Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

The SEEING is Here and NOW

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Q: Can you please explain what you mean by the 'SEEING'.

A: The SEEING is the Universal Awareness which is witnessing (ie: cognising, perceiving) everything in 'you' right now THIS INSTANT.

Another name for THE SEEING is THE ORDINARY EVERYDAY AWARENESS. This SEEING or ORDINARY EVERYDAY AWARENESS is NOTHING NEW, it's always been there. It is here this very instant, you couldn't be aware of anything without it. It's there ALL of the time, you know it so well... it is what witnesses every thought, emotion, dream, sensation, etc in 'you'.

And it is this SEEING which is the eternal you... it was never born and can never die. It is the REAL you.

Q: I don't understand, do you mean it's like a physical 'seeing'?

A: NO. It is NOT the same as physical 'seeing' or vision from your eyes. It is what is aware of EVERYTHING, including your physical vision. It is what SEES (ie: perceives) all your thoughts and experiences. It is the ONE and ONLY perceiver. It has NO SECOND.

Q: I'm not sure I understand.

A: Sit there and close your eyes for a moment and allow thoughts to occur.

( ... some moments pass)

A: Ok, you can open your eyes.You know how you could 'see'... , were 'aware of', were perceiving those thoughts? Well, THAT is the SEEING. And it's that SEEING which 'sees' all of the experiences.

Q: And can you explain what you mean by the Now.

A: Everything happens in the Now. The REAL YOU, which is the SEEING, is shining here and Now. Thoughts can only happen one by one in front of the SEEING, in the instant. They cannot happen in the 'past' or the 'future', because the 'past' and the 'future' do not exist. What you call the 'past' and the 'future' are only THOUGHTS about the 'past' or the 'future' which are being experienced on the SEEING in the instant, in the NOW. This continual INSTANT or 'now point' is where your life happens.

Q: But how is it that things change? In the past I was a little child, now I am an adult. Time has gone by.

A: Change happened, but it happened in the Now. The physical manifestation is in constant change, it can't not be. Show me anything in the physical world that won't sooner or later change. It can't help but change. Your body for example is in a constant state of change. However, all of that change happens in the Now. This instant you are in the Now, ten seconds from Now, you will still be in 'the instant', in the Now. Three weeks from now at 5pm you will be in the Now. You cannot be in anything else but the Now. So, to answer your question, when you were a child, you experienced that in 'the instant', in the Now. Now that you are an adult you are experiencing that in 'the instant', in the Now. It ALL happens in the Now. Now that you are an adult you can only bring up a thought (a memory) of your childhood. And that thought can ONLY be brought up in the Now. EVERYTHING can ONLY happen in the Now. Time itself is only a concept which happens in the Now.

Q: What do you mean time is only a concept? Time passes. If we make an agreement to meet somewhere in two weeks then that meeting will happen in two weeks, not now.

A: Yes, but at 'the instant' when we meet in two weeks, it will be Now. Nothing else exists but the Now. You can't not be in the Now!

Q: Ok. But is it really useful to understand this?

A: It's incredibly useful! Most people are actually prisoners of their thoughts! They follow what their thoughts say like puppets. They take their thoughts and feelings so seriously. Realise that you are NOT your thoughts or feelings. You are the SEEING which is looking at the thoughts and feelings. Thoughts can ONLY happen in 'the instant', one by one, in the Now, in front of the SEEING. And it's those thoughts which (because you think that they are you and you take them so seriously) run your life! Once you are more aware in 'the instant' that YOU ARE NOT the thoughts and experiences that are flashing up on the SEEING you will be able to detach yourself from them.

Q: But if there is a 'Now' doesn't it imply that there is a before and after the Now?

A: No. When I say 'Now' I mean the ONE & ONLY instant in which a thought about 'yesterday' or 'tomorrow' appears in. There is not even an 'instant by instant'   ... that, would imply separate instances ... which there are not. There is only THE ONE instant. And THE SEEING is always here in THE ONE instant.

Q: So I guess I just have to 'be here now'? 

A: No, the idea 'be here now' is misleading. It implies that there is a separate individual who can choose to 'be here now'.That separate entity doesn't exist.

Q: What I'm looking for is enlightenment.

A: The 'enlightenment' that you are searching for you ALREADY are RIGHT NOW. It will not miraculously appear at some future time as something new and different, it is here NOW. To imagine that there is a path is an obstacle. You are ONE with the Universal Awareness RIGHT NOW.

Q: But where is it then?

A: The Universal Awareness that you are searching for is, and always has been, shining in you as the 'ORDINARY EVERYDAY AWARENESS'. It is what is SEEING all your thoughts and experiences. And it is shining in you (actually IS you) RIGHT NOW.

Q: But I don't feel like I'm there yet.

A: You are already there RIGHT NOW, it's just that you are carrying incorrect beliefs. The only thing you need to do is drop your incorrect beliefs and stop identifying with what you are not. When you drop your incorrect identifications you will understand that you are the Universal Awareness, the SEEING. And that Universal Awareness, or SEEING, is shining in you RIGHT NOW, whether you have incorrect beliefs or not.

Q: So I am not my thoughts and experiences?

A: No. You are what's SEEING the thoughts and experiences. When it is understood that thoughts and experiences are just things which 'appear' in front of the SEEING, then you will be able to transcend them.

Q: I just want to be happy. How do I achieve that?

A: Well, to borrow the words of Sailor Bob Adamson (a 'Self-Realised' teacher), 'What's wrong with RIGHT NOW if you don't think about it?'

Q: Nothing.

A: Exactly. A problem cannot exist unless a thought occurs.

Q: But just because I don't think about a problem doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

A: If there is something you need to put right, wait for the right moment and do so. But don't just keep it up unnecessarily in front of the SEEING for no reason.

Q: Mmm, but....

A: It's actually impossible to experience unhappiness unless a thought comes up in front of the SEEING which creates unhappiness. The pure SEEING is perfect. You are already perfection. It is only the FALSE IDENTIFICATION with thoughts and experiences which disturbs.

Q: But I can't stop thinking and experiencing.

A: Yes, ok. But the important thing is to NOT IDENTIFY with them. You are what's SEEING them.

