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SIGNPOSTS TO THE TRUTH OF WHO YOU REALLY ARE A collection of quotes, meditations, teachings and reflections on non-duality, spiritual awakening, relationships, identity, suffering and the wholeness of life - by Jeff Foster Ive been teaching (or whatever you want to call this) for a good few years now. Ive spoken hundreds of thousands of words to thousands of people in dozens of countries. And it strikes me, after all these years, that what I share really boils down to something very, very simple indeed: that even in your imperfection, you are perfect exactly as you are. Mystery is the only certainty. Beyond belief, beyond doubt. Mystery is not ignorance, nor is it naivet. It is not confusion, nor is it hedging ones bets. It is absolute groundedness, wonder, childlike simplicity. Mystery is indestructible. It is not knowing. and in that, knowing everything you need to know.

Our deepest fear is not the fear of death, it is the fear of life. It is the fear of living, really living, of truly being alive and awake and unprotected here and now. For life includes everything, not just the good stuff or the positive stuff. Yes, its joy and its bliss but its also pain and sadness, fear, anger and confusion. To truly be alive is to admit that you cannot protect yourself from any of it. So we close off from life, we numb ourselves, we try to block out half the waves in the ocean of consciousness. But why do we fear the waves in the ocean when we ARE that very ocean? Our fear of life, which we mistake to be the fear of death, stems from our forgetfulness of who we really are. When you are all that appears, what is there to fear? Is it possible to hear criticism, even insult, and find deep acceptance in any response that emerges in the moment grounded in the unshakeable knowing that what you really are doesnt need defending? And then, being radically open, is it possible to find a nugget of truth in what they are saying, even if it results in momentary humiliation, and destruction of the image of the one you thought you were? This doesnt mean you become passive and weak. Quite the opposite. You stop identifying as victim or hurt one, and stop seeing the other as enemy, and you remain open and vast, the infinite capacity for all life, for all thought and sensation and feeling. And here, in the midst of conflict, you discover the place where conflict ceases to be conflict at all and wake up to a love beyond reason. Yes, every human relationship is a constant invitation to let go. Your mother, your father, your friends, your lovers, your coworkers, everyone you meet here are your final gurus, your ultimate teachers. Listen to them. It was getting back into real, grounded, intimate human relationships after so many years of detachment, neo-Advaita world denial and spiritual superiority that really helped to expose all the remaining stuff about myself that I was still trying to avoid and hide from others. It was painful and humiliating, to be sure. But ultimately, it was astonishingly liberating. For the stink of enlightenment (as Mariana Caplan calls it) cant last very long, if youre sincerely interested in truth. Clichs like there is no me and there is only awareness just dont cut it. Thank you to all the women who have taught me how to love. One of my favourite things to do is to sit with my elderly father who has Alzheimers. Its a beautiful thing just to sit a place of profound not knowing with him, a place where I do not know what to say or do. I sit, without expectation, without trying to fix him, or manipulate his experience in any way. I just listen, without trying to make things better in the moment, without playing the role of the one who knows. As consciousness, I am simply available to him. I dont need to know anything in this place, for we are each other. I simply cannot tell who is the one with memory loss. And here, I notice a deep and profound

acceptance of any wave of frustration or sadness that appears in the ocean of experience. His pain, my pain, there is no difference at all. And this seems to me to be what true relationship is at its very core meeting, really meeting in the moment, without hope, without a future, without expectation, without a story. Coming face to face with yourself. Nobody meeting nobody. I love what Nisargadatta Maharaj says: With the dissolution of the personal I, personal suffering disappears. But crucially, he also adds: What remains is the great sadness of compassion. Yes, the absence of I is not cold detachment and neoAdvaita world-rejection, but intimacy of the most unspeakable kind. Thanks, Dad, for keeping me grounded. So many spiritual teachings and practices present themselves as the solution to the problem of being human. They are all about getting rid of what we call the negative, escaping painful emotions, transcending feelings, stopping thoughts, fighting the darkness, attracting the positive, floating above our humanity, leaving imperfection behind and becoming perfect and enlightened. But why are we so deeply afraid to embrace our humanness in its totality, to deeply allow the present moment exactly as it is? Why the constant war against thoughts and emotions? What exactly are we trying to protect? What exactly do we fear? It seems that we have forgotten who we really are the vast ocean of consciousness that unconditionally embraces its beloved positive and negative children with equal tenderness, that loves its dark and light waves to death, that holds its yin and yang with equal understanding. Life is not the problem. Thoughts and feelings are not the problem. The waves in the ocean are not the problem. Being human is not the problem. It never was. The problem begins with the solutions that we are offered, the paths we follow in our misguided innocence, and in our fear. We do not need solutions to the non-existent problem of being alive here and now. I used to believe that acceptance was something that you had to do, and peace was something that you would eventually attain, through continued effort and practice. I realise now that I had it all upside down and back-to-front. Acceptance is always already here, since what I am is always deeply allowing this moment to be exactly as it is, effortlessly and the knowing of that IS peace, unshakeable peace without opposite. Peace and deep acceptance, not as future goals, but present moment realities, are not two states or stages they are one and the same. Are you breathing? Are you awake and alive? Then you are wealthy beyond your wildest dreams. All the worlds money, fame, success, glory; all the spiritual highs available to consciousness cannot even begin to touch this this simple and undoubtable awareness that does not come and go, that cannot be gained or lost, that is not damaged by pain or loss nor enhanced by luck or achievement, that need not be believed, that

simply IS, no matter what is happening. What you are seeking is already here, hidden in every moment fully revealing itself in every moment too. Until you are fulfilled with nothing, nothing will fulfil you. You cannot forgive someone for hurting you. As the hurt one you cannot forgive. Fortunately, the hurt one is not your true identity. Who you really are can never be hurt, since in its vast and loving embrace it deeply allows all of life, including hurt, into itself. In realising that you cannot hurt me, I no longer need to fear, avoid, punish, or shut myself off from you. In realising that nobody has ever hurt me, there is nobody to forgive. Bones can be broken, yes; egos can be threatened, pride can be bruised, of course; but who we truly are has never been touched. Here in the deep peace of the ocean of you, you can never be a victim. And from here, you can finally love your non-existent enemies, your heart breaking with compassion for their deep pain. And yes, yes, you can still say NO. This is not a path for the faint-hearted, Ill give you that. Nobody has the power to allow this moment. The good news is that this moment is already allowed to be exactly as it is, whether you like it or not. True freedom lies nowhere else but in the suchness of this moment, the fragrance of the here and now. When we forget our basic inseparability from life itself, and identify as the time-bound image of me, we feel homesick, far from the One we love. And then the hunt begins. We go seeking that One in time seeking fame, fortune, love, enlightenment whatever we think will bring us home. In our innocence, we even start to believe concepts like there is no me. But we are only seeking ourselves. Yes, sweet dreamer, The One you love, the love you seek, is always infinitely closer than you think. It is breathing down your neck, even as you seek it. Even as you read this. It is your own breathing. in and out.. in and out There is no thinker there is only thought arising. There is no hearer there is only hearing happening, effortlessly. There is no seer there is only effortless seeing; only all of this being seen, presently. There is no lover separate from their beloved. There is no love separate from the one who longs for it. There are no lovers anywhere to be found. There is only love, which cannot be divided. Who you truly are, as the capacity for hurt, cannot be hurt. As this open capacity, you are never the hurt one. Bones can be broken, images can be shattered, hopes and dreams of what should be, or what could have been, can die, yes but who you are remains present, always. It cannot be harmed and does not decay or age. In discovering this ever-present deep acceptance at the heart of all present experience, fear of life comes

to an end, and what remains is an effortless willingness to not run away from thoughts and feelings, and meet them as dear old friends. Trying to allow this moment is like trying to allow a seedling to grow into an oak tree. Trying to fall in love is like trying to make your heart beat backwards. You dont find the truth, and it doesnt find you. You dont even realise that you never lost it. It is simply recognised that there was never a you separate from it in the first place. Truth was, and is, always here, closer than breathing. The beautiful paradox of awakening Who you really are is like the white background behind this text. Mostly ignored and neglected, unable to be grasped, ever-present, and not particularly interesting to the seeker. But absolutely essential, so that these words are able to appear here. And the white background embraces all of these words unconditionally. It cannot say no. It allows all of life into itself. Any word, any character, any squiggle, is allowed to appear here. Thank you, white background, for your many years of dedicated, uncomplaining service. Words come and go, but You remain. Youre imagining yourself perfectly. Youre imagining youre reading a Facebook post by some guy called Jeff Foster a post about imagining yourself perfectly. And now youre imagining that you are in agreement or disagreement with the post, that you like it or not. And youre imagining posting a comment, or not posting a comment. Whatever youre imagining, and even if youre imagining that youre not imagining, and even if youre imagining that Im just imagining all of this, its all perfectly imagined, thats for sure. And silently, who you really are watches all this imagination, in unimaginable stillness. Unconditional love is so unconditional that it even embraces our failure to love unconditionally. Awakening is easy. Remembering yesterdays awakening is easy. Talking about awakening is easy. Memorising and repeating clichs about awakening is easy. Concluding that there is no me or all is One is easy. But really living that awakening, truly recognising who you are, even in the midst of lifes challenges, even when the story falls apart, thats the ongoing adventure. Discovering That which is not in conflict, here and now, thats the constant invitation, with no conclusion. And so here we meet, in this bittersweet free-fall into the unknown The most unexpectedly beautiful gifts can come from a deep and total embrace of helplessness. Life always seems to bring us to our knees eventually through pain, through failure, through identity loss, or through sheer exhaustion with

seeking. The only question left is this: Are we on our knees begging and praying and waiting for anything but this. or are we on our knees weeping and laughing with gratitude for what is already here? Either way, theyre the same knees. Every day is our crucifixion and our death and our conception and our birth and our resurrection, and what a gift and a miracle it is to be alive and to experience this ridiculously beautiful and beautifully ridiculous mystery, this paradox of existence and non-existence that never ever ever needs to be solved, only lived. Awe and wonder, awe and wonder. Do you and I fall in love? Or do you and I fall, in love? In love, you and I fall away, to reveal this ever-present love with no name. And so love is not something that happens (in time) between two separate people, although it can seem that way love is the falling-away of the very illusion of separation and twoness. For if there are not two, how can two become one? All human relationship can be seen an invitation to this deeper unconditional love, so infinitely creative that it dances as an entire universe. It seems that what brings true freedom, ease and relaxation, is not just the intellectual realisation of awareness, or the mental conclusion there is no person, or a plethora of awakening experiences, events and spiritual insights over time, but the present-moment discovery of a deep, unconditional, uncompromising acceptance inherent in awareness itself, and its continued rediscovery in places you never dreamed of finding it. Freedom seems to be unlimited in this way. The richness and mystery and intimacy and sheer love of experience deepens and deepens over time, AND who you are never, ever changes, and is always already complete. It seems like a contradiction but only when you think about it. There is no me! Oh, dear seeker. Dont limit yourself to clichs. Seeking doesnt end with mental conclusions. It ends with a radical love that will tear your heart open. We seek because we feel separate from each other, from life itself, from The One we love. We feel separate, but are we actually separate? To whom does the sense of being separate appear? Does anybody own this sense of being separate? Even the sense of being separate is inseparable from what you are. It does not belong to you. It arises in total intimacy. What you are allows every sense, every feeling, every thought to arise and fall, in a vast open space that cannot be fathomed by mind. Freedom from separation within that very sense of separation. Stunning! We are told that the Sun is a giant ball of burning gas, millions of miles from us. And that is true, relatively speaking lets not deny it. But what is also true and this is the real miracle is that the Sun is always right Here, in the intimacy of present experience. It is never far away from experiencing. It is the warmth on the face. It is the heat of the skin. It is

the glare in the eyes. Intimate. Present. Here. A dear old familiar friend, present even when absent. And just as a wave may seem far away from a particular part of the ocean, in reality the wave IS the ocean, and so the concept of distance, or lack of it, becomes meaningless in the intimate Sunshine of what you are. Ah, falling in love with the Sun Yes, some may call it madness, but its a divine madness. Just as the ocean accepts every wave, so too has awareness already allowed and accepted what is already here. Acceptance has nothing to do with you. The story is always old. The silence is always brand new. Are you a person, a separate entity moving through a world? Or are you simply capacity? Capacity for thoughts, images, sensations, feelings, sounds. And is the story of your life really who are you? Or does the story of your past, your imagined future, your self-image, simply arise and dissolve in this vast, open, intimate space? Unimaginable freedom comes from the recognition that you are not who you think you are. As capacity, you are forever unbound, and already free. Bad news for the self-image. Bad news for the seeker. Bad news for the one who thinks they know, the one with something to prove. But miraculous news and cosmic relief for who you really are. You can try to allow this moment, and you can fail to allow this moment. Or you can stop pretending to be the one who allows or doesnt allow, and notice that this moment is already allowed to be exactly as it is. What you are, life itself, has already said YES to these thoughts, these sensations, these feelings. even to this pain or this fear or this confusion. What you are is an unconditional YES to what is, where even the no is embraced. And then there is no more trying, no more succeeding or failing to allow, no more acceptance or rejection of this moment, there just what is, as it is, raw and alive and unbound. Thoughts are ripples in the ocean of Being. They are fully allowed to ripple, but they will never touch the oceans depths. The unconditional love that you are is so radically unconditional that it hurts to deny it but even the pain of Self-denial, which we call suffering, is fiercely unconditional in its love, containing within it an invitation back to Itself. In other words, you cant escape who you truly are, but you can die trying. So try, try, and succeed, and fail, and let the Beloved catch you there. Rich and poor, black and white, Buddhist and Christian, amoeba and elephant and Milky Way and dog poop and that look in your elderly mothers swollen eyes consciousness expresses itself as all of this. Oneness manifests as astonishing diversity, and yet there are no separate

objects at all, not at all. How can this be? Consciousness does not object to any appearance, just as the ocean does not object to any wave, since all waves are none other than itself. Consciousness cannot object it cannot throw out (ob-ject) any appearance for it IS that too. And so, black or white, rich or poor, pain or fear or joy or refrigerator or oak tree or burning Sun, you are what I am, intimately so. Truly, we only ever meet ourselves, and this is love. To paraphrase Nisargadatta, nothing and everything are not-two. In recognising that this moment is already allowed to be exactly as it is, the search for acceptance releases itself automatically. In recognising that who you are is already deeply at peace no matter what is happening, the search for peace dissolves naturally. In recognising the inseparability of who you are and life itself, the search for love burns itself to ashes. And all thats left is an effortless Yes to what is. Theres no way of knowing that this moment has strayed from any kind of cosmic script. Consciousness doesnt seem to make mistakes. It appears as everything, even seeming mistakes. Perhaps standing in the midst of the debris of our own shattered illusions we are more able to fearlessly meet the ones we love as their illusions shatter. Love is just a mirror. What if the wholeness that we seek is already right here, contained in and as this present experience? What if who you really are is not a separate person at all, but the vast, oceanic, open space of [awareness, consciousness, presence, or pick your favourite word....], already free, already deeply at peace? And what if that awareness-consciousnesspresence is so vast, so loving, so all-encompassing, that it actually embraces every thought, every sensation, every sound, every feeling, without prejudice, as they spontaneously, choicelessly arise and fall away? What if thoughts and feelings, even the most intense and seemingly painful ones, are not enemies at all, but dear, intimate, friends, inseparable from the Capacity that you are? What if spiritual awakening has nothing to do with escaping present experience, and everything to do with discovering this deep and total and unconditional embrace of life itself? And what if this embrace has actually ALREADY happened, prior to the seeking of it? That would change everything and leave everything perfectly unchanged. The story of my life doesnt begin at conception, or even at the beginning of the universe or time itself it begins with the concept. It begins not at conception, but at concept-ion. Thought divides the indivisible wholeness of life into separate things. A cat. A tree. The sun. A body. Me. You. Pain. Joy. Past. Future. The world. And so on. A thing is a thought a think. Without thought, can there be

separate things at all? Without thought, do you have any way of knowing what any of this is? Without thought, is there not just. mystery? Unknowing? And who knows that? Can truth the truth of who you are, the truth of this moment, the truth we really seek be reached by thought? Is truth not already here, prior to all our conceptions of truth and falsehood? Is the truth of this moment not already shining brightly? The universe originates and dissolves as a thought, appearing in the vast ocean of consciousness that you are, which is the true Universe (Uni-verse = turned into One). And so the Universe is no longer outside of you, or even inside of you, but it is now so very intimate with what you are. The wordless vastness of the Universe replaces you, and the search for home ends exactly where it began here and now. Welcome home, cosmic explorer. Out of a sense of lack, a sense of something missing, we seek fullness and fulfillment in the future. But what if the fullness we seek is already here? What if the emptiness we are trying to fill is already full? What if consciousness is always already full-filled with THIS, with everything thats appearing right now? What if we are already LIVING fulfilment in the moment, and just dont realise it? Ooh! That would turn the whole spiritual search on its head, wouldnt it!? Where there is an image, there is fragmentation. Im a Christian, youre a Jew. Im white, youre black. Im nondual, youre dual. Im nobody, youre somebody. My God is real, yours is unreal. Im awakened, youre not. I have no ego, but you still do. Beyond all this mind-made fragmentation and separation, who are you? The answer will not come in words Trying to fall in love is like trying to make your heart beat backwards. It cant be done. When its discovered that I am already what you are, consciousness itself, no more trying is necessary. And so we dont fall in love; we simply notice that we are in love already, and always have been. We dont fall in love; it is the we, the me and the you the appearance of the in between, that falls away in love, revealing the intimacy of our own absence. The illusion falls, in love. Yes, we are all so deeply, fundamentally in love that we just dont realise it. Words, concepts, thoughts, on the surface of the ocean but in the oceans depths, there is silence, always. Ive never spoken to another person in my life. I speak to consciousness itself, cleverly disguised as a you. And so, I dont really speak to you at all, although thats a beautiful story to tell. For underneath all the words, underneath all the sounds, the stories, the agreements and

