LEWIS (2): The Mind/ Mystery/Teachers/The Thought Trap
Click here for the first part of this correspondence.
1 – Why is it that many teachers of Non-Duality say that it’s all a Mystery? I mean, surely the whole point is to know what’s going on and if the best they can come up with is ‘It’s all a mystery’, well, then they don’t actually know anything more than someone who is not apparently enlightened.
2 – From the Relative point of view, what’s the point of getting enlightened if it isn’t the end of the story/search and instead, this process never ends, apparently it deepens on and on until you die… So, there wasn’t anything resolved.
1 – Whoever you have heard saying this, I am in absolute agreement with them. (See my poem: You Can’t Solve the Great Mystery.) Knowing this is a fundamental part of Waking Up.
2 – First of all, no one ‘gets enlightened’ and secondly, there is no ‘point’ to enlightenment. (I don’t usually use that word but you’re forcing me into it!) Only the Personality wants a point, a purpose. Enlightenment happens when the Personality – and its need of a purpose and a solving of the Mystery – is seen through. When that happens, it is the end of the search, the end of Seeking, but not the end of the arising of this self that has an apparent shape and form, with likes, dislikes, joys and occasional sorrows. Show me someone who you think is enlightened who says this is not the case and I’ll show you a deluded Personality.
You have an uncanny way of pinpointing what it is that I need to hear or be pointed to. There is something about your approach to this that appeals to me.
Until about 2004 I had not heard of Non-Duality. In my teens and early twenties there was a passing interest in Zen – there is something about its directness that appealed. I suppose this was due to the fact that the Openings were also like that – they would just suddenly appear.
Over the years I met various teachers but they just confused everything: I took them to be authorities who’d be able to point me in the right direction but I seemed to just get lost in frustration.
I spent a few years engaging with online forums/Facebook/blogs etc but these led to an even worse situation. For instance what these people were saying online was not what they were saying to me in private conversations; most of them were either frauds or suffering from one delusion or another.
Once the teachers see that I am not in exact agreement with what they are saying (or that I don’t fully understand it) they become impatient, hostile and terminate the dialogue, saying that I should stop wasting their valuable time.
I decided that I’d no longer bother contacting anyone, then by ‘chance’ I watched your interview at Conscious TV and thought: ‘Ah… finally, someone who’s genuine about saying it as it is without any pretence and no air of trying to acquire followers – just the wish to help others.’
There can be two, very different motivations that generate questions from students:
1 – They could come from a deep Yearning to return to the Natural State. (I regard this as sacred.)
2 – To put it bluntly, the questions could be simply mind f**king, just more of the Personality’s strategies to distract from the fact that it does not really exist. (This can include the intent to try to disprovethe teaching and so strengthen the questioner’s Personality.)
It’s the teacher’s job to discern the difference.
I am honouring your questions because they seem to be important to you, but if at any point I feel the strategies of Personality coming in, I will point that out.
I’m not here to facilitate the Personality, only to expose it.
So there can be a meeting – the teacher honours the student’s questions, and reciprocally, the student needs to honour the teacher’s replies. That means to listen to them, take them in; to be aware of the resistance to them and to listen anyway!
To me, the responses you received from those teachers sounds like they came direct from Personality, with a teaching and a spiritual identity to defend.
I don’t feel I have anything to defend.
If my words can reach you and help reveal this to you I am happy.
If they don’t, as long as I have expressed this understanding to the best of my ability, it’s nothing to do with me.
The effectiveness of engaging in this enquiry is down to all sorts of factors, but mainly how Ready you are to hear and receive this. Without Readiness, even the most beautiful, clear expression of this Understanding will mean absolutely nothing.
Thank you for your very thoughtful words.
It isn’t that I want to disprove Non-Duality – it’s that there doesn’t appear to be a way to prove it. Those ‘tastes’ of Non-Duality may just be a brain-state. My implication is that it could be the brain – when pushed to its limit – that sees in a Non- Dual way – either after enquiry or in those that haven’t even heard of Non-Duality.
I don’t want you to feel – oh, my God, what have I got into with this email exchange.I hope what I‘ve written doesn’t make you feel: ‘What’s this guy doing looking into Non-Duality if he’s not even convinced by it’. I will not in any way feel offended if you decide to stop writing. As they say – ‘it’s pointless flogging a dead horse’.
‘Just another theory or brain state?’
I’m sure there are many teachers out there who have a more scientific, logical bent than me with whom you can pursue that question: but you see, then you will just be engaging with another logical mind.
You are trying to apply science to this. As far as this perspective is concerned, that is just your mind (your Personality) trying to maintain control. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s something totally different to what I am speaking about. So there is no bridge between the two.
