How to Avoid False Buddhahood? – Osho

Is it possible to believe that one has just attained Buddhahood? And is it possible just to believe like that only because of the ego? And if it is possible, then how to avoid it?

IT IS VERY MUCH POSSIBLE. Many times your ego will I deceive you. It will say, “You have arrived, you have attained.” By saying that it will prevent you from attaining, because when you have attained there is no need to make any more effort. When you have already attained, then what is the point of going on troubling yourself? That is the last trap ego throws at you.

First it says, “It is foolish to try to attain Buddhahood. It does not happen in the very nature of things. It is all nonsense, fiction. Don’t be mystified by these words!” First the ego will say, “It is impossible. It has never happened and it is not going to happen.” But if you don’t listen and you go on and on, the ego will try many other ways to distract you.

The last will be: one day, seeing that now you don’t listen, the ego can say to you, “Now look! You have had it, it has happened. This is satori, this is samadhi. You have become a Buddha.” This has to be encountered by every seeker.

The real enemy is not outside you, and the real distraction never comes from the outside – it comes from the inside. Buddha has said, “The enemy is within, and the friend is within – both are within you.” If you listen to the enemy, the ego, it will go on befooling you, deluding you.

Naturally, there is nothing much more than Buddhahood. If the ego can feel that “I have attained” then you are at the top of the world. Even an Alexander is nothing before you. The richest man is just poor before you; the most powerful man is nothing, helpless before you. You have become omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent – you have become a god. The ego can do that. And it will! unless you are very, very alert.

And when it starts playing such tricks on you, you will tend to accept it because it is so sweet. It is so beautiful to accept these ideas. Knowing well that nothing has happened – because how can you befool yourself? – knowing well that nothing has happened, still you will tend to become a victim.

Two old men meet on a corner. First old man: “Where have you been for the past eight weeks?”

Second old man: “In jail.”

First old man: “You in jail? How come?”

Second old man: “Well, about eight weeks ago I was standing on a corner, and this beautiful young girl rushes up with a policeman and says, ‘He’s the man, officer. He’s the one who attacked me.’ I tell you, I felt so flattered, I admitted it.”

It is possible. A man of eighty, if a beautiful girl rushes up with a policeman and says, “This man has attacked me,” can feel flattered. It is worth going to jail for a few weeks. He could not say no.

When the idea is thrown at you from your ego that you have attained, it is so charming, it is so hypnotizing, it is so attractive, it is incomparably attractive. And knowing well somewhere deep down – how can you not know? – knowing well, perfectly, that it has not happened! You are just the same, with the same anger, with the same jealousy, with the same possessiveness, with all the nonsense that has been there – it is still there. But still you would like to accept it.

Then you ask me: And if it can happen like that, how to avoid it?

The only way to know, the only way to judge whether it has really happened or is just an ego trap, is that when it really happens you don’t have the feeling of attainment at all. When it REALLY happens you don’t feel that you have attained. You don’t feel that you have arrived, that you have achieved. There is no trace of achievement at all – because WHO can achieve it? In the very process of achieving it you have disappeared, so who call claim it? Who can say, “I have come, I have attained”? The ‘I’ is no more!

This is the only criterion: when you really attain, there is no feeling of attainment at all. There is

NOBODY to attain it and nobody to claim it. There is immense silence. All that garbage of attainment– of attaining this and attaining that – has all disappeared. The whole crowd has gone. You are left utterly in silence. Not even for a single moment does the idea arises: “Now I have attained!”

And you know it has happened, but there is no feeling of attainment. Let me repeat: You know it has happened. But remember, it is a happening – because you don’t find yourself at all! You are not there! It HAS happened! You are empty, you are absent; you look in all directions and you don’t find yourself at all. You are nowhere to be found. That old guy has disappeared without leaving a trace.

You KNOW it! It has happened, but there is no feeling of attainment.

Attainment is an ego feeling; achievement is the desire of the ego. So remember the difference between a happening and an achieving. Ego is the achiever. So if any trace of achievement lingers in you, and any feeling of attainment comes to you, and you start feeling strong, worthy, great – then you can be certain you have missed again.

When it really happens, there is no claimant left. One simply is it. Not that you become Buddha– suddenly you understand you are not, only Buddha is. It brings great humbleness. There is no assertion.


Excerpted from Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol. 3, Chapter 6

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Meher Baba’s Enlightenment-A Kiss From Babajan – Osho

With growing desirelessness, sometimes the person becomes outwardly inactive, is it lethargy and dullness? Why does it happen?

Many things are possible, and it will depend. Certainly many desires will drop and many actions also. Those actions which were just caused by desires will drop. If I was running for a particular desire, how can I run if the desire has dropped? My running will stop. At least the same running on the same route will stop. So when a person becomes desireless, at least for an interim period, for an interval – and how long it will be will depend on the individual – he will become inactive. The desires will have dropped – and all the actions that he had been doing were concerned with desires, so how can he continue? They will drop.

But by dropping desires and actions, energy will be accumulated – and now energy will begin to move. When it moves, how it moves will vary from individual to individual, but now it will move.

There will be a gap, an interim period, an interval. This I call a pregnancy period. The seed is born, but now it will gestate for at least nine months. And it may seem strange, but it happens. This nine months period is meaningful. Near about this, eight months or ten months, will be the interim period, and you will just become inactive. This inactivity will also vary. Someone may become so inactive that people may think that he has just gone into a coma. Everything stops.

