Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

The Revelation of Oneness (Part 2)
Jeff Foster

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Jeff Foster

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This is Part 2 of extracts from Jeff's book 'The Revelation of Oneness: Dialogues on Nonduality and Spiritual Awakening'.

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Q. I’ve got a funny image of the seeker, going round and seeking like mad, and suddenly stumbling across his own absence.


Yes, it’s the cosmic joke. And yet it plays itself out perfectly. Oneness pretending to be two, pretending to be separate, in order to find itself. It’s a game. And to the individual, it can all seem very heavy. The seeking can get very heavy. There can be a real desperation to it. “I’ve only got a limited amount of time on this earth, and I need to awaken before I die!” That can get very serious. But the cosmic joke of all of this, is that the individual already arises in the most perfect awakeness, the most perfect presence. It’s all there is. That’s why some teachers call awakening the booby prize! You gain nothing, and lose everything, but in that loss is a clarity and an effortlessness that could never be reached by a person seeking it.


Q. Why is it that some apparent individuals aren’t interested in reality?

Because this isn’t something that they can have. The mind is only interested in something it can have.

Q. But everyone you see, they all have that reality. Some apparent people simply aren’t interested. People we encountered coming here on the train, for example.

On the train?

Q. Yes, on the train.

Oh you’ll find a lot of people on the train who aren’t interested in this!


Q. It’s just that I am puzzled as to why individuals aren’t interested in their own reality.


 Q. Maybe they don’t need to be.

That’s it. They don’t need to be. There’s nothing out of place. If they’re not interested, they shouldn’t be.

Q. You mean it’s appropriate?

Absolutely. Otherwise this becomes a religion you see.

Q. Right, right. And then this wouldn’t be freedom, because they wouldn’t be free to be what they are.

Exactly. This freedom allows that. It allows everything. It allows …

Q. … disinterest?


Q. Because otherwise it becomes a religion and it’s no longer free?


Q. But religions are okay as well. And presumably lack of freedom is okay.

Of course.


Q. Jeff, we’ve already said a bit about spiritual practice. A lot of nonduality writers and teachers these days…

Are you calling me a nonduality teacher?


Q. They say that spiritual practices don’t serve any purpose because there’s nobody there to do the practice. Would you say that when the seeing through occurs, it’s a matter of grace?

The moment we talk about “it” happening, the mind latches onto that and wonders when this grace will happen. It’s grace in the sense that it’s free. It can’t be had. It can’t be possessed. It’s already screaming from the walls, from the ceiling, from the chair, and the moment you want it you can’t have it.

And in terms of spiritual practices, this is not about giving them up. They fall away of their own accord. Or this could be seen, and spiritual practices could continue. But the seriousness goes out of them. They regain their joyfulness. Everything does. Because everything is allowed to be itself, fully. So spiritual practices are allowed to be spiritual practices, but there’s nobody there anymore trying to get something from them.

Q. Which presumably is why you find some people who are self-realised continuing their spiritual practices, and others who don’t?

Yes, but there’s no way of knowing what will happen. It just unfolds of its own accord, in its own time.

That’s how this message could be heard though: that there’s nothing to get, so you should give up. But that would be to miss the point entirely.


Q. Yes, this has gone through my mind. If there’s nothing to get, what should I do? What is there to do? It seems like a paradox.

Yes. Some people refer to this as the “Traditional Advaita” versus “Neo-Advaita” debate. To practise or not to practise? To follow the traditions or to leave them behind? If everything is perfect, what is there to do, right? If this is all there is, what use are spiritual practices? But you see, those questions arise from a complete misunderstanding of what the word “Advaita” points to.

It’s not that there is nothing that you can do. And it’s not that you should give up what you are doing, because that’s also how this may be heard. The point is, there is no “you” who can choose either way.

In other words, it’s doing itself. Already. So the reason I don’t give out any spiritual practices is because I don’t know. I don’t know what is best for you. And anyway, you already have the practice you need.

Q. It’s this.

It’s this. Oneness cannot be practised. And when that is seen in clarity, the whole thing falls away. And you could call that “awakening” if you wanted to.

So that’s why I don’t give out particular practices, and not for any other reason. And that’s also why I would never tell anyone to stop practising, as if they had a choice. What happened over here is that the practices fell away when it was seen that there was nobody there practising. I would sit for hours and meditate, and there would be a constant question: “who the hell is doing this?” And during the self-enquiry, the question was always “who the hell is doing this?”. I never found anyone there doing any of those things. Perhaps that is where all these practices lead to in the end.

And so the practices just fall away of their own accord. Or not, actually. There’s no prescription here. There’s no way of knowing what will happen when this is seen. And really, this is always the practice. Whatever you find yourself doing, is always the practice that you need in that moment.

You see, it’s always already doing itself. It’s already practising through you. The miracle is already happening. And the clear seeing of that destroys the whole Traditional Advaita versus Neo-Advaita debate, which is just another intellectual game the mind plays to keep itself alive. How the mind loves its intellectual games. How the mind loves to be right. How the mind, in its innocence, loves to cling to its traditions, its religions, its beliefs, and criticise those who don’t do the same.

You see, it’s already complete. And it’s nothing like you ever thought it would be. Who would have thought awakening would be this? Who would have ever thought?

Q. Every time I hear that, the question is: what’s the difference then, I mean, if there’s nothing between you and I? Teachers often say “I’m the same as you”. So what’s the difference then?

That question has fallen away.


I never got an answer to that! There is no answer.


This is absolute equality you see. There’s just Oneness. And in that, different stories arise. The Jeff story, the John story, the Mary story. It’s Oneness playing. Playing the role of different characters. We are beingplayed. We are Being playing.


Part 1 is the introduction to the above book.

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Page last updated: 10-Jul-2012