Bon Voyage to The Three Principles: Kissing Goodbye

 

From a recording: “If you’re listening to this in your car and you find yourself in a beautiful feeling, roll down your window, pop the tape out of the tape player, and throw it out the window. Stay with the feeling, and it will teach you everything you need to know.”
~ Sydney Banks

Dear Friend –

This was going to be a private message but got too long to send as text, and will be the same for all my friends, so is going here on my blog (which hopefully soon will be re-organized so folks, including myself, cam find things more easily!).

This is just a convenience notice for you regarding future communications, and an update, if anyone cares (haha) about these matters and philosophies.

I just wanted to let you know, I left the “What The F*#$ Are The Principles?” Three Principles Psychology (3P) spiritual psychology (life coaching, etc.) group on FaceBook, and similar 3P groups. That is, I am no longer receiving notifications or seeing postings.

The experience has served its purpose, was a great growth one for my writing, reflecting and sharing, but I’ve “moved on” as they say, and this for for the 3P community in general, unless people want to contact me. I’m not seeking or reaching out to help unless asked. (I also don’t look at the FaceBook news stream in general, so don’t know what’s going on with “others”).

We grow or achieve in whatever area we put our energies towards, and where we focus. This goes for self-realization and happiness too (I’m not even seeking personal relationships anymore: I now know where happiness is, and is not, and it’s certainly not in the objects, the constantly changing forms in Consciousness:  people, places and things!)

The recent experiences with this group (and some of the connections and interconnections with related people and posting and groups), were the “capping off” of 21 years of involvement in the Three Principles community, starting with a dream that revealed true innate Peace to me, then Richard Carlson’s books, Darlene Stuart and Rick Suarez, Ph.D. Roger C. Mills, Ph.D. book “Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense”, the Psychology of Mind Centre (POM) in Australia (and Oregon) and the POM Conference, Roger Mills (rest in peace) and Ami Chen Mills-Naim in Santa Cruz, and George Pransky (bless them all), beginning in 1997. I’ve written elsewhere about that involvement so won’t go deeply into it here. Also deserving mention from later years (in the mid 2000s or so) for their one-on-one coaching are George Pransky’s daughters Kara Stamback and Erika Bugbee (briefly, via phone or email), and more in-depth on-going dialogues with Mark Howard and Annika Hurwitt. 

Since I’m not a professional in the field or a related field, there’s no point doing it: was hearing lots of noise and/or lots of the same thing, and spending lots of time and energy helping to clear things up or help folks see clear and more directly but it’s like bailing out the ocean (of ignorance) with a measuring cup (and my views on the 3P are here in various articles on this blog or posted on Group With No Name on Facebook, so I won’t go into them here).

I sometimes used the discussions as inspiration for articles but I’ve seen enough now that activity can go on on its own. The patterns and beliefs and assumptions are there and coalesce around certain topics.

And I was seeing lots of entrenched positions, interests, agendas and egos too. And the love of the ego for drama, conflict and arguments was witnessed as well. I saw politics arising, as if it were religious factions or schisms at war with each other (it’s really the ego at work – it has to maintain its separateness and it takes constant energy and repetition, recycling, to maintain the false and illusory).

Was fun but I’d rather devote energy to “Self-realization” (even though there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do, on this here Direct Path that descended upon my life from Nowhere) and my friends and community of Truth lovers spawned by my friends Francis & Laura Lucille and others where I meet them, such as in non-duality circles, including from the 3P who’ve matured or graduated too, or are able to put Syd’s message and the 3P in perspective, without rigidity. Besides, “principles” are too rigid: Truth is absolutely free, and completely adaptable.

Mostly at this stage it’s about seeing Truth directly and in silence from the One true teacher, Reality. It might involve communication or it might simply be Being and letting the universe vibrate to that tune… that is also helpful, since all is connected and inseparable.

That being said, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line about meetings or interesting or fun things going on. I can always ignore you if I want. 🙂

Peace, Love, Beauty and all that good stuff,
Eric Platt

…The real bliss lies deep, deep, within yourself. Like a hidden treasure. This is why we talk like this. Get rid of Santa Claus, get rid of the Buddha, get rid of Robert get rid of everybody. For as long as you see an image you are evading your bliss. You keep evading the bliss that you are and you keep identifying with images. All of the images must go. Especially the images of yourself that you are a walking breathing person. If that goes everything else will go also.
Remember also all the so called happy things of this world only exist for a short time before they change into something else. Therefore you want to find your bliss. Which is total absolute reality. Once you can discover this bliss, what can ever make you sad again, nothing. For this bliss is not like human happiness. Human happiness is kindergarten compared to this bliss. This bliss is your birth right, this is what you are. Unconditioned bliss.”
~ Robert Adams

Truth is a Striptease Artist

The more she undresses, the more your desire increases…

for the bliss, the surrender, the melancholy to go away and leave you alone, with *her*, the Absolute…

the naked oneness, raw and direct. Pure Beauty & truth in all her glory, teasing you onto Love.

And just when you think you’re free of her, back safely in the ego, business as usual, selfishly striving, she pops up again – or out again – blazing away, laughing at you, as you laugh with her, for being such a fool for thinking you could leave her. Hahaha. No such luck, Padre. She’s got you by the short and curlies. For good. Admit it.

No going back now dude. Ever. The old mistress, the comfort of non-action, the doldrums of desire and fear, are seen as the shallow tarts they were, forever unsatisfying, as fake as the lipstick on their busy mouths. Their noise fades into the distance, as the winds of a new kind of desire fill your sails. The sails of Freedom with a capital fucking “F”.

You want her with all your soul, but something was holding you back. What did you think you’d lose?

“Let me get this straight…” she says, smiling in that knowing way. You know you’re cooked.
“… you don’t want to give up your misery, your anger, your remaining fear, suspicions, your doubts, your overthinking, agitation and seeking for a future that never comes, and hold on to this precious self you think you are, because it’s who you think you are.”

“Um, well, kind of. I mean, I’d like to change, give up all that, but not at the expense of giving up what I am, this body and mind and collection of memories and creative ideas. And stuff.”

“Are you happy?”

“Uh… no. Not totally. But, like, it’s comfortable, familiar, it works, it gets me from point A to point B, this old vehicle… I, I, I guess I’m sort of in love with it, this being a person”, I said sheepishly. “This world. You know, it’s kind of cool.”

“I see. Now we get down to brass tacks. I have competition. You’re serving that slut while wanting me, is that it?”

“That ‘slut’ got me to where I am today.”

“Master of your domain?”

“Haha. Not exactly. But maintaining.”

“That’s the first true thing you’ve said today.
Let’s start over and see what you want. What you really want. Now tell me honestly. What do you really want – what will make you permanently happy, such that you could want for Nothing? Go for it. Bare your soul my dear.”

I sat and pondered. Cornered. No way to go but up, no way out, no way back except down.

“Sigh. OK I give up. You win. You can have me.” Of course, once again she saw right through my games…

“Not so quick. All I’m hearing is giving up, resignation. This isn’t about that. You’re still going along with your stupid.”

“My stupid? My stupid what?”

“Yes, your stupid what!”

“I’m lost.”

“Exactly! And you’ll remain lost until the final hour.”

“Jesus. The final hour… that sounds so …final.”