disagreements, there is a love here with no name, a silence which cannot be disturbed, an intimacy that is ever-present, a peace that endures. Your worst fears have never come true. And even if they have youre still here. Present. Alive. Breathing. In this moment, life is brand new. What you are cannot be destroyed. There is natural, unforced, uncaused, effortless love, in the recognition that you are what I am consciousness itself. Here, the ancient question how to love? dissolves. We all become fun-da-mentalists (and life stops being fun) when we become lost in the mental story of ourselves as fundamentally separate beings. Fundamentalism ends and true fun begins in the discovery of who you fundamentally are, beyond all belief. All judgements are bad is the biggest judgement of all! Judgements simply appear and disappear in awareness they just arent who you really are. Who you really are allows all judgements to come and go, allows all thoughts to arise and fall, arrive and pass, like waves in the ocean, like flames in a fire, like clouds in a clear blue sky of consciousness. This moment is already exactly as it is. These thoughts, these sensations, these sounds, are already in. These waves have already been allowed in the ocean of consciousness that you are. Resistance is futile and exhausting. (Life, you cant come in! But Im already in!) We call each other friends, lovers, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, teachers and students. And yet beyond all of these stories, underneath all of these roles, what could possibly separate us? Life has no beginning and end, only sentences do. So wake up from your life sentence, and discover the timeless freedom that you already are. Its the most ingenious prison break imaginable, since who can escape from an illusory prison? Relax, sweet dreamer, your life sentence has already been dropped. Awakening has no conclusion, only sentences do. The ever-changing circumstances of your life are ongoing invitations to wake up to who you really are right now. even if you believe you woke up yesterday. It seems that the word I is very much misunderstood. Some even reject or fear it, or mock those who use it. However, I does not refer or point to a solid, separate, independently-existing me, but this vast open space

of consciousness, this ocean that I Am, which embraces and is all the waves of life that appear. Then, I is a beautiful word, a lovely sound, appearing and disappearing in this vastness. I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, A piece of music, a film, nature, a stunning work of art, heartfelt words from a dear friend, can move us to tears with their beauty. But then again, so can a pile of dog excrement, a broken coffee cup, or even intense pain. Its all consciousness revealing itself in and as everything. Welcome home to what you are. The Enlightenment Club is now open. Membership is free. The only catch? You must no longer take any image of yourself seriously including the image that youre a member of the club. Oh, and the image that youre free from all images. Who wants to join? (Oh, and one more thing. The moment you join, you are automatically kicked out. Still want to join?) Life is so fiercely loving and compassionate it will destroy every image you have of yourself including the image that you have no image and will leave you naked as the day you were born, naked as a newborn baby. Naked, and fully present to this moment, radically open to all experience. Yes, the false image the mind-made me is humiliated, and what is left is total humility in the face of THIS. Such cosmic, impersonal humility in the face of life is the end of suffering as you know it. There is no such thing as a negative thought or feeling. We call a thought or feeling negative (or disturbing or even evil) because we are secretly at war with it in the moment. Every thought and feeling is an invitation not to war, not to a new storyline of positive versus negative, but to Deep Acceptance, the acceptance that you already are, the acceptance in which all thoughts and feelings are already totally embraced. Im not interested in the story of your incredible awakening. Im not interested in how much youve read and learnt about enlightenment. Im not interested in your spiritual attainments. No, no. I love you too much for that. I am deeply interested in who you really are, right now before all stories. Even this one. In the beginning, I strongly believed that there was something wrong with me. Later on, I acquired the spiritual concept that there was something wrong with being or having a me in the first place! Double trouble! These days, I realise that theres nothing wrong with me, AND nothing wrong with me. The ocean dances as the wave, in all its extraordinarily perfect imperfection. What freedom! I confess, Im officially a failure at speaking the unspeakable, at effing the uneffable. There. You got me. Im a failed ineffable effabler. Yes, as the

one who knows, as the authority on life, as the one who has the answers, I suck, big time. I may just pass as some kind of second-rate poet. But as a friend who loves you totally, without wanting anything from you in this moment, well, there I cannot fail. Nobody can. And so I meet you there, in that strange place beyond words, beyond worlds. We say I am afraid. But are you really the one who is afraid? Are you really the fearful one? Or are you simply the capacity for fear, the vastness in which fear comes and goes? Sweet friend, dont be afraid to admit who you really are. To say there is no separation or there is only Oneness is easy. To believe there is no self or the I doesnt exist is easy. Anyone can mechanically repeat the words there is nobody here or free will is an illusion. But to deeply recognise what these koans are pointing to, rather than merely understanding them intellectually well, thats what this awakening adventure is really about. Do you fear losing control of your life? What if you were never really in control in the first place? What if it was never really your life? True silence is not the opposite of noise. True silence, the silence that you are, the all-pervading stillness at the heart of life itself, is not at war with anything, just as the ocean is not at war with any of its waves. In the story of time and personal identity, youve been breathing your whole life. But in reality, each breath is a brand new breath, the first breath, the miraculous breath of Life itself. Spiritual awakening is the easy part. Realising there is no separate self, recognising who you really are, is just the beginning. Really LIVING that realisation, not losing it in the midst of the undeniable realities of human existence, in the midst of intimate human relationships, grief, physical pain, cancer, loss, in all the beauty and mess and wonder of everyday life; discovering acceptance in the parts of experience that previously seemed unacceptable; unravelling suffering that previously seemed impossible to unravel thats the ongoing adventure, for everyone. Nobody is immune from this never-ending grace. We can talk and talk and debate and argue about spiritual awakening all we want to. But going beyond mere mental understanding and really LIVING this, and truly discovering where suffering ends thats the never-ending adventure. Yes, here is the gorgeous paradox of spiritual awakening: nobody awakens, and yet this ever-unfolding awakening never ends. If you think awakening has finished oh, my friend! its only just begun. I used to believe that I was enlightened (and others werent). I used to know that I was no-one, that I had no self (while others still had a self). I used to be so certain that I had found the truth (and others were still

lost in ignorance). And I was so certain that there was were no others. Can you see the delicious irony and innocence in this? Without reference to the past, without quoting your favourite teachers or books or external authority, without words or language, without thought, without memory, in this moment, exactly where you are, what do you know for sure? Thoughts about the past are present thoughts. Thoughts about the future are present thoughts. The past didnt happen in the past it happens now. The future doesnt happen in the future it happens now. Even the most convincing dreams of the past and future, happen here in this vast, open space which is never caught up in dreams. Beyond all past and future dreams, what you are is always deeply at rest. The deeper message of the crucifixion: Pain, deeply accepted, breaks the heart wide open. Are you the one in pain, the hurt one, the victim of this moment, trapped in the story of time, or are you the spacious capacity for pain, the vast and timeless clearing in which pain arises and dissolves? Just to sit, without expectation, with someone who is in pain or grief or fear, without trying to fix them, or manipulate their experience in any way; just to listen, without trying to make things better in the moment, without playing the role of the one who knows; just to be totally available to them and then, on a practical level, to do whats necessary and natural in the moment this can be the most healing thing. Its in the not-knowing, beyond our roles, unprotected, undefended, that we truly meet Bones can be broken, possessions can be lost, self-images can fall apart, stories can be forgotten but what you are remains present, intact, complete, whole, always. This moment cannot die. Stop trying to embrace this moment and notice that true embrace is really more effortless than anything you could possibly imagine. What you are naturally and effortlessly embraces all thoughts, images, sensations, sounds, as they come and go in you. Even pain, sadness and fear even those poor, rejected, unloved, orphan waves in the ocean of consciousness are allowed to freely move through. You are unprejudiced in that way. You are the home for the homeless the love that knows no bounds. You are the unlimited capacity for all life You dont have thoughts. You are not the thinker of thoughts. You are the wide, clear and open sky of awareness in which all thought-clouds are continually allowed to appear and disappear. And the vastness of what you are remains, always.

There is a Knowing that goes beyond all knowledge. There is a Love that goes beyond all understanding. There is a Peace that cannot be disturbed. Im not talking about a superhuman achievement. Im talking about who and what you already are, in this very moment. The discovery of who you really are brings peace in the midst of the storm of life. For what you are cannot fall apart, even when things fall apart. What you are cannot break or decay, even when the body breaks or decays. What you are is always Home, even when youre far away from home. What you are has no interest in becoming enlightened in the future, and no interest in telling a story about my enlightenment (or lack of it!) in the past. For what you are is the light of life, ever-present, always on, forever en-lightening this moment, exactly as it is. Even in pain, even in boredom, even in grief, this en-lightenment is always here. It is and excuse the poetic license your most intimate friend. Life doesnt ask for your acceptance. In this moment life accepts you totally, exactly as you are, exactly as you are not, and asks nothing in return. This is unconditional love, beyond the speaking of it and its discovery ends the search for love outside of yourself once and for all. Life will wake you up from every dream, including the dream of your own awakening, for what you are is beyond all dreams Were not seekers, were finders. We constantly find life, right in front of us, here and now, always. Its simply a case of mistaken identity True Freedom has nothing to do with getting rid of our humanness and our humanity its a total embrace of it. Your imperfections are so perfect, seen in the light of who you really are. You may be the ocean, but you are also a wave, a divinely unique, quirky, singular, never-to-berepeated expression of that ocean. Water that is too pure, has no fish, as they say in Zen. So dance, baby, dance. As two somethings, two stories of personal identity, we are separate, lost in our differences, fragmented by our concepts of deficiency, specialness, superiority and inferiority. But as nothing, as the no-thing that allows everything to appear, what could possibly separate us? As consciousness meeting itself, can we really ever be apart? In reality, can there be two consciousnesses? Or is that just how it appears? Beyond the appearance, are we not in love, always? What you are has already said YES to this moment as it is. YES to these thoughts, these sensations, sounds, feelings, however unacceptable they seem right now. What seems unacceptable to you, has already been

accepted by what you are. Life is the acceptance we seek. This Deep Acceptance, as I call it, is not something you do its what you are. What you are cannot resist any thought, sensation, sound, or feeling appearing now however painful or intense. If its appearing, its already been allowed in, so to speak its already been admitted. Youll never find anything that is not allowed in what you are after all, if you find it, its already here. Your acceptance or rejection, your allowing or disallowing, comes too late! We try to cultivate qualities in ourselves such as love, peace, acceptance and non-attachment. We exhaust ourselves trying to love, trying to accept, trying to relax, and even trying to stop seeking. But in discovering who we really are, we come to recognise that these qualities are not the result of the effort of a separate person, but naturally present in who we are before identification as that person. Who we are is naturally loving, accepting, deeply relaxed and always at peace, never attached to any form or outcome and has never been seeking anything. It is the ocean, always at rest even the midst of the storm of life, always already complete in itself. All your problems are just thoughts and thoughts are not a problem. Are thoughts arising? Are sensations dancing? Are sounds appearing? Is breathing happening? Is the heart beating? Then the miracle has already happened. We try so hard to accept life, to be present or conscious in the face of challenges, to be okay yet the reality is that we often fail to accept, fail to allow, fail to feel okay. But there is an acceptance far deeper than anything the individual could do this is the deep acceptance of Life itself. As the ocean unconditionally accepts every wave, so consciousness already accepts everything that appears in consciousness, because it IS everything that appears. Consciousness is in love with (inseparable from) all of its appearances. What you are cannot resist this moment. The sky cannot resist the clouds. The ocean cannot resist any wave. Awareness cannot resist anything that appears in awareness. Life is totally irresistible to who you really are. Its a secret love affair for no-one. You cannot stop seeking. Simply, gently, effortlessly notice that what you are in this moment, as the wide open, intimate space in which all experience happens, is not, and never has been, seeking anything, since it IS all that appears now. It is always at rest, even in the midst of the storm of life.

This moment doesnt need your permission to be as it is. Your acceptance or rejection of this moment is already too late! Nisargadatta Maharaj made this beautiful statement: Wisdom says I am nothing. Love says I am everything. Between the two my life flows. As the vast ocean of Being, you are no thing in particular. You are not a me or a you. What you are is the vast open space in which everything happens, and the recognition of that brings clarity and wisdom. But clarity and wisdom are not complete without their reflection, love. And love comes from the recognition that, as open space, as the ocean, what you are deeply accepts all of the waves that appear all of the sights and sounds and smells and sensations appearing now. I find that many spiritual seekers get stuck in the nothing aspect of realisation, and are left with only an intellectual understanding of awakening, which does not bring total freedom. The true end of suffering comes from the recognition of this total intimacy with life itself in other words, the deep acceptance of everything appearing in experience. In this deep acceptance, mind and heart are one. Nothing is everything they were never two. Mental clarity and certainty give way to deep acceptance of this moment. And there, the war ends. Seeking peace outside of present moment experience is where the war with life begins. What you are does not need to seek peace in the future, for it is already deeply at rest in this moment, even in the midst of struggle, just as the oceans silent depths are at rest even in the midst of a storm. Peace does not reject the storm it is there IN the storm. This vibrantly alive peace is ever-present, and has no opposite. What we call suffering is not a curse, a punishment, an aberration, or a sign of your failure in any way. Suffering is merely a word that points to lifes constant invitation to discover that whats happening in this moment is ultimately beyond your control. It is an invitation to discover a deep acceptance of present experience to discover that every thought, sensation, feeling, sound appearing presently has ALREADY been allowed in. The floodgates are already open this moment is already as it is. Thy Will Be Done. Already, Done. Stop trying to accept this moment and effortlessly notice that this moment has already been accepted as it is, because it IS as it is and this isness is the acceptance youve always been seeking. And notice that this deeper acceptance actually includes any non-acceptance, in this moment. Even non-acceptance is forgiven here. Stop trying to accept and simply relax into the acceptance that is already here, even in the midst of fear, frustration, pain, sadness. This is radical acceptance, right at the heart of all experience. Radical awakening, in the midst of an ordinary life. It is everyones birthright.

What does it mean to deeply accept the present moment as it is? It means to effortlessly notice that every thought, sensation, feeling, appearing now, has already been accepted into present awareness, otherwise it wouldnt be appearing as it is. Its not a doing, but a seeing a simple recognition of what is true and present and alive. This deep acceptance does not mean that you become passive, powerless, inactive and disengaged from the realities of life. Quite the opposite. Deep acceptance is the source of all intelligent, creative action. Our of deep acceptance, right action (as they say in Buddhism) flows naturally. This is life without a centre. Simply noticing what is already present, here and now, is not a doing. It is effortless. It is prior to effort, since effort is noticed in it. It has no goal and there is no expectation in it, no seeking in it. Even the seeking can be noticed. One could say this noticing is what you are. Present, complete, always, even in the midst of discomfort. What awesome freedom you are in your essence. What deep peace you are, even in the midst of the noise of life. Always Home, even in homesickness. Always at rest, even in struggle. This moment is the only possibility. There is no escape from it. And yet, anything is possible in this moment. It is the source of all creativity. In the all-consuming fire of life, even our precious stories of my awakening or my enlightenment burn up. Every story about a past shrivels in the sheer wonder of this moment. Burn baby, burn! Does the writer write? Does the singer sing? Does the painter paint? Does the dancer dance? Does the actor act? Does the listener listen? Does the speaker speak? Does the meditator meditate? Does the breather breathe? Can this moment be accepted, just as it is? That question already comes too late! What you are has already accepted this moment, just as it is. It has already allowed this moment these thoughts, these sensations, these feelings, these sounds to be here. Not My Will, But Thy Will. This is acceptance beyond belief, and it is where the war with present experience ends. The end of violence is closer than we think. Contained in every experience of loss is an invitation to discover that which cannot be lost. Discovering who you are is the easy part. Discovering who you are in the midst of lifes challenges pain, loss, relationship, addictions is lifes constant invitation. Everything that happens to you is an invitation to discover that nothing ever happens to you.

Beyond the time-bound story of our relationship, there is this timeless, fearless, intimate relating, here and now. The end of suffering is always infinitely closer than you think. What you are never suffers, even in the midst of pain, is never afraid, even in the midst of fear, and never wants more than what is, as it is. What you are has no interest in becoming enlightened, rich or successful, and has no story about itself as being unenlightened, poor, or a failure. All suffering is for an apparent I, all suffering is in the story of me, all suffering is essentially a fight against this moment. But what you are cannot fight in this way, for it IS all that appears, including all the stuff you dont want or like. And so this message does not deny human suffering, but points to the possibility of it ending where it begins here and now. Allowing is not a doing it is the simple but radical recognition that everything appearing in awareness right now everything sound, every thought, every sensation, every feeling is already allowed in. Life in its fullness has already been admitted. So stop trying to allow, and simply admit that what you are has already admitted this thought, this sensation, this feeling. My story is never complete. You could always be more, or have more. Better, faster, richer, bigger, more knowledgeable, more intelligent, more enlightened, more spiritually evolved, more free, more something! that is the dream of the story machine. It thrives on conflict, judgement and comparison. But what you are, as the vast ocean in which all waves of experience come and go, is always already complete in this moment. What you are needs nothing, for it is already everything that appears. It is simply beyond compare. When all worldly riches and spiritual highs have come and gone, what remains? That which is present then, is present now. Even when things fall apart, who you really are cannot fall apart. What you are is simply the ocean which allows every wave of experience to arise and fall. Waves of fear, grief, pain, weakness, frustration, helplessness, and even heartbreak are not a problem for what you are. It is all simply the ocean breathing in and out. In the oceans depths, there is a peace beyond understanding. Thoughts appear and disappear, but who thinks them? Sounds come and go, but who hears them? Feelings arise and pass, but who feels them? Does the dancer dance? Does the actor act? Does the singer sing? Or is there simply intimacy with all experience?

My guru is this moment. My lineage is this moment. My spiritual path is this moment. And my home is this moment. Life is non-stop meditation. The meditator does not meditate. The image of the meditator (the one who meditates) appears and disappears in meditation. Nobody ever meditates meditation is not something that you do. Its what you already are. What you are, as the open space in which all thoughts, sensations, feelings appear, is always in meditation. It is meditation itself. Within this ever-present meditation, the idea Im meditating is allowed to appear and disappear. But what you are never stops meditating. You cannot escape from what appears as present experience, for who would escape? We dont escape TO freedom the freedom is IN our total inability to escape. Who would escape from this moment exactly as it is (including any idea of the one who can or cannot escape)? The love you seek is closer than breathing. When its recognised that, in this moment, any feeling of being unloved is deeply embraced in the open space that you are, who can be unloved? And who needs to seek love? Even the feeling of being unloved is loved here this is love beyond understanding, love without an opposite. In the beginning, I found myself lost in the relative perspective (Im a separate person desperately trying to fix myself, to become perfect, pure, enlightened, whole.). Later on, I got stuck in the absolute perspective (Theres no world, no time, no me and no perspectives!). These days, whats seen is this: The absolute dances AS the relative. The ocean dances AS the waves. And so the words absolute and relative melt away. And the dance goes on What I am is identical with this moment perhaps that is the true meaning of identity A simple investigation: Thoughts come and go. Are you the thoughts that come and go? Sensations appear and disappear. Are you those sensations? Sounds, feelings, smells, dance. Are you those sounds, feelings, smells? And keep looking: do you have any way of actually separating what you are from these thoughts, sensations, feelings? Is there any gap between what you are and all that appears? Or is there simply intimacy with all life? Dont jump to yes or no. Dont look to the mind (thought) for answers mind comes and goes. Look to what is actually happening.

