1. Mind is everything. Nothing exists but mind. Mind creates everything, from the atom to the cosmos, from a blade of grass to a grain of sand, from an elephant to a flower and the scent of the flower. Your feelings, objects you see, your body, your aches and pains are all mind stuff. Everything is mind; everything!
2. From deep sleep, mind arises and you dream, dreamed self and objects. All is mind-only.
3. Yet mind does not exist. It only has an apparent shadow-like existence. Mind is just uncoordinated thoughts floating in an imaginal space. Mind is thoughts only; imaginal thoughts in imaginal space. They have a dream-stuff quality when you see them clearly.
4. Thoughts do not exist even though they appear to. By non-existence, I mean they have no tangibility, no solidity, no permanence, just like a dreamed body or dreamed people. They have a dream quality when you observe them closely.
5. When you awaken from a dream, the dreamed images disappear and you know they were not real; they had an imaginal quality only.
6. So too does the waking dream disappears when the mind and thoughts are seen to be imagination only. Space is the imaginal world's essential quality and itself is unreal.
7. Mind has one central thought, which is the thought I. It is that I thought that one refers to all day long as me, or I. There is no I that the I-thought refers to. None. That is, there is no object that is I existing separate from other objects, people, places and things. There is no ego that the I thought refers to although it feels that way before awakening. There is no separation between imaginal objects as space is imaginal itself.
8. There is only an I thought. It is like a name with no person that name points to. You think you (I as subject) exist, but there is no you (I as subject).
9. The I is the I-thought only. It has no existence in itself except as a thought, yet all other thoughts appear to be connected to the I-thought. I thought is the lynch-pin. Without the I thought having an apparent reality, the world too is seen as having no reality. I is the apparent subject, the world the apparent object, but neither exists without the other. Both are imagination.
10. You do not exist; that is the great discovery. There is no I or ego that exists. There is no me. The I-thou is a false duality. Me, you, is a duality. Inward and outward is a duality. All dualities depend on the reality of I-Thou, I vs. World, and ultimately the reality of the I thought or subject.
11. When you recognize you (as a person) do not exist, the world immediately disappears also. Imaginal space disappears.
12. When you realize you are not the mind, no thing, you realize you do not exist as a person, then you realize that “all that is” does not exist either. No thing exists. It is all a dream created by mind.
13. You can hear this a million times, but until this is your experience, it is only your concept of what an I-less state is like. That is, it is a belief, an idea.
14. In this realization, there is a recognition that there is nothing to do. There is no decision to make. You are responsible for nothing. You, as an apparent mind and body, no longer have anything to do. 'God' does everything; you do nothing.
15. All human problems come from the belief you are a separate body-mind. Once you see you do not exist in this way, great and restful peace comes. There is nothing for you to do, because 'It' does everything. (It does no good to give this 'force' a name such as God; labels only obscure and leave an impression of existence as a sublime object.)
II. True Self
1. All the above is obtained in the waking state, the state of everyday wakefulness. All that you know or understand, as you, is mind in the waking state of consciousness.
2. That waking state comes and goes. It goes when you fall asleep. It goes when you get drunk. It goes sometimes when you get hit in the head. It goes when your body dies. It is not permanent. It is like a candle’s flame in a breeze, sometimes it flickers hot, sometimes almost dies, but eventually burns out.
3. Always in the waking state there is an associated body, which has a conceptual, apparent existence. It is the body’s senses and the mind that creates the world and me. But it is all illusion, imagination in Consciousness.
4. Waking consciousness is body consciousness. Without a body, there are no senses; without senses there are no sense objects or the world. Or so it appears.
Dreaming consciousness also requires an imaginal body. All things are created by mind, and the individual mind is associated with an apparent brain and body.
5. In fact, even the waking state and the dream states themselves arise as mindstuff out of the fundamental, before mind, nature. That is, not only are waking and dream objects a figment of the human mind, the waking and dream states themselves, along with the dream-conceived body, have no real existence.
6. The apparent body/mind is a “knot” of awareness. There is a awareness beyond that knot. That ‘beyond’ awareness contains and gives an apparent existence to waking and dream consciousness, otherwise called the waking and dream states, and the objects that populate those states.
