Sunday, August 23, 2009

Looking from I AM

What is the spiritual search about? It's about enlightenment. And what is enlightenment? It's taken to be some perfect state, some blissful experience. It's something new, something different.

Yet when it's read about - the pointers all suggest enlightenment isn't about these things. It's about the absence of the individual, it's pointing to the realization that there is no one there to attain anything like enlightenment.

But this is continually glossed over. This is overlooked, shoved aside... from the perspective of the individual we keep marching toward that concept of enlightenment, and then wonder why there is so much frustration. We wonder why "I'm not there yet." We wonder why "I only have an intellectual understanding." It's still all about the individual, and the individual is itself the illusion.

Why is the individual such a difficult thing to see through? It's not only difficult, it's impossible to see through, because it doesn't exist. Present SEEING isn't being DONE BY an individual, yet that's the template or assumption.

On top of pure SEEING, the idea of "doership" is applied to the seeing.

The spiritual search is really an attempt to fill that hole, to fill the sense of lack, to finally find the wholeness which is seemingly missing. This hole is filled with many things - relationships, drugs, alcohol, food, material things, money... once these no longer satisfy then something bigger is sought after. Now that hole will be filled with spiritual bliss.

Yet continuing to seek from within the same old concepts will be just more of the same. Continuing to fill that hole with more experiences (and enlightenment is seen as the ultimate experience) - will only bring more frustration.

The spiritual search is ultimately about finding out what you are. Right now you take yourself to be a person, a body-mind, separate and apart from the world, seeking wholeness within the world, to have some sort of permanently blissful experience. But this is and will continue to be false, no matter how it's conceptualized.

What you are is NOT the body, not the mind, not the person. These are only concepts. What you are isn't missing. It's not in need of a search. It's pointed out in various ways but it's extremely simple and obvious already. It's already intimately known. Yet it's missed because the focus continues to be about the objective content of experience. It's looked FOR from the perspective OF the individual.

You are THAT which is presently looking - the seeing prior to all these concepts. You are THAT which is ever-present and unchanging, while the body, thoughts and world change. And THAT is always here but it's mixed up with the objective content and identification with body-mind or thoughts or intellect or idea of a "person" or concept of an individual or the name or the job or the role in life.

If you say "I AM" - you know that to be true. How do you know? It's BECAUSE OF that presence that you are. It's because you already know yourself. The identification is mixing up this knowledge of yourself with objects of perception. Thoughts are objects of perception, yet we say "I AM thinking." The body is an object of perception, yet we say "I AM fat" or "I AM getting old" or "I AM unhappy about my body".

See how this immediacy of presence is mixed up with the objective content. See that thoughts and body are always and ever objective to something. That something isn't objective. That something is always there. That something is the very knowing or perceiving or experiencing - the background of all that appears.

When we say "I AM", we are referring to the body-mind in error. See how the mind translates that immediacy of knowing into the words "I AM". "I AM" is the confirmation that you exist - yet it's twisted up with the body-mind. That pure "I AM-ness" isn't the body-mind at all.

Find out what that "I AM" truly is. We might say you are looking FROM "I AM".


Anonymous said...

I have a question - the self in your description of it sounds rubbish. I dont mean to be rude but thats how it sounds to me. When you talk about happiness and feeling being in the self and all feelings good and bad been in the self. and it not being spiritual and it everything therein is just a concept. It all sounds so cold and detached. It doesnt sound good.
And probably you would say its not about it being good, good is just a concept. Well if it is not good or happy or spiritual or enjoyable. I dont feel moved to be it. It sounds like when it is realizd its actually not that great. It just sounds like sleep. it whilst sleep is peaceful i dont reagrd it as being great. So is this just the way it is then reality is just....ok?
Thank you

Anonymous said...

Ste said,
"Well if it is not good or happy or spiritual or enjoyable. I dont feel moved to be it."

Perhaps life (meaning the content) is over rated then, while THAT which makes it possible isn't rated at all or even noticed.When THAT is known/noticed the gratitude and appreciation of the content of life itself is beyond good or happy and spiritual.

"Find out what that "I AM" truly is. We might say you are looking FROM "I AM". Thank you for this pointer Randall. Dave

Jason Swanson said...

Absolutely brilliant my friend!

Randall Friend said...

Hello Ste,

Yes - any description IS rubbish, simply because the Self or what-you-are is indescribable. Yet it's never in need of a description anyway, because it's what you are.

