Listen here to the truth.
Advaita works! It works because its teachings are true. Within your experience you will find the inner light of consciousness and the void or inner emptiness which penetrates everything within you, body, mind and emotions. But you cannot find the absolute, the witness, because you are that. That is, the absolute is not within your experience. It is not experienced as that which is unchanging.
Indeed, personality is a kind of fraud, a feeling of separation, individuation, of being human. Advaitic says “broaden your outlook,” look at the totality of your consciousness, everything you see hear, taste and touch now, disidentify with the personal and with your body, and reidentify with consciousness. Then what do you get?
Read Nisargadatta. Nisargadatta’s teachings are all about leaving the personal. He says consciousness and your body arise out of the essence of the four or five elements. He says there is nothing personal there, all are the actions of an impersonal world spontaneously unfolding, or of the power that knows the way. He goes into detail how the sperm and ovum get together and from that the seed of consciousness is born. There is nothing personal here. It is all just chemistry, impersonal, material, and we misidentify with the body and personality as us.
Instead we should identify with the totality of consciousness, and thereby transcend our human hood. We feel immortal, because we identify with the concept of unchanging and eternal, or beyond even mortal and eternal. But this absolute can never be seen, for we are the subject and therefore logically, we are outside of consciousness, so while consciousness may be fleeting, we as the observer are not. One can directly have many experiences that verify this as any concept can be verified either in spiritual experiences or belief in religious scriptures.
And what have you gained following this process? You have gained freedom from being an individual, a human, mortal, vulnerable, weak, suspect to death, disease, loss and loneliness. Emptiness and the sheer knowledge that you are beyond consciousness in the body frees you from your human hood. But at what price?
It is actually a solution for old people who fear death, for people with unbearable suffering from loss, depression, rage, anxiety. Emptiness in the knowingness that you come from nothingness, as a result of chemistry, or physical mechanisms, supposedly frees you from identification with your personality, your needs, with your desperation.
But at what price?
And as Sasaki Roshi told me, and this applies to Advaita also, there is no love in Zen. There is emptiness and existence, but no love. What is the cost of losing that? What is the cost of gaining invulnerability and transcendence, other than losing your vulnerability, your openness to experience loss and death, your total surrender to being just a blink in time, with a beginning and an ending within meaningless existence?
But what is the price of losing human hood? What is the price of losing devotion? What is the price of losing anxiety and fear? The price is that you have lost your humanity, and this world true humanity is so very beautiful and so very, very rare.
I watched Robert up close, teaching. Always his teachings pointed away from being a human, from suffering, from human problems, from involvement in the world, and instead know the message that you are God, transcendent spirit, beyond and before time and space. But like Jesus gave a message of peace to calm a violent world, Robert gave a message of transcendence from human suffering, fear of death, depression, and fear itself.
But he himself went out of his way to take care of his wife and children even after his death by turning the teachings over to his wife Nicole. Since then every Tom, Dick, and Harry imaginable has come along to claim ownership or successorship. Robert also sought the love of a woman, even buying flowers for one was also his student, bringing her chocolates, and I know, because I was there.
Why did Robert seek love? There are many reasons? When confronted once he said because they needed it, that love coming from a guru was an entirely different context from the love a man or woman normally receives from one another or from parents, siblings, or children. And as such, it can be so much more powerful, intense, and thus healing and the most profound way.
In another way, feeling love for woman kept Robert human, any font to be human, he was always slipping from him into the inner emptiness he felt all the time, into the interspace it was dissolving his personal sense of self all the time. He fought to keep the personal, to be with others in the world, not only out of compassion for others and what he can do to help them, but also to keep himself as a human, alive.
This is the truth. I doubt you will ever hear this from anyone else. Most teachers either teach of the Absolute and leaving the “mundane,” while the others teach embodiment only, and even if they know it well, in teaching they reject transcendence. But those who teach both? There is a rare one in Sedona who may teach this way, sometimes. There is a rare one in Portland, who might also teach this way. And everywhere, a few rare students, who know this to be true.