“When you finally see you’re not what you thought you were. When time stops, since it never began. When I come into your heart and out of your head, and fulfill your wildest fantasies. Actually I was kidding about that last part. But you can have whatever you want. Because you never lost it. You only thought you lost it. The head gives up trying to control things, because it realizes it never could, never was, and never will be anything but a mirage, egging you on to endless illusions that tempt to happiness but never live up to the promise. There’s no end to suffering until you end it. You end it by coming with me.”

“Where are you taking me?”

“The Promised Land. Also called the ‘Unknown’. Poorly named by the way, because it contains all knowledge. It just didn’t fit the expectations of visitors and residents, so they stuck that sign on it. The permanent resident, of which there is only one, couldn’t care less what it’s called, so leaves the naming alone.”

“How will I know when I’m there?”

“By three signs: the fruit, the great vistas, and the lack of any others living there. It’s very peaceful.”

“Sounds lonely.”

“Au contraire. The entire universe is your eternal friend.”

“Sigh. OK, I’m sold. Sounds better than this tiny shack I’m inhabiting. It was getting cramped, what with all my possessions, pet habits, objects of fear and desire wrapped up in grief and sadness, tiredness and irritability. I’ll let go as soon as… ”

“As you get permission? Approval? Get a sign from the universe?”

“… Uh, well, I guess I don’t need any of that shit.”

“Wiser words were never said” she said, smiling, teasingly, as she started to remove her dressing gown… “Come with me… I have a surprise for you…”

I followed her to another room. At the same time she dropped her gown, she disappeared into nothing, and the room revealed itself to be an infinite one full of light and eternity… as I forgot my self, a bliss and beauty beyond compare surprising in its absolute completeness and certainty permeated all the spaceless timelessness of what could only be called this all-encompassing “presence”… like, totally.

God Said STOP SEEKING Me

113. His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?”

“It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Rather, the Father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don’t see it.”
– Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas (Trans. Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer)

“I had this placid mind, like a mirror lake, and all that appeared was just mirages, as there was nothing but the observing itself. Beautiful appearances of non-persons, no labels, no distinctions. Perfect discernment. A question is asked, and a response is self-logical, self-evident, is said, comes and goes … nothing to it or any it. No objects.
Then I lost it, got into philosophy with a ‘teacher’, as a ‘student’…”

What did you lose?

“A still mind.”

If it comes and goes, it’s in time. …
No, you didn’t lose anything. Nothing happened, and nothing is happening. Ever

“I don’t get it. All kinds of things seem to be happening.”

The operative word is “seem”. The sense-mind is all about change.
Be the observer, the seeing of the change.

“I feel like I’m in a Kung Fu episode…”

Maybe you are. How would you know?

“Well for one thing, you aren’t calling me ‘Grasshopper’, and for another the props are all wrong.”

The props look all right to me.

“They would to you, since you’re the one making them.”

Fair enough, but remember Grasshopper, you’re making them too …

“I am? Why is that?”

Because you are Me…

 

…in the Garden of Bliss

Is Self Realization for You?

The fact is, there’s nothing in it (Non-duality, Self-realization, Enlightenment…) for you, but everything is in it for “no ones”: for those ready and willing to realize they are literally no one and no thing.

Why would someone want nothing? No one wants nothing. Everybody wants something. And many people want to “be someone”, and almost everyone thinks they are someone.

The hard thing for many to fathom about the teaching of non-duality and similar wisdom paths leading to (supposed) Realization of the Self, is that it’s not for the body-mind, the sense-mind. There are benefits to one’s life (in the long run – in the short run things can get worse if it brings up subterranean thinking that needs to be seen), but they’re more like side-effects.

If you supposedly experience “bliss”, in a state of self-realization, and it’s not for or of the body, then how can you experience it? It seems like a contradiction or a paradox

To briefly mention some “side-effects” I’ve noticed for the author: an improvement in health over time so one can be an instrument of the universal (until the body gets ready to be dropped), better rapport in relationships and a sifting out of good from bad friends, less neediness, more harmonious and enjoyable business dealings, clarity of thinking, loss of stress, an intensified appreciation of beauty, the perception of an “undeserved” love that is staggering and humbling, the perception of the extraordinary in the ordinary, the gradual or sudden dropping away of bad habits, less need for being entertained or for fruitless socializing, an increase and serendipity and insight.

However, don’t expect this. Expectation keeps you from finding what you want. Don’t expect anything. Yup, another paradox

Why does expectation chase away that which one is looking for? Let’s say you were a flower, and wanted to attract a butterfly, and you had special flower-powers and were able to move around – maybe a mad scientist created you and you had muscles and nevers and feet and eyes and you could run about in the world.  So you’re sitting there as this special flower with special powers of movement, and you have a magnificent new flower bud, and you see a butterfly flitting around you. You want the butterfly to pollinate you. Would you chase after it and try and grab it? No, the butterfly would run away. You would open. You would open that flower bud, and relax. The bee is looking for you. There’s no reason to chase it. As an open flower, the butterfly is all about finding you. No problem. Total cooperation and harmony, if allowed. 

Happiness is your true nature, and you are not chasing it so much as it is pulling you in. The friendly pollinating butterfly is coming to you. The flower and the butterfly are one thing, one movement. There’s nothing to fight. Nothing coming towards anything. Nothing and nothing. Nothing happening, anywhere.

And the crazy thing is, the funny thing is, as adults we have learned to run away from happiness, in the process of trying to run to it.

“The winds of God’s grace are always blowing, it is for us to raise our sails.” ~ Sri Ramakrishna

So back to “what’s in it for me?”  What’s the point, if you can’t go into this journey and expect something in it for one’s personal life, or for someone – what’s the point if it shows you “I don’t exist” or there are no such things as separate entities, and I discover I’m not a body or a person? “That sounds like a major loss to me!” I can hear someone saying. Almost like a kind of death. Indeed, it is sometimes called or explained as an “ego death”. Sounds very dramatic, scary even… 

It sounds like there’s going to be this big explosion, like a mushroom cloud, a flash of light, and “Boom!” your self is gone, you light up like a Christmas tree and the top of your head blows off, and a big crater is left on the top of your head, and you’re left wandering the streets. Then you’ll go and just sit in a cave, because you don’t care anymore, you found your bliss, so you quit your job and left your family and wear a loincloth, sitting in a lotus posture with your eyes rolled back into your head… 
“How will I function!” without a self. 

Pretty funny huh.

It’s not quite like that.

Unfortunately spiritual teachers promote the idea of some big event happening, some dramatic opening. They will have a story about an experience. They may explain that it didn’t happen in time, that it was a timeless event (another paradox), yet in hearing this or reading it,  how can the mind not picture it as a something and a some-when for someone?

If we aren’t at peace or totally happy with our lives, naturally we think we want or need to change something or get something. Changes happen in time. Changes happen for objects, for people. Getting things, whether they are physical objects or relationships or ideas, or states of mind, happen in time and space.

Are you really giving up something worth holding onto, and are you really not gaining anything? What are “gain” and “loss”? It depends on your perspective. To put it in gross physical terms, if you had a cancerous growth on your face, you’d want to lose it (even if you loved it in the process, as some mind-body therapists might implore us), unless you were so dis-identified with the body at a late stage that you didn’t care, you would consider that loss a gain. Or, if you were given an opportunity to gain a million dollars (and you weren’t on your deathbed, where it wouldn’t matter), you’d consider it a gain. Psychologically, if we had old hurts, resentments, pain, anger, or any negative energies, you’d think we would want to give them up. That loss would be a gain, psychically speaking. But in fact we can find it very hard to let go, even when we believe we want to or are ready to. This is a strange quality of the human experience: that we can seem to want so badly to hold on to what seems to be painful and hurtful, such that we can’t let go.

