I AM no "body"

These are long posts—sorry, but there’s no way to deal satisfactorily with these issues in a few short sentences.

In chap 14, Cease Ye From Man, it is shown that “body” is no different from an “apple.” At most it would be mere sensations, thought, or “mental stuff” only. There is no such physical object.

Now a Reality check: Pure Consciousness, this very Self being presently aware, is infallibly Infinity only. This is the exact same infallibility with which the Present is now present–for Infinity and the Present is the same One. “Starting from” or as this Infinity precludes there ever being something besides Itself called “man.” So even the title, Cease Ye From Man is a bit of a misnomer. “Looking out as” Infinity-Self-I, there is only Its own changelessness, and there never has been “man” that It must cease from being.

This seeming discussion of the non-existence of objects (and this discussion, too, would be a seeming), has been prefaced by the above for a reason. One must be clear as to who or what ONE really is. The only Self there is here, now, is Infinity Itself, being boundless consciously alive Presence only. “Taste” or be this Alive Presence now. As pure Alive Presence, You are not, and never can be, an object.

If it is not clear at the outset that You are present as Presence, not a body, this discussion will seem muddled. If mistakenly identifying as a “body,” the fact that the “body” is not there as a body would also mean you are doing away with yourself. Rather, as Alive Presence, pure Awareness only, One is present changelessly, eternally—literally free of time and age—which is far more “permanent” than a so-called “body” ever could hope to be.

Now take a closer look at what appears to be “body.” Did you ever stop to realize that “body” never is actually present? Each time “body” supposedly is sensed (a sight of body; a sense of touch of body, such as touching a leg; a sense of hearing the body talk, etc.) those sensations would be all there is to “body.” Like the “apple,” there aren’t those mere sensations and a body-object that is giving them off—there are only those sensations. Touch the “body’s” leg right now. Take inventory. What, exactly, is there to this experience? Only a feeling of touching, a passing sensation. There isn’t that feeling and a leg that the feeling is coming from—there is only the feeling. Is that a solid object? No.

Far more importantly, that sensing of “body” always seems to be changing, moving, passing on in time, never stopping to be present. The sensations supposedly had of “body” even a few seconds ago are already gone, never to return. They seem to be replaced moment to moment by this sensation, and another and another. It’s like the constantly moving frames on a movie film—they’re always passing on in time and never being present. This seeming fluid state of never-actually-having-presence is the only “status” body ever seems to have. At most, all there ever seems to be is an ever-passing, changing sense or thought of a body—never a separate static object.

As “body” itself is not an object, then it can’t have objects called eyes. So does “body” really see? No. It’s more like a dream. When you appear to have a dream, is it really the body-you in the dream that sees the other dream characters? Are there functioning eyes on that dream-body that are optically seeing those other characters? No—everything appears to be produced or dreamed up by the dream, including the body-you in the dream. In the same way, do the characters that appear on a movie screen have physical eyes with which to see and react to each other? Of course not—it all would be just one big projected image that appears to animate all the characters that appear in it.

Now back to the “body” that appears to be sitting in front of this monitor. See “body” in your thought as it appeared to be doing something yesterday—perhaps eating breakfast. Look closely. Is it any different from a dream? No. Is there ever any kind of solid or material object there? No—it’s just a thought-image-body. What’s more, are there any physical eyes on that thought-body that could have done any seeing? Does that thought-body have a physical head-object that contains eyes? No. It all would be a mere thought-image, a kind of superimposed appearance, like a dream or movie.

The fact is that “body” even as it appears right now sitting at this monitor, has no more solidity or presence than that “body” at breakfast.

There is nothing about a mere dream-image or thought-image that can see other items—any more than a movie character image actually sees. It’s all being dreamed up or experienced by the would-be dream itself. It’s not being dreamed up by the “body” in the dream because that “body” merely would be part of the dream itself.

Now supposedly–and it’s a huge supposedly–everything that “your body” experienced yesterday—its morning breakfast, its noon, its evening, its entire world—all of it depended on the presence of that very “body” to sense or witness it. If there were no body present to sense it, none of it could be said to have occurred. And that’s the point—there really was no body present—so was anything really being sensed or seen? No. How could anything have been seen when there was no object-body, and no object-eyes to do any seeing?

