Monday, May 25, 2009

Obvious but overlooked

Searching for Enlightenment is like looking for your own eyes.

Look around for them. Can you see them? No. Where did they go? They must be gone. So look on the table. Look on the floor, maybe they fell out. Look in your pocket, maybe you put them there for later.

What the Hell happened to them? What happened to my eyes? What do I need to do to find them? Maybe I'll just focus real hard and they will appear. Maybe if I squint and use a lot of effort I'll see them. Maybe if I put on colored glasses I can find them. Maybe I'll just wait for them to appear. Maybe I'll ask about the nature of eyes - the truth of seeing - the reality of looking. Maybe I need a different experience for them to show up.

Maybe I'll ask a guru who has found his own eyes - who has spiritual eyes - who understands the cosmic mystery of eyes.

Maybe they don't exist? Maybe they only exist in a different "plane of existence"? Maybe they require robes and beards? Maybe I need to read a lot of books to find them?

I am looking everywhere for my eyes! I just can't find them. I've looked at everything I know, looked everywhere.

But wait a minute - how can I even look for them if they aren't already there? How can I even know the activity of searching for them, if they aren't already there?

It was always the assumption that they were missing in the first place, which caused the search for them.

I cannot find them but they are obviously there. Seeing is happening. It's not necessary to find them because they were never missing, even though I got all wrapped up in the assumption and search for them.

I assumed that they were not there, then tried everything I knew to find them, when all the while they were the condition necessary for the search to happen.

Can your true Self be absent? Isn't it the very condition necessary for the search to happen? Isn't the search always a denial of your Self in seeking your Self?

Therefore THAT which you are is never absent and always fully known - it's only overlooked in seeking for it.

If we ask "what IS 'I'?" - what IS it? Is it this false image, this construction of thought, this temporary body-mind? Is "I" this changing mess of vague feelings, this fleeting set of concepts about what you are?

No. "I" isn't any of these "things". In fact "I" isn't a thing at all. Right now, in present experience, all these "things" appear but WHAT-YOU-ARE is the space or opening or condition or presence or Self, IN WHICH or BY WHICH or ON WHICH they appear.

Right now, in present experience, the Self is known as the subjective quality that isn't a "subject" - because a "subject" is a thing as opposed to "objects". That subjective quality isn't a "thing" - it's a "NO-THING" - it's a void, an absence of "thingness" which allows all "things" to appear.

Your true Self isn't waiting to come due to spiritual experiences or proper understanding of "advaita". Your true Self isn't yet to be realized. Your true Self, like the eyes, is already the case, already fully known and obvious, only overlooked because there is an assumption that "what-you-are" is that body-mind wandering in a big and apathetic world.

This "NO-THING" is SO OBVIOUS simply because it's SO always a part of every experience. It's ALWAYS there - like a light that's left on therefore not really noticed. Like a loud sound that has been gotten so used to that it's no longer even noticed - until the sound stops. Then that absence is deafening.

This presence of subjective knowing, this principle or condition or "stateless state" isn't difficult to find, isn't in need of finding. Every single experience happens within it. It's already fully present and obvious.

It's not spiritual or mystical - these concepts drive the search down useless paths, yet if there is a combination of earnest openness, a willingness to lay aside all concepts and just look, and a clear pointing out of what all this Advaita business is all about - then what you are is known very clearly and obviously as everything that could possibly arise and the absence of everything. THAT which beyond both coming and going.

If you can't quite put your finger on it, then ask "IN WHAT is this present experience happening?" There is the answer.


Elian said...

After having few small realizations I was ecstatic but now I find myself confused more than ever.
At first it was a relive to find out that I was not the body-mind but awareness in which all appears ,now I don't know how to live-what to do,nothing makes any sense.I lost the old point of reference and new realization have not 'set' yet. When I reject the old way of thinking ,desiring,functioning I find myself 'stuck'.Nothing is important any more,
I have lost the desire to do anything! It seems like this awareness that I am is totally not 'concern' about anything.
It seems that I need some kind of pointer or point of reference different than this 'me' to just function in the world.
When you know that this person that you took your self to be is just an appearance in what you are-who then makes any decisions as what to do?
I know that life is living it self but it sure does not feel like -it still feels like somebody has to make decisions and take steps.Do you have any pointers or directions?
Thanks, Elian

Randall Friend said...


Hello my friend. Good to hear from you.