For Meher Baba it happened like that. For one year he was just in a coma. He couldn’t even move his limbs. Action was far off, he couldn’t stand up because even the desire to stand had gone. He couldn’t eat; he had to be forced. He couldn’t do anything! For one year continuously he became just helpless – a helpless child. This was a pregnancy period, and then, suddenly, a different man was born. The man who became inactive was no more: a new energy – energy accumulated.

Lives and lives of dissipated energy create this gap – because you do not have enough energy.

When desire is not there to invoke. provoke, stimulate, you just drop. Your energy is not really energy, but just a pushing and pulling. Anyhow you go on running because the goal seems just nearby. A few moments’ endeavour more and you will reach! You pull yourself on; somehow you carry yourself and run. But when the goal is dropped, when there is no desire, you will drop. An inactivity will be there. If you can be patient in this inactivity period, after it you will be reborn. Then energy will begin to move without desires.

But I say it depends. It may happen suddenly as it happened for Meher Baba: that was a sudden case. It happened in Poona. It happened by a kiss from an old lady, Babajan. Meher Baba was just passing, coming back from his school. Babajan was an old Sufi mystic, an old lady who was just sitting under a tree for years and years and years. Meher Baba was just coming, and Babajan called him. He knew this old lady. She was sitting for years under the tree, and he had passed by that street daily on his way towards his school and towards his home. She called and he came near. She kissed him – and he dropped as if dead just there. Then he had to be carried home.

For one year continuously the kiss remained on him and he was in a coma. It may happen suddenly like this. Mm? This was a great transfer, and Babajan died afterwards because she had just been waiting for this moment to give someone the whole energy. This was her last life, and there was not enough time even to explain what she was giving. And also, she was not the type to have explained. She was a silent mystic. She had not touched anybody for years. She was a only waiting for this moment when she was to kiss someone and the whole energy was to be transferred in a single transfer. Before this she had not even touched anyone, so this touch was to be total.

And this child was simply unaware of what was going to happen. He was ready – otherwise this transfer would not have been possible – but he was not aware. He had worked through his past lives. He was just coming up. He might have become aware later on, but just now he was completely unaware. This happened so suddenly that he had to go again through a second pregnancy. For one year he was as if not. Many medicines were given; many, many doctors and physicians tried to help, but nothing could be done. And the woman who could do something, she disappeared, she died. After one year he was a different man – totally different.

If it happens so suddenly, then it will be a deep coma. If it happens through some exercises, then it will never be so deep a coma. If you are doing awareness exercises, meditation, then it will never happen so suddenly. It will come so gradually, so gradually, that you will never even become aware of when it has happened. By and by, inactivity will be there, activity will be there, and very gradually inside everything will have changed. And the desire will drop, the activity will drop, but no one will ever feel that you have been lethargic or that you have become inactive.

This is the gradual process. So those who follow yoga or any method will not feel the suddenness. There are also methods in which sudden happenings become possible, but one can be prepared. Babajan never prepared this boy; she never even asked his permission. It was a one-way affair. She just transferred the energy.

Zen monks also transfer, but before transferring they prepare the ground. A person can be made ready to receive the energy, then this reaction will not be there. He may feel lethargy for some days, for some months, but no one will feel outside that inside everything has become inactive. But that needs preparation, and that can happen only in schools. And when I say “school”, I mean a group working.

Babajan was alone; she never made anyone her disciple. There was no school, there was not a following in which she could have prepared anyone. And, also, she was not the type. She was not the teacher type; she couldn’t teach. But she had to give to someone, to whomsoever passed and she felt: “Now is the moment, and this one will be able to carry it,” so she could just deliver it.

So it depends. Inactivity is bound to be there – more or less, but it will be there, a period will be there. And only then can you be reborn, because the whole mechanism has to change completely. The mind drops, old roots drop, the old habits drop, the old association of consciousness and desires, consciousness and mind, drops – everything old drops and everything has to be new.

A waiting is needed, patience is needed. And if one is patient, one has not to do anything: just to wait is enough. The energy begins to move by itself. You just sow the seed and then wait! Don’t be in a hurry; don’t go every day to pull the seed out and see what is happening. Just put it inside and wait. The energy will take its own course. The seed will die, and the energy will sprout and will begin to move. But don’t be impatient. One has to wait.

And the greater the seed, and the greater the possibility, the potentiality of the tree that is going to be, the more will be the waiting. But it comes. It comes! The deeper the waiting, the sooner it comes.


Taken from The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol. 1, Chapter 4

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Be a Light Unto Ourselves

Why did Osho change the traditional order used for The Three Jewels? At first, I wondered if it was just a mistake that Sheela made when introducing us to them, but later I found discourses in which Osho referred to them in the order that was presented to us.

Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami – I take refuge in the Awakened One

Sangham Sharanam Gachchhami – I take refuge in the Community of the Awakened One

Dhammam Sharanam Gachchhami – I take refuge in the Ultimate Teaching of the Awakened One

Traditionally they are said with Dhammam preceding Sangham. Each of us will have our own insights as to why he changed them, but regardless as to why this is the order that his work has operated on me.

First it was I bow down to the Buddha, to the Master. This is the easiest. Who cannot, but bow down to the Master once the Master is met? For me this is what took place in what we refer to as Poona One. It was all Him. He gave us meditations. He gave us daily discourses. He guided us through our personal issues during darshan. He then began working on us in energy darshans; and finally introduced us to Satsang.

