Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Nothing But Relationship
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 ’.

Just as the human mind conceives of individual and separate persons, places, events and things, it also conceives of the idea of relationship between these isolated images of life. As far as the mind is concerned, the universe is filled an incalculable number of specific things that require our relationship (one thing to another). Assuming as the mind does that you are a person, let’s look at a small sampling of the people and things that require your relationship:

Wife, husband, lover, parents, siblings, family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, strangers, every single other person; pets, nature and environment in every detail from mountain to sea, every animal, insect, bird, and all other creatures; every ordinary and extraordinary experience, event, place and activity; each and every thing in your proximity, house, car, money, bills, computer, clothes and each and every man made object and machine; each and every form of food and drink, plus every substance that we ingest; every single thought, perception, idea, sensation, feeling and emotion (too numerous to mention); the individual body in all its details such as gender, height, weight, skin color, complexion, hair, nails, age, strength and appearance; the inner body and its tissue, organs, nerves, blood, bone and its ever changing cell structure.

One could spend an entire lifetime just naming individual things that the mind recognizes as existing in their own right and never come close to reaching an end to this naming. Now that being said, your job as a so-called personal being is to achieve a harmonious relationship with all of these infinite things and realize true love and peace. As you can easily recognize, by identifying yourself in the thoughts of the mind, you are swimming in a veritable sea of inner and outer details. You are inundated by specific things wherever you look. Do you find this situation somewhat overwhelming? Can you sleep at night without thinking about all of the things that require your specific attention? Do you feel like you have things “under control?” What about tomorrow? Who knows what things you’ll have to face? It is no wonder that humans sense life as an endless struggle of one thing after another. Nothing is more complex or absurd than a mind structure that requires itself to attain a harmonious and peaceful relationship with an infinite number of other things in any given moment.

Is this a reasonable expectation or a fantasy? Can the human mind realize a harmonious relationship with its objects? As “I” am the main subject of the mind, can “I” be in harmony and peace with every one of my objects at all times?

Peace of mind is a fantasy of the human mind structure and true harmony and peace in life cannot be realized unless this dualistic and opposing state of consciousness is transcended. The concept of “I” must be surrendered for True Peace and Harmony to be realized. If we continue to believe in the mental concept of who we are, we continue to support the idea of our individual existence and the separation that is implicit in making an object out of ourselves. As previously noted, if I see myself as a separate person, I also perceive a world of individual people and things that exist on the outside of “me.” This concept of my existence is a setup for endless judgment. “I,” as conceived by my ideas of self identity, experience life from the fixed point of view of my concept and that fact necessitates that I often experience conflict and separation as my reality.

I have ideas about things, and I like this and I don’t like that.
I have desires and fears, and I want this and I don’t want that.
I have opinions, and I believe this and I don’t believe that.
I have expectations, and I expect this and I don’t expect that.
I have acquired knowledge from my past and it tells me who I am.

If the circumstances that arise in life are in alignment with my concept of reality, then I feel good. If they are otherwise, then I feel bad. Peace to my conceptually created sense of self means getting what “I” like, want and expect, and avoiding what “I” fear. As you can see, this is an extremely fragile sense of peace. It is easy for life to present me with an experience that I don’t like, want or expect. When this happens as it must, I lose all sense of peace and I simply feel bad in one manner or another (i.e. sad, angry, depressed, afraid). This dynamic plays itself out in the context of all of my human relationships when I encounter life through the veil of my idea of things.

By surrendering all concept of yourself, You are Being and Life itself. You are not the totality of Being because you think of yourself this way. You are this totality of Being Experience because you do not achieve any sense of your True Self from the thoughts of mind. By not thinking of yourself, you simply are, and this Being is realized as un-nameable, unformed and totally present. This is a truly radical transformation of human consciousness. It is the transformation from ignorance to true intelligence and wisdom. It is the transformation from individuation and the pain of separation to universal Beingness and the Love and Peace that is the intimate experience of a whole sense of Self. With the collapse of the love/hate cycle, True Love is revealed spontaneously. Where prior to the transformation there appeared to be “you,” “your wife or husband” and “your child,” Now, only a conscious awareness of Being is. You exist awake as an open field of conscious Presence and the dream of separate bodies and minds is known for the mental illusion it is. Now the dream may be perceived as a teaching device of Consciousness that merely tests the power and depth of our Self-Realization. “Am I whole or divided, am I complete now or lacking,” Consciousness asks?

Prior to awakening, I thought and believed that I existed as a separate entity from my wife, my child, and all others. Now, I realize that only I Am, as the Consciousness that is truly independent of every manifestation of body, mind and world. Now, what appears to be, “me,” “my wife,” and “my child” is realized as a creatively diversified expression that emanates from my pure sense of Conscious Being and Presence. I am Conscious Being, however it may appear. “I Am” is always present for the appearance of life and I am not personal.
“I Am” the Awareness embracing the totality of existence.

However, this unbelievable transformation is not the end, because upon the realization of one’s true Being and Consciousness, the fear of death and non-existence dissolves completely. The ego fears death because of its perception of lack and the corresponding need for more time and more experience. The sense of one’s Beingness, that is whole and finally fulfilled, is free of any need for more time or more experience, thus this Being has cut the roots of all fear and desire. Peace reigns supreme for the aware Being that is immovably present for all the moving experiences within Life. For this Being, there is “Nothing But Relationship.”

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Page last updated: 10-Jul-2012