuck it,” they’ll say. “Let’s go fishing instead.”

Doing nothing arises naturally from the breakdown of the ‘old story’ and the ‘old doings.’

At some point, we are just going to have to stop. Just stop, without any idea of what to do. As I described with the examples of disarmament and permaculture, we are lost in a hellscape carrying a map that leads us in circles, with never a way out. To exit it, we are going to have to drop the map and look around.

A Case of the ‘Fuck-Its’
As your old story came to an end, or comes to an end, do you find yourself contracting a case of the ‘fuck-its’? The procrastination, the laziness, the halfhearted attempts, the going through the motions—all indicate that the old story isn’t motivating you anymore. What once made sense, makes sense no longer. You are beginning to withdraw from that world. Society does its best to persuade you to resist that withdrawal, which, when resisted, is called depression. Increasingly potent motivational and chemical means are required to keep us focused on what we don’t want to focus on, to keep us motivated to do that which we don’t care about. If fear of poverty doesn’t work, then maybe psychiatric medication will. Anything to keep you participating in business as usual.

That depression that makes it impossible to vigorously participate in life as it is offered has a collective expression as well. Lacking a compelling sense of purpose or destiny, our society muddles along, going halfheartedly through the motions. ‘Depression’ manifests in the economic sense, as the instrument of our collective will—money—stagnates. No longer is there enough of it to do anything grand. Like insulin in the insulin-resistant diabetic, the monetary authorities pump out more and more of it, to less and less effect. What would once have sparked an economic boom now barely suffices to keep the economy from grinding to a halt. Economic paralysis could indeed be the way this ‘stop’ appears. But it could be anything that makes us give up our story and its enactments, once and for all.

The Art of Doing Nothing
Doing nothing is not a universal suggestion; it is specific to the time when a story is ending and we enter the space between stories. I am drawing here from the Taoist principle of wu-wei. Sometimes translated as ‘non-doing,’ a better translation might be ‘noncontrivance’ or ‘nonforcing.’ It means freedom from reflexive doing: acting when it is time to act, not acting when it is not time to act. Action is thus aligned with the natural movement of things in service to that which wants to be born.

Wu-wei can be translated as ‘non-doing,’ or better yet ‘noncontrivance’ or ‘nonforcing.’

In this, I draw inspiration from a beautiful verse from the Tao Te Ching. This verse is extremely dense, with multiple meanings and layers of meaning, and I haven’t found a translation that highlights what I’m drawing from here. Therefore, the following is my own translation. It is the last half of verse 16—if you compare existing translations you will be astonished at how much they differ.

All things return to their root.

Returning to the root, there is stillness.

In stillness, true purpose returns.

This is what is real.

Knowing the real, there is clarity.

Not knowing the real, foolish action brings disaster.

From knowing the real comes spaciousness,

From spaciousness comes impartiality,

From impartiality comes sovereignty,

From sovereignty comes what is natural.

What comes naturally, is the Tao.

From the Tao comes what is lasting,

Persisting beyond one’s self.

Charles Eisenstein

1.The ‘Something-ness’ of Waking State and the ‘Nothing-ness’ of Deep Sleep 2.The True Experience of Deep sleep


Published on May 23, 2014

In this video clip, Rupert describes how the 'nothing-ness' of deep sleep is the counterpart to the 'something-ness' of the waking state.

The True Experience of Deep sleep

In this video clip Rupert discusses the experience of deep sleep from the point of view of pure Consciousness

Emptiness and the Shore Beyond – Part I [Updated Mar 17, 2014]

“Emptiness is bound to bloom, like hundreds of grasses blossoming.” ~Eihei Dogen, Sky Flowers

The Sunyata, the Emptiness, which is at the center of the Buddhist doctrine, is often not adequately understood. It is not a pessimistic or fatalistic doctrine, invented by an unhappy mind. It is the total and deep experience of a very healthy state of consciousness. We are all this primordial purity or emptiness, but our everyday consciousness is so clouded by emotions and thoughts that we are not aware of it, and thus we don’t recognize it.

Sunyata is one of the deepest realization states of meditative consciousness. It is what we all experience when we close our eyes and study the interiority of life.

By closing our eyes, we begin to see that life and consciousness consist of different layers. The first layer is already visible when our eyes are open. It consists of solid matter. This is the grossest form life exhibits. We can touch, smell, hear and see it. It is shallow, because it is what it is. It needs no interpretation, but only confirmation. We all agree about a rock. A rock is a rock.

Sunyata, on the other hand, emulates the attempts to perceive reality beyond the form, the integral essence of the beings and how the vibrational fields and different levels of consciousness play diverse roles in our understanding of ourselves and the universe.

“…It is only thus that the disciple can reach what the Lord Buddha called the ‘other shore’ — the spiritual realms which have to be reached by crossing the stormy ocean of human existence, and doing so under one’s own spiritual and intellectual and psychical power, with only such help as can be given him in view of his own past karma.

The idea of going to the other shore is commonly supposed to be typically Oriental, but this seems unjustified, as many Christian hymns speak of the mystical Jordan and of reaching the ‘shore beyond,’ a conception which appears to be more or less identical with that of Buddhism. ‘This side’ is the life of the world, the usual or common pursuits of men. The ‘other shore’ is simply the life spiritual, involving the expansion in relatively full power and function of the entire range of man’s nature. In other words, to reach the ‘other shore’ means living at one with the divinity within, and hence partaking of the universal life in relatively full self-consciousness.

The teaching of all the great religious and philosophical systems has been to urge upon their followers the fact that our real goal is to learn the lessons of manifested existence and to graduate from this experience into the cosmic life.”

~ William Q. Judge

According to Buddhist scholars, a short Buddhist writing called the Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya Sutra or “The Heart Sutra or Essence of the Wisdom of the Passing-Over,” is truly the dialogue between Avalokiteshvara and Sariputra and it was inspired by the Buddha.

The content of the conversation is determined entirely by the power of the Buddha’s concentration. The bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara represents the idea of perfect universal wisdom, while Sariputra is regarded as one of the Buddha’s closest and brightest disciples. The dialogue takes place at the Vulture Peak near the ancient city of Rajgaya where the Buddha and his community of monks stayed. Sariputra requests Avalokiteshvara to instruct him on the practice of the perfection of wisdom, which means prajnaparamita in Sanskrit.

The Heart Sutra is one of the main sutras of Buddhism. The practice of this sutra reveals the deep contemplation of what Buddhists call emptiness. Once one reflects and meditates on the essential emptiness of all things, one becomes able to remove any mental construct which creates obstacles in the human and spiritual path. So the meditative practice of the Heart Sutra is a powerful approach to get rid of many mental obstacles in our way.

Copyright 2013 Humanity Healing Network

1. How Is Emptiness Nondual? 2. Emptiness in Buddhism 3. What Does Emptiness Mean?

How Is Emptiness Nondual?

The most common connotation of “nonduality” is “oneness” or “singularity.” Many teachings state that everything is actually awareness; those teachings are nondual in the “oneness” sense in which there are no two things.

But there is another sense of “nonduality.” Instead of nonduality as “oneness,” it’s nonduality as “free from dualistic extremes.” This entails freedom from the pairs of metaphysical dualisms such as essentialism/nihilism, existence/non-existence, reification/annihilation, presence/absence, or intrinsicality/voidness, etc. These pairs are dualisms in this sense: if you experience things in the world in terms of one side of the pair, you will experience things in the world in terms of the other side as well. If some things seem like they truly exist, then other things will seem like they truly don’t exist. You will experience your own self to truly exist, and fear that one day you will truly not exist. Emptiness teachings show how none of these pairs make sense, and free you from experiencing yourself and the world in terms of these opposites. Emptiness teachings are nondual in this sense.

For those who encounter emptiness teachings after they’ve become familiar with awareness teachings, it’s very tempting to misread the emptiness teachings by substituting terms. That is, it’s very easy to misread the emptiness teachings by seeing “emptiness” on the page and thinking to yourself, “awareness, consciousness, I know what they’re talking about.”

Early in my own study I began with this substitution in mind. With this misreading, I found a lot in the emptiness teachings to be quite INcomprehensible! So I started again, laying aside the notion that “emptiness” and “awareness” were equivalent. I tried to let the emptiness teachings speak for themselves. I came to find that they have a subtle beauty and power, a flavor quite different from the awareness teachings. Emptiness teachings do not speak of emptiness as a true nature that underlies or supports things. Rather, it speaks of selves and things as essenceless and free.

Emptiness in Buddhism

According to Buddhist teachings, freedom from suffering dawns when we realize that we ourselves, as well as all things, are empty.

