There is nowhere to go...
Guy Smith (24, UK) puts many aspects of daily
the picture when writing about non-duality in
his book 'This
is Unimaginable and Unavoidable' (Non-Duality Press).
He does so passionately and using an unusual form: notices, little
poems, rhymes, e-mails. And there's enough to be found to
make one smile (for instance when it's about sex).
A second book is writing itself, as he puts it and a novel will
surely be written. However, today a good deal of his time is spent
in answering questions about realisation.
Personal problems and interest in non-duality
A: As you said, non-duality as a subject
doesn't easily slot into normal conversation. To me it
seems as if there are the people who want clarity about this,
whether it takes (a long) time or not and others who are not
interested. In the latter group there are the people who find
relief in their religion and those who seem contented with
life as it is (Ambitious or easy going, yet they are not interested
in a 'you' that one could identify with).
Back to the first group: In one of the notices in your book it
says: ...For the simple fact that you who are reading this
are to some degree dissatisfied and fearful (unless you are not,
in which case you probably aren't reading this, because it
has no function for you)...
It often seems as if personal problems trigger interest in non-duality.
On the other hand some teachers say that realization requires more
or less stable personalities, people who can cope with life. Please
kind of personality is actually irrelevant. What is seen and known
is that personality - any personality - is such a tiny, frail
little thing... always on the verge of just dropping off. It's
just a thought... or a dream... so incredibly transient. Personality,
in its nature, is terribly unstable... just prod it a little bit
and suddenly it can get terribly upset - very defensive - because
there is always, in some way, a recognition that personality is
a fraud... and so it needs a lot of self-promotion to maintain
itself. Any sense of structure is like that, any sense of stability
in fact: because nothing is stable, nothing is structural - there
is only boundless oneness.
But, within this hypothetical array of little terribly
unstable senses of stabilities, these various seeming personalities,
is no one more eligible for realization than another. You see
it's totally beyond the personality... beyond any specifics.
There is only oneness. Oneness is gleamingly self-evident everywhere,
all the time, totally unavoidable - so it can certainly leap
up anywhere, anyhow.
On the one hand one might posit that a comparatively
stable personality, whatever that might be, is more eligible for
realisation, on the
grounds that there may be less defensiveness, less desperate needy
clinging to the idea of being an agentive power. But then you could
equally argue that a stable personality is less eligible on the
grounds that it is much more convinced in its own self - more
sure and more happy in its self-belief - and you might also
argue that the unstable character is more eligible on the grounds
that it is more tenuous... teetering on the brink, or that the
misery it may experience in its failures to be really convincing
perpetuate an enquiry into the nature of existence that the more
stable personality may have no interest in!
Oneness is self-evident,
which is more certain
than 'scientific proof'
So thought can hypothesize anything really - and
be just as convincing from any angle. It's just got nothing
to do with thought and nothing to do with personality (which is
solely thought). This isn't something known from scientific
research, surveys or whatever (which would be totally impossible
by the way, since the variables are so immensely huge...you just
couldn't with even an iota of certainty formulate in any
way realistic categories - of '90% stable' or '87.3%
stable when the whether is good' or 'more stable than
the average urban-dwelling baboon'). But scientific surveys
aren't needed: this is self-evident. If there is only oneness,
which there only is, then it can be seen anywhere, anyhow, at anytime,
with personality present, or without it. Personality and ego are
oneness. And personality, in its stability or instability, never
realizes oneness... oneness realizes oneness...and sees its presence
in all there is, including stability.
Wow! That's a longer answer than virtually any of those passages
from 'my' book!
What words tell
A: And yet, the only possible way to
communicate this is to describe it. At the same time
this seems like a fallacy because the words remind
one of various structures such as: timelessness, spacelessness.
As you said above: 'I am' and 'personality and ego are oneness'.
These may become more or less empty words or notions.
Sometimes it seems to me as if realisation
does not lie within the realm of words, so as if 'the fewer
words the better' or 'the simpler the better' because
realisation is only natural...
G: It is definitely true that words consist in specifics
and therefore convey a reality that is split up into lots of separate
things - which is the very nature of duality. So actually,
it is irrelevant whether more or less words are used: use but one
word and this is illusion. So why not use tons of the things?
Or not? It really doesn't matter - the reality is the
same. And in fact, the lovely thing here is that it is clear that
there is absolutely no choice in this matter... it all just bubbles
out... one word or fifty million. No one is in charge here. And
I am very clear that this is the actual secret to communicating
potently (as opposed to 'the fewer words the better',
for example). This writing here is going on with absolutely zero
sense of anyone or anything being in charge of this... it just
roars out without any sense of responsibility and all the fear
and caginess of that... just like the uninhibited little child
sprinting around the playing field, without a handbrake in sight.