7. The first awakening destroys the I and the object world. The second awakening destroys the awake consciousness and dream consciousness. All continue to appear to exist, but you now know they are fraudulent. They arise out of something 'deeper'. (The term 'deeper' also creates an imaginal duality; a duality that is not real but is stated for exposition only.)
8. Even the deep sleep state is a state of Consciousness. The brain, mind and body are shut down during that ‘time’. All is forgotten because remembering requires mind. Mind is shut down during deep sleep as is the brain. Both are forgotten. But an underlying tone of awareness continues. Many people after some practice "feel" the presence of the sleep state even when awake, and also that they are prior to both the waking and sleep states. YOU are that which can simultaneously be aware of both waking and sleeping, even though you are primarily the waking state at the time.
9. That deeper awareness or Consciousness, YOU, observes waking, dream and sleep.
10. There is no argument that can prove there is an observing Consciousness or existence in sleep. All arguments that there is consciousness in sleep depend on argumentation and inference. They try to convince the reader that this is their direct experience by inference. This is a weakness of all Jnani-style expositions: the mystery of the deep sleep state, or the third state of Consciousness.
11. There is a “state” of Consciousness that is “beyond” the deep sleep state. That primary Consciousness classically is called awareness here for the sake of communication. That awareness is beyond waking and dream consciousness. That awareness exists and witnesses all the other states of waking, dream and deep sleep. Finding that core awareness in the waking state, and disidentifying with the objects of the waking state, is called self-realization. In that realization, the waking state itself is seen as fraud. Further explanation here.
12. All other states come and go on this stateless state of awareness, often called the fourth state. The fourth state is the witness of waking, sleep and dream. It is the constant note of the fundamental awareness that appears to be you as a small and insignificant body/mind.
13. The concept of a fourth state is is a conceptual distinction only, but as close to “truth” as can be put into words, as It lies “before” and beyond the waking, sleep and dream states, and, in fact dwells as a constant presence in all. Every state of Consciousness and all objects that populate all waking and dream worlds, flow from it and are observed by it. Waking, dream and sleep are derivative, but it is not a state itself. It is the subjective source from which all other states arise as object. You cannot see or witness it as it is the witness of all.
14. Until you know this fundamental truth consciously, that is, through the use of the waking mind, the fourth state is only an idea, a concept, one among many concepts and certainly not proved through argumentation.
15. This fourth (non) state is given the label, “Turiya,” for the sake of exposition. The terms “the fourth state” and “Turiya” are only concepts, words, until you experience that beyond and before the waking, dreaming and deep sleep states. The latter are temporary and unstable. Turiya alone is permanent and stable. Essentially only Turiya exists, all else is temporary, imaginal, derivative.
16. In fact, Turiya, the stateless state, awareness has no existence as existence is a property of the imaginary world. Awareness is beyond any existence and is the observer of the apparent existent.
17. The deathless and stateless awareness, Turiya, is aware always, and itself is aware that it exists and transcends everything, but itself is not perceived. This is known in silence. Until you know this awareness in silence, you cannot know you are not an individual, a human, who lives and dies, has a beginning and an end.
18. Turiya is the permanent state, the deathless state, the eternal state beyond and before existence. You, as awareness, always were. There never was a time you were not, nor will there ever be.
19. This silent absolutely still awareness called Turiya is discovered either in the waking state, or during the apparent gap between waking and the dream states. This is the place most “people” first recognize Turiya. In that gap, mind does not prevail. Awareness alone prevails. At this time, awareness becomes aware of itself as apart from the states of waking, dream and sleep.
20. One step more and you understand you are beyond even Turiya. Turiya is still the witness of all, but you are beyond even this. You are the knower of awareness.
1. This is difficult to express, but fundamentally, only Turiya exists, all other states are derivative and all objects are derivative of the derivative states. Yet, when Turiya is stabilized as your primary state—when one is always aware of that fundamental state—the other states and the world are also seen to be you, but merely as a shadow of the real you. These states have so little in common with the real you, you might as well as say they do not exist. To say more than this creates too many conceptual problems that lead to unending philosophical discourse which is an insolvable diversion from correct practice of abiding in self. Therefore, such inquiry should never be pursued. Only abiding in the self should be pursued.
2. The initial insight that you really are the background state, the deathless state, Turiya, is the beginning of self-realization. Self, as the derivative waking state, recognizes its fundamental nature as the deathless fourth stateless state, Turiya, which is beyond and before waking, dream or sleep consciousness.