In Buddhism, suffering is said to come from conceiving that we and the world have fixed, independent and unchangeable natures that exist on their own without help from anything else. We expect that there is a true way that self and world truly are and ought to be. These expectations are unrealistic and prevent us from granting things the freedom to come and go and change. We like pleasant things to abide permanently, and unpleasant things to never occur. We experience suffering when we actually encounter comings, goings and change. Suffering often takes the form of anger, indignation, existential anxiety, and even a sense that, as they say in TV sitcoms, “something is wrong with this picture.”

But when we deeply realize that we and the world are empty, we no longer have unrealistic expectations. We find peace and freedom in the midst of flux.
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What Does Emptiness Mean?

What are things empty of? According to the Buddhist teachings, things are empty of inherent existence.

Being empty of inherent existence means that there is no essential, fixed or independent way in which things exist. Things have no essential nature. There is no way things truly are, in and of themselves. We will investigate the notion of inherent existence in more detail below.

Different Buddhist schools or tenet systems have different ways of characterizing emptiness; they have different ways of helping students reduce suffering. My characterization of emptiness adheres somewhat to the Tibetan Gelug-ba school of Prasangika or “Consequentialist” Madhyamika. This is not the only tenet system in Buddhism that discusses emptiness. There are other schools with slightly different interpretations of the emptiness teachings. I prefer the Tibetan Prasangika interpretation for pragmatic reasons. It has a greater number of publically available supports for studying and meditating on emptiness than I have seen in other Buddhist schools. The term “Prasangika” is Sanskrit for “consequence.” The “consequence” designation comes from this school’s method of debate and refutation, which follows Nagarjuna’s style in his Treatise.

Source: Emptiness Teachings by Greg Goode

Way of Nothing, The Nothing in the Way ~ Paramananda Ishaya

Though it is simple and obvious, you may not understand the incredible importance of the way of nothing. When you do see the way, you will wonder, “Can it really be this easy and simple?” And seeing that there was never anything in the way of freedom can almost be embarrassing. “How could I have never seen it?” you’ll ask.

The Way of Nothing: Nothing in the Way explores the obstacles that stop you from reaching your highest desires: enlightenment, eternal peace, or simply ordinary contentment. These obstacles are nothing more than concepts you have that seem real, yet they vanish with insight into the way. It is a wonderful surprise to discover that there has always been nothing in the way of what you want. Best of all, there is really nothing to it!
Paramananda was born in Calgary Alberta in 1975 and currently lives in Vancouver British Columbia where he works as an electrician.
He first learned how to meditate in 1999. Since then he has dedicated his life to exploring and sharing the freedom of this path. In 2003 he began to teach meditation and offer retreats based on the teachings of The Bright Path. These teachings reveal all that is required to walk this path with joy. He teaches that the silence and the humility of not taking yourself seriously are the foundations to seeing that you are already free.
He is the author of A Path of Joy, The Way of Nothing and Without you there.

Click here to browse inside.

Emptiness and Joyful Freedom by Greg Goode (Author) , Tomas Sander (Author) [Updated Dec 9, 2013]

The pinnacle of Buddhism’s understanding of reality is the emptiness of all things. Exploring reality towards the realization of emptiness is shockingly radical. It uncovers an exhilarating freedom with nowhere to stand, while engendering a loving joy that engages the world.

This path-breaking book employs the emptiness teachings in a fresh, innovative way. Goode and Sander don’t rely solely on historical models and meditations. Instead, they have created over eighty original meditations on the emptiness of the self, issues in everyday life, and spiritual paths. These meditations are guided both by Buddhist insights and cutting-edge Western tools of inquiry, such as positive psychology, neuroscience, linguistic philosophy, deconstruction, and scepticism. The result is a set of liberating and usable tools for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.


Greg Goode is a long-time student of Advaita-Vedanta, Buddhism and the Direct Path. He is the author of many articles on these topics, as well as the books entitled Nondualism in Western Philosophy, Standing as Awareness, and The Direct Path: A User Guide. Greg holds a doctorate in philosophy, and serves on the editorial board of the peer-reviewed journal Practical Philosophy: Journal of the American Practical Philosophers Association.

Tomas Sander is a spiritual practitioner and teacher in New York. He has studied in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and his approach is also influenced by the insights of positive psychology. Tomas grew up in Germany, holds a doctorate in mathematics and works as a research scientist at a computer company. He has published articles in the areas of mathematics, computer science and positive psychology.

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All Words Point to Consciousness – Greg Goode

Discusses how the meaning of words isn’t dictated by objects or by social convention, but point to awareness only. Non-dual teacher, Greg Goode.

“Who Am I?” – Greg Goode

Discusses how self inquiry is like a treasure hunt. Also discusses how all perception is always done by awareness, and how everything experienced is always already awareness. Non-dual teacher, Greg Goode.

Greg Goode – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Greg is a teacher of nondualism well known for a breadth of expression and a sense of humor. Inspired by Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon, Greg is one of the pioneers, along with Jean Klein and Francis Lucille, of “direct-path” style nondualism, a very intuitive, holistic and immediate form of Advaita. It was through contemplation on the teachings of Sri Atmananda that Greg’s own search came to its peaceful conclusion.

Having studied Western philosophy at the Universität zu Köln in Cologne, Germany, Greg received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Rochester. He studied Advaita Vedanta through the Chinmaya Mission, the Mahayana teachings of Pure Land Buddhism through Jodo-Shinshu, and studied Madhyamika Buddhism through the lineage of the pre-eminent scholar of Chinese Buddhism, Master Yin-Shun of Taiwan, P.R.C., author of The Way to Buddhahood.

Greg is the technical consultant for Philosophical Practice, the Journal of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association. He is also the author of Nondualism in Western Philosophy, Standing as Awareness, the forthcoming The Direct Path: a User Guide, and the forthcoming Emptiness and Joyful Freedom.

Allow Your Light to Fill the Darkness: A Primer to Living the Light within Us According to the Tao by Daniel Frank

How do we recognize error in our thinking? How can we enjoy the spiritual benefits of practicing our religion while not condemning the religion of others? These questions, and so much more, are addressed in the eighty-one commentaries included in this book. These commentaries refer to, but are independent of, the illuminating and compelling essay collection about Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching, as voiced in Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

Living “right,” according to the Tao, anticipates that we have both the understanding needed to make right choices and the knowledge to recognize the types of behavior that are important for us to change. However, of equal or greater significance to these skills are the feelings that drive our internal motivation at our center. Many of us need to learn the life lessons that keep popping up as issues in our lives. They keep resurfacing again and again until we finally recognize the lessons and actually learn them. We know we have really been learning our lessons when we notice that our intentions are genuinely beginning to change. Not learning them holds us hostage and keeps us repeating the same dumb behavior.

Each commentary has at least one labeled graphic that represents one or more aspect of the main idea of each section. The purpose of these graphics is to provide visualization for what otherwise might remain more abstract . We have absolutely no concept of how the connections we feel and know to be real actually come about, between ourselves and others, between us and the happenings of life, or between us and God. We often describe these feelings or experiences as resulting from some type of energy, but what might that really mean? Reflecting this unexplainable, invisible, but vital connection on the written page through symbolism provides our minds with a crutch to assist understanding and recall.

Although the illustrations as drawn may have little or no basis in the facts, as they are accepted today, or even as new discoveries may reveal, the understanding of the concepts that develop through their use helps us apply the “gems” that Lao-tzu speaks of in the Tao, to our lives.

With a modest upbringing and supportive parents, Daniel Frank completed his teacher training at the age of eighteen and started his nonstop forty-two-year teaching career the following year. He acquired his BA and BEd while working full time. In January of 1978, his interests led him to a course offered at the local secondary school based on the book How Should We Then Live? by Francis A. Schaeffer, a “theologian and philosopher . . . [with] forty years of intensive study of humanism and Christian truths” It stirred something within him to search for more answers to the question asked by the title of Schaeffer’s book. Although many of the authors he has read to date have contributed to the view of God he holds today, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer tops the list.

Click here to browse inside.

Aside

Interview about The Silence of the Mind with translator Petrica Verdes

lie Cioara was an enlightened mystic who did not belong to any lineage. He is unique in a way, in the sense that he lived in almost complete isolation, in Eastern Europe in a communist country, completely oblivious of nonduality, zen etc. Originally a Christian mystic, he practiced a mantra for over 20 years.

One day, he felt an intuitive impulse to drop the mantra, and just practice the silence of the mind, by listening to the noises on the street, in the now. After following this practice for a few years, one morning, as he was waking up from his sleep, he suddenly experienced Enlightenment. His description of meditation is fresh and devoid of any tradition and jargon.

His writings in 16 books describe the experience of meditation and enlightenment, as well as the practice of “Self-knowing” using all-encompassing Attention. Like Ramana Maharshi, Krishnamurti, Ekhart Tolle, his is a simple message of discovering our inner divine nature through the silence of the mind.