“On the path you never give up anything, you just take on more and more of what you really want until you have the All.”
~ Lester Levenson, Keys to Ultimate Freedom

Have you ever tried to argue with a depressed person – in other words, discuss what they think their problems are, when you can see they are small problems or don’t exist now at all? They will fight you tooth and nail to hold on to what they see, what they believe.

Why is this? Because it is attached to who and what we think we are.

A bridge that may help you see the connection between the strange human perversity that enjoys suffering, that holds onto negativity from the past, that seems to want or need drama and conflict, and become addicted to things–behaviors or substances for example (that hurt us physically and socially)—is the repetitive nature of thought and identity.

Indeed, how can one have a fresh thought, a creative idea, a new outlook, or be present with a loved one or a beautiful scene in nature if the thought-machine is running you?

The point is, all beings want to be happy, because we have the seed in us of knowing who or what we really are, but that seed is revealed and grown in discovering we are not who we thought we were (as strange or as funny as that can sound). Or, another way of putting it is that self-realization is not what we thought it was. We were looking for something that was for us personally, or if we are a little more selfless (or trying to be, or think of ourselves as), that would benefit our family or group or nation or culture or humanity itself…

“What is politics? It’s a mechanism of force and control. In a society where everyone loves everyone do you need politics? If you want to help the world, help yourself grow, and you’ll do far more than you could by being involved in politics.”
~ Lester Levenson, Keys to Ultimate Freedom

…Or at least a better a state of mind. But our state of mind is constantly shifting. And people die, relationships end, children grow up, families fall apart, move away, dissipate, are forgotten; objects decay or are lost or broken or thrown away or sold. Species come and go – even the human species is undergoing change; and in any case, no one knows if Homo sapiens will survive, or if it does, in what form. Eventually the solar system will blow up when the sun does, or burn up when the sun expands into a red giant. Maybe humans will move out in to the stars, and be a different kind of species. No one knows. To a god this would all happen in the blink of an eye. Time is relative.

Why is it so important to see what changes and what doesn’t? Because it gives you a clue as to what’s illusory and what’s real. On the surface it may appear that a flickering, moving, waving candle flame is as real as it gets, for indeed if you put your finger in it, it will be very painful and burn your flesh. So from the Western scientific, materialist perspective, even something as ephemeral as a candle flame or the ionized invisible gas in a fluorescent light or in outer space, or the trace of a quark particle in the bubble chamber of a collider, is absolutely real and objective. It exists independently of your thought of it, your experience of it, or in fact anyone’s experience of it. The proverbial tree falling in a forest that no one hears, is getting yet another sounding here…

This may seem like esoteric philosophy, or something to argue in a chat forum on FaceBook or at a debate club at college, but in fact it bears fruit if you consider it closely: what is always present, regardless of circumstances or state of mind? What is always here? You are. Your presence, your awareness, your consciousness. The fact of your existence, your being-ness: it is the common factor in the entire span of your life. That which is aware, even in sleep, in dreams, or when in deep sleep, even if not remembered, even if the content of the awareness does not seem coherent, is your primordial awareness.

So who are you?

Are you your body, your names, your fears and desires? Are you what you are perceiving, or what is perceiving? If you assume it’s your brain, look again.

This question not only has implications for your mortality, it suggests a way to love and how to be happy.

Because this “happiness” of what we are (I put it in quotes because it’s not the “happiness” as normally thought of or advertised in the media, or assumed in most thinking and discussions) is not personal or human or a mental state – it’s not passing. It’s not passing like all things of the mind and body are, all normal experiences of daily and nightly life seem to come and go. Even thoughts come and go. People come and go. The body changes. There seem to be stable objects in our lives, like houses and cars and rocks and mountains and trees, but those are constantly appearing different and over time weather and change and die or dissolve or crumble or blow up or burn down or rust. So as solid permanent separate objects they exist only as a concept in our mind, and concepts too cannot be held but must be picked up again, repeated, or written down. But even when written down, what is written down will dissolve, not last. Even digital material must constantly be be transferred, repeated, re-written in new media. Ancient libraries lost many books to fires or natural processes.

Should we be sad about all this, be in despair, about the ephemeral nature of life and the world and ideas? If we look to the world, “All is vanity and a chasing after wind” as the famous quote from Ecclesiastes puts it, remarking on the vanity of human life.

But there is the experience of beauty, love, and truth, in the human experience. These are not in objects if we look: the beauty is not in nature, because if we look at the same object again, at another time or another state of mind, we don’t see it, or if another person looks they don’t see it or see it differently, and our experience of that beautiful mountain changes every time and every moment. But we continue to have experiences of beauty. Beauty is always available. Beauty is available even if we are not experiencing it at any given moment. It is there in potential, even if veiled by or in the present moment. What is it veiled by? That is a very important thing to discover.

We have experienced love, but it too seem to fluctuate, come and go, depending on the moment, the person, the object, the animal, the situation, the state of mind… But we all have had moments when the veil of appearances seemed to lift, and we felt something timeless. Then the mind came in and tried to claim it, and the experience of love vanished like the wind again. The mind tried to attach it to a person, or an object or a situation, or even a beautiful place. So we return to that person, object, situation or place, and it may be there, or may not – there does not seem to be anyway to possess, hold onto, guarantee, or control the love. No insurance policy will protect it. No arrangement will secure it forever or even tell us if we can trust it will be there the next day, or hour for that matter. Something could change. Loss happens. Loss may incur suffering and spur us to look deeper, or to seek solace in any number of ways: new relationships, drugs, business pursuits, nature, hobbies, projects… The new object may be God. But religion and God or based on something out there, or somewhere, maybe a different plane of existence, or a separate state or entity we are wanting to reach or be in harmony with, or a right set of beliefs. These too come and go, since they are projections of the mind, or made of thought.

We have seen some truth, but then questions come in. Whose truth is it, is it a relative truth: will it be different for someone else? How do I know for certain if it’s true, or what to believe, or who to believe? What’s real? These are questions philosophers worry about, and most of us don’t, or feel we can’t spend the time on them, or have the interest to go deep into them. We either rely on others for answers, or have some answers we hold, even if they are unconscious, that we think are good enough for us, at least for the moment, while we get on with living, enjoying and suffering, desiring and fearing. We all have a philosophy of living, at some level. These question are the the meaning or source of, and point to the truth of “The unexamined life is not worth living”, and “Know thyself” of Socrates (c. 470 – 399 BC) and the ancient Greeks.
Socrates also said “I know that all I know is that I do not know anything”: the original and most classic of skeptical statements, but also a statement pointing beyond the relative knowledge of the mind, and the humility inherent in wisdom. Another wise Greek, even earlier than Socrates, Parmenides (born c. 515 BC) contrasted “the way of opinion”, with regard to the world of appearances, in which one’s sensory faculties lead to conceptions which are false and deceitful” with that of permanent, immortal Truth: “Being is and non-being is not.”

I think it’s interesting that so many philosophers, teachers of wisdom, and sages through the ages have converged on the same truth expressed in different ways in different eras in different languages: Descartes’ “I think therefore I am”, which in the original Latin or French, and in the context of which it was made reads more like he is pointing to Consciousness and the pure fact of existing—that is, Being—rather than Thought, for he was pointing out how this present experience could all be a dream or a hallucination created by a demon (the modern version of this is that I could be a simulation in a computer somewhere, like in The Matrix). In which case, what do I know for certain? Simply that I exist, even if I do not know the ultimate nature of “I”. And to know that I exist, don’t I have to be conscious? I certainly have to be conscious to say it, or discuss it in an intelligent manner. No computer has or I believe will ever, discuss philosophy in any more than a surface, mechanical, repeated way.