When present experience is admitted fully, present experience is fully admitted. ['To admit' means both 'to confess (the truth)' and 'to allow in'. What a neat word!] Life is here to break your heart over and over again until you realise that heartbreak is life too. And then your heart can no longer be broken. Or fixed. And you stand naked in front of life, moment by moment, knowing that whatever happens is totally okay even in the midst of perfect devastation, which, of course, is devastating perfection. This is freedom beyond the speaking of it. Homesick? You need look no further than present experience. Everything appearing here and now points back home every thought, every sensation, every smell, every feeling even pain, even sadness, even fear. Everything has its roots in presence, everything calls you back to the truth. The absence of a separate self is the presence of the world, and so the great search for home ends where it began. The Ocean is not at war with its waves. No wave can threaten the totality of the Ocean. Light is not at war with darkness darkness cannot threaten light. Consciousness is not at war with anything. It is not opposed to anything it is not the opposite of anything only thought sees opposites. All is allowed to arise and dissolve in the vast, oceanic, open space that you are, just as all waves are allowed to arise and fall in the Ocean, which remains undisturbed, always. The waves may rise and crash but in the Oceans depths, there is silence. Silence, and knowing. You do not, you cannot, exist as a separate entity for me. And that is precisely why I can love you so completely, so fearlessly, exactly as you are, without expectation. Whoever said love and death were two? I am enlightened is an image. I am not enlightened is another image. I am a teacher is an image. I am a student is another image. I am ugly is an image. I am beautiful is another image. I know, I dont know. I am happy, I am sad. I am right, I am wrong. I am a success, I am a failure. I am, I am not. I. I. I. And what you are, as the wide open space that embraces all images as they come and go, cannot be defined by any image, not even this image! You are not the dream, nor the dreamer of the dream, but the vastness in which the appearance of dreamer and dream arise and fall. So goodnight, sweet non-existent dreamer Can a thought-created story about who you are, really tell the truth about who you are? Where is my true Home? When will my pain end?, the homesick seeker asks. You are already home, answers Life, even in the midst of your pain. But I cannot see that right now!, replies the seeker. Of course you

cant', replies Life. So forget trying to see it in the future. Simply rest in this present moment experience of being unable to see it. Discover that you are Home even in this present feeling of homesickness, even in this frustration, even in your failure to escape this moment. To whom is this all appearing right now? What is the end of seeking?, the seeker asks. Life as it already is, answers Life, before the question is even asked. When I do not recognise who I am, I look to the world (time, space, objects, substances, people) to complete something called a me, and I reject everything that I see as a threat to that completeness. In other words, I go to war with present experience in the hope of a future salvation. But in recognising myself as the vast open space that unconditionally embraces all form, I see that the world cannot complete me and it can no longer make me incomplete either. And so I am finally free to fearlessly love the appearance of things for what they are, not what I hoped or wanted them to be and I discover true completeness to be this moment, exactly as it is. We arent guaranteed a tomorrow. So can we meet here, beyond our story of time, beyond our plans and prayers, beyond all hope of a future salvation, and discover what is true and present NOW? If tomorrow never comes, and it may or may not, can THIS be enough? Do we really need time to be fully what we are? The death of seeking is the death of time, and we could call it love. Breathing is holy. Raindrops are holy. Flowers are holy. Dog shit on the pavement is holy. Thoughts are holy. Pain is holy. All of life is wholly an expression of wholeness the sacred as much as the profane even if it doesnt seem that way to the seeker, who, in their pursuit of a future wholeness, misses the holiness in all things. Whats wrong with falling apart? Why not fall apart so completely that theres nothing left? And then keep falling apart for the rest of your life and recognise yourself as the wide open space that cannot fall apart, but allows all falling apart to play itself out. And then can you really call it falling apart at all? Thoroughly fallen apart, thoroughly One. Your imperfections are perfect. They are there to wake you up from your dream of perfection without imperfection. And beyond imperfection and perfection, what shines? All thoughts, images, all ideas about yourself and the world, all judgements good and bad, all memories, come and go in the vast open space that you are, which itself is not a thought, image, idea, judgement or memory. What you are embraces all forms as they float here, and float away..

How to accept life? Firstly, realise that you cant. And then discover that life, appearing as this moment, is already accepted, as it is. This Deeper Acceptance goes beyond the dualistic opposites of acceptance and nonacceptance All ideas about yourself come and go. You think youre enlightened, you think youre unenlightened. Okay. You think you know everything, you think you know nothing. Okay. You think youre a teacher, you think youre a student. Okay. And all these ideas float by, like leaves in the wind, like clouds in the sky. What remains? I have worked with many people who say I am dying which simply means I have lost all hope of a future. But strip away future, all hope and hopelessness, and what is the difference between living and dying? Strip away time, and there is only THIS. And here, nobody lives and nobody dies. Those are still just stories. Beyond all stories, there is only whats happening presently. Radical simplicity. Unknowable. Present. Nobody gets healed. Nobody heals anybody else. Healing does not happen in time. Healing (wholeness) is already present, in the midst of everything you are trying to heal yourself from, just as the ocean is already present in and as every wave. A wave is healed even in its failed attempt to reach the ocean. Beyond the story, you are already healed. And you just forget, sometimes. Which is part of the healing too. Love can take everything into itself and remain complete it can take in heartbreak, pain, fear, anger, sadness, total devastation. It can be crucified over and over again, and still remain whole. It knows no opposite, no enemy, no other. Only itself. Eternally, timelessly, Now. What you are seeking is there in every breath, every heartbeat, every thought, every sensation, just as the ocean is there in every wave. If you want a future, go seek enlightenment. Nothing is not nothing, not the absence of all things, but no-thing, the absence of the separation of all things, which is love. So this absence, this no-thing, is actually the perfect presence of everything. And so the search ends not in nihilism and detachment, in a dead state of nobody here and nothing to do, but in wonder, in fascination, in the kind of gratitude that breaks your non-existent heart. There are no negative thoughts. We call a thought negative when we dont like what it says about us in other words, when we are defending an image. We dont have a future together. We only have right here, right now. This moment is all we have together. To the seeker, thats incredibly

depressing. But to recognise the utter preciousness of this moment liberates me from the need to complete myself in the future, and liberates you from having to provide that completion. In this timelessness, we truly meet. Love is the disappearance of time, the disappearance of the story of relationship, and true relationship is possible here. Every thought, every sensation, every feeling, every story, every dream of past and future appears here, in this timeless, wide open space. Consciousness embraces all, as a mother embraces her newborn baby it embraces all, and is all. Ordinary life is the vastness we seek and so ordinary life ceases to be ordinary at all. All thats left is to be here, totally. As if there were any other possibility You dream the perfect dream its the dream you need to dream to wake yourself up. At its root the word home means lie down or rest. Home is not a place, a thing, or a person it is rest. No two people have ever fallen in love. Love is the death of two. When you are seeking something from someone a lover, a friend, a guru, a teacher you stop SEEING who and what is actually there. We are encouraged to be present, and maybe that is a useful practice, for a while. But then you go deeper, and ask, what is this me that can be present, or not be present? and you discover that you are that very presence present in the midst of being present AND not being present. Give yourself the greatest present of all the freedom to not be present and discover presence even there. You cannot return home if you never left home in the first place. Enlightenment is nothing more than the discovery of the non-existence of the one seeking it. It is as simple as this moment, as obvious as breathing, as present as the sound of the bird singing but nearly always ignored in our pursuit of something more. Acceptance is not something that you do although it seems that way at first. It can only be discovered that every thought, every sensation, every feeling appearing now is already accepted by awareness not because awareness chooses to accept everything, but because every form that appears is inseparable from that very awareness. On the deepest level, you have already said YES to whats appearing right now. Separation never disappears how can something that isnt here in the first place disappear? What you are has always been intimate with life with every thought, sound, sensation, image. Awareness and contents of awareness were always one. This intimacy doesnt come and go though

it may be apparently overlooked in our search for it. And yet its always here, appearing as this, this, this. You are the perfect guru, and life is the perfect disciple it follows you wherever you go, without conditions. You can try to shut yourself off from life, and life will still be there, in that very shutting off. The guru and disciple are inseparable and that is enlightenment. True compassion means to meet others beyond their story, and to see that there are no others. Love can take everything into itself and remain complete it can take in heartbreak, pain, fear, anger, sadness, total devastation. It can be crucified over and over again, and still remain whole. It knows no opposite, no enemy, no other. Only itself. Eternally, timelessly, Now. We say One day, one day. But there is only One Day. Today. Father forgive them, they know not what they do. Translation: Father forgive them they dont SEE. They think that killing me will bring them wholeness but it wont. Killing me a thousand times wont bring them what they truly long for. What they truly long for is what I am. And I am what they are. They are already whole but do not realise it. Maybe one day they will see Nothing I say is the gospel truth. I am just a bird singing my song, for the sheer joy of it. That is my freedom. My song is neither true nor false it is merely music. You are free to listen to this music, or walk away. To agree or disagree. To sing your song back to me, or not. Either way, this singing goes on until it doesnt. The universe sings to itself. Tweet Tweet! THIS its what everyone is seeking, but nobody can find, because its everything and everywhere, the most ingenious place to hide! The cat has no idea that she will die tomorrow. She sleeps soundly anyway. Creation, destruction, the preciousness and fragility of life, the nonexistence of the separate self, the illusion of time and space, the mystery of love and the mystery of death, the intimacy of human experience and the incomprehensible vastness of the universe. And all of this in a cup of tea! The miracle of the ordinary. Love is all thats left when all else has fallen away. Its not a feeling, not a state, not a passing experience. It is the ground of all things, the open space that holds all forms as they arise and pass. It has no opposite it holds all apparent opposites, allows them all to be. You cant say what it

is you cant say what it is not. In the end, you cant say anything. And yet all words are held here too At first, I was lost in the relative perspective (Im a person desperately trying to fix myself, to become perfect, pure, enlightened.). Later, I was lost in the absolute perspective (Theres no me, no world, no time and no perspectives!). These days, whats seen is this: The absolute dances AS the relative. And so the words absolute and relative dissolve into silence. Illusion simply means deceptive appearance not non-existence. The self, the me, is an illusion, not because it doesnt exist, but because it doesnt exist in the way we imagine it to. It seems to be solid and separate there seems to be a wave separate from the ocean but upon investigation, those assumptions crumble. The illusion is seen through the wave is inseparable from the ocean. Its easy to be awakened, to be blissed out, to speak convincingly about the non-existence of choice and individuality when life is going your way. And then a loved one drops dead, or youre given three days to live, or you lose everything. Then you get to really find out what concepts and images youre still holding onto. In the face of life itself, our precious beliefs turn to dust. THIS is the only authority. Everything is holy everything is wholeness appearing just as every wave is inseparable from the ocean. Even the most extreme suffering is a perfect expression of wholeness, and also a call back to it. Life is a neverending invitation to discover freedom in everything youre running from. And then you cant call suffering suffering at all. Because, in this freedom, who suffers? Trying to fall in love is like trying to make your heart beat backwards. It cant be done. I am already what you are. And so we dont fall in love; we simply notice that we are in love already, and always have been. We dont fall in love; it is the we, the me and the you, the inbetween, that falls away in love, revealing the intimacy of our own absence. We are all so deeply in love that we dont realise it. Every wave of experience (thought, feeling, emotion) that we call negative, sinful or dark is simply a wave thats not being recognised as being part of the ocean (light). In reality, theres never any absence of light even the darkest wave is 100% ocean. Everything youre running away from, everything you see as a block to freedom in other words, your shadow is simply freedom in disguise. Walking home, rain lashing down; strip away the story and the tears of a newborn baby are the tears of childbirth are the tears of a spiritual seeker discovering the miracle of existence are the tears of an old man on his

deathbed. They are all the same tears my tears, your tears just as all the raindrops are rain, inescapably so. And the tears run into the gutter, and we walk home, alone, together I dont know. Ive never known. And in that not-knowing there is a knowing that cannot die. One day Ill find what Im looking for love, success, enlightenment and Ill be complete. We seek completeness in the future, and this gives other people and objects money, lovers, gurus, alcohol an apparent power over us the power to complete us. But no person or drug has power in the real sense of the word the power to end seeking, which is what we truly long for. For the end of seeking is NOW. We seek a particular state, a special feeling happiness, success, peace, bliss but all states and feelings are fleeting, and what we truly long for is not fleeting. What we truly long for is intimately here, always, in the midst of every passing experience. It is not something, some of the time it is everything, all of the time. And so it cannot be lost. Little waves of experience thoughts, sensations, sounds, feelings forever appearing and disappearing in this sea of silence. The sea is their home and their source, inseperable from what they are. See, sea, everything is collapsing into you, moment by precious moment Listen to life and you will hear it always the gentle hum of mystery. My mother once said to me, Jeff, no matter how enlightened you are, you should still iron your shirts! For-give literally means give completely. See this moment is forgiveness. Because, right here, right now, everything is given, completely. My tip for today: Resist life as much as you can. Fight this moment. Exhaust yourself in trying to escape what is. And see where it gets you Suffering is the birth pains of freedom. Pain is an illusion easy words. But try saying this under torture, or as the cancer gnaws away at your lungs. The pain is not the illusion. The illusion is that, in THIS moment, the pain should not be happening. The illusion is that the pain is divided from what you are. Even the most painful pain dances in intimacy. Oneness aint just the pleasant stuff and here lies unbelievable freedom. Life isnt supposed to be peaceful all of the time. Life isnt supposed to be pleasurable all of the time. Life isnt supposed to be perfect all of the

time. Life isnt supposed to be anything all of the time. Supposed to and all of the time are the biggest illusions of all. Right now things may not be peaceful, pleasureable, or perfect but life is absolutely complete in itself. It knows what Its doing. You dont need a GPS system. Life will bring you Home in any way it can. Is there something to do or nothing to do? Well, life is already complete, no matter what you do and the completeness appears as THIS. At the same time, every appearance is a little invitation to SEE this completeness in the incompleteness. Theres nothing to do, but lots to see! And even when the completeness is not seen, life is still complete. Completeness in doing, completeness in not doing what grace! Life itself is the greatest act of unconditional love. It gives itself for free and asks nothing in return. As I honour the play of duality (the astonishing variety of waves in the ocean) more and more in my talks and writings, some people are now saying that Im a bad nonduality teacher that Im less clear than I used to be, because Im talking about duality, and duality is not real. But since when did the ocean separate itself from the waves? Can you see the joke here? Suffering begins when the sacred is split from the profane, the spiritual is split from the material, the personal is split from the impersonal, the acceptable is split from the unacceptable and you are split from me. Suffering ends where it begins at the non existent core of these illusory divisions. The impersonal ocean expresses itself perfectly as the personal wave and the ocean doesnt need to get rid of a wave in order to be the ocean! In other words, the impersonal dances in and as the appearance of this very personal experience of life. The impersonal IS the personal and thus endeth the holy war. What is a negative thought? It is always a thought which threatens an image you hold of yourself. For example, if you hold an image of yourself as successful (Im a success) the balancing thought Im a failure becomes a threat and is labelled negative and rejected. Defend any image of yourself and it will inevitably be threatened! When no image is being defended, all thoughts are allowed to be there. In the beginning, I strongly believed that there was something wrong with me. Later on, I acquired the spiritual belief that there was something wrong with being or having a me in the first place! Double trouble! These days, I realise that theres nothing wrong with me, AND nothing wrong

with me. The ocean dances as the wave, in its perfect imperfection. What freedom!! We seek because we feel separate. We feel separate, but ARE we separate? To whom does the feeling of being separate appear? Does anybody own the feeling of being separate? Even the feeling of being separate is inseperable from what you are. Freedom from separation within the very experience of separation. Stunning! I used to exhaust myself trying to accept life until I discovered that the acceptance that I sought WAS the very life Id been trying to accept. Life itself is grace. Death is not an experience within life. It is not something that happens to you in time. Death is the absence of the separate experiencer which is already, timelessly, the case. Already, there is no separate entity to be found here. Dont believe me Go, look, now, see if any gap can be found between you and the world. Who, then, dies? I was a nonduality teacher . then I woke up from that dream. What a relief. Life doesnt need you to accept it. Life accepts you totally including your non-acceptance of life, just as the ocean accepts every wave. Stop trying to accept, and sink into the deep acceptance of life itself which is what you are. The deepest acceptance has already been done. Even the experience of total failure, total devastation, total helplessness in other words total incompleteness is a complete experience. Every experience is already complete in itself. Experience incompleteness completely in this moment experience wholly your unholiness and suffering dissolves. This is the completeness you seek. We search for love out there in the world, only to discover that we never lacked love, and there is no out there. I will never be able to put life into words. There are no words for this wordlessness, no sounds for the soundless. And yet, I do not value silence over noise. Both are equally life true silence is there in the noise, too. I love attempting to share this in words and I know that all of my words are lies. Loving, compassionate lies, perhaps but lies all the same. Thank you for listening to my lies. In seeking love, success, or spiritual enlightenment in the future, we miss whats here right now. We stop seeing the grace and bittersweet beauty of life itself, the wonder of every sight, sound and smell. This moment becomes a means to an end, and we end up WAITING for life to

complete itself. We miss life, which IS the completeness we seek. The mantra of the seeker is Never enough, never enough Understanding intellectually that there is no me or suffering is an illusion or everything is Oneness doesnt necessarily help when a loved one suddenly dies in a car crash, or your partner walks out on you. Platitudes and easy answers are simply Band-Aids that life, in its infinite compassion, will peel off. Seeking that isnt cut at its roots seems to return with a vengeance. Lets explore those roots. Its true that I never had a formal teacher. I never sat in a gurus presence, attended a satsang or retreat, or received a transmission. But its untrue to say that I never had a teacher. Life was my teacher. Every book I read, every relationship I had was my teacher. My cat was my teacher. Intense suffering was my teacher. And so my guru is Experience, and my lineage is Life. Forever and ever, Amen. Life doesnt give you anything you cannot handle including the feeling of not being able to handle life. Because life is what you are. You attend a satsang and feel spacious, peaceful, high, for a while. The high wears off and sadness, grief, guilt, despair, re-appear. The real Satsang (literally, being with truth, being with what is) begins now. Satsang isnt just in satsang If you seek completeness (love, success, enlightenment) in the future, you experience yourself as incomplete now. You think that finding completeness will be the solution to the present problem of incompleteness, but you dont see that this search IS the very problem of incompleteness that you experience! The search for a future wholeness is not the solution. And, in seeing this, theres no problem. Because the ocean IS every wave that appears, you could say that it deeply accepts every wave. The appearance of a wave IS its acceptance. In the same way, consciousness already deeply accepts every thought, every sensation, every feeling, because it IS That, already. Your attempt to accept, and your failure to accept, are also embraced in this radical, unconditional acceptance that this you cannnot do Intimacy is the death of the one who is looking for it. The seeker is destroyed by love. At the root of much of our suffering regarding bodily pain and illness is the idea that our bodies are somehow against us. My body has betrayed me but that is not possible, when you realise that you are not in a body at all. The mass of ever-changing sensations we call body simply appears in what you are, and cannot act against you.