The Silence of the Mind is the first in a tetralogy by Ilie Cioara to be published by Obooks. Soon to follow: The Wondrous Journey into the Depth of Our Being, Life is Eternal Newness and I Am Boundlessness

Petrica Verdes (Deva Daan) A translator and a seeker of truth, he has been practicing meditation and living in various meditation communes in Italy, Germany and the UK. Translating Iie Cioara’s work has been a labour of love and a process of spiritual growth.

NDM: Can you please tell me about how you met Ilie Cioara?

Petrica Verdes: In 2002, I came across one of Ilie Cioara’s books in a bookshop, and I wrote the publisher straight away, asking if they could pass me the address of the author. The book just mesmerized me, I felt an energy around the text and I used to meditate with it and carry it with me. To my surprise, after a month, I received a reply from the editor, with the author’s address and telephone number. I called him the same day and arranged a meeting with him the next morning. Ilie Cioara’s door was always open to whoever was interested in the truth. He did not ask any questions: you were the one who asked the questions, if you needed to.

After a 10 hour train journey, I knocked on his door. The door opened and I was welcomed by the most amazing eyes. I had seen these eyes before, in photos of Ramana Maharshi, Osho, Papaji, Yogananda – yet it was the first time I saw them in real life. In front of me stood a very vital and alive old man, who I thought was around 60 years old. Little did I know at the time that he was 86.

The room was full of an energy which made my mind become silent. He asked me if I had any questions to ask him, but I couldn’t think of anything, my mind was just blank. I just wanted to sit and meditate in his presence, and look into those eyes. He said to me that this had happened to other people as well, and that, if necessary, I needed to write my questions at home, and bring them with me the next time.

There was a strong meditative energy in the room. I just wanted to relax into that energy.

I remember two anecdotes from this encounter. At one point, he told me a woman had come to him, and she had the gift of reading other people’s thoughts. She came to him for recognition, yet his reply was simple: “Aren’t your thoughts enough, now you want to have other people’s thoughts?”

Another thing he told me during our meeting – the famous saying by Descartes; I think, therefore, I am. Ilie Cioara commented this was one of the stupidest things he had ever heard, because, only when I do not think, I truly Am. This was an deeply untrue statement. A correct statement would be “I think, therefore, I am not”

NDM: So did you meet up with him again?

Petrica Verdes: I only met him once while he was in the body. After a few months I left the country to Italy, to live in a meditation commune there, I had other dreams and ideals. By the time I got round to seeing him again, in 2004, he had passed away.

NDM: Can you please tell me how this man and his book impacted you?

Petrica Verdes: I’ve been reading and re-reading this book for many years. Each reading adds a deeper level of understanding.

This is not a book about meditation, or describing meditation. The book is a meditation in itself. Words are used as a device to transport the reader in a state of meditation.
Ilie Cioara – The Silence of the Mind

To give you a firsthand example, the poem The Power of Emptiness:

The mind is completely silent, we are attentive – a clear consciousness, / All meanings, boundaries disappear – us and the Infinite are “One”; / Practically we have a new mind, always fresh. / Being in the pause, I become infinite! / It separates two worlds. I leave the limited world / And enter Boundlessness, through total melting; / The whole being is calm – a constant sparkle. / There is no time, no space – just everlasting Eternity; I move in direct contact with life, in a permanent present.
The book is a journey of self-discovery for the reader. Through these mirror-poems, he is able to see the reality of his being as if in a mirror. The approach of the book is very intuitive and practical, rather than descriptive. He does not explain – he gives the reader an experience, using words. All the verses are followed by explanations in prose.

The book is not necessarily meant to be read from beginning to end. One can carry it in his pocket, open it randomly and read a passage: it will help reconnect with the reality of being. Like looking into a mirror, we are reminded of the original face we had before we were born and after we die.

I had been carrying this book in my pocket for a long time. The particular thing about this book is – usually, enlightened people do not write books – they speak to disciples, and the discourses are written. One feels like one is eavesdropping – the master is speaking to the disciple, and we are listening to this as spectators. Some of it may regard us as well, some of it is specifically directed at that disciple.

Because Ilie Cioara was almost alone, during the communist years, he had to communicate this experience in writing. He is using words directly, as a device for awakening. He is addressing the reader directly, but he is not there to provide information, he is there to awaken.

In a way, this setback has created a unique book. It is not a discourse – the reader can use the book as a device to awaken. And Ilie Cioara is the first to remind the reader:”You don’t need anything outside yourself. Forget the author completely and just stay with the experience of being in the moment. Read the words and transcend them.”

NDM: So as a result of reading this book, did you experience some kind of an awakening your self? If so can you please tell me what this is?

Petrica Verdes: One can read a book, close it and forget about it. Or re-read it again and think: this is a wonderful book, and close it again and forget about it.

Rather than merely reading the book, it is the daily practice of what is described in the book, that simple attention to the present moment that changed my life. It is a daily practice, wherever I am, in whatever circumstances, from early morning until late in the night, to just watch the mind and do not buy into its games and most of all, do not give it any energy. Mind exists because we give it energy, because we believe in it. If we disidentify with it, if we detach from it – its energy supply is cut off. It cannot exist without us. And the reverse is also the case – we cannot exist without the mind. When the mind is not – we stop existing as an “ego” entity.

This is why it is in our best interest to keep the mind going. This is how we can also continue to exist, with our dreams, ideals, aspirations – all these are fuel to our “ego” identity.

So the ego pretends – I want to be rid of the mind – but in fact, “ego” and mind are in a deep partnership. You watch the mind, but you don’t want to disappear as an entity. You want the mind to disappear, without realizing that – with the disappearance of the mind, you will also disappear.

So we give the mind energy, because the mind allows us to exist as an individuality. We pretend we meditate, this is a game that every meditator plays with himself. We don’t want to disappear. There is still something unaccomplished, something we long for, something we need to achieve, we have not let go and just be in the present moment.
Ilie Cioara – Creation is Eternal Freshness

So this is one thing to be remembered, by not giving energy to the mind, you also cut off the energy invested in the “ego” identity. Accept death as an “ego” because sooner or later this is the end result of meditation. This is what I learned by practicing Ilie Cioara’s teachings.

It’s years of observation of one’s thoughts that finally bring an awakening, without needing to do something in particular, just a simple observation. It is not cheap. The mind is lives upon lives of living in ignorance, a huge deposit of unconscious mechanical impulses which does not go away so easily.

Whenever I read the book, I find a deeper dimension of myself. It’s one of those books that can be re-read, time and again, because it is mystical. It does not give you knowledge, it gives you an experience, using poetry. But the practice is not confined to the book, the book is just an indicator sign.

As translator, reading or translating the book is like a satsang with Ilie Cioara, it is a process of growth, being in the energy of an enlightened being. Each enlightened being that lived on this earth is alive in the infinite dimension, and one can come into contact with that infinite energy. Buddha is present in the Buddha statue. Jesus is present in the communion. Other enlightened masters are present in a photo. So from this point of view, the fact of translating, reading, re-reading the book, day after day, has been an individual process of growth and deepening of meditation that goes beyond knowledge. Reading and re-reading, one goes beyond words. But that has been my individual journey, each person has his own journey, his own enlightened masters that light one’s path.

NDM: Ok, your description daily practice sounds like Buddhist vipassana. Buddha first developed this method 2,500 years ago. Is his method any different from vipassana is what I’m asking?


Petrica Verdes:
No, it is not vipassana. Vipassana is still a technique – you follow the breath going in, going out, going in, going out. It is a method.

Ilie Cioara’s practice (and he describes it better in his own words, but I will try sum it up) is not about watching a particular thing. You watch whatever is going on inside of you, thoughts, emotions, sensations, and you also watch what is going on outside of you, whatever “is” in the present. He calls it an “all-encompassing Attention”.

In the end inner-outer become one movement. There is no more inner and outer. It is difficult to describe, it is an experience. In the end the meditator transcends into the infinite dimension, when the “ego” is no more – you become infinite, beyond body, beyond mind, beyond emotions.

Of course it is difficult in the beginning; one starts with watching the mind, or the breath, but as watching deepens, as you go deeper in watching, this watching becomes all-encompassing, spontaneously, no need to force it. Start with watching and this watching will slowly expand. Do not get fixated on an object, such as the breath.

In one sense, vipassana has something in common with it – the act of watching. Watching the breath in this case. But as the experience deepens, watching becomes without object and effortless – you just watch whatever is, in the present, inside and outside. In the end watching dissolves into itself, and with the phenomenon of enlightenment – you disappear as “ego” and you are a pure silent effortless consciousness – who can still use the mind, who can still inhabit a body – but you are infinite, limitless, in the infinite dimension. The barrier or the illusion of the ego has disappeared.

When the body dies, you say good bye to your dwelling, but you continue to exist, nevertheless, nothing is taken away.

However, Ilie Cioara’s practice is not new. It is an old practice, expressed in a new form.

