Notes On Personal and Impersonal Love

Love of a person is not love, it is a projection onto an appearance.

There is no person in reality – no person or persons – so love of a person is love of an illusion.

Yet behind that illusion is reality – the reality of the true Self. So the love is both real and unreal. If e are aware of this, here it is coming from, it can help keep us out of trouble.

Love of an illusion a projection and temporary. An illusion by nature is something that comes and goes and had no substantial reality.

If you have an image of a person in your mind, is that the person? The image is constantly shifting, fading in and out, morphing. When you see the person, they are always looking different, depending on endless factors. So both the appearance when you meet them and the appearance in your imagination are changing all the time.

How can you know them or know their true nature by this appearance?

If a human being were an object like other objects, treating them as such would be unproblematic. But we are of two natures: objective and non-objective. Likewise, one cannot treat or think of oneself as an object, for who or what is perceiving the object?

There is a sense in which life is both real and unreal. We must come to grip with this. It’s a mistake to see it as just one or the other. It would be delusional to say life is totally unreal. Obviously, we are having an experience. The experience is real. At least we know that for certain! Even if this were a dream, it is a real dream: there is a reality to even a dream, in that there is an experiencer experiencing it. There is a someone or something having the dream. There is a dreamer.

However we would not want to say the persons, places and objects of the dream are real. If someone in the dream gives us a diamond, and we place it in our pocket, we do not wake up with a diamond in our pocket, unless that diamond already happened to be there by coincidence.

Likewise, we meet a person, talk to them, encounter them, have an experience of them: it would not be entirely true to say they are a complete illusion. Nor would it be entirely true to say are absolutely real, when we have no idea what that means. Even if we were some super scientist with a mind like a god that could divine the state of every quantum wave in their body, and read their encephalogram, would that be their real nature: quantum states in a space? Or the sum of their conditioning and genetics playing out in the moment? Is that what’s “real”? Or is what’s real the sound of their voice, the appearance of their body and movement, gestures and the complete impressions and feeling you get? How much of that is your subjective projection and interpretation. How much is an idea you have of the person from previous encounters: in other words memories of opinions, thoughts, evaluations, concepts, summaries, judgements etc., *about* them. Is that them? Do you see where this line of inquiry is going? You have no objective basis of knowing someone.

And what is a person? Is it a body (there are bodies in morgues), a name, a profession, a place they live, where they have been or where they are going in time and space? A family (living or dead? how distant a relative?), a set of friends (current? what is a “friend”?), a set of posessions, constantly changing, a bank account and a paper record, a education and a set of clothes, a thousand other things… we could say it’s a sum of that, but if you put all that together there is still no living separate entity called a person, and no unhanging substantial reality. It is all concepts, without Life…

This is the outward form of applying the same process of investigating ourselves, and finding there is no unchanging thing, other than the experiencer – whatever that is – so we see that other’s nature must be the same. This opens the possibility of meeting in un-knowing.

Love for the other is love for the Self, in disguise. In other words, it’s hidden form of only one true love, which is Love itself, the un-manifested Being-ness of time, timeless…

What is Nonduality?

Nonduality is the cutting edge.

It is the cutting edge of spiritual seeking — the end of it; it is the cutting edge of creativity – the source of it… and it is the cutting edge of society: where “thought leaders” hang out (in unknowing).

So strap in and take a ride in nonduality, in this article and blog.

One day, after a satsang, a friend asked me at lunch, “So what is nonduality?” The satsang — a meditation and dialogue — was with the (unorthodox) spiritual teacher Francis Lucille. I just gave a basic, dictionary definition. Later it occurred to me she might have been asking more; after all, it was her first time there, and she may not have been able to absorb much, given her stress level and the seeming complexity of the questions and answers.

I’d merely said, somewhat glibly, and not wanting to overthink it, that nonduality means “not two,” and that we normally see things as duality: up/down, right/wrong, good/bad. I said nonduality is pointing to the underlying reality that is Consciousness.

What follows is what I wish I’d said, and so I wrote this for her and for others who might appreciate it.

Nonduality is about recognizing who, or rather, what you are: not an object.