Sangham Sharanam Gachchhami was more difficult; and for some almost impossible. To surrender to the commune is much more arduous, because often it means saying yes to stupidity. But it is that saying yes to stupidity that is intelligence because one understands that it is transformative. It is surrender. Surrender means putting aside the conditioning and saying yes. This then lessens the grip that the conditioning has on oneself. In fact, it lessens the grip of oneself. One can let-go of conditioning only with awareness. Not saying yes because of a need for appreciation or because of a hunger for position or power but in the understanding that it is here that the transformation takes hold. It is here that awareness is strengthened and the ego begins to lose its grip.

When I saw Osho take off in the plane from the runway at Rajneeshpuram, I knew at that moment I would never see him again. This was the beginning of Dhamma, the ultimate truth of the awakened one. What does it mean to surrender to the ultimate truth? It is when one starts being the teaching. One starts living the understanding in one’s own light.

The beginning of living the understanding didn’t immediately start at that moment of watching the plane take off, it took a little time. I was still involved with the distribution of Osho’s books. We had to move the books to Colorado and setup distribution anew. And then because of conflict with the organization I moved further and further away until finally I was standing on my own. The call of the inner guru was heard.

For the first time the spark of inquiry was lit. Up to that point I had meditated but it was witnessing phenomena, be it sensations, thoughts or feelings. Now the consciousness was seeking its source. This is what I believe to be conversion. It is here that surrender to Dhamma begins. To me this means Self-Inquiry. It is the movement from seeking to inquiring. It is the movement from the outer guru to the inner guru. Up to this point one is living on borrowed bliss. From this point on, one is relying on one’s own light of understanding that has been lit by Buddha, strengthened by Sangha and is now being stabilized in Dhamma.

This does not mean that one is no longer open to the understanding being expressed through the Masters; on the contrary one is more open than ever. And once the contact with the inner guru is established, there is no fear whether some teaching is valid or not because it is seen from one’s own understanding and there is clarity. The understanding is experienced for oneself, it is acted upon, even more accurately it can be said that the understanding itself, the seeing itself is the acting, is the transformation. It is in the fire of this Being Understanding that the “me” is consumed, impression by impression, Gathe, gathe, para gathe parasam gathe. Bodhi svaha. Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond. O what an awakening all-hail!

Everyone passes through The Three Jewels at their own pace but what is important is that we don’t linger too long on the way and that we continue until finally we are living the Dhamma, being a light unto oneself.

PostScript– It occurs to me that there are many who reading “Be a light unto ourselves” will think that it is ironic for those of us who have lived with a master, who have lived as part of a commune to place importance on being a light unto ourselves.

To those, I would say that is precisely what drew us to the flame. We had become aware that until we were capable of separating ourselves from this conditioning, we would not be that light. We had already discovered that our minds had been filled with conditioning—by our parents, the society, the churches, the politicians and the schools.

We could also see that anyone who has not managed to extricate themselves from that conditioning is simply not capable of being their own light because it is through that conditioning, that mind, which one sees the world, acts and reacts. Is it any wonder that we live in a world in conflict? And we found that meditation is the means of brain washing (de-conditioning).

Meditation is not a learning, rather an unlearning which in the end uncovers the original face.

“Be ye lamps unto yourselves,

be a refuge to yourselves.

 Hold fast to Truth as a lamp;

hold fast to the Truth as a refuge.

Look not for a refuge in anyone beside yourselves.

And those, who shall be a lamp unto themselves,

shall betake themselves to no external refuge,

but holding fast to the Truth as their lamp,

and holding fast to the Truth as their refuge,

they shall reach the topmost height.”

Buddha’s Farewell Message to Ananda

Bodh Gaya


This story is from a collection of stories and essays from along the Way titled From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva.

Your Luminous Presence – Francis Lucille

What can you tell us about intelligence?

Ordinary intelligence is a cerebral function. It appears as the faculty of adaptation and organization. It allows complex problems to be handled by bringing into play a large quantity of givens. Linked to heredity and to acquired conditioning of the brain, it operates sequentially, in time. This kind of intelligence is responsible for performing math calculations, formulating logical arguments, or playing tennis. Operating like a super-computer, it excels in accomplishing repetitive tasks and may one day be surpassed by machines. Its source is memory, the known.

Intuitive intelligence appears as understanding and clarity. It is responsible for seeing simplicity in apparent complexity. It strikes directly, in the moment. Always creative, free of the known, it is at the heart of all scientific discoveries and great works of art. Its source is the supreme intelligence of timeless awareness.

When intuitive intelligence turns upon itself, trying to grasp its source, it loses itself in the instantaneous apperception of supreme intelligence. The recognition of that higher intelligence is an implosion that destroys the illusion that we are a personal entity.

Does this recognition occur independently of someone’s level of general intelligence?

Yes. The presence of an intense desire for awakening is a sure sign that this recognition has taken place.

Is the destruction of the ego induced by a gradual or a sudden awakening?

The first moment of recognition already contains in it the germ of its fulfillment, in the same way that the seed already contains the flower, the tree, and the fruit. For a little while, the ego, stricken by the still partial vision of this intelligence, retains a semblance of life. At this stage, habit still maintains its old identifications, but an irreparable breach has slipped into the belief in our separate existence. One’s heart is no longer in it, one could say, in all senses of the word.