Q: I just want to be happy, but I don't seem to be having much success.

A: Happiness and unhappiness are both experiences. They are different sides of the same coin. They happen on the SEEING. Even peaceful silent thoughts are just an experience which happens on the SEEING. It's not about achieving peaceful thoughts, it's about realising you are NOT the thoughts. You are what's looking at the thoughts. PEACE WILL ONLY OCCUR WHEN YOU DO NOT LINK YOUR IDENTITY TO THE THOUGHTS.

Don't be so concerned with trying to be happy. Once you understand that you are not the thinking then you will be able to look at it in a detached way. You won't get hooked by it the way you are now. You will stop being a victim of it. Peace cannot exist if there is identification with the thinking. It's not a matter of stopping the thinking but knowing that you ARE NOT the thinking which is the important point which SETS 'YOU' FREE.

Don't fight your thoughts, just let them be, whatever they may be. Fighting them gives them life. Just STOP BEING INTERESTED, that is how you can be free of them. At first they may seem difficult to overcome, but if you simply know them for what they are and are DISINTERESTED in them they will get no energy and dissolve. They are only a passing appearance, they have NOTHING TO DO with the real you AT ALL.

Q: Mmmm.

A: Being the SEE-ER of the appearances is a natural state of uncaused happiness. It is not a happiness which depends on getting your way. It is a natural happiness which exists when you are free from the incredibly limiting and UNNECESSARY identification with the thinking. Thinking happens, great, just use that for the tool that it is, and it can be very useful. Just DON'T identify with it as being YOU.

Q: But how can I go on without the thinking?

A: It's not a matter of going on without the thinking. The thinking will still be there. The point is to NOT IDENTIFY with the thinking. Why? Well for starters, you are not it, so why identify with something which you ARE NOT?! And secondly you are limiting yourself INCREDIBLY by identifying with this 'on board' tool. That's all it is! An 'on board' tool. The real you is MUCH greater!

Q: I don't have schedules in my life. I live life as it comes, moment by moment. So I guess I'm living in the Now? Is that what is meant by 'being here now'?

A: As I said, you cannot 'be here now' because that implies that there is a separate 'you' who can choose to 'be here now', and that separate 'you' doesn't exist. What I am talking about is that you are THE SEEING which WITNESSES (in THE instant) the thought 'I don't have any schedules'. Or obviously any other thought for that matter.

Q: I don't understand.

A: You are the Universal Awareness which is seeing the thoughts. You are not the thoughts. You are the unborn, eternal SEEING (the Universal Awareness) which is beyond the thinking. You are what's SEEING the thinking in the ONE AND ONLY INSTANT.

Q: So can I see the awareness?

A: You ARE the Awareness.

Q: So why can't I see it?

A: Just like your physical eyes have never seen themselves because they are DOING the physical seeing, the Universal Awareness cannot see itself because it is what's DOING the internal seeing. It is actually the one and only see-er so it has nothing which can look at it.

Q: Can I see this awareness?

A: You still don't understand. You ARE the seeing.

Q: I'm trying to understand...

A: You can try as much as you want, but until you get that YOU ARE WHAT'S OUTSIDE OF THE THINKING all your efforts will be fruitless.

Q: But where else can you look except the mind?

A: Well for starters, THERE IS ACTUALLY NO SUCH THING AS MIND. Thinking happens on the SEEING. It's this that you are calling 'mind'. Looking for the Universal Awareness in the thinking is like shining a torch onto a wall and then looking for the torch on the wall. Will you ever find the torch by searching for it on the wall?

Q: No.

A: Well, stop looking there! The thoughts are born from and are illuminated by the Awareness, but they are not the source of the Awareness. Any attempt to look for IT in the thoughts IS FUTILE.

Q: I am thinking I'd like to 'know nothing' ... but I'm an artist ... there is something there! I am a little worried... unless perhaps it's time to jump into the abyss and I'm avoiding it?

A: There is ABSOLUTELY no reason to not do your art if that's what you want to do. When you see the truth you don't have to just sit there and do nothing! In fact, if you choose, you'll be able to create in an unrestricted manner because you won't be getting stuck on incorrectly identifying with the thoughts. But no matter what ideas or art are dreamt up they are all just appearances which happen on the SEEING, which is the real and eternal you. What I'm saying is that whether you paint or not, whether you are feeling creative or not, whether life is 'up' or 'down', ... they are ALL just 'appearances' which are happening on the SEEING which is the real you.

Just because you have realised the truth doesn't mean you can't get married and have a family or lead a conventional life. You don't have to become a guru or a teacher or lead a 'different' life. There is a Zen saying... 'Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.' Everything will be the same, yet profoundly different.

You talk about 'jumping into the abyss'. That shows me you are not really getting what I am saying. The SEEING which I am talking about is THE ORDINARY EVERYDAY AWARENESS which you know so well. There is NOTHING NEW to achieve... got it ? NOTHING NEW to achieve. The thing that you have been searching for is THE ORDINARY EVERYDAY AWARENESS, which you know so well, by which you are currently THIS VERY INSTANT perceiving with.

This 'abyss' you are talking about is a TOTAL mental concoction. Sure, the SEEING is not a 'thing' in the usual sense, but it is watching a continual 'show', an appearance, of thoughts and of the 'world'. What I am talking about will not lead to an abyss, it will lead to a natural life in which you are NOT a prisoner of the thoughts. You also said you would like to 'know nothing' ...that also shows that you are not understanding what is being said. You are the SEEING which is seeing the thoughts... it's not a matter of 'knowing nothing'. It's NOT a matter of making the mind blank as if it 'knows nothing', it's a matter of knowing that you are the SEEING which is perceiving the thoughts .... no matter whether those thoughts are clever or silly, few or many.

Q: So how can I find this Awareness?

A: Lets start from the outside and go in. That building, is outside of you. That car, is outside of you. That chair, is outside of you. Your clothes, are outside of you. Your body, is outside of you. Your physical seeing, is outside of you. Your hearing, is outside of you. All your senses, are outside of you. Your thoughts, are outside of you. Your emotions, are outside of you. Your imagination, is outside of you. Your intellect, is outside of you. ANYTHING that can be experienced, is outside of you. You are what's SEEING it all. You are the pure SEEING. You are the Awareness that just is.

