How Wholeness is revealed


[excerpt from HOME, the return to what you already are]

For Byron Katie, it was waking up on the floor of her residential care home watching a cockroach crawl over her foot.

For Eckhart Tolle, it was what he described as ‘an inner transformation’ after decades of depression.

For Jeff Foster, it was the point of absolute despair ‘transform or commit suicide. There was no other option.’

For Roger Linden, it was on a walk through Hamstead Heath in London ‘one second it was Roger - me - walking along the path, and the next moment it was as if something dissolved. And it took a fraction of a second and it was realised, ‘Oh there is no separate me’.

For Rupert Spira, it was at a young age through deep resonance with non-dual teachings.

For Tony Parsons, there had been the sense even as young as seven years old that ‘everything that was happening was somehow saying something other than me being separate.’

For Syd Banks, it was a conversation with a psychologist and the words, ‘You just think you’re insecure’.

And so many other examples (many of which are beautifully told in the book ‘Conversations in non-duality, twenty six awakenings’ edited by Eleonora Gilbert.)

There is clearly no set way that Wholeness is revealed.

Many teachers describe reaching absolute rock bottom, suicidal, hopeless, despairing and, in that moment of everything being stripped away, there is the realisation of what remains that is entirely unaffected.

But this does not have to happen. Many other teachers describe sudden realisations while out in nature or in the city, a sentence or a few words in a talk given by a teacher that profoundly shake the foundations of believed separation.

For others it is an on-going dissolution of what is not true. A deeper reality being revealed in each interaction in which the sense of self appears under threat.

There is no prescription other than it has to involve the falling away of what was once believed, the structure of belief that says I am this and the world is that.

In this chapter we are exploring what allows the mind to settle back into that truth.  Many would say it doesn’t have to.  It doesn’t need to, because the mind doesn’t really exist, it is simply momentary, transient experience.  And on that basis, it could be said that it is irrelevant.

This is a tough one.  It’s something that I find intriguing in this  teaching.  It is a very, very valid proposition. If life is just this moment right now and this moment only consists of the essence of being-ness, then, whatever the experience is doesn’t matter because the Wholeness, the totality, the is-ness contains it all.  The experience, whatever it is, is not separate from the fundamental truth. 

This is the dilemma we have in this conversation.

There is no possibility that “what we are” isn’t already Home.  We already are the thing. Which is why many non-dual teachers are absolutely uncompromising in closing down any conversation about self or form.  The only issue is the thought of individuality and that issue or thought doesn’t exist.

Yet, at the same time, this experience of being other, of being isolated and separate – like a wave imagining itself separate from the ocean – that experience is torture.  Because the whole system knows deep down that it is not true.  To experience ourselves as being something that is separate from truth creates enormous suffering.

So what do we do? Where do we go with that?  How can the wave realise it is the ocean?  And yes, the moment we start thinking in terms of a wave, we’re already creating an idea of separation. Talking about the mind, talking about us, me, you, talking about suffering, experience, reality… all these things are adding in more and more elements of separation.  So what do we do?  

It seems to me, that there is value in finding ways for the experience of what we are, for the knowing of what we are, to align with what we know is true. 

I would go so far as to say that (ironically) the only purpose to our life is to realise that there is no separate life, that there is no separate individual for which any of this is happening. 

‘Seeking’ has a bad name because more often than not the seeking is about the attempt to stabilise the identity, to be someone, to make the separation real. But actually, the impetus for the seeking, this sense that the lived experience of separation is not the truth of us, this is absolutely valid. It is just that the attempt to get rid of the suffering  keeps the mind locked in its own creations.

Wholeness (truth, permanence, infinite, absolute) is revealed or unveiled by the dissolution of what is not real (mind, thoughts, beliefs, separation, apparent objectivity). We can see that the attempt to find Wholeness in the mind will always fail and will always lead to more of the very activity that is obscuring what is being searched for.

What allows what is not true to fall away?

That’s the million dollar question isn’t it? Because the more fragile the ego, the greater the desperation to solidify the sense of being, and the more the attempt to stabilise the fraction veils the Wholeness.