NDM: When you say “When the mind is not – we stop existing as an “ego” entity. ”

Ilie Cioara – The Power of Emptiness

Petrica Verdes: Yes. but that happens every night in deep sleep, but let me ask you his question, why is it that when we wake up from deep sleep we are still sleep, sleepwalking during the day and do not know what we are?

NDM: Also how do we wake up exactly? Can you please tell me the process of how this works?

Petrica Verdes: Deep sleep is deep unconsciousness. During deep sleep, we completely lose consciousness of who we are – it is very different from the state of transcending the “ego” entity.

It would be a different matter if we were conscious during deep sleep. The body is asleep, yet you are conscious of it, and awake. This is the experience of turyia, the fourth state of consciousness.

I remember a story about Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. He used to encourage his students to catch him unaware, whatever time, day or night, and to try to hit him with a staff. No one succeeded.

One of his students recalls waking up in the middle of the night, getting his staff and going to Ueshiba’s room, where he was sleeping. As he was about to hit him, Ueshiba’s eyes opened and he said “You aren’t going to hit your master, are you?”

Morihei Ueshiba was enlightened, and he had the experience of being aware, awake 24 hours a day, even during deep sleep. No one could catch him unaware.

So during the day we are in a state of unconsciousness, and during deep sleep we fall into an even deeper state of unconsciousness.

The experience of ceasing to exist as an ego entity is an oceanic experience. You become the ocean of consciousness, even if you keep living in a body, this is just a temporary abode for you.

Many masters have described the experience of awakening, enlightenment. In fact, descriptions do not help. It is an experience that needs to be experienced. You need to go through it.

In order to learn what love is, you need to go through the experience. No descriptions of love can help. Only after you fall in love with a woman or a man, then you will know what love is.

It is the same with awakening. You put all your energy into awakening. You will discover what it is when you experience it. There is no way to learn it from descriptions.

Transcending the “ego” is a mystery which needs to be experienced. There are many masters who have offered many descriptions of it. Descriptions are a hindrance because you already create an idea about it, so that prior idea becomes an obstacle.

In the Zen tradition nothing is said about enlightenment. People do zazen, and when someone gets it, he packs his meditation mat and goes away to teach. Or maybe he receives a slap from the master, as recognition. They laugh together, because he has got it. Someone else has not got it yet, but it is just a matter of time. He will only find it by himself, through experience.

NDM:Also when you say” We pretend we meditate, this is a game that every meditator plays with himself. We don’t want to disappear.’ Do you feel that traditional meditation doesn’t work? That it’s just a game of sorts?

Petrica Verdes: What I meant is we simply need to be aware of this game. Any meditation works if the person is sincere.

It is natural. In the beginning stages, the ego has a lot of energy, so it is the “ego” who wants to become enlightened, the “ego” meditates, the “ego” wants to be liberated. But it is just a natural stage. Everyone goes through this.

IlieCioara-PerfectlyConscious’

As the ego starts to weaken, as its energies weaken, we become more silent; quiet naturally, a new dimension opens. We realize the “ego” is the very problem, the very obstacle separating us from the ocean of existence. And this separation is just imaginary. We are never really separate. The fish is always in the ocean.

So meditation touches a new dimension – the ego starts to dissolve, there are short moments of union with the whole.

But these are just natural stages in meditation, what I meant is we need to simply become aware of this game, stop chasing one’s tail – and a new dimension opens.

Also when you say “Each enlightened being that lived on this earth is alive in the infinite dimension, and one can come into contact with that infinite energy. Buddha is present in the Buddha statue. Jesus is present in the communion. Other enlightened masters are present in a photo.”

NDM: What do your mean by this exactly? How is Jesus present in communion for example. How can a person who was executed two thousand years ago be in a piece of wafer bread today? Do you mean in an imaginary way of some kind, as a belief? The same applies to Buddha. How is Siddhārtha Gautama who was cremated and turned into ash or someone else like this who was buried and consumed by maggots be in a statue which is made out of stone?

Petrica Verdes
: Buddha’s body was cremated, but Buddha was not the body. An enlightened person lives in a dimension beyond time and space. He is the ocean of consciousness, and the ocean itself is timeless and spaceless, it is beyond form.

Yet the enlightened person is very much alive, even after the death of the body, nothing changes. He belongs to the infinite, timeless dimension. Words are too poor to describe this.

Nevertheless, one can feel this. If someone is a devotee, or aware enough, you can feel Osho’s energy in a photo.

Meera, an Indian mystic woman, lived 4.500 years after Krishna’s death, yet she was a devotee of Krishna. She saw him, she danced with him, she felt his energy. Time and space are irrelevant.

An enlightened being lives in the infinite dimension – he is one with the infinity of the cosmos. He is beyond form. Yet, one can feel this person as energy.

Ilie Cioara – Listening and Watching

With modern mystics, if someone focuses on a picture of Ramana Maharshi, or Anandamayi, or Ramakrishna, one can feel an energy enveloping us, as if in an embrace. This has been experienced by many people. The enlightened person who is not in the body is not limited by time and space. It is a satsang.

In the past, when there were no photos, enlightened masters left their disciples certain symbols and rituals by which they could be contacted.

Jesus says – if three gather in my name, I will also be here.

Now this can be interpreted mystically. The three are the body, mind and spirit. When the three are one, I will also be here.

Baptism is one of such rituals. Communion is another. In the last supper, when he gives them the bread and the wine, and says “Eat this bread, this is my body. Drink this wine, this is my blood.” He leaves them a symbol, a means to connect with them when he is no longer in the body, yet he is still present in the infinite dimension.

Each enlightened person of antiquity left a key, a means to contact him. Nowadays, if there is a photo, there is no need for such key.

The same with the Buddha statues. Genuine Buddha statues were created by people who were in a state of meditation – and the statue has a quality of meditation. No one knows what Gautam Buddha looked like, and no one cares. It’s only appearance, form.

When a sculptor, in a deep state of meditation, creates a statue of Buddha, if someone meditates in front of that statue, he will come into contact with Buddha. This does not happen with all Buddha statues, unless they are created from a state of meditation.

Buddha is not in a statue, it does not matter what the statue is made of. Buddha is energy, and the statue is just a trigger, like a telephone, by which you contact the boundless, infinite, ocean of consciousness that is Buddha.

If someone from the middle ages came and saw people speaking on the phone, he would think they are mad. Why are they speaking to this small box? What is the point? This small box made of wires and copper and buttons!? Yet the person is not speaking to the phone, he is speaking to a real person, who is at the other end of the phone.

Similarly, if a person meditates with a Buddha statue, people think he is mad. How is Buddha in a statue made of stone? He is not in the statue – the statue is just a trigger.

Stone is a very primitive material. Nowadays there are photos. The photo is like a cellphone for contacting enlightened beings. Gurdjieff, Ramana Maharshi, Osho, Lahiri Mahasaya, Ramakrishna, Ma Anandamayi. Just sit in meditation, in full awareness, and look at the photo. Ramakrishna will be here, Osho will be here. Not Ramakrishna’s body, which was eaten by maggots. He was never the body. The body was just form, a temporary abode for the universal boundless spirit.

NDM: When you say a photo is for contacting enlightened beings. What do you contact exactly? Do you mean like their spirit, soul or their ghost of some sort?

For example can you contact Buddha’s spirit or his soul? Also what about looking into their eyes. For example if I were to stare at Ramana’s or Papaji or Gangaji or Moojis eyes, could I get direct transmission from them? Is this an esoteric eye method of some kind?

Petrica Verdes:
There is nothing esoteric about it. Enlightened people are always available, Krishna is always available, Jesus is always available, Osho is always available.

We are just not aware enough to feel this. The more we grow in awareness, when we wake up, we simply see, that from the picture, an energy envelops us.

They are always available, only we are not available to them. We are in the mind. We live and dream in the mind.

When we get out of the mind, we see that they were always there. In a photo, looking into someone’s eyes.

The key is awareness… the more we are aware, the more we tune into their level of consciousness. The world is full of masters, but everyone has his eyes closed.

They have transcended the ego, they have entered into the infinite, timeless dimension. They exist as infinite energy, boundless, without form. In a dimension beyond space and time. In the eternal now.

There is no technique involved. The more we live in the now, in the same dimension they live in, the more aware we are to their presence.

Time does not make any difference in this dimension. Thousands of years have passed, Krishna is still alive as boundless energy in the timeless dimension.

A thing to be remembered is that we are also the same boundless energy. Only we have identified with a body, with a mind, we have created our own limits, in the form of the “ego” shell. But essentially, we are also boundless energy.

So when our boundless energy meets an enlightened person’s boundless energy, it helps the “ego” to dissolve. You surrender to this boundless energy and you have the courage to let go of limitations, allow this boundless energy to envelop you into boundlessness, like when the ocean flows into a dam and tears it down. This dam is the “ego”.