Out of freedom we create a prison, and then spend our lives trying to escape that prison. only to come to realise that there is no prison and nobody to be imprisoned. The freedom that you are cannot be imprisoned. Enlightenment is not a special state or experience reserved for special people, or a goal to be reached by spiritual high acheivers. It is simply life, as it is, lit up (en-lightened) by what you truly are the light of awareness, the light of consciousness itself. Life goes on being life but it is simply seen for what it is. Nothing special, as they say in Zen. And yet, utterly extraordinary at the same time. I used to proclaim, Suffering happens to no-one! and secretly Id still be suffering. Its just suffering happening! Id tell myself and yes this was ultimately true, but it didnt help to end the suffering! The end of suffering was only found through a radical embrace of all experience and Jeffs resistance to it the embrace of Consciousness itself. Its not a doing, its a seeing that happens now, now What interests me these days is not radical Advaita but a radically honest exploration of human experience and the possibility of finding total freedom within that experience even in the midst of what we call suffering. Its not about fixing experience, its about exploring it in total honesty. And no matter what the experience, painful or blissful, the freedom that you are embraces it as it comes and goes. Its one thing to understand intellectually that everything is One, or that there is no self, or that all suffering is a story. Its another thing to see this clearly in the midst of every experience. So lets meet in the play, and dance there, together, until this freedom shines. And even if it doesnt shine, its still there so lets dance together anyway. The secret of spiritual awakening finally revealed: G.U.R.U. = Gee, you are you! If I have you, I can lose you. If you can be mine, you can stop being mine. If you can give me love, you have the power to withdraw it. If I can feel loved, I can also feel unloved. If I feel unloved by you, I can also blame you for withdrawing love. But is love a commodity? Is it a thing to be gained and lost? Or is it what you already are? that which cannot be owned, withdrawn. or lost. Ever. True therapy has nothing to do with fixing yourself. The word therapy simply means healing, and heal means whole. True therapy exposes the ways in which you are already trying and failing to fix yourself. In other words, it exposes the seeker. Then there is nothing left to fix, since that which remains is already healed (whole).

I am walking down the street. WHO is walking? Upon direct observation, all that can be found is walking, and nobody doing it. Just walking happening. Feet tapping, pavement moving, and a story I am walking. Nobody walks. There is no walker, but walking is happening and I am that. I am not the walker I am the walking. I am walking. I *am* walking itself. I am walking down the street Im here. Im always here. Even when Im there, Im here. I cant get away from here. Even when I try to escape here, I find myself here. Once I even managed to arrive there, but then I took a fresh look, and I was still here. Here follows me wherever I go. Its just always here, wherever I am. Hmm. Perhaps I am here. I mean, perhaps I *am* here! Perhaps here is what I actually am. Thats why Im always here Love sees that the one who loves is identical with the one who is loved. Both are the one, so there is no both. One love, playing at being two. Can I love you even though you disagree with what I say and how I say it? Can I really hear what youre saying, even if I disagree? Can I understand why you say it that way and understand what you mean? Can I see my own position? Can I see what Im defending? Can I see that you are what I am, beyond the story? Can it be okay for things to be as they are? Yes. Of course it can. It is already so. My dear, sweet, seventy-nine-year-old father asks me for the fifth time where I live. Its okay dad, no need to worry, I am what you are. I live here, now, with you, in this intimacy. This is my home, our home, beyond the story of us. And still, for the fifth time, I tell him where I live, and what I really mean is I love you, dad, and the conversation goes on. If you have spiritual philosophy in your head including the most advanced, refined, nondualistic philosophy but no LOVE in your heart, your philosophy is worthless. You may respond love is just a concept or there is only pure awareness or all words are dualistic or there is no me, and there may be truth to be found in all these statements but then, my goodness, youre missing the point. To see life as it actually is, beyond what I think it is or should be or should have been; to see others as innocent dreamers in this cosmic dream of separation; to know that Life is not separate from what I am, and what I am is total intimacy this is the adventure, and this is the forgiveness. I sing a love song to the divine, and the divine is in the ordinary, and the ordinary isnt ordinary at all.

You cannot fall in love. It can be noticed, however, that you have already fallen. The illusion of a separate you has already fallen away (it was never really there), and all thats left is Being. Being in love! What happens when we fall in love? In love, we fall away. Everything that apparently comes between us falls away (it was never really there). And all thats left is love, way beyond the concept love. No separation. This is the love that never came, the love that never left. The love that IS. Falling in love is falling into life. Alone, together. FaILing in illusion, faLLing in love. Falling, endlessly. What is grace? Where is it? It is here. It is each and every moment, seen for what it is. It is not in the future it is now. It is the gift of breathing, talking or not talking, watching a sunset or lying in bed in excruciating pain. All is life. All is given for free. All is grace. Never forget this. Even in the midst of your greatest suffering, never forget this. Hearts broken open, minds blown open, eyes open wide, we meet, faceto-face, space-to-space, here and now and the search for love is always already over, before its even begun. Anything that appears within awareness is already welcome, already accepted, already okay. No extra acceptance needs to be attempted. And even if it is, your attempt to accept is already accepted, as is your failure to accept, and any non-acceptance or rejection which will inevitably appear in the play of opposites. All is radically embraced here. Healing has nothing to do with fixing something thats broken. Healing is the rediscovery of wholeness (heal = whole) in the midst of the very experience of brokenness. Can anything in present experience be broken or incomplete? Can a sound be incomplete? Can a sensation be incomplete? Can a thought be broken? Can what you are be broken? In seeing that present experience is always complete, what needs fixing? As an Advaita teacher, I used to mechanically repeat phrases like there is no me (and I still phrase things like that, sometimes, but only in certain contexts.) These days, Im far more likely to say Take a look now, can you find a separate person? Its an invitation to explore present experience, not with hope of fixing it, or becoming enlightened its an exploration borne of fascination, curiosity, love. Unconditional love embraces both pain and the image of the one who is trying and failing to escape it. This love is so fiercely unconditional that it even embraces your resistance to life, and in that embrace, melts it. Nothing false survives this intimacy. We are already embraced by a love with no name

The word boring also means drilling (as in drilling a hole). When you say I am bored, what is really happening? Life is drilling through the facade of you, threatening to reveal the non-existence of the seeker. Even deathly boredom is an invitation to this freedom! Bones can be broken. Life what you are beyond your story- cannot. Let your heart break into a million pieces today. Allow yourself to cry today. Be vulnerable today. Feel gratitude today for the smallest and most insignificant things. A taste. A glance. A breath. On this day of all days your first day, and your last day. Life is absolutely dependable: its always exactly as it is, not always as you think it should be, and never as it isnt. Dear One, I dont mind if you hold satsangs or not. If you think of yourself as enlightened, or awakened, or fully present, or not. If youve written a book or not. If you talk about your experiences in public, or you keep quiet about it all, or something inbetween. If you think of yourself as no-one or as someone or as anything else. Those stories becomes totally irrelevant when we meet for the first time. Nothing I say is the gospel truth. I am just a bird singing my song, for the sheer joy of it. That is my freedom. My song is neither true nor false it is merely music. You are free to listen to this music, or walk away. To sing your song back to me, or not. That is your freedom. Either way, this singing goes on until it doesnt. The universe sings to itself. Tweet Tweet! The wave in the ocean, experiencing itself as broken and incomplete, seeks wholeness. Experiencing homesickness, it seeks home. And all the while, the wave is a perfect expression of the very wholeness it is seeking. There is no wave separate from the ocean. Already being home, we seek home. And the play goes on. Im not present enough, Im not relaxed enough, I have too much ego, I dont have an ego, Im not clear enough, Im too much in my story, I have too many thoughts, my mind should be quieter, Im enlightened, Ill never be enlightened, I dont know, I know too much, I suffer too much, there is no me, there is still a me and on and on. And its still supremely, cosmos-shatteringly, breathtakingly okay. I am unloved, I am loved. I am misunderstood, I am understood. I am unappreciated, I am appreciated. Im successful, I am a failure. Either way, and in all cases, its always deeply, fundamentally, earthshatteringly okay. What I am is prior to all stories, including this one. We long for total intimacy as much as we fear it. We long to be stripped of our stories, our defences, all those projections which keep us

(apparently) at a distance. And then to meet each other, to really meet, face to face, space to space, with nothing to fear anymore, and nothing to lose. That is love and that is death. And yet this longing is already fulfilled. You are its fulfilment. Now. You are the dream of yourself. Others are simply characters appearing in the dream. But this dream has no separate dreamer the dreamer IS the dream. This is total intimacy, beyond the speaking of it. What an astonishing mystery, for nobody at all An Advaita teacher says to me: You are not a person. There is only Oneness. I find the truth in that. Somebody else says to me: There is no Oneness. You ARE a person. I find the truth in that, too. Its so beautiful, finding the truth in every belief, and not having to believe in any of it. Beyond the story, behind the mask, there is only intimacy. Beyond the story of your past, the story of your imagined future, the story of your frustrations, your sorrows, your fears what is actually here? Beyond the dream of tomorrow, what shines today? This LIFE offering itself in all its fullness. Flowering as every thought, every sound, every sensation. Only one word: Gratitude. I used to be so stuck in the everything is perfect trap. Id suffer tremendously, and Id say to myself my suffering is perfect (which WAS true in an absolute sense) and do nothing and then fight with anyone who suggested I could DO anything! I was blind to this total perfection which INCLUDES our ability to take a fresh look at what we experience (perfectly!) as suffering. Everything is already perfect as it is. But this is not a call to passivity. Part of this unconditional perfection is that within our dream we appear to have the freedom to see what needs changing and change it. Seeing perfection, and moving to improve an already-perfect world, are not-two. You are the world you cannot pretend it doesnt exist. This is the mystery. Whatever it is, it is appearing as this. Thats it. And its all inclusive, this mystery. It includes everything, thats the beauty of it like the simplicity of sitting on this chair, this thought, this breath Jeff, your message is all about just being in the moment, sitting back from life, doing nothing and being totally passive. No. Thats detachment. Thats somebody being detached. Thats separation. This message is about total intimacy, which is your fundamental inseperablity from life. Detachment is only possible in the dream. Life itself is wide open.

Space to space, face to face we are all in love with (inseperable from) each other, but dont realise it Nobody here, nobody there can sound so cold, empty and heartless. But nobody here is the vastness in which the world arises. It is wide open to all phenomena, and is not separate from those phenomena. Nobody here means intimacy. Space to space, face to face this is the origin of real, heartbreaking compassion (for no-one, as they say.). The recognition of nonduality is not the end of compassion. Compassion IS the recognition of nonduality. When its seen that theres nobody here i.e. there is simply this open, intimate space in which everything appears, theres enough room for everyone and everything, including you. I can no longer shut you out. This is why compassion is possible at all. We are looking for what we already are. And thats precisely why were looking. I love you, I miss you, I cant live without you, you complete me, we are one, I am lost without you, dont ever leave me, baby come back to me, Ive been looking for you my whole life sentimental, cheesy, superficial pop lyrics or expressions of a primal longing to be whole again? Instant Compassion: Others are not others at all, they are what you are only the stories differ. They are already home AND trying desperately to return home, not knowing how to get there, experiencing a primal homesickness, longing to rest. Their wrong behaviour is perfectly right in their dream. This isnt to condone violence but to SEE it for what it is. Compassion begins here. What you are is the answer. Then you start learning the questions Seeking is not a mistake it is inevitable, natural, built in. The newborn baby, ejected from the womb, is faced with the pre-verbal strangeness and overwhelmingness of life (the NOT OKAY) and seeks safety, the total embrace of the womb, externalised, at first, as mother (the OKAY). We want wealth, power, success, popularity, enlightenment, perfect relationship these become symbols of OKAY in our world. Thought cannot comprehend what I Am, because what I Am is prior to thought, and therefore has no opposite. Desperately trying to capture this no-thing beyond no-thing, thought invents words like Oneness, God, Spirit, Nonduality, Being, even Enlightenment (and their corresponding opposites), and the search is on. A work of genius!

And so finally, the world is a giant womb, in which we seek to return to the womb. There is only wholeness, and we seek wholeness. Only Oneness, and we seek Oneness. Only THIS, and we seek THAT. Life and death are absolutely one. What astonishing, mysterious, hilarious, tragic, beautiful creatures we are, and what absolute compassion for humanity this understanding brings. And what a wonderful story Ive just told! We seek Oneness not the abstract concept Oneness, but the actual sense of Home-With-No-Opposite that we all knew in the womb. Of course, we didnt know it, we WERE it. Thats the point! You were not IN the womb. You ARE the womb. Womb Home One. Its so primal, thought cannot grasp it thought came later. You are what you seek, not in some mystical shmystical way, but in actual, grounded, earthy reality. Nobody was in the womb nobody was separate from the womb. In the womb, pre-thought, there was no threat of womb-absence. Only later, the story appeared I was born I came out of mothers womb. With the appearance of abstract thought you were now an entity that was born and could die. There was womb (safety, life), and womb-absence (abandonment, danger, death). And the game of opposites began. Oneness a vague remembrance of a pre-language, pre-sense (presence) state of being totally whole, embraced, safe, with no threat of absence (since thought had not yet split reality there was no experiencer yet). A memory of the womb, so to speak. So primal. In a million different ways we try to return to that wholeness, through relationship, spiritual seeking, sex, drugs, meditation, nonduality teachings Freedom is not an experience you cant find it and cant lose it. Why? Because freedom is in every experience or, rather, every experience appears in freedom, no matter what the content, no matter what the story. And so every single experience IS freedom, AND an invitation to discover freedom. Life is already complete AND everything that appears is an invitation to recognise that completeness in every thought, in every sensation, in every feeling. What we call resistance is simply an invitation to let go and let in the experience being resisted. Everyone resists in different ways what you resist is also your own personal invitation to completeness so to speak. Even your resistance is perfect! Conditional love is really our search for unconditional love. Even conditional love, then, is seen to be unconditional in essence. Unconditional love is so unconditional it even embraces our failure to love unconditionally.

We are already Home, AND everything that happens in the dream is an invitation to recognise that we are already Home. Whether or not the invitations are noticed, let alone accepted, we are still Home. And the invitations keep coming When youre really living, when youre really dancing, who cares if the world is real or if its a dream? If the world is a dream, then I am a dream too, and so I and the world are not-two. If the world is real, then I am real too, and so I and the world are one. Either way, there is only intimacy. And the dance goes on. We try so hard to be open to life, to open up to every experience, only to discover who we really are: Being, already fully open to life, already fully open to every experience. In a way, these four words summarise the entire spiritual search, and the end of that search: Being Open To Life Intimacy it is the death of the seeker, and we seem to long for it as much as we fear it. To be totally exposed and without defences in your eyes is to see that your eyes are my eyes. Then there is nothing to fear because there is nothing to lose. Throughout the day, all sorts of phenomena thoughts, feelings, sensations, sounds appear spontaneously in this space. Can you ever find a division between inside and outside? A sensation does it happen in the body? Or does it simply appear spontaneously in this space, along with a thought that says this sensation is happening within something called my body Mystery is the only certainty. Beyond belief, beyond doubt. Mystery is not ignorance, nor is it naivet. It is not confusion, nor is it hedging ones bets. It is absolute groundedness, wonder, childlike simplicity. Mystery is indestructible. It is not knowing, and in that, knowing all you need to know. If you are here to read this, you have survived. The simple, ordinary feeling of being here, now, is the miracle to end all miracles, and it still remains, even after everything else has been stripped away. Only one thing left to say: Thank you. No need to wait for grace. Its already here: breathing, heart beating, sounds appearing, sensations A spontaneous play of emptiness, a dance of the formless as form, and theres nobody here separate from this Never-Ending Dance of Completeness. Its the dance that you are, the dance that life is, and it all appears now, offering itself in its fullness, asking nothing in return. Do you see what youve been given? We tend to be happy when things are going our way, and unhappy when things arent. Its natural. But what we are pointing to here is a freedom

that exists despite, not because of, circumstances. Freedom in the midst of pain, sadness, even devastation. Not freedom FROM, but freedom IN. Unconditionally so. Awareness and its contents are inseparable. They are already in love, so to speak. And so our very nature calls us back to deep gratitude for this messy, beautiful, sometimes painful human existence even when it seems impossible to love it, even like it even when our best laid plans dont work out at all. Freedom beyond the speaking of it lies hidden, unhidden, in THIS moment, in THIS place, and nowhere else. Walking along Worthing seafront, cold cheeks, icy fingers, this is life in all its glory, this is grace beyond measure, this is all given for free, and theres nobody here to accept or reject any of it. It simply IS. And it is always enough, even when its not, and it is always home, even when it doesnt seem like home. What is pain, before it is owned, before it becomes my pain? Who am I, prior to the arising of the thought I am the one in pain? Who, exactly, is in the pain? Is there not just pain appearing in this vast space of awareness, along with thoughts: This is my pain When will it go away? What did I do to deserve this? I cant stand it much longer, etc? There is a deep okayness right in the midst of pain There is a beautiful truth to the path of Advaita it apparently takes time and effort to see through various aspects of human illusion. There is also a beautiful truth to the non-path of neo-Advaita there is no person here, no time and nothing to be done life is exactly as it is right now. Do you see that these two opposing viewpoints are really pointing to the same place? They arent opposing at all. Nothing I say about nonduality is true. All lies. Beautiful lies. The moment I take any of this seriously, I disappear up my own backside. Sound of traffic. Thought about dinner. Shoulder pain. All appearing on the pristine screen of awareness. Yet screen of awareness is really just another thought appearing in this nameless space. THAT in which everything appears cannot be named by any of the things that appear. In the end, we cant speak of awareness vs. contents of awareness. But its fun to talk, when talking and not talking are equal The artist doesnt say the only beauty in the world, is in my art. The musician doesnt say my music is the only authentic music, the only true music. The dancer doesnt say my dancing is the only dancing in the world that can move you to tears. In true love, we dont say there is no love in the world except for mine. So why does the guru, teacher or believer say my path is the only path to freedom?