3. Most people who discover this lose it, because they do not stabilize in the Turiya state. Stabilization requires practice. In many persons that the Turiya recognition comes to, the mind as an apparent entity is destroyed forever. However, to most who become aware of Turiya, that recognition is eventually lost, but the memory of the truth of the fundamental state and the derivative states remains forever.
4. ‘Effort’ is needed by most to stabilize in the fourth state, even though there is no effort in the fourth state itself. Using effort you need to practice being in the effortless state. This means in actuality, remaining in thoughtless silence. Ramana “practiced” remaining in that fourth state, silence, single-mindedly for many years before he taught anyone. However, once the human mind dies permanently, one is always in the stateless state, the fourth state, Turiya. It is better to practice self-inquiry than know this.
5. Robert advised holding onto that state as an act of will until it is forever your understanding.
6. Awareness of, immersion in that stateless, eternal state comes and goes until the core thought processes cease with the so-called ego’s death. Then there is total stability in the root consciousness. Please recognize that all that I have just said is concept to you and has as little value as any other dream. It is a little lie to get you to practice trying to hold onto awareness. The important thing is to abide in the self.
7. What is important is the experience of Samadhi and finally Sahaj Samadhi, the total annihilation of the personal and imaginal self.
8. Even then, know you are beyond even this. No description can be given. It is ineffable.
9. Most of what meditators consider advanced meditative states, including all the talk about the self-illumined Clear Light Emptiness, are really still a phenomena within imaginal space. The so-called "pure awareness" happens to you when the entirety of imaginal space disappears along with the feeling of existence and the sense of I-ness. The totality of the sense of presence is just a complex of thought forms tied into our sense of physical existence as a body-mind. This is what Nisargadatta calls "I-Am." All that disappears at awakening. One becomes empty, silent, non-existent and beyond all existence.
1. By now you probably recognize that both the personal and spiritual life are all about identification.
2. Do you identify with the objects of the imaginal space emanating from your non-existent mind?
3. Do you instead identify with the entire manifestation of Consciousness, all phenomenality, the comings and goings of Consciousness and objects in Consciousness? This is the oneness or unity state that Bernadette Roberts and others talk about. This is also the Samadhi state where all that there is is Consciousness and an identification with the totality. These were my Mt. Baldy experiences.
4. Or do you identify with the background upon which All comes and goes? THAT which is aware of the coming and going of Consciousness? The pure, cold, emptiness that contains everything but itself does not exist?
5. One might be tempted to call this background pure Consciousness or the void, but it is beyond any concepts or pointers.
6. At some moment you will become aware that there is at once a sense of existence and then it passes. In the morning, a sense of existence arises and disappears at sleep. There is something that is firmly aware of the comings and goings of this waking consciousness. The "feeling" is that the existence and then non-existence states come to you. You know both that you are, and you know that you, at times, also are not.
7. This knowingness of the coming and going of the oneness Consciousness state, automatically reveals you are not that oneness state. That oneness state comes to you and then it leaves. You have nothing to do with it.
8. Once this conviction of a prior “existence” is strong, a “disidentification” with the body/mind and the totality of the comings and goings of the world, dream and sleep can take place, supplanted by the firm knowledge that you are beyond all that.
9. To use ignorance producing words, there is an identification with that which cannot be perceived as who you really are. One becomes That, but cannot be aware of that.
10. Freedom is a disruption of the identification with phenomenality. First it is a disidentification with the objects in the imaginal world, both dream and waking, then a disidentification with the process of the coming and going of Consciousness itself. You rest in yourself, having the position of this Self beyond all.
11. You are before being and not being, awake and dream take place in time. You have no time.
12. With this comes peace, happiness, and an end to searching.
13. You have not attained You; instead you have lost the false identification with the smallest part of You, the imaginal passing show of Consciousness. You are the awareness of that Consciousness.
14. When this disidentification comes, all the Jnana sutras become clear.
15. When this disidentification comes, You realize You are beyond all.
16. That realization is felt as absolute conviction associated with an immediate 'apprehension' that You are beyond the comings and goings of Consciousness. It is not merely an intellection discovery, and only a conviction, but a conviction arises from a direct apprehension of your true nature. This apprehension is not an experience. Both experiences and ordinary convictions come and go. This is an apprehension at the deepest level of being of that which lies prior to beingness, which Zen masters and Nisargadatta call the Unborn.