Q: What do you mean 'just is'?

A: You are the pure Awareness which is seeing everything just as it is, kind of like a video camera sees everything just as it is. A video camera doesn't make judgements or exclude things from what it is seeing, it just sees everything just as it is. The Awareness is the same, it sees everything just as it is. It is the thinking that then makes changes to 'what is'. The thoughts alter the pure seeing.

Q: But if I am the pure seeing then why don't I just understand that without a problem?

A: You are the Universal Awareness which is SEEING the thoughts, but because the thoughts are one of the first things which the Universal Awareness SEES you have incorrectly identified yourself with them. The Awareness, even though it is the reality, is subtle. It is not an appearance, it is not a 'thing'.The thoughts are an appearance, ... they are a 'thing' so they SEEM more tangible, so we grab onto them and identify with them. However, they are just passing appearances on the reality of the SEEING.

To give you an idea of their closeness, the Awareness is like a mirror and the thoughts are like the images on the mirror. So it probably has never even occured to you that there is a distinction, .... that the Universal Awareness even exists. You just took Awareness for granted and then identified yourself with one of the first things it SEES.

Q: So I am not the thoughts?

A: No, you are the one and only PURE SEEING PRESENCE (ie: the UNIVERSAL Awareness) which has temporarily 'localised' itself in your body as the INDIVIDUAL Awareness and is illuminating the thinking. That is your core. You are aware that you exist aren't you?

Q: Of course.

A: Well it is THAT AWARENESS, before it hits the thinking and is filtered by it, that you truly are. And that Awareness, when it tries to describe itself in words through the thinking describes itself as 'I am'.

Q: But 'I am' are just words.

A: Exactly. 'I am' is just a verbal way of describing it, a symbol for the actual thing. Thoughts and words are just dead things, they cannot be the actual, so don't get confused. You can think or say 'food, food, food' as much as you want, but will it take care of your hunger? Of course not. The word 'food' is just a verbal symbol for the actual. Similarly 'I am' is about as close as words can get to describing the actual knowing that you exist. But forget about the words, you KNOW that you ARE don't you? No one has to explain that to you. You don't even have to think about it, you just know that you ARE. It is this KNOWING THAT YOU EXIST which is the whole issue we are talking about. It is what all the 'self-realised' masters have been talking about. It seems almost too simple I know. And because of that you will probably keep looking for some time after you understand what I'm talking about because it is just so simple that you keep thinking that there must be more to it, BUT THERE ISN'T. This 'COMMON EVERYDAY AWARENESS' which you have RIGHT NOW is the Universal Awareness which is the cogniser in all. THERE IS NO OTHER REALISATION BEYOND THAT. It is the ONE WITHOUT A SECOND, the creator and sustainer of all. And as Sailor Bob Adamson and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj before him said, that is IT, end of story, FULLSTOP.

Q: So the mind can't see it?

A: Don't forget, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS 'THE MIND'. There is the SEEING, and there is thinking which appears on the SEEING. You are the SEEING (the Awareness) which is looking at the thinking.The Awareness contains the thinking, the thinking does not contain it. Without the Universal Awareness (which shines on the thinking) the thinking would have no life, no existence. THOUGHTS CANNOT SEE. THEY HAVE NO AWARENESS. It's the Awareness that does the seeing. Thoughts are actually dead things, they only SEEM to have life because the Universal Awareness is shining on them. Again, as Sailor Bob Adamson says, you can think 'Water, Water, Water' but it won't quench your thirst. Thoughts are only symbols for the thing. Thoughts have no independent nature of their own. That means that without the Universal Awareness shining on thought, that thought could not exist. However, the Universal Awareness exists without thoughts, it in no way depends on thoughts. It is the Universal Awareness which sees everything. It is the only see-er.

Q: I'm lost.

A: The Universal Awareness is the one and only source of Awareness. It is what's SEEING the thought "I'm lost". The only reason you feel like you are lost is because you are identifying with the THOUGHT that you are lost.

When you dream at night and you dream of fifty people in a room and a few chairs in the room. Each of those dream characters borrow your Awareness to exist. They all come from you, even though it seems, very convincingly, that they are separate entities. It all comes from you, the dreamer. Without you, the dreamer, nothing would exist in that dream. The room, the chairs, the people, they all come from the dreamer who is 'lending' his Awareness to the dream. And, if you the dreamer decide to have 7 billion people in your dream are you the dreamer any less?

Q: No.

A: Right. And if you the dreamer now don't have 7 billion people in your dream but now have fifty again are you effected in any way?

Q: No.

A: Right.

Q: Why is it that dreams can seem so real?

A: The Awareness shining in you is always shining, it never sleeps. So when your body is sleeping but the thinking is still active, during the dream state, the Awareness shines on the dream thoughts lending its reality to them, therefore making the dream seem real. Anything that the Awareness lends its reality to gets the illusion of life, whether it be your thoughts during the dream state or your thoughts during the 'awake' state. The Universal Awareness is the ONLY source of reality and perception that exists. Everything else just borrows its reality from the Universal Awareness, much like the glowing moon at night seems to glow on its own accord but actually gets its light from the sun.

Another thing to note about dreams is that all the dream characters SEEM absolutely convincingly separate in a dream, yet you know for a fact that they all come from the ONE dreamer and are therefore ONE. However, if someone came up to your dream persona during one of your dreams and pointed out the fact that everyone in the dream was in fact ONE you'd think they were crazy. So even in dreams the incorrect beliefs distort the reality. And don't think that those thoughts which create that distortion of reality during your dreams stop their tricks when you 'wake up', they're creating the same distortion of reality RIGHT NOW.

Q: Yes, but life isn't a dream.

A: Stay with me on this and you may realise otherwise.

Q: I mean, I have a body, a life, friends, a job.

A: Who does?

Q: Me!

A: The problem is that you think you are a separate entity. For starters even modern day science says that everything is pure energy. It is all pure Universal Awareness which has solidified into energy and then into the physical manifestation.

