Meditation: A Glorious Road to Nowhere

April 12, 2024

A Dream without a Dreamer
“Let dreams wake you up to what you are, awareness.”
– Sri Nisargadatta

The realization of nonduality is the direct recognition of absolute unity. In this realization we recognize that all of reality is a single intelligent beingness. Not a being in a tangible sense, just pure being.

Our separate sense of self, and the world around it, exist inside the universal mind in the same way that the characters of dreams exist inside our own minds.

I’ve always felt that lucid dreaming, the experience of waking up inside a dream, is a perfect metaphor for the realization of nonduality or cosmic consciousness. When you wake up in a dream you feel just as real as you ever did, but you know that you are created from pure imagination.

In this realization a question naturally arises: If the person you have always known yourself to be is a character in a dream, who is the dreamer?

Different schools of thought speak differently about the ultimate nature of the dreamer, some say it is God, or Goddess, or the Cosmos, or the Self Absolute. In nondual schools it is emphasized that the Source of reality should not be thought of as something that could exist separate from anything else. Source must be one without a second, pure wholeness. From this point of view you could say that reality is a dream without a dreamer.

The Paradox of the Path to Realization
“The mind is so enmeshed in illusion it is not capable of determining whether or not it is making any progress along the spiritual path. Just carry on with your meditation. Don't expect immediate results and don't be worried by the lack of them.”
– Ramana Maharshi

There can be no path to the realization of nonduality because nondual unity was always already present. Everything is always already one, even if it appears separate to us. When nondual oneness is realized, nothing changes because the experience you are having right now is already THAT.

The paradox of the path to realization is that there is no path, and yet most of us take time to get there. The time it takes for us to be ready to open to the truth of oneness is not a path where you start further away and get closer to the destination as you walk it. Thinking about realization in terms of a path imposes time where none is needed. We start at the destination.

You can wake up to the reality of Oneness right now. Nothing needs to change, nothing needs to happen, nothing needs to be different because this is already Oneness. In fact the idea of waking up is itself misleading because it implies that there is something called ‘waking up’ that needs to happen.

You are awake now! That is it. You are a universal mind dreaming itself in human form. You are already that. That is already true whether you ‘realize’ it or not. Years ago I wrote a book called Radical Inclusivity entirely to express this one thought.

The Truth is Simple But We are Complex
“Reality is beyond speech and thought. Only that which can be expressed in words is being said. But what cannot be put into language is indeed That which IS.”
– Anandamayi Ma

As I said, most of us take time to realize the truth. The realization itself takes no time, afterall it is only the recognition of the way things already are. From one point of view it doesn’t feel like anything happened, because nothing did. It is so difficult to describe a breakthrough that doesn’t involve any change. You end up just saying, “This is it” over and over again in as many ways as you can think of. When I teach meditation I give different instructions, but ultimately they are always pointing to an immediate realization of wholeness.

The truth is simple, but we are complex. We find it difficult to accept anything until we understand it. We want to be convinced. What takes time is our resistance to embracing a truth that we will never understand. In the end we realize that this was always IT even while we resisted. When we finally see the Oneness that we are, we know that nothing has changed.

I will end this essay with a fictitious story about an enlightened philosopher.

The philosopher was talking with a student about the truth of Oneness when the student said, “I can understand why everyone thinks we live in a world of separation rather than a world of unity and wholeness.”

“Oh,” said the philosopher, “why is that?”

“Because it looks like a world of separation.” The student answered.

“So tell me,” said the philosopher, “what would a world of unity look like?”

The student's mouth half opened as she prepared to answer, but suddenly it closed. She looked vacantly around and then said, “It looks like this, I get it now. I get it.”

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