Note: This satsang talk is copied from a transcript of Robert Adam's talks. The PDF of the complete collection of his talks is available from this link (as of 11/1/'18; right-click to download).
The audio for this talk (1991-10-24), recorded and transcribed by some students, is available as MP3 here.
A complete list of and all these satsang audios is at robert-adams.info here.
You Are No-Thing
October 24th, 1991
Robert: Good evening, good evening, good evening again.
S: Once again good evening. (laughs)
R: It's good to see you and be with you again. I welcome you with all my heart. When you come in here please leave all your problems outside at the door. You can pick them up on the way out. (laughter) They'll still be waiting for you. Leave all your troubles, your anxieties, your beliefs. Leave them all at the front door. Don't bring them in here.
In truth none of these things really affect you. You merely imagine, in your vain imaginings, that something may be wrong someplace, somewhere, somehow, and it's only the idea that the mind has of something being wrong, that causes it to be wrong, for, as most of you know by now, nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Mind causes all the problems, the I-thought. As you begin to work on yourself and you annihilate the mind, the I-thought, the ego, where is there a problem? Where is there a fear? Where is there an anxiety? It doesn't exist.
So, when I make my confession that I am choiceless, effortless, pure awareness, I am the Self, I am not speaking of Robert. I've shared this with you before but how we forget. When you see me as Robert, as a body, I am not choiceless pure awareness. Robert is not the Self. That's why my confession is "I-am choiceless, effortless awareness, I-am the Self." I'm not referring to Robert. I'm referring to I-am. I-am includes you. When I make that confession it is all-pervading. It is omnipresence itself. Everyone of you is I-am. The whole universe is I-am. So whenever I say "I am choiceless, effortless, pure awareness, I am the Self," always remember, I am not referring to Robert. I am referring to your true nature. This is the truth about you.
You are not your problems, or the anxieties, or the fears, and there is no use in trying to remove those things from your life. You're trying in vain since you're fighting an illusion. Rather you should think, "I-am. I-am choiceless, effortless pure awareness." Never think of your body at that time. Never believe that is your body. Your body has absolutely nothing to do with it. Your body, like the world, is an illusion. It just does not exist. But I-am does exist.
Please try to remember, when I use the word "I-am," I am referring to your true Self, your true nature. And just by voicing this truth it clears up the many misinterpretations that you have in your subconscious mind about who you are. It seems that no matter how many times I share this with you, you still believe that Robert is the body, and you're dealing with a body. You still believe that you are your body, and you're dealing with your body. But I tell you in truth that there is no body. There is no mind. There is no universe. There is only consciousness, the Self, and you are that. This takes a load off your mind, doesn't it? (laughter)
When you come to the conclusion that you are nothing don't you feel good? You're empty. There is nothing going on inside and there is nothing going on outside, there's no inside and there's no outside. Some of you still believe the body is a shell. What kind of a shell? Sea shell? Egg shell? (laughter) There is no body. There's nobody home. Why do you want to make believe you've got a body, and then give it all the attributes of catching a cold or a disease or feeling depressed or out of sorts? As you believe you are a body all these other things will attach themselves to you.
A body suffers from birth and death and all the rest of the junk in between. Is that what you are? If that's what you really were what would be the purpose of this? What kind of a God would create a body that becomes decrepit and dies? It doesn't make any sense if you think of it. Why would God, if you believe in God, that God created you, why would he create a being who was born as a baby, goes through all childhood competes in the world, fights for existence, for money, for wealth, for health, for power, for position, for name, for fame, and then drops dead? Of what value is this? And raises a family to do the same. It doesn't make any sense to me at all. But yet we're afraid to know the truth for we do not wish to believe that we do not exist. I didn't say you do not exist. I say do not exist as a body. But you do exist as nothing.
Nothing exists. Remember nothing simply means no thing. You are no thing that is known by your mind. Your mind cannot possibly comprehend the no thing. The mind has to believe that you are a body or it wouldn't be the mind. The mind has to believe that there is a universe, a God, a world, a body. That's all the play of your mind or the play of consciousness.