If we're seeking some special state, some preferable experience, then we'll just remain frustrated. If we're looking for something FOR the individual, we'll always miss it. If it's seen as something to gain, then it's clear that all clear pointers have been disregarded in preference for some concept or make-believe idea of enlightenment.

You are not the individual. The individual is itself the illusion which obscures. Hanging onto that illusion and then trying to forcibly fit ideas about enlightenment will continue to lead to confusion, as you're obviously seeing.

There is no world made up of separate things. There is only one essence, without a second. That very essence is what you are. You are the limitless totality - yet that totality is presently knowing itself through the perspective of duality - through the idea of ME-Seeing, through relativity. But taking that relative view as absolute reality is the common template and leads to suffering.

Suffering is simply a reference to a false individual self. You are the Self of all - the Self is all there is, and you are THAT.

And this appearance of seeking is simply something the totality is doing.


Randall Friend said...


Yes - all "rating" is mind. Yet when we see that the Self is all there ever is, then any content is perfect as it is - Life goes on with ease because there is no one separate to do it, to live it, to be affected by it or suffer because of it. There are apparent happenings yet there is no one doing it. The doer is just another thought (content).


Randall Friend said...

Hey Jason,

Good to hear from you. How are the SL meetings going?


RB said...

Behind awareness: ISNESS/BEINGness/SPACElessness. Knowing intelligence manifests objective duality, an aspect of BEINGness/ISNESS/SPACElessness: everything and nothingness.

Anonymous said...

Thank your for your answer. Yes i get that. I get the fact that there is no 'hero' who attains enlightnement and when reality is realzed it is the dissolusion of indivdual perspective.
But i guess what I am trying to understand is what oneness feels like. And I know that really cant be communicated through words but i think you can at least get some intuition of what it may be like.
I understand that the self is not an experience and that experience occurs in the real self. But why is being the self better than not being the self? apart from some reason like its so -so you may as well be it. wakefulness or what you call it sounds (to me) not really worth understanding. i mean why are you helping people to realize that if it is not that good. I am just trying to understand because i am seriulsy considering taking this up. But before i do that i want to know what it is I am committing to. So I have no illusions. Why is being the self better than duality?

Anonymous said...

" Why is being the self better than duality."

Perhaps you may have answered your own question with this also.

"So I have no illusions".

Randall Friend said...


"What does Oneness feel like?" Oneness isn't an object with a particular feeling or appearance. Oneness is the totality which can only be THIS, right here and now. So whatever THIS is, whatever THIS feels like, is it. Otherwise there is the pursuit, again, of some special state or feeling.

"Why is being the self better than not being the self" - you already ARE The Self. You cannot be otherwise. Spirituality isn't about BECOMING the Self. It's about noticing or realizing what you are - that what you are isn't a limited and separate individual after all. You are the totality, the wholeness. And this wholeness is obscured simply because of these concepts like "becoming the self".

"Why are you helping people to realize that if it is not that good?" - Notice the many layers of assumption in this one sentence. It assumes someone separate who is helping others to realize something, and that something isn't "good".

There is only the totality - one, without a second. Reality is not made up of separate parts and pieces, separate individuals, some who "have it" and some who don't. There is only one totality - no one exists as a separate individual to help anyone else - helping appears to happen but it's a play of the totality and not the doing of some "special" or "enlightened" individual. That paradigm is itself the illusion.

"I am seriously considering taking this up". Yes - the spiritual search comes uninvited - it appears that you are deciding, based on the end benefit, whether or not to pursue some sort of spiritual understanding. Simply consider that the search has found you, not the other way around. What will be, will be. It's not another attainment.

Nirvana, when translated, means extinction - this means that the realization of what you are is an extinction of the individual self - not many want to be extinct! Nisargadatta said something like "this is a very dangerous undertaking - the entire life you take to be your own is destroyed".

"Why is being the self better than duality?" Being the Self is the same thing as duality. Duality is an expression or play of the Self.

Advaita Vedanta or any of the nonduality traditions are not about becoming, about finding something "good" or better, not about a new set of beliefs. They are about questioning every single belief, including the belief that you are a "person", a separate individual. Yet this foundation of the individual is the platform from which seeking seems to happen. Don't question based on the foundation, question the platform itself.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your full and frank answer.
I can see my layer af assumption. But to one new to these observations it all seems like a puzzle. When you say "So whatever THIS is, whatever THIS feels like, is it"

Well this feels ordinary, and not good

Roopa said...

