08 November 2009

I arrived last night in Phoenix and saw my mom for the first time in two years. She was released from the hospital after an 8-day stay two days ago. She says she feels great. She has a condition that could recur at any time at which could kill her, namely diverticulitis with severe infection and bleeding. At age 92 the doctors refuse to provide survival odds if she had to undergo surgery if the bleeding became too severe.

I brought two books with me in case I had time to begin preparing lessons on Robert's teachings, Prior To Consciousness by Jean Dunn, and Consciousness in the Absolute, also by Jean.

Jean and I had grown to become friends over the years prior to her death. She had a friend in Los Angeles who she visited quite frequently, and whenever she was here, I would see her, usually at a hotel near the Los Angeles airport. We would talk for hours. Our last visit was about two years before she died. She had severe emphysema and the depressurization in the airplane’s cabin nearly killed her. The doctors told her that she could never fly again.

During this visit she gave me a photograph she had taken of Nisargadatta along with little book called "Self Knowledge and Self-Realization" by Maharaj. Both are posted on the http//itisnotreal.com website.

Last night I was glancing through her Consciousness and the Absolute book for the first time in several years. She very carefully explains the essence of Maharaj’s teachings, which is even more carefully elucidated by Nisargadatta himself in the following 4 pages of chapter One.

As a backdrop I wanted to explain that Robert once or twice a private told me that there was no Consciousness, that Consciousness itself was only apparent, it was illusion. This is precisely Maharaj’s teaching. Robert told me that he really couldn't say this public because people would not accept that message. He even joked that people would kill him for that message.

Isn’t this precisely true? Are not most of the spiritual teachers today saying only that your essence is Consciousness, Consciousness is all that there is, and calling that beingness? Their message is that the ego is not real, but Consciousness, beingness, is all that there is and is eternal.

In fact, both Robert and Nisargadatta equivocate in these precise teachings. In fact, in both Robert and in Nisargadatta, you can find a little bit of everything, including talks where Robert will say you are Consciousness itself, beyond the mind and ego. At other times, he would publicly say that you are beyond the Consciousness, you are beyond everything.

On introductory page vii, Jean Dunn states concerning Nisargadatta’s teachings, "Abiding in the "I-Amness" (or Consciousness, which is pure love), that Consciousness itself will give us all the answers. At the present time, Consciousness is what we are, not personal Consciousness, but impersonal universal Consciousness. In the course of time, the Consciousness will show us that we are not even this, but we are that Eternal, Absolute, unborn, undying."

This is very clear. He is saying your essential true nature is beyond Consciousness. You are beyond Consciousness, beyond the I am, beyond the ego, beyond the body. This is precisely Robert's teachings.

On page 4 of the book itself, Maharaj himself states:

"In deep sleep, Consciousness was in a dormant condition; there were no bodies, no concepts. Upon the arrival of this apparently wakeful state, with the arrival of the concept "I am", the love of "I am" woke up. That itself is Maya, illusion."

"Everything is beingness, but I, the Absolute, am not that."

"Consciousness depends on the body; the body depends on the essence of food. It is the Consciousness which is speaking now. If the food essence is not present, the body could not exist. Without the body, would I be able to talk?"

I will elucidate this understanding later as pointed out repeatedly by both Robert and Nisargadatta, but which is only implicit in Ramana's teachings as expressed by his students. Indeed, you can find confirmation of the same truth in Ramana's teachings if you look at the right books. Otherwise, most of his students identifying the absolute with Consciousness, and even more so, the waking Consciousness.

You might say there are three levels of I. There is the level of the I-word and I-concept, with the assumption and belief that there is an and entity that the concept describes, and that the I-word points to.

The second level of I identification, is at the level of identification with mind and Consciousness, which Nisargadatta calls "beingness," or "I-Amness."