As long as you believe in this, in the play, you have to suffer. There are no two ways about it. There is no one on this earth who believes they are a body that does not suffer, somehow. Do not judge by appearances. As long as you believe there is a world, you are a body, you have to suffer one way or another. You have to suffer either mentally or physically. You go through all kinds of experiences. This is not a world of peace as you know.
You have to understand that you've been playing all these games for many, many incarnations, and you now wish to wake up. Just by reflecting on these things we're sharing with you tonight will awaken you. Just by reflecting on these truths, realizing the truth about yourself. You were never born. No one ever gave you birth. You have always existed but not as a body. There is absolutely nothing to fear. There's absolutely nothing to desire. There's absolutely nothing to do.
It seems strange to me, again, that people think they are the doer, and they are always looking for something to do. They think if they don't find something to do people will call them lazy, and a do nothing. If your real nature is nothing what can nothing possibly do? Nothing. (laughter) Why do you believe you've got to do something? To do something you have to be somebody, but to do nothing you have to be nobody. So what would you rather be, somebody or nobody?
If you're somebody you get involved in the world, in the play, in the maya, and you go through all these experiences as somebody. You may be somebody important or somebody of little value. You may be the President of the United States or a homeless person. But you're still somebody. But if you realize that you're nobody then you can sit in peace and have no desires. You do not have to wonder if you're going to go to work tomorrow, or of you're going to feel good tomorrow, or if you're going to find a job, or get married, or not get married. A nobody never thinks of these things, a somebody does.
When you are a nobody all these things will take care of themselves. They will actually take care of themselves. If you're supposed to be married and have 25 children you will. If you're supposed to have 25 wives and have no children, you will, or husbands, or whatever you want. But it's so beautiful to realize that you are nobody and be able to sit in a chair and the whole universe is under your command. You are no longer a puppet being manipulated by the strings of life. You have realized the phoniness, the nonsense of everything. Everything has become nonsensical and you just rest in peace.
Usually the term "rest in peace" means you're dead. You are dead. You are dead to the body. It's funny how you give the right terms to the wrong situations. You actually do rest in peace and you are dead to the body.
You have no desire to go anywhere, or to do anything, to live any one place. Yet remember also it does not mean that you're going to stay, necessarily, in one place. Whatever has to happen will happen. You may find yourself going to Japan or to Timbuktu, or anywhere, but it has nothing to do with you. You are at peace. You have a quiet mind. It doesn't function. The mind has become the Self. You are free.
But yet to others it appears as if you're acting because you appear normal and go through experiences like everybody else. But you realize the truth. You're doing absolutely nothing. The observer may see you working, chopping wood, drinking wine, building houses, yet you're doing nothing. This sounds strange. It sounds like a contradiction, but it's not really.
When you discover you are the Self, remember the Self is all- pervading. Absolute reality is omnipresence. Therefore everything is taking place within you. All the so-called actions of the universe are taking place within you because you are self-contained consciousness. That's why there's nothing you can really do, as self-contained consciousness, for you occupy every space, every atom, every universe, and you permeate what appears to be creation. There's nowhere for you to go because there's no room. There's nothing else. There's no space. Space is only for the body, the mind. But when you discover that you're pure awareness there is no space. You encompass all in all. This is the reason why there's nowhere to go and there's nothing to do.
It's like you're a gigantic screen that takes up the entire universe, it is the universe, that takes up all of space. Yet forms appear on the screen. The forms appear on the screen and there's a lot of space between them. The forms appear to be going places, doing things, working, being born and dying, but you are that eternal screen, unflinching, immovable, sat-chit-ananda, parabrahman, and the whole play of consciousness is taking place on the screen, all within yourself. There's no place for the screen to go because it already takes up all the space there is. The only movement there is, is in the images on the screen. But the screen itself has no room where to go, what to do. It just is as it is. That's the way it is. Your true nature is absolute reality, the screen.
There's nothing you have to do when you understand that you are omnipresence. There's no room for karma, or for sins, or for anything else.