Absolutely brilliant and clear pointing dear Randall...

t said...

"Being the Self is the same thing as duality. Duality is an expression or play of the Self."

so non duality is a play of the Self too?

"Nisargadatta said something like "this is a very dangerous undertaking - the entire life you take to be your own is destroyed".

why is ending illusion dangerous? why not say beautiful instead of dangerous.

M.B. said...

I understand everything intellectually. But how to realize That, who is Sat-Chit-Ananda?

RB said...

Why do I see a forest of words? BABEL, BABEL, many words signifying nothing. It can be madding when silence covers all duality like a non-alphabet blanket. Nothing to figure. Everything we say makes 'sense' to our mind as the mind sees it. But it's all wrong, it's all false. Logician say it's a tautology and vald and true simply by 'it's' structure, but it's all BS. They talk of 'string theory' and how the universe really 'IS'..FALSE! It's only an appearance of certitude the mind that doesn't exist..and so on it goes in this dream. Nothing is as it appears, Alice.

M.B. said...

Thanks,How to be Peace, equanimy?

Randall Friend said...


You say - "Well this feels ordinary, and not good????"

Yes - and sometimes it feels extraordinary and fantastic. Sometimes it feels mundane and bland. Sometimes it feels amazing and great.

Therefore these "feelings" or judgments of what IS is the very nature of suffering - wanting THIS to be different somehow, wanting a more special or spiritual state to come, expecting enlightenment to save us from our boring or awful lives.

Enlightenment isn't about making "my life" better. From that perspective confusion will always be the case. Enlightenment is a word which points to your natural state, your already-existing presence which has simply been overlooked in attachment to objects, in identification with objective content called "body-mind".

You are not, in fact, this limited person, this separate individual. You are the timeless reality, expressing itself in infinite ways yet only ever expressing itself TO itself, only ever appearing TO itself, only ever One without a second.

So whatever THIS IS, you are THAT.


Randall Friend said...


Hello again my friend. Much love to you.


Randall Friend said...


Hello again my friend.

Nonduality is a meaningless word. Nonduality points to the one without a second that you ARE.

Ending illusion is dangerous to the individual, to the story of "my life", to the habitual grasping of objective content AS what you are. And in this, the entire life, the dreams, all meaning and purpose, free will and choice.. all of it is simply gone.

So as the individual, there is much to consider. Why would an individual seek the end of himself? Only because THAT which is behind the search is the actual intelligence at work, wading through the murky waters of identification, coming to see that anything which appears cannot be what you are. It can only ever be a temporary appearance IN or AS the timeless reality that you actually are.


Randall Friend said...


You say "How to realize THAT?" - pay attention to the mind - you are obviously the witness of the mind - so watch it - notice it - see that it ties in this immediacy of knowing presence (THAT by which you know you exist) with the objective content (thoughts/body). See that this identification or idea that you are a separate individual is entirely created in this process of placing that certainty of existence upon the body-mind, which are passing content.

You say "How to be Peace, equanimity?" Relative peace is the mind - it comes when what IS is the way it's preferred to be. Conflict and suffering comes when what IS is argued with and resisted. Yet all this happens IN the mind.

True Peace is your natural state - it is already the case and beyond all "states" of mind. True Peace cannot be found and cannot be lost. You already ARE that. Recognize the falseness of the identification and that Peace is noticed to already be the case.

You say "Who is Sat-Chit-Ananda?" Sat just means IS. What IS. The IS-ness of this very moment. The IS-ness of all "things". The true existence or essence of all appearance. That is Sat.

Chit is knowing - that is already going on, right now, call it perceiving, seeing, awareness, cognizing - whatever you CALL it is not IT - yet THAT can never be denied or conceptualized. That knowing or Chit is the changeless background of all passing things, including Consciousness itself. This isn't something found anew - it's simply noticed as already being the case.

Ananda is fullness - wholeness. It is the recognition of perfection in this very moment, the realization that you are not limited, not opposed, not contained. In moments where the sense of lack is at rest, when the seeking is paused, there is a sense of wholeness - ananda isn't found anew - it is revealed when the sense of lack is dissolved through SEEING reality as it is, not as it's conceptualized. Ananda is the natural state.

SatChitAnanda is a conceptual description of WHAT-YOU-ARE, right here and now, before, during and after all spiritual seeking.


Anonymous said...

