Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Built-In Defect

The key insight into the spiritual search, the built-in defect in the conceptual logic which has created the body-mind I AM and it's opposite - "world", the crack in the foundation, which has the potential to bring the entire conceptual edifice crashing down - is that the WORD IS NOT THE THING.

No word can describe the actuality. No thought can capture reality. No concept can ever pin down what IS.

The conceptual framework's existence depends on the ignoring or overlooking of this most basic fact - a "chair" cannot describe that thing. As Bob says, can the word "water" quench your thirst? Can the word "fire" burn you?

No - it is the experience that we know, not the concept. And that experience is conceptualized INTO something - into something separately existing, something with independent reality.

And the root assumption which this conceptualization depends on is the subject/object equation. "I" am hearing a "bird".

There is no "I" - "hearing" - a "bird" in direct, actual experience. This is a conceptual creation of immediate experience.

Pure experiencing is the actual fact and function of this moment. Prior to any conceptualization, prior to taking the WORD as the THING, pure experiencing is the only reality. The "I"-subject and the "bird"-object are only conceptual.

Pure hearing is the only reality - and that hearing contains both the hearer and the object heard - one reality.

Beyond that, hearing is still conceptualization which requires a "hearer". Take away that label and what is left?

THIS. Just THIS... no way to describe it, and without describing it there is no way to find any separation.

Separation has to be assumed. The subject/object equation has to be applied. Then the world, body and mind can be.

Once this primary FACT is clearly seen, the house of cards cannot stand for long.


Mary said...

SO clear Randall! Thank you.

Much love,

beano said...

Viewpoints in a world of points to view, but don't you hate it when the body has a toothache.

Anonymous said...

I wish for more podcasts here

Randall Friend said...

Hi Mary... love to you.

Randall Friend said...


The toothache appears in the body, but what IS the body? Isn't it a bundle of sensations, conceptualized as "body"? Pause long enough to look in this way. How do you really know of a "body"? Can you know it as "body" without applying a concept?

Once all this is solidified, then the mind can take it's place as the "hater".


Randall Friend said...

Hi Dennis,

Although more podcasts may appear, the answer is not in more information, not in continuing to fill the banks of knowledge - this is Advaita Vedanta - vedanta means "the end of knowledge". Jnana means the path of unlearning, seeing through the worldly knowledge by applying Self-knowledge.

Self-knowledge is simply paying attention to direct experience, not living in concepts. When we simply look at what we know for certain, it's clear that this "world, body and mind" are perceptions and sensations first, before concepts are applied, creating this seemingly separated world of "things".

Self-knowledge is only relying on what we know for certain - appearance comes and goes to awareness - this invisible subjectivity - what we really mean by "I". Can you see this?

This primary subjectivity is what the "I" is - haven't you always known this "I", even as it was applied to the body-mind?

This "I" is pure invisible subjectivity, objectifying even the body and mind. This awareness is unchanging - notice this. Has it ever changed? Has it ever been affected even while the world, body and mind constantly change in appearance?

Self-knowledge is knowing that you ARE - no concepts are needed for this. And there is nowhere else to go - you ARE.


Anonymous said...

mysterious and amazing!

THIS gets partitioned into conceptual and seemingly separate pieces... and one of those pieces is ME! But who is *doing* the partitioning of this wholeness? Is it ME? Can't be because ME arises as a result of the partitioning. Searching for the partitioning agent comes up with nothing and no-one.

All i can say is that the patrtitioning of wholeness into separatefragments mysteriously seems to happen and in that process "the world there" and "Me here" is created. "Me" then wants to find wholness, through actively trying to unify everything.... while completely missing the point that "me's" very presence implies the existence of the conceptual separating framework. If wholeness is to be Seen, the conceptual separation of THIS into things must disappear. When those boundaries around "separate objects" are seen to not exist, the boundary that defines "me" also disappears.

It is magic. The Seeker is the caterpillar that becomes the butterfly. There is nothing of the Caterpillar left in the butterfly. So the caterpillar acheives nothing at all.

Thank you Randall.

Anonymous said...


Josef said...

Thank you so much for your beautiful writings, Randall.

Randall Friend said...


Nicely put.

love to you

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the new podcast!

benjamin said...

Hello S.

Can you really make the deduction the 'me' hasn't made the partition? The woman who has given birth to a child was a woman before his birth. This would mean the 'me' as the whole could be the partitioner.
Now i don't like to say that but there are many ideas which my mind comes up with to defy all prior witnessing of 'wholeness'.
For example, the only thing which is sure is this 'i am' where 'am' is the Absolute Reality and 'i' its expression. Anything else is but assumption, nothing is really self-existent, it all depends on 'i am'. This means you guys don't exist, this means the idea of 'me' in a sense is unique, you cannot even prove to me you exist. Well this very idea is bugging isn't it? Intuitively it feels wrong, why is that? What should i trust? Reason or intuition?
Now if you guys - meaning your particular consciousness - do exist, how is it particular? Doesn't particularity arise IN consciousness? If we all are particular expressions of the one (spaceless-timeless) consciousness, how does it become or appear manifold and particular? How come my sensations are not mixed up with yours? And if the mind is making all of this up: what makes the mind?
One is told to see one is not the body, but when has one not been the body? Are the body and mind not one thing? Can there be knowledge, memory without mind and therefore without body? Even as one accepts the idea there has been no body at some point, there was then no consciousness, therefore no witnessing and it cannot be known. How can one know the unknowable?
Even as i lived a periode of about two years where i knew the obvious truth that i was All - without much spiritual knowledge at the time, it has today completely stopped. Today i sit here wondering what happened, suffering of this beautiful memory, powerless. And the more i try to figure it out, the more the mind is coming up with resistance and the body with needs. And yet i know the answer is right here...