We are already dead. Stone cold dead. The worst has already happened. Now we are free, and THIS is heaven. THIS present sights, sounds, smells, feelings, all arising spontaneously in the vastness of Being, which was never born and cannot die. Yes, to be dead means to see what is really here, beyond past and future and the dream of yourself. Nothing to fear, sweet dreamer you are already dead and cannot die again. There is no evidence of a self as a solid, independent entity that endures in time. That much is clear with a little honest investigation. But then, saying there is no self is just another belief more dogma, more religion. What there appears to be is the simple activity of selfing the spontaneous arising and dissolving of thought within awareness. Who could deny that? What is humility? Perhaps it is the recognition of ones ultimate inability to control this moment your ultimate powerlessness in the face of the rawness of existence. Your absence in the face of the presence of things, and ultimately, the inseparability of this absence and the worlds presence. You are the world, in the most intimate sense. Perhaps humility is another word for freedom. And another word for love. I cant say that I am enlightened. I cant say that I am not. Why? Because I dont find any solid, independent entity here that could ever be one or the other. All I find here is a wide open space in which the scenery of life plays out a space inseparable from that very scenery. Any claim of enlightenment or its absence is wonderfully irrelevant, here in this already-enlightened vastness that belongs to no-one. Without referring to the past, who are you? Without your mental conclusions (I am the Self, I have no self, I am Spirit, I am not the body, I am no-one, I am pure awareness, etc.), who are you? Without simply parroting your favourite teacher or gurus answer, who are you? Without answering the question with another question (Who asks?), who are you? Without answering the question at all, who are you? For a while, it seems that the hungry seeker is approaching something called enlightenment. But then the seeker himself is exposed as a fraud, a phantom, a thought bubble. No seeker has ever become enlightened, for the enlightenment of the phantom seeker (in other words, his exposure in the blinding light of truth) is the death of that very search, leaving only simplicity, and nobody to claim enlightenment. The seeming paradox: You search for enlightenment, until its discovered that theres no you to find it and therefore there is no enlightenment outside of whats presently happening. All thats left is life, as it is. The way its always been but now seen for what it is. Who discovers this? Who knows this? The non-existent answer will blow your absent mind.

All spiritual experiences however blissful, powerful, or life-changing come and go. They have a beginning and an end. After each experience, thought says Ive got it now! Its over! Im finished! Now I know! But when all the dust has settled, when the drama has died down, there is still only THIS, which no time-bound experience could ever begin to touch. Life, as it is, in its brilliant simplicity. Where is the entity called mind? Search for a million years, and you will never find it. There is no separate entity called mind. All you will ever find is presently-arising thought (which you can call mind, if you like!) Now, to WHOM is thought arising? Search for a million years and you will never find the thinker. The thinker is another thought, appearing in this wide open space, this vastness beyond time Many people are running around these days claiming that they are free from the me. Dont they know that this very movement IS the me, badly disguised? What is the sound of a bird singing before we call it birdsong? What is the world before it is named? What is this moment before time? Who am I before the question Who am I? The answer is not of the mind. Throughout the day, all sorts of thoughts, sounds, sensations arise in awareness. The whole of human experience anything anyone has ever thought, heard, felt, experienced is available right here. Yes, the world meets you in the intimacy that you are. The world is not out there it is here. And so no human experience is alien to you. This is the origin of heartbreaking compassion No path can take you to where you are. Wherever you think you are along your path, Being is already fully present and paradoxically, this is the discovery which renders that very path obsolete. This is not a rejection of paths but a movement beyond them. Paths are helpful, perhaps necessary until their root assumptions crumble, and life in all its raw glory reveals itself. Then there is no protection Sounds appear. But who hears them? Thoughts appear. But who thinks them? We say: I hear the sounds. I think the thoughts. But what is this I who hears and thinks? Are there really TWO things you and life? Or is there simply the unitary movement of Life, which has no opposite? Is there just the ONE thing, which is no-thing at all? Does Life have a centre or was it all a dream? Are you responsible for becoming a you in the first place? Or was the original sin (separation) simply an innocent response to life? If nobody does separation then there is no original sin, and your guilt isnt really yours.

Ive been a successful spiritual seeker, a desperate, failed spiritual seeker, an enlightened being, a transcendent no-one, a pure awareness, an arrogant nonduality teacher stuck in the (non-existent) impersonal void and now Ive gone right back to being what I always was a human being, engaged with life. What a fascinating trip its been. And what a relief to wind up back here, the Home I never left!! Life is here to break your heart over and over again until you realise that heartbreak is life too and then your heart can no longer be broken, or fixed. And you stand naked in front of life, moment by moment, knowing that whatever happens is totally okay even in the midst of perfect devastation, which, of course, is devastating perfection. This is freedom beyond the speaking of it. Nothing matters. In other words, nothing takes form as matter. Nothing, no-thing, appears as everything. Emptiness dances as form. And beyond both these concepts, life is, beyond emptiness and form. Nothing matters. yet everything matters, absolutely, because everything is all there is. This is why each breath, each sensation, each thought is so very intimate, and infinitely precious. Im interested in your stories. They fascinate me. But I have no interest in them. In other words, I have no interest in using them for my own advantage. Interest, and no interest, without contradiction. Nobody suffers! Everything is just a thought! Life is an illusion! Suffering is a dream! Easy words to memorise and repeat. Harder to say when your partner has just left you. Or your kids have just been given a few days to live. Or you are in extreme physical agony. Is Advaita merely a word game for you, a conveniently life-denying, detached philosophy? Dont worry. No answer required. Life will show you. What does the absence of suffering look like? It looks like whatevers appearing. Suffering would be the attempt to escape whats appearing. Who would you be, in your pain, without suffering? There would just be pain, felt totally. Suffering is the story of my pain, in time, and the story of someone trying to escape pain, in time. Suffering is the ownership of pain which is the identity. All identity is thought. Do you really believe that there is no self? That there is nothing you can do? That there is no doer? That everything is a concept? That there is only Absolute, Unchanging, Ever-Present Awareness and all else is dualistic? That there is no you? Then Advaita has become your new religion, your new belief system, your new ideology and you have become blind to this. Sorry to point out the obvious. The search for freedom from the prison of suffering creates the illusion of a prisoner trapped inside. When there is no attempt to escape (or even

when there is), there is no prison, and no prisoner inside there is only whats happening in the moment be it pain, fear, or sadness. Not happening to anyone just arising in the vastness, complete in itself. We seek because we feel separate. We feel separate, but are we separate? To whom does the feeling of being separate appear? Does anybody own the feeling of being separate? Even the feeling of being separate is not separate from what you are. Freedom from separation within the experience of separation. Stunning! The end of seeking cannot be found by the seeker in the future. The end of seeking is seeing life as it is. It is the rediscovery (by no-one) of the absence of the seeker, which is identical to the present appearance of life. In that rediscovery, there is no seeking to end, and no seeker who disappears. It is not a special experience or event. And here, language disintegrates into simplicity and laughter. Awareness and its contents are inseparable. They are intimate. They are in love. *Tweet tweet!* The sound of that bird singing do you hear it? Or is it simply heard? Does hearing simply happen, effortlessly? Is that hearing separate from the bird singing? Are there two things? Or is there simply this boundless, unitary movement? Is there simply intimacy with the birdsong? Listen. For-giveness means given everything. Has life not already given everything? Has it not already given itself completely? Is this present appearance not complete? Was there ever a you separate from this completeness? In that case. are you not already forgiven? In other words, what is there to forgive? Even your lack of forgiveness is forgiven here The thought something is missing is not missing. The thought I am seeking is not itself seeking anything it simply appears in the fullness of life. The thought I am separate cannot separate it simply dances in boundless space. The sense of I is just a sense what is the problem with a sense? Who takes it seriously? An experience of the absence of something (lack) happens presently is anything lacking? A popular spiritual teaching: Stop thinking, and pure awareness will remain. Beautiful. But I used to drive myself mad trying to stop thinking. I had many no thought experiences. But I was subtly making thought into the enemy. What was eventually recognised is this: All thoughts are welcome here, in this awareness. The desire to stop thinking fell away. What simplicity! What is the end of seeking?, the seeker asks. Life as it already is, answers Life, before the question is even asked.

Beyond any notion of nirvikalpa samdhi, there is only THIS, in all its simplicity: Sitting in a seaside cafe, drinking tea. Chinking of glasses, muffled conversations. Biscuit crumbs falling onto T-shirt. Milks a little off. Pain in the shoulder. And all Life is here. What unadulterated perfection what stunning imperfection. Who is waiting at the bus stop for the Enlightenment Bus? A non-existent bus that never arrives (and even if it does, it only brings you back to where you already are). Simply read the sign: BUS NOT IN SERVICE and the waiting ends. In the face of the miracle, your story simply melts. Faced with everything, you are the open space holding it all, lovingly, without question. What crushing humility. You thought you were so important in fact you were equal to a chair. Sorry, no room for specialness here. All thats left is gratitude for each and every single thing. In this dream, dreamt up by noone at all. So goodnight, sweet dreamer. In the end, you cannot talk about nonduality as separate from duality, so you cannot talk about nonduality at all. The absence of the seeker appears as the seeker, seeking his own absence. The duelling non-dualists: YOU are stuck in identification! No, YOU are stuck in identification! Walking around the Imperial War Museum with my dear, elderly dad, and there is only this. Stories or no stories, past or no past, there is a love here that cannot be named. I am the open space, the vastness in which all of this appears, and all of this appears as that same vastness. Jesus said I and the father are One, and yes, yes, its true. Many people are waiting for a future energetic shift to end their seeking. But this very waiting IS the seeking that the energetic shift is supposed to eventually destroy. The gap between now and the shift is time, which IS the seeker. In other words, the seeker waits for a shift in order to stay alive. What an ingenious ploy, by no-one! I have no ego is this the ultimate claim of the ego? I love you. What are you in love with? A conditioned, time-bound image of me? Sacrifice the image discover a love that cannot die. There is no such thing as a teaching free of hidden assumptions. Including this one.

Emptiness and form are not two. Everything melts into everything else. Everything melts into THIS. And THIS is Home. Forever, always, Home. Has there ever been anyone here separate from all of this? Was there ever a seeker? There is only the question, which melts away too. leaving only. It all ends here: Sitting, breathing, sounds happening, feelings in the body happening. Television buzzing. Cat screeching outside. Just the simple, present appearance of life itself. Just life, as it is. Yes, here is where it ends. And here is where it all begins. The ending IS the beginning, the beginning IS the ending. And so in the end, all there is, is simplicity, friendship, and laughter. And even that is saying too much. So it all fades back into the silence. Am I a teacher? Perhaps, perhaps not. It doesnt matter in the end. In the end, I can only be a friend, reminding you of what you already know. I am what you are. This this is you, reminding yourself, as if you needed to be reminded, of what you already are. Beyond the teacher-student and guru-disciple dream roles and relationships, there is only unconditional love, beyond the concept of it and You Are That. When speaking of THIS, all language is temporary. Words appear to be needed until its seen that words are not needed. and were never needed. This is the dance. In the falling-away of time and effort, which is the seeing-through of time and effort, the timeless and effortless presence that you are in your essence reveals itself and in that revelation, what is seen is that THIS was never for one moment absent. What is present is always present. Unconditional love cannot be reached through time and effort it is simply there at the foundation of what you call your experience, waiting to be uncovered, discovered, met by nobody. Life is a bonfire, burning up all concepts about life. Nothing can be said about this burning, because even the attempt to talk about the burning burns up in this! And yet, words continue to come, and life continues to unfold, and its quite clear that we are not in control of this astonishing dream world, and that we are constantly being embraced by Oneness, in each and every moment What you are (beyond the story) is identical with what life is (beyond the story). They are not two separate movements. There is only One Unconditional love is so radically unconditional, it ultimately even embraces what we call conditional love

Who are you, beyond all ideas and judgements about yourself? Is it possible to discover deep acceptance within your present experience, no matter what the circumstances? Jeff Foster REALISING THERE IS NO ME There is no me. Easy words to memorise, repeat, lecture and argue about. But what are the real implications of this realisation? In realising that there is no separate person here at all, that who I really am is the vast, open, infinitely spacious, non-located capacity for every thought, sensation, feeling, sound, even pain, and that what I am is inseparable from this moment well then, everything is seen to be deeply embraced, held, admitted here, deeply allowed into what I am. There is no inbetween anymore, and never was. There is no self-image to defend (not even the image theres nobody here or awakening has happened to no-one), no way of blocking life out, total openness to what is, cosmic humility and awe in the face of this moment. This is not a prescription or achievement or goal for a separate self, but a description of who you ALREADY ARE beyond the story. Words will never capture this, but words are allowed here too. And a deep sense of love and wordless compassion beyond all our second-hand ideas of love and compassion emanates directly from this realisation, for one simply cannot block you out anymore, or pretend that I am fundamentally different from you in any way. Then theres no distance, no gap, just intimacy which is the end of conflict. Its not a rejection of our humanity and our humanness (rejection comes from a deep misunderstanding of the nondual message) but a total embrace of it on every level. Otherwise there is no me remains just an idea, another story, a belief, a nondual soundbite, more dogma, something to cling to, to argue over; something that comforts the me, that bloats the self-image, instead of rendering it irrelevant. Yes, there is no me is a beautiful idea, a lovely pointer, a wonderful philosophy, but is this transparency, this openness, this humility, actually

being realised now? Intellectual understanding is beautiful, but doesnt in itself end seeking and suffering in fact, it may even inflame suffering. Realisation is key. Who realises? Well, thats the gorgeous paradox of this. Who realises? Well, who asks?

IMAGINE A GAME.. The most amazing, mysterious, ingenious game ever devised Everybody is playing it, but nobody knows theyre playing it. Everybody has forgotten. There are no rules to this Game, except the rules that you play by. There is no goal, except the goal you are aiming for. Nobody wins the Game but nobody loses either. The grand prize and the booby prize are the same: The Game itself. There is no escape from the Game even the attempt to escape the Game is part of the Game. And if anyone thinks theyve escaped the Game. well, thats part of the Game too. If anyone thinks that they understand the Game, that they are an authority on the Game, or that they can teach you how to win the Game. that is also part of the Game. Everything that happens in the Game is perfectly appropriate for the player. It seems as though the Game was designed for you. Thats part of the Game. The Game seems personal, but it is also totally universal.

Its your Game. and yet everybody is playing the same Game. This too is part of the Game. As long as you are playing this Game, you cant go wrong. Want to play? Sorry, you have no choice. Youre already in the middle of it. The Game is already being played. This Game is Life Itself. And if you are reading this message, the Game is already complete. This is the Game talking to Itself, reminding Itself that it is complete. Now, youre free to play.

IS THE SELF AN ILLUSION? DO I EXIST? It may help to look at what the words illusion and existence actually mean. illusion mid-14c., act of deception, from O.Fr. illusion a mocking, from L. illusionem (nom. illusio) a mocking, jesting, irony, from illudere mock at, lit. to play with, from in- at + ludere to play (see ludicrous). Sense of deceptive appearance developed in English late 14c. Illusion simply means a play or deceptive appearance not nonexistence. The self, the me, is an illusion, not because it doesnt exist, but because it doesnt exist in the way we imagine it to. You are not what you think you are. The me seems to be solid and separate a thing at the centre of life, a separate entity running my life in the same way that there seems to be a wave separate from the ocean but upon investigation, those assumptions crumble. The illusion is seen through the wave is inseparable from the ocean.

Now, it might also help if I were a little more clear about what the word existence actually means. In the past I used to use this without realising what it actually meant. It literally means stand out (ex-sistere). Does the wave stand out of the ocean? Yes, it appears to, AND no, it doesnt stand out in reality, because it IS the ocean. Depends on the angle from which youre answering the question. Both are true, both are not true. The wave appears to exist, AND it does not exist it does not exist SEPARATELY from the ocean. If it has an existence, that existence is inseperable from the whole. (And instead of the word ocean, you can use the words consciousness, beingness, aliveness, source, void, wholeness, nothing..) If you cant handle paradox, time to get out of the nondual kitchen! In the same way, the self (the story of me) only exists as a story. I never, ever found Jeff outside of a presently-arising story about Jeff. Jeff is not there lurking in the background the story of Jeff appears and disappears as a story. The story of Jeff does not appear to Jeff that would be another story! The story of Jeff simply appears. And where does every story appear? Here, in this wide, clear open space awareness, consciousness, Being, Life, doesnt really matter what words you use to point here. Theyre just words. Perhaps this is what some are referring to as the space of no self. You could say the story of the self arises and falls in this space pointed to by the words no self. Every story, every thought, every sensation, every form, comes and goes in this open space. I gave up years ago believing that this could be captured in words. Its like trying to capture water in a fishing net. The best we can do is point and know that we are only pointing. Thoughts, sensations, sounds, do not happen to a self theres no evidence for a solid central self whatsoever they arise and fall here, as waves appear to do in an ocean. In reality, even what we call forms are inseparable from this formless openness, this emptiness which is actually totally full. Then we cannot talk of emptiness or void at all! The Heart Sutra says Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form. Langauge fails here, totally. It collapses. And all language simply comes and goes in this space. All concepts of self and no self arise and fall away, leaving no trace. All concepts of duality and nonduality, choice and choicelessness, collapse. All we can do, in the end, is use words as pointers. The rest is just arguing over our favourite pointers.