Intermittent recurrences of this recognition widen this gap even further until the moment when the ego, which is a perceived object, becomes completely objective, prior to dissolving before our very eyes, making way for the invasion of the ineffable.

Following this awakening, we find ourselves free of fear and desire. Free of fear because, having reintegrated our immortal self, the specter of death leaves us forever. Free of desire because, knowing the absolute fullness of being, the old attraction objects held for us ceases spontaneously. Old physical and mental habits that derived from the former belief in a personal existence can manifest for yet a while, but all identification with objects perceived or thought is impossible henceforth.

When contemplated in the amazing neutrality of awareness, these habits die, one by one, without their occasional recurrence triggering a return of the illusion of the ego.

What are the signs by which we can recognize higher intelligence?

Thoughts, feelings, and actions that flow from higher intelligence refer to their source, the self. As they fade out back into their source, they leave us on the shore of the absolute, like the foam that a wave deposits on the sand. The thought that thinks truth proceeds from truth, and brings us back to truth. This thought has many different facets. It poses apparently diverse questions like: What is happiness? What is God? Who am I? All these questions originate from a common source: from eternal joy, from the divine, from our self.

When these questions, permeated by the fragrance of truth, invite you, make room for them, make time for them, surrender to them, let yourself be carried by them. These thoughts are like the footprint of God in your soul. Let it proceed where it will. The one in whom these thoughts have awakened is very fortunate. No obstacle can prevent him access to the truth. Once the desire for the ultimate has grasped you, the entire universe cooperates in the fulfillment of this desire.

Are you in this state of fulfillment at this moment?

There is no one in that state. This non-state is the absence of the person.

Do you go in and out?

It isn’t a state.

Are you awake in that state?

This non-state is awake to itself. It is awareness. I am awareness, you are awareness.

In that case, you are aware that everything is in its place?

From the point of view of awareness, everything is awareness, thus everything is in its place. Nothing is tragic. All is light, all is presence.

Given that we are light and that the things around us are also that light, do you see things differently from us?

No. I see everything exactly the way you do, but there are things you believe you see that I don’t see. I don’t see a personal entity in the picture. Even if an old habit arising from memory comes up, it is totally objectivized. It is simply part of the picture. It is not what I am. I don’t take myself as something thought of or perceived. That is all. You can do the same thing. You are free. It is enough to just try. Do it! Right now!

How do I go about it?

Each time you take yourself to be an object, for example, a body or a man with a certain profession, be aware of it.

So there is a self at a higher level that observes the situation. Is that the perspective?

That is the intellectual understanding of the perspective, not its reality. The reality is your welcoming attention, not the concept of your welcoming attention, or the concept of yourself as welcoming attention. It is simply your luminous presence, without tension or resistance, welcoming moment by moment the thought or sensation that is coming into being, letting it unfold freely, and letting it reabsorb into itself without leaving any traces. This original light is not an absence but a fullness. Surrender yourself to it. Let yourself be overcome by it.

-Francis Lucille

Taken from Eternity Now

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Where did the Time Go?

It is only just the other day that it became absolutely clear to me that no one ever experiences time. It simply is not possible to ‘experience’ time. And when I say ‘experience’ I mean perceiving without thought.  It seems to me that this illustrates that time only exists as a concept.

Of course I have intellectually understood this before but I had not actually realized it until now. Time simply does not exist. It is only thought. It is of course a mechanical measurement but even then it is necessary for concepts to be involved. Without thought – there simply is no time.

And for that matter the same can be said for space. And by space I mean the experience of any other space than here. All experience takes place here. Experience cannot happen any other place than here. Again we divide up the ‘here’ conceptually. But the division does not exist.

I am almost embarrassed writing these words because it is so obvious. But it is only obvious when seen in the moments outside the mind, or more accurately prior to the mind. And from this ‘space’ prior to mind nothing exists. By that I mean there are not separate objects of perception. Those separate objects are again concepts. Do you see?


This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

It Is What I Am – Rupert Spira

It Is What I Am

Dear Rupert,

When I was a child, I used to think, when in bed before going to sleep: “how is it possible that the universe has come into existence? If something exists, something else is the originating cause.” Going backwards, I always arrived (and I still arrive now) at a conclusion: “Something exists forever. But this is impossible to my logic… so nothing exists.” Many times I felt, just for an instant, a sudden vacuum when concluding that nothing exists. But then I noticed that I was there, thinking and conscious, so I existed!!!! My logic says that nothing exists and never existed, but I am here writing this.

This contradiction has opened my mind to any possibility. If I cannot understand how is it possible that anything exists, then anything can be possible, and the Truth (the reality) can be anything. When I found out years later about Young’s double slit experiment and other paradoxes in quantum physics, I was not surprised at all. In fact, all phenomena are simple details, what matters is the substance that is behind them.

My question: non-dual teachings resonate with what I just related. Even the nothingness that is totality at the same time sounds like the paradox of something uncaused. Do you, in your consistent openness and enlightenment, “understand” (or whatever word you use) this paradox? Is it possible to penetrate this mystery?

Thanks and kind regards,


Dear Javier

Thank you for your beautiful question which goes to the very heart of the matter.

You say, “When I was a child, I used to think, when in bed before going to sleep, ‘how is it possible that the universe has come into existence?'”