Q: Yes. But that isn't my experience. If I drop a brick on my foot it hurts! I only know what's going on in my mind, I can't read other peoples' minds. If you are on the other side of a room and I throw a ball at you, you won't feel it until it hits you. When I die it's me who dies not you. I am 'here' and you are 'there'. We are separate!

A: Who feels the pain? Who sees the thoughts? Who dies?

Q: Me.

A: Look inside yourself and try and pinpoint the exact spot where you are. Where is your core point?

Q: I am essentially the mind I guess.

A: Are you the body?

Q: I am the body and the mind.

A: If you were about to die of old age and I told you that science had advanced so much that we could put your 'thinking' in some sort of virtual container and keep it alive once your body had died would you accept to do it if it meant that it was the only way you could keep living? I'm sure that many people would jump at the chance. You would never have to worry about the cumbersome body ever again. Would you accept this deal?

Q: Yes. I guess I would.

A: So you agree that you are essentially not your body, right? I mean if I removed your arms , (hypothetically of course), would you still be here?

Q: Yes, I would.

A: If I removed your legs, would you still be here?

Q: Yes.

A: If I took away your eyesight, hearing, sense of touch, taste, smell... would you still be here?

Q: Yes.

A: So , where is the point in the body, if I keep taking parts away, that if I took it away, you would not be here any more?

Q: I guess there isn't one. My heart maybe.

A: So people who have heart transplants, do they become the person who was the previous owner of the heart?

Q: No, of course not. I guess I am situated in my brain.

A: So people who are brain dead are not here anymore?

Q: Well, yes, they are still classed as being alive.

A: So are you your brain?

Q: No I suppose not, because if I was brain dead but still alive then I'd still be here.

.......... but, if I didn't have a brain I wouldn't be alive.

A: Yes, but you could say that for any of the vital organs. And once the body is gone the Individual Awareness has no 'housing' to shine in.

So... if the body was still alive but the person was brain dead would they still be here?

Q: Yes.

A: So are 'you' situated in your brain?

Q: No.

A: So is there any particular point in your body which you can say is you?

Q: No, I guess not.

A: Ok, so at least we have arrived at the point where we agree that the essential 'you' is not situated in the body.

Q: Well, yes, there is no actual point in the body that is me, I can now see that. But aren't I still sitting over 'here' and you are sitting over 'there'? My body is 'mine' and your body is 'yours'. We are separate aren't we?

A: We are only SEEMINGLY separate. You know how convincingly separate people in a dream can seem, but are they actually separate?

Q: No, because they come from the one dreamer.

A: And if a dream character went through the same process of trying to find the point where he is situated in the body, would he find it?

Q: Well, no, because he only has a dream body.

A: Yes but, during the dream whilst he thinks his dream body is real, if he tried to find the point where he is situated in the body, would he find it?

Q: No, because it's all the one dream. There is no separate centre in a dream, it only seems that way.

A: Exactly. That dream character won't be able to find his core point in his body because it doesn't reside there. 'He' has no centre, it only seems like he does. The dream character's core being is the ONE Awareness of the dreamer and is beyond his body. Similarly, your core being is beyond your body. Got it?

Q: Mmm, ok, my core essence is beyond the body.

A: Good. So what are you?

Q: I am my thinking.

A: So if you are your thinking, which actual thought are you?

Q: I'm not any particular thought, I am the flow of thoughts I guess. I am the memory, reasoning capabilities, the intellect.

A: So a thought that you had yesterday about being hungry, where is it now?

Q: It's gone. I've had many thoughts since then.

A: So are you that thought you had about being hungry?

Q: Of course not, like I said I am the flow of thoughts, the thinking.

A: But if you weren't that individual thought how can you be a collection of thoughts?

Q: I am the thinking, the flow of thoughts. The thinker.

A: Where is that flow of thoughts you had yesterday RIGHT NOW this instant? Where is even that flow of thoughts you had a few seconds ago right now this instant?

Q: No where.

A: So if you are that flow of thoughts, and that flow is not here right now, why are you still here?

Q: Of course I'm still here.

A: Ok, but you mustn't be that flow of thoughts that you said you were, otherwise you wouldn't be here, right?

Q: Those thoughts are in my memory.

A: And where are those thoughts which are in your memory right now?

Q: Well right now in this instant they're not here.

A: Can they exist at all unless they appear in front of the SEEING?

Q: Well yes, they're in my memory.

A: But, do they exist this instant unless they appear in front of the SEEING?

Q: No, not unless they appear in front of the SEEING.

A: So if you are those thoughts which are sitting in your memory, but those thoughts are not here right now, but you're still here, then how can you be them?

Q: I guess I can't be.

A: So do you realise that you are not your thoughts?

Q: I think so.

A: WHO........ 'thinks so' ?

Q: Me the thinker.

A: So you still think you are the 'Thinker'?

Q: Yes, I guess so.

A: So where is this individual who is the 'Thinker'?

Q: In my head.

A: But where exactly?

Q: I'm there, thought by thought.

A: EXACTLY. THE 'THINKER' LIVES AND DIES WITH EACH THOUGHT. EACH THOUGHT CARRIES WITH IT AN ASSUMPTION THAT IT IS THE 'THINKER'. But this assumption is INCORRECT. THINKING JUST HAPPENS. There is NO INDIVIDUAL who is thinking. This is a MAJOR point... THERE IS NO INDIVIDUAL WHO IS THINKING. Thinking is just a normal bodily function which just happens of its own accord. But you don't realise this so you identify with the thoughts. And the continuous flow of these thoughts further consolidates the illusion that there is a 'Thinker'. But THINKING JUST HAPPENS, just like seeing just happens and hearing just happens and the heartbeat just happens. They are all just natural functions of the body which happen of their own accord. There is NO INDIVIDUAL who is thinking.

Q: Thinking just happens?

A: Yes, thinking just happens, just like all the other body functions just happen. The thinking is no more you than the heartbeat is you. However, you have gone and incorrectly identified yourself with it.

Q: But I am the one who is thinking.

