Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Shopping in the Mall of the Mind
Sundance Burke

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Sundance Burke

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The following is an extract from the book ‘Free Spirit: A Guide to Enlightened Being ’.

Realizing Our Being as “Beyondness”
Discovering your true nature is not like looking for your eye glasses when they are lost. Your eye glasses are an object and an object exists somewhere in time and space. Eye glasses can be found. Who you are can not be found objectively. Yet in spiritual search, this is how we commonly seek for ourselves, as though we are looking for something objective. To undertake the search, we have employed the mind as our investigator. This investigator is very adept at finding objects. No one is better at this activity than the mind. After all, this is what the mind practices for a living. It finds things. Out of an unfathomable Totality of life, the mind via the senses takes a snapshot of life and gives it a name. Then, the mind comes to us with the evidence in the form of the snapshot and says that it has found who we are. Here it is. This is who you are. Not realizing that we have hired the wrong man for the job, we receive the evidence as reality. The snapshot shows a physical form together with feeling and thought forms and these forms are identified to be who we are. Now what is the truth?

We know that the mind is good at what it does, but what is it doing? The snapshot of the investigator is not giving us what we seek. The snapshot is merely pointing to it. This is all that the investigator (mind) can do. The snapshot represents something but it can not “Be” what it is representing. Certainly objects point to who we are. The body points to who we are. Our feelings and thoughts point to who we are. The world points to who we are. However, nothing we experience through the senses and intellect can equate to Being who we are. We are always more. We are more enduring than any experience. We are more comprehensive than the form of any thing, no matter what its size. We are beyond the bounds of every container. You can see objects but you cannot see that which is seeing. You can hear sounds but you cannot hear the listening. You can taste everything but your own taste. You can possess information, but no set of ideas is the actuality of your Total Being. If you look carefully, without expectation and anticipation, you will perceive that you are in and also beyond all experience of every kind.

Two levels of feeling can arise from looking with such openness. First, we may feel uncomfortable and edgy. It may be disconcerting to come face to face with the potential loss of our mind derived identity, if we are not in present contact with a deeper sense of ourselves that is known to be steadfast, while the false in us disappears. We may also feel joyous, as all the life energy that was previously given to seeking objective evidence suddenly, on insight, returns to the purity of simply Being Now. In either case, we truly exist as an unsolvable mystery. Look and see! You honestly cannot be located. You cannot know permanent fulfillment by being personally identified with a fleeting sense of this or that. Not one idea or feeling truly fits you as you are. Everything you try on is too small, too constricting and too fleeting. You can either keep shopping in the mall of the mind for the perfect and permanent fit or simply realize that you are naked in truth and simply free. Our natural and effortless nakedness is freedom, joy, love and peace without opposite. We are permanently naked and uncovered. Being is an open continuum of presence that embraces every happening. We are perfectly naked because every form of dress adds nothing of essence to our Being. Don’t wear any image because no image truly suits you. Yes, the normal human consciousness may ask you to wear the image of a president or the image of a clerk, but you can know that these images are merely a pretense. Nothing is that serious to the One Self and how could anything be serious. Nothing is excluded in the Self and no thing is the Self. Really, all there is to do is just look and see for yourself. Be honest. Tell the truth. Look beyond the objects of experience to the unknowable source of all appearing things. See that the seer is always beyond that which is seen and the seer cannot be seen unless you take the body as the seer. But, who sees the body? Accept your Beyondness. It IS. Accept Being, but don’t make the age old mistake of seriously calling out its location. By the time you get there, what you had in mind will have moved. By using the word “serious” I am pointing to the misguided attitude that believes we need thinking to know who we are. In truth, it is directly known that who we are is beyond the mind’s capacity to represent us, so there is nothing all that serious in any mode of thought or feeling, as none of this activity can identify who we are.

The True Gift of Hopelessness
The “noisy and fitful thinking” that we experience throughout our days and nights does not subside, until we know beyond all doubt that who we are is not to be found in our thinking. Doesn’t this make sense? In searching for our true nature, we naturally employ that which we believe will give us what we want. As long as we believe that the thinking and emotional experiences of the mind can provide our fulfillment, we will continue to seek our happiness there. What if we fully realize that nothing can be gained in thinking or feeling that cannot be lost in a subsequent forgetting and ending. Then what?

In fact, we often do recognize this and so we make written or recorded notes in the hope that we will not forget what we have just gained. Does this work? No, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because our attempt to gain and then hold onto our feeling or insight is missing the point entirely. Our behavior demonstrates that we believe we can achieve our true nature objectively, as an object of the mind. The real point is, “there is nothing to be gained by realizing the Self. You already are that which you seek”. Taking notes for our self identity is a seeking activity that prevents us from realizing who we are NOW.

Almost everyone finds it incomprehensible that one could have a significant self-realization without some form of effort and doing taking place. Somehow it is hidden from our recognition that our true Being precedes and endures all such activity. It is seldom recognized that nothing we appear to do has any relevance to who we are, as purely being. We don’t need to remember who we are, or seek our true identity, or do anything for that matter. We simply must stop identifying with doing and thinking completely, if even for an instant, and the Truth of our Self-nature will reveal itself. I know this may seem paradoxical in that, it appears that I am suggesting the doing of “a stopping”. However, this is not a paradox. The “stopping” isn’t done, it happens. It happens when we discover the hopelessness that lies in the core of all efforting and doing. We spontaneously feel and know that nothing can be done and that nothing needs to be done. We realize that all representation of who we are is hopeless. We know that we cannot represent who we are to ourselves, let alone others. This is discovered in an instant. You know that what you are saying about yourself and thinking about yourself is ridiculous. It is absurd. It is nonsense. It is hopelessly insubstantial. Who knew that hopelessness would be our ally?

The truth of our identity doesn’t make itself known in the crowded room of our emotional hopes and mental expectations. It appears when you are Alone. This aloneness is not an aloneness of the body; rather it is the true Aloneness that is revealed, when all self images and self representations of the mind have been surrendered for their utter uselessness and insufficiency. This isn’t an idea that you possess. It’s your direct experience. You see it. You feelingly know how useless these representations are. You know it by trying them on, and feeling how tight they are and how insignificantly and falsely they speak of you.

The beauty of hopelessness is that when you truly encounter hopelessness, you STOP! All psychological time dies in hopelessness. What future? There is no future. You stop and settle into yourself as you are. You experience simply being. You are absolutely present and disarmed of all mental and emotional protection. You are open and totally available, and without forewarning, you are swept into an Ocean of Being without reference. You discover yourself standing in Being. You quite unexpectedly are the homeground that you have been seeking. All seeking disappears in the stopping. A silent and still Being reveals itself as who you are. This is an unlimited and unconditioned sense of Being. This Beingness is known intuitively as a feeling-sense of blissfully vibrant and unqualified existence or the unreasonably “good vibrations” of simply being alive and aware.

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Page last updated: 10-Jul-2012