The entire so-called “objective material world” supposedly depends on the presence of a body to testify to it—but no body is ever present to do any testifying! So could any of it really have been there? No! None of it, repeat, none of it, is really there. This means that all sense or thought of objects, including “body” itself, all so-called creation and manifestation, all time, all sense of space and universe is not really there—because all of it would depend on a “body” being present to sense or experience it. But there is no such object to do the experiencing.

All there truly is, is the “infinite sea” of object-less Awareness, the pure Alive Presence aware here, now, “experiencing” only Its own object-free Unlimitedness. At no point is endless Infinity “objected-to” by objects, or separated into finite portions, whether material or mental.

The thought may come, “Okay, I get that there is no objective world of materiality, but there still appears to be this illusion, and it is arising or appearing spontaneously in Awareness—because after all, I appear to be aware of it. Awareness lets me see it for the illusion it is, but it’s still here, as illusion.” Not really true, even though it may seem so. Only thinking assumes Awareness is aware of such a thing. Pure Infinite Awareness Itself never says that. This is an issue that Glen’s comment is basically concerned with, and it will be discussed more in the next couple of posts.

Even if referred to as only a “mental” illusion, and not materiality, this illusion still would seem to depend on the presence of “body.” Why? Because if there were no sense of body, there would be no sense of even an illusion—because the illusion seems to require “body’s” presence to experience it; they seem to be inseparable. Now go back again and really look at the “body” at breakfast yesterday, which supposedly experienced an entire world. Is there anything really there? The minute you try to find its presence, really pin it down, even as a so-called illusory thought-image—is there really something there? No. And yesterday’s entire so-called experience supposedly depends on that nothingness being there to experience it—but it isn’t.

This is not a perfect example, but suppose there were an illusion–a mirage of water in the desert, exactly one mile up ahead of you. At first, it certainly appears to be there. After walking up exactly one mile, do you find anything there? Not only do you not find any water—you don’t even find a mirage! Nothing is there—not even as a mirage. Only you are present, right where it had appeared to be. Likewise for the so-called “body” that supposedly says an illusion is present, or that “body” is part of a greater illusion—when you actually look as pure Awareness, right where “body” is supposed to have presence, it isn’t even there as an illusion. Only You, pure Awareness, are present—and changelessly so.

To try to say there is an illusion arising in the Infinite, pure Awareness, would be like the mirage saying, “Don’t tell me I’m not here! It’s obvious to me that I’m here!”

How could you rely on a mirage—that isn’t even there as a mirage—to tell you what’s true of your Life and Existence?

Even though this speaks repeatedly of the only-ness of Infinity Itself, it sometimes seems you have to “do your own work” or “make It your own”—otherwise this all seems to remain on the level of words or theory. Don’t be afraid to sit quietly, away from the computer and books, and “work this through” for yourself so it really “sinks in” or “fully registers” as present conscious Fact. To just intellectually accept this because of reading it in a book or on a blog would be merely a conceptual reality. To consciously function or be alive as pure Aware Nowness, pure Infinite Presence (even while it seems an illusion is being “seen through”) is the Actuality of Reality. It is the genuine Presence of Self Itself, for there literally is no “body,” no state of thinking, that has presence to be This.

This “exercise” of deconstructing can be taken only so far. One never can actually arrive at an “experience of the non-existence of objects” because it’s impossible to have an experience of non-existence. Rather, It is a matter of Consciousness specifically being alive Infinite Presence, which never fails to be present alone. Are you specifically being This “throughout the day”? Why pretend to be something other than what changelessly IS? And is there really a choice? To Ever-Present Awareness Itself, there is no choice, and there is no other.

If questions arise, be alert that they may be due to what sometimes seem to be “hangover notions” (discussed in CIA chap 15). What that means is, having seemingly seen through the illusory nature of a “material or objective world,” one may be clear to some extent that there is no such thing. The clarity that there is no materiality seems to literally revolutionize how one “sees” everything. But occasionally old “hangover” notions arise, and one unwittingly still tries to apply “standards” of a would-be physical realm to the spiritual.

In other words, questions may still come up, “Well how did Consciousness, Being, start? Where does It originate? When did It originate? Those would be standards of time, location in physical space, cause and effect, etc.–found only in a would-be material world–all of which has now been seen as non-existent. So obviously they no longer apply—and never actually did. One cannot ask such questions about Consciousness, for they have no relationship.

