The next several posts are primarily in response to the issues and questions raised by Glen in his recent comments 9/28-10/4. You may want to review them, so the following will have context. You also may already be aware that these are hard-to-resolve questions and issues that seem to come up repeatedly for “many,” which is why they’re being addressed at length here.
The following posts really are not addressed to “Glen” personally, but to the issues raised. The posts also reach beyond the immediate questions, because Reality Check is a public forum, with a potentially wide range of international viewers. This provides an opportunity to address and clarify many other points that often are asked elsewhere—in talks, emails, phone calls, etc.
There really is only One Self present, so while there may sometimes seem to be disagreement on the level of words and thoughts, we discuss these points in a spirit of Oneness.
One question is, “Is what is in CIA different from Advaita or nonduality?” The short answer is, in some ways yes, in some ways, no. But the question touches on a far greater point, one that seems to be a source of lingering confusion and disagreement. Basically, it’s the same issue, expressed different ways: “Does Reality co-exist with an illusion? Is there really only the Absolute—or is there also a relative realm, though it may not be real?” This would be the same as saying, “Is there only the Infinite—or are there both the Infinite and the finite? Is there only the Formless—or are there both the Formless and form? Is there only the Timeless, the Changeless—or are there also time and change, even though illusory?”
Much of nonduality teaches that Awareness includes the appearance of a manifest world and change. CIA is saying that things may appear that way, but that actually, in Reality, there is no manifestation, no appearing at all. Hopefully, these posts will make clear that this “stance” is not dualistic, and does not mean that Awareness, the Infinite, is negating or “anti” what seems to be an appearance.
Reality check: The Infinite Self that is being here, now, is having no such discussion as this. The Infinity of Pure Being is not troubled by questions—for in Infinite Being’s NOW, questions don’t arise. When one is “pre” or “outside of” thought (and in Infinity, Real You, there is no thought) then never are there two possible viewpoints, thus no possibility of opposing ideas or disagreement. Now, the Present, need not think or analyze before It is all that is present, now.
Pure Awareness could be called Clarity Itself, so as long as one still seems to use words and thoughts, it seems consistent with one’s very essence to be clear in their use. It must be emphasized that Awareness’ Clarity is not something one thinks or conceptualizes—it is Pure Awareness only.
CIA is a book on Infinite Reality, the Absolute, and again, it essentially states that there is only the Infinite, and that the Infinite does not co-exist with anything finite. Therefore Infinity does really not co-exist with any manifestation or appearances, because all manifestation and appearances would be finite (they have an observable form). The book does not deny that it appears as if there were two, Infinity and finity, Reality and illusion, but that actually there is only pure, endless total Infinity.
It may be of interest that there are some nondual or Advaitin texts which share this “stance” of CIA. One is the Mandukya Upanisad With Karika, which discusses Guadapada’s “doctrine of non-creation.” The other (mentioned earlier) is the Atma Darshan/Nivriti. Both are available from internet sources.
Virtually all seeming disagreement on this point is due to semantics. It would be due to the many different meanings attached to words–words like Awareness, Infinite, appearance, thought, object, etc.—and with books and blogs we certainly appear to be working in the realm of words. Meaning is far too big a topic to go into here, but a few quick points: In CIA, the word Awareness is referring to Awareness only, and Awareness is infinite. In fact Awareness is Infinity Itself, and It is the only Infinity there is. (see CIA chaps 4, 5).
Admittedly, the word Awareness (or Consciousness) can be problematic, and I’ve sometimes thought the book would’ve been better off titled, Infinity Is All, or Spirit Is All. Here’s why. When reading or using the word Awareness, watch very closely what goes on “within you.” Often, there is instantly a tendency to think—to think in terms of what one also seems or appears to be aware of—things, thoughts, etc.—mental forms or appearances. Yet none of this really is Awareness Itself. Appearances are called appearances because that’s exactly what they are—they’re not Awareness Itself. That’s why there are two different words, Awareness and appearance. They’re not the same, yet we all too often are hazy about what we mean, and we lump them together.
If one will “notice” or see what their “direct experience” (as Glen brought up,) is of pure Awareness Itself you cannot come up with any appearance, any form, anything finite. Go ahead, see right now. Does Pure Awareness Itself have a form—one that can be seen either optically, or even seen in thought? No. If you try to say It does, instantly you’re talking about something you appear to be aware of, which would be a concept, a thought—not Awareness.
Does Awareness Itself weigh anything? Does It feel like anything? How wide or tall is Awareness? Can Pure Awareness be timed on a clock? Is Awareness the same as a thought of Awareness? No—Awareness Itself is thought-less. You get the point. Awareness is Infinity Itself. Even in “direct experience” one cannot come up with a shred of evidence that Awareness Itself is finite. If It were, instantly it would have to be what one appears to be aware of.
The same thing happens with the word Infinity. Due to mis-education (because all education would be finite) there is a tendency to assume that Infinity is an endless finity. It’s NOT! In-finity literally means no-finity. That means no finity whatsoever. Now see what the “direct experience” of Infinity is. There’s no thought, no mental form—for all thoughts would be finite forms. It’s the same as Emptiness, or Pure Awareness, because these and Infinity are the same One. And Who, really, is right now having or being this “direct experience” of Infinity, Pure Awareness? It has to be the Infinite, Pure Awareness Itself, right here, now, for certainly no person, no body can be This!
Here, as pure Infinity only, thoughts, appearances, finity, never happen. (And this is what pure Awareness Itself, the Only One being aware here, now is “directly experiencing”). If thought or appearances seem to arise or occur, you’re no longer talking about, or being, Infinity, Awareness, because you’re now dealing with what it appears one is aware of. You’ve wandered off into thought, concept, which is not Awareness. One cannot “start” Here as Pure Awareness and “stay” Here and honestly say finity or appearances are the “direct experience” of Awareness. Only Infinity, appearance-less-ness, is Awareness’ “direct experience” of Awareness.
To avoid semantic difficulties, every time Awareness is used, substitute Infinity—and the point will be a lot clearer. (And Awareness Itself really is Infinity).