17. This is not the end, it is the real beginning of sadhana. Before there was only practice and effort, but now you have the taste for and the direction of the Infinite, your unborn true self.
18. You are beyond even the knowledge that you are beyond all; but that knowledge liberates you from the all. Then you are totally free, abiding in that which is entirely beyond. Once you know this, stay there as often and long as you can until all humanhood is burnt out and exhausted and you live in peace.
19. Then, as Robert often said, you are happy beyond belief, fearless, for you cannot die as you realize you, as a human and even as Consciousness, were never born. Then, though you appear to be human and functioning, and that identification is still possible for a long while, the sting of suffering is gone, and you are happy.
1. The neo-jnanis proclaim instant enlightenment is possible if only you understand the Jnani-words. They may say look inside and you will immediately see that the I-thought has no basis and this is all you have to do. If only it were that easy.
2. Truly though, recognizing that the I-thought noun does not point to anything in existence is the beginning of right understanding. This right understanding can be taught. This is Advaita philosophy. It is also many forms of Buddhist philosophy. Just this “correct” teaching can go a long way towards realizing the I is only a concept, and when the concept is destroyed, so it the world and all burdens of the world, including the need to plan and work towards goals, as they do not exist.
3. However, true self-realization is not just seeing the I does not exist, and therefore the body and world do not exist. This only allows at some point an identification with awareness itself.
4. The Turiya stateless state, pure, silent awareness, is always there, both containing and being embedded in the waking, dream and deep sleep states.
5. How to ‘find’ Turiya amongst all the other states and objects that comprise the body/mind/feelings/thoughts that are the ordinary human condition is the problem of practice. How to find the self, that which exists always and knows its own existence; that is the single main point, the main question. It is always there, it is your fundamental state, but ‘you’ do not know this because of mind which takes only itself and the world as existent.
6. The “true” ways of practice are also a fundamental problem. You will hear many different methods discussed, even by Ramana, Robert, Nisargadatta and many others. It is easy to get confused because until Turiya is uncovered in your waking consciousness, you do not know how or where to go. All methods are based on trust. Some say go East, some West. Others say Northwest or South. Which way to go? Some say go nowhere. What to do; what to do?
7. It is my finding that correct practicing is the most difficult thing of all. In fact, a misunderstanding or incorrect practice of hunting for Turiya can lead to a lifetime of frustrated seeking leading to abandonment of seeking, leaving an aftertaste of bitterness. Very few people I have know who had started out with very sincere intent and practice maintain it more than five years. Even listening to a close personal teacher who really has realized can lead to frustration for many reasons. One is that you cannot understand his directions because you do not have his discrimination. Another is you become a friend and do not see his direction as coming from the ultimate silent awareness. You regard him or her as human.
8. For me, correct practice was not willful; it happened by itself. After Robert left, I could not help myself and just sank into myself. I lay around my house, unable or willing to work, listening to sacred music and gradually sinking into ever increasing happiness. There I stayed but not willfully. The “practice” of self-abiding just happened by itself. Therefore practice was without effort. Yet, had I not practiced variously for many years, the effortless practice would not have occurred.
9. If you assume you need a teacher—which you should have if he is right for you—how do you find him? One can write a mountain of books about finding a teacher or hunt him through space and time, none of which will help you.
10. Even worse than that is practicing without the guidance of a teacher. Truly you are blind and attempting to find the “light switch” in a house with no light. In fact, you cannot even be sure a light switch exists let alone know how to look around the house to find a light-switch. It is because of this situation most Jnanis search for 30 years and still do not find. They give up at some point. Some even give up when they have a good teacher.
11. Therefore no advice about teachers can be given. Sometimes for someone, a teacher is necessary. For even that same person, at other times all teachers are to be avoided, either because they are wrong, or because it is not yet time, or is past time.
12. It is easy enough to blame that failure of self-realization on not having the right teacher, the right understanding or the right practice. All these could be true. However, you can have the right teacher, the right understanding and the right practice and still not find Turiya. Sometimes that is how things are. But having all three correctly; the three pillars of the correct teacher, correct understanding and correct practice, is better than half the game. The rest is a mystery. Some use the term ‘grace’, but grace is only another name given to that same mystery.