A: No. The intellect, reasoning, choice, memory, ... the whole system which you call 'Thinking', occurs naturally of its own accord. Thinking is possible because the one and only Awareness is shining, making it possible. Without the 'quality of perception' of the Awareness there would be nothing to either create the thinking or SEE the thinking. The thinking is very close to the Awareness, but it is NOT the Awareness. And when 'death' occurs the thinking stops but the Awareness lives on because it was never born and can never die. It is eternal. It has no centre. And it is your core.

Q: But how about when I make mental choices, it's me making that choice isn't it?

A: A computer can also make a choice, but is there an individual there in the computer? Choices, which are thoughts, automatically happen as part of the normal functioning of the body just like the heartbeat automatically happens as part of the normal functioning of the body. However where it gets tricky in a human as opposed to a computer is that a human, unlike a computer, has the Awareness shining in them so this Awareness is cognisant of this choice occuring. A computer has no danger of identifying with a choice it has made because a computer has no Awareness and is therefore oblivious to the choice even occuring. However, a human has the Awareness in it which witnesses this 'choice thought' occuring, therefore bringing up the possibility of it incorrectly identifying itself with this 'choice thought'. And because the Awareness is the core see-er and there is nothing that exists that can look at it, it is not immediately obvious that it exists, but, because it intrinsically knows that it DOES exist, the identification is made with the first thing which is standing in front of its 'vision', ie: a thought. It therefore falsely identifies with the 'choice thought', or any other thought which occurs in front of it.

Q: This thinking is not me?

A: No. It is an appearance in front of the SEEING.

Q: mmm.


There was a dream on my SEEING last night. In it a friend was sitting on a couch talking to me. He's a designer and was putting forward his expert opinion on what young designers are lacking these days. It was a well thought out, insightful opinion, that was very convincingly coming from 'him'. 'I' was listening to it for the first time fresh, just like I would if the conversation were taking place in the 'awake' state. I had no idea what he was going to say as he was saying it. He seemingly owned the thoughts. He was the seeming 'thinker' of them. But was he?

Q: No, they were yours.

A: No, they were not 'mine'. There is no 'thinker' here who is a separate individual. They were the thoughts of the thinking mechanism which happen automatically in this body. There is no one who thought them, they just happen instantaneously as an automatic function of the body. However in this case, unlike in the 'awake' state when they are attributed to 'me', they were being attributed to 'him'.

Just like the thinking can SO CONVINCINGLY, YET INCORRECTLY, be attributed to a dream character, the thinking during the awake state is also SO CONVINCINGLY, YET INCORRECTLY, attributed to a 'thinker' who is 'you'. However, there is no 'thinker', no 'you' who is thinking the thoughts. There is just thinking which happens automatically as a function of the body, just like a heartbeat also happens automatically as a function of the body. This thinking is just appearing automatically on THE SEEING, which is the REAL you.

Q: But why is it that people have different thoughts, different points of view?

A: The different life experiences, learning, culture, etc that have been stored in each bodies' memory gives rise to different thoughts for each body. But they all rise automatically from the 'thinking mechanism', not a separate 'you' who is thinking them. There is no separate individual which is the 'thinker', there is just thinking. Thinking JUST HAPPENS.

Thinking is an emanation from the SEEING, which appears on the SEEING, but it is not the ACTUAL SEEING which is the real you.

Q: But I can work things out, calculate, deduce, weigh up alternatives, make choices, think things out.

A: All just a normal function of the thinking mechanism, THAT'S WHAT IT DOES, THAT'S ITS JOB. Calculating just happens. Deducing just happens.Weighing up alternatives just happens. Memory just happens. Choices just happen. The choice to rethink a previous choice and make a new choice JUST HAPPENS. THINKING JUST HAPPENS. THERE IS NO 'THINKER'

Q: But I know I exist, I am aware of my own existence.

A: Exactly!!!!!!! YOU HAVE HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. I don't need to tell you that you exist and that you are aware do I? You EXIST, you are AWARE. And that Awareness (or SEEING) is the ONE eternal Awareness. 'You' are IT .

You don't have to have thoughts to exist. If you are the thoughts then why are you still here during the gaps between the thoughts? The knowledge that you exist is there regardless of whether you are having a thought or not. It is there whether you are having a positive thought, a negative thought, or no thought. It is always there. Without it you could not be here. You are the Awareness which is looking at the thinking. YOU ARE NOT THE THINKING.

It's not so much the thinking that is the problem, .... the problem is that you have incorrectly identified with the thinking as being YOU. You are the Awareness which is PRIOR to the thinking, you are not the thinking. The Awareness contains the thinking, the thinking does not contain the Awareness. Anyway, I have already taken you through alot of the enquiry. If you want, I suggest that you thoroughly do this enquiry yourself until you become totally convinced yourself.

Q: Look, I am a person aren't I? I have a history, a body, a name, I am alive, I can walk, and I am separate to you!

A: Ok, lets take your history, what else is it but a scanty collection of thoughts which are right now not here? Is a person who has amnesia non existent? Is an old person who's memory has deteriorated to the point of not remembering their life non existent? You can still exist even if you don't have a history. So are you your 'history'? Of course not. Then there's your body. We discussed that. We went looking for you there and we couldn't find you, remember? If you are not convinced, try and find the point again where you are situated in the body.

Q: But I am living and breathing aren't I?

Sure there is living and breathing which is occuring, but WHO is living and breathing? We've already gone through the exercise of looking for YOU in the body and the thinking. Did we find you? There is in fact NO INDIVIDUAL there. IT WAS ALL JUST A FALSE ASSUMPTION. The idea of separation comes about because the ONE Universal Awareness, which is everywhere, 'localises' itself in the body (much like the sun 'localises' itself as a sparkle on a wave) and temporarily limits its seeing to what is going on in one particular body. It's kind of like a television signal that is travelling through the air and is everywhere. It hits a television set and localises itself, and manifests as a program, but it is still everywhere. When that television set gets old and stops working the television set will be gone, but the television signal continues. This localisation of the Awareness gives awareness of just what is going on for a single body, ie: your arm is itchy, only you feel that. The thoughts happen, only you see them. You have hunger, happiness, sadness, pain, excitement... only 'you' experience them. You are in a room by yourself looking at a painting, only 'you' can see the painting at that instant. Because of this you assume that you are a separate individual. But that Individual Awareness which only has this 'local' knowledge is actually just a temporary localisation of the ONE Universal Awareness. Like a sparkle on the ocean comes from the sun, the Individual Awareness comes from the Universal Awareness.

