Exploring the Aware Presence at the Heart of All Life
What is the source of the aliveness and awareness, which are fundamental to all life? What is the nature of desire, and how do our desires relate to suffering? How do we know what is true? What is the nature of belief, and how do our beliefs affect our ability to experience the deeper reality that is always here? And in the midst of these mysteries, how do we live our daily lives in the most satisfying and integrated way? Meeting the Mystery explores these questions and will help you discover new dimensions and possibilities in your life. This collection of articles and answers to questions posed by spiritual seekers is a springboard to ever deeper inquiry into the greatest mystery of all—Presence, which is who you really are.
Also included with this book are links to seven mp3 recordings of talks given by Nirmala that expand on the material in the book. These talks are not available anywhere else, and the links are found at the end of each chapter of the book.
Here are sample quotes from the book
"Awareness is a fundamental quality of our Being. Awareness is always here in everything and in every experience. We need to be aware in order to experience. If you could turn off your awareness, then the world, your body, your thoughts, and everything else would simply disappear. Since we are constantly having experiences, it must be true that awareness is always here.
And yet, what a mystery this awareness is. Why is it we have this capacity to register and notice what happens? Where does this capacity come from? Does it come from our brain and nervous system or from something beyond our physical form? Are you aware of anything at all in this moment? What is that awareness like? How do you know you are aware right now? And what if the source of awareness is also the source of everything else?
Because spiritual seekers seek expanded awareness, they often overlook the mystery of the awareness that is already here. Just as a single drop of water is wet, the awareness that is reading these words has all of the qualities of your true nature as pure awareness. Does the part of you that is already awake need to wake up, or is it already profoundly and mysteriously aware? Just for a moment, instead of seeking more awareness, find out more about the awareness that is already here.
The awareness that is here in this moment is alive, spacious, discriminating, and full of love. Everything that really matters is found in this awareness. Love, peace, and joy flow from within us to the experiences we have of the world. Seeking the source of peace or love in the world is like looking for the source of the water in the puddle that forms under a water faucet. Not only is the source here within us, but it is flowing right now as the simple awareness that is reading these words."
"Everything is real! Everything that exists, everything that happens, and everything we experience is real. Even illusions are real illusions. An illusion is something real that appears to be something other than what it really is. The smoke and mirrors used by magicians are real smoke and real mirrors! Our minds create images or thoughts that we take to be more real than they are. The thought or mind activity is real, but the content of our thoughts becomes an illusion if we take it to be more than just a thought. We can be tricked by our own minds into believing our thoughts are more real than they are, just as we can be tricked by a magician into believing an illusion is more real than it actually is.
Yet some things are more real than others, and some things are very real and not illusory at all. How do we distinguish how real an experience is? One approach is to notice how long it lasts. In the spiritual tradition of Advaita, the ultimate reality is that which doesn’t come and go, that which is always here. Other than the mysterious source of all experiences, nothing else we can experience has this quality, and yet this mysterious source always remains a mystery. The source of experience and awareness is beyond awareness. The source of everything is the ultimate reality, and that is realized, not by experiencing it, but by realizing that that is who you really are. It is realized by being it."
A Recent Review on Amazon:
"I just got this book on Kindle and can't put it down. There is so much information here on awareness, what makes us unhappy, and how our thoughts control us. There have been so many moments where I relate to what he's saying and say, "Yesss!" or "Aha, that's so true!" and I'm not even halfway through. I've read a lot of spiritual authors, from Byron Katie to Eckhart Tolle, and I find Meeting the Mystery one of the most inspiring works. Thank you Nirmala. Time to get back and read the rest. "-Chris Heath
Nirmala offers a unique vision and a gentle, compassionate approach, which adds to the rich tradition of spiritual inquiry into our true nature. He is the author of several books, including Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate Self. Free downloads of several of his other books are also available here.