I AM? hmmmm

But why does The Self manifest as 'stuff' at all. I mean why are there beings and comings and goings and life and death and planets and all the stuff. I understand that the Great Self is the Truth of all. But why particularity at all? Is this Gods idea of fun? or blessing? does God have intention? I am not just asking why does duality happen. You have explained that idea very well - but even without the presumption of separteness - why all of this?
Thank you

Randall Friend said...


"Why" is an exercise for the mind. The only answer is "why not?"

The totality is only knowing itself - therefore relativity is necessary - duality is necessary. Unless there was an appearance of "me-seeing-world", the totality could not know itself.

And this is evidenced by what you call "deep sleep" - in that "state" there is no appearance - the totality is not aware of anything yet it still IS. Then Consciousness returns and once again this world appears, only ever Life seeing itself.

Trying to find an answer in the mind is futility. The mind can only think in terms of duality, in terms of opposites, in terms of relativity. And that's it's job - that's the very mechanism through which Life is aware of itself.

Yet this veil is extremely thin and shaky - there are many cracks in this foundation of duality - if it's investigated or questioned, it's like a house of cards that may be brought down by the slight shaking of the table.

This doesn't mean that the appearance stops, that Life is no longer aware of itself AS the world. It simply means that this conceptualization going on, the identification AS a separate individual is seen through, seen to be a mirage. And then Life goes on, "living happens" but there is no one living a life.


M.B. said...

Thank you all.


Anonymous said...

Hi Randall : You say that it is the actual intelligence involved in the search. There is a bit of confusion for me there. What I have heard or thought is that the mind is searching. Why would intelligence seek ? Why would awareness search ? And if it is the actual intelligence then how is it that non duality doesn't resonate with all. Christendom for example believes that they are separate from God which they call sin , and that in there search they have found Him. But there is still that separation. God is God and they are not. And if this false self is an illusion , a mental construct and a thought, then who is searching. Who is saying this if there is no entity ? If it is the mind saying this then to who ? Thanks .

Randall Friend said...


Is the mind apart from the Intelligence? There are planets spinning, hearts beating, trees growing - what is doing this?

As such with the mind - what is doing it? If we separate mind from the intelligence we have split up the universe itself.

That intelligence seems to lose itself and then find itself - losing itself means forgetting itself as wholeness - finding itself means recognizing it's true nature as wholeness.

We start by talking about how mind is the very prism through which the pure light of Self is broken up into things, into this and that. Yet when we realize that this prism is not apart from the light, that it is merely a reflection or shadow of that light, then that Intelligence realizes itself as the whole, as the singular essence expressing itself as this and that.

Ultimately, this and that are not problems - it is only taking yourself to be this as opposed to that which brings suffering and that hole we try to fill through spirituality.


Anonymous said...

So when you are talking about mind are you talking about the one universal mind ? It has been said the mind is an illusion where all thoughts come from ?
As some put it there is no mind. I am assuming what is being talked about there is a mind that is personal or individual which is not the case. Intelligence losing itself just doesn't resonate. How can Intelligence lose it self. It's smarter than that.

Randall Friend said...


Universal mind is another conceptual pointer - mind is also only a concept - what do we mean by mind? We mean the bundle of thoughts, memories, imagination, etc. So there is actually no such thing or place as mind.

If something doesn't resonate, discard it absolutely. Stick with what resonates, but stick with it diligently.

There is a presence - a knowing - it isn't objective - all is objective TO that presence of knowing - even the thoughts, the body, all feelings, etc. Notice that everything you have ever known appears TO you - therefore what you are must be subjective and not objective - does that subjectivity appear? Is it describable in terms of attributes, shape/size/color? No. Yet it is the most intimate knowledge.

The mind (or thoughts) translate this sense of presence through the words "I AM". Yet in doing so it is attempting to objectify this presence of being or knowing.

Therefore the identification comes, the conceptual limits, are placed in this attempt to objectify this "Self" - the mind can only think in terms of duality - therefore what you are is seen to be a limited "thing" with an opposite, which is the world, or other Selves.

In reality there is only one "I" - that is you. All else appears to "I".

Find out what is the true meaning of "I".


Consius said...

Randall Friend says:

"Unless there was an appearance of "me-seeing-world", the totality could not know itself."


Isn't this a seeing without anyone seeing it? Basically noone can see or know oneness. There can only be a knowing or seeing of oneness, with noone to know or see it. So no goal, no destiny...just life as life IS.