And this roaring, fiery, vigorously unedited motion, feel or quality
is at least as liable to communicate 'aliveness minus the
imprisoning concept of self', as the semantics of the words - what
the words say.
Without formulating them into structures...
A: Could you say that this new awareness
has reminded you somehow of (anything in) young childhood (the
unconditioned mind) and could you say living now is more harmonious,
more true to life or one's real nature?
G: I wouldn't use the word 'harmonious' because
it suggests multiplicity: multiple elements fitting together in
a certain comfortable or attractive or positive way. I find myself
preferring words like 'silky' and 'syrupy' to
describe the way this perception of oneness kind of 'feels'.
It is clear that the sense of being a finite individual existing
in a structural reality is a comparatively bitty, heavy and tiresome
experiencing: not only is the mass of ideas engendered a laborious
effort in itself, but the seeking prompted by this illusion too - all
that scrambling to own or become more of the illusory structure...
more money, more prestige, more friends, a more beautiful and intelligent
lover, more consciousness, more kundalini, more more more. More
So certainly this is, in a way, an infinitely more
silky living... because when there is the believing that what thought
is reality, there is the falling for one particular script, story,
as one imaginary period of time and space, then the break down
of this, as it becomes clear that it isn't accurate (as all
thought is inaccurate), and then the frantic subsisting in of a
new story, a new thought-system. So this is a jumpy, jolting experiencing...
whereas with nondual seeing there is just this vast array of teeming
sensations glinting away... without the formulating of them into
structures going on. Little stories can and do balloon up within
this... playing along with, for example, being a body plopped in
front of a computer screen, writing an email to Amigo, but all
the time this is known as actually a fiction... an illusion...
a magic trick!
Baby, child, teenager and the adult getting
trapped in narrative
You ask if this reminds me of my young childhood
in any way, and I would definitely say that it could. When I see
a real tiny baby now, it seems so radiantly obvious that there
isn't the comprehensive structuralising of reality going
on there yet - the immobile limbs just waving there in mid-air,
eyes both unfocused and yet very bright... it seems clear that
there is more the seeing of just unstructured sensation, aliveness,
colour - as compared with the adult.
Even with the older
child, running around in the playground or whatever, there is a
sense of relation. The child runs round, flailing arms and legs
all over the place, laughing, screaming, sobbing, whatever... and
gradually a kind of crippling, disabling process creeps in. As
this sense of self becomes more pronounced and closed, one gets
more and more obsessed by it, and more and more regimented, dictated
by the fearful need to conform to it. In teenagers this manifests
as 'being cool'. This means having, sustaining, and
projecting an image that slots in with the doctrine of cool - and
this vastly cuts down the options for being... it is such a limited,
A constant battle to be liked
A: Tony Parsons once spoke of realisation
as a fusion of clarity and love (in advaita: jnana - bhakti).
After awakening and perhaps a period of adjusting to the new
awareness, what can you say about this?
G: I must admit, I am finding it difficult to answer
this question. Sitting here now, it is just so radiantly, glisteningly
clear that there is no one and nothing... just this glorious 'this',
there seems to be a total refusal to engage in any concepts - all
of which must be erroneous. But this is an interview, and interviews
involve words, and words are always vastly inaccurate!
Let me just try and conjure some sort of response. 'Clarity' and 'love' are
very good words for describing this. This is just awash with love - there
is only this love - and seeing and knowing this there is,
in this case, such an absolute relaxing into that seeing... all
wrestling with concepts... of 'awakening' and 'after
awakening' and 'adjusting' and 'new awareness' and 'Tony
Parsons' and 'realisation' and 'fusion' and
even 'clarity' and 'love'... all of these
seems like such an unnecessary lie... just besides the point, unreal,
a waste of energy! I'm sorry - I'm not at all
insulting the question - it's a good question - it's
just that, this moment, what is presenting itself most arrestingly
is, the absolute irrelevance of concept, how vastly inaccurate
it is, and also - how this is really just a wonderful bath
or pool or sloshing of brilliant love!
As it happens... the cogs are starting to turn!
Some thoughts... a response to the word 'adjusting'. There was a period
of dark, electric mischief: the realisation of utter freedom permitting
and in this case prompting obscene acts never before contemplated
by a mind previously preoccupied with trying to please everyone - a
constant battle to be liked. The newfound mischief wasn't
really vicious though - it was more like extreme feelings
of affection expressing as prodding my friends in the ribs in various
shapes and forms!