The game is being played by the beings who are projected on the screen. They're going through karma because they have a lot of space. They can go through all kinds of things if there's space. They're going through different experiences of birth and death, of happy and sad, of healthy and sick, of poverty and riches. The images are going through these things. Then they die and they appear to be born again in different lives, and the game continues forever.
But you are consciousness, you are the screen, and you remain the same, always. There never was a time when you were different. There never will be a time when you change. Consciousness is consciousness. The Self is the Self. It has no manifestations, no attributes. It just is. That is your true nature.
The question therefore is, "What have you been thinking about yourself? What do you believe you are?" And you can tell by the way you look at yourself, how you address yourself, what you imagine you are. Most people get up in the morning believing they're a body, and right away their mind is filled with their personal problems. They go through the day trying to solve problems, and thinking of ways they can enjoy themselves. There's no end to it. But for the self-realized being there's no one who sleeps, there's no one who wakes, there's no one who does anything and there's no one who does not do anything. There is absolutely nothing going on.
Now can you see the truth about yourself? The more you fear, the more you worry, the more you fret, the more you desire, the more you think you've got to make the world turn the way you want it to turn, the greater the delusion and you're pulled deeper and deeper and deeper into the mire of delusion. It becomes difficult to awaken.
You somehow have to grab the bull by the horns. That's another cliches that I can't stand, grab the bull by the horns. Who'd want to grab a bull by the horns?
S: Who's the bull? R: It's all a bunch of bull. (laughter) S: There you go.
R: But you have to catch yourself. Can you catch yourself? You've got to do something to yourself. You have to see what you've been doing all these years, how you've been thinking of yourself, what you've been thinking about yourself, what you are.
This is why it is written in all the great spiritual manuals - like auto manuals, they've got spiritual manuals - where it tells you that unless you are mature spiritually you can never really understand this. It looks like a bunch of ludicrous sayings. "I am the Self. I am consciousness. I am pure awareness. I am not the body. I am not the mind." It sounds totally ludicrous to the average person, for the collective unconscious is so strong. The collective unconscious is another name for maya. It appears to be strong and it pulls you in very deeply. The more you identify with it, the greater the pull. And you identify with it when you feel sorry for yourself, when you believe something is wrong with you, when you have wants and needs, when you're human.
You do not want to be human. Simply because a human being goes through all the nonsense of the world. A human being has to experience all of the worldly conditions that all the other human beings experience. Therefore you do not want to be human. You want to be inhuman. You want people to tell you you're not human. When you can see that you're not human, that's when you'll begin to bloom, and you'll realize happiness you never knew before.
Do not read the newspapers, or listen to the TV too much, or go along with all the news that's going on in the world. That's for human beings. Be yourself. You are self-contained. If you have eternal happiness what in this world can give you something better than that? All you really have to do is to realize that you are eternal happiness. You cannot get eternal happiness from anything in the world, or from anyone. Eternal happiness is your true nature. You are that. You do not have to acquire it, or look for it, or find it, or beg for it or pray for it. Eternal happiness is what you really are. But that only comes when you let go of your morbidity, when you let go of all your nonsense, your fears, your foolishness, preconceived ideas, judgments. You have to empty yourself out. When you empty yourself out you become filled with consciousness.
Consciousness is like air, like the air you breathe. When you dig a hole in the ground it's filled with air, with space. When you fill up the hole where did the air or the space go? The space didn't go anywhere. It always existed the way it is. You can either fill it up with dirt or leave the hole as it is, and the same space always remains.
So it is with consciousness. You may appear to be a person taking up space. You may appear to be a body, a being that's roaming around the globe. But your true nature is consciousness. If the body falls away that's like an empty hole. If you appear to have the body, that's like you fill up the hole with dirt. The space or consciousness is still there, but it appears to be occupied by a body or by dirt.
Remember the body is composed of all the elements that are found in the ground. You come from dirt. You're dirty. Take a shower. (laughter) You're nothing but a piece of dirt. That's your true self, a piece of dirt. As long as you believe you are the body you're a piece of dirt, because all the elements of your body can be found in the earth.