Let us look first of all at this ‘universe’ that is considered to have come into existence. The ‘universe’ is normally considered to be an infinitely vast whole which we, as separate perceiving entities, perceive partially and intermittently.

This ‘universe’ is considered to have existed before any of these apparently perceiving entities were present to perceive it. That is, it is considered to have existed before perception was possible and even when so called perceiving entities had appeared in this universe it is still considered to exist when it is not being perceived.

In fact this ‘universe’ is considered to have given birth, at a certain stage of its evolution, to the Consciousness with which it is known or perceived. However, it is believed to have existed prior to the birth of this Consciousness. In other words the ‘universe’ is considered to exist prior to and independently of Consciousness.

However, this universe that is conceived to have existed prior to Consciousness, has never been experienced. Perceptions are experienced and subsequently thought strings together in imagination an infinite number of such perceptions and creates out of them ‘the universe.’ However, such a ‘universe’ exists only in imagination. It is a presumption.

Now let us look first of all at the validity of this fundamental presumption. What evidence is there for such a universe? Has it ever been experienced? Could it ever be experienced?

If we agree to begin with that experience must be the test of reality, then every presumption or thought model must be subjected to the scrutiny of experience in order to be validated.

So, has anyone ever experienced the universe as it is conceived? We can bring this investigation much closer by taking any simple object such as the table in our room and ask the same questions about it:

There is a perception of the table. If there are several people in the room, there will be several perceptions of the table. From these perceptions we build a model of a ‘whole table,’ ‘the thing in itself’ that is considered to be the sum total of all possible perceptions, that exists independently of its being perceived and cannot by definition ever be perceived in its imagined totality.

Has anyone ever experienced such a table? Have you ever experienced such a table? Could you? Could anyone?

The answer is obviously ‘No.’ It is fundamental to see the truth of this simple and startling fact of experience: no one has ever or could ever experience an object, an other, a world, a universe as it is normally considered to exist or conceived to be.

The universe as such is imagined. This is not a proof that such a universe does not exist, but it is a proof that there is no evidence that it does.

* * *

So, it does not make sense to ask questions about a universe that we have never experienced. It is like asking questions about a pink elephant.

Having said that, asking questions about what we SEEM to experience is good because if we pursue them thoroughly, they lead us to what we IS experienced.

So let us now come closer to the truth of our experience:

Imagine an everyday occurrence such as walking into your kitchen, making a cup of tea and leaving again.

Our normal view is that we, as an entity located in and as the body, enter the kitchen which was there prior to our entering it, unexperienced so to speak. When we leave the kitchen, we imagine that it remains as it was prior to our entering it, that is, unexperienced.

Let us look more closely: the kitchen neither conceives nor perceives itself to be ‘a kitchen.’  Both conceiving and perceiving are faculties of the mind.

Therefore in the absence of mind, the kitchen cannot exist either as a concept or a percept.

So, when it is neither conceived or perceived, in what form could it exist? To exist it must have a form. However in the absence of mind, that ‘form’ cannot be a perception, that is, it cannot be a sight, a sound, a smell, a sensation or a taste.

In other words, conception and perception are faculties or qualities of mind. They are not faculties of the kitchen. It is the mind that conceives of a ‘kitchen’ and gives ‘it’ its name and it is the mind that perceives and gives ‘it’ its form.

Now what is this ‘it’ independent of the mind? What are its qualities?

We have no doubt that when the ‘kitchen’ is experienced, there is SOMETHING present. There is experience. In other words, whatever the ‘kitchen’ actually IS in its own right, divested of those qualities of name and form that the mind superimpose upon ‘it,’ is present. Whatever that is, it has no objective qualities, because all objective qualities are supplied by mind. In other words, whatever ‘it’ is, is both non-objective and present. That is, we can be sure that BEING is present in the experience of the ‘kitchen.’

The experience of the ‘kitchen’ is also, by definition, known, and as all knowing takes place in Consciousness, we can also be sure that Consciousness is present in the experience of the ‘kitchen.’

Thus we have arrived at the simple conclusion, drawn from our own experience, that Being and Consciousness are present in the experience of the ‘thing in itself,’ whether that thing is a kitchen, a table or a universe.

We can also go further and observe from experience that the experience of the ‘kitchen,’ and indeed all experience, is always only one experience, not two, and can therefore conclude that Being and Consciousness are one and the same.

In other words, what IT IS is made fundamentally out of Being/Consciousness.

* * *

Now let us keep going.

This Being/Consciousness does not, in our experience, ‘come into existence.’ Nobody has ever or could ever experience the appearance of Being/Consciousness because Being/Consciousness would have to be ‘there’ present to witness and therefore claim such an appearance.

Moreover, if we look now at the ‘me’ that walks into the kitchen’ we can explore it in exactly the same way that we previously explored the ‘kitchen.’ And if we do so we arrive at the same startling conclusion. That is, all the apparently objective qualities that we attribute to this ‘me’ are supplied by mind. They are not inherent in ‘me.’ The body does not know it is a body, let alone a ‘me.’ Only the mind says so.

In other words, if we divest ‘me’ of those qualities that are supplied by mind, that is, thinking, sensing and perceiving, we are left with the same experience of Being/Consciousness.

In other words, what I AM is made fundamentally out of Being/Consciousness.

* * *

In other words we have arrived at the fundamental equation of experience that IT (the body, object, world, universe or other) IS WHAT I AM.

Now Being/Consciousness is in our experience, which means in its own experience, ever-present. It cannot nor could it ever know its own absence.

