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Living from the Biggest Truth

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Someone emailed me with a good question about how to keep the perspective of there being no separate self in the midst of the daily demands of their practical life, and how to live more fully from this bigger perspective. Here is what I wrote back:

Your question goes right to the heart of the matter. Yet, the truth cannot be contained in one perspective or the other. There is no separate self, and it is also true that on the relative level there is a functioning as an apparent separate self that is needed. These are not contradictory truths, but complimentary truths. Often in spiritual teaching there is an emphasis on the nondual truth since this is the aspect of truth that most people have not realized. But before, during and after a realization of this bigger truth, you still need to function in this relative world.

The wonderful thing about recognizing the bigger truth is not that the smaller practical considerations of getting along with your boss and taking care of your family disappear, but that you can hold them more lightly. And you can start to notice that there is much more that is unfolding even your practical life as a human with a job and responsibilities. So even though it is up to you to get up and go to work everyday, there is also a deeper presence that is unfolding all of life and that is what truly knows when you need to stay in a job and when you need to lose a job.

It is also a delicate understanding because seeing the bigger truth does lead to holding all of this more lightly, which can actually make things happen more smoothly. It can allow you to simply be in the flow and respond to what is really happening without all of the extra tension created when we think it is all up to me. But, we can then try to hold onto the this bigger perspective as a way to make our life run more smoothly which actually is just a more subtle way of trying to do it yourself....by not trying to do it yourself!

And almost everyone who experiences a bigger truth and the sense of flow that results tries then to make that happen. Instead, you can simply be curious about all of these dynamics, even the subtlest ways of spiritually efforting and trying to make things work. The real gift is in the discovery of the many levels of truth, not so much in holding onto the biggest truth as a way of making your life turn out great.

You may enjoy the article on the free articles page entitled, What to Do When There Is No Doer?, that gives a sense of the profound mystery of all of these different truths operating simultaneously, and also you may enjoy the short ebook on this site entitled Beyond No Self which addresses the different dimensions of truth that still exist when the separate egoic self is seen through.


What Is Found in Lack?

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Q: How do I go about exploring the sense of lack? Here’s my attempt: From the perspective of feeling, the sense of lack is a tension and sense of anxiety. The tension can be felt to different degrees everywhere in the body. The anxiety seems to be in the lower belly, the stomach, and the chest. The thoughts that go along with it are: “People know something I don’t. I have to get more information, more knowledge. Something is missing. Maybe I can get what I need from a teacher or book. I’m not enough. I need something more. I have to prove myself. I have to work hard and earn enlightenment. Something in the future could bring me what I want. The future could also bring disaster. I’m so vulnerable. I’m incomplete, insecure, and lacking in confidence.” That seems to be its voice at the moment. I still feel like I’m missing something in my exploration of missing something! How do you suggest I meet this sense of something missing? What can I do?

A: That’s a wonderful start to your exploration. You can also become curious about the actual “hole” or emptiness in the center of the feeling of lack. Directing your attention to this sensation of lack will bring to awareness all the voices, memories, and conditioning associated with the experience of lack, which need to be seen and allowed to be there. Just allow any associations to arise and be seen and continue to direct your awareness to the emptiness or sense of lack.

If you stay with this process long enough, often a deeper layer of conditioning will come to the surface, which may appear as feelings, such as sadness, anger, or fear. Or you might experience a deeper layer of your true nature, which may appear as a quality of essence, or Being, such as love, peace, or joy. Surprisingly, what often arises in the lack is the very thing you felt you were lacking. For instance, love can be found in the place where you experience a lack of love, and worth can be found in a place where you experience a lack of self-worth. There’s no formula for this exploration, as whenever you look within, the experience unfolds differently. But all you really need to do is trust and explore whatever shows up.

Even the deeper experiences of essence are empty at their core. When you touch this emptiness, the invitation is to go even deeper into the emptiness. Infinite layers of essential aspects of your Being are then discovered to be hiding another deeper layer of emptiness. Surprisingly, the doorway to the deeper reality is often the place where it seems emptiest.


There is an article on my website that explores this in greater depth here.

And in light of your questions, you might enjoy the following video. It is by a physicist who has found a unified field theory that fits right in with this way of understanding consciousness. But be forewarned, the video is very long and yet his theory of how the universe is structured fits right in with what we have been discussing, with an emptiness at the core actually being the entry into a deeper dimension. In his theory the emptiness at the core of every object (including the Sun, the Earth and our physical body) is an actual black hole. Like I said it is kind of mind blowing! Here are the links:

Hope this helps.

Nothing Happens to You

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Everything happens within you. Nothing ever happens to you. You are the nondual consciousness that is experiencing the words on this page, and yet that consciousness is so empty and spacious that nothing ever happens to it. Just as a thunderstorm passes through the sky but does not happen to the sky, every thought, feeling, desire, sensation and event happens in awareness, but does not happen to it.

This is more obvious when it comes to an external event that doesn't take place near you. A bird flying high above you or the distant sound of traffic obviously happens within the field of awareness, but it doesn't feel like these events happen to you. Yet if that bird flew right in front of your face, or that traffic was slowing you down on the highway, there is a tendency to think something is happening to you. And anything that arises within your own body and mind feels even more like something that happens to you. If a strong experience of fear or desire or confusion arises, we tend to think it has happened to us instead of within us.

The sky is unharmed by the thunderstorm, and that is why we would say the storm happened in the sky instead of to the sky. What about your experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires? Do they harm your awareness? Or do they eventually pass like a summer raincloud? Is your awareness damaged by them, or is awareness still empty and awake, awaiting the next experience after a sensation, feeling, or thought passes?

Your body is within awareness. Because of its physical nature, something can happen to it that leaves a relatively lasting effect, but what about the awareness that is experiencing the body? Every sensation comes and goes in awareness. The sensations in your body are always changing and shifting, and then your attention also moves to other elements of your experience. Even a chronic painful condition is not in your awareness every moment. So even physical events or injuries do not happen to you, they happen within you. What would it mean if a sore muscle or a stomach ache was not happening to you, but just within your field of awareness? What if everything that happens within your body is just another event within the open sky of consciousness?

The most surprising thing is that this is even true of your deepest and innermost feelings and desires. There are feelings of unworthiness and intense longings that can arise deep within your chest or abdomen. It can almost seem like they are a part of you. And yet even they are happening within the field of awareness, and not really to you. What would it mean if a deep feeling of sadness or an overwhelming desire for true love was not happening to you, but just within your field of awareness? What if everything that moves within your heart and mind is just another event within the open sky of consciousness?

All experience passes like a raincloud and leaves behind the fresh, open space of endless awareness. The source of awareness is always here. You are always here. Everything else happens within awareness. Everything else comes and goes. There is not even a separate you within awareness because you are the source of awareness. And so, nothing happens to you; everything happens within you.