Who has had a few small realizations? Until this basic false notion of ME is cleared up, then every single bit of the spiritual search is about ME - what I will attain, what I have had, that I am confused. It is about a ME who has lost desire,a ME that isn't concerned, a ME who feels like somebody has to make decisions.

Aren't all these things you've described simply appearances? Isn't the ME-ship or doer-ship added on in concept? Who cares anything about all this?

You are simply the pure and uninvolved, indescribable yet undeniable presence in which these appear and pass. You are completely and totally free and perfect - unbound to any of these passing appearances.

Simply recognize your nature as this knowing presence - the ME to whom all this applies is only a false belief.

Right here and now - this light of knowing, this space of openness is fully present - it is THAT IN WHICH these so-called worrisome experiences come and go. That space isn't affected at all. Is it?


Elian said...

Yes,I see what you are saying-it is all about 'me'.It did not feel that way when I was writing it.
I did this 'me' investigation-neti,neti, and I thought that I understood that this me is just a thought appearing-not a real entity.So I am still in a 'me' mood,nothing have really change,just some intellectual understanding.
Ok ,so now what do I do?
You said; "Simply recognize your nature as this knowing presence - the ME to whom all this applies is only a false belief ". I thought that I did that, I thought that I have recognized this knowing presence.
But now it appears that it was just 'me' pretending to recognize something.
No wonder this 'me' is confused and lost interest in anything.
I don't even know how to ask the question that I have-it seems that it is all coming from this 'me'.
But when I stop thinking and asking questions here I am -aware,registering,experiencing ,yet it seems that 'movie' about 'me' that I am witnessing is like ran -away truck that nobody is controlling.Who is running the movie about 'me'?
Thanks Randall for your response, Elian

Randall Friend said...


Neti-neti means not-this, not-that. Not the body, because it appears TO you. Not thoughts, because they appear TO you. Not feelings, because they appear TO you. Not ideas, because they appear TO you.

But what about "elian"? Where does that appear? It must appear somehow, yes? How? Find out how that "elian" appears?

Is it a feeling? Is it a thought? Is it an idea? Is it an arm? A leg? A brain?

How do you know of "elian"?

And does that knowledge appear to you?

If so, then "elian" can appear as it does - just like the arm or the thought or the emotion - all appearances and NOT what you are.

Once EVERYTHING is negated in this way, what is left? What remains?

Can you negate the presence of knowing? Does it appear to you? It does not appear, yet it's undeniable, yes?

Then THAT is it. Just that knowing, that space in which all these objects of neti-neti appear. THAT which cannot be negated as another object - the pure subjectivity - the ever-present activity of knowing.

It's not an object - yet we're always looking for another object as confirmation, another "state", a special experience.

No object, no state, no experience can EVER arise without that pure presence of knowing awareness.


su said...


Rajib said...

The message is being absorbed. But by who?...

Anonymous said...

'It', lives 'Us.' Once it has arrived or awakened.
Life lives
continuies patterns.

who is looking out through your eyes, right now?
Everything, subject/object is memory thought. How do you remove your memory, you don't. Just let go, dance without imagining a body/mind. Every event is essential to the whole thing.
If your aware of the background from the dreamy movie, it all is the same. No separation. If you've ever painted a picture, the background is painted first, then everything else is inserted.

Let go and be the background of your painting!
When events happen we think it is happening to a some-body. We are all running the show, and sometimes we don't admit that were all doing this. The total environment depends on each and every organism. It's essential to the whole thing. Were not hopeless little creatures, eating everything up. This universe consist on everything, it is essential to each other. You can not have this without that.
The whole thing is polarist. (yin/yang)
Begin looking at the spaces between people. You'll become much more aware of everything! It is a miracle.


Elian said...

I find it confusing what you are saying. At first you say ; 'It', lives 'Us.' Once it has arrived or awakened.
Life lives".
And then you go; "When events happen we think it is happening to a some-body. We are all running the show, and sometimes we don't admit that were all doing this.......
Well, which way is it? Is life living through us and we have no control or are we all running the show?
You say to be the background (awareness that is aware )-but can the background be running the show?
It may be clear for Randall what you are saying but it is confusing for 'me'.
Understanding the 'no-doer' idea is very challenging-yes , for 'me'.
Thanks, Elian

Randall Friend said...


Yes - excellent question.


Randall Friend said...


Thank you for your comment.


Randall Friend said...


Start from the fact of knowing. Recognize that this functioning is going on yet it's not a "thing", not another object like the body and mind. Start from the self-evidence of this immediate sense of knowing presence.