Finally, there is the I as the absolute, completely beyond phenomonality, completely unknowable by the mind, without attribute and even without existence. This is what Western idealist philosophers--and Balsekar--calls the Noumenal, and which I might call the other-dimensional. This is the non-manifest, the unmanefest, unborn subject. Even saying that is to ruin it because you are giving names to that about which nothing can be said, because there are no attributes, entirely beyond existence.

On page 4 of Consciousness of the Absolute, Maharaj states regarding the absolute:

"In truth, your state is one of absolute bliss, not this phenomenal state. In that non-phenomenal state you are full of bliss but there is no experience of its presence. In that state there is no trace of misery or and happiness, only unalloyed bliss."

"Everything is beingness, but I, the absolute, am not that."

If you understand this, you will see this is completely beyond the current spiritual teachings that you are Consciousness and everything is Consciousness. Over the next few months and years I want to explain this ever more deeply and completely, as well as clearly outline what it takes to get there.


  1. Thanks Ed for taking the time to post this. Reading it inspires some inquiry, which I imagine is what it should do. How can there be existence without consciousness? If I have no real existence, then what is this 'I' and where is it coming from? Strange and yet compelling! Thanks again!

  2. Hi Ed - Reading though itisnotreal.com I notice many links are broken. Any chance we could see some of the missing pages? There is some very useful stuff there for fellow seekers.

  3. How would "prior to consciousness" not equate our experience of unconsciousness?

  4. That is precisely the question, isn't it?

    Do you have an EXPERIENCE of unconsciousness?

    Aren't you asking isn't this the same as what is our consciousness of not being conscious?

    This post is asking you really to explore awareness in waking, sleep and dream, not just the waking state. It is proposing that there is something beyond both existence and consciousness, entirely beyond what the new Advaita teachers are talking about.

    YOU transcend everything. The body and consciousness are temporary.

    I'll be speking to this over the next months and years.

  5. Regarding the broken links: My Internet provider just moved to new host computers which are much faster, but there has been some degradation of the site over time. I am in Phoenix now with no time to fix it.

    When I return t LA, I'l see what I can do.

  6. As to Rich's question, we are talking about that which is beyond both existence and consciousness. That which exists and can be experienced is illusion.

    Only that which is beyond existence can be immortal.

  7. Would that which is beyond existence (and therefore consciousness) also be timeless? Time seems to be a concept of consciousness. Fun happens fast; boredom lasts forever. (Using reason on the "unapprehendable" [lol] - what do I know?) I read in "I am That" where Sri Nisargadatta said, "When self-control becomes second nature, awareness shifts its focus to deeper levels of existence and action." That gave me hope for my pitiful meditation skills. Thank you very much!

  8. I can't realize how something like that could even be "experienced", but I guess you'll get to that in time..

    One more thing though: the sat-cit-ānanda (being-consciousness-bliss) is in a sense false, then?

  9. Paul,

    That which is beyond existence is beyond all concepts including time and timelessness, space, eternal, temporary. Those terms apply to experience, phenomena.

    One question to ask yourself is, “Do the concepts of eternal or temporary, space or object arise in deep sleep? When the mind is not functioning in deep sleep, there are no concepts, no existence, no experience. Where YOU are at that time is entirely beyond experience and consciousness.

    You have to go beyond experience.

    The current teachings most often found talk only about you being Consciousness, and Consciousness is all that there is. This s true so far as it goes. Consciousness is all that exists, and you are that, especially in certain types of Samadhi where there is a complete identification with the void—emptiness—that pervades all existence; but that is not the end.

    In the end, all this happens to you, appears to you, but is not you. It is created by your mind, but you are not your mind. You are beyond mind and its creations. You are beyond consciousness and beingness.

    This is a conviction that comes when you have practiced a long while and see that consciousness is infinitely variable and changeable, but you, who observe all this, are steady as a rock, unchanging and untouched by the world or your mind.

    You are beyond all, untouched by time, or even timelessness, because both concepts apply to that which exists. You don’t exist! You are beyond existence. Existence applies to the world, not you.

    Yo can only understand this with conviction when you become nothing.