Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone. Jann rated it it was amazing Apr 07, Bob Meets the Locals. Refresh and try again. Skip to content Skip to search. Books by James Braha.
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The expected publication date is October, What I mean by liberation is an end to the nagging feeling of separateness from Source or Essence that was present since as long as I can remember. And the death of the never ending sense of "becoming," as well as the relentless concerns over past and future - death included. After engaging in many spiritual paths for some thirty years, fulfillment finally came through the Hindu teachings of Advaita, also known as non duality.
The literal definition of Advaita classically pronounced ad-vie-ta is "not two," a preferable way of describing oneness because oneness implies the possibility of more than one.
The term "oneness" refers to the underlying or essential oneness of all manifestation. Scientifically this oneness can be seen within the fact that all matter can be broken down into sub atomic particles, which is then seen as nothing more than light or emptiness or space.
Everything in manifestation is, thus, made up of one, and only one, essence. Within our experience of life, which is tremendously varied and full of differences, there is an integral facet that is almost entirely ignored. And that is the "sameness" or oneness that is constantly present and makes all experience possible. It is called Presence Awareness and is essentially the present moment - right here right now. It is the "right here right now" that has always been and will always be.
It is the "right here right now" that you experienced at age five and is with you even as you read this page. It was present at birth, it is present at death. Presence Awareness. Right here right now. Our one constant. He has been teaching non duality ever since. As fate would have it, Bob and his wife came to America and stayed at our home for five weeks. During that time, he gave many wonderful talks and teachings, most of which are transcribed in this book.
For most seekers of enlightenment or liberation, the search is long and arduous with many twists and turns along the way. Finding truth is all the more challenging because there are so many varying viewpoints.
People are different genetically, culturally, emotionally, and so on. There are paths for devotional types, intellectual types, mystical types, and so forth.
What most paths and religions have in common is that they allow the disciple to seek without ever actually finding. This does not mean such paths are fruitless. It simply means that there is always more to chase and more to seek. There is always a bigger and better experience to be had. There is always a promise of a better future even though life can only be lived in the present.
And there is almost never a point where one stops to say "Aha. The goal is reached. I have found. I am complete. The few who claim to have found are nearly always the leaders, never the participants.
This fact alone should give one pause. In this regard, the teachings of non duality are incredibly unique. They are unique because they leave room only for finding and none for seeking! In Advaita, seeking is patently absurd because it implies a future time of finding. If all that exists is oneness, how can there be a past or future?
Past and future are concepts in the mind, while the present moment - right here right now - is all that truly is. If there is an opposite to Advaita, it is the act of seeking! Advaita is based on understanding reality and existence from the broadest possible viewpoint.
It is entirely unconcerned with practices, disciplines, rituals, and experiences. Seekers looking for greater self development or for promises of a better future will not find them here.
Non duality rejects preferences, and considers no experience, positive or negative, one iota better or worse than another. For seekers who are ripe, non duality brings ending upon ending, until only freedom remains.
Once it is recognized that the reference point we live from, the "me," is based on nothing more than a collection of thoughts and images, any sense of self importance and individuality ends. Once the definition of reality is seen to be "that which never changes," the illusory nature of our "apparent" creation is exposed. As soon as the essential oneness of existence is understood, the pervasive sense of separation gained in early childhood - when a so called "individual" identity was created - disappears.
Once it is realized that the present moment, right here right now, is all that has ever been and all that will ever be, the senseless behavior of worrying about the past and imagining the future utterly ceases. When we see clearly that who we are is actually no thing - "non conceptual, ever present, shelf shining, just this and nothing else" - any trying to change, fix, modify, or correct ourselves becomes pointless.
When it is understood that everything in creation is in essence actually one everything in creation is comprised of the same underlying consciousness , it becomes obvious that all reference points are false. When it is seen that all reference points are false, judging any experience or any person as good or bad, or right or wrong becomes ludicrous.