I don’t know whether this can help you, but here is my response in a poem:
You are not a ’dead horse!’ – but you need to make conscious the trap you’ve got yourself in, of trying to find this through thinking. If you are ready to do that, I can be of use to you. Otherwise, whenever you are ready…
I have given you a lot to consider, rather than write back so fast, I suggest you re-read our correspondence and work with it. Use it as a mirror. As I said, this is all about Seeing your Personality; that’s the first step. If you don’t See it, you will be a victim of it: you will simply live all its neuroses and play out its strategies.
I don’t want my writing to be part of the problem that keeps you hooked in theories and concepts. That’s not what it is for; collecting theories does not cut it in this enquiry. Please pause after reading the next sentence; take it in.
You will never get to that place you have tasted in the Openings through the mind.
This is your medicine. Let it work on you.
I found those words to be humbling and appreciate you pointing it out. One of the problems may have been that I was simultaneously trying to see what you are saying from both the Relative and Absolute Levels instead of seeing it as only from the Relative point of view.
All talk, communication of concepts etc happen in the Relative Level, but I would say they can be informed by the point of view of the Absolute. Perhaps what makes my expression different is I don’t look away or look down on the Relative like our friends the Absolutists. In that respect you could say my ‘teaching’ is based on a synthesis of the two. That is not something I have created, it’s just the expression of what has been seen.
I’ve spent so many years listening to speakers say that there isn’t a self and to suddenly be reading your own views about this was at first a bit confusing (no fault of your own, merely, my own misunderstanding) but, I have to say that your expression begins to untangle the mess created by others who don’t always appreciate what it’s like on this side of the fence, so to speak.
You could see it as a re-education, a tuning into this Understanding; at first it shows up the spiritual conditioning you have picked up. No wonder there’s confusion with all the misinformation out there. Of course some people will say that I am spreading misinformation. It’s for you to find out if that is true or not. That is the Enquiry.
There is definitely ‘a real yearning to return to the Natural State’, however, you are right to suspect that there is on my part some resistance to do so. This may be due to the fear induced by so many stories about people becoming completely lost in confusion after awakening/or some kind of powerful glimpse and never making it to liberation.
Use me as a template:
From here the world of man appears crazy and confused, but there is no confusion about this Understanding.
Have a look at the excerpt chapter called Enlightenment Myths. Watch how you react to it, see what it shows up; let it settle and write only when that has happened. There is an art to the receiving of this.
You wrote: ‘For someone to claim something called enlightenment there has to be a Personality there who is claiming it. So anyone who claims to be enlightened is simply displaying the fact that they have not seen beyond their Personality.’
1 – Who or what is it that sees beyond Personality?
2 – Are you saying that in the case of someone claiming to be enlightened it is simply the Personality that claims identification with the idea of enlightenment? Swapping one identification with another!
Question 1 – The best word we have to answer this is Consciousness.
Question 2 – Yes. I would put it like this:
To identify with Personality
Is to believe that One is separate.
That sense of ‘me’ or ‘I’ that has that belief
can claim all sorts of things for itself:
it can claim to be famous, powerful, intelligent…
and it can also claim to be something called ‘enlightened’.
If we define enlightenment as the Seeing beyond the separate sense of ‘I’ and ‘me’
then it is clear that this claim is mistaken.
If it is known that there is no’I’ or ‘me’
then who is there to claim enlightenment?
Thank you for writing the ‘Enlightenment Myths’ chapter – it’s like a catalyst: something is stirring but I’m not quite sure what!
The Personality is like some kind of identikit composed of memories that have somehow been woven together to form an imagined ‘real’ thing called ‘I/Me.’
Recently, there hasn’t been the desire to pose the usual questions: this seems to be due to the realization that there are never going to be any answers. There is a freeing-up of energy and periods of a feeling of lightness – everything’s permeated with a sense of quiet-contentment (not being interrupted/disturbed by the usual worrying/anxious/fearful thoughts). The focus of attention goes to things of use and interest as opposed to riding that thought train from station to station and never getting anywhere. Jez, I wonder, is this some sort of ‘mind’ trick or is the thought-quest really done with all that seeking?
It seems to me that, previously, you’ve been led all over the place by your mind and its: ‘What about this, what about that?’ continual questioning. Now you’ve started to lose interest in its preoccupations and it feels like your mind is trying to come back in and take control. It’s saying: ‘Hey, you can’t get rid of me that easily.’
That’s ok. Just watch it trying to do that.
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with thinking, it’s only obsessive thinking that is part of the Suffering. That’s something that falls away. If you are losing interest in the internal dialogue, maybe this has started happening.
This message seems to be ‘unfolding’ a bit for you. That is what my answers hopefully lead you to: a place where in the end, you find answers for yourself.
This is what I was trying to point to when I said: ‘You can’t get to this through thinking.’ Enjoy the peace.
That you took the time to reply to my emails without an attempt to deter further questions presented the opportunity for there to be distancing from all the questions.
I am happy that it worked.
At first, I didn’t know if it would get through to you.
Something in me persisted
and something in you responded.
That is Love going round.