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Q & A with Dr. Robert Saltzman #4

COMMENT | QUESTION

 

I had coffee this morning, and really enjoyed it, but that coffee is gone, and I can never have it again. I can, it is true, have another coffee, but it won’t be the same coffee. Nothing is ever the same.

The “Robert” who enjoyed the morning coffee is also gone forever and can never come back again. The present “Robert” can have a coffee in the present, but that “Robert” is not the same person who had coffee for breakfast. That moment is gone forever.

This is utterly simple and totally obvious—hidden in plain sight. See it, and the work is done

 

question

 
Dear Dr. Robert,

“Do you believe that there is a “Robert” who can enjoy a cup of coffee tomorrow; and is there a cup of coffee to be had?

If yes, why?

If no, why not?”

 

 

Topic: ATTACHMENT

Chelsea Market, NY, 2013

Chelsea Market, NY, 2013

Is there a cup of coffee to be had?

 

 

This really is not as complicated as your question implies.

The complexity derives from a desire to “create” something permanent in the face of obvious impermanence. The only way to do that is via fictitious beliefs which involve accepting doctrines espoused by others (who are human beings just like oneself), or by lying to oneself about ones direct experience. If one is honest and straightforward, and avoids giving credence to “experts,” the essence of this matter may be grasped immediately.

The “Robert” who is sitting here typing can PLAN to have coffee tomorrow. He can put the coffee and water into the electric appliance, set out the cup, and sit here imagining how the coffee will smell and taste. If he has the right appliance, he can even program it to brew the coffee at a certain hour. But all of that is in the present. Between now and the hour at which the coffee is programmed to be brewed, anything can happen, and those contingencies are entirely out of the control of any “Robert.”

For example, “Robert” can have a stroke and be rendered incapable of even thinking about coffee. A sinkhole can swallow both “Robert” and the entire house in which the coffee apparatus is located. Etc. Even if none of those cataclysmic events were to occur, and the coffee were brewed perfectly, the “Robert” who drinks it will not be the same “Robert” who programmed the coffee maker.

 

If you observe your thoughts for even a few minutes, you will see that they change constantly, and that you have no idea whatsoever what you will be thinking next. So the impermanence of THOUGHT is obvious.

 

The body is changing constantly as well, and is also beyond conscious control (you are not making your heart beat, for example, and certainly cannot control the countless microorganisms without which that body would not continue for very long either), but because the body seems to change more SLOWLY than thought, from the point of view of thought, the body can SEEM to have a permanence which is actually totally illusory.

This attribution of any permanence at all to “oneself” is the source of confusion implicit in the question, “Do you believe that there is a “Robert” who can enjoy a cup of coffee tomorrow?” Because conventionally this body is always called “Robert,” your question implies that there might actually be some kind of constant “Robert” which persists through time. This is false, and quite obviously so—hidden in plain sight.

 

fern

 

Everything is ALWAYS changing.

Yes of course, throughout life, there will always be “this person,” who has coffee or whatever, but that happening conventionally called “this person” is never the same twice. That to which the name “myself” is attached, suggesting a kind of faux fixity, is always changing too just like any other object reflected in the mirror of awareness.

So “myself” is not nothing, but it’s not something either. “Myself” is “empty” of “thingness.” It is “no-thing.” (Form is emptiness and emptiness is form. Samsara is nirvana.).

Because most of us are not familiar with the freedom and joy which ensue when impermanence is seen, understood, and embraced, we cling to faulty logic or try to believe in religious doctrines which seem to provide an escape from impermanence. But there IS no escape.

When faced with painful circumstances, we like to think and say, “This too shall pass.” All that is required for complete understanding is a willingness to think and say the same about pleasurable circumstances as well—indeed to say the same about ALL circumstances.

This understanding has nothing to do with logic, belief, religion, or philosophy, all of which fall short of embracing this reality. To me, this is obvious and completely apparent—not hidden at all—and requires no belief in anything.

 

robert-saltzmanDr. Robert Saltzman is a psychotherapist and [non-teacher] of non-duality who lives and works in Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico. In addition to his therapy practice, he takes questions about psychology, spirituality, and problems of living from questioners world-wide on his Facebook page.