So the fundamental substance of the body, object, world, universe or other is Being/Consciousness and the particular qualities that seem to differentiate different objects, bodies, worlds etc from one another are supplied by mind.

However, in the absence of mind, there is no time or space, both of which turn out on investigation to be concepts.

Therefore the body, object, world, universe or other cannot be said to have come INTO existence. From where would they have come? And at what time?

Rather we have seen from experience that the substance of the universe etc. is Being/Consciousness which is ever-present. And all apparent qualities of mind arise within this Being/Consciousness. There is nowhere outside of this Being/Consciousness from which they could have come. And the substance out of which this mind is made can only be the substance of Being/Consciousness, just as ice forming in water can only be made of whatever ingredients that are present in the water.

The only thing that is present in Being/Consciousness is Being/Consciousness. Therefore it is this very Being/Consciousness that takes the shape of the mind and from here appears as the multiplicity and diversity of bodies, people, objects, worlds, universes, particles, others etc.

However in order for this apparent multiplicity and diversity to seem real the homogeneous, singular oneness of its real substance (Being/Consciousness) must be overlooked or forgotten.

In other words, the true nature of Being/Consciousness must be forgotten, denied, veiled or imagined non-existent, for objects, the world and others etc. to appear to come into existence.

In short the universe comes into existence (that is, it seems to take on its own separate reality) at the very moment that our true nature of Being/Consciousness is forgotten. And how is Being/Consciousness forgotten if it is ever-present and there is nothing in its experience besides itself?

The answer is that is it never truly forgotten. However it SEEMS to be. It seems to forget or veil itself by taking the shape of mind and then, that apparent mind identifies the ‘I’ that is inherent in the Being/Consciousness with one little part of the totality, that is with a body.

In other words, Consciousness, as it were, forgets itself, forgets the Knowing of its own Being and rises instead as the dualising mind, in the form of the ‘I’ entity. At this moment, ‘everything-I-am-not’ springs into apparent existence as the universe, objects, others or world.

However, the ‘I’ entity and the universe, objects, others and world etc. are nothing but this very Being/Consciousness taking the shape of name (thinking) and form (perceiving) and seeming to be something other than itself.

* * *

So to go back to the example of walking into the kitchen…. nobody walks into a kitchen in time and space….

There is Being/Consciousness. It is this Being/Consciousness that takes the shape of a sensation called the body which a subsequent thought identifies as ‘I.’

This Being/Consciousness takes the shape of the body, then the walls, then the floor, then the kitchen, then the kettle, then the water, then the tea…..on and on. And woven into this constantly seeming morphing of Being/Consciousness is a train of thought that conceptualises all this experience as ‘me’ a body, walking into a kitchen, that was always here, and makes a cup of tea in a kettle that exists along with everything else independent of its being known……

But in fact there is just Being/Consciousness, that is, just ‘I,’ always in the same place which is a placeless place, always at the same timeless nowness, taking the shape of sensing, perceiving and thinking…..always only being itself, never giving birth to anything other than itself….giving its own substance to every appearance.

‘I’  body-ing, ‘I’ wall-ing, ‘I’ floor-ing, ‘I’ kitchen-ing, ‘I’ kettle-ing, ‘I’ water-ing, ‘I’ tea-ing, ‘I’ etc-ing, etc-ing, etc-ing…..

So it is not that the universe, objects, others, the world etc is not real. Every experience is real but its reality is that of Being/Consciousness. In other words IT IS WHAT I AM.

* * *

You say, “Something exists forever. But this is impossible to my logic… so nothing exists.”

Don’t start from logic, start from experience. You are right that nothing objective, that is, no thought, sensation or perception, has lasted forever in your experience.

Nor have you or anyone ever experienced the vast expanse of time that is conceptualised as ‘forever.’ However, you have and do continually experience your own Being. In fact you have never experienced its absence, nor could you.

It is your experience that you, Being/Consciousness, are ever-present. That is, its own Ever-presence is its own intimate experience.

However, in order to interpret its own Ever-presence as the existence of an independent universe existing ‘for ever’ in time, Being/Consciousness has first to seem to forget itself. It does this, as I said before by taking the shape of dualising mind.

With the arising of dualising mind, the Ever-Presence of Being/Consciousness seems to be veiled and is replaced by the idea and apparent experience of a separately existing universe that lasts ‘forever.’

In other words the Ever-presence of Being/Consciousess is appropriated by mind and conferred upon an imaginary universe that is considered, as a result, to last ‘forever’ in time.

However, it only seems to be veiled from the point of view of the dualising mind. It is never truly veiled from itself. There is nothing in its own experience, apart from itself, with which it could make a veil in order to screen itself from itself. Such a veil would be made only out of itself.

So yes, ‘nothing (no thing) exists’ if by a ‘thing’ we mean something existing in its own right in time and space. However, the substance of all apparent things, does not exist, but rather IS eternally, that is, not ‘forever’ in time, but always now.

This is what Parmenides meant when he said, “That which is never ceases to be. That which is not never comes into existence.”

* * *

You say, “Many times I felt, just for an instant, a sudden vacuum when concluding that nothing exists. But then I noticed that I was there, thinking and conscious, so I existed!!!!”