So you have to wake up. Why don't you do that right now? Wake up!
Leave the body alone. It will take care of itself. After all you never asked to have a body. It just appeared. In the same way it appeared, in that same way it will be taken care of. Do not worry about it. And do not think you are the doer and you have to keep doing things every day. You may appear to do things but remember you are not the doer. You are nothing. Can you imagine yourself as nothing, where there's no God, and no universe, and no world, no people, no body, no mind? Sounds scary, doesn't it? But it's not. The reason it sounds scary to you is because you have identified with your body for such a long time. And when I say a long time, I'm speaking of many lifetimes. You are enmeshed in the belief of a body.
You therefore begin to work on yourself. You practice self-inquiry, if you must. You practice various sadhanas, if you must. You do whatever you have to do to get rid of the notion that you are the body. You only do these things if you will not wake up when I tell you to wake up. If you refuse to awaken by still believing you are your pains, and your aches, and your greed, and your thoughts, and everything else that you think you're made out of, that means you refuse to awaken. Something within you wants to keep playing the game.
Therefore you're going in the other direction and practice sadhana, spiritual practices, to weaken the mind, to weaken the thought that I am the body, to weaken the ego by realizing that I, the I you've been calling yourself all these years, is only a thought. It is the I-thought. And the I-thought has to have a source. It cannot appear by itself. You therefore follow the I-thought to it's source by inquiring, "To whom does this come?" or "Who am I?" or "What is the source of this I?" You never answer that question. You simply inquire.
As you continue practicing this method the day will come when you will finally go deep deep within, deeper than you've ever gone before, and your body will just disappear. Yet to everyone else in the world they will see you as a body. But you will be totally free and happy. No thoughts, no fears, no preconceived ideas. Everything will be wiped out.
You have to vehemently make up your mind what you're going to do with your life that you've got left in this phase of existence. What are you really going to do with your life for the rest of your days on this earth? Is it worthwhile striving for things, trying to make yourself happy in the material world, when you're beginning to realize that the relative world doesn't even exist?
Go after the things that count. That is, go deep, deep within yourself. Dive deeper than you've ever done before. Make up your mind that this is it. Strive after truth. It will come effortlessly. And sooner than you know it you will awaken and become free.
Feel free to ask questions.
S: I had a nice experience Robert. Somebody gave a me tape of a talk by Mr Ganeshan, the editor of the mountain path and grand nephew of Maharshi he was here this fall. And in it he had a number of fascinating anecdotes where he said that often times Maharshi would say, "There are no jnani's there is only jnana, and also there are no realized soul there is only realization." (R: Umm.) These put things in a nutshell.
R: This is true. That's what I was talking about tonight. There is no individual realizer there is just realization, just the Self. The Self is all- pervading. It is not myself or yourself it is the Self, omnipresence. So that is true what you're saying. How has that helped you?
S: I think I have an intellectual understanding but I haven't gone over to that other state or at least I'm not conscious of it, no doubt the actual reality. But it won't be in the mind in any case. No use to fret about it.
R: Right, just be yourself. You're doing well.
S: Did you know Ganeshan? He seems like a wonderful guy.
R: Yes I met him a couple of times. He is a very nice chap.
S: His talk is just enlightening. (R: Excuse me?) His talk was just enlightening. It was in San Diego.
R: Yes, yes. (pause) The cat got your tongue? That is another one of those cliches. (laughter) I always come up with these crazy cliches. The cat's got your tongue.
S: The expression when somebody dies, "He gives up the ghost," but actually it's the other way round. (laughter)
R: It should be reversed. S: Is that not so? R: Sure, yes. The ghost gives up the body.
S: The bible says you don't have to pay a 100% of ...tape break... because that's where it's at?
R: Is that what it says in the bible? (laughter) S: That's your interpretation. That's a new one. R: What bible have you been reading Fred? S: The bible according to Fred. S: It's there somewhere. R: Sounds good anyway. Have you ever seen a holy ghost? S: If I saw him it would be a mental concept and therefore unreal. (silence) R: No more question hey? What can this mean? S: We're speechless. R: You finally reduced us all to silence. (laughter) R: Where are all your questions? S: Search me. R: You're saving it for Sunday. Put it in the collection basket.