This page is the ‘new’ home of the ask Dr. Robert website, a unique question and answer forum open to everyone worldwide, gratis. The forum is fairly active and has many forum regulars—many of whom bring intelligence, experience, and wisdom to these online conversations.

Robert checks in on the forum regularly and contributes when necessary.

 

Top 10 Nondual Search Phrases for 2014 (Our First Ever Year End List)

Everyone loves to write | read and post their favorite year-end lists online it seems. And rightfully so – many are highly entertaining.

Countless bloggers and writers experience mucho stress and agonize over said lists.

Since we’ve never created one, we thought we would do something a little different.

We never set out to make NDA a household name and or personal brand, so needless-to-say, we don’t fret over stats, SEO, Google Analytics and the like when it comes to data about the blog | website | portal etc.

*I did have to chuckle though when I read some of these random search terms and phrases that WordPress said site visitors used to find our site (out of over 30K other terms mind you).

Without further ado, please n-joy our first ever…

 

2014 TOP TEN LIST

[OF Our MOST ‘INTERESTING’ KEYWORD SEARCHES]

 

*in no particular order

 

sleeping cat

1.) “Proof of sleep in nonduality”

 


 

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

2.) “Vocal range of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan


funny face
3.) “Non-Duality cartoons


dr.-suess-motivational-quote

4.) “Living a fake life


jeff_home

5.) “Jeff Foster vegetarian”


EL

6.) “Espresso love”


Rupert and Ellen
7.) “Is Rupert Spira married”


BM
8.) “When was Bentinho Massaro born”


fairy-tale-hand-paintings
9.) “Fairy tale paintings


Last but not least – the [imaginary] book everyone thinks I wrote:

nonduality-for-dummies-matthew-king
10.) “Non-Duality for Dummies”

 

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*We went ahead and tagged this post with the keywords listed above (if there are still ‘inquiring’ minds searching for this info).

Happy Holidays and thank you ALL for your continued support over the years and we’d like to welcome all the many new subscribers, Tweeps and worldwide readership (all 160+ countries who’ve visited).

In case you’re wondering: There was no stress or agony experienced while putting this post together. LOL

Always Already – Ken Wilber [Random Viewpoints]

Upon arrival, I swelled up in [almost] instant disappointment after learning that my chiropractor appointment was actually next Thursday (I drove almost an hour in fog/rain conditions mind you…ugh). Subsequently I politely excused myself and went to the restroom. I decided to ask the person at the counter if they could possibly accommodate my mistake given the pain I was ‘experiencing’ and since I was already ‘there.’ They said they would try but it was unlikely so late in the day. So I took a seat and found out that there were several other walk-ins that day who were turned away. I decided to park it and take my chances and see what would unfold – if anything.

A few minutes later I was informed that it would be over an hour wait (possibly longer) but they would in fact work me in. I said OK, though she look bewildered that I was actually going to stick it out for that long and or like that was unfathomable in today’s rush-rush society. I thought to myself, now what am I going to do for the next hour [haha] in a nearly jam-packed doctors office at closing time? Out comes the Kindle and the first thing I selected was what you are about to read.

This was the very first time I ever read these words – although miraculously I discovered that someone sent me a .pdf document of this almost two years ago. For two years this sat quietly  in my documents folder on my trusty little Kindle Fire reader.

*It really hit home – especially the body-mind section(s) as I was essentially there for help with my ‘body.’

N-joy!

~CMK

 

 

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The Brilliant Clarity of Ever-Present Awareness

In this excerpt from The Eye of Spirit, Ken offers a most powerful—and beautiful—piece of spiritual writing.

Here’s Ken’s description:

Ken Wilber BIO pic“What follows are various ‘pointing out’ instructions, direct pointers to mind’s essential nature or intrinsic Spirit. Traditionally this involves a great deal of intentional repetition. If you read this material in the normal manner, you might find the repetitions tedious and perhaps irritating. If you would like the rest of this particular section to work for you, please read it in a slow and leisurely manner, letting the words and the repetitions sink in. You can also use these sections as material for meditation, using no more than one or two paragraphs—or even one or two sentences—for each session.”

 

Where are we to locate Spirit?

What are we actually allowed to acknowledge as Sacred?

Where exactly is the Ground of Being?

Where is this ultimate Divine?