Yes, when we have been invested for decades in the apparent reality of the separate self and the separate, distant, outside world it can be a tremendous shock to understand that its SEEMING reality is made only of mind and lasts only as long as the current thought, image, sensation or perception lasts, that is, for a moment. However, its REAL reality is made of Being/Consciousness and is the substantial, homogeneous, ever-present reality of our experience.

It is as if all the ground has been pulled from under our feet. We grasp for something solid to hold on to, something known. But we find nothing objective. It feels like a vacuum.

However, we do not find nothing. We find our Self, Being/Consciousness, the Isness of things and the Amness of self, the only true security, our real home.

However, you do not exist. You ARE. To exist means to ‘stand out from.’ You do not stand out as an object from anything. You are existence itself from which all apparent things that seem to exist are made.

It is your Being that gives seeming existence to all apparent objects.

Nothing exists in its own right but Presence IS, and is the ever-present substance of all seeming things.

* * *

This goes to the very heart of the matter. Normally we think that the existence or being of a thing and the knowing of that thing are two, are separate.

But they are not. To know a thing is to be that thing. That is Consciousness’ mode of knowing a thing: to be that thing.

It is only the mind that separates Being and Knowing or Being and Consciousness into two different things. In reality there is no such separation between the two. In fact they are not two.

The only way to know another is be that other. The only way to know an object is be that object. The only way to know the kitchen is be the kitchen. The only way to know the world is be the world.

It is ‘I,’ Being/ Consciousness, that takes the shape of the thinking, imagining, sensing and perceiving. It is ‘I,’ Being/Consciousness, that takes the shape of a thought that identifies myself with a particular sensation called the body and in doing so imagines another substance that is not myself, called matter, out of which everything that is seemingly not myself, that is, the world, is made.

Consciousness creates the apparent world, object or other, by taking the shape of the dualising mind and thereby SEEMINGLY forgetting its own Self.

And conversely as Consciousness remembers or recognises its Self the apparently separate world, object, self or other dissolves.

* * *

You say, “My logic says that nothing exists and never existed, but I am here writing this…” You are right ‘nothing exists and never existed’ but you are not here writing this or reading this. YOU, Being/Consciousness, ARE. You remain eternally unchanging yourself, knowing and being only yourself, never becoming anything other, such as a thing, object, self or world, but taking the shape of that which SEEMS to be a thing, object, self or world.

You say, “This contradiction has opened my mind to any possibility.”

Yes, why not? Just as all possible words are contained within the twenty-six letters of the alphabet, so all possibilities are contained within Being/Consciousness. But they are not contained within it like chocolates in a box. Rather there is only one homogeneous substance which, having no shape, has the capacity to take all possible shapes, but never at any time becomes anything other than itself.

You say, “In fact, all phenomena are simple details, what matters is the substance that is behind them.”

Yes, but the substance of all phenomena is not just behind all appearances. It is in the foreground as well. There is only that. There is only one homogeneous substance, always itself, always in the same place, that is, in itself, being only itself, knowing only itself, loving only itself.

You say, “Non-dual teachings resonate with what I just related. Even the nothingness that is totality at the same time sounds like the paradox of something uncaused.”

Yes, Being/Consciousness is uncaused. There is nothing else present which could be its cause and nothing else present which it causes.

A cause requires at least two things: a cause and an effect. It also requires time. We find neither in experience. Multiplicity and time only come into apparent existence when the reality of our experience is forgotten.

You ask, “Do you, in your consistent openness and enlightenment, “understand” (or whatever word you use) this paradox? Is it possible to penetrate this mystery?”

It is not possible to penetrate this mystery with the mind because the mind is simply the current thought or image. The current thought or image knows nothing. It is known.

Nor does the mind understand. All understanding takes place beyond the mind. The mind is simply the formulation of the understanding. It is not the understanding itself.

Understanding is always the non-objective experience of the Knowing of Being.

So the mystery can never be understood by the mind. However, you ARE the mystery. It is too close to you to be known or penetrated.

It is a mystery only for the mind. For itself it is not a mystery. If it were a mystery it would be somehow unknown or unexperienced. In which case whatever is being experienced, for instance, the kitchen, the taste of tea or these words, would be something other than the mystery. But what would they be made of? There is nothing other than Being/Consciousness out of which they could be made.

There is the Knowing of Being.

When the dualising mind rises to apparently split this Knowingofbeing into two apparent things, the experience is known as unhappiness. When the dualising mind subsides and Knowing tastes again its own Being, the experience is known as love, happiness, peace, beauty or understanding.

With love,


This was first seen on the site:

The Person Is The Past – Alexander Smit

Alexander: There was a moment in your life, probably when you were three of four years old, when you began to experience yourself as something different from the perceivingness. A moment in which you made a swingover to an “I,” that is to say, to a “person,” a self consciousness.

What  you know about yourself is what you remember about yourself. The person, the “I,” consists of nothing but memory pictures from the past. Unlike the images which you make of yourself, awareness does not need any memory. Therefore, all that you know about yourself, and that which you take yourself to be, is old; it is the past. Memory cannot perceive anything new, whereas awareness can. That which you take yourself to be and with which you may identify yourself, are curdled experiences consisting purely and simply of memory pictures. Your so-called experiences are always past. Necessarily the past, for what you know about yourself is derived from memory and is memory. The memory is able to retrieve through images that which is past. But something that is past is not the reality. At best, it is a mental reality. That reality, however, is only short-lived and will eventually dissolve in the awareness.