NDM: When you say” Many masters have described the experience of awakening, enlightenment. In fact, descriptions do not help. It is an experience that needs to be experienced. You need to go through it. ” How can I experience this? Is this something you can give me or transmit to me?

Petrica Verdes: There are many methods and techniques of meditation. The essential ingredient is the sincerity of the person, and the thirst for truth, otherwise one plays with meditation, postponing endlessly: Sometime, in another life, it will happen to me. I am just a poor mortal, not like the great enlightened beings that lived on this planet.

In fact, there is no difference between you and Osho, Krishnamurti, Ramana Maharshi. You have the same potential – only you are under the domination of the mind. The mind creates dreams, and you are daydreaming continuously. Everything they have, you also have. In fact, you are already in It. Only you are daydreaming, you live in a dream. To put it more clearly: you live in the mind. All thoughts are dreams.

So the mind is the only problem that needs to be addressed. When the mind is no more, or better, when the mind is completely silent, and it only comes into action when you want it to come into action – in that moment you see reality as it is and you realize you are already in It.

The only problem are the dreams of the mind. Papaji, the enlightened being who originated the neo-nonduality trend, had only one teaching. Be silent. Let the mind be silent. This is it. Many Papaji disciples forget this. How many non-duality teachers have a truly silent mind?

When the mind is silent all is revealed. Truth is simple intellectually; it is immensely difficult in practice.

Witnessing is the key. Witnessing, watching, you detach from the mind, you give it less and less energy. You are the mind. The mind is an extension of you.

The mind exists because you have so much energy invested in it. Stop investing energy in it and it will wither away. Just watch, constant watchfulness.

There are many teachers who describe witnessing, watchfulness. Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now is a good example. Osho has many books on it. Ilie Cioara describes the same. It’s the same thing, explained from every angle.

The important thing is to practice it, to explore it within us. To start with a practice and explore our inner being. It is a space where only we can enter.

Truth is simple, very simple. Most mystics were not intellectuals; they were simple people who walked the path. Practice is all. It is an inner exploration and there are no maps, because all is One, how can you map the One ocean of consciousness?

NDM: Also what do you mean by experience of turiya , the fourth state of consciousness. How can I “experience” this as you say?

Petrica Verdes: Turiya is the end of meditation. When the shell of the ego is broken and you become the infinite ocean of consciousness, beyond time and space, that is turiya.

It is practically the state of enlightenment, liberation etc. A state of permanent awakening, beyond time and space. It is a mysterious state, impossible to describe. It is impossible to understand with the mind because it is a state beyond mind.
It is the end of the road. The beginning of the road is witnessing, watchfulness. When the witness dissolves into itself, and you become limitless, spontaneously, effortlessly conscious, this is turiya. But turyia just happens, it cannot be achieved or attained. If you simply prepare the ground, by giving less and less energy to the mind, witnessing the mind – one day, the mind is so silent that boom, something happens, the witness dissolves into the limitless.

NDM: How would someone know if they were enlightened or not? Is there a test someone would take?

Petrica Verdes: I would say a good test is: when you go to sleep, if you lose consciousness during deep sleep, then you are not enlightened yet.

Who we really are is eternally awake and conscious. If you go to sleep, and the body falls asleep, but there is something in you that continues to be awake and aware of your surroundings, even during deep sleep, 24 hours a day, you are It.

NDM: When you speak about meditation, what kind of meditation are you speaking of?

Petrica Verdes: There are many techniques of meditation. The state of meditation is one.

There are many types of meditation because there are many divisions of the mind. But meditation is beyond mind – so it is beyond types. It just is.

The funny thing is, there are therapists who invent new meditations, CD guided meditations, trademarked meditations, only adding a new division and increasing the confusion.

Meditation is beyond techniques, labels, types, divisions, tradition. It is being one with the ocean of alive consciousness. We begin by having short glimpses of oneness.

Any technique is ultimately a burden, because it belongs to the mind. But some people need techniques. Even when practicing a technique, the important thing to remember is that meditation is beyond techniques and that sooner or later, the technique will need to be dropped.

Ultimately, even witnessing is a technique which will ultimately be dropped.

Lord Buddha and Shankaracharya – A talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Lord Buddha and Shankaracharya.

EMPTINESS INTERDEPENDENCE IMPERMANENCE by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche (b.1952) was recognised by Karmapa XVI as a reincarnate lama of Rigul monastery. He holds the Kagyu title of Khenpo and Nyingma title of Lopon Chenpo. A professor of Tibetology in Sikkim for 17 years, Rinpoche authored a noted work on the non-sectarian Rime movement. His fluent English and congenial teaching style is appreciated worldwide. He founded Bodhicharya, an international organization that coordinates the preservation & transmission of Buddhist teachings with intercultural dialogue, education & social projects.

Eckhart Tolle: Nirvana Is Already Here

Nothingness Where We Come From ~ Deepak Chopra

Seeing Everything and Nothing ~ Adyashanti

In this satsang, Adyashanti illustrates how our essential being is simultaneously a profound, silent “nothing” as well as everything within existence.

Why Do We Fear an Empty Mind? By Natasha Dem

“Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without effort. Then he feels his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness.”
–Blaise Pascal

Why is it so hard for us to tolerate emptiness in our minds? The prevalent belief that action always equals progress may be a contributing factor. We perceive emptiness as an undesired state, something to be feared. We feel uncomfortable with those moments when our minds seem devoid of any creative or productive activity. We rarely, if ever, simply sit with and allow the feeling of emptiness.

When a thought enters the mind, it is replaced by another. It is automatic. We are not aware that a thought has segued into another thought. But upon developing the muscles of concentration, we become conscious of the entry and exit process of our thoughts. The mind gradually begins to entertain fewer thoughts per minute. We become aware that there is an interval, a delay, a space between one thought and another. This space is emptiness but also a fullness. At this level of awareness, we are in the sanctum of pure awareness. There are many who are living in this state of pure awareness, and their experiences are lucid and real.

Many are in search of this state, whether they know it or not. We are wired to seek and find what we seek. This quest is as old as humanity itself. There is no need to spend time and energy seeking some illusory “self.” What you are seeking is inside of you, and it is you. It is the mind that asserts otherwise.

When you believe this mind, you seek this “I” outside yourself. All one has to do is to remain quiet, calm the mind and experience this space between the thoughts. In this state, only the “I” exists. When you let this “I” in your mind be, without resisting, you enter the realm of emptiness — pure consciousness or the creative void. Whatever comes up, do not take it personally. Just observe. Allowing your mind to “go blank” for a little while won’t kill you, and will actually help you discover your potential, unlimited.

Now developing some comfort with this state is both simple and complex in concept. Since we are slaves to stimuli, we can’t imagine harnessing such a practice of emptiness or of being. We are incessantly tempted to turn our attention to something just to avoid this sensation. Blankness is not nothingness. To be empty does not mean non-existence. Emptiness is the ground of being, and because of it, everything is possible.

When the ego cooperates in suspension of all sense impressions and thoughts, it enters the realm of empty, unnameable nothingness. This nothingness is the gateway into the deeper layers of consciousness. It is here where inspiration, knowledge and creativity will ultimately strike. While we are here, we do not decide what will be experienced but to allow whatever awareness it wants us to have.

When self is absent and thoughts negated, we are open to the unknown. Not only does the mind become utterly blank, but it loses the all encompassing idea of a personal ego. We are oblivious to all lower sensations and are instead awake to the rich, conscious and sublime nothingness. Since the capacity to remain in this state for more than a few minutes can impose a strain, the intellect or imagination rush in with ideas or images, thus ending the tension. With time and practice we can endure the weight of this indescribable and incomprehensible experience.

If we succeed in holding steadfastly to this nothingness in deep concentration or meditation, we realize that it is not a mere mental abstraction but something real, not a dream but the most concrete thing in our experience. The contrast between the personal and the impersonal melts away, and only the sense of Being remains — a Being that stretches far and wide, like the silent trance of infinite space.

What Do Buddhists Mean When They Talk About Emptiness? Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Emptiness is a mode of perception, a way of looking at experience. It adds nothing to, and takes nothing away from, the raw data of physical and mental events. You look at events in the mind and the senses with no thought of whether there’s anything lying behind them.

This mode is called emptiness because it is empty of the presuppositions we usually add to experience in order to make sense of it: the stories and worldviews we fashion to explain who we are and the world we live in. Although these stories and views have their uses, the Buddha found that the questions they raise—of our true identity and the reality of the world outside—pull attention away from a direct experience of how events influence one another in the immediate present. Thus they get in the way when we try to understand and solve the problem of suffering.