The statement that “that which changes is an illusion and that which is eternal is real”, is more than a abstract or technical philosophical statement. It has enormous implications for what one values, for what one thinks is important in life, for where one places one’s energies and sets one’s priorities. The question of “how to live” is as old as mankind, and was what I was obsessed with after graduating with a philosophy degree (which was useless for telling me how to be happy, how to find love, or what to do with my life).

What is there to hold on to? Nothing. Only this. Only freedom. Only what’s real, which cannot be described.

Can one name the eternal?

The entries in this blog are an ongoing exploration into this eternal mystery, the formless and form-full reality we seem to inhabit. It’s looking squarely at the paradox of life: I both exist and do not exist!

Beyond the Event Horizon of Thought

Definition: “Thought” – The energy used to form the contents of experience.

At this point in my life I find it harder to avoid feeling and thinking there can be only be one reality and one consciousness. How could you not? The answer is, by believing that Truth or Consciousness (or “innate health” as they talk about in some fields of spiritually-based psychology), or what is known, or knowable, is by Thought only, therefore one cannot know anything beyond the event horizon of one’s thinking – that world or reality formed by Thought.

I like that: “The Event Horizon of Thought” – it is a valuable insight (from psychology and skeptical philosophy) that all we can know are feelings, sensations, thoughts and perceptions formed of Thought. But – and this is a big “but” – it depends on what you mean by “know”. What if we expand from “what we can know” to “what can be experienced”? Then that would include pure awareness without content. Can that be experienced? We can put that aside as debatable for the moment and look at some other interesting observations. What is it that is knowing: thinking doesn’t know anything in itself, it’s just what’s used to form the content of what’s known – an instrument to play the music of knowingness on. So what is knowingness? Who or what is “knowing” – what is experiencing knowing? What are its limits? Does this knowingness experience always have the same limits as the thinking instrument it uses to form thoughts, perceptions, sensations – the contents of the mind in other words? What do we even mean by “knowingess”? To put it crudely, it’s the same is asking, “Who, or What is knowing?”

By using reason alone, there is no way to prove that consciousness or awareness is unlimited, universal, and not limited to this body. However, there is no way to prove it isn’t using reason alone.

But this all gets very ephemeral and “out there” – we can talk about ultimate matter or what can be known until we are blue in the face then feel like it’s just so much talk and grinding of gears. It just flows away and new thoughts come in, the car needs to be taken to the repairman and it’s time for lunch.

Like, “So fucking what?”
Because if you look closely at what you are actually believing, and at what is the basis for believing it, you might find something startling. And that startling revelation could change your entire life if you pursue it far enough. That which you held to be certain – that you are a material body in a material world, and consciousness is limited to and shares the limits of the body, and comes from the brain somehow, and that the body stops at the skin, and that there is a separate world of objects out there, and a person or self here, a human being “in here” (who is born, and is born with certain capacities such as innate health) – is not actually resting on certain knowledge at all, but on a belief that you were trained to hold and reinforced to adhere to and worship. It opens the door to the possibility that what you thought you knew is not actually a certainty at all, but an assumption held in place through repetition of habit.

We are still left with the not knowing though – reason tells us it could be unlimited – but we don’t know for certain either way.

This is where intuition and life experience come in. This is where one has to be honest about what one experiences and not try and change it to stay in line with one’s beliefs and assumption, not tow the line, not rationalize. You need to admit, “Yes, I am conscious right now” And “No I don’t ever actually remember being unconscious, only a lapse in memory” and “Yes, I’ve had a deep intuition of oneness”, no matter how fleeting, it was as real as day, and “Yes I see that it makes no sense to think there is more than one reality, because then there would have to be a higher reality encompassing both, thus always arriving at one reality.”

OK so then the one reality must be the same as the consciousness I am. I exist. Being is. I am, and I am conscious, that is Being right now. That is unquestionably real. This is a real experience. And if it’s real, and it must be the same reality as all that is real, which we have an intuition is one, therefore it is universal I AM, or universal consciousness.

However I can’t prove this except through my own life experience, since it depends on a self-proving. By experimenting with living “as if” consciousness were universal, I can see what happens. If it accords with reality, it will be a happier, more harmonious life.

The experience of oneness exists as a potential in everyone, even if they don’t remember having it. At minimum you will experience it when you die or in one of your reincarnations (if you don’t awaken in this lifetime). Since it is what we are, it is only an illusion that keeps a separate self in place, by effort of thinking.

Notes on Prophets, Mystics, Sages, Philosophers and All That Good Stuff

Last night I watched an entertaining musical from the 70’s, Jesus Christ Superstar. I saw it when I was a kid. Very enjoyable music and great lyrics.
Then for something less dramatic and more meditative before bed, I read some of The Gospel of Thomas until I got sleepy. (http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/gthlamb.html)

My reflections this morning:

In those densest of times, such as when the Buddha appeared – heavy civilizations full of complex organizations, thinking, rituals, ideas, political structures, social patterns; heavy with unconscious patterns, the past (held thoughts form sense-mind)
come these prophets
Jesus in Roman times, certainly full of politics and strife, tension, materialism, organization, culture, intricacy of thinking, language
Mohamad into tribal dirt and chaos?
Heavy with beliefs, superstitions, presumptions and assumptions

How is a prophet or a sage different from a philosopher? A philosopher examines the current thinking, looks at what other philosophers have said, and reshapes it as best he can, getting insights and new thoughts along the way to clarify and possibly enlighten, creating new shapes, like new pottery
Whereas what does a sage do? Does he break the pot? A sage reveals the light and the clay that is making all pots, now, in timeless Reality. And takes no credit for it since he and the light and clay-maker are the same, whereas the philosopher has his object and himself and the potter, and ponders where it all came from and where it is going.

Perhaps this is the esoteric meaning behind these lines from The Gospel of Thomas:

(16) Jesus said, “Men think, perhaps, that it is peace which I have come to cast upon the world. They do not know that it is dissension which I have come to cast upon the earth: fire, sword, and war. For there will be five in a house: three will be against two, and two against three, the father against the son, and the son against the father. And they will stand solitary.”

(http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/gthlamb.html)

But now, today, isn’t a time in history when a singular prophet would be accepted. They would be drowned out in the noise, and considered crazy. It’s a worldwide culture, interconnected with media and networks and subtle ideas. It’s more a time when the sages sprout like mushrooms in fields where countless shapes emerge, part of an overall pattern. We are now billions of people, spread over a planet, with rapid communication, not local tribes where word spreads slowly, by mouth or by clay or papyrus carried by hand or oxcart or horse or boat.
Today the world brain can be easily fed, a vast pool at its fingertips at any time, keeping the mind distracted, worried, preoccupied, fulfilling needs, desires, greed and fear. Always thinking of the future (or the past – the future thinking built from images, thoughts from the past) which never arrives, trying to secure a material condition in order to free the present, continuity is attempted by effort. The same movement of energy that’s always been, in a different form.