Years ago, I was very certain that there was no self, and tried very hard to convince people that there was no self. I couldnt see back then that this constant need to convince others, this sense that I was right and needed to wake others up, WAS the very self I was denying! Its absolutely ingenious, this whole game. Seeing the impossibility of putting this into words, the total inseparability of what I am from all that appears, the total intimacy with all impermanent forms as they arise and fall, brings much lightness and laughter. And we can still carry on debating whether or not there is a self theres room for that too. Theres room for everything here! So lets play! The only question left is what are you defending? Even the certainty that there is no self, and the need to constantly prove that to others, can simply be something else to hold onto. The ego becomes a spiritualised ego and pretends there is no ego. I know there is no self, and I am right, and you are wrong and by the way, theres no you and no me, and it really pisses me off when you think otherwise. But theres nobody here being pissed off. Ingenious. And totally innocent too, by the way. And its all available to be seen for what it is. Always. Its not that I believe any of this belief doesnt hold up for very long. This inseparability and intimacy is confirmed in every single moment, as everything appears right here, not to Jeff, but to the wide open space that holds the story of Jeff, just as the ocean holds all of the waves that are, intimately, itself. And the play goes on

WHY THE IMPERSONAL DOES NOT EXIST The birth and death of fundamentalism in nonduality and Advaita teachings. by Jeff Foster Originally published in 3e millnaire (N 101 Automne 2011) as Pourquoi limpersonnel nexiste pas Govinda said: What you call a thing, is it something real and intrinsic? Is it not simply an illusion of Maya, merely image and appearance? Your stone, your tree, are they real? This does not trouble me much, said Siddhartha. If they are illusion, then I too am illusion, and so they are of the same nature as myself That is why I can love them

- Siddhartha, Herman Hesse A few months ago I made this announcement: I am officially no longer an Advaita teacher or Nonduality teacher if, indeed, I ever was one. Life cannot be put into words, and however beautiful the words of Advaita/Nonduality are, they must be discarded in the end. I could never claim to be any sort of authority on this stuff. I will continue to speak, to sing my song to those who are open to listening, but gone is the need to adhere to any tradition, to use Advaita-speak to avoid real, authentic human engagement, to pretend that I am in any way more or less special than you, to kid you that I know more than you, to play the teacher by refusing to meet you in the play, to stop listening to you because I see you as still stuck in the dream or still a person. This message is about love, in the true sense of the word otherwise it is simply nihilism masquerading as freedom. The Advaita Police reply Who cares? I say I do. I do. In this essay I want to explain why I made this statement. THE MESSAGE OF RADICAL ADVAITA If you listen to certain nonduality/Advaita teachers who are on the scene at the moment, you may get the impression that there is something terribly wrong with having a personal story. Having a thought-created story about yourself, your past experiences, your relationships, your feelings, your desires and hopes and fears, and so on in other words, being a living, breathing human being is a clear sign of delusion and duality. And you need to wake up from this mess! If you go to a public meeting held by a teacher of radical Advaita, and they invite questions, and you start talking about something personal for example, the death of a loved one, an addiction you have, a painful event that happened in your past they will tell you that you are stuck in your story, or lost in the dream of time and space or they will simply say you are still a person and havent woken up yet. The fact that you told a story shows that you are still coming from duality you are still identified as a seeker, stuck in the personal. Once you get it, you will no longer tell personal stories. You will exist in the eternal Now, and know nothing of your past. These teachers, of course, no longer tell stories (well, except the gigantic story that all stories are a sign of ignorance). They imply that they themselves exist in some sort of mystical state beyond the personal, or that they have entered into a kind of space where the personal no longer has any meaning, relevance or interest. They dont have a past or future, they dont have personal relationships (who is there to have a relationship with?), and they certainly never suffer (because all suffering

is an illusion, right?) And so you end up feeling inferior to these people (or non-people, or nobodies, or absences, or whatever they are calling themselves today) and terribly guilty and narcissistic for still having interest in your personal story. Liberation or enlightenment obviously hasnt happened for you yet! And so you wait and wait for liberation to happen. And although these teachers say there is nothing you can do to reach liberation, and nobody there who can do anything anyway, you carry on going to their meetings and reading their books, in the vain hope that it will happen one day. Although theres no you it can happen to. And no one day. What a headache! And for these teachers, your headache is yet a further sign that you dont get it yet. Their teaching is 100% true, pure, and uncompromisingly, brutally honest your confusion is your problem, a sign of your ignorance. The burden of guilt is on you. Although these teachers talk about freedom, the wonder of existence and the completeness of all things, in their denial or rejection of the personal, they are sending a clear message to the seeker: keep seeking, for one day the personal will fall away. The seeker is kept hooked on the promise of a future impersonal state or experience, although of course, the teacher denies that they have any sort of agenda, or are promising anything to the seeker. In the hierarchy of radical Advaita, the impersonal is better, or more real, or at least less illusory, than the personal although of course, it is also claimed that all hierarchies are illusions. Radical Advaita is a subtle form of seeking, no doubt about it. Of course, what these teachers cannot see is that their impersonal (actually anti-personal) position is in fact a very personal preference. They claim that their teaching is impersonal and without agenda (because it does not speak to you as a separate person), when of course their preference to avoid or dismiss your personal story is a very personal one, and it comes from an agenda to make you realise that you are not liberated yet. In promoting the impersonal, in making the impersonal the absolute truth, they actually create the very division between the impersonal and the personal, absolute and relative, that they claim they have transcended. And even though they dont allow personal stories in the meetings, outside of the meetings these teachers tell stories, gossip, argue and defend positions just like anyone else. Why is there a division between what goes on in the meetings, and outside of them? Why is there one rule for them, and another rule for us? Why do the meetings have to be such a performance? Surely liberation brings freedom from the need to perform in this way? Now, please dont misunderstand me. Im not saying these teachers are bad, or wrong, or that they intentionally set out to mislead people nothing of the sort! Im saying that I no longer resonate with this way of expressing truth, thats all. I used to hold radical Advaita meetings

myself, and would often dismiss personal stories in the same way as Im describing above, and so I totally understand where this form of expression is coming from. I used to love this radical, uncompromising approach. until I saw through its root assumptions and its hidden agendas. It took me a long time and much soul-searching and humility to realise that, in fact, the impersonal and the personal are one, and this anti-personal stance is simply a personal preference of certain spiritual teachers. There is no such thing as an impersonal message there are only people who act in impersonal ways towards others. There are impersonal personalities but no impersonal messages. What many of these teachers call impersonal truth is actually their own anti-personal stance disguised as objective fact. THE IMPERSONAL IS THE PERSONAL Whatever the impersonal is, it actually expresses itself as the personal, and so true freedom cannot come through a denial or rejection of the personal story its actually there right at the heart of that story, at the heart of the messiness of human existence. Thats where the grace shines. Think of Jesus on the cross. Right at the heart of the most terrible personal suffering right at the heart of broken bones, flayed skin, torn muscle, the Divine shone, impersonal and free. Jesus was absolutely human, and in that humanness, absolutely divine. He did not find freedom through escaping from the cross, though a rejection of the personal. No freedom, God, wholeness, was right there at the heart of the cross, where life and my life intersect and destroy each other. Freedom was, and is, life itself. We, all of us, live there at the heart of that intersection where the vertical (that which is beyond time and space) meets the horizontal (time and space), where the truly impersonal (the open space in which that story appears) meets the personal (the story of me). And so, it gets to the point where you cant even use the words personal and impersonal anymore because you have no way of separating them in the first place. Where does one begin and the other end? Perhaps there is no dividing line perhaps at the centre of the cross, there is only One. Perhaps what I truly am is inseparable from life itself. Perhaps I have always been that which I have longed for the most. Just perhaps. In my story (yes, there is a story appearing here who could deny that?) I spent years pushing away the personal, trying to get rid of my personal story, trying to dwell in the Absolute, to get rid of my someone and become no-one. Jeff was the enemy and I had to get rid of him. The personal self was the devil, and it was only in the destruction of the devil that I would meet God. The ego was the lie that had to be annihilated. Or at least, thats what I believed at the time. I had read a lot of spiritual

books, and had come to a lot of conclusions about reality not realising that my conclusions were actually personal beliefs. Human beings are amazing creatures. We think we have found objective truth, when in fact we have just come to rest on a subjective belief, and forgotten this. For a while, the impersonal seemed like freedom to me, because the personal had become unliveable. My personal story (relative existence) had become hell I hated my life, suffered terrible social phobia, felt like a total failure, saw no point in existing at all and so it made sense at the time to escape into the impersonal heaven promised by the Advaita teachings. There is no me, there is no you, there is no world, there are no others, suffering doesnt exist, theres no responsibility on any level wow, what a comfort for the exhausted seeker! A one-way ticket to freedom from all worldly problems Hallelujah! No responsibility, no past, no choice what a relief! I could do what I wanted, say what I wanted, I could even hurt people intentionally and it didnt matter because it was all Oneness and I had no choice anyway. Or so I believed. I thought I was free, and meanwhile, the seeker was feeding itself, gorging itself on these new Advaita concepts. I thought I was nobody, and meanwhile, my personal story was feasting on the very personal idea that I was beyond or above the personal. I thought I was free from all divisions, and meanwhile, nonduality and duality were at war, personal and impersonal had locked horns. I rejected all spiritual paths and practices they were all dualistic and rooted in ignorance. I was at war with any teacher who looked like they offered a personal path. I saw these teachers as dualistic because it looked like, in speaking to a person and offering them hope of any kind, they were actually feeding the seeking and keeping people trapped in their stories. Impersonal teachings teachings which did not speak to a person and did not offer the nonexistent seeker any hope or comfort were the only truth; that seemed the logical next step. And I enjoyed warning people about the dualistic teachers who were keeping people trapped in their ignorance although of course, when challenged about this (Jeff, isnt it hypocritical to call other teachers dualistic when there are no others, and duality is an illusion?), I backtracked and said there was nobody here with an opinion about anything, and that everything was perfect as it was. Oh yes, I became very clever with words. You have to be, when you are defending a position, and trying to make it look like you have no position to defend. Thats how gurus are born. I call this the Advaita Trap and at the time, I didnt think I was trapped I thought I was free. Often when you think you are free you are more trapped than ever. So, I was living in my impersonal castle, believing that I was free from the personal, but secretly I was at war with the personal. I was afraid of the personal, it terrified me we attack what we are most afraid of. Real, honest, authentic human interaction? Scary. Opening myself up to life,

admitting that I was wrong about certain things, letting go of my most cherished identities and beliefs? Terrifying. The risk of exposing myself to others and being rejected? No, better to pretend there are no others to interact with. Personal experience is for ignorant dreamers. The impersonal is much more real. I claimed to be free from the personal, but secretly, behind the scenes, I was still suffering very much there were still relationships that didnt feel clean, places where I knew I wasnt being honest, places where I was holding back from life, where seeking was still happening. I still felt disconnected from others, blocked, unfulfilled in many ways but since I believed that I was liberated, or that I was no-one, I couldnt admit this to myself, let alone other people. The radical Advaita teachings were a great comfort at this point it was a comfort to know that after liberation, suffering can still arise but now it belongs to no-one. Great! Suffering was okay I didnt have to do anything about it, and anyway, there wasnt anything I could do about it, because there was nobody here to do anything. Im still miserable there is still misery appearing but now nobody is miserable. The radical Advaita message provided great relief. But nobody suffering or somebody suffering, there was still suffering and suffering is seeking! I was still seeking, still at war with life, but claiming to be free from all seeking, in order to promote my identity as an ex-seeker. Phew. It was all so exhausting, holding up this enlightened facade! But every facade, every defence, every castle must crumble in the end. No philosophy or belief system, no matter how refined, radical or uncompromising, can protect you from life itself. Life is the authority, and all belief systems crumble before life, in the end. My radical Advaita castle had been built on very shaky foundations I am no one, nothing exists. Oh yes, there is a beautiful truth in that. But at the same time, its not true, not at all not until its balanced by its opposite, within the dream. No concept could ever begin to capture life, because life is prior to all concepts (including these ones). Concepts are always dualistic the world of concepts is the world of two. Self and no-self always appear and disappear together. Someone and no-one always arise and fall at the same time. In the dream, everything is perfectly balanced by its own reflection you cannot have one without the other. Nothing exists is perfectly balanced by something exists, and so on. Life itself, however, is always beyond all of these opposites. It is beyond self and no-self, person and no-person, path and no-path, time and absence of time. Life as it is, is totally beyond

comprehension, in the same way that the wave will never understand the ocean, because it already IS the ocean THE WAVE AND THE OCEAN Imagine a wave in an ocean. The wave says to itself Im separate from the ocean. It believes and experiences itself to exist separately from the ocean. It believes that it was born as a separate entity, and that it will die one day. It has a story about a past and a future, it can talk about its past experiences, its successes and failures, its achievements, its hopes and regrets and fears. And in a million different ways it spends its life seeking seeking love, seeking approval, seeking success, or seeking spiritual enlightenment and what its really looking for, of course, is the ocean. And yet, the wave is already a perfect expression of the ocean it was that from the very beginning. The ocean actually expresses itself as all the seemingly different waves. One, expressing itself as many although in reality, the many are not separate from the one. The point is, the wave only appears to exist, only seems to exist in reality, there is no separate wave. The wave literally ex-sists (stands out) of the ocean but in reality, there is no separate wave standing out. And so we appear to have a paradox a wave appears to exist (stand out), and in fact does not exist (because how can anything stand out of the ocean, when the ocean is all there is? How can the ocean stand out of itself?). We have the paradox of the impersonal appearing as the personal. The wave is both personal AND impersonal. It both exists and does not exist. It appears to be separate (the story) and yet it is not separate from the ocean, from life. Now, the world of the wave is the world of duality. From the perspective of the wave, there appears to be divisions: between the impersonal and the personal, between the absolute and the relative, between emptiness and form, between duality and non-duality. But from the perspective of the ocean these divisions do not exist nothing does. It is only a wave that would divide the personal from the impersonal, self from no-self, someone from no-one. The ocean cannot divide in this way because it is all there is, with no way of dividing itself from itself. Water cannot divide itself from water. Only the wave speaks. The ocean remains silent it has nothing to say. It does not exist, because it does not stand out it cannot separate itself from itself in any way. And so it becomes clear that: 1. Only (the appearance of) a person would divide the personal from the impersonal, and then claim that their expression or teaching is one or the other.

2. Only a person would claim to not be a person, because only a person would see that division (person / noperson) in the first place. In the same way, only a self would claim they had no self, only an ego would claim to be free from ego 3. Only a teaching rooted in duality would reject other teachings as dualistic. Only a teacher at war with their own ignorance would label other teachers as ignorant. The world is a perfect mirror of yourself. 4. If a teaching was truly impersonal, it would not exist, and the holding of meetings and retreats would not be possible. The ocean does not speak. In order to call itself impersonal, a teaching must be first rooted in the personal, and then deny it. Ingenious. Anyway, this is all wonderful! It means that nobody has the answers. It means that when it comes to the ocean, none of the waves can be an authority. It means that none of the waves in the ocean can transcend the ocean because they are only expressions of the ocean. A wave that claims to have transcended or gone beyond the ocean, is still just a wave, making certain claims. Even the most radical Advaita teacher is still a wave. Nobody has reached the impersonal, or gone beyond the personal, because the wave cannot go beyond itself. All waves are equal in essence they are water. In other words, the impersonal cannot be impersonal until it radically includes and embraces the personal. This seems like a complete contradiction in terms, but you often have to speak in paradoxes when talking about something that cannot be put into words! The impersonal is the personal nonduality is duality then its complete. You wont find the impersonal anywhere else except right at the heart of the personal a total paradox, and yet as simple as breathing. I think what tends to happen is this: 1. The wave sees that it is the ocean. 2. The wave uses this insight to deny that there was a wave in the first place or ever was. Yes, its a tricky one. Thats why you have to be very careful when youre talking about nonduality! You see, the seeker wants to be fed. Once the seeker gets hold of a concept there is no me, no world, no suffering, etc then if its not seen with absolute clarity what those words are pointing to, the seeker will actually use those words to deepen the seeking and the identification. So for example, if there is no free will, and if there is no choice, and if there are no others, and if theres nobody suffering, then I can do whatever I want to do. I can go outside and murder someone now, and it doesnt matter, because its just Oneness

it doesnt matter because theres no choice. Thats when nonduality just becomes another belief system, another religion, another form of separation. THE END OF FUNDAMENTALISM And so the way I talk about nonduality has really changed over the years it has evolved to incorporate this fundamental insight of non-separation between what we call personal and what we call impersonal. I used to speak much more from the absolute, oceanic perspective no me, no you, no world and I still do sometimes, but only at certain times, and in certain contexts, when it seems appropriate. From the perspective of the ocean, there is no time and space, nothing to do and nowhere to go, because the ocean is beyond all of those divisions. At the same time, however, this ultimate truth expresses itself as time and space, as the appearance of the waves, as the appearance of someone in a world. There is no me and no you, but there is the appearance of me and you and this is where we live and meet, in the appearance. You dont exist, and yet you do, and that is why I can love you. I am not here as a separate entity, and yet I am here, undeniably so, and so are you. What I am (as the ocean) is beyond the story, and yet, undeniably, the story appears (the wave) and as the wave, I have no need to deny the story, or pretend it doesnt exist how can a story deny a story? So I dance and play as the wave, knowing myself at all times as the ocean, without contradiction. This only appears to be a paradox to the seeking mind And so what is seen these days is this: nonduality is not a rejection of duality, but a celebration of it such a total celebration, that one cannot even use the words nonduality and duality as separate from each other. No-one and someone are actually one they were never two. If there is no-one is the crucifixion, then there appears to be someone is the resurrection. The crucifixion needs the resurrection to complete itself. And so radical Advaita is only partially true until it completes itself with its reflection. Then its all over. When I drive my car too fast on the motorway, and a policeman pulls me over and asks me my name, I say Jeff Foster. I dont say I am no-one or Jeff Foster does not exist. And although in an ultimate sense all of this may be true, still, when I say it, its not true its simply another concept. Nobody lives in ultimately true. We cannot live in ultimates. We live here, in this world of time and space and apparent things, and so I meet the policeman and say Jeff Foster and that is love. (Yes, love, even with a police officer!) Even the most fundamentalist nonduality teacher answers to their name when pulled over by a policeman. Who can deny name and form? Who can deny the story? Who is going to deny the personal? Who would even want to? THE FREEDOM TO BE PERSONAL

These days, because Im no longer identified as being an Advaita teacher (and certainly not a teacher of radical Advaita), in my meetings and retreats the following rules and regulations no longer apply: 1. You shall not talk about your personal story 2. You shall not use the words I or me or myself 3. If you talk about your personal story, you will be laughed at, or your experience will be dismissed or invalidated, or you will be punished. Or you will be told that you are still stuck in the dream, or ignorant of your true nature, or that liberation obviously hasnt happened there yet Yes, everybody is free, really free, thank goodness, to use whatever words they want to, to talk about their human experiences in whatever way feels right and honest and true to them, to tell their story. Stories are allowed all human experience is allowed. And of course the meetings and retreats are not about indulging those stories, or fixing them, but they are not about denying or rejecting the stories either. In the meetings we shine light on the story we en-lighten the seeker. We dont feed the seeker with new concepts like there is no me (although those words may be used on certain occasions as pointers), and we dont deny the appearance of the seeker or pretend there is no such thing as human suffering (and how easy it is to deny suffering when you are not suffering!). What cuts right through the middle of indulging the storylines and denying them is present seeing a seeing that you cannot do, a seeing that you already are. The meetings are all about a rediscovery of that seeing which is the end of seeking. True freedom is not about escaping from the personal into the impersonal it is to be found right at the heart of even the most intimately personal human experience. And so what a relief it is, to be a living, breathing, human being again, to allow life to express itself as this human name and form, as this beautifully personal human experience, and to know that it is none other than the impersonal dancing, playing, celebrating itself in every moment. I thank the teachers of radical Advaita for singing their song, and I respectfully break with their tradition once and for all for all traditions are limited, and the song of life cannot be contained. Fundamentalism cannot stand; love will destroy everything in the end. So tell me your story, and let the impersonal shine.