Say, for instance, that you’re meditating, and a feeling of anger toward your mother appears. Immediately, the mind’s reaction is to identify the anger as “my” anger, or to say that “I’m” angry. It then elaborates on the feeling, either working it into the story of your relationship to your mother or to your general views about when and where anger toward one’s mother can be justified. The problem with all this, from the Buddha’s perspective, is that these stories and views entail a lot of suffering. The more you get involved in them, the more you get distracted from seeing the actual cause of the suffering: the labels of “I” and “mine” that set the whole process in motion. As a result, you can’t find the way to unravel that cause and bring the suffering to an end.

If, however, you adopt the emptiness mode—by not acting on or reacting to the anger but simply watching it as a series of events, in and of themselves—you can see that the anger is empty of anything to identify with or possess. As you master the emptiness mode more consistently, you see that this truth holds not only for such gross emotions as anger, but also for even the most subtle events in the realm of experience. This is the sense in which all things are empty. When you see this, you realize that labels of “I” and “mine” are inappropriate, unnecessary, and cause nothing but stress and pain. You can drop them. When you drop them totally, you discover a mode of experience that lies deeper still, one that’s totally free.

To master the emptiness mode of perception requires firm training in virtue, concentration, and discernment. Without this training, the mind stays in the mode that keeps creating stories and worldviews. And from the perspective of that mode, the teaching of emptiness sounds simply like another story or worldview with new ground rules. In terms of the story of your relationship to your mother it seems to be saying that there’s really no mother, no you. In terms of your worldview, it seems to be saying either that the world doesn’t really exist, or else that emptiness is the great undifferentiated ground of being from which we all came and to which someday we’ll all return.

These interpretations not only miss the meaning of emptiness but also keep the mind from getting into the proper mode. If the world and the people in the story of your life don’t really exist, then all the actions and reactions in that story seem like a mathematics of zeros, and you wonder why there’s any point in practicing virtue at all. If, on the other hand, you see emptiness as the ground of being to which we’re all going to return, then what need is there to train the mind in concentration and discernment, since we’re all going to get there anyway? And even if we need training to get back to our ground of being, what’s to keep us from coming out of it and suffering all over again? So in all these scenarios, the whole idea of training the mind seems futile and pointless. By focusing on the question of whether or not there really is something behind experience, they entangle the mind in issues that keep it from getting into the present mode.

Now, stories and worldviews do serve a purpose. The Buddha employed them when teaching people, but he never used the word emptiness when speaking in these modes. He recounted the stories of people’s lives to show how suffering comes from the unskillful perceptions behind their actions, and how freedom from suffering can come from being more perceptive. And he described the basic principles that underlie the round of rebirth to show how bad intentional actions lead to pain within that round, good ones lead to pleasure, while really skillful actions can rake you beyond the round altogether. In all these cases, these teachings were aimed at getting people to focus on the quality of the perceptions and intentions in their minds in the present—in other words, to get them into the emptiness mode. Once there, they could use the teachings on emptiness for their intended purpose: to loosen all attachments to views, stories, and assumptions, leaving the mind empty of all the greed, anger; and delusion, and thus empty of suffering and stress. And when you come right down to it, that’s the emptiness that really counts.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu
is the abbot of Metta Forest Monastery in Valley Center, California. His most recent book is The Wings to Awakening (Dhamma Dana Publications).

Wisdom of Do Nothing / Adyashanti

“How can you meditate in a way that is authentic and useful in terms of awakening to your true nature? In this powerful satsang, Adyashanti explains in detail how the simple instruction to “do nothing” disengages the movement of ego, gives rise to the natural clarity of awareness, and brings us to the very heart of love and compassion. Recorded on March 15, 2006″(Description from Adya’s website about the DVD)

The Truth about Money By José Reissig

A Visible Illusion
My compassionate and skillful teacher, through the example of a hundred-rupee note, made it clear to my respectful yet confused mind that the mode of being or existence of all phenomena within samsara and nirvana is similar to that of such a clearly visible illusion.

– Geshe Rabten

Insights are leaps; they leave no tracks on the ground. The epigraph refers to such a realization. Simply by listening to his teacher explain, with the example of a hundred-rupee note, that a piece of paper could become whatever it was imputed to be, Geshe Rabten saw how all phenomena present themselves to us in the same way.

For those of us engaged in making a living, under pressure to make ends meet, seeing that money is like an illusion may not be as simple as it was for Geshe Rabten. Quite the contrary: calling into question the objective and separate existence of money is bound to evoke a resistance akin to that provoked when something questions the reality of our separate selves. It is precisely because of this resistance that the illusions surrounding money warrant exploration. Looking into the story of money, into its birth and its death, may shed fresh light on the story of our own birth and death.

BIRTH

To understand the story of money is to understand how it gets endowed with value. Usually that value is simply transferred from one form of money to another – as when I get cash with the help of an automatic teller machine. A sum disappears from my bank account, and an equivalent sum appears in the form of bills. When banks run out of bills, they replenish their stock in a similar way by debiting their accounts with the Federal Reserve (Fed). These are instances not of birth but of rebirth, and do little to illuminate the question of where money’s worth ultimately originates.

How do we catch money in the act of being born from scratch? When I recently borrowed twelve thousand dollars from my bank, the balance of my checking account increased accordingly. When bank loans expand, money expands, too. Banks are allowed to lend up to roughly ten times the amount of the funds they keep in reserve. The Fed controls this. It can make the reserves expand, for instance, by making loans to the banks. A stroke of the pen – or an electronic blip in a computer – and, abracadabra, brand-new money is born. Where does it come from? Surprisingly, it seems to come from nowhere.

DEATH

Following the analogy of money’s birth, how then do we catch it in its vanishing act? As before, we must look at the credit the Fed extends to the banks. When the Fed fails to renew a loan to a bank, that money will die. Why should the Fed want to do this? Because it is its mandate to keep the growth of money in line with the growth of the Gross National Product and with the general level of economic activity. Insufficient growth of money (“tight money”) leads to hardship and recession; excessive growth leads to inflation.

Inflation can be seen as a different form of monetary death. In this case, it’s not that the total quantity of money shrinks – quite the contrary – but rather that the value of each unit is lessened. Some measure of inflation acts as a lubricant for the economic process, but beyond a certain point inflation becomes a disruptive force. It may sound O.K. to talk dispassionately about inflation in technical terms. But when the talk turns to“my”money, the prospect of its slow death has all the makings of a full-fledged catastrophe, even if we are devout Buddhists and apprehend the impermanence of all things.

INCARNATION

When I choose to see myself as a solid, separate individual, the most immediate piece of evidence I grasp is the body I see myself incarnated in. When I choose to see money as solid and separate, what evidence do I offer to substantiate this? The usual answer is gold. Gold is the subtext of money. And this is odd, because even the formal connection that once existed between the major currencies of the world and gold was terminated over two decades ago.

Before that, for nearly a century, the dollar was redeemable in gold at a fixed rate, but convertibility was actually a sham. The gold cover represented only a small fraction of the currency it was supposed to back. When the gold at hand became insufficient, the requisite fraction was readjusted. Furthermore, to forestall any possible run on gold, a law was passed prohibiting U.S. citizens from owning gold bullion. Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson puts it bluntly: “The modern student need not be misled, as were earlier generations of students, by some mystical belief that �gold-backing’ is what gives money its value.”

Yet in our psyche gold continues to back money. The gold cover for the dollar is not buried at Fort Knox, but implanted in our minds by metonymy. Metonymy is a maneuver, often used by Madison Avenue, by which the properties of one object are transferred to another, as when a car is pictured in an ad next to a stately residence, clothing is displayed on the enviable body of a model, or money is spoken of in the same breath as gold. Even plastic money partakes of this metonymy in the guise of the “gold” credit cards.

On the notes issued by the Bank of England, its Chief Cashier solemnly states: “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ten [whatever the denomination] pounds.” The implication is that you’ll get some weight of precious metal in exchange. But should you be tempted to call his bluff, you’ll get nothing but pieces of paper of the same ilk.

We see the self as being not only our body but also our possessions, and therefore our money. If my wallet is stolen, I am likely to feel violated. Any tampering with“my”bank account feels like a “ripoff,” like having parts of my body taken away. “My poor money, my dear money, my sweetheart,” wails Moliere’s Harpagon when he discovers he’s been robbed. “They have taken you away from me, my prop, my solace, my only joy; all has come to an end for me, I have nothing else to do in the world. Without you I can’t live any longer. It’s all over! I’m dying, I’m dead, I’m buried. Won’t someone revive me by bringing back my dear money?”

It is true that we don’t all construct the self as Harpagon. While some will start the day by turning to the financial pages of a newspaper to evaluate their self-worth according to the fluctuations in their net worth, others will first turn to the sports pages or to the political news to appraise the standing of the self. But whatever methods we favor for the construction of the I, chances are that money plays a significant role, be it because we wish to amass it, because we loathe to spend it, because we spend it irrepressibly, or even because we treat it with aversion and consider it dirty. Couldn’t we look at money in a totally different way?

