Thursday, February 11, 2010

No Separation

There is an old saying that "when the student is ready, the teacher appears." For me, it seems that Peter Fenner appeared at exactly the right time.

Peter is a native of Australia, and a former Tibetan monk who has combined elements of eastern nondual thought and western psychotherapy into an approach he calls Radiant Mind. Radiant Mind focuses on identifying the distinction between "conditioned mind," which is the mind of comparisons--up, down, good, bad, hot, cold--and "unconditioned awareness," which is clear presence, without condition or boundary. Peter's work is to patiently and precisely point out the unconditioned awareness that is already here, for everyone, in the midst of our busy lives. This is the state that the wisdom traditions point to, and it is here that there is no suffering, or even the possibility of suffering.

While there are some that have claimed to be a permanent state of unconditioned awareness (or enlightenment), for most, the realization of this state is moment by moment. We are caught by our conditioning, yet we begin to see through it. We have moments of clarity, and are gradually able to presence this state for longer and longer periods of time.

This may not make any sense if it is the first time that you have seen these words. For me, though, it has made all the difference in how I approach the rest of my life. In nondual thought, there is no line between this "part" of my life and this other "part"--life is one undivided whole that is unfolding in each moment. I am doing things, and yet in unconditioned awareness, I do not find that I!

When I am without that I, there is a creative force that comes through, that cannot be stopped, that is without fear. And yet "I" cannot say where it comes from or why it does what it does.

If this makes no sense, no worries. It doesn't make sense to me, either--it is beyond logical thought just as it is beyond fear.

The nondual manages to be both frustratingly subtle and utterly obvious. But ask yourself, in those brief moments when you are without thought, who (or what) are you? That clarity, that pure presence, is unconditioned awareness. And it is there all the time, no matter what else is happening.

May we begin to see the pointers that are all around us.


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