Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

No Mind
Nathan Gill

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Nathan Gill

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The following is an Extract from ‘Afternoon Talk, Kensington, London. June 2004’ from the above book ‘Already Awake: Dialogues with Nathan Gill’, Non-Duality Press, Sept. 2004, ISBN 0-9547792-2-3.) It can be purchased from Non-Duality Books in the UK. Also available from and

Q: So there is this body-mind and a thought arises - for instance, ‘I am hungry’ - and the brain reacts to that thought.

A: No, it's simpler than that. There's no cause and effect. There is a play of images being presently registered. A body is appearing, simultaneously with a sensation of hunger, and also simultaneously with the thought, ‘I am hungry’.

Q: So what's doing the registering then?

A: No-thing is registering every-thing. This registering, or no-thing, is what the concept 'awareness' points to.

Q: It can't be the ‘I’ thought because the ‘I’ thought, the person, doesn't exist anyway.

A: The ‘I’ thought is part of the content, part of what is being reg-istered. No-thing is registering.

Q: So are we trying to understand this with the mind?

A: There is no mind. The term 'mind' is used in a somewhat confusing way to represent the thoughts appearing and disappearing presently in awareness, and so seeming to constitute a stream of thoughts. This apparent stream of thoughts - when seen objectively as single images appearing and disappearing - is not problematic, but when labelled 'mind', it is presumed to constitute an actual entity. It is a phantom. No thought can understand anything. Thoughts are merely inert images - message balloons.

Q: Where do they arise from?

A: It's a complete mystery, as is all of the arising content. They simply appear within awareness as part of the content.

Q: The difficulty of course is that the mind shifts these thoughts together into a time sequence and so spins its own story, doesn't it? Is that how it is?

A: There is no mind. The mind is the succession of thoughts, so there is no mind as an entity that could do anything with thoughts or spin a story. The apparent succession of thoughts is already the story.

Q: So the thoughts are doing the weaving - it's the other way around?

A: The thoughts aren't actually doing anything. They are merely images, arising in succession and so appearing to form a story.

Q: And we don't know where the thoughts come from - it's a complete mystery.

A: Yes.

Q: So we're on a hiding to nothing really! But who strings the thoughts together?

A: When the ‘I’ thought - the primary thought - has been assumed, then the succession of arising thoughts appears to form a continuous solid entity called 'mind'. It's like a propeller: when it's still, it's seen as two or three blades, but when it's whirling around - the apparent succession of thoughts - then it appears as an entity.

Q: The story.

A: Yes. This is what we're calling 'mind', but in fact mind has no existence - it's just an apparent succession of arising thoughts. The story formed in thought is no more real than a story formed by a succession of messages strung together to form a novel. There can be involvement in a novel, but only when it's picked up and read. It could just be left on the shelf.

Q: Can you say also that there's actually no control over whether there is mesmerisation or not — it just happens?

A: That's right, yes.

Q: And the apparent unfolding - you have no control over that either.

A: No, there is simply unfolding.

Q: So to say that you’re going to do something or not do something...

A: That's the thought story. But it's not 'your' thought story - it's just the thought story presently appearing or happening.

Q: So you just let it all happen.

A: 'You' don't let it all happen - it's already happening. Maybe the ‘I’ will be undermined, maybe not.

Q: This is all heard over and over and over, but it still occurs that doing takes place. And that feels wrong.

A: All of this is the thought story - maybe it appears within this play that it seems to need to be heard over and over again. That is the nature of these talks. There is simply this continual reminding of our true nature, that there is only already awake-ness, oneness.

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