But in this world, whose nature is duality, there are always two sides to a situation. While there is more to pull the mind into distraction and preoccupation and not being present (speed and quantity of thinking added to), there is also the possibility of worldwide communion – video conferences and email at the speed of light – a richness of ideas (pointing to truth if one is seeking and open), and metaphors and analogies of virtual realities and game worlds that point to the nature of this field of seeming reality, and free the soul from the mind. Larger worldly ambitions are balanced by larger spiritual ambitions. The more the spiritual or metaphysical seems like they are remnants of the past, delusions, old ways of thinking, seen by the cynical, the skeptical and the scientific materialism and consumerism as laughable, contemptuous, silly, voodoo, “woowoo”; the more thinking swings one way, deeper into a dream, that which is real and awake becomes an interest intensified somewhere else, like a string being stretched on a bow, where tension is created in the distance between where the arrow pushes it out and the point of attachment at the bow end. When the arrow is released, it goes even farther. The fractal just is bigger and more elaborate, but it’s ultimate nature overall never changes. The hologram has more points and deeper circles, but is the same hologram.

“Nothing ever changes” can be read either as a sad commentary on the state of affairs of the world, or as a statement of truth about the happy fact that what Is, never dies.

The Reality of Universal Consciousness

Jesus said, “I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has never occurred to the human mind.” – The Gospel of Thomas

The hard thing to grasp about Universal Consciousness is that it is not something that can be sensed by the senses, has no form, cannot be thought about or conceptualized or imagined, as it is the “light of awareness” itself. So how does one know it exists? It starts to sound more like a belief or an item of faith, or nonsense… like no thing. Nothing.

I will do my best to lay out an inexorable logic of experience that can show, to those receptive, how it is true. In other words, it presents a possibility that you can either embrace or reject. Whether you see it or not, is up to your willingness, readiness, and grace.

1. Experience: I Exist.
I am having an experience, and even though it may be a dream, or a hallucination, or created by Descartes’ demon, or a digital simulation in an alien’s computer, or a thought-form of some type, it’s still a real experience. Even if this experience of a body and a world is just an avatar and a scene in some insanely complex and detailed game simulation, it’s still a real experience. So something somewhere is experience-ing. There is consciousness-ing going on. In other words, I am Be-ing. Being is. I exist. So to start, we at least know that much for certain: I exist. And so even if you insist that I am not conscious and/or I do not exist, I can know for certain that that is just your idea, theory or belief. I have a rock solid basis from which to start, for me.

2. Reality.
But what about the question of what is real, and what is reality? A fruitful way of approaching this question in the context of ultimate or absolute reality is by asking, “how many realities can there be”? We have established that there is at least one (I Am, Being). Could such a thing as more than one reality be possible? Well let’s look at that notion: if there were two realities, how would one know about it? It implies that there would be a third reality encompassing both realities that knows of both realities. So that would be the one reality. If there were yet another reality at alongside that higher encompassing reality, then how would that be known? By yet another higher reality that knows those. So no matter how many levels, or how many realities, there is still only one reality.

Notice that it can be tempting, according to one’s assumptions, to say that maybe there is another reality out there – the proverbial tree that falls in the forest and no one hears it – that one doesn’t know about, or that no one knows about. But the assumption is that “reality” is thing-like, is like an object: it has borders, it can be distinguished, it can be perceived, or conceptualized (“discrimination” in Buddhist terminology), that is, as perhaps out there somewhere somehow, perhaps as another dimension, could be known, at least theoretically – otherwise why are we talking about it? The assumption is that it could be known at minimum as a theory or concept or something imagined, as a separate reality. But again, it is known by whom or by what? You’ve already brought in awareness, consciousness, knowingness, by the back door, whether you admit it or not. It’s either part of awareness or not. Something is either real or not. You can’t be half pregnant. This is not a conceptual or word game we are playing. We are wanting to know what must be true, not what might be true.

It is meaningless to say “separate reality” unless we are talking about psychological, mind-based or personal reality: in other words, a thought-created “reality”, a perceptual reality. And this is valid in a psychological context (just see how two people can watch the same movie and have a completely different experience!). But what we are investigating are philosophical, spiritual or ultimate questions, however you want to say it: questions about life and the nature of life. Personal “separate realities” may be useful for understanding human behavior and relationships, but even there, we want to put it in context, and not fall into relativism and grant ultimate reality to whatever arbitrary thought systems sentient beings can fall into. Truth is Truth, regardless of local editions of it.

So you can see it would be as meaningless to claim there is ultimately more than one reality as it would be to claim there is a little invisible man named Yehude in my pocket, and because he’s invisible and I can’t disprove it, therefore he exists. You would be seen as crazy, or at least a little looney. And it’s just as crazy to say there is more than one Ultimate Reality. Just because one can say something or think something doesn’t mean it exists or makes logical or intuitive sense. I can say “One plus one equals three, to me”. And that’s fine, you are free to say that – but who cares? It’s meaningless and not intelligent.

Therefore, using intelligence, we see that this encompassing reality would be the one reality: the totality. And this accords with our deep intuition that indeed there is only One reality, one infinite totality, without limits or borders. (I remember lying in bed as a child and thinking, “if there is a border to the universe, what is beyond that border? It would have to go on forever…” which is the imaginative insight about infinity that is the same as the spiritual perception I am pointing to here). If you don’t have that intuition then I kindly suggest you have been fooled by thinking and a fascination with form.

It’s meaningless to talk about more than one reality. It’s not logical, and does not accord with one’s experience.

3. Evidence.
Can you find a limit to your consciousness? Have you ever and can you now find a border? All that you have ever known, or know now, or will know, is experienced within your consciousness. And I don’t mean your mind. Your mind – any and all thoughts, sensations and perceptions – is something known by consciousness. The content of your mind appears to that which is experiencing: the same reality that is reading these words right now.

It is a very common mistake to equate consciousness with mind, to think consciousness is mind-like. This is one of the reasons behind much confusion in the fields of spirituality, spiritual psychology and psychology, not to mention philosophy. So it’s important to be clear on this: Anyone who meditates for example, will be told or be familiar with how, once you relax and open your attention, you can become more aware of how thoughts or mental images, or the sound of self-talk, are passing, how they come and go. They arise. The same with bodily sensations and perceptions. Nothing stays the same but is in constant flux. What is observing this play of form, the flow of thoughts and sensations, perceptions? Can a thought see a thought? Can a perception observe a perception? No, the mind doesn’t experience anything, nor do anything on its own.

And what have you ever known of yourself or the world except this passing play of thoughts, imaginings, perceptions and sensations? Your assumption has been that there is some solid thing out there behind it all. And, we may believe some day science will get to the bottom of it all and find out what it’s all made out of, and how it works, beyond just the appearances and the workings of the mind. Well, you’ve got a long wait my friend. Meantime, it’s time to live.

Through the use of reason and examining beliefs, we come to see there is a total lack of evidence for consciousness being limited and personal. But does this prove it is not? No, it is a negative conclusion. So we are left with a 50/50 proposition: there is a 50% chance that consciousness is limited; there’s a 50/50 chance, according to reason, that consciousness is not universal. We must go on to experimentation in our lives: living it.

4. The Logic of Experience.
Combining these insights, one can come to an incredible, startling, mind-blowing conclusion:
If there is only one Consciousness, and one Reality, they must be the same Reality! This One Consciousness is the same consciousness I am experiencing right now. There cannot be any other. And, there are no “others” in Reality. This, despite what my beliefs tell me, what my experience seems to tell me, and the society tells me.

What is ultimately reading these words right now is what is creating this entire universe and this body and mind right now.