The would-be thinking mind (if it existed!) would be willing to do anything—even to keep thinking over and over how and why it doesn’t exist—just so it can hang around long enough to do even that! It is to still be functioning as thinking, which would be part of the very same illusion! Is the pure Aware Present ever thinking anything—whether about an illusion, or even Itself? Can anything other than the pure Aware Present Itself ever be present? Imagine attempting to go on and on, un-seeing an illusion, when actually no such thing is even present to be unseen in the first place! Now that would be foolishness—if the Present were capable of such, which It isn’t.

One more important aspect of this dis-assembling involves the illusory nature of time and memory, which will be taken up in the next post or two. When “seen through,” it makes clear in yet another way why only the Infinite, the Present, is present.

A brief commercial: the points touched on in these posts are also discussed at length in a soon-to-be-released set of DVDs from http://www.stillnessspeaks.com/. Peter and Chris Hebard have several hours of conversation on these and many other points. Watch here or on stillnessspeaks.com for availability, hopefully early October.

Now back to Reality (which You actually never left). It’s one thing to see through the illusory nature of objects, and it can at first seem to be quite a revelation—but that’s not enough—so don’t become too taken with this. It can still leave the mistaken notion that there is a “you” that now has seen through something. From the standpoint of the Infinite, the Absolute, not even that is true. The Truth is that, right this instant, Infinity is changelessly present as All, and there really is no one seeing through any finite illusion, whether “material” or even “mental.” And you have to “take your stand” as Infinity because this is what this One being presently aware is “doing” or being.

Equally, do not assume that any of this is coming to a “you” from a “Peter”–because a “Peter” too, would appear to be merely an illusory object, that has no real presence to do anything. If one were to talk about it, this all seems to be “thanks to” Boundless Awareness presently aware here, now.

So when it appears as if “body” is walking down a “street,” talking on the phone to “another physically distant body,” or sitting in front of a “monitor”–be alive as that which is really present–the unlimited Openness of consciously alive Infinity, utterly object-less Pure Life, distanceless Love, to Whom the whole of ALL is so immediately present, it’s unspeakable.

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20 thoughts on “I AM no "body"

  1. Peter
    Many good illustrations again in your reply. I like the mirage analogy, it works particularly well in describing the separate sense of self. However when it comes to the world of appearances the comparison breaks down. After deconstructing the material world and seeing that it is really sensory experience, that does not make the appearance vanish like the mirage, but it changes the relationship and how it is experienced. This is based on my own direct experience, which is all that I can know.

    Some relevant quotes come to mind:

    From Advaita:

    “The world is an illusion
    Brahman alone is real
    Brahman is the world”

    From Zen:

    “First there is a mountain,
    Then there is no mountain,
    Then there is.”

    And from the Buddhist Heart Sutra:

    “Emptiness Is Form”


    “The Self is hidden in the lotus of the heart.
    Those who see themselves in all the creatures go
    day by day into the world of Brahman hidden
    in the heart. Established in peace, they rise
    above body consciousness to the supreme
    light of the Self. Immortal, free from fear, this
    Self is Brahman, called the True. Beyond the
    mortal and the immortal, he binds both worlds
    together. Those who know this live day after
    day in heaven in this very life.”

    Chandogya Upanishad
    Source: From The Upanishads, translated by Eknath Easwaran

    In the last quote the part “he binds both worlds together” is particularly important here.

    CIA is superb at deconstructing and pointing to emptiness, the eternal, timeless, bliss of Being, the Absolute reality. I agree that many modern teachings fail to emphasize this, and often reinforce the separate identity of a person. But then there is more than just dwelling in the emptiness, which I know first hand is a beautiful and liberating. When one is ready to leave their mountain top experience, the revelation comes full circle to include the world of form again, so this “emptiness can dance,” as one author put it. This is the paradox that can’t be told with words but only pointed to. The One Infinite Life, appearing to have finite experiences, that it may glory in its existence. This is what is called self realization. The One Self appearing as many, the nothing that is everything. Truly All.

    Appreciating all you do here

    Thanks again


  2. The Existence of The Absolute eliminates the possibility of anything existing relative to It, such as a human reality.