By tasting one drop of the ocean water you know what the whole ocean tastes like. Likewise, by knowing the Individual Awareness you know the Universal Awareness.

And as you shift your sense of identity from the passing parade of appearances, ie: thoughts etc, to the real you which is the Universal Awareness, the passing appearances will fade in importance, ... they will finally lose their power forever.

Q: So the person that I thought was me isn't here?

A: The thoughts, memory, choices etc JUST HAPPEN, like your digestion JUST HAPPENS, like your heartbeat JUST HAPPENS. You have incorrectly identified with them, they are not the real you. The assumption that it is 'you' who is thinking each thought, making each decision, IS INCORRECT. Thinking just happens on the real you which is the SEEING. THERE IS NO 'PERSON' THERE. There are just thoughts, which are JUST HAPPENING. There is no separate 'ghost in the machine'. There is just ONE 'ghost in the machine' which drives EVERYTHING, and that is the SEEING.

Q: That's pretty different to how I've been seeing the world!

A: What you just said right now, JUST HAPPENED, it is the thinking which is the normal functioning of a human body. You think 'you' thought it, but it JUST HAPPENED, and then you incorrectly identified with it. See that these thoughts are just happening on the ONE SEEING. There is NO SEPARATE PERSON there. Sit there and watch the thoughts with the knowledge I have just told you, sooner or later you will get it.

Q: So if there's no person there, that changes everything because the 'me' who wanted to find the answers doesn't actually exist. The whole thing's kind of been turned on its head.

A: Exactly. SEE THAT THE SEPARATE 'SEEKER' IS NOT REALLY THERE AND 'THE SEARCH' WILL COME TO AN END. You are THAT which you were seeking. Understand that and you have understood everything.

Q: But the thoughts are still happening.

A: The thoughts won't stop. Just don't be concerned with them. They are not a measurement of spiritual state. You are that which is SEEING the thoughts. The thoughts can not touch YOU. Can the sun be touched by the clouds? Can a mirror be touched by its reflections? Anyway the thoughts will be 'cleaned up' as the sense of identity shifts to the real you, which is the SEEING.

Q: But I still seem to have things which are bothering me.

A: The SEEING, which is the real you, CANNOT HAVE PROBLEMS. Problems only exist for the 'separate person', which actually doesn't exist. There is no person there. There is just thinking which is happening on the SEEING. It is only because IDENTIFICATION WITH THE THINKING is occurring that problems exist. If things are still bothering 'you' then there are still incorrect beliefs floating around which have not been exposed, and are therefore still 'controlling the ship'. As Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj said, "I am not interested in what you know, but what you are still holding onto."

Q: So how do you deal with your thinking when it happens?

A: Instead of taking ownership of it and believing it is 'me' who thought it, it is seen for what it is... 'thinking' which is happening on the real me, which is the SEEING. The thoughts can be correct or incorrect, useful or worthless, but either way they are just happening as a function of the body, not a 'me' who is 'thinking' them. As Nisargadatta said, treat the thoughts as you do people on the street, you see them but you don't stop at every one.

Q: Are there any techniques I can do to develop spiritually? Repeat a mantra?

A: There is NO ONE there to repeat the mantra.

Q: But if I feel that's what I want to do?

A : You are THE SEEING which watches the repetition of the mantra. Repeat a mantra if you wish, but understanding is a more direct method.

Q: Why?

A: Imagine a torch shining on a wall ...        The torch symbolises the SEEING, and the light which emanates from the torch and hits the wall symbolises the thoughts. The problem is that you are trying to find the torch, (ie: the SEEING), but you are looking for it on the wall, (ie: in the thoughts). Also, thoughts can happen thick and fast and can be quite erratic...  so not only are you looking in the wrong place, but you are chasing a moving target. A mantra at least steadies the appearance of the thoughts. It's like steadying the light on the wall, so you have a better chance of tracing the beam back to its source, but never forget, only the torch (the SEEING) is the source. The mantra is nothing but a thought, an appearance that has no independent nature, repeated. However, as I have said, whilst a mantra can help on the so called 'search', it is not actually necessary. Knowledge is the DIRECT method.

No techniques are needed. The SEEING ( the ordinary everyday awareness ) does not need to do anything to BE, to exist. Any techniques can only be on the level of thought, and therefore are outside of the only reality which is the SEEING. The SEEING is NEVER not there, it is ALWAYS seeing the thoughts, no matter what they may be. It is always aware of everything, it cannot under any circumstances not be there, you can't lose it. So just BE IT. HAVE A SENSE OF IDENTITY WITH IT AND NOTHING ELSE. You ARE the torch !

Q: You were talking about everything being one but you still describe yourself as being 'you' and me being 'me'. Why?

A: Is the sky blue?

Q: Well no, it's actually made of gases which when the light hits them make them seem blue.

A: So if you and I know that it isn't blue why do we say that it is blue?

Q: Because it appears blue.

A: So we both have the knowledge that the sky is not actually blue, but for simplicity's sake we still describe the sky as being blue?

Q: Yes.

A: Well, that's how I talk about 'you' and 'me' and 'them'. Things appear to be separate so I talk that way, but I know that it is not the actual case.

Q: I see. .........

Q: I kind of get what you've been saying about everything but I need time for it all to sink in.

A: Time doesn't come into it. You are only ever in the NOW. And the Awareness for which you are searching is ALWAYS shining HERE & NOW. There is nothing new to achieve. The Awareness that you are searching for is that 'ordinary everyday awareness' of which you are PRESENTLY aware. You are already there right NOW. There is NOTHING NEW to search for. It is here right now SEEING the thoughts.

Q: mmm ....

A: By expecting to achieve some 'future' realisation you are reinforcing the belief that you are not there now, and the truth is that you are there RIGHT NOW THIS VERY INSTANT whether you think you are there or not.

Q: Ok, but I still need 'time'.