Does Nonduality mean Not Duality? The Metaphor of the Wave and the Ocean

Many people believe that the individual self is what they really are, and they ignore the space, the openness, the vast ocean of Being in which the individual arises. They identify exclusively as a separate person and never stop to ask if that is what they truly are. You have taken yourself to be a separate wave in a vast ocean. You see yourself as a little person in a vast ocean full of other people. You see yourself as an individual in a world which is fundamentally separate from you. But of course, the separate wave in the ocean is not really separate from the ocean at all. The separate wave is really just the ocean appearing temporarily as a wave. The wave is actually one-hundred percent water, and so in essence, its the same as the ocean. And so really there is no separate wave at all. There only appears to be a separate wave. The wave is in appearance only. It is a temporary appearance of the ocean. You what you take yourself to be the person, the character, the me, only has existence as an appearance, a story appearing now in boundless Being, a story which is ultimately not separate from Being. Now, some nonduality teachings make it sound like the appearance of the separate person is a problem and we should get rid of it. But who is going to get rid of the wave in the ocean? The wave? How can the wave get rid of itself? This is one of the traps that people fall into when they identify themselves as being spiritual seekers. They think that they need to get rid of the wave in order to reach the ocean, and there seem to be a lot of spiritual teachers and gurus out there who believe the same thing. Some spiritual teachers implore you to kill the ego! or destroy the mind! or get rid of the self! and miss the fact that the attempt to kill the ego is that very ego, and the effort to destroy the mind is the mind, and so on The point is, the wave is already fully ocean. Any attempt to get rid of the wave is the wave attempting to get rid of itself. Years ago, when I was a very serious and intense spiritual seeker, I tried desperately to get rid of Jeff, the character, the person. But this attempt ultimately ended in failure and frustration, because I was trying to get rid of something that wasnt actually there! I was fighting an illusion, and when you fight an illusion, you are assuming that the illusion is real. What you fight, you give life to. What you resist, persists, as they say.

You dont need to get rid of an illusion. To expose the illusion as an illusion (literally, to enlighten the illusion) is enough. To expose an illusion is to end it. And so the attempt to destroy the ego, transcend the mind, kill the self, get rid of the me in other words, the spiritual search is really just a war with life. Its water fighting water. Luckily, my spiritual seeking failed. And in that failure, this other possibility shone through a possibility that went beyond seeking and finding, beyond me getting what I wanted, beyond my personal desire to become an enlightened non-person. Beyond the seeker and the sought, there was and is only unconditional love Nonduality does not mean not-duality that would be completely dualistic! In reality, nonduality includes (the appearance of) duality, because it is everything. It is nothing no-thing and it is everything. Ultimately, nonduality appears as duality. They are one and the same. Then you cant even speak of nonduality. In other words, the appearance of the separate wave is not a problem for the Ocean. The appearance of your life story is itself a perfect expression of Being. In this unconditional love, nothing is denied. And so it was never about getting rid of Jeff. It was always about falling in love with Jeff, and through him, everything This is beyond comprehension, and yet it is as simple as breathing, right now. And these words fall back into the ocean.

ON LOVE AND ALONENESS Bind me like a seal upon thine heart: love is as strong as death. Song of Solomon 8:6

I am alone in the garden. The sun is rising. A little robin tugs at a worm in the grass. In true love, there is no object of desire, affection and tenderness, for the beloved has collapsed into the lover. The object has collapsed into the subject, and there is only love. Only love, and nobody to be aware of it, nobody to know it and nobody to deny it. Only love, both radically alone, and intimately connected to all things. A subject and an object can never be in love. They are forever divided from each other, split from each other. They can only gaze longingly into each others eyes across an unbridgeable divide, with the fervent hope that one day, perhaps one day, love will bridge the chasm, and the isolation of multiplicity and fragmentation will give way to the joy of intimate companionship, togetherness, and unity. But no, love cannot and will not bridge the gap, for the gap is inherent in the subject-object split. Indeed, the gap is the subject-object split, and nothing can fill a gap which is so deeply engrained into the very foundations of our experience. No, love cannot bridge the gap, because a subject and an object, a lover and the beloved, are inherently, fundamentally separate. It is unlikely that they will ever truly meet as people, as human beings. True love is the death of this terrible divide, and with it, the ending of all division between two people. This will never be achieved through effort. The very effort to end the division strengthens the division, gives power to the division. This is because the division is not there. It has never been there, and it will never be there. The division is an illusion, and when you fight an illusion you are bound to lose. Lovers can never meet through effort, although they may die trying. * So, our lovers continue to gaze longingly at each other across this unbridgeable divide, a divide that, in their innocence, they have created for themselves. How to help them? Any effort they make to come together will pull them more strongly apart. Are they doomed to live and die like this? Is there a way out? Yes there is, but it involves death. Not physical death, but death of the ego, death of everything that separates, death of everything that fragments, death of everything that divides, death of everything that isolates, death of everything that has been carried over from the past, death of everything that projects into a future. Death of the idea of love itself. Finally, it will involve death of the beloved, death of the lover.

Death of you and me, and with it, death of all that comes between us. A descent into pure nothingness, a plunge into the unknown. It is quite a risk. He who risks in this way may taste it, the sweet and simple joy of radical aloneness that is true love. Look! The robin tweet-tweets as he hops over the dew-soaked grass, and the morning sun begins to warm and wake the slumbering creatures in this Garden of Eden that we have named Earth, and nowhere can I find isolation, loneliness, separation, because all things are in all things, and everywhere is mother, everywhere is home. And I smile to myself with the realisation of the utterly, utterly obvious. I have not found you, but I have recognised something that has eluded me for a lifetime: You are not out there, but in here. You are part of the experiencing structure I take to be myself. So I do not love you, for there is no me to love and no you to be loved. No, I do not love you, for you are an integral part of that which loves. * The great search ends here, now, in this moment. There is only love, and you are that you are love itself. You are what I feel now, you are the thoughts bubbling up from nowhere and dissolving into nothingness, you are that robin over there, and the fresh dew on the morning grass, and the sun in all its radiance, and we are eternally, timelessly bound in this way, you and me, together with all things. Except there is no me, no you, and no things. So we will never be apart no, we cannot be apart, not now, not ever. So, this morning, I am alone in the garden, and you are here with me to see it all.

A Secret Love Affair With Life Part I Doing The Dishes Im at home. The washing up is being done. All that exists in the universe is the chinking of plates, the glistening of bubbles, and the whoooossshhh of water as it shoots out of the tap. The washing of dishes fills all available space. This bowl is particularly dirty. Its covered in dried breakfast cereal and will take ages to clean.

The phone rings. The bowl is put down, rubber gloves are removed, and kitchen is replaced by living room. Kitchen sink and dirty dishes are replaced by sofa and table and phone. Hello? A voice appears out of nowhere. Hey Jeff! Its my friend calling from London. But the sound of his voice happens here, in the room with the sofa and the phone, not out there in the world. My friend isnt in London, he is here with me. He meets me in this ever-present intimacy. He tells me some good news he has found a new job. This news is good, in his world. And because in this moment his world is my world, this news is good for me too. We share our good fortune, together. Nobody here, nobody there. And still, the response comes: Wow, thats great news! and its not even like Im acting. I really mean what I say, when I say it. Love does not reject anything, love does not put on an act or a show to please people, love does not posture and pretend just to win approval. No, love dances, love plays, love embraces, for the sheer joy of it, and so the words come: Wow, thats great news! I know hes worked so hard to get this new job and there is only celebration. We arrange a time to meet next week for coffee and I scribble down the details on a piece of paper. The conversation ends. I put down the phone and go back into the kitchen and continue to scrub away at the hardened cereal. The hands move, the water runs, and a pile of dirty washing up is replaced by carefully stacked plates and saucers and knives and spoons, sparkling in the sunlight streaming in from the window. There is only gratitude for the washing up liquid, the rubber gloves and the sunlight that illuminates it all. Celebration for my friends good news, gratitude for the rubber gloves, whats the difference here? All sparkling, shimmering appearances in the play of life. Now I need to urinate. Quicker than a flash, a toilet appears. Thats amazing. Need for urination arises, toilet appears. This is a perfectly synchronised play. Needs are always met, somehow. Contraction, expansion. Tension, release. The heartbeat of the universe, and its all so ordinary in its appearance. Amazing. Whilst Im drying my hands I notice that the bath needs cleaning, desperately. Well, theres no time like the present! Now all there is, is total absorption with cleaning the bath. Spiritual awakening? Oneness? Advaita? Nonduality? No, no, no. Not that. The bath needs to be cleaned! This scum must be removed! Its a matter of life and death!

I finish with the bath, go back into the kitchen and notice that the washing up has been done. What a wonderful surprise! Id forgotten it had been done. I grab a drink of water and go back into the living room. I see that there are some notes scribbled on a pad of paper about meeting my friend next week. Oh yes, another wonderful surprise! Life is flowering everywhere, it is simply bursting at the seams: in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the living room, and even in somewhere called London. Its absolutely everywhere. It cannot be contained. What an adventure Ive had in the past few hours! And all I did was move between my kitchen, bathroom and living room. There is so much to see and do here. How rich this life is. And there is more to explore. To the world, doing the washing up and cleaning the bath is nothing. When seen in clarity, its everything. When you ask me what did you do today? Ill tell you that I did the washing up, cleaned the bath and spoke to my friend in London, when of course what really happened, beyond the story (and how I love the story!) is that the dishes washed themselves, the bath cleaned itself and there was nobody on the phone a friend in London. What really happened was adventure what really happened was intimacy with all things. The story didnt happen life happened. The story is only a pale imitation of the celebration. Ive been having a secret love affair with life, you see, and nobody will ever know. Ive been intimate with the plates and spoons, with the washing up liquid, with the bath tub and the cleaning products, with the sound of my friends voice and the sunlight streaming in from the kitchen window. Ive been intimate with the carpet, with the walls, with the oven and the fridge, with the toilet and the phone and the cute little spider I found crawling up the side of the radiator. Nobody can take this intimacy away from me. Nobody. No power in the world can threaten it. Its my little secret that isnt really a secret at all. It is life itself, and it is always right here. ___________________________________________________________ A Secret Love Affair With Life Part II Going to the Supermarket I find myself outside a supermarket. How did I get here? I dont remember. Do I need to buy anything? I dont know. Yet. Oh look the feet are moving. Follow the feet I find myself staring at coffee. Do I need coffee? I cant remember. Maybe I just enjoy looking at coffee. The hand reaches out to grab a lovely blue

packet. I start to read the blurb on the back. A sweet blend of Latin American coffees with a smooth, full bodied flavour that can be enjoyed from dawn to dusk. Wonderful! The eyes dart over to another brand. Ive lost interest in this sweet blend of Latin American coffees with a smooth, full bodied flavour and have become fascinated with the coffee with the funny-looking purple parrot on the front. Moments later Im in the shampoo aisle. How did I get here? I must have lost interest in the coffee and remembered that I needed shampoo. Oh, look at all those different colours! Greens, pinks, reds, oranges. They all want my attention. They are all calling to me in their own unique way. This isnt shopping, this is a mating ritual. I read the blurb on the back of each bottle. I love doing this. Each bottle is a different world, a different universe. Great Hair, No Fuss! Put Shine and Dazzle Back Into Dry Hair! In the blink of an eye, five, ten, twenty minutes have gone by. It was six oclock and now its twenty minutes past six and I find that Im still comparing shampoos. In the past, by now I would have been thinking Jeff, you weirdo, get a life!. There would have been a voice there, a narrator, constantly evaluating and judging Jeff and comparing him to others. These days, there is no interest in conforming. Who says you cant fall in love with shampoo bottles? In a flash, I notice that Im in the vegetable aisle, and that there is a shampoo bottle in my basket. That must be the one I chose. Haha, yes, the illusion of choice! I start surveying the vegetables. Carrots, onions, leeks. The hand moves to pick out some potatoes. This one is nice. This one is ooh, its got some funny white bits coming out of it, Ill give it a miss. I am nothing. The potatoes are everything. I disappear into the potatoes. I am the potatoes picking themselves. I am Mr Potato Head. A young man starts talking to me in the milk and dairy aisle. He asks are you from round here?. For a moment the knowledge is not there. Then suddenly the knowledge comes: Jeff lived in Brighton for two years! But its too late, hes already talking. Do you know any cheap bed and breakfasts round here? I reply well theres plenty on the seafront, and I think theres a very cheap one in the town centre. I dont know where the words come from. He mutters something under his breath and then begins to rant and rave about how much he hates Brighton, even though hes only been here for two days. His face becomes red and he starts to pant like a dog. He lets me know what an awful place Brighton is, how unfriendly the people are, how its full of gays and prostitutes and spiritual weirdos. I dont agree and I dont disagree, I just listen and watch. Hes just telling his story. If I was attached to Brighton I can imagine how his story might offend me. But Im not, and it doesnt.

He finishes his rant, I offer him some useful information about hostels in Brighton, then the body turns, and the legs begin to move. Where are they going? Bread! The angry man is wiped out and now Im in the bread aisle, and the smell of freshly baked bread is so heavenly, and its totally free. Taste, touch, smell, they dont cost a penny. A couple next to me are arguing. The man wants a large pack of bagels, the woman says they need to save money and buy the smaller one. A thought pops up: if this man and woman could just falll in love with the bagels, there wouldnt be a problem. If they could just fall in love with the coffee, the shampoo, the potatoes, the brightly coloured signs and fluorescent lighting, with the people who hate Brighton and the people who love it, with the smell of freshly baked bread, the screaming of babies and the weight of shopping baskets, with the shape and texture and colour of everything, then there wouldnt be a problem ever again. If these people could just die, right here and right now, then like newborn babies they would see all of this for the first time, and it would amaze them. For we are surrounded by wonder, always. I leave the store and walk home. The entire experience the coffee, the shampoo, the angry man is reduced to a memory, and the memory becomes a single thought, and the single thought dissolves into the vastness. Did it ever happen? I dont know. This is like a constant death. Death of everything thats gone before. Death of the old. In every moment you wave goodbye to the coffee, the shampoo, the angry man, the potatoes, and you meet life face to face for the first time. You cling to none of it, and in return you are given everything. Thats the deal. cio

Review by Scott Kiloby for THE DIRECT PATH by Dr. Greg Goode
This book is astoundingly comprehensive in its reach, a deep and endless resource on nondual awareness. Ive read nothing like it in my life, and I have a huge bookcase of books about nonduality ranging from teachings from the great masters of the past to the newest, modern approaches on the subject. Much has been written about awareness, yet often the practical and very subtle points are conspicuously missing from other texts. Although it is written from the perspective of a particular path (Direct Path Advaita)

Greg Goodes book is so comprehensive that, after reading it, my mind could not even think of something that was missing. It covers the various dualities we believe we experience such as inside/outside, subjectivity/objectivity, life/death, existence/nonexistence and enlightened/unenlightened, to name a few. It also covers the world, the body, the mind, the witness, physical objects, senses, emotions, thoughts, states, positionality, location, identity, containment, choice and doership, time, cause and effect, language, and many other things. Its so thorough that it is helpful to any awarenessstyled path. It covers every nook and cranny, every trap, and every angle that Ive encountered (and many more that I have not encountered) while meeting with people over the years in the course of my own work in nonduality. While reading it, I kept feeling a strong sense that this book needed to be written, that it arose because of a real need to address very common, but often overlooked, nuances that pop up when people are exploring the nature of this sweet, experiential knowing of nonseparation. If you have a question, chances are this book addresses it. Reading this book as a seeker must be like being a kid in a candy store that contains every taste, texture, color, shape and smell imaginable. The sections on the opaque witness, levels of awareness as a pedagogical tool, space and containment, freedom from truth-effects, dissolution into pure consciousness, and attributing human characteristics to awareness are especially fresh and innovative! Those sections systematically and thoroughly break down many stubborn dogmatic and essentialistic traps that a seeker can get hooked into while investigating the subject of nondual awareness. The book is not really about Greg Goode, the person. But let me give you some insight, if youve never met him. Ive been fortunate to call Greg a friend and my teacher for years now. I know firsthand that he has a deep love of this subject. When he talks about falling in love with awareness, its genuine! Being in contact with him on a daily basis has been an enriching experience, to say the least. When working with Greg, I never felt as though he was treating me like a disciple or somehow below him. He doesnt guru people. His approach is non-dogmatic in every way, from the words he uses to the way in which he meets the questioner where he is and honors the question completely. His humility comes from the way he energetically experiences life with a kind of curiosity and openness to look at experience from many angles without landing on solid, fixed positions no matter what angle is examined. Greg is continuously refining the suble points of his approach, accomplishing this refinement by listening to the questions and exploring different angles rather than giving rehearsed speeches and memorized conclusions. The pages of the book reveal this same energetic lightness, humility and love of exploration. The book is the written version of Gregs energy as a teacher. It is helpful, but never preachy, thorough but not superfluous, scholarly but sweet, simple, and experiential in every way. The Direct Path: A User Guide is a wonderful resource for those who approach the subject from a scholarly standpoint or from an interest in the direct experience of nondual awareness (or both). In nondual circles, one often hears phrases such as nondual realization is beyond the mind. Although that insight can arise and it may appear accurate from the direct realization of awareness, the mind can be a useful tool in the path. Most people Ive met have many, many questions that are philosophical and

intellectual in nature. These are important questions that sometimes get overlooked in the teachings, leaving a sort of confusion, doubt, or hole in the path itself. This book leaves no stone unturned, addressing the minds questions, the hearts longing, and the direct experience itself. It often addresses an intellectual puzzle or problem and then seamlessly invites you into an experiment that shows you directly how experience itself answers the question. In that way, you are not left with yet another mental question. Yet if you find another question, there is likely another experiment waiting for you. The book accomplishes something very unique. While addressing the many questions the mind throws up, it also takes you beyond these intellectual issues into the pure sweetness of not-knowing and the direct seeing of reality as your very Self. What is the final conclusion of the book? that nothing stands apart from awareness. All is awareness! Yet the last sections of the book on freedom from the path, language, and joyful irony take you deeper than that. These are powerful invitations to go beyond even the most compelling insights that arise from nondual realization, leaving one to enjoy life in an openhearted way, and experience each moment with a natural openness that does not endeavor to turn the various insights into truth claims that close the mind to other perspectives. I envision myself pointing people to this book quite often because of its depth and breadth. Quite literally, it has to be read to be fully appreciated. Its nice knowing that this book is out there for people! Scott Kiloby
Inquiry-induced Epiphanies Dear James, Are you familiar with Atmananda Krishna Menon? I have been listening to Greg Goodes interview with Chris Hebard. It is a very detailed analysis that caused an experience of being in a direct state of immediate knowledgeor some Samadhi. Since it faded it only takes a little attention for me to feel this again. But I cannot say it is a feeling either because it is a transparent feelingthe feeling is a byproduct. It reminds me of this peace and clarity and expansion I used to experience like a dramatic crystal ball which is too subtle to describe. Metaphors of like a "screen " and "crystal see through glass-like" awareness come to mind. It was a frequent and sudden shift a few years back but now it has faded into a vanishing veil that is merged with Maya. It only takes a very easy attention and stillness to be in thatas thatbut not as I would think afterward. Afterwards the mind would try to understand what had happened. That is what creates some confusion because I am caught trying to describe it. Yet descriptions such as " the observer and the observed become one" are accurate for this experience. I have actually came across an even more accurate sentence on Greg Goodes site somewhere which struck me as exactly what this is One may examine the self to see that it is the world (inside out). This consists of making the separate I, (which seems small and separate), larger and larger until it incorporates everything. In this way, one begins with the subject and shows that its really the object. After this point, the distinction between subject and object drops away."