What sort of reality does the person, composed by you from the past, possess? The reality which you attribute to that past consists of thoughts, mental images, ideas, and concepts. Those images seem to overshadow the reality that you are actually living. Because of that you are living in a world of delusion instead of in the reality. Only the power of discrimination can free you from that. That is why Advaita emphasizes viveka so much, the ability to discriminate between what is delusion and what is reality.

The person, that “somebody” which you have created, cannot be replaced by the concept of “nobody.”

Visitor: That is precisely the point. What I have done is to replace the “somebody” by a “nobody.”

A: It is sufficient to see that what you call the “somebody” or the “person”—that is to say, all the material with which you could identify yourself—is the old, the memory, pictures, and that these do not have any reality. They do have some form of reality, but that reality, in turn, is being attributed by other images again. The reality you are actually living is free from delusion.

V:  I can see that.

A: It isn’t a question of your seeing it: It’s a question of your being there—always.

V: I remember quite well, when I first came here, that you said, “There has got to be a knowing.” My question is: Who knows it?

A: Do you need a “who” in order to know that? At best, the knowing is conscious of a “who,” but there certainly isn’t a “who” that is conscious of the knowing.

V: That knowing happens through the body.

A: Now, if the body is dead, then what does the body know?

V: Then the knowing also isn’t there.

A: So the knowing is the body? The body is still there after death, but the knowing has gone. The knowing does have something to do with the body, but it is not the body. When someone dies, the one who is afraid of dying will disappear. For then it is actually happening, so he needn’t be afraid of it anymore. The one who has the fear of passing away will disappear along with the passing away. It can never take long. You needn’t be afraid of death—the fear will go together with death. If you are afraid to lose your finger, then the fear will have disappeared the moment that you have actually lost it. Those fears are not substantial, not real. In the reality fear disappears. More people have died from the fear of death that through death itself…

V: I am still left with the question of whether the knowing isn’t actually tied up with a “somebody.”

A: No, it isn’t.

V: You are saying. Things happen within the consciousness.

A: Yes, but you can’t make consciousness into an object, into a thing. By making a noun of it, it would seem as if qualities may be attributed to it.

V: When Self realization takes place, will there be a “somebody” then who knows it?

A: It is that very “somebody” which will disappear with Self realization. But there isn’t going to be a “nobody” to take its place.

V: Then who knows?

A: There is only the knowing. There isn’t a “somebody” who knows, nor is there a “nobody” who knows. There is only knowingness, love, consciousness. Once a person came here. After one meeting he said, “I know enough. I get it.” “All right,” I said, and I never saw him again.

To see it only once is sufficient. Knowing is sufficient unto itself. Then there is always something that has to go with it—stories, dramas, ideas, philosophy, etc. Ignorance always needs to be supported, because it cannot stand on its own. The knowing-ness which you are, doesn’t need any support. No guru, no disciple, no commentary, no confirmation, not a single reflection.

Self realization is self-sufficient; that is the beauty of it. The whole guru-disciple relationship also is transcended along with it. The reality—that which you really are—is sufficient unto itself. It doesn’t need anyone’s confirmation, not even the confirmation of the teacher or the guru. But until the last moment you will not stop to seek the grace, the blessing, the approval, the confirmation of the guru as the father.

Only the reality which you are actually living suffices. Self realization is self sufficient. That realization can never be confirmed by anything from outside, by an authority, by an outsider. Someone who is truly Self realized doesn’t run into the trap of self complacency, thinking, “I’m enlightened, I don’t need anybody anymore.” It is very subtle . . . Profound knowing will ultimately become silence.

You have to understand that the “person” is obsessive. You can’t tell the memory, “Stop producing images!” Memory simply produces what it produces. In fact, it is producing a three-dimensional delusion. There is only one thing which is staying out of the delusion, and that is the perceivingness. No wonder that is where the emphasis needs to be put. From the delusion you will never be able to realize what that perceivingness is. The will has no grip on the memory and, therefore, not on the “person,” either. They can’t just disappear.  Memory simply continues to deliver. You may forgive but not forget. To forget is not an act of the will. The brains are simply doing their job. That is how it works; that’s the reality.

Thus I see only one possibility, and I’m asking you: Are you able to see that which is beyond memory? That is the perceivingness, the knowingness. That is why Advaita would like to see you moving into that direction.

V: What matters—looking at it from the subject—is to shift the point of gravity.

A: To shift the point of gravity from constantly trying to get a grip on the knowingness from the delusion—to the knowingness itself, to the real essence. That is what matters in these meetings.

V: And all the whirlings produced by the memory are to be viewed from the perceivingness as being more or less irrelevant.

A: No, no, no! That again is a judgment, and undesirable involvement. What matters is the fact that you are choicelessly aware. The word “choiceless” isn’t just anything: It means to be without discrimination, without preference or aversion. Without judgment, for the perceivingness is choiceless.

V: So you let everything pass by?

A: Let me put it this way: Whoever realizes the perceivingness cannot but live and look from that. The possibility to judge remains completely available, but condemnation will prove to be impossible.

V: Everybody is pushing you into the reality value of the person. Is it possible to avoid that?

A: No, it isn’t. Try to see that you are not a person yourself. That is sufficient and that will do the job.

-Alexander Smit

Taken from Consciousness

This excerpt was originally seen in Inner Directions Journal, Spring/Summer 2005.

The entire magazine can be downloaded from:

For more from Alexander Smit look here.