It’s about having the courage to stand alone, but knowing that in the aloneness is true unity with everything and everyone. There are no “others,” really. It’s having the courage to question, see through and drop the societal or personal beliefs and demands that we’ve taken on, and living according one’s inner truth, the quieter sense within.

It’s about seeing and feeling only what is actually present in the moment: bodily sensations, thoughts, images — and knowing that really, it’s all that is happening.

We become aware of what is not present — what is not now — such as when we project into the future or past mentally, or think and act from habit. We realize it’s not us, but rather the false self, the illusion.

It’s about accepting the illusion, that those thoughts and feelings are lies in a sense, and being OK with it.

It’s about recognizing perceived limits and realizing they are not real, but only projections and beliefs.

Ultimately, once “what is” is glimpsed, even human thought, activity and all the illusions are what Is. Life is both real and unreal.

It’s about happiness — it’s about recognizing more and more often, on this crazy path, that life is not serious. It’s an adventure. It’s to be celebrated.

It’s about spiritual maturity.

It’s about going directly to who and what we are: a self-aware, awake, real experiencer, rather than searching endlessly and indirectly through practices like meditation. It’s pointing to the pathless path.

It’s about that which is timeless and always present, but at times seems invisible: Love, Truth, Beauty, evidence of a deeper universal intelligence.

It’s about dying to the false and unreal, surrendering the superficial and realizing the extraordinary: a spark of the infinite.

It’s about our fundamental nature and the extraordinary paradox — that it can seem very hard to just be what we already are: effortless, infinite, boundless consciousness.

It’s about seeing what not to trust — the beliefs we assumed about ourselves and the world — and trusting Life. Trusting that behind the appearances all is perfect and unfolding as it should. That all is well.

It’s about realizing how small and insignificant one is as a body-mind, and accepting a humility towards the unfathomable power and mystery of what Is.

It’s about seeing what is transitory, fleeting, changing: all the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experiences of the world, every thing in the world, all relationships and anything that we call human life, and finding what doesn’t change, what is immutably present and Real.

Its about waking up from the dream: the dream of being a body, a human being, a world, an actor on a stage, a doer and changer.

It’s about Being, not doing.

It’s not about any thing. It’s about no thing.

It’s about realizing there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. Though life goes on for the body and the mind ¬— and doing and thinking happen — it’s about responding rather than reacting, being in harmony. It’s about seeing desire for what it is: a belief in lack because one believes or feels one is separate.

It’s about the paradox: here we are, trying to perfect the nature of Love, though it’s already perfect. It’s about growth and evolving the conscious experience of life.

It’s about setting aside the noise of the world, looking within, discovering, uncovering, though grace: the seemingly undeserved, unexpected, perfectly timed divine moment.

It’s about going beyond all our small selves, giving and being of service, in the transcendent joy and love of Being.

It’s about letting freedom and simplicity run your life. Living inside-out instead of outside-in.

It’s about realizing nothing is separate.

Beware of the Spiritual Path: It’s Not About *You*

The “spiritual path”, though it is about happiness – causeless, innate, not from objects (situations, people or things) – is not about feeling good all the time, while you are on it, because it’s about seeing oneself from a true and honest perspective, which can be shocking or not comfortable at moments… and it’s not even about changing something or fixing something, it’s about surrendering who you are, or rather think you are.

By nature we do not know what we are getting into: the Unknown. You get deep into it and you realize you’re on a ticket with no return trip except to go back to your old self – in other words stay stuck on the old flight or jump out the door! Then why do it? For the ego, there is no-thing to be gained. There’s nothing in it for the little, limited “me” — the image I have of who I am — unless I want to gain a spiritual ego. Pride. Pretension. Pretending. That’s a dead end too. A cul de sac, leading to the same: ups and downs, happy/not happy, problems, solutions, setbacks, progress, delusion, enlightening moments, pain, pleasure… duality in other words.

If we see someone, or meet someone we don’t like, or some situation that irritates us, or makes us angry, remember: they are you, and it is you. They are literally you, projected from your mind, reflecting what you don’t want to see. The plank in your eye, as it says somewhere in an old wise book… And that situation is you: you give everything all the meaning it has. That is an absolutely comprehensive statement. Sorry for the bad news! But it’s good news in reality. All is well and unfolding as it should.