EMPTINESS

Buddhist teachings emphasize the emptiness of all things, meaning that nothing has a separate, intrinsic existence. Having examined the mythology surrounding money, we are now in a position to look into its emptiness.

Consider the birth of checking accounts through loans. There is no way for them to come into being without the public requesting them. It’s true that the Fed and the banks can, and often do, withhold credit and offer resistance to our demands; but if they do the holding, it is we who do the pulling.

Who or what is backing our money? It is not the gold, but we ourselves who cover for the dollar with our mortgaged homes, our assets, our capacity for work, our taxes. There is no precious metal backing the currency. What backs it is the precious mettle of our trust in each other. If the money “created” by the Fed seems to materialize out of nowhere, it is only because we look the other way. The bills and checks we see circulating are nothing but IOUs made liquid, credit reformulated so that it can pass from hand to hand. And what is credit if not equity in us, and in all the things and beings that make credence possible, not only because they belong to us, but also because we belong with them?

The emptiness of money leaps to the eye when we examine the emergence of alternative currencies. There are over eight hundred such systems at work worldwide, a dozen or two in the U.S. The one started five years ago by community activist Paul Glover in Ithaca, New York, is still thriving. All it took for Glover to get the system started was a core group of people ready to honor the currency and to chip in to cover initial expenses. Next, they got the currency printed, and put out a newsletter with listings of goods and services being offered in exchange for Hours, as the units of currency are called. Each Hour has an estimated value of ten dollars, the prevailing local hourly wage. Everyone listed in the newsletter is given, for free, two Hours in notes, and can get an additional two Hours every eight months by continuing to participate.

Whenever appropriate, these allotments are readjusted at community meetings. The Hours function as ordinary money in trading with the hundreds of individuals and the many stores that accept them (fully or in part) in exchange for goods and services. In trading services, it is understood that one Hour is worth one hour of work, but arrangements may vary. In trading goods, their dollar equivalence determines the price. What gives the Hours their value? Simply the willingness of the issuing community to honor them. When this willingness is tested in the marketplace, the test generates credibility. Credibility is credit; credit made liquid is money. Paradoxically, this simple process tends to baffle most of us, accustomed as we are to the mystification surrounding ordinary money.

How would a world that abides by the emptiness of money differ from the current one? Consider the web of relationships that links each one of us with all things and beings, a web that includes our breathing in and breathing out, eating and defecating, cultivating the land and composting, giving off and perceiving smells, touching and being touched, talking and listening, seeing and being seen, giving and receiving. As things stand now, whenever money enters the picture, whenever a transaction is mediated by it, our obstinacy in seeing it as separate tends to prevail: instead of a link we find disconnection.

The web develops a gap. We forget that we are coparticipants in the creation of money. We give it an authority that ought to belong to us all. We see it as alien, and it alienates us. We see it as separate from morality and, sure enough, it behaves immorally. We cast it as the instrument of profiteering and prostitution and, inevitably, it profiteers and prostitutes. But if we were able to see that money simply emerges out of that web – that it’s not separate – then each transaction would become an enactment of our intimacy with the world, keeping the interconnections flowing instead of choking them off.

Am I talking about a never-never land? I do not think so. The belief in the interdependence of all things has recently gained currency in the political arena with the acknowledgment that “it takes a village” to raise a child. It also takes a village to create money. To be aware of this is to take a crucial step toward making our lives whole. Money cannot exist by itself; it has no value or meaning apart from us. Ultimately, the equation is very simple: We are it.

José Reissig has been a geneticist and a molecular biologist. He teaches at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. He is also a student of economics and leads workshops on money.

A Visible Illusion:The Truth about Money By José Reissig

My compassionate and skillful teacher, through the example of a hundred-rupee note, made it clear to my respectful yet confused mind that the mode of being or existence of all phenomena within samsara and nirvana is similar to that of such a clearly visible illusion.– Geshe Rabten

Insights are leaps; they leave no tracks on the ground. The epigraph refers to such a realization. Simply by listening to his teacher explain, with the example of a hundred-rupee note, that a piece of paper could become whatever it was imputed to be, Geshe Rabten saw how all phenomena present themselves to us in the same way.

For those of us engaged in making a living, under pressure to make ends meet, seeing that money is like an illusion may not be as simple as it was for Geshe Rabten. Quite the contrary: calling into question the objective and separate existence of money is bound to evoke a resistance akin to that provoked when something questions the reality of our separate selves. It is precisely because of this resistance that the illusions surrounding money warrant exploration. Looking into the story of money, into its birth and its death, may shed fresh light on the story of our own birth and death.

BIRTH
To understand the story of money is to understand how it gets endowed with value. Usually that value is simply transferred from one form of money to another – as when I get cash with the help of an automatic teller machine. A sum disappears from my bank account, and an equivalent sum appears in the form of bills. When banks run out of bills, they replenish their stock in a similar way by debiting their accounts with the Federal Reserve (Fed). These are instances not of birth but of rebirth, and do little to illuminate the question of where money’s worth ultimately originates.

How do we catch money in the act of being born from scratch? When I recently borrowed twelve thousand dollars from my bank, the balance of my checking account increased accordingly. When bank loans expand, money expands, too. Banks are allowed to lend up to roughly ten times the amount of the funds they keep in reserve. The Fed controls this. It can make the reserves expand, for instance, by making loans to the banks. A stroke of the pen – or an electronic blip in a computer – and, abracadabra, brand-new money is born. Where does it come from? Surprisingly, it seems to come from nowhere.

DEATH
Following the analogy of money’s birth, how then do we catch it in its vanishing act? As before, we must look at the credit the Fed extends to the banks. When the Fed fails to renew a loan to a bank, that money will die. Why should the Fed want to do this? Because it is its mandate to keep the growth of money in line with the growth of the Gross National Product and with the general level of economic activity. Insufficient growth of money (“tight money”) leads to hardship and recession; excessive growth leads to inflation.

Inflation can be seen as a different form of monetary death. In this case, it’s not that the total quantity of money shrinks – quite the contrary – but rather that the value of each unit is lessened. Some measure of inflation acts as a lubricant for the economic process, but beyond a certain point inflation becomes a disruptive force. It may sound O.K. to talk dispassionately about inflation in technical terms. But when the talk turns to“my”money, the prospect of its slow death has all the makings of a full-fledged catastrophe, even if we are devout Buddhists and apprehend the impermanence of all things.

INCARNATION
When I choose to see myself as a solid, separate individual, the most immediate piece of evidence I grasp is the body I see myself incarnated in. When I choose to see money as solid and separate, what evidence do I offer to substantiate this? The usual answer is gold. Gold is the subtext of money. And this is odd, because even the formal connection that once existed between the major currencies of the world and gold was terminated over two decades ago. Before that, for nearly a century, the dollar was redeemable in gold at a fixed rate, but convertibility was actually a sham. The gold cover represented only a small fraction of the currency it was supposed to back. When the gold at hand became insufficient, the requisite fraction was readjusted. Furthermore, to forestall any possible run on gold, a law was passed prohibiting U.S. citizens from owning gold bullion. Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson puts it bluntly: “The modern student need not be misled, as were earlier generations of students, by some mystical belief that �gold-backing’ is what gives money its value.”

Yet in our psyche gold continues to back money. The gold cover for the dollar is not buried at Fort Knox, but implanted in our minds by metonymy. Metonymy is a maneuver, often used by Madison Avenue, by which the properties of one object are transferred to another, as when a car is pictured in an ad next to a stately residence, clothing is displayed on the enviable body of a model, or money is spoken of in the same breath as gold. Even plastic money partakes of this metonymy in the guise of the “gold” credit cards.

On the notes issued by the Bank of England, its Chief Cashier solemnly states: “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ten [whatever the denomination] pounds.” The implication is that you’ll get some weight of precious metal in exchange. But should you be tempted to call his bluff, you’ll get nothing but pieces of paper of the same ilk.

We see the self as being not only our body but also our possessions, and therefore our money. If my wallet is stolen, I am likely to feel violated. Any tampering with“my”bank account feels like a “ripoff,” like having parts of my body taken away. “My poor money, my dear money, my sweetheart,” wails Moliere’s Harpagon when he discovers he’s been robbed. “They have taken you away from me, my prop, my solace, my only joy; all has come to an end for me, I have nothing else to do in the world. Without you I can’t live any longer. It’s all over! I’m dying, I’m dead, I’m buried. Won’t someone revive me by bringing back my dear money?”

It is true that we don’t all construct the self as Harpagon. While some will start the day by turning to the financial pages of a newspaper to evaluate their self-worth according to the fluctuations in their net worth, others will first turn to the sports pages or to the political news to appraise the standing of the self. But whatever methods we favor for the construction of the I, chances are that money plays a significant role, be it because we wish to amass it, because we loathe to spend it, because we spend it irrepressibly, or even because we treat it with aversion and consider it dirty. Couldn’t we look at money in a totally different way?