Enquiry is one way. And perhaps no one has encapsulated this more cleanly and simply than Byron Katie in her series of questions called ‘The Work’. Instead of the mind lost in fighting its own concepts of blame, harm, victim and villain, enquiry turns the focus on to what is true. It is fascinating to watch this incredible teacher in action. We, the audience, can see the participant completely lost in their own story of separation. Byron Katie brings them back to enquiry with loving rigour. And then, it is almost as if we can see the mind reaching back beyond those beliefs that have dominated every waking hour to the foundation of existence. Is it true? The mind goes to its furthest origin and comes back with… no, it’s not, none of it is true. None of it is real in the way it was believed to be.

And again, it is important to say that enquiry in order to find Peace or freedom will not reveal anything. The unquestioned agenda of the mind to control emotions and experience is at work and will only hide the Peace and freedom that is right here, right now. 

The enquiry has to be genuinely open, no agenda, no attempt to control, no attempt to come up with the right answer or to impress the teacher or to say the right spiritual words. Simply an enquiry into truth.

Another way is the shifting of attention from what changes (mind, experience, labels, concepts, beliefs, separation) to what never changes, to what lies before all of the changing landscape of mind, to what gives rise to it.

As we saw in the previous chapter, what changes is enticing to a mind that is wired for story. It is so easy for the transient to grab the attention, especially when it seems to continually involve the life and death of our idea of self. It is no wonder that all attention is sucked into that tension-filled drama.

This is a shift from the drama, from the tension, from the intrigue and the survival of being this individual self in this world of separate form.  A shift to the pervasive essence of what we are, that is touched in moments of flow, in moments of absolute presence or laughter or when all barriers drop, all the thoughts drop, all the concepts drop, and there is only beingness, completely whole just being.

The glimpses of this start to become the truthful navigation for life.  Whereas before, the mind was the navigation - the mind with its calculations, its judgements and its predictions, its second guessing, calculating how to orientate within a thought-created world.  

The whole system starts to orientate around the understanding of Wholeness. It becomes literally a ‘no-brainer’.  It is the deepest most essential relaxing rejuvenating, energising, sane, truthful space for the mind to hang out in. 

There is no point or value in denying these experiences of separation. It is not about turning away from them, numbing or distracting from them or spiritually overwriting them. Pretending they don’t exist only makes them appear more real and more permanent. This is about staying with the experiences until the essential emptiness of them is revealed.

Let’s take an example. Imagine someone who you’ve had a difficult relationship with, and, in the past, you might have seen them as someone to blame, as someone responsible for how you are feeling, as someone who intentionally decided to do these things that upset you. 

There’s a you: defensive, vulnerable, upset, offended, hurt.  And there’s a them, who is intentionally hurting you.   At that level, the experience of the other is locked in to this apparent reality of separation, and all conversations, all memories, all interactions are taking place within that.  The past gets dragged up and the future projection comes in. There is an absolutely unquestioned experience of two separate objective entities.  There is me and there is them. 

Then, we embark on this conversation and through it several things happen.  Initially we start seeing the mirror that they represent, that every experience of them is a creation of mind and that creation of mind is coming from our own insecurities, our own shame, our own vulnerabilities. 

Ideas of blame fall away as we consider that there is no self, doing these things.  The behaviour of the other is  just learned conditioning:  our response to the other is learned conditioning. 

We start seeing these two ‘robots’, these two units in a sort of dance together: a dance of conditioning, a dance of programmed reaction.  That interaction of the robots becomes less and less interesting because what is the truth here?  What is animating these robots?  How are these robots even brought into existence? 

There is now less focus on the drama of separation and the separation starts to dissolve anyway, as it is not having the attention that fuels it. 

There is more space, more presence, more capacity.  There is more possibility to sit with this person and hear them. There is the realisation that we are them.  We are them.  And that knowing, that falling away is our orientation now.  Because, until there is that experience, that knowing, we are not in reality.  We are in a made-up land of others. 

That can be how Wholeness is realised everywhere but it is particularly poignant with other people because that is where the veils of separation are more and more dense, where it seems there is so much to protect. 

This is a whole new orientation within truth.  Any sense of contraction, or tension, suffering, or isolation is an indication that the system is momentarily operating on a programme that isn’t aligned into truth. 

Suffering is the design.

It is separation itself that reveals Wholeness.

We don’t have to be Eckhard Tolle or Byron Katie. We don’t have to be depressed or suicidal. We don’t have to have followed spiritual gurus. We don’t have to do anything.

Wholeness is simply being revealed.

In every moment, the appearance of separation is showing the only truth. 



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