The body is involved too. It’s not just the mind that is in the spotlight. If you were living from the mind, and that starts letting go, the body gets involved, in the play of life (will update you n this “revelation” when I can).

I’m always a beginner at this…

The good news is that, at some point, someone can swap out the old “Life’s a Bitch, Then You Die” bumper sticker with, “Life Is Fun And You Never Die”!

Laugh a lot…!

The Final Frontier Is The True Self

Joy arises, and astonishment, spontaneous freedom… then you discover you got more than you bargained for, or rather, less than you bargained for! You thought you could take “you” with you, be a new and improved self, get recognition, love, real love for being enlightened, wise… but here now, having to face the fact there’s no luggage allowed on this flight. Not even the clothes on your back.

And even though you’re being served champagne on this airline, it turns out you’re invited to sky dive without a parachute.

But you know in you’re heart it’s OK, there’s nothing real to hit. But the illusion sees illusions.

Have fun on the fall …

If someone were to ask me, “How are you Eric?” I would say, or could say, “However you are, is how I am.” with conviction, because whether it’s from the mind or from the self, it’s true: they are seeing themselves, and I am seeing myself.

So as one of my wonderful teachers – Laura Lucille – has said, “no one can help you”. Meaning, in absolute terms, especially on that final mile, that ultimate jump. You have to step off that plane yourself and fly through the air yourself. The baby hawk has to step off the branch and actually fly for itself. And thank God for that, since as long as there are persons to help that need help, and helpers, you’re helpless.

You don’t need anyone because you literally are everyone, and whatever you need will come along, in perfect synchrony with true need, love, Consciousness, or life, however you want to say it, saying, “I am here. Have no fear, I am near. Nearer than near, I am you, already.” It’s pre-destined.

And also true, the body does what it does, but it’s not a problem, because it’s just happening, whatever it is, now, and takes care of itself, through whatever means necessary now, including using these arms and brain and eyes and legs… it’s very intelligent. Or using other people, who are not really others. Funny how that works.

Everyone wants to be special. And everyone is, but only as themselves, the same as everyone, canceling out a special specialness above any other specialness. I’m being treated very well, or ignored, or even spurned, “rejected”, in my mind at least.

But what is exposed is this investment, an unwise investment. And the more unwise the investment, the greater the pain perceived when the inevitable loss is perceived to occur. As another teacher once said – George Pransky – pain is a measure of ego, of who you are not, and are trying to be – that which is of true value can never be lost or gained. Gain or loss are ideas predicated on a game of desire and fear.

My teachers were telling me all this all along, but I wasn’t hearing it, or rather able to really take it in, see it as fact, with the “filters” of the mind guarding, holding court, holding out, safety straps in the face of the unknown…

The Direct Path: What It Isn’t and Is

It’s not about a mental state; it’s the clarity of seeing What Is. Since there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do, a description is offered.

It’s not about psychology: the absolute subject is eternally free from psychological activity.

It’s not about experiences, it’s about the one experiencer that exists.

It’s not about being spiritual, it’s being natural, open and accepting of what is real.

It’s not about knowledge of the known, it’s about living knowing the knowingness of the Unknown.

It’s not about becoming enlightened, it’s dissolving the illusion of there being someone to enlighten.

It’s not about gaining anything, it’s life in it’s natural rhythm refreshed, cleared by stillness.

It isn’t a serious undertaking; it stands alone: an earnest cosmic lark masquerading as you and a world.

It isn’t about love, it’s Love itself: infinite and ungraspable.

It isn’t about changing anything, it’s about uncovering what’s changeless.

It isn’t about peeling away layers to uncover a true self, it’s selflessly surrendering a will that never existed.

It’s not about making a better movie, it’s seeing that it’s a movie and enjoying it all the same.

It’s not about finding a balance, it’s letting go of the branch, finding your wings flying free.

It’s not about togetherness or community, it’s standing alone in the family of the Unknown.

It’s not about anything, it’s no-thing writing this and reading this now.