If you have followed the logic of this article, you can also begin to see why many sages have pointed out, or tried to, the fact that our experience is a projection of the mind.

Notice this is not the same as solipsism: the belief or position that my mind is all there is. Nor is it Idealism, which says that that mind stuff is all (the counter position is holding that matter stuff is all: that is, Materialism, which is the religion of the modern world). What I am outlining is the view that consciousness is all. Consciousness encompasses, and is, both mind and matter.

This understanding is encapsulated in the statement “Being Is, and Non-being isn’t”, which reflects the fact that both consciousness is, and universal reality is, and they are the same reality. This Being is not personal or limited.
This truth is reflected in the ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides writing, the Upanishads, The Course in Miracles, and other places:

“Now then, I will instruct you; hear what I say:
Two paths are open to investigation.
The first says: being is and non­being is not.
It is the path of certainty, because it follows the truth.
The other says: being is not, therefore non­being is.
This misdirected path, I tell you, cannot lead to a sound conviction
For, if this statement were true, it would not be possible for you to conceive of non­being, nor to name it.”
– Parmenides (read the entire poem fragment translation here)

“In the unreal there is no duration and in the real there is no cessation; indeed the conclusion between both the two has been analyzed by knowers of the truth.”
– The Bhagavad Gita

“Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”
– A Course In Miracles

5. Living It.
Try this experiment: Endeavor to perceive, think, decide, act, and relate, as if Consciousness were Universal – that what you are is absolutely the same as everyone else and everything else – one Mind, one Consciousness, and all is a projection of mind. See what happens. You will be amazed. True Happiness will begin to dawn on you and draw you to it, as the understanding dawns that happiness via the senses is a dim shadow compared to the light of Being what you truly Are Now.

In this article I have attempted to lay out The Reality of Universal Consciousness and The Logic of Experience.

I have proved it to satisfaction for myself. It’s up to you to explore, to investigate, to look within yourself, if you are willing and open…

The Simplicity of Truth: A User Guide

La Luz Dusk • Photo & Writing ©Copyright 2018 Eric Platt

One of interesting things about what we call spiritual truth, is how once you see a truth, how self-evident, obvious and simple it seems. “Duh, why didn’t I see it before?” You can then not not see it. And it can be puzzling why others don’t see it when you point out the seemingly obvious to them. Why is this?

The simple answer is that the mind loves complexity.

The ultimate simplicity is the One that you Are, and all lesser simplicities are a reflection of that. Truth is simple (but not always easy).

(20) The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like.”
He said to them, “It is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all seeds. But when it falls on tilled soil, it produces a great plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.” – The Gospel of Thomas

Here’s where analogies or metaphors are useful: they use images to help the mind orient to an entire situation. At some point that image can help one have an insight. So for this situation let’s use the analogy of a mountain. Let’s say you are hiking up a mountain on a new planet. No one has ever been on this planet before, so no one knows what’s up on the higher slopes. But you’ve hiked up ahead of the rest of the party. You’ve seen new sights. But then you want to walk back down to refill your supplies, to check on your friends. You hike back down, and naturally they ask you about where you’ve been and what have you seen? You tell them of the wonders and try to explain the amazing, incredible beauty of a sparkling emerald forest and the moving, glowing trees that talk to each other, and the astounding beauty, but they don’t believe you, think you’ve made it up, or even if they believe you, you know they don’t really have a sense of what you’ve seen. They say, oh, it’s like the forest I saw in Maui, I know what that’s like!” and you say “No! It’s nothing like that, it’s a whole new thing, like you’ve never seen!”
How can you explain it?

You realize they just need to see it for themselves. You see there are two options: do you just keep quiet, or do you try and inspire them to see it? You love them so you point them in that direction, knowing that they have to have the motivation to get up and move their feet and walk up the slope. You can’t do that for them.

Of course, a mountain with levels is just a metaphor, and does not imply any judgement of superiority and inferiority; but it does help capture the idea that one sees more at higher “levels”. Here’s another metaphor that’s commonly used helps too: a keyhole, or the aperture of a lens. Normally, most of us are looking at reality through a keyhole, a tiny aperture. Our minds only allow us to see a tiny slice of reality. We are busy with a focus on a small portion, a small view on the totality. The mind is like the iris of a camera, allowing a certain amount of light in. When you open the attention, open the lens’s iris up, it takes in more of the scene, and suddenly a bigger context is understood. We’ve all had the experience of the “Aha!” reaction when a problem suddenly becomes clear to us, or a clear path of action pops into our head. We know what to do. It can come as a very quiet insight – perhaps we were wondering what to do, what to say to a friend who asked for help with a personal problem, and like the proverbial little bird whispering in our ear, it becomes suddenly and quietly obvious, self-evident.

Spiritual truth is like that. Since it has to do with what is already the case, what is always true, there is a sense of obviousness about it, a sense of humility before a great mountain compared to which our tiny bodies stand. But in this case it is our tiny minds, our comprehension of truth which is limited by the human mind. The mind however, is not consciousness: it’s just a word, a concept for thoughts, sensations and perceptions that appear in consciousness. It’s tempting to say that we are like babies with blank minds, but the truth is, we are in reality quite mindless.

(22) Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to his disciples, “These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom.”
They said to him, “Shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom?”
Jesus said to them, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter the kingdom.”

This is where images break down: we cannot use the mind to picture consciousness. Since consciousness is the context, the playground, or the screen – pick your metaphor – in which all content appears; since it is the “Perceiver in Chief” reading these words and perceiving images, then it is that which is doing the seeing, ultimately, and not any object that appears in it (object meaning content of the mind: sensation, perception, thoughts). Another way to say this very difficult to grasp notion is that consciousness is “non-objective”. You can follow a perception, a thought or a sensation all the way back and never find a thing at its source, only an observer, this observer, now, always present. This simple truth is what countless books have been written and spoken about (Zen and Advaita writers, mystics, etc.), and ironically its simplicity is what makes it so hard to see.

It doesn’t help that seemingly scary words to the ego like “emptiness” (it can feel like that) or “nothingness” have been used. Thoughts of crazy nihilists and ascetic monks in huts, denying the pleasures of the world come to mind. Words and language break down when trying to describe Being-ness that is both that in which everything appears and yet a no-thing in itself. But we carry on, shooting arrows into the sky… (Is it any help to point out that non-being is a logical impossibility, since the notion is appearing to Being? Apparently not! Perhaps so many are heavily invested in the idea of death and drama. Fear must have a purchase in this investment. But why stop there and concern ourselves with how far so-called “others” are doing in their hike up the mountain, or become complacent with our current view. We recognize how far our feet have brought us, feel grateful for a better view, inspiring us to hike farther, and point ourselves bravely upwards).

Furthermore, to this writer, it also is self-evident that it must be the case that if there is no object “back here” (nowhere) perceiving, then there is by implication no object “out there” being perceived. And in this dissolving, clearly both the supposedly objective and subjective, observer and observed, are being two sides of the same non-existent coin! In any case we won’t go further here… hopefully you get a glimpse of what’s suggested. The point is, this direct knowing can’t be grasped by the mind. It’s simply an experienced given, and what is self-evident is also inherently simple and without form.