 

The Great Search

The Realization of the Nondual traditions is uncompromising: there is only Spirit, there is only God, there is only Emptiness in all its radiant wonder. All the good and all the evil, the very best and the very worst, the upright and the degenerate-each and all are radically perfect manifestations of Spirit precisely as they are. There is nothing but God, nothing but the Goddess, nothing but Spirit in all directions, and not a grain of sand, not a speck of dust, is more or less Spirit than any other.

This realization undoes the Great Search that is the heart of the separate-self sense. The separate-self is, at bottom, simply a sensation of seeking. When you feel yourself right now, you will basically feel a tiny interior tension or contraction—a sensation of grasping, desiring, wishing, wanting, avoiding, resisting-it is a sensation of effort, a sensation of seeking.

In its highest form, this sensation of seeking takes on the form of the Great Search for Spirit. We wish to get from our unenlightened state (of sin or delusion or duality) to an enlightened or more spiritual state. We wish to get from where Spirit is not, to where Spirit is.

But there is no place where Spirit is not. Every single location in the entire Kosmos is equally and fully Spirit. Seeking of any sort, movement of any sort, attainment of any sort: all profoundly useless. The Great Search simply reinforces the mistaken assumption that there is some’ place that Spirit is not, and that I need to get from a space that is lacking to a space that is full. But there is no space lacking, and there is no space more full. There is only Spirit.

The Great Search for Spirit is simply that impulse, the final impulse, which prevents the present realization of Spirit, and it does so for a simple reason: the Great Search presumes the loss of God. The Great Search reinforces the mistaken belief that God is not present, and thus totally obscures the ‘reality of God’s ever-present Presence. The Great Search, which pretends to love God, is in fact the very mechanism of pushing God away; the mechanism of promising to find tomorrow that which exists only in the timeless now; the mechanism of watching the future so fervently that the present always passes it by—very quickly and God’s smiling face with it.

The Great Search is the loveless contraction hidden in the heart of the separate-self sense, a contraction that drives the intense yearning for a tomorrow in which salvation will finally arrive, but during which time, thank God, I can continue to be myself. The greater the Great Search, the more I can deny God. The greater the Great Search, the more I can feel my own sensation of seeking, which defines the contours of my self. The Great Search is the great enemy of what is.

Should we then simply cease the Great Search? Definitely, if we could. But the effort to stop the Great Search is itself more of the Great Search. The very first step presumes and reinforces the seeking sensation. There is actually nothing the self-contraction can do to stop the Great Search, because the self-contraction and the Great Search are two names for the same thing.

If Spirit cannot be found as a future product of the Great Search, then there is only one alternative: Spirit must be fully, totally, completely present right now—AND you must be fully, totally, completely aware of it right now. It will not do to say that Spirit is present but I don’t realize it. That would require the Great Search; that would demand that I seek a tomorrow in which I could realize that Spirit is fully present, but such seeking misses the present in the very first step. To keep seeking would be to keep missing. No, the realization itself, the awareness itself: this, too, must somehow be fully and completely present right now. If it is not, then all we have left is the Great Search, doomed to presume that which it wishes to overcome.

There must be something about our present awareness that contains the entire truth. Somehow, no matter what your state, you are immersed fully in everything you need for perfect enlightenment. You are somehow looking right at the answer. One hundred percent of Spirit is in your perception right now. Not 20 percent, not 50 percent, not 99 percent, but literally 100 percent of Spirit is in your awareness right now—and the trick, as it were, is to recognize this ever-present state of affairs, and not to engineer a future state in which Spirit will announce itself.

And this simple recognition of an already present Spirit is the task, as it were, of the great Nondual traditions.

 

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Sat·Chit·Ananda – Chuck Surface

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When I speak of Bliss, I point to an Experience of Being in which…
The Ecstasy of Pure Being shines into conscious awareness;
Transcendence is shining into and as immanence;
The duality of Formless and Form, vanished;
Not simply “peace”, or “happiness”;
Shiva and Shakti, embracing;
The Heart’s Desire;
Heaven;
Love

 

 

Advaita, as I encountered it during my sadhana in America, only rarely mentions Bliss; often only in precautionary terms in the context of sadhana, and usually only fleetingly, if at all, when describing the Liberated experience of being. I am familiar with the advaitic pedagogical model, and understand that advaita teachers don’t want their students to become attached to transient “states” or “objects” of perception, but rather to feel themselves as That within which all objects, sensations, perceptions, and states arise and vanish. Thus, for advaita students, “Bliss” is often portrayed as a dangerous trap, something to be dismissed (neti neti) as transient, ephemeral, “unreal”, and not to be confused with the unmoving, changeless Absolute, the experience of which is generally described with words like Peace, Happiness, and Joy.

