Advaita for the 21 st Century. See Book recommendation for ' Awakening to the Dream '. The following is an extract from Leo's book 'Awakening to the Dream: The gift of lucid living'. As I am sitting at my computer writing these words, I become aware of the sensation of thirst.
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From the non-dualistic perception, however, no part of this activity is seen as relevant, and Leo Hartong speaks straight out of the clear blue sky of non-dualism, gently but uncompro- misingly leading the readers to see the original and abiding nature of what they are.
The book begins very well, with a clear explanation of its intent, and throughout the work there is the feeling of reading a letter written by a friend who gently, but passionately, wants to make something very clear. As the writer communicates his perception of the mystery, he intersperses his ideas with appropriate traditional and contemporary quotations.
Tony Parsons www. Is there a promise in awakening to what I truly am? Is there something I can get out of this that will improve my life? Will it make me a better and more successful person? In short: What will it be like to live an awakened life? These seem perfectly reasonable questions, and they frequently come up during the search.
For many, the hope for a better life is the core motiva- tion to invest so heavily in this quest. There is, however, a problem with these questions that prevents a direct answer, and that is that they originate from the limited perspective the seeker wants to transcend.
Let me give you a concrete example. Before we knew that the earth was round, the question of where one would end up after falling off its edge was perfectly reasonable. From our current perspective, however, the question makes no sense.
If you were to go back in time, you could not provide a simple answer, but would have to explain that the earth is, in fact, round and falling off it is not possible. This, of course, would go against the common sense of the questioner, who would point to the horizon and insist that he could clearly see where the earth ended. Read on and see if you come to the place where disappointment changes into clarity. So here we go: The answer is that you will get nothing out of it because enlightenment is the realization that there is no you to get enlightened; that your sense of separation and individuality is an illusion.
This reply will most likely go against your direct experience. When this is not enough you might become what is known as a seeker. You come to realize that experiences and states of mind are always temporary. After this recognition, many seekers consider the so-called non-dual approach to Self-realization or enlightenment.
Non-duality is a general term that covers several — mostly eastern — schools of thought, which point to the single source before and beyond all temporal experiences and apparent diversity. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. From this perspective, it gets even worse. This sounds absurd to the goal-and-future- oriented mind; yet I will tell you unequivocally that the whole point of this manifestation is nothing other than this manifestation.
Realizing this is far from the bleak reality the mind imagines it to be. True, this is of no use to the ego, since it is about freedom from the ego, not freedom for the ego.
There are no future rewards in store. This very clarity turns out to be its own reward. There simply is recognition, acknowledgment, and seeing. All this text will do is remind you of your true identity. It is not about self-improvement or methods.
If you want the truth, you have to look beyond the concepts of ego and self-improvement, and beyond the states of mind you would like to acquire. This book will explore — and attempt to puncture — the belief that you are a separate entity.
It will not all fall magically into place. It already is and always has been in place. This is not about a gradual progression to a future goal, but about a radical awakening to what is.
Self-realization can happen at any time for anyone. There can be quirky, irreverent, irritable characters who are certain about what they truly are and there can be relaxed, friendly, happy people who never even thought about so-called enlightenment.
Calmness, friendliness, and happiness may or may not be or become part of your daily experience as a consequence of awakening, but at the same time it will become evident that this clarity is not about being in a good mood all the time.
It will happen by itself and reveal that Awakeness is — and always has been — fully present. It will shine when it shines, and it will shift the attention from the content of Awareness to Pure Awareness itself.
This Pure Awareness is what you truly are. Just let yourself be. Give yourself permission to be up, down, pissed or delirious. For me this understanding has marked the end of my search and released me from the burden of trying to control my life and constantly improve myself. What I truly am is what I always was: Pure Awareness. This is true for you, the cat, the book, and everything else.
To the mind, there seem to be separate objects; but in reality, everything emanates from the same essence. Seeing or not seeing this does not change anything. There has been gentle but persistent persuasion from people around me to include some of my personal his- tory in this book.
My lady, however, pointed out that it is used there to illustrate what is being said in that chapter, rather than as an introduction to the me I once believed myself to be. As is so often the case, she was right. All are equally true and untrue; all are subjective and incomplete.
Please keep this paradox in mind when you read the following linear description of the non-linear events experienced by this human being. Tom, Dick, and Harry think they have written the books that they sign or painted the pictures, composed the music, built the churches. But they exaggerate. It was a pen that did it, or some other implement.
They held the pen? Yes, but the hand that held the pen was an implement too, and the brain that controlled the hand. They were intermediaries, instruments, just apparatus. Even the best apparatus does not need a personal name like Tom, Dick, or Harry. If the nameless builders of the Taj Mahal, of Chartres, of Rheims, of a hundred cathedral symphonies, knew that — and avoided the solecism of attributing to their own egos the works that were created through their instrumentality — may not even a jotter-down of passing metaphysical notions know it also?
From an early age, I was familiarized with the idea that life has a spiritual dimension, although cur- rently I no longer make the distinction between spiritual and non-spiritual. Psychic healers and clairvoyants were part of the crowd my parents hung out with. At certain times I would lie awake and think about how there was nothing between the ceiling and me. I then tried to imagine what it would be like if there were no ceiling so that I could look into uninterrupted nothingness.
I soon noticed that this little game would put me in a special state. When I was eight years old my parents divorced, and my two younger brothers and I stayed with my mother. In those days in Holland it still was not considered proper for a woman to be without a husband. Bringing up three young boys was hard on my mother.
She did the best she could, while my father was reluctant to chip in. At one point, we converted to Catholicism. This was as much for the comfort of religion as for getting help from the church.
There seemed to be an endless supply of fascinating stories from the Bible, but I soon noticed that my probing questions were not always appreciated. Whom did the children of Adam and Eve marry?
If God is good, why is there so much injustice? How could a God of love destroy whole cities just because most of the people in them did not live by his commandments; and why did he send people to Hell to burn for eternity? The Friday lunch — served with white wine — was the highlight of the week for the priests of our parish. We learned that all people were equal in the sight of God, but the richer people would have reserved places with softer kneeling cushions in the front rows of the church.
It all seemed confusing, and it was clear that there were more questions than answers. This made me a seeker, distrustful of spiritual authority. Even then, I believed that there must be more to life than meets the eye. I believed in God, but could not accept what I was taught about him. By the age of twelve, I came upon an advertisement for a correspondence course in Raja Yoga. I persuaded my mother to sign up for it, and we started to receive regular lessons in the mail. The teacher was a professor of oriental studies.
There were new words and ideas about God, the Self, and life as a whole that sounded more real than that which I was hearing about at school. As I got a little older, it became time to choose between continuing school and taking a job.
Awakening to the Dream: The Gift of Lucid Living
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