Non-Duality or Enlightenment:
As written by Rupert Spira there is one fundamental presumption upon which our world culture is founded. This basic presumption states that experience is divided into two essential elements – a subject & an object – joined together by an act of knowing, feeling or perceiving. This gives rise to the familiar formulations of experience such as, “I know such & such,” “I feel sad,” “I perceive the tree.” In this way, experience is believed & felt to consist of a knower & a known, a feeler & a felt, a perceiver & a perceived. In each case, a subject knows, feels or perceives an object.
The subject & object are two inseparable aspects of the same belief – the belief in separation or duality. Mystics tend to explore the subject while scientists & artists tend to explore the object or world. However, being inseparable aspects of the same belief, the investigation of either will suffice for an understanding of the true nature of experience.
The discovery that I am not made out of an object of the mind or body relieves us of the belief that our essential nature shares their limits or destiny. Our only knowledge of a mind or body is thoughts, feelings, sensations & perceptions. All these are limited and they all appear & disappear. However, I, the one that knows them or is aware of them, do not share their limits nor do I appear and disappear with them.
If we stay close to our experience – and in most cases, it requires some investigation to discern between what is actually experienced & what is merely believed – we discover that our own being has no knowledge of any limit within itself nor does it have any experience of itself appearing or disappearing. That is, our own being knows itself to be without finite limits (infinite) and ever-present, without birth or death (eternal). The revelation of the infinite a& eternal nature of our self is not a new experience or discovery. It is simply the recognition of our ever-present & unlimited being – its recognition of itself – as it truly is. It cannot be found because it has never really been lost. It can only be apparently overlooked or forgotten.
Later we will see that the true & only self of Awareness never truly overlooks or forgets itself, therefore never truly finds or remembers itself. The entire drama of forgetting & remembering, losing or finding, bondage & liberation is for the imaginary separate self it takes place in a bubble of thinking & feeling, whilst all the while Awareness is at rest in itself enjoying the peace, happiness & freedom of its own ever-present unlimited nature.
With this apparent veiling of the true & only self of Awareness, a separate, limited self seems to come into existence, just as a real landscape seems to come into existence when the screen is overlooked. With the apparent veiling of our true nature, the peace & happiness that are the natural condition of all experience seem also to be veiled. It is for this reason that there is always a deep pain in the heart of the separate self – the pain of separate existence. Most people’s lives are spent trying to ease or numb the pain of this separation through substances, objects, activities & relationships.
In short, the imaginary separate self is always seeking peace, happiness & love in an outside object, other or world. However, the separate self cannot find peace, happiness & love because its apparent existence is the veiling of it. At the same time peace, happiness & love is all the separate self seeks. True knowledge is the experiential understanding that there is only ever-present, unlimited Awareness or Knowing. Nothing other than this is ever known even when it seems that a mind, body & world are known. This ever-present, unlimited Awareness, which is simply the intimacy of our own being, is the fundamental nature of the apparently inside self & its corollary, the apparently outside object, other or world.
The realisation of this truth dissolves the beliefs in distance, separation & otherness. The common name we give to this absence of distance, separation & otherness is love & beauty. It is that for which everyone longs – not just those of us that are interested in non-duality but all seven billion of us. In this realisation true knowledge & love are revealed to be one & the same – the experiential realisation that the true nature of the apparently inside self & the apparently outside world are one single reality made out of the transparent light of Awareness, that is, made out of the intimacy of our own being.
This revelation of understanding & love strikes at the heart of the fundamental presumption upon which our world culture is founded, the presumption of duality – I, the separate inside self, & you or it, the separate outside object, other or world. All conflicts within ourselves & between individuals, communities & nations are based upon this presumption alone & all psychological suffering proceeds from it. Any approach to these conflicts that does not go to the heart of the matter will postpone but not solve the problem of conflict & suffering. Sooner or later as individuals & as a culture, we have to have the courage, the humility, the honesty & the love to face this fact.
This is the only true revolution, the revolution in which our view of reality is turned upside down. Awareness – pure Knowing – is not just the witness of experience. It is its substance, its very nature. Everything changes when we begin to live from this point of view. We realise that what we have always longed for in life was present all along in the depths of our own being. It is always available, never truly veiled. To begin with, it is often felt as peace in the background of experience but it cannot be contained and before long it begins to flow out into the world as joy, freedom, love and creativity.
Once this awakening has occurred you open yourself to life. Each day becomes an effortless dance of creation & joy, thought patterns of the past have undertaken a natural re-birth, dissolving self-restricting chains, leaving you to embrace whatever experiences are encountered.
It is that for which everyone longs.