Poem: My Head Is Gone

img_5437_fly-free__cropped_1200

My Head Is Gone

Went home and discovered
My Home is everywhere
Sand blasted through time
My foot is a radio
Picking an Infinite line
Zero definition
But so sublime
Quiet body, Quiet mind …
Love is an Atheist
Utterly blind
To conditions
Right left forward or behind
Scriptures flow fast away like rain
God only knows
I have no brain
Images lightly seen
Space creating
An empty happy peace
No need you see
Self existing
Timeless
Free

 

 

The Paradoxes Along the Path

(Click here to jump down to the list of paradoxes)

There are many paradoxes one encounters, or should I say can “glimpse”, along the path towards knowing one’s true nature. As you notice how your experience is formed and get clues it’s not just given by outside events, you start to detect that there’s something rather subtle and and amazing going on behind it all: like getting a glimpse behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. Or the physicist trying to pin down a particle with his instruments, and the particle not behaving as a particle or a wave, but both, depending on how he looks at it.

Unlike the Wizard of Oz situation however — instead of finding out it’s all just a show run by a particular showman — it’s a show run by… something rather hard to define: Some show-making source we could call “Consciousness” or the formless. That reality, whatever it is, that is reading these words right now. The perceiver of perceptions. The Perceiver-in-Chief as it were.

In these intimations of reality behind and beyond perceptions, to the source and ultimate substance that is not a substance but the formless, we start to see many paradoxes: seeming contradictions that belie an underlying unity.

The word “paradox” comes from the roots “para” meaning “around”, “outside”, “along”, or “outside of”, and “dox” meaning “belief” or “opinion”.

A paradox is understood to be two things that are seemingly contradictory yet at another level actually being both true at the same time.

Why are there so many seeming paradoxes in spiritual truths?

The short answer is, Reality is One, but the mind deals in duality.

The longer answer is, Reality, in order to see itself, creates a not-self. Sort of like an invisible magician of infinite power existing in a universe of pure potential of it’s own making, gets bored and decides to see if he can see what he looks like. So beings come into existence, but for something to appear as if it’s separate, there has to be distance, thus space, and that implies time to traverse space if you are a aprt of it and not the whole thing.

Reality, that absolute one-ness, in order play the game of life, that is, have an apparent universe, time and space, an apparent separate self, and therefore a non-self, and endless objects of consciousness, must have duality for there to appear to be anything. So a point of view arises we call ourselves. It seems to have some kind of linear existence, and makes language to help put thoughts in forms for seeming others. So of course language is linear, but nonetheless can evoke the nonlinear. (That’s why we have poets and artists: the perfume of the absolute, if you will: truth love and beauty are qualities of what Is).

Remember the very first stanza of the Tao Te Ching (one of the greatest, most timeless wisdom teachings in existence):

One

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

(Source: The Complete Tao Te Ching
Translated by Gia-Fu Feng (馮家福 Feng Jia-fu, 1919–1985) and Jane English (1942–)
Vintage Books, 1989)

Like subatomic particles springing forth as opposites from nothing (which has been observed by physicists: it’s called Quantum Vacuum Energy), the play of opposites is what at every moment is creating an apparent world. To go from nonlinear, unchanging reality to linear appearances, you need differences, measurements, change, up and down, light and dark, negative and positive, near and far. Movement.

Love has no opposite, but in world there appears love and hate. In the world there is flux and the rising and falling of all things.

A sage knows there are no-things and that he or she is no-thing.

At moments an ordinary mortal can get a glimpse that unifies the opposite: a sense of something insensible and invisible, that shows truths that transcend opposites. But since these glimpses are timeless, and the mind deals in time, it cannot hold on to them, except as images, sounds, or feelings in consciousness.

A Side Note on the Paradoxes of Liberation, Self-Realization, Freedom, the Direct Path:

Yes, it’s all very paradoxical. To the mind. Because what we are dealing with is doing something that can’t be done, with a person that is not a person, wanting a state that isn’t a state, wanting something for a being that has it all because they are it all, loving when there is not a lover and a loved but only one love, desiring a thing when there are no things, seeking when you are the sought… shall I go on? How about:
Feeling a failure at something that takes one beyond success and failure, making so many mistakes when there are no mistakes, feeling flawed and wrong for feeling flawed and wrong, wanting to use the head to get out of the head.
Does the universe have self-esteem problem? The artist wants beauty and perfection, but physical life comes up short.
Going beyond the body, realizing one is not a body, (seemingly) via the body.

