I went to a Catholic Funeral Mass yesterday for Kerima's mother and was sorely disappointed. I had never attended a mass before, but all of the statues, the songs, the priests words were all about belief in Christ as the bringer of salvation, grace, everlasting life. Itwas all about faith that both God and Christ exist now, and if you believe in Christ, somehow you are immortal. That is, an act of mind, a belief, faith, will set you free.
No one said God, Christ, was already in you and that all you have to do to experience this divinity was to turn within with loving acceptance of all that you find, and you will experience God for yourself.
Of course, this is what 99% of spirituality is all about: faith in spiritual prophets from Mohammed to Jesus, from Buddha and the Patriarchs, from Echart Tolle to Alister Crowley, and Ramana to Robert. We hook into their teachings and their teachings become the filter through which we experience the world.
I remember for years holding onto the belief that the world was not real because Robert, Ramana, and Nisargadatta said so. But they meant it was unreal becuase it was temporary, not that the experience of the world itself was illusion, but that the manifestation changed from moment to moment, and only the Subject, the Self, was real because it was unchanging.
So many who follow Robert Adams hold onto partial understandings of what Robert and Ramana said because Robert was saying things to make students turn within to find the Self, the root of Consciousness and not the entirety of the way things are.
When asked how he experienced the world, as Light, as energy, as Consciousness, Robert responded, "I experience the world as you do, otherwise I could not function. But, I also know it is Consciousness."
That is, Robert's experience of the world was just like your experience, but he had the knowledge (Jnana) that both his body and the world were Consciousness, and as such, the world was not real, only Consciousness was real, and thus we have Advaita--not two.
But Robert experienced the world just as you do: as painful, pleasureable, both nasty and loving, as the lowest hell, but the Self inside, the Witness, as untouched and in total peace.
But please remember Robert's original awakening experience. It was one of experiencing the light of a thousand suns arise in him and expand until he filled the entire universe, filled with joy and energy.
This is his experience of the realization of Self, as the Manifest Self that embraced the universe, and which filled the Nothingness that destroyed the personal self, with energy and joy, also known as Shakti. And when you experience the magnificense of the Manifest Self, you, as a human, as the human self, can never take your attention off of it.
As Ramana said about his awakening:
But with the death of this body am I dead? Is the body I? It is silent and inert but I feel the full force of my personality and even the voice of the 'I' within me, apart from it. So I am Spirit transcending the body. The body dies but the Spirit that transcends it cannot be touched by death. That means I am deathless Spirit."
All this was not dull thought; it flashed through me vividly as living truth which I perceived directly, almost without thought-process. "I" was something very real, the only real thing about my present state, and all the conscious activity connected with my body was centred on that "I". From that moment onwards the "I" or Self focused attention on itself by a powerful fascination.
Fear of death had vanished once and for all. Absorption in the Self continued unbroken from that time on. Other thoughts might come and go like the various notes of music, but the "I" continued like the fundamental sruti note that underlies and blends with all the other notes. Whether the body was engaged in talking, reading, or anything else, I was still centred on "I".
Previous to that crisis I had no clear perception of my Self and was not consciously attracted to it. I felt no perceptible or direct interest in it, much less any inclination to dwell permanently in it.
This is true self-realization. Ramana had become aware of his Self for the first time, he could feel it within his own body separate from it, and his attention was centered on that Self, which contained the fullness of his personality and life.
That is, he was separate as a human witness to the Self, felt it arise inside of him, and from that moment on he could not take his attention off the Self.
Thus by absorption in that Self, he Ramana, as a human, became one with Self.
This is a paradox: they were two, separate, but by absorption and worship, they became one.
Notice he does not describe the Self as Emptiness, Nothingness, Zero or any other no-thing, not self. He does not even describe his human Self that way, even though his human self was left behind to a large extent through immersion in the Self of all--the Atman.
Robert's teachings focused on transcending the body and world preparatory to the experience of Self; he rarely talked about the glory of Self as does Ramana or Nisargadatta in his earliest work, Self-Knowledge and Self Realization. If you talk in terms of the carrot and stick approach Ramana was more the carrot, and Robert's message was more the stick.