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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Reality Precludes Objects

The next few posts will be in response to two comments in particular. First, Michael Jeffreys‘ 9/27 comment, “May I suggest a column by you on the ‘illusory nature of objects’…I think sharing how you came to see objects as ‘not real’ would be of value to readers.” The other comment was 9/28 by Glen about how CIA differs from much of the teaching of Advaita and nonduality.

This first post will address only part of Michael’s comment, with more to follow. Be aware that these posts are touching only on the highlights. The illusory nature of objects is an enormous topic requiring much explanation when done properly–and there isn’t space here for that. The discussion is given in depth in CIA, mostly in chaps 13 thru 18, and also in 20.

There seem to be two steps to this. First is to see that the “material” world of objects really would be only “mental” or “made out of” thought only. This would be the “illusory nature of objects”—which gets reduced to mere thought. Second is to see the illusory nature of thought itself—there really is no such thing in pure Consciousness. From the standpoint of the Infinite (because It is the Infinite Itself that is being conscious here, now, to begin with), there is only the Infinite, and not even a thought-illusion—only total, absolute Infinite Reality.

When it seems one first comes to spirituality, it seems as if there is a physical world of matter, of solid objects, and time and space, which one has turned away from, to the spiritual. Part of this is due to mistaken identification with body, rather than as pure Consciousness. (Before proceeding, make a Reality check: Most emphatically, the Infinite Itself is having no such experience–but changelessly IS Infinity, pure Consciousness only–and there is no other. Infinity never has mistakenly identified Itself as a body. So this whole discussion really is a lot of double-talk, but we’ll do it because it appears helpful.)

At this seeming early point in one’s “spiritual progress” there still may be doubts as to whether Consciousness, Being, the Infinite, truly is ALL–since the material world seems so real. Much of what one has read or been taught is accepted only intellectually. So it seems helpful to break down, deconstruct, or “un-see” what appears as a material world. In doing so, it becomes clear that there really is no such thing. So, in a way, that leaves only Consciousness–sort of by default–since there’s nothing else. This dismantling of the material world is like coming into the house via the back door–but hey, what counts is getting into the house.

Again, let it be clear that, in Reality, Consciousness, the Infinite Self, need not dismantle or un-see anything in order to be ALL. To the Infinite, the Absolute, there is nothing besides Itself to un-see. Infinity leaves no other realm in which lesser selves are unclear about the Allness of Infinity. This is clear only when “starting” as pure Infinity–and after all, this is what the Consciousness aware here, now is “doing”–and who else could there be to argue otherwise? One would have to start as a state of un-Consciousness.

Is NOW having to think through, or un-see anything before It will be the NOW that is present now? To still argue otherwise would be to mistakenly identify with would-be sensations and thoughts, not the pure Now-Consciousness You truly are.

This discussion constantly will alternate back and forth between the would-be appearing world and the Infinite, in order that Truth, the only-ness of the Infinite, is not lost sight of (not that Infinity ever can actually lose sight of Its changeless total Being). And if there’s an objection to this constant reiteration of Infinity only, you’d do well to ask, “Who’s objecting? Is It the pure Awareness here now, or a state of thinking that’s been conditioned to the contrary?” If you don’t like these apples, don’t shake this tree!

In the process of dis-assembling what seem to be objects, one sees that, at first glance there seem to be 3 “realms.” One is the physical, (or what is sometimes called the gross) which would be the so-called material objects that seem to be in physical space “out there,” outside the body. Second would be the “mental,” consisting of thoughts, ideas, visualization, images, dreams, etc. (sometimes called the subtle). Then there is the spiritual, pure Conscious Being, which is completely infinite, undimensional, utterly formless—not even cluttered with a single mental form.

On closer examination, one sees that the “physical” or gross world of objects really isn’t that at all. What appear to the five senses and thinking mind as separate objects, actually have no existence separate from the mere sensing or thought of them. A very specific example of this is in CIA (in chap 13, free on this site), in which an “apple” is deconstructed as nothing more than so many mere sensations, supposedly experienced by the “mind,” or mentally. Never are there both the sensations of an apple and an apple. Always, there would be only sensations. There is not also an object that is giving off sensations to the mind; no separate stand-alone item. The “apple” would be entirely “mental” only. The “mind” doesn’t know about objects—it literally would be all there is to objects.

One then can see that this applies to every, repeat every, so-called finite item that appears in the entire “universe.” It all could be reduced to thought, or mere “mental stuff”—including the entire so-called “universe” itself. If one were to mention it at all, this would be a mental universe, never a material one. There simply is no such thing as an “objective, separate material universe”—although it certainly appears to the “sensing mind” as if there were. This is why daily human experience is referred to as dream, illusion, hypnosis, etc.

If this is new to you, slowly work through the apple example in CIA, or just try it yourself with any so-called “object” you can think of. Go slowly through each of the five senses. It is suggested that, at first, you NOT try this by actually examining or holding an “object” in your hand, such as an “apple.” At first, the would-be hypnotic effect of the senses may still appear to be very powerful, so that actually holding an “apple” may seem to obscure the clarity that there really is no such object. At first, deconstruct it simply in thought, without the seeming object being there.