One of the apparent obstacles is that the human mind seems to love complexity. Think of an engineer and his toy, a complicated computer he’s made. He doesn’t want to give up his toy: this is understandable. Or think of an artist with a complex tapestry she’s made – an intricate weave they’ve worked on for years. There is an attachment to these creations. But built in to this is also boredom: the mind will naturally tire of playing with the same thing, will want to turn to something else, then get bored with the new thing, and either go back to the old one and try and get some fun from it, maybe add more complexity, or find a new toy. This cycle goes on endlessly.

The way to end the cycle is to find the source of the happiness that was projected onto the toys.

This also explains why oddly enough, we love problems. On the surface it doesn’t seem to make any sense to say someone likes problems, but if you observe it will become apparent that we are very attached and don’t want to be separated from our problems, will argue for them. A depressed person for example, just “won’t see reason” and will fight you tooth and nail for the truth of their situation, even though their friends see a brighter view. So what are they giving up if they give up the problem, the complexity? To them it feels like they are giving up who they are, their identity, their reality; they cling to a cherished sense of who they are, like a snake holding onto old skin that’s been comfortable for years. It chaffs, but what else do they know as this well-worn, smelly old blanket?

It’s a funny thing that happiness would appear unsafe to the mind. Why is this? Because it means more freedom, it inherently is more free and open, and like a small animal peeking from a burrow at a big world out there, it instinctively wants to retreat to it’s safe and familiar burrow. It’s a funny thing that peace would be threatening, would appear as a menace somehow.

Think of it like learning to ride a bike; or rather, unlearning, forgetting that it’s unsafe to ride a bike. As you see that you can go farther and farther, you forget your fear that you were going to fall: you learn to trust the stability of the bike and enjoy more and more the ability to move swiftly and feel the world flying past and the wind in your face. It’s much more direct and fun than walking. So it is with truth. One learns to trust that indeed there is true safety, that the universe is not out to get you, and that a tense and contracted self doesn’t actually work well in the long run. You learn to surf reality instead of forcing your way through, like a man with a pick axe trying to make headway on icy ground, or a jungle explorer having to chop his way through thick entangled vegetation. The ice will melt and the jungle will clear on it’s own accord, once the possibility is realized it’s not a separate icy, solid world, and not a scary jungle attacking a fragile tiny body.

All these images are to help turn the imagination towards “higher” possibilities. They are higher yet they were already there, under your feet, the whole time. It can be hard to image that there’s nothing wrong, when there appears to be some thing wrong. But that is the whole point: it is only appearance. What “you” is, is stronger higher and freer than what appears to a small, frightened mind. If you can see it…

Healthy Egos and Spiritual Development

Must one must first travel the arc from infant to healthy separate self or ego—a well-adapted adult ego in one’s environment and community—before passing down the other side of the rainbow, to the post-egoic state of non-dual understanding, happiness and peace, love and bliss?

I’ve heard it suggested more than once, and in more than one way—even from a prominent non-dual teacher—that one needs to develop a healthy, well-adapted ego in order to go deep into spiritual realization or to take the next step and develop into the universal “I Am” non-dual awareness at the heart of spiritual paths. The notion is expressed as, for example, in the claim that someone who has not developed a healthy, stable, “well-adapted” adult human ego—identification as a body in the environment and society—would be further “destabilized” by the non-dual teaching.

The idea is that the infant has to separate itself out from the environment, and realize it’s not his mother’s body, not the cradle it’s in, not the room—the neti neti process (not this, not that), the process of differentiation that culminates in an adult ego—would in the case of the non-dual aspirant continue this path and realize: not only am I not the world, but not the body. So this process of differentiation stops in most people, and the non-dual teaching (or “spiritual development” if you will – I don’t really like the word “spiritual” with it’s baggage) is seen as a continuation of that process.

If you took that notion seriously, that only healthy well-adapted egos are ready for the path, it would imply that some aspirants might want to take a few years (or decades?) and get some psychological help before they embark on the perilous journey of non-duality teachings. It might be tempting to think some folks just have too much psychological garbage in the way to see their way clear, or given their frail emotional and psychological state, that they might not be able to handle such a strong medicine, and fall apart.

Now, one can certainly seem to encounter what you could call “immature personalities” along the path, and even what have been called “personality disorders” in psychiatric circles, and see how potentially the teaching could be used an an excuse for spiritual bypassing (not confronting uncomfortable feelings that are operating out of consciousness awareness) or bad behavior, such as rudeness, irresponsibility, drug use, and worse. After all, it’s all me, there are no others, it doesn’t matter what I do, no practices are necessary, I’m already there, already enlightened, it’s about freedom, nothing exists, there’s no free will, etc. so it doesn’t matter what I do and other people’s hurt and pain and consequences are not real, not my doing; it’s all Me and feeling good vibrations are what it’s about, so I’ll run away from this uncomfortable relationship or situation and you can fuck off … endless mischief is possible.

On a side note, these psychiatric diagnosis and labels I see as tinged with judgement, and a view biased by the Freudian medical-based worldview (for example Narcissistic Personality Disorder” or “Borderline Personality Disorder” etc.). I see such individuals, such expressions of humanity, as deeply wounded and in pain – why else would they act so selfishly? – pain and fear are learned, as is a strong unconscious sense of identification with a separate self-belief and feeling. And I would offer that such individuals in some cases may indeed benefit first from an exposure to ethical teachings that help them be less self-centered before, or at the beginning of entering on a non-dual path, such that the nondual teachings doesn’t just give them license to be uncaring or arrogant or simply rude towards others.

But the question is, are there “unnatural” and/or unstable developments of the human ego such that one cannot or should not go on the non-dual path of spiritual development without, for example, risk getting worse, or further destabilizing a rocky sense of self? Or would one simply not benefit from delving into these ultimate truths before one is ready?

On the flip side, one could read the implication that the development of a stronger or bigger ego would somehow prepare one better for non-dual realization. This seems like a strange notion, since for one thing, it’s saying that more ignorance (in the Sanskrit sense: ignorance of one’s true nature) will make one more ready to have more knowledge—assuming it’s the right kind of ignorance (the supposedly healthy, normal, stable adult ego kind)—and for another it goes against the experience of seeing the fact that there’s just no telling what the prerequisites for Self-realization are. There have been examples of people with very loving and healthy upbringings, with well-adapted egos, having no interest in non-dual understanding or even spirituality. On the other hand, there have been those with difficult backgrounds, from families with unhealthy, unhappy egos, who go on to very high levels of Self-realization. And conversely, persons with happy childhoods and well-developed egos have experienced high levels of spiritual development and deep non-dual insights. There seems to be no predictable correlation, just as there seems to be no predictable correlation between amounts of spiritual practice and the certainty of high levels of self-realization. It’s akin to the non-correlation between income or lifestyle and non-dual realization: they are independent variables. You can perceive or argue the reverse—that there is a certain connection—but it’s a fact there is none, and this makes sense. In other words, there is no known causal link the mind can make – otherwise we’d have a world of enlightened, free and happy beings, once the cause is found in the world, formulated and dispensed. But what we truly are is “not of this world”. It’s all in God’s (or Grace’s) hands, to put it in theistic terms. This isn’t fatalistic, it’s simply pointing out it’s a timeless, causeless happiness that’s being pointed to.

This assumption of healthy egos and good, stable body-in-a-world adaptation as a prerequisite for the nondual teaching is also in contrast to what the author has seen in the field of spiritual psychology teachings, where healing of many levels and types of mental and emotional distress happen via the profound insights people have into the nature of their experience, for example realized via insights into the nature of Thought and Consciousness. This happens sometimes after simply hearing a description, or sometimes after decades of work. Needing a healthy ego first suggests that one must first heal one’s psychological issues, then graduate to a nondual spiritual stratosphere. In other words, transcendence is seen as a special gift for those who have a healthy enough ground on which to grow.