13. The right practice is to find that common note contained within every moment of any consciousness. This requires an abiding in the Consciousness of Self. Constant self-abidance gradually reveals everything. Constant self-abidance requires constant vigilance, a dwelling in the “feeling” of I at the core of perception of being an ordinary person. Turiya is “behind” and beyond the sense of being a person in the world. It is found in ordinary consciousness. It is not found by constantly looking into and trying to penetrate the void. It is found by attending to the self that perceives the world this minute. Turiya is not hidden. It is the fundamental awareness that is with you every day and night, and is found when looking into your ordinariness. Everything flows from Turiya.
14. Sometimes that background awareness is experienced as the witness of all. That is, it is perceived as the subject. But this is not the true subject.
15. Getting lost in the Void is a big problem. It is easy to find the void or emptiness of Consciousness during self-observation. But then the person may explore the void and the self-luminous light of the void forever and not get anywhere by looking “inside” the void. Remember, the void itself is an object in meditation, it is not the source of all. (See "Self-Realization, paragraph 9 above.)
16. Correct practice depends a lot on where you are. For most it is looking into the feeling of beingness or I, the core feeling in the area of the heart. This is where you learn to separate consciousness of the body as an object, from the subjective sense of self, I.
For others the correct practice is doing nothing and just being aware of Consciousness as a whole.
17. Correct practice is a point of great confusion. Finding and maintaining the correct practice—FOR YOU—is a great mystery. There are so many methods, so many teachers, and so many interpretations of even what one teacher offers as the best method.
18. Always though, the method is to understand the self-the fundamental state, the ultimate Witness of all things, including the Void and its self-luminous nature. This Void is not the self, not the fundamental samadhi or awareness; it is a property of awareness.
19. For this reason I will recommend several resources in terms of books and teachings. Correct teachings and correct understanding work hand in hand. Therefore, you need both teaching about the truth of the real self and also pointers about how to abide in the self. Correct understanding that I does not exist, there is nothing associated with the I-thought, can destroy the reality of your humanness and human world, revealing the undifferentiated oneness of the waking state. But long self-abidance reveals a deeper truth, namely that the correct understanding of No-I and the oneness of existence, only happens to the waking state, and the waking state itself is only a concept, a derivative state of the eternal self.
20. Even this is a poor misstatement that will confuse more than it helps. Therefore, we must remain silent and only seek to know how to abide in the self through correct practice.
21. Self-inquiry and self abidance are the same; they only appear to be different at the beginning. Self-inquiry of various sorts is/was common in Rinzai Zen, where the ultimate question always was “Who Am I?” For years one practiced Who Am I inquiry. The biography of those who thus practiced and succeeded are rare, but revealing. The biography of Zen Master Bassui cames immediately to mind.
22. Abiding in the self through undifferentiated self-awareness, awareness alone, abiding in the ultimate silence prior to human existence is the practice called Shikantaza in the Soto school of Zen. These techniques are true, tested and universal. Unfortunately, it usually takes a long, long time to find the true emptiness and true void without elements of the imaginal space. However, when it is first encountered, when it first happens to you, you will know without ANY doubt that you have gone beyond mind and the imaginal world. If one goes to a Zen monastery and practices hard, this can happen in a relatively short time, albeit not permanently. It is a matter of intensity at first.
1. All of the above is mindstuff. You will translate it into your mindstuff. As such it is entertainment. The hope is that it will lead you to self-investigation—practice—rather than just going to teachers or reading books.
2. Everything above is true at one level and total bull on another. To try to express different levels of concept simultaneously is the utmost disservice.
3. There is enough “meat” in the above to generate a lot of confusing “sticking” points that make you feel impelled to discover answers for yourself. It really helps to have your own kernel question that impels you to investigate yourself with intensity and a desire to know. When you have your kernel question, you will listen to many teachers and question them and read many books to find an answer. You will likely not find a given answer that satisfies you. Then you will hopefully see this problem as a gift rather than a terrible impediment. That deep questioning lead to intensity or investigation.
4. Of course this problem is only one of words, concepts. It is not a real problem. The real problem is how to abide in the self, how to love the self.