  3. Once One starts with the Infinite, and “knows” that it is All, there is nothing One can “see”. The only way something can be “seen”, is in a world of duality, something being “seen” objectively. If you “begin” with the Infinite, there is nothing external or internal to “see”, you are Being being in its Totality, not Being “seeing” itself as an appearence or experience.

  4. “Many spiritual seekers get “stuck” in emptiness, in the absolute, in transcendence. They cling to bliss, or peace, or indifference. When the self-centered motivation for living disappears, many seekers become indifferent. They see the perfection of all existence and find no reason for doing anything, including caring for themselves or others. I call this “taking a false refuge.” It is a very subtle egoic trap; it’s a fixation in the absolute and all unconscious form of attachment that masquerades as liberation. It can be very difficult to wake someone up from this deceptive fixation because they literally have no motivation to let go of it. Stuck in a form of divine indifference, such people believe they have reached the top of the mountain when actually they are hiding out halfway up its slope. Enlightenment does not mean one should disappear into the realm of transcendence. To be fixated in the absolute is simply the polar opposite of being fixated in the relative. With the dawning of true enlightenment, there is a tremendous birthing of impersonal Love and wisdom that never fixates in any realm of experience. To awaken to the absolute view is profound and transformative, but to awaken from all fixed points of view is the birth of true nonduality. If emptiness cannot dance, it is not true Emptiness. If moonlight does not flood the empty night sky and reflect in every drop of water, on every blade of grass, then you are only looking at your own empty dream. I say, Wake up! Then, your heart will be flooded with a Love that you cannot contain.”
    ~ Adyashanti

    (Posted by Glen)

  5. I like what Peter said about, “making this your own”. When we put all of the talk, quotes, books and teachings aside and really investigate into what Life is for “ouselves”, only then will it be the “Actuality That It Is”. This “work” is unique in that the perspective is always from the Absolute sense and not from a personal sense that needs to work its way back and forth between the Absolute and figuring out how to balance its checkbook.

  6. The problem here is that, according to the book’s theory, there is no you to make “this your own.” You don’t exist not even as an illusion according to CIA. And doesn’t it take time to “investigate” and “work”, so it can “be the Actuality That It Is”. Sounds ambiguous to me. I agree that one’s personal experience with the absolute is the important factor and that awareness is clarity. But there again don’t experiences need an experiencer and time to happen? The issue of the apparent finite world never gets adequately addressed here.


  7. Consciouness Is All clearly states (p.245): “This does not mean one suddenly will take a ‘do nothing’ attitude toward daily experience.”

    The book is peppered with similar statements making it cystal clear people should not become fixated in the Absolute by negating or invalidating human reality in any way.

    Thus anyone who reads the book properly will not become “stuck”, “divinely indifferent” or be “hiding out halfway up a slope” – not in any sense whatsover.

  8. Glen–I’m working on a reply to all this–it ain’t easy to put together since it’s such a big issue! In response to your last post, the same could be said for “direct experience” because any experience would take time (not-NOW) and who is there besides NOW to have it?

  9. Yes. Throughout history, many sages and seers arrived at the same conclusion, that Existence/Reality was paradoxical. This existing and not existing at the same time; Infinite Being appearing as finite, cannot be explained well with language or reasoning, but that it could be experienced, realized or discerned.


  10. “Existing and not existing at the same time” would be paradoxical if it were possible.

    It isn’t possible, since it requires two relative ideas, each dependent on the other.

  11. “Flee the many. Find the One. Embrace the Many as the One.”

    “Most traditional satsangs tend to excel at leading people through the first two stages of realization. Helping to dislodge our fixations within the world of appearances and leading us to the timeless Now behind it all, these communities and teachings do a great deal to shift people’s identity from the effulgence of the many to the pristine stillness of the One. For many this shift represents the primordial urge toward spiritual practice, a persistent intuition that the world is somehow brittle, facile, and lacking any real substance or meaning—a cardboard parade marching across saran-wrap streets. There is often a sense of something infinitely more dwelling just beneath the surface, a secret eternity obscured only by its obviousness. The melodies of timeless thought ribbon through our minds, threading our souls together into the living jewelry of consciousness, as the rhythms of a bottomless heart echo through the hallways of always.
    Spirit whispers its sweet seraphic music into our innermost ear, a siren’s song that leads us to the far shore of eternity. We follow the ubiquitous hymns to the center of the universe, where all is still and silent, but never ever static. Released from the brutalities of impermanence we begin to awaken at last, recognizing the singularity of Being that underlies every experience we have ever had.
    But the story does not have to end here.
    More than anything, an Integral satsang places special emphasis upon the final stage of realization: Brahman is the world. It is within this final stage of nondual realization that enlightenment comes truly alive; an overflowing impulse to infuse the world with the living light of transcendent awareness, giving sight to the blind appetites of evolution. We begin to recognize the broken and illusory world as no different than the eternal Oneness that lies at its core, watching form slide through the effortless expanse of the One—form that is itself a manifestation of the One, a fractalized reflection of emptiness. There is, in fact, no real separation between form and emptiness anywhere to be found—emptiness is form, and form is emptiness, as the Many and the One entwine themselves like frenzied lovers after an eternity of longing.”