There was also a period when the sense of separation
periodically reemerged - namely on waking up in the mornings. There would
follow a discomfort and rejection of this suffocating feeling...
and then the memory and realisation that this very sense of separation,
like everything there can be, is purely and utterly oneness: and
then the sense of separation and the rejection of it were known
as oneness... and then it would tend to happen that the structure
would give in, love would come gushing in through smashed windows
and wash the walls and ceiling and floor into oblivion: just love...
This body has also experienced some digestive problems
that I get a strong sense is somehow related to adjustment to nondual
(though I could be wrong). The sense is that the body was totally
happy when it was imagined that life was a material, heavy, solid
presence: it knew how to operate in this sense. But with this newish
seeing that there is no matter and no body and nothing...
seems to have thrown the apparent body into some sort of confusion!
It's very gentle - I think this organism's got
off very lightly in this regard: I hear there have been very severe
and painful cases.
There is no doubt that, within the mistaken world
of concept, it would not be inaccurate to say that 'adjusting' has
definitely been a reality of sorts. It's hard to put my finger
on the specifics though... the basic, overwhelming, absolute thing
being - the simple seeing that all there can ever be is presence.
All the rest seems to pale into insignificance somewhat... though
it can be delightful to watch too... all these little meltings
and softenings tingling away...
I think that's all I can say really. I have heard other voices
get very deep into the woods with this kind of thing... spouting
out all manner of concrete accounts, theories and even doctrines.
I won't make that mistake. Specifics, such as 'adjusting',
are limitlessly subtle and variable, and as such, it is always
a lie to pretend they can ever be understood or organised: let
alone rendered as generalisations - religions.
Nothing can help you to get any closer to what
is already only the case!
A: Can you tell us about 'the path' you
took before realisation was obvious?
G: I am reluctant to talk about any path, because
then the tendency is for thought to get hold of this and think 'maybe
such and such an activity has something to do with this awakening?' Realisation
is the knowing that there is only oneness... so there can be no
question of leading up to it... getting closer to it.... no path
In the apparent year before liberation there was some reading and
listening to expressions, which dismissed utterly the possibility
of path... expressions that simply nip all hope in the bud. This
is it! There's nowhere to go! Nothing can help you get any
closer to what is already only the case!
So there would be this traveling to these meetings... and fantasies
would come up about being on a really special, exciting, esoteric
adventure - being involved in something terribly rarified
and superior. And of course, with this was the hope that 'when
I get there - there will be this wonderful epiphany...some
majestic blossoming... all the exact kind of riches thought dreams
up and longs for!' And then I'd hear 'there is
only oneness...you needn't have come here' - and
there would be this painful disappointment... at not having found
what I wanted: the sense of being let down.
This really is the only kind of message that gets to the heart
of the matter. It rips the dream to shreds. Any sense of path,
progress, improvement, direction, motion - can only be pure
dream. It is the sense that there is a divisible reality of multiple
separate things: better and worse; here and there; enlightened
and asleep. So really, I followed no path before realisation...
and whenever I believed I was going somewhere, this delusion was
abruptly dispelled by the message: 'there is nowhere to go'.
It is just a meaningless basking in the sun
A: We have a theme for this Amigo that
is: the meaning of life and/or living life... please comment.
G: It is very clear that life has no meaning. Here
is life. Here it is. How can it be said that it serves any purpose?
Here it is. That's all that can be said. Within this appearance
of sensation there are certainly the manifestations of these thoughts
that crave meaning, purpose, direction. But these cravings always
spring from a delusion that sees separation and a longing to recapture
the former glories of being everything, tasted in infancy and before.
And when this seeing reveals itself again - it is clear that
there can be no question of any meaning to it: because it isn't
going anywhere; it can't do anything; it can't get
anywhere: this is just unmoving love.
One might say that 'love' is the meaning of life. But
love isn't really any meaning. Love is the breakdown of all
struggles to make any headway...to make sense of anything...it
is just a meaningless basking in the sun! It is just relief and
joy. This word 'point' is very revealing. One asks, 'what
is the point of life?' This is the reducing of life down
to a single idea, a goal, a drive. But liberation reveals that
there is nothing like such imaginary 'points'... this
is an absolutely open, indivisible oneness... and spaciousness:
there can be no question of points or focusing on points... reality
just isn't that.
When it is known that there isn't anything separate... anything
of any form... just a supple, rich, pulsing presence...this can
be really lovely just life springing up... so sensitive and gentle
and vivid too. That's it. But thought always messes this
up: creating the sense of a 'lovely pulsing state' somewhere
in the future.
Words are really quite hopeless! But good entertainment!
Guy's website: www.guisemyth.com