S: Robert I read something years ago in books I had read where it said, you're part of a greater being, which is part of a greater being and that is part of greater being. That doesn't really apply to anything or an analogy?
R: It depends what part you want to be. (laughter)
S: It sounds redundant.
R: I suppose they are referring to the fact that everything comes from God. So everything is a part of everything else on the human level.
S: I read this many years ago and it kind of stuck in my head and I often follow that once in a while.
S: Give your head a jerk. (laughter)
S: What? (laughs)
S: Jerk your head. (laughs)
R: Off with the head.
S: Yes, definitely. Well you wanted a question and so I thought I'd throw that in. (laughter)
S: Several session ago somebody asked you if Christ was an Avatar and you said ask him. And I think you hurt the guys feelings...
R: Wasn't it you?
S: No it was another guy. (students laugh) No I think I have it straight see. What you meant was that each of us must decide for ourselves whether he is an Avatar or not, not to go on outside authority, even yours?
R: Of course.
S: I mean I thought I had it right, I mean intellectually anyway.
S: Robert there is a group that has some prophets and the people call the prophets Avatars. So there is probably about 425 Avatars fooling around there. There is an actual organization like that.
R: You mean they initiate you as an Avatar?
S: Yeah I used to be in scientology and then it all started and you had to experience it and then you go through the experiences and then you go through the processes and when you're finished you're an Avatar. The only that seems to me is that they have more ego's than before. (laughs)
R: Do you get a certificate. (students laugh) S: Probably. S: Robert the Avatar. S: It cost two thousand bucks.
S: Yeah that's about right, yes.
S: It's funny when I read these stories in the magazine they have. Every story is I this, I that, I other. (R: Umm.) Seems to be more I than before.
S: Is it preordained when one awakens Robert? R: Everything is preordained. S: What was the question, I'm sorry? S: I said is it preordained when one awakens?
R: Yet it appears sometimes as if it's not. We have to appear to make the effort and even making the effort is preordained. We have to go through that kind of a routine.
S: And so that is when you say that everything is unfolding as it should? (R: Yes.) These routines that we go through are preordained?
R: Yes. Everything was planned before you came into your so- called body. But when you realize that you are not the body it all becomes redundant.
S: What do you mean redundant?
R: I mean it's unnecessary. Nobody was ever preordained. Nothing was ever preordained because after all who made that law. Who said that everything was going to be preordained. And the answer to that is God. And God only exists because you believe that you are the body. Therefore when you realize that you are not the body. It all becomes redundant.
S: Preordination is only relative?
S: So it's an illusion of being the separate self. S: So is reincarnation?
R: So is reincarnation, yes. It's all because you believe that you are a body. See what you've done to yourself. Why do you want to hurt yourself like that and go through all these things you're going through. Reincarnation, karma, God punishing you. All the things you do to yourself.
S: Why does that occur at all? (laughter) You should know better.
R: You know the answer to that. Why does water occur in the mirage?
S: I don't know?
R: It doesn't.
S: It appears to?
R: It appears to but when you investigate it, it's not there. (S: Yeah.) So when you investigate yourself you will find that you do not exist as a body. (S: Okay.) And therefore nothing else exists. So it does not occur.
S: The whole thing is a non-occurrence.
S: So that settles that, that doesn't exist.
S: It's not even there to even begin to be an appearance.
S: Oh well.
S: Summary, wiping out of the universe. (turns to dog) Tofu are you listening to this? He just wags his tail.
S: Robert where did those sounds come from a little while ago?
R: What sounds?
S: The single tone twice I heard it earlier and now about five minutes ago. Did anybody hear that sound? Nobody heard it?
S: Yes, yes.
R: Ghosts, the holy ghost. (students laugh)
(students are talking amongst themselves)
R: Sounds, lights, visions they're all the same. They all have to do with your body.
Well let's eat. (students laugh) Boy this looks good.