Yet we are all, at the same time, unique expressions of what is ultimately just One, appearing as infinite variety and diversity. Difference in unity.

In any case, I thought it would be interesting to start listing (I like lists) some of the paradoxes my mind spit out along the “pathless path” (the direct path).

From the perspective of a self, or a person, a seeming psychological entity, one may notice these paradoxes of unfoldment into truth:

A Growing List of Paradoxes


Trying to Relax; Trying to be Yourself; The Seeker is the Sought

• You’ve probably laughed at this paradox: “trying” to relax.
• And the mental state of meditation offers another seeming paradox: Don’t focus or make an effort – just relax the attention to allow a de-focused state. This state is natural and pre-existing.
• And the likewise funny paradox of the time it takes, or rather think it takes, assume it takes, believes it takes, to realize one’s true nature: if you go to enough retreats, meditate long enough, spend enough time and effort in practice and seeking, through time you will realize the timelessness of yourself (what is). It was all a charade. You can throw away the scaffolding you needed to get where you already are.
• Causeless happiness will be caused by doing stuff (such as meditation, loving your guru…).
• Seeking is what is keeping you from finding what you are seeking. Your best, truest, highest self is when you stop stop seeking your best, truest, highest self (so don’t hold on to anything, and surrender what didn’t exist in the first place to God).
• By losing yourself you find yourself.
• All the effort it takes to realize effortlessness – effortless awareness, effortless doing, effortless manifesting and effortless enjoying… how exhausting!

Change & The Timeless
Your evolution and change are grounded in the timeless and unchanging.

In Realizing Your Subjectivity You Become More Objective
It points to the most subjective thing – the self-created nature of our experience – yet allows you to be more objective.

Effortless Learning and Creativity
It’s easier to grasp or learn if you don’t try too hard. When you relax, you can get an “Aha!” moment, and see a self-evident truth in an instant.

Change & Acceptance
To change something about yourself, you have to stop trying to change it. This is called acceptance.
The only way to change anyone around you is to realize it doesn’t matter if they change or not. This is called acceptance of others.

Results from Detachment
The less results matter to us, the more likely we are to live in the present and create them. This is called detachment.

The Unknown is Pointed to With The Known
Talking about the Unknown can only happen via the known. At the highest level, this is called mysticism.

To Give is to Receive
The more we give up the more we get. The more we give the more we receive. You are giving to your Self (there are no others).

The Vehicle is not the Journey
You are ultimately responsible for your thinking but not Thought itself. This is called the personal and the Impersonal.

Your self is and is not the Self
You find yourself when you no longer know who you are. This is called the True Self.

Suffering is Voluntary (if you only Knew It) – We Don’t Want What We Want
To try and end your suffering, don’t try and end suffering. Don’t give it a Second thought. This is called Letting Go.

Real Illusion
Thought is not Reality. Yet it is the only reality most of us know. This is called the Great Illusion: everything is made of Conscisouness (or Mind if you like), so even illusion has reality. Our experience is a real illusion.

Free Will is Fate
An act of free will is fated. It is fate for you to have free will. Get over it.

Perfect Imperfection
Even in the seeming imperfection of life and ourselves, there is the grand play of the whole, which is perfect, infinite, and complete. This experience is called being human.

An enlightened person knows there are no enlightened persons
(That is enlightenment! Even though there is no such thing, HAHAHAHAHA…).

Paradoxes are not until they are
The paradox about paradoxes is that they aren’t paradoxes until they are: unless one is seeing from a perspective that shows how a particular paradox is a paradox, it doesn’t appear to be a paradox, it just sounds like a contradiction. So a paradox is both paradoxical and not paradoxical at the same time.

There are many, many more… these were just what I thought of when I wrote this.

The great Western philosopher Immanual Kant presented what be termed “Antinomies”: timeless opposites that can’t be avoided when trying to understand the absolute in terms of the relative, time in terms of the timeless, etc.
“Immanuel Kant’s Antinomies, from the Critique of Pure Reason, are contradictions which he believed follow necessarily from our attempts to conceive the nature of transcendent reality.” (Wikipedia)