The lack of descriptions of Bliss in the post-Liberation experience of advaitic realization is probably due to the notion that once one is Free, one will know for one’s self the nature of that condition, and therefore there’s no need to elevate what they see as dangerous and alluring “distractions” for those still seeking. Thus, there is rarely a fleeting mention of Bliss; and generally… Ecstasy is right out.

All of that being the case, my experience when I saw my advaita teacher, Jean Klein, was filled with Bliss; a palpable, visceral, extremely pleasurable yet unlocatable Ecstasy that both permeated and was inseparable from the entire Experience of Being. It was, for lack of any better term in relativity, a feeling of Orgasmic Ecstasy that, being “everywhere, yet nowhere”, transcended physicality or any of the other vast and varied aspects of manifest form, and yet… everything existed both “in” and “as” it. For me, the impact of residing in and as the Silence that Jean spoke of was the flooding of the Experience of Being with this Blissfulness I’m struggling to describe. But any mention of this would have been blasphemous, such things being “not spoken of.”

Jean KleinMore than all of his words, more than my clarity of understanding… something about being in proximity to Jean’s physical-energetic locus had this profound effect on me. Many advaitans go off the deep end if you mention such “phenomenality”. But this was my experience. The most “profound” teaching I received, the Transmission of the Flame, was wordless, and had everything to do with my Mystical relationship to this man, and yes… to association and even proximity; though merely the thought of him would give rise to the welling up of Bliss.

Bliss was, for me, unmistakably, a touch of nirvikalpa samadhi (the experience is described below), of formless Pure Being, Shining into manifest experience; water from that Ocean, warmth from that Sun, the Fragrance of what the Sufis call The Beloved, the Ananda of Sat·chit·ananda. How can formlessness possibly Shine into form? Volumes of words would fail to communicate what can only be known in Experience. As Jean would often say, “Now we will talk about that which cannot be talked about.” We talked… but it was not the words which conveyed That which was being spoken of, the Flame in his Heart igniting the ember in mine. Sounds quite dualistic, doesn’t it? However dualistic it may sound, I assure you it was not. This is the Ineffable nature of “true” Guru Yoga.

I already knew not to grasp after this Bliss, seeking to sustain and hold it as a “pleasurable experience”. I had been given this Great Teaching, paradoxically, by Bliss itself. For Bliss only arose when the acute “outer” focus of Attention relaxed “inward”, dissolving into its Oceanic nature as Unlocatable Aliveness. Then Attention, in that instant of inward-turning, was greeted by effortlessly arising Bliss. Shakti (manifestation) fell into the arms of Shiva (formless Pure Being), and the Ecstasy of their embrace became an inherent aspect of the Experience of Being, like wetness to water, or heat to fire. I did not see the inward turning and the upwelling of Bliss as cause and effect – a stance that put me somewhat at odds with Jean’s pedagogical stance – but rather as inherent aspects of Dissolution. For if Dissolution became Absolute, this “alloyed” Bliss would become the Unalloyed Ecstasy of nirvikalpa; the direct experience of formless Pure Being. If Attention grasped after the somatic “experience” of Blissfulness, as it reflexively did, early on… the movement into Dissolution ceased, and Bliss vanished.

My experience is that Bliss is the very fragrance of Pure Being (Consciousness, Awareness, whatever one calls the Unlocatable Aliveness that we are, prior to manifestation). Prior to Liberation, it was the fragrance that drew me to The Beloved, that taught me the “secret” of non-grasping, and abiding as Unlocatable Aliveness. It is the embrace of Shiva and Shakti in union as Shiva-Shakti, a union in which both vanish, all duality vanishes, even, quite impossibly, in the midst of duality.

 

Here’s the story of my first meeting with Jean Klein.

In November of ‘81, using feeling inquiry (before I knew what advaitic inquiry was), “I” died in Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

chuck_surface

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