A: Yes, you say it will take 'time' for it to sink in. What you actually mean is that it will take succesive Now Moments to remove your incorrect beliefs.Time is just a thought, only the Now exists. Something that happened a minute ago can only ever be experienced again as a thought in the Now, therefore the 'past' can only ever be a thought. Likewise any belief that you will achieve something in the 'future' can only ever be experienced as a thought in the Now, so the 'future' also is only a thought. And if the 'past' and the 'future' are just thoughts that means 'time' is just a thought. And the Awareness that I am talking about is outside of thought. A thought is just a dead thing that can never possess any awareness of its own and therefore cannot contain the truth. The only truth that exists is the Awareness which is SEEING the thoughts and concepts. But anyway, that's ok, take 'time' to contemplate and continue the enquiry within yourself until you thoroughly understand what I am talking about. Don't give up and you'll 'get there'. But don't forget, intellectual understanding is not it. IT is outside of the thinking. It is what is LOOKING AT the thinking ........You are not any thoughts, beliefs, feelings, visions or anything that can be experienced. They are all as outside of the core you as a house is! You are not even the experiencer, because that implies a separate entity which is experiencing. You are the one pure undivided SEEING.

Q: That may be true, but I don't really feel that at the moment.

A: The Universal Awareness is ALWAYS shining under EVERYTHING including the thought "I don't really feel the Universal Awareness at the moment". You ARE the Awareness AND you can NEVER lose the Awareness.

Even when you get what I am talking about and your sense of identity shifts to the Awareness you may have times when you feel that you have 'lost' the Awareness. But what is illuminating that thought that you have 'lost it'? The Awareness of course! You CAN NEVER lose the Awareness! So it was obviously a false thought. The Awareness does not come and go, it is ALWAYS here.

Q: I think I get it.

A: The 'you' who 'gets it' or 'loses it' is not the real you, they are just thoughts. The real you is that which these thoughts appear on.

Q: Ok, but I still think I am getting closer.

A: The thought that you think you are getting closer is still just a thought. You are already 100% Self Realised this very second whether you understand it or not. There is NO PATH, just incorrect beliefs which need to be removed. The very belief that there is a path is itself an obstacle. You can't ever be out of the eternal reality, IT'S IMPOSSIBLE.

Don't forget, EVERYTHING happens ON the SEEING. Even when you understand everything that I'm talking about, thoughts may still appear like "I had a busy day at work today and was distracted, I didn't stay in the SEEING much". But that itself is just a thought which is occuring on the SEEING. Likewise, the opposite thought, "I had a very focused day today and really stayed in the SEEING" is just as much just a thought, an appearance, which is happening on the SEEING. Everything is only just an appearance on the SEEING. And you are the SEEING, not the appearance. In a dream, does a busy person in the dream have the dreamer flowing through them any less than a person in the dream who is meditating on the dreamer? To the dreamer they are just the one dream.

Q: But surely the one who realises that he's in the dream is closer to the dreamer?

A: Well, yes, but also no. The fact is that the one who is ignorant of the fact that he's in the dream has the Awareness flowing through him just as much as the other one. That is what I mean by you're already Self-Realised. The dream character who is ignorant of the fact that there is only the one Awareness of the dreamer is just as much in the one Awareness as the other person who has the understanding. The only difference between them is that the one who doesn't have the understanding is just carrying incorrect beliefs. However, this doesn't change the fact that he is still actually just as much in the ONE.

Q: So I'm just as much in the ONE as you are?

A: Yes. Of course.

Q: ok.

A: ANY thought you can have is just an APPEARANCE on the SEEING. ANY, ANY, ANY thought! Get that? The thought 'I am really enlightened and understand alot' is just as much just an appearance on the SEEING as the thought 'I don't understand anything and am ignorant'. To the Awareness they are just two appearances.

Q: So does what I think and believe matter or not?

A: For starters, there is no separate 'thinker'... so for 'who' does it matter? THE SEEING is neutral, it doesn't judge.

It's only within the seemingly separate world that the thoughts and beliefs will effect the seemingly separate 'you'. If the thought 'I will jump in the water' occurs on the SEEING and it is acted on, then the seemingly separate 'you' will get wet.

Q: So having correct beliefs matters?

A: The person who understands that everything is ONE has beliefs which are in accordance with the way things actually are. For example, imagine it's Saturday, but one person thinks it's Wednesday and another knows it's Saturday. No matter how convinced the person who thinks it's Wednesday is, nothing will change the fact that it is Saturday, right?

Q: Right.

A: The person who has the incorrect belief that it's Wednesday is just as much in Saturday as the person who knows it's Saturday. The difference being that the person who know's it's Saturday is acting in accordance with the actual reality and the other person is carrying incorrect beliefs.

Q: So what I think does matter?

A: Try walking around on a Saturday as if it was a Wednesday and you will find out.

Q: So how does the life of a person who has beliefs that are in accordance with actual reality differ from someone who doesn't?

A: Well, for starters they are not the body or the thinking, they are the one, undivided SEEING. So that immediately changes everything really. Where is the individual you, or birth and death, if you are the eternal, unborn, undivided SEEING? How it physically effects the SEEMINGLY separate entity will vary.

Q: So if there is no individual how can I function?

A: If there is no individual that exists now, that means THERE NEVER WAS ONE, even when you thought that there was one. There NEVER has been a separate individual, it was an incorrect belief. You functioned then and you'll function now. However, from now on not as a victim of the thoughts, which are outside of you. And not as a victim of the false belief that you are a separate entity. Everything is ONE this very instant, it just SEEMS separate.

Q: But how can I do my work, if I am not my thoughts? If I can't use my memory. How can I function?

A: 'The thinking' can be a very useful tool which you have access to, so by all means use it. But the thing is DON'T MISTAKE IT FOR YOURSELF. You are what's LOOKING AT the thinking, you ARE NOT the thinking. And who said you can't use your memory? I didn't say that. Your memory can be very useful, just don't become a victim of it. Just do not associate with thoughts and believe that you are them. Your thinking, memory, intellect, etc is a very useful set of tools, but that is all they are, they are not the true you. The thinking makes a very good servant, but a terrible master.