My experience is that there are countless cases of people having supposedly serious psychiatric conditions such as “clinical depression” or severe anxiety, having insights into the nature of their experience that frees them from those psychiatric conditions. This can happen very quickly, or very slowly (and I wouldn’t pretend to know why this speed or lack of is the case), and to various depths, but it appears that the ego—the sense of separation , and the thinking or believing habits, the illusory world they’d been creating (that was manifesting as psychological symptoms)—was seen through to some degree, in a moment of insight and understanding, and the inherently healthy, eternal nature of who we are as free, happy peaceful beings was realized, to varying degrees.

Thus physiological causes are seen as an effect rather than a cause: the tail was wagging the dog in traditional medically-based psychiatric cause-and-effect thinking. Of course it can go both ways: brain chemicals causing a difference in the filtering of experience—like throwing chemicals on a TV set’s circuit may cause a program to be altered overall in some unpredictable manner—or a shift in thinking causing a change in brain chemical secretion, but ultimately cause and effect are assuming time has a reality that the non-dual experience through the ages, as well as modern physics, reveals is ultimately unreal or false. That is, this thinking only applies to the world of appearances: the world and body the mind projects.

I would argue that not only is a healthy ego not necessary, but that (to whatever degree) unhealthy egoic thinking can be a spur or a springboard towards looking beyond the answers that have been given, and be exactly what is needed to look deeper in the search for happiness and truth. This is what happened in the author’s case: seeing the limits of psychotherapy and the circular game it was playing in the carnival of thinking and memory, and the spiritual bankruptcy of modern Western academic philosophy, neither which provided the answers of how to live, led to an opening to more timeless and intuitive truths, and seeking to understand and establish a more constant realization of that “revelation”. Sometimes the revelation that the sources of beauty, truth, and love come from beyond the mind occurs when one reaches the limits of what the mind and the given answers of the current society provide.

I would concur that a certain level of spiritual maturity may be needed (and some spiritual teachers claim this can be the result of what happened in previous lives—this is an idea that seems to be dependent on time and needs some exploration later). But a healthy ego? I question if that’s entirely necessary, or necessary at all. Not to mention that an ego implies suffering…

It’s very simple: what we truly are “at core” is always available, always “on”, no matter what’s happening, or rather appears to be happening in the world, in our body, in our minds, anywhere in appearances. What we are cannot be broken.

I can understand however why a teacher of spiritual psychology or non-duality would advise people to keep taking their psychiatric medications (and never suggest they could ever be off them): not only would he want to disclaim any medical knowledge, but he would not want to be liable legally. One could also argue that if someone believes it’s helping them, and it appears to help them be more mentally stable, that stability or relative mental quiet would be a first good step—for example to “hearing” something that helps them have an insight. But what I’ve observed with people is that psychiatric meds also cloud the mind and numb the feelings, and potentially affect the body in many, often undesirable ways.

The assumption, the worldview behind the psychiatric medicines is that we are made of matter, and our feelings, moods, perceptions and everything experienced is caused by this machinery of the brain, and that that machine is broken (and I perceive an element of moral judgement too in the psychiatric view, as well as a need to control and dominate: egoic qualities). So cause and effect are thought to rule, and the drugs are seen to supposedly modify the operation of the machinery in order to compensate for what’s missing: some neurotransmitter, some balance of chemicals. But in fact even at the level of appearances, studies have shown that anti-depressants—Prozac being the classic example (an SSRI or “Serotonin Re-uptake inhibitor)—are no better than, and sometimes worse than, placebos. This is a big embarrassment for the pharmaceutical industry and their “serotonin hypothesis”. In fact it’s their own studies that have shown this! So their own studies have shown that a neurotransmitter does not cause a mood.

That neurotransmitters aren’t the cause of our moods and feelings should be obvious to anyone who has actually closely observed their own experiences. How many times have you been walking around thinking some drug—let’s say too much coffee—or some situation in the world, such as a controlling husband or wife, was causing your mood or feelings, and then someone says something, or you have a beautiful conversation, or some insight pops into your head and your whole outlook suddenly changes, shifts into another feelings, a higher mood? A chemical or a person didn’t cause that. And neither can you trace it back to some cause that you can reliably reproduce in a linear fashion. Another conversation about the same topic with the same person may have no effect on your mood. There is no technique or machinery that can be derived, other than theories and hypotheses and assumptions. We are so trained and conditioned to think that if something happens, something is perceived or experienced, there must be a cause by something that it’s an effect of (some other thing, some previous cause). Even our language is structured that way: “some-thing made him happy”, “What made you depressed?” (meaning what thing, person, or situation caused your misery). People will ask “Why are you so happy today?” and want to know, and assume, the cause is some situation, person, or thing: you are having a love affair with a person, got a big raise, won a big contract, are high on a drug, got a new car, etc… or maybe you’re just crazy. Causeless happiness is not normally part of the lexicon.

Doesn’t it make you just a little suspicious that two different people, or even the same person at different times, can be happy or unhappy under exactly the same circumstances, or happy for no reason at all, other than existing? For example, a baby or small child can be exuberantly happy, bubbling with joy, just (I almost write “from”) running around, or playing with a rock, full of wonder, and expressing love to others.

There’s this view in spiritual circles and some wisdom teachings, that as an adult to find the Source and realize Awareness again, this constitutes a greater depth, a coming full circle to a more reflective or self-aware awareness. A “being aware of being aware” as one teacher puts it. So having transcended the healthy ego and the world of experiences and knowledge one had developed as a seemingly separate entity, I am reversing the movement to greater complexity and suffering, and going back to simplicity and peace, happiness.

There is credit to this view in the sense that the love one has to offer is qualitatively different than the love of a baby or child. A child’s happiness may brighten some moments when we encounter them, but a sage’s happiness, or even a happy adult who isn’t a sage, can potentially have an effect far greater. What is “transmitted” from a sage? There’ nothing going from one place to another … since cause and effect are nothing but an imposed concept, what is actually going on? It’s hard to say, because it doesn’t fit into how we normally talk, think, understand, and see the world. Freedom is totally outside any box. Since nothing is actually separate in reality—there are no separate entities anywhere in existence—it stands to reason that as I change, everything changes. Psychologically, perception covers all; spiritually, All covers All: I am part and not separate from All. So seeing clearly What Is, not polluting the world with further reactions that add to the false perception that constitutes the error of being a separate self, “I” add to freedom. It makes no rational sense, but there it is.

This is not solipsism—it’s not saying that everything is in my mind—it’s saying everything in reality, which is both what is experiencing and being experienced as one and the same, always now, the reality of which is hidden to the normal senses, is at peace and shining freely in the unknown, knowing itself only.

It starts to sound like gibberish or poetry to talk about ultimate things. But that’s the nature of the game. To even talk about it as a subject, topic, separate thing or imagine it, is ridiculous in a way, a cosmic joke… but what can we do as minds, inherently limited? We want clues and guideposts.

This begs the question however of what if any real inner development happens, or if there is an “evolution of consciousness”. The Absolute, or Universal Consciousness doesn’t do anything or go anywhere or change in itSelf, which is the totality. This topic is worthy of investigation. At minimum, assumptions can be operating that affect our intentions and aims. The path is open, but ambiguous. Or at least is appears as such.