Then see that any movement, any object, any emotion, any thought, any idea, any size, shape or color - is appearing TO or ON that registering or functioning, that knowing presence.

Then the idea of "Elian" comes - it must come as some form of knowledge - an idea, a feeling, a thought, a belief - something...

How exactly is "Elian" known? This is an essential point of inquiry. How do you know this "elian"?

It must appear somehow. And as it appears, that undeniable knowing presence is THAT which knows the appearance of this "elian".

The instant that this "elian" appears as some form or idea or thought - it is obvious that what-you-are is prior to and unchanged by the appearance of this "elian", in whatever form it takes.


Anonymous said...

We think of ‘awareness’ or the Seeing as something somebody (me) possesses as a property. “I Am Aware”. Kind of like “The ball is round”, round being a property possessed by the ball. But its actually completely the opposite. I am, BECAUSE of Awareness. This is a total reversal of how we have consistently assumed things are!
Awareness Is. In the case of the ball, its like saying “Round Is”. It makes no sense. And it won’t because ‘sense’ is for the mind only.

The Hand cannot grasp the elbow that it moves on – it is impossible. But the presence of the elbow is obvious in the hands ability to move up and down.

Another thing is, Bob says “the answer is not in the mind”. I always interpreted that as, there will come an answer that’s NOT in the mind, like a “true Seeing” or some other fantasy. I hold on to the idea of an 'awakening moment' - regardless of how i try to dress it up in different terms. But really, “answer” is only FOR the mind – nothing outside of mind even has any questions or concerns. ALL the crappola, the highs, lows, seeking, desire, fear, sorrow, ALL of it is mind. So “there is no answer in the mind” really means “there is no answer”. Full stop.


Randall Friend said...


Yes. Very nicely said.


Anonymous said...

Hi Randall! 41 subscriber and growing!
What is non- existence?
What i make real own me so what is the truth does i exist or not?
++Love Dennis++

jacob said...

thanks for your last reply quite a mission to get to the computer without a one of our kids trying to pull me off the thing or theres so much noise and kiddy mahem going on cant concentrate, the me is still playing its game getting cought up in it all ,but come hell or high water this I am -ness is being noticed amoungst the mighty rushes of feelings, thoghts flooding in body-mind identification, love to you ,Jacob

Randall Friend said...


Even non-existence appears in you. Does the wings of a man exist? No. How do you know? Because that it does not exist is KNOWN to you.

Every bit of knowledge can only come to the presence that you are.

But that presence itself isn't known to you. It IS you.


Randall Friend said...


Hello again my friend.

Can this I-AM-ness be noticed? Does it appear to you? If it is noticed it is not what is being pointed to. If it comes among the feelings, thoughts, etc. then it is another object.

What you are isn't any object but the knowing of all objects. That knowing isn't known to arise - it is the ever-present openness in which all objects arise.

We then start talking about this and that arising in perception and sensation, arising TO someone. But all this is STILL some "thing", something known.

Once every bit of this is negated, what is left? Pure knowing. It doesn't appear TO you, it IS you.


VIDA said...

Hello Randall

...Can your true Self be absent? Isn't it the very condition necessary for the search to happen? Isn't the search always a denial of your Self in seeking your Self?...

There is no such thing as absent? what we call absent, is the dream state, the illusion of compulsive time thinking, that ultimately never realy happend.
In other words, the search, is a belief, that perpetuates with it self.



Randall Friend said...


Hello my friend. Good to hear from you.

Yes - "the search, is a belief, that perpetuates with it self."

The search is thought - thought chasing thought - trying to make thought perfect, trying to find understanding, trying to get all the right answers.

The search is a belief that what is being sought after is not present now. It's a sense of lack - a lack which will be filled by enlightenment.

That to which enlightenment points is already your true nature. Seeking it ensures that the point will be missed.


Jodi said...

Hi Randall,

Just wanted to say thank you so much for your book. I am reading it for the second time - your writing seems a bit like the art of sculpture - except that instead of a statue resulting from the chisel of neti neti, there is this open sense of freedom available.

Thank you so much and all the best,

Randall Friend said...


Good to hear from you, my friend.

That open sense of freedom is your true essence - always available yet seemingly obscured by taking this pure "I AM"-ness AS the body-mind.

The pure "I AM"-ness is the open "spacelike" knowing which never required a search - it is the very capacity through which the search is conducted.

Recognize that this vast ocean of knowing is what is really meant when we say "I AM".

love to you