Q: Ok.

A: That's what it all boils down to really. YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED YOURSELF WITH SOMETHING WHICH YOU ARE NOT. And it's this wrong identification which is the root of every problem in your life. You have identified yourself with the thinking and the limited local Individual Awareness, and have therefore incorrectly assumed you are a separate individual. And once you think you are an individual, that by default creates a world full of other individuals. You are the ONE undivided pure Universal Awareness which shines through everything. You are the SEEING, not what is seen. You are eternal, you are everywhere. You are not the body, you are not the thinking, you are even beyond the LIMITED Individual Awareness.

Q: So if this Awareness is in all of us, then why can't I read someone else's mind?

A: The Universal Awareness is like the sun and the Individual Awareness is like a sparkle reflecting on the ocean. The UNLIMITED Universal Awareness whilst it is shining in the body expresses itself as the LIMITED Individual Awareness and only sees what is happening within that body. However, ultimately there is only the Universal Awareness. So if you are the Individual Awareness which is ultimately the Universal Awareness which is ONE WITHOUT A SECOND, then who is reading who's thoughts? You are not an individual. Ultimately, you are not the Individual Awareness because that Individual Awareness will dissolve when the body stops functioning, just like the sparkle on the ocean stops when the little wave goes down. You are the Universal Awareness.

Q: You are yet to mention the word 'God', why is that?

A: God is a word that everyone has a lot of preconceived ideas about, so I prefer to use the name Universal Awareness or 'the SEEING'. (They are different names for the same thing). Also because Universal Awareness or 'the SEEING' actually gives you a better idea about what it actually is.

Q: But I think about God alot.

A: God is what's SEEING the thoughts. And you are that SEEING, not the thoughts. To place importance on the thoughts, and your sense of identity with the thoughts, is to actually 'worship a false idol'.

Q: Why?

A: Because you are worshipping the appearance not the reality.

Q: So where is the soul?

A: The soul is an extension of the ego idea. There is just one Universal Awareness that flows through everything. There is no centre to it. Much like the Awareness of a dreamer flows through all the characters in a dream. They too have no separate centre of Awareness (or soul), it's all the ONE Awareness of the dreamer even though it very convincingly SEEMS like there are many.

Q: And reincarnation?

A: 'Who' is there to be reincarnated?

Q: I still can't find this Awareness you are talking about.

A: You've overlooked it because it's so fundamental and has always been here. For example, imagine you were placed in a lit room when you were a newborn. It was never dark, always lit the same. Imagine that you have spent 30 years in it and it is the only environment you know. Then one day someone comes to visit you in your room and comments on the lighting. However, because you've never known anything else, the concept of lit or not lit never even occured to you. You don't know what he's talking about because you just took it for granted that that was just the way things were. It's the same with the Awareness. It has always been there like the lit room, so you have overlooked it.

However the Awareness, unlike a physical light, cannot be seen, it is not something that you can look at, it IS the one and only SEEING. It has been 'overlooked' because it is the FIRST and ONLY see-er and therefore has nothing outside of it which can see it. You ARE the SEEING.

Q: I was meditating and I saw a light. So this can't be the Awareness you are talking about?

A: No, whatever is experienced cannot be it, because the Awareness is the EXPERIENCER of all. So if you saw a light, you are what is SEEING that light. You are the PURE SEEING.

Q: Some people claim to 'see things', visions, ghosts, etc?

A: They are all either imaginings or not the ultimate reality, just experiences. You are not the experience. You are not what is seen, you are not even the see-er, you are THE SEEING.

Q: I feel I need to get away from it all, society, and go and meditate.

A: There's no need to leave society. These days you need to work to eat and live. You just need to integrate being the SEEING, and NOT the seen, into your everyday life. Someone who goes to meditate in a forest yet still retains their ego consciousness is achieving nothing. It is totally possible to be the ONE SEEING whilst being a family person.

Q: So do I have to still my mind to be the SEEING?

A: No matter whether you are having lots of thoughts or a few thoughts, they are all appearing on the SEEING, and you are the SEEING, not those thoughts. The main thing is to identify with what is SEEING the thoughts and NOT the thoughts themselves.

Q: But this 'seeing', is it a physical seeing like I can see that chair?

A: No, the SEEING that I am talking about is NOT a physical seeing. The SEEING that I am talking about is THE ORDINARY EVERYDAY AWARENESS. It is what is cognising, i.e... perceiving, everything in 'you' right now THIS INSTANT. It is perceiving EVERYTHING... the physical seeing, hearing, touch, taste, sensations, thought mechanism, ideas ( which are just thoughts), emotions, etc, etc, etc... everything. All of these things are just APPEARANCES on THE ORDINARY EVERYDAY AWARENESS. You actually know 'it' really really well. It is your very BEING. You wouldn't be aware of the sound of a door squeeking without it, you wouldn't be aware of the thoughts, you wouldn't be aware of ANYTHING without it. Without it you would be as dead as a rock.

Q: What does Self-Realised mean?

A: 'Self-Realised' is a contradiction in terms. There is only THE SEEING and the seeming appearances on THE SEEING. There is NO individual thinker, thinking just happens. There is NO ONE there! ...and therefore no one there to be 'Self Realised'.

Q: Why do you call them 'seeming' appearances?

A: The appearances SEEM to be real, but in actuality they aren't. They're just borrowing their reality from THE SEEING. The appearances have no independent nature of their own. That means that without THE SEEING they could not exist. They depend on THE SEEING to exist like the SEEMINGLY real appearances in a dream depend on the dreamer.

Q: So what is the ultimate truth?

A: The ultimate truth is beyond words or even thoughts. Words can only POINT to it. As soon as you put it into thoughts or words it becomes part of the seeming appearance on the SEEING and not the actual SEEING.

Q: But if you were to 'sum things up' using words?

A: Just like in a dream there is the dreamer's SEEING and then all the seemingly separate APPEARANCES that emanate from that, but it's all the ONE dream ... SO TOO in this 'world' there is the SEEING, and there are the seemingly separate APPEARANCES, but it is all ONE........FULLSTOP.

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Page last updated: 10-Jul-2012