Working Together to Explore Nondual Wisdom
I am what you might call an open-handed spiritual teacher. There is nothing in my hand. There is nothing hidden from you. You may not like what I’m saying, or prefer a different lens to see it through, but it’s all right here – sitting right out in the open, right in plain sight.
When we first meet, I am likely to ask what books you’ve been reading and what teachers you’ve been listening to. This often helps frame our dialogue in terms that are already familiar to you. It also helps me get a sense of where you are in your journey and whether or not I can be of assistance.
We may talk a bit about your journey; what you’ve seen and what you’ve realized. I may also ask what you really want out of this journey, what you’re really hoping to gain or achieve. Based on what you say, I should have a pretty good sense of what’s required in the immediacy of our time together.
Please keep in mind that when you are working with me, you are working with a nondual teacher who is essentially emphasizing Jnana Yoga – the yoga of wisdom or the yoga of the mind. The central tool’s used within this approach are self-inquiry work and neti-neti (not ‘this’, not ‘that’) discussions with a living master. The entire model is deconstructive in nature so that the fog of the mind may lift to reveal a tender heart in need of attention.
Nonduality, at its core, is a dissolving of the conceptual mind and a relinquishing of everything that is bound to it. The teacher knows this and understands how the mind is perceiving the situation, and so the teacher works to guide the mind toward contemplation, observation, and examination until the mind is thoroughly convinced that it has exhausted every avenue except the one being presented.
You see, the beauty of Jnana yoga can be summarized in this manner. We are talking about a return to our natural state, and yet we are also saying that this natural state is ever-present – that it’s just about realizing what’s always been true. The question is, what’s getting in the way? If there is something getting in the way, then that some-thing is called mind. What if we show the mind the Truth?
If we show the mind the Truth, then the mind becomes a willing partner in the process of awakening. If the mind can see, directly and experientially, without any doubt, it’s true nature and origin, it won’t be getting in the way anymore. It won’t even bother to try. It’s like allowing the compassionate heart to tame the wild mind so that it can be turned in Love’s direction.
This kind of awakening is very stable because all potential for instability has been dissolved in seeing things as they are. This kind of awakening can also be very challenging to the mind – especially minds that are already filled with spiritual concepts, notions and ideas. We need to make room for ‘not knowing’ – which goes against every instinct of the mind. Its purpose is to know!
One of the main points emphasized, again and again, is how the mind is always trying to control everything. Haven’t you noticed that it’s your tendency to want to be in control of everything that is the greatest sources of suffering in your life? It’s really scary isn’t it? The idea of not really being in control? The mind has to ‘know’ what’s going to happen at all times! That’s its job!
What does the mind need in order to ‘know’? It needs information. It needs to learn everything it can about every possible angle of interest so that we can feel safe; always protected from harm. The mind must also be on alert for threats and potential dangers. It must be wary of deception. It must have a firm foundation in a belief or an idea that it uses to orient itself. And it must protect it all!
This is, of course, an exhausting way to live one’s life. It is wrought with anxiety, disappointment, and depression; with bitterness, anger, and resentment. You may indeed be a very nice person – and you are perfect just as you are. But if you look closely at the subtle nature of the mind, you can easily see the churning ocean of thoughts that are filtering every aspect of your perceivable experience.
Everything is labeled and categorized, given meaning, and acted upon through this lens of thought – through this lens of mind. But what is the mind and where does it come from? And more importantly, who is it that is aware of this mind? Over and over again we will draw you back to this primary point of incursion. Who is aware of mind? Who is aware of body? Who is aware of experience?
Who is aware?
~From the Heart of Bradley
—Bradley Bemis is an Orlando-based spiritual teacher of non-duality and Self-realization, an inner presence coach and guide, and is currently working toward his Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He offers a combination of public discourses and private sessions for those who are interested in exploring the enlightened insights of nondual wisdom. Learn more at awakeningintolife.com.