Ottawa, April 30, 2003
Turn your attention towards the Presence in you, which is aware of these words.
Now ask yourself the question, “Where is this Presence, which is aware of these words and these thoughts, located?” Make this determination based upon your own experience in this very moment, not based upon what you have read in books. And you may have a first answer that would say that this Presence is located in the head somewhere. Now take a closer look at this first answer. You will see that this first answer is a feeling, a sensation located in the head or in the chest or somewhere else. This first answer is a sensation, a localization, a location in the body.
Now, that which appears, the answer, the localization, the sensation, seems to be localized, but ask yourself the question, “Where is the Presence, to which the localized sensation appears, located?” If the sensation is localized does that make the Presence localized? Ponder this based upon your experience. In other words, “How do I know this presence I call ‘I’ is localized?”
Find the answer for yourself. Don’t let me tell you what the answer is. What I tell you has no value. What you find by yourself, what you discover firsthand has value. If you decide this presence is localized, that’s your decision based upon your experience. My advice is: check it out, again and again. It is your experience alone which makes the decision. My advise is: check it out, again and again, until you reach a rock-solid conviction one way or the other as to whether, based upon your experience, this Presence which you are, is localized or not.
Now you may say, “I don’t know.” Fair enough. Or you may say, “I don’t know, but other people know.” That’s not fair enough, because how would they know better than you where your Presence is located? Only you know your Presence. They know their Presence, assuming their Presence is different from yours, but they don’t know yours. So they have truly no say as to where your Presence is located. I have no say in this matter. That’s why I don’t want to tell you anything. That’s why I suggest you find out for yourself. It’s called freedom.
You have to understand the weight of peer pressure, the weight of false knowledge, or knowledge accumulated through generations, that has been transmitted to you though your genes, through your education, through your relations. That doesn’t make it true. The fact that knowledge has been communicated to you, imprinted on you doesn’t make it true.
You are the gatekeeper of true and false knowledge. You are the final judge of truth. That’s the esoteric meaning of the ‘the final judgment,’ because you are the truth. As Al-Hallaj said, “I am the truth.” They killed him for having said that.
You cannot find the localization of this Presence, which is hearing these words right this moment. Nobody can. And if nobody can, perhaps it means that this very simple Presence is non-local, non-local meaning it is not the product of this body or this flesh. It is more like a property of the totality, of the cosmos—-if we see the cosmos as God’s creation, as God’s body. It is one more property, one more quality of that power that created the cosmos.
Presence, one more name for the ultimate.
And if we think about this body, which most of us see in isolation from the rest of the cosmos—-if we take a closer look, there is no such a thing as an isolated body, other than a concept of it. The body is in total symbiosis with the rest of the universe, with the air it breathes, with the water it drinks, the space in which it moves, the things it eats, the other beings it relates with and the stars. And just as the body is not isolated, the mind is not isolated, always exchanging information with the rest of the universe. So that even from the vantage point of physics or biology or information theory, we are led to the conclusion that there is no isolated system in the universe, that there are no isolated bodies. It is a childish concept to consider parts of the universe in isolation.
And if it is true that the body and the mind are not isolated, even if we believe that consciousness is the byproduct of the bodymind, (since bodyminds are, in that case simply a byproduct of the totality), we have to reach the unavoidable conclusion that this Consciousness, this Presence that I call ‘mine’ is not produced by the bodymind but rather, at it’s deepest origin, by the totality of the universe. It is not the Consciousness of the body, but ultimately the Consciousness of the universe.
We are the flowers of the tree of life. Many flowers, only one tree.
In ancient times in the West, people believed that the sky was closed, that we were inside a blue sphere and that the stars were diamonds attached to the blue sphere. We believed that space was limited. And then we knew better; we knew better because we investigated the sky.
But as we investigated the sky and the universe around us, we didn’t investigate the inside of us. And because of this lack of investigation of the inside, we believed that our Presence was limited, that it was bounded just as we believed the sky was bounded. And just as the boundary of the sky was a man-made creation, so the inner boundary of Consciousness, which we call ignorance, is of our own making.
Just as the sky out there, space, the universe has always been unbounded, the inside sky of Presence has always been without limits.