EMPTINESS

Buddhist teachings emphasize the emptiness of all things, meaning that nothing has a separate, intrinsic existence. Having examined the mythology surrounding money, we are now in a position to look into its emptiness.

Consider the birth of checking accounts through loans. There is no way for them to come into being without the public requesting them. It’s true that the Fed and the banks can, and often do, withhold credit and offer resistance to our demands; but if they do the holding, it is we who do the pulling.

Who or what is backing our money? It is not the gold, but we ourselves who cover for the dollar with our mortgaged homes, our assets, our capacity for work, our taxes. There is no precious metal backing the currency. What backs it is the precious mettle of our trust in each other. If the money “created” by the Fed seems to materialize out of nowhere, it is only because we look the other way. The bills and checks we see circulating are nothing but IOUs made liquid, credit reformulated so that it can pass from hand to hand. And what is credit if not equity in us, and in all the things and beings that make credence possible, not only because they belong to us, but also because we belong with them?

The emptiness of money leaps to the eye when we examine the emergence of alternative currencies. There are over eight hundred such systems at work worldwide, a dozen or two in the U.S. The one started five years ago by community activist Paul Glover in Ithaca, New York, is still thriving. All it took for Glover to get the system started was a core group of people ready to honor the currency and to chip in to cover initial expenses. Next, they got the currency printed, and put out a newsletter with listings of goods and services being offered in exchange for Hours, as the units of currency are called. Each Hour has an estimated value of ten dollars, the prevailing local hourly wage. Everyone listed in the newsletter is given, for free, two Hours in notes, and can get an additional two Hours every eight months by continuing to participate. Whenever appropriate, these allotments are readjusted at community meetings. The Hours function as ordinary money in trading with the hundreds of individuals and the many stores that accept them (fully or in part) in exchange for goods and services. In trading services, it is understood that one Hour is worth one hour of work, but arrangements may vary. In trading goods, their dollar equivalence determines the price. What gives the Hours their value? Simply the willingness of the issuing community to honor them. When this willingness is tested in the marketplace, the test generates credibility. Credibility is credit; credit made liquid is money. Paradoxically, this simple process tends to baffle most of us, accustomed as we are to the mystification surrounding ordinary money.

How would a world that abides by the emptiness of money differ from the current one? Consider the web of relationships that links each one of us with all things and beings, a web that includes our breathing in and breathing out, eating and defecating, cultivating the land and composting, giving off and perceiving smells, touching and being touched, talking and listening, seeing and being seen, giving and receiving. As things stand now, whenever money enters the picture, whenever a transaction is mediated by it, our obstinacy in seeing it as separate tends to prevail: instead of a link we find disconnection. The web develops a gap. We forget that we are coparticipants in the creation of money. We give it an authority that ought to belong to us all. We see it as alien, and it alienates us. We see it as separate from morality and, sure enough, it behaves immorally. We cast it as the instrument of profiteering and prostitution and, inevitably, it profiteers and prostitutes. But if we were able to see that money simply emerges out of that web – that it’s not separate – then each transaction would become an enactment of our intimacy with the world, keeping the interconnections flowing instead of choking them off.

Am I talking about a never-never land? I do not think so. The belief in the interdependence of all things has recently gained currency in the political arena with the acknowledgment that “it takes a village” to raise a child. It also takes a village to create money. To be aware of this is to take a crucial step toward making our lives whole. Money cannot exist by itself; it has no value or meaning apart from us. Ultimately, the equation is very simple: We are it.

José Reissig has been a geneticist and a molecular biologist. He teaches at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. He is also a student of economics and leads workshops on money.

The Experience of Nothingness: Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s Talks on Realizing the Infinite

“Whatever is, is an expression of consciousness only. If consciousness is not there, the expression of consciousness is not there either. Therefore, nothing is. And this consciousness is an uncalled-for concept; it has appeared spontaneously… Even this consciousness is not everything and it is not going to last for all time. Find out how that consciousness has arisen, the source of the consciousness… What is this body? The body is only an accumulation of food and water.

Therefore, you are something separate from either the body or the consciousness… Jivatman is the one who identifies with the body-mind as an individual separate from the world. The Atman is only beingness, or the consciousness, which is the world. The Ultimate principle which knows this beingness cannot be named at all. It cannot be approached or conditioned by any words. That is the Ultimate state.”

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj [1897-1981] is a revered master who is an inspiring example of an ordinary merchant and family man who attained complete realisation of the Infinite. In the tradition of Ramana Maharshi, he shared the highest Truth of non-duality in his own unique way, from the depths of his own realization. His life was a telling parable of the absolute non-duality of Being. His words carry a rare potency that can jolt the reader into a profound sense of awareness, which at the same time signifies true freedom – freedom from all fear and mental suffering. He taught that true freedom is a possibility for every one of us.

In The Experience of Nothingness Nisargadatta clearly demonstrates that logic and spirituality do not necessarily stand in opposition to one another. He relentlessly pursues a logical argument with his visitors to its very end, showing that until there is transcendence of all thought, logic remains fully valid and should be pursued rigorously.

Biography of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

When asked about his biographical details, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj used to say “I was never born”, for he does not identify himself with his body. He identified himself only with the eternal and pure beingness. However, here is a shory biogrpahy of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, the person.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was born in March 1897, on the day the birthday of Lord Hanuman. In honor of Lord Hanuman, he was given the name ‘Maruti’. Nisargadatta’s father, Shivrampant, worked as a domestic servant in Mumbai and later as a petty farmer in Kandalgaon, a small village in the back-woods of Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. Mariti’s family followed the traditional Hindu culture. At the tender age of 18, in the year 1915, Maruti’s father passed away. After the death of his father, Maruti followed his oldest brother to Bombay.

Mariti started working as a small-time clerk in an office near Bombay, but soon opened a small goods store selling bidis (leaf-rolled cigarettes). He became successful in this venture. In 1924 he married Sumatibai. They had three daughters and a son.

Maruti had a wise friend named Yashwantrao Bagkar. They often would have spiritual discussions. One day Yashwantrao brought Maruti to meet Shri Siddharameshwar Maharaj, his future guru. Sri Siddharameshwar Maharaj, was then the head of the Inchegeri branch of the Navnath Sampradaya. Maruti was given a Mantra, which is totally in keeping with the Navnath tradition, and instructions on how to meditate. His guru told him to concentrate on the feeling “I Am” and to remain in that state. Maruti did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. He mearly followed his gurus instruction of concentrating on the feeling “I am”, and within three years, the realization dawned on him and he got Self-awareness.

Sri Siddharameshwar died in 1936 and evoked in Maruti a strong feeling of renunciation which he acted upon. He abandoned his family and bidi businesses and took off for the Himalayas. Srikant Gogte and P.T. Phadol, in the introduction of Sri Nisargadatta’s book “I am That” say of this, “On his way to the Himalayas, where he was planning to spend the rest of his life, he met a brother-disciple, who convinced him about the shortcomings of a totally unworldly life and the greater spiritual fruitfulness of dispassion in action.” When he returned he found that out of six shops only one remained, but that was enough for the sustenance of his family, Maruti adopted the name of Nisargadatta and inherited membership into the Navnath Sampradaya sect. He devoting all his free time to meditation on his guru’s instruction.

Sri Nisargadatta continued to live the life of an ordinary Indian working-man but his teaching, which he set out in his master-work “I Am That” and which are rooted in the ancient Upanishadic tradition, made a significant philosophical break from contemporary thought. Devotees traveled from all over the world to hear Nisargadatta’s unique message until his death. Maharaj left his mortal frame in 1981, suffering with throat cancer.

An example of one who was moved by his works is Aziz Kristof, billed as a non-traditional Advaita Zen master, who, upon reading Nisargadatta’s book I Am That, writes most eloquently:

“At that moment, I knew that I found my master. He spoke to my essence, his spirit deeply touched my heart. From him I realised the necessity of stabilising the State Presence to which I was already awakened. He called this the I Am-ness. For the first time, I received clarity regarding the Path and recognised the necessity of the right effort. Maintaining the State of Presence became a new task; it was a new challenge. I went for long walks, attempting not to lose the State, not for a single moment.”

Nisagadatta’s Style of Teaching

He explained that the purpose of advanced spirituality is to simply know who you are. Through his many talks given in his humble flat in the slums of Bombay, he showed a direct way in which one could become aware of one’s original nature. Many of these talks were recorded, and these recordings form the basis of I Am That and his other books. His words are free from cultural and religious trappings, and the knowledge he expounds is stripped bare of all that is unnecessary.

In the words of Advaita scholar Dr. Robert Powell:

“Like the Zen masters of old, Nisargadatta’s style is abrupt, provocative, and immensely profound — cutting to the core and wasting little effort on inessentials. His terse but potent sayings are known for their ability to trigger shifts in consciousness, just by hearing, or even reading them.”

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