MICHAEL: The belief that you must give up all your attachments crumbles in light of the realization that it is not possible for You to actually be attached to anything!! That’s right. The witnessing presence that You already are is pure and contains no parts, objects or impurities. Thus you are always and forever unattached, regardless of what a thought may claim. More from swamiji, who is commenting on the Astavakra Samhita:
“I am not saying you SHOULD NOT be attached. Astavakra is telling us you are NOT attached. You are not attached to anything. It is the mind which develops attachments: ‘I want this to stay, I want that person to stay, I want this circumstance, this wealth, this health, this place, this environment, I want this to continue.’
This is the mind thinking. Yet beyond the mind, the Atman, the witness, You the being consciousness… you’re not attached to anything, not even to the mind itself. The mind itself disappears in deep sleep. You’re not attached to anything.”
p.s. For those that are interested, here’s Swamiji’s powerful video from which the above quote was taken: Ashtavakra Samhita by Swami Sarvapriyananda
I was just watching a documentary on Alan Watts (by his son), and about half-way through there is a clip where Alan points out that the “great depression” in the United States in the early 1900s where men and women had plenty of work, food and housing one day, and the next there were long lines for soup kitchens, work suddenly dried up and many starved and were homeless. And that this was all based upon a mental fabrication of the illusory value of pieces of paper with particular patterns on them, i.e., “money.”
All the apple and orange trees and all of nature’s vast food resources were still there, as was the materials needed to build homes, such as wood, metal, cement, etc., just as they were the day before. The resources needed for human survival and flourishing had not gone anywhere. BUT the man-made (mind-made) story, “the overlay of economics,” suddenly claimed that the pieces of paper (“money”) were not worth what they were 24 hours previously, and so that was the collective experience and thus the “great depression” was imagined into being!!
In the movie, Alan puts the value/meaning of “money” in the same order of reality as the value/meaning of “inches.” Since the concept itself is made up out of thin air, so must any meaning we try to impose upon it.
It’s astounding when you see this.
p.s. Here’s a link to the 46 min. Watt’s video documentary:
A house may have many parts to it, i.e., door, roof, living room, window, chimney, etc. but it’s all one house. Likewise, Life may appear as having many “parts,” i.e., people, trees, clouds, sky, earth, stars, water, fire, etc., but it’s all Life. There is nothing that is not Life. Separation is an illusion, a mental distinction/concept not supported by reality. Imagining separation doesn’t make it so, but it does open the door for suffering.
There is only ever THIS. And THIS looks like… everything! Whatever is showing up, however it’s showing up, is THIS. And what THIS is is indefinable, because it’s everything. The finite cannot describe the infinite and any perspective is by definition finite. Relaxation/peace happens naturally when it’s seen that the miracle of this moment is unimaginable and indefinable, yet is all there ever IS.
Wholeness only appears to be separate so that it can be experienced. The ice cream must appear separate from the tree so that it can be experienced. However, in actuality the infinite leaves nothing out and so nothing is ever actually separate.
The reason you can’t “find yourself” is because You are already yourself!
Thus any other “self” would have to be a “secondary self” and thus illusory.
If you can think about it it’s NOT You.
In order to have a “problem,” the mind must be able to define it. It can’t have a problem without defining specifically what it thinks the problem is. But what if the mind’s conceptual definitions don’t match reality? In other words, what if the map doesn’t actually match the territory?
If this turns out to be the case, but we stubbornly cling to the map in our head, i.e., “this is how the world works (or should work),” out of habit or because “we’ve always done it this way,” or “because it’s how we’ve been taught,” we are going to be constantly frustrated, confused, angry, etc. AND NOT KNOW WHY!?
The fact is the map in your head DOES NOT MATCH THE TERRITORY because what THIS experience is made of is undefinable. For example, the word “bird” is not what is flying across the sky. But as soon as the mind label’s it “bird”, we think we know what it is and quickly move on to the next thing.
Waking up is realizing that none of our definitions actually define reality simply because reality is undefinable. Seeing this clearly, we can begin to relax our attachment to words and begin to take in THIS (whatever is currently arising) ever-present and endlessly changing experience nakedly and directly.
It’s the difference between trying to define and figure what each “flash” in a fireworks show “means,” versus simply enjoying the magical and mysterious display in all its infinite colors, shapes, and sounds. The former creates a sense of frustration and confusion and the latter a sense of awe and wonderment of the total unfathomablity of it all.
Q: Absolute truth vs relative. What’s the difference?
MICHAEL: It may be relatively true that I like cream and sugar in my coffee, but it’s not an absolute truth. Some people don’t like cream and/or sugar in their coffee. A relative truth is only true from a particular perspective.
On the other hand, absolute truth has no opposite, no particulars, no divisions. It is neither “this” nor “that,” yet paradoxically it contains ALL “this” and “thats.”
Btw, this is to a large part what goes on on facebook. Most (not all) are taking their relative perspective as absolute and then arguing with anyone that suggests a different or counter perspective. What hasn’t been seen is that there is no absolute truth in ANY perspective. (Go back and re-read that last sentence and let it sink in.)
Why? Because the absolute doesn’t depend upon or require ANY perspective to exist, but ANY thought/feeling/perspective/belief/opinion/appearance depends upon the absolute in order to exist. Again, ALL concepts are relative and no concept is absolute.
And since all thoughts are conceptual in nature, they cannot contain the absolute. However, they can be useful to point to reality/absolute which is ever-present, whole and undivided. It is eternally THIS prior to thinking about THIS.
A good first step in “waking up” is loosening your identification with what you think you know. The mind claims to know (with a self imposed sense of certainty!?) so many things, but in actuality nothing can be truly known. Why? Because the Source of what all “THIS” is is unknowable! Where does everything come from? Where is everything happening or unfolding? Where does everything go? Any answer is only a concept, and that’s all the mind can ever provide.
The mind is an appearance in THIS, an object; You are what is aware of the inert mind. Thus, You can begin to see that you have NEVER been the mind, but always what is aware of it.
And so, we can begin to meet this moment as it is: raw, naked, a swirl of energies coming and going spontaneously and all completely un-pin-down-able.
As Eckhart says, “You don’t have a life, You ARE life.” Meaning, the idea of “having a life” is separation: there’s a “me” who has a “life.” But this is false because it’s two, duality. Reality is one without a second or non-dual. And you are THAT.
What we seek is our true self. However, our true self is not an object, but that which knows or is aware of all objects. We are subtler than objects, so we are aware of objects, but objects are not aware of us. For example, you are aware of your body but your body is not aware of you. If you changed your name, would your body ‘know’ this? No. But You would. What is this You that knows or is aware? It’s obviously not a thought, since thoughts are another ‘thing’ we are aware of.
Has not this awareness been present throughout your existence? What else can you say this about?? Without awareness, you couldn’t ‘know’ anything. So awareness is prior to knowledge, even prior to space and time, for without awareness what would ‘know of’ space and time?
Notice that you don’t have to ‘do anything’ to become aware. You are already aware. Simply stop and recognize what has always already been so: that the belief that ‘I’ am a body/mind is just that, a belief. What is aware of this belief? You! But not ‘you’ as an ever-changing self-image (another object), but as you truly are right here/now… ever-present, limitless, attributeless, causeless awareness.
And then, in a moment of clarity, it hits you… that which is always looking
out my eyes is not a “me.” “Me” is a thought. A thought is not what is seeing.