The It Is Not Real section of this website is all about my relationship with Robert and how he pointed me towards the reality behind all concepts, not only spiritual concepts, but all concepts. It is part spiritual autobiography, part an exposition of discovery, and part a personal story of my relationship to my teacher, Robert Adams.
Up until I met Robert, my spirituality manifested as a thrashing about in Zen for many years, psychoanalytic self-psychology, Transpersonal Psychology and messing around with my friends in Siddha Yoga. But there was the certain realization I had gotten nowhere. In fact, I had been much closer to correctly understanding the nature of Consciousness and self before I met my first Zen master, when my only practice was self-inquiry in the form of "Who Am I," which I had gotten from reading Ramana Maharshi, and which is the most prominent practice mentioned in Kapleau's Three Pillars of Zen. Going to various Zen masters and taking up their practices got me lost and confused. Each had a different practice and different understanding and all expressed very differently.
I went to these various teachers, not because I doubted my practice, but because of unending, frightening and sometimes painful Kundalini experiences, about which I could find no one to explain them or teach me how to end them.
But after 22 years I had looked everywhere outside and inside. I had looked into the Void ― the self-illumined emptiness ― within myself year after year to no avail. All that I knew was emptiness and awe. But I knew that emptiness was not the end. I had perceived it and immersed in it for many, many years with no awakening.
I eventually realized I was observing the Void. There was a duality of I and the Void. The Void was still an object, and I was an "apparent" witnessing and acting subject. The I and the That were the two primary concepts that created and maintained my dual world. If either of these two pillars of "reality" would fail, the whole of my world and my being would be shattered, and this is what happened.
What I discovered was that there is no I at all. When there is no I, there is no world, because the duality disappears. Our human existence depends on having a subjective "I" opposed to an objective world, which is often characterized in spatial terms of inner and outer.
My discovery was that there is no subject witnessing or perceiving an apparent objective world. There is no inner nor outer; no Void nor lack of Void; no God nor Godlessness. All that remains when the duality of thought is exploded is the experience of Consciousness within which phenomenality, including the I-fantasy, floats. The world and I are just appearances within an apparent unity Consciousness. One might also say both are artifacts of Consciousness or the play of consciousness.
Yet, I discovered further that I was beyond even this unity Consciousness. None of the plays and appearances of Consciousness touch me. Consciousness is added onto me, but it is not me. The "I" of Consciousness was not me.
Nisargadatta talks about the two understandings of unity Consciousness vs. transcending Consciousness altogether. It is difficult to understand him in this way because of the confusing expositions of some of his editors. As Nisargadatta said, there were many translators and editors about him, and each will teach and edit according to their own level of understanding. The other confusing barrier was the use of a multitude of Sanskrit terms referring to different aspects of knowing, not-knowing, being and Consciousness, and the sense he used terms like Atman, Brahman, I Am, beingness, knowing, not-knowing, differently and inconsistently.
Unless you have the experience of awakening to the phantasm material of the world, any understanding is just book learning and will always be subject to doubt. You have to have the experience of the total destruction of your world in a catastrophic, mind exploding turning of Consciousness before you can really say you understand.
Robert never revealed the second teaching — transcending Consciousness — to his listeners at Satsang. He said there was no one there who would understand this final teaching. He jokingly said that if he told it, people would beat him to death.
I wrote a book about all of this entitled "Dancing With God," several hundred pages long. This is the redacted version, absent much philosophical speculation.