Just keep noticing what really is there (or rather isn’t there), until it is clear that there is no object in addition to what seems to be the mere experiencing of sensations, or the mere thought of that “object.” Invariably, all you’ll come up with is sensations—not sensations and a separate object that the sensations are coming from. Doing this is what seems to “pierce the veil” of the illusion that there is a world “out there” of objects that is physically distant and separate.

It’s one thing to behold this–and then quite another to begin to behold what it means–to begin to see the endless “ramifications” of there never having been a separate physical world!

All of the foregoing about there being no “objects” undeniably applies to what is mistakenly assumed to be a body, too. It’s not really a solid object at all–and this means the very “body” that appears to now be sitting in front of this monitor! It also means there really is no monitor-object, no room in which to put a “body” or “monitor,” no home-object in which to put a room, no planet-object on which a home could be located, and so on. (See CIA chaps 14-18 for this in depth.)

If one continues with this dis-assembling of “body,” one then exposes the would-be illusory finite, appearing world at an even “deeper” level—which is the subject of our next post.

One question that may have come up: “If all of what appears is merely ‘mental’ or ‘thought only,’ then there really is no difference between what appears as that red chair across the room (gross object), and my mere thought of a red chair (subtle object). In fact, if all there is, is thought, or ‘mental-stuff,’ then why can’t I merely think of a red chair and have it appear in the room right next to the other one.” A good question, but one that involves too much explanation to be taken up in this post. Hint: part of the answer involves being clear as to exactly who or what really seems to be doing all that thinking. Do you assume it’s your thinking?

For those who are interested, another example of “deconstruction” can be found in the Advaitin book, Atma Darshan, at: http://www.stillnessspeaks.com/assets/books/SKMBT_C35209040617150.pdf

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Does Reality Check Itself?

Of course, Reality never needs to check Itself.

Reality simply means what is real, or what really is. Only Being, pure Consciousness, the Present, is what really is. Reality means that which is changeless, timeless, perfect, All–all that truly is present. Reality is the same as Being, Now, the Present–which never changes from being all that is present.

As Being, Reality Itself, is all that is being, It actually leaves no others to think about It or be in question about It! The fact that Being, the Present, is present never is in doubt or in question. It is unquestionable. Equally, the Present, pure Being, is unquestioning. Reality, then, is what unquestioning pure Being is to Its own silent Presence, to Its own unthinking Nowness.

This is where this One being presently conscious here, now, is “starting.”

It may sound surprising, but questions never come from Real You, pure Being Itself. Being’s silent Presence is not a question that has to be answered. Questions seem to occur only on the level of thought; they would be inseparable from thought. Pure Conscious Being is the You that is unquestionably present before thoughts seem to arise, or even if they don’t arise.

If this discussion seems strange or new, it is suggested that you read at least chapter 1 of Consciousness Is All (free on this site), and ideally the entire book. The basis on which these statements are made is discussed repeatedly, and it is made clear that this is speaking from the standpoint of that which is actual, functioning, conscious and alive right here, now–and is not merely theoretical “spiritual talk.”

Look at the nature of questions. They imply there is a valid state of thought that is unknowing or in ignorance of something. Questions usually consist of Why? How? When? or Where? They falsely imply that in pure Timeless Being there is time, change, a cause–and there isn’t. As said repeatedly, this site is concerned only with Timeless Being, pure Consciousness; it “looks out from” or “speaks” from Here.

Questions seem to be a kind of mental activity that would be assumed, or superimposed on, pure Unquestioning Consciousness, the unquestionably present Present. Which are You? Where do You identify? At most, such superimposed thinking and questions would be merely what one seems to be aware of–never Awareness Itself. You are now aware, so Awareness must be what You are–not a state of thinking.

Can you imagine the Present having questions about how to be present? Does Awareness need blogs, dialogues, books, videos, before It will be the Awareness It already is effortlessly being? It sounds silly because the allness of Reality, pure Being, actually precludes there being a would-be intellect or “thinking mind” with all of its questions and concepts. In Reality, to the Infinite One who is presently aware here, now, none of this is really necessary or even possible. Questions aren’t bad–the point is that they’re not going on in Reality. So if there still seem to be questions or discussion, at least let it be on this basis, with this clarity.

Be alert that the real “answer” to all questions is not reducible to words. Any words used here are pointing to the Wordless, the Inconceivable. Pure Infinity certainly does not talk or think–if It did, It wouldn’t be Infinity. Yet this Infinity never is afar off somewhere in “the Absolute.” It is this presently aware Consciousness here, now–being alive as Silence, Stillness, Peace–without need of thinking in order to be what It is.

Just suppose for fun that Infinity could talk. What would Infinity talk about, there being only Infinity? It would have to “speak” only of Itself and Its own Unlimitedness, since there’s absolutely nothing else to talk about. It would have to speak only of Its unchanging Perfection, for there is only This. And Infinity would be “talking” only to Itself, as there is only Itself. Do not make the naive mistake that, “Well, as Infinity is changeless, wordless, then there’s really nothing to talk about.” Have you ever tried? True, no amount of talk or conceptualizing ever can be Infinity Itself. But put it this way: as long as there seems to be talk, why not have it about the Real, rather than waste time talking about that which doesn’t even exist as an unreality!

As It is the Infinite Itself that is this very One being presently conscious, let the talking be from Here.

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