Everything that occurs is seen simply as "what is. Thus, for the ripe seeker, Advaita is the end game of a search that previously appeared to have no resolution. Repeat: for the ripe seeker, non duality is the end game of a search that previously appeared to have no resolution. What is meant by a "ripe" seeker? One who is willing to die to his or her "apparent" individuality.
While many seekers have heard the notion of being willing to die, and are actually ready to do so, most have no idea how. This is not for any lack of intelligence. It is because there is actually nothing one can do to die to the "small self! While "understanding" may seem a far cry from liberation, it is not. It is positively essential. Liberation, or awakening, is not a function of any particular experience or mode of behavior.
It is a function of understanding reality. This is why there is no standard behavior among so called enlightened souls. This is why each person must awaken on his or her own. There have been many yogis and mystics with spiritual powers over the centuries, who have granted miraculous spiritual experiences to others which are sometimes powerful catalysts to understanding , but none has ever been able to grant the understanding which gives rise to eternal freedom. Liberation occurs only by perception or understanding, which is not something one can transfer to another.
A person seeing a rope in the dark may first perceive the rope to be a dangerous snake and react with panic. Upon closer investigation, when the person sees the rope for what it is, all fear disappears.
So it is that when a person understands his or her true unbounded nature, liberation from "apparent" bondage is the inevitable result. After some thirty years of engaging in an eclectic variety of different evolutionary paths, it has become clear to me that most seekers are actually content to remain on the path their entire lives. Some love the seeking process, some are enamored of blissful meditations, while others are unfortunately unprepared - or just not ready - to find.
Seekers reading this book who have never rigorously investigated their willingness to become finders are about to be tested. Those who claim to agree with non dual teachings while continuing their search demonstrate that they have not actually understood Advaita. No one can say why one disciple is ready to end his or her search, while another is not. Advaita, which considers manifest existence an illusion or appearance comprised of the same oneness or consciousness from which it sprang, offers no reasons or causes for anything within the appearance.
It is worth noting, however, that so many but not all of the rare individuals who claim to have found awakening or liberation have said the same thing. There was a point, they declare, where they became extraordinarily intent on finding truth - on finding freedom. Many, just like Sailor Bob Adamson - whose life you are about to become familiar with - have even said they left home vowing not to return until their "apparent" bondage had been lifted.
I mention this not as a hint or a method of how to pursue self realization. I mention it because many seekers who approach Advaita find the teachings mental and cerebral, and wonder what use mere intellectual understanding can possibly be. For those who do not resonate with the teachings of non duality, such a reaction is not false or wrong.
In these cases, nothing is gained and there are no benefits. For the seeker who is serious about becoming a finder, however, for one who can no longer bear the perpetual sense of separation that began as far back as one can remember, understanding what one is eternal and unbounded and what one is not material, physical, transient, and limited makes all the difference.
Once this occurs, life is never the same. Remarkably, understanding is all that is needed. Remarkably, what is not needed is lots of doing - as in meditating, chanting, breathing, purifying the nervous system, engaging in therapy, studying sacred texts, and on and on.
Self realization is all in the being and none in the doing. There is a relevant saying applicable to spiritual aspirants who have practiced powerful techniques and methods, and enjoyed blissful and ecstatic peak experiences from time to time: "You can never get enough of what will not make you happy.
Of what value are bigger and better experiences? This is, of course, not to say that the doings mentioned above are not wonderful and valuable. And while that understanding may appear to result from some action, it does not.
In a world of appearance, there are no actual causes - only apparent ones. There are no causes because the world of illusion, our world, has no independent nature.
Everything within manifest creation has a beginning and an end. Everything that appears eventually disappears. There are only apparent causes, no actual ones.
Living Reality: My Extraordinary Summer with 'Sailor' Bob Adamson
Click to rate this teacher! Braha was kind enough to send me a copy to review. These days, when I hear of a Westerner teaching under the banner of Advaita, I prepare myself to experience another helping of neo-Advaita pablum: you already are that which you seek, just stop seeking and see, there is only now, etc. I do not dispute the fundamental truth of such statements — I dispute their application.
Sailor Bob Adamson