    From an article by Corey W. deVos

    (Posted by Glen)

  12. Just a quick reply…still working on several posts to try to deal more fully with this issue. It seems that because CIA says, in places, that Infinity, the Absolute, being Absolute, leaves no finite appearance–to some “readers” that’s a shock, it comes across as a negation. Unfortunately, what those readers may be doing is “leaving it there”; their thought gets captivated by this one notion, and that’s what they “read into” the rest of the book. They then may not “see” what ELSE is there on the pages about the omni-fullness of Life, Oneness, Peace, Alive Conscious Perfection, Warmth, etc.

    Anyway, more to come.

  13. Julian D. –

    You’re very welcome.

    My viewpoint is: the sole condition for “existence” is the absence of “non-existence”. i.e. “existence” and “non-existence” are mutually exclusive.

    I’m willing to accept the possibility of something “existing and not existing at the same time” but I’d need to hear a more compelling argument than: “it cannot be explained well, because it’s paradoxical”.

  14. Hi David,
    I’ll clarify what I meant by the paradox of existing and not existing. I was referring to the separate sense of self that appears to exist, but is actually the one life that exists; this is not to suggest that there is ever no existence. Language can be tricky sometimes to express points clearly.

    Thanks Peter you have been very generous with your time on this blog, and everyone here has been gracious. At this point I’ll move over to the side lines and spectate, at least for now.


  15. Glen

    Thank you for your clarification.
    I’m sure everyone is very grateful (and perhaps even relieved) to see that you actually meant: “a separate self APPEARS to exist but only the One Life exists”.

    Since this is totally devoid of paradox (i.e. logical contradiction) people will understand it easily.

    The “problem” you raised originally with regard to Consiousness Is All (i.e. “that according to the book’s theory, there is no you”), seems to have vanished.

    In fact it now appears you agree entirely with the book’s “theory”: that “no you” can possibly exist, since the One Life (Consciounsess) is All.

    Perhaps this is down to Peter Dziuban’s subsequent painstaking efforts to provide an even clearer explanation for your benefit (which surely must have taken hours of his time).

    A statement like: “the self does not exist; only the One Life exists” does not in any way suggest “there is ever no existence”. But a statement that something “exists and does not exist at the same time” clearly suggests precisely that.

    If it were possible for something to exist and not exist at the same time it would, indeed, be a truly wondrous paradox.

    However since – by definition – “non-existence” cannot “exist” at the same time as anything, it simply isn’t possible, and that’s true whether you’re hiding “half way up” a mystic mountaintop, or even if you’ve “left one” altogether.

  16. David,

    The last paragraph of your comment this morning is so heart shattering that I can barley type these words as blessed tears of sweet truth fall to the groundless ground. Yes my brother, Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Forgive me I’m raving(-:

  17. David, the human mind tends to think in either or terms, such as this or that; if it is this, it can’t be that. Polar opposites, which is the nature of duality. When it comes to experiencing Reality, logic can only take one so far. Then the paradox must be experienced for one self, the One Self appearing as an individual, not either or, but both at the same time. How can that be? it seems impossible to the mind. It’s the riddle of life than can’t be deduced to rational explanations and theories.

    There is a well known quote: “Silence is the language God speaks, everything else is a bad translation”, that Includes mine, yours and Peter’s explanations. Leave it to the silence to be the final word or shall we say, absence of words, or both words and no words. Always already Is, and becoming at the same time. It’s the Tao that can’t be told. Totally illogical, absolutely mysterious 🙂

    Take Care

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