Also With Krishna Mennon, is it a different way of approaching Atma Vichar? It seems to remind me of how after Neti Neti you do Iti Iti and then you have done a thorough investigation. What do you say ? Ram: Greg is a very good teacher of Atma Menons so-called direct path. It is for advanced seekers, sanyassis. It is a very effective teaching. It usually produces self realization, in the sense that you get a direct experiential confirmation of the non-duality of things. I use it all the time. It simply destroys the distinction between the subject and the object. It is atma vichar. Any investigation that removes the idea of duality is atma vichar. When I say it is for sanyassis I mean that the point of the teaching is to give you self knowledge. Karma yogis will not get it because their minds are not subtle enough. In other words, you should come away from the realization with firm knowledge of your identity as every free awareness and the hard and fast understanding that the world is not separate from you. I think what you are indicating when you say But I cannot say it is a feeling either because it is transparent in the feeling , the feeling is a byproduct is knowledge. However, if the mind is trying to explain it later, it means that the knowledge I am awareness has not stuck. These experiential self realizations induced by inquiry are good, but they can be a problem too if the one to whom they occur is not clear about the distinction between knowledge and experience. If you have the wrong notion about moksa you may feel that you should be experiencing the merger of subject and object in this direct way all the time and that such an experience constitutes moksa, enlightenmentif it becomes permanent. But this is not true. You are already and always merged into the self whether you know it or not, whether you have had an induced epiphany of this sort or a happenstance one. So what is meant to happenwhat we mean by knowledgeis that you have to see who you are quite apart from any experience and be content with self knowledge alone. To an experienceoriented person this does not make sense because he or she wants enlightenment to change his or her experience of the apparent reality. But this is not possible or necessarily desirable. What you experience is not up to you. Isvara, the total, programs your experience according to your karma. If you want to change your experience, you can take up yoga which allows you to alter the quantity and quality of your vasanas. How you interpret what you experience is actually your experience. And how you interpret your experience depends on what you know. If you do not know that you are the self, your experience is very different from when you do. So in that sense knowledge is experiential. But there is not some kind of special experiential knowledge as opposed to intellectual knowledge that constitutes moksa. All knowledge is intellectual in so far as it takes place in the intellect. There is no other place for it to take place because the intellect is consciousness instrument of knowledge. Ram *


By Sailor Bob Adamson AS YOU ALL KNOW, we talk about non-duality here. The only reality you are absolutely certain of is the fact of your own being. First off, we would suggest that you just relax. Dont try and grasp what is being said necessarily with the mind. Because, as you seeor as you will seethe mind is the problem. Just relax and be receptive, because the words that are coming out here presently are coming from that intelligence-energy.

IF THE MIND IS NOT ACTING as the cloud (as an obstruction), what will be receiving these words is that same intelligence-energy. Then what is apperceived or grasped or understood will come up through the mind at the appropriate time, which will be presently, at the appropriate time, which will be presently, at the appropriate place, which will be here and now. Then the appropriate activity will take place from that. So, that is what we suggest happens here. NO ONE--RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW--can negate their own being-ness. Each one of us knows that I am. That I am is not much to grasp on to, if it just purely and simply I am. So it adds to itself all the events, experiences and conditioning and forms an image, an idea. This idea or image is believed to be what I really am. All our problems arise from that. THAT IS SO because the very idea of me separates me from other than me or non-me. Separation is isolation; it is loneliness; it is fear; it is insecurity; it is vulnerability. This is what we continually do. We separate, and we continually search for wholeness or security or happiness. It is not our fault, it is not our parents fault. It is the way we have been conditioned, the way they were conditioned.

IF I BELIEVE THAT I AM SEPARATE, an individual, a separate entity and person, then I am insecure. So at the first level, the family level, I try and have a warm and loving family around me to make me feel secure. Then, there is the tribal level. And if I can be in with the tribe, then I will be more secure. There, there is the nation. And nations go to war with nations over that same self-centeredness or insecuritydivisions and separations.

AND YET ALL THE GREAT SCRIPTURE, all the great religions, all the great traditions will tell you that God (if you like to use that term) is one-without-a-second. It is non-dual. It is just this present awareness, just this and nothing else. Some of the Christian scriptures will tell you I am the Lord they God; there is none other. Another term they use is that God is omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence. It is all-presence and all-knowing and all-power. And they mean exactly that: nondual, one-without-a-second, presence-awareness. NOW WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE ROOM for a you or a me or anything else? If there a you and a me in this all-power, all-presence and all-knowing, that means that it is not all-knowing, it is not allpresence and it not all-power. So, from that point of view, all of this manifestation can be nothing other than That. And that is one of the great sayings from the Hindu tradition: Thou Art That. Because there is nothing other than That. I am That is another great saying.

IS THERE ANYONE HERE RIGHT NOW that is not that presence? You are present, right here and right now. Is it your presence? Is it my presence? Is it each one of us as individual presence? Or is it allpresence? Is there anyone here that is not knowing that right now? Is it your knowing? Is it my knowing? Or is it somebody elses knowing? Or is it omniscience, all-knowing? Knowing implies an activity, and all activity is energy. You hear the cars going by; you hear the other sounds in the room; you can see the movement is the room. All sound, all movement, is it yours? Is it mine? Or is it somebody elses activity or energy or power? Or is it omnipotence, all-power?

JUST HAVE A LOOK AT THIS and see it clearly. Then ask yourself Who am I? What is I or me that thinks itself to be separate? Where does it start? Where does it finish? What is it? You see the search as I said previously, is always going on out there. Out there is where we have been conditioned to look, gathering something that will make me secure, that will make me whole, that will make me happy.

IF IT IS NOT IN THE FAMILY, the tribe or the nation, then it is in a better job, more money, better relationships, a good house, all sort of things out there. The belief is that the more I accumulate, the more secure I will will be. Or, if I go on some spiritual search, I will become realized or enlightened or whole and completeall anticipated to happen in some future time. I CAN GO THROUGH ALL MY LIFE doing that. If it doesnt look like it is happening in this lifetime, then what do I do? If I am a Christian, I conceptualise a God somewhere who has a heaven somewhere in my future. If I am not doing too well here and I say my prayers and do a few good deeds, I will finish up there at some future time. All this is conceptualisation! An idea of some future time, of some future place and some future deity or being that will make it right for me. Of it I belong to an Eastern religion, I will reincarnateat some future time! I will have another life! Never realising that there is only now! Never looking to see what it is that is going to have this other life, to see what it is that has got this life or seemingly thinks it has got this life.

IT IS QUITE SIMPLE. If you look, you will see it quite clearly and easily. What does this body consist of? The essence of food. Where does the food come from? It comes from the earth, and the earth from the fire. Fire, water, air and spaceit is nothing but the elements. Where do the elements come from? Well, in that vibration, that movement, these things appear. And so they are nothing but thought! Thought is subtle sound. Word is sound. What is sound? Vibration. What is vibration? Energy! Omnipotence again, appearing as different.

SO, I HAVE NEVER EVER MOVED away from it. I have never ever separated from it. So it is foolish for me to try and seek wholeness, completeness or whatever at some future time. If I look at the mind again and ask myself What past is there, unless I think about it? What future is there, unless I think about it?in looking at that, I can see clearly that there is no past and there is no future unless it is though. I CAN BRING YESTERDAY'S EVENTSfrom my memoryinto my mind right now. But they are not the actual. For instance, I met so and so yesterday, spoke to him and shook his hand, etc. Well is the same today? I may have forgotten some small details and added some that werent there. So, I have made up this present concept or idea of what went on. Or, I anticipate or imagine the future. I imagine something in the future, which I can get fearful about or ecstatic about. But look closely. When is all this taking place? Isnt it taking place presently? Can there be any other time that it takes place in? You can say, Oh yes! It took place yesterday. But when are you saying that? Isnt it presently? Or you can say tomorrow is going to be a different day. When are you saying and thinking

that? Isnt it presently? Now it is all happening in that presence. Is it any different from that presence, that omnipresence, all-presence?

YOU CAN SAY ALL IS GOD. Wrong! God is all! All is only an illusion. All is not. All is only a word. A word is not the real. It has never been the real. Water, water, wateryou cant drink the word water. These wordsthese words!are nothing in the same way. But isnt there omnipotence, that vibration, that movement of energy? Is it going on here? There? Or anywhere in particular? You can feel it. The hearing of the wordright nowis a vibration. That which is hearing it is vibrating and pulsating. There heart is beating, the lungs are expanding and contracting. Feel the energy moving around in that body. Is anyone not knowing that they are? The omnipotence is functioning. When is it all happening? Presently. And omnipresence is functioning.

SEEING THIS, UNDERSTANDING THIS, I can see how I have been caught. I can see how I have put a seeming limitation upon myself. I put a cage that does not exist around myself. Have you seen a bird in a cage that has been there for many, many years? You can open the door of that cage and the bird is not going to fly out straight away. You can leave the door open for days but the bird will not take step to fly out of it. WE POINT OUT HERE and continually point out at the cage. But we say that even the cage is a phantom, it is a false idea. It does not exist. How many of us step into our freedom by hearing that? It can be done, right here, right now. The understanding is that you have never been bound, even though it may seem that you have been. WHAT IS THE LIMITATION that I place upon myself? First and foremost, it is this idea of being a separate entity, a me. How does that come about? Purely and simply, if I look at the mind and see how it functions, then I see that, being a movement of energy, it is only a vibration. Being a vibration, it can only function in the pairs of opposites. If it is not happy, it is sad, or pleasant/painful, loving/hating, good/bad, positive/negative and so on. It is still functioning in the pairs of opposites. And what is it using? Words! Purely and simply words.

OFTEN TIMES, WHEN THINGS HAPPEN, we say It doesnt matter. And when you mean it and it doesnt matter, nothing comes of it. But if you take some thought or idea aboard and it does matter, that is exactly what it does. It matters and becomes concrete. We beat ourselves over the head with a word. We punish ourselves for the word. CALL SOMETHING ANXIETY. Show me some anxiety. Show me some fear. That word becomes very real when it is allowed to dance around and vibrate in the mind. What is it referred to? It is referred to a reference point, the me which has felt this feeling before. And it has named it fear. And so, as soon as thought or whatever it is, is seen, immediately comes up the old response from the past, which it is referred to, the reference point or the centre. The centre does not like it. It doesnt want to be here. It wants to escape. So, it immediately resists it and gets in conflict by trying to force it out, change it or do something with it.

SO, THIS WORD HAS NO POWER of its own (because it has got no substance, it cant stand by itself), has now caused the blood pressure to rise, the goose pimples to rise on the skin, the hair to stand on end or whatever. So, you see what fear (or any other word) can do. But if I am not taking that word on board, if I am seeing it for what it is, have understood that the word can never be the real, it is just let go of! It appears presently. It is witnessed presently. The response is witnessed. Nothing further. Full stop! Nothing further happens with it. The response is not entered into. Not trying to change it, not resisting it, just seeing it for what it is: it is a word. So what happens? You see, that energy hasnt taken off, it hasnt started. ONCE THE ENERGY HAS STARTED and builds up, then what is it going to do? The action must follow. EVER WONDER HOW A CYCLONE STARTS? It is only energy blowing the air around. It builds up and builds up, and look at the damage it can do. You have seen the storm clouds in the sky with the lightning and thunder. It builds up and up andbang!down comes the rain. It is all released. Nature does not carry it around like we do. We get a thought or an idea and the continuity of thought becomes feeling and emotion. It is gone over and over and built on and built on continually. Look at the damage it does to the physical body. Look how seemingly real that cage becomes. Poor me, I have got no self-esteem or I have low self-esteem. And it begins to show in the physical form. I walk around with my head down and my shoulders hunched. You look at somebody and wonder what they are thinking of me or what they are going to or not do. This or that is going to happen or How am I going to survive in the world?

WHAT HAS DONE ALL THIS? Purely and simply, all it is, is a word. A simple vibration, a vibration that has become a cyclone, a tornado within us. It rips us apart. But when has it all happened? Has there ever been any other time or any other place than here, right now, presently. Has it ever moved away from that all-presence, that omni-presence? SO THE WORDas I said beforeor the body or the mind or any of this matter is nothing. Presence is that which appears as matter. I cant move away from that presence. There is nobody to move away. Any movement, any vibration, anything that is happening, it is that omnipotence appearing as something other, appearing as the matter, the shape, the form or as the name we put on it.

KNOWING THAT IS THE OMNISCIENCE. There is only this omniscience. What it appears as is nothing other than That appearing as different.

RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, nobody yet has negated their being-ness of that sense of presence. Is there anything wrong with that, unless you think about it? When I do thinking something about it, what is thinking? Can the thought think itself? Or does thinking appear on that presence, on that awareness? Is it anything other than presence, seemingly appear as different?

IS THERE ANY NEED FOR ANY CONFLICT? Is there any need for any dissipation of energy? When you look at the mind and see that the reference point doesnt like this, or wants more of this or whatever, the this I dont like is just an idea or a bunch of words I have. And what it likes or doesnt like is another set of words. It has a name for it. If it doesnt like it, it is trying to escape from it. If it does like it, then it wants more of it. So there again there is a struggle to acquire more. That energy is seemingly fighting with itself, just through the wrong understanding. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is look at nature again, and you will see the opposites at work in nature. They are there: day and night, tides coming in and tides going out, seasons coming and going. You will notice one thing in nature, and that is that the opposites are not in opposition to each other. The incoming tide is not fighting with the outgoing tide. Winter is not fighting with summer. Look at your own body. The incoming breath is not struggling with the outgoing breath. Your heart is not in conflict with the expansion. It doesnt get halfway in expansion and suddenly say I am going to contract. It is only in the mind that this conflict goes on! The only reason that it goes on in the mind is the idea that separate entity, the me. When that is seenthat there is no separate entitythen who is there to get in conflict with anything? Things will come, things will go. That awareness, the alertness, the appropriate activity, takes place spontaneously and intuitively. It is still going to happen in the pairs of opposites. It might not be good at this moment. It might be bad or something other. If the conflict is not there it will resolve itself quickly and effortlessly. It may not be the way that me and memory wants it to be. But I only have to look over my life and see many thingsmost of themnot the way that this me of memory every wanted them! Not the way that this me thought they would work out or wanted them to work out. Most of my life it has been like that. Most of the struggle was because this me wanted to change it. ALL OF THE CONFLICT WAS CAUSED BY 'ME', and looking back over my life now I see how through all the dramas and traumas how beautifully it all fitted in. I see how it has all fallen into place for this so-called entity at this particular spot in the particular time, without that so-called chatter in the mind today. It doesnt mean to say that the chatter doesnt go on. But the chatter has no fire any more. There may be lots of silence hereand there was a time when I looked for silence and peacebut that was just another experience also. It does not matter. It is not allowed to matter. THIS IS SO because there is that understanding and knowing that that which all of this has appeared onthat omniscience that it ishas never been touched by any of that. Nothing has ever come near it. If we must put words to it, it is that still, silent, blessing being-ness, if you like to call it that. All words, which are not the real! BUT REMEMBER WHAT WE SAID AT THE START. Never mind the words. Just hear and feel the resonance in the word, the vibration, the energy. Is it any different from the hearing? Sense and be aware of the vibration where the hearing is taking place. That knowingness, that awareness of that, is still presently. Has it ever changed?

Benjamin Smythe says: Whats the point in hating someone just to defend an identity thats doomed? Its a waste of time. Were all just trying to enjoy this life, and

were all going to die eventually, and were just doing our best to stay aliveand were going to fail. So in the compassion of the absurdity of our situationall the energy it takes to hate somebody isnt worth it, cos whats the point? It doesnt really make sense. Youre doing the best you can do to survive. Its relaxing to stop hating. Youre just here. When we take it so personally, asserting our own importance makes life harder for us. Finding everything to be wrongbut this is just the way it is. * Like two people fighting for the last deckchair...on a sinking ship. Were all fucked anyway! When everything around us is dying, decaying, changing, transmuting and we're accepting that and seeing that - we can't help but love, deeply so. Love so much - that hate becomes impossible. Accept - feel the wonder of everything. There's so much uniqueness in everything.