Monday, March 22, 2010

Back to Basics

My teacher, Peter Fenner, teaches from a nondual perspective. What does that mean exactly? There are nondual terms that pop up in this blog from time to time, and it might be helpful to examine them.

The world we live in is one of conditions and opposites, or duality. Up and down, left and right, good and evil. There are things that we want from life, and we are frustrated when we don't get them.

These are things that we are aware of. But there is also that which is aware, which has no characterstics whatsoever. "That" is called many things in many traditions. Peter calls it unconditioned awareness, but it is also called source consciousness, Buddha mind, and original mind, among other things. When people talk in wisdom traditions of enlightenment, they are talking about residing in this non-place without interruption.

When we are resting in unconditioned awareness, our interpretations of the world lessen or drop away. The thought "I want this" has no power, because we see "I," "want," and "this" as nothing more than concepts or constructions. They are not life itself, which is beyond words. Life itself is just happening, regardles of our commentary and preferences. From the perspective of unconditioned awareness, life is one indivisible whole, ever emerging, ever changing, and always right now.

When we cultivate unconditioned awareness, our suffering lessens. Why? Because there are no wants and needs to be frustrated. There is no gap between how life is and how we would like it to be.

Nondual thought can sound complicated because it is so different than the way we usually think about things. We don't tend to notice that whatever it is that is looking through our eyes is without definition. We don't tend to notice that our minds are making up stories every moment of every day so that we can make sense of the world. So that we can find meaning. This seems to be an essential part of our human experience.

Nondual teachings do not say that we should stop making up stories, or that we should stop or start doing anything. The nondual accepts everything, including our thoughts and stories.

If there is a start, it is to notice what is noticing. And to accept wherever we are.

If there is a practice, it is to keep doing that. No need for effort or frustration or judgment.


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