Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

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bud ., modified 4 Years ago.

Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 49 Join Date: 6/6/11 Recent Posts
Been watching a lot of Rupert Spira lately, good stuff! I ask this question in the context of his teachings:

One thing I can't seem to wrap my head around: Spira suggests that our essential nature is "ever-present awareness". But in my experience, awareness does not seem to be ever-present.

For example:

If I ask myself the question, "Am I aware?", attention moves to the felt presence of direct, immediate experience. I can say that awareness is present in this moment - this is self-evident.

However when the inquiry ends, and I go about my day, I cannot say that awareness is present at all times. I often go into "auto-pilot" mode as I do my work, or have conversations, or run errands. There is no sense of "presence" in these things, just experience playing out without any knower or knowing present (for lack of a better description).

To be able to say that awareness is present in these "unconscious" moments, there would have to be something present to make that claim - but there is nothing in my experience in these moments that would have the authority to say that. Nothing is reflectively aware.

So how is Spira able to say that awareness is "ever-present"?
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John, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Is he open to emails ? Maybe you could ask him directly ?

http://non-duality.rupertspira.com/contact

Just started watching a vid by Spira. He says that Moksha and Nirvana are the same things. I don't think the buddhists are going to go with that one. So whatever state he lives in (he probably lives in some grade of non-dual awareness), he isn't really expressing it in words very well, and may be assuming wisdom he doesn't really have - or he could do with offering some definitions of his terminology.
John, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 47 Join Date: 7/11/14 Recent Posts
How do you actually know you are in autopilot mode if you are not aware?
That's awareness or you. There is no you and awareness. (the noticing
or knowing works really better because most folks think as awareness as a white misty
cloud that is blissfull)
Also the sense of presence you feel when you practice is a feeling or mind state so you are
in a way having an experience and experiences don't last they come and go. As long as you
are identified with a mind-state it will seem as if you become less aware and more aware 
but this is because the focus hasn't shifted to the no-thing that you are. Say I am angry then
if you are really dreamy about the practice you may say it was like I wasn't aware. You were
but the seeming person was in a constricted space. So then if you go on and identify with the
feelings of anger it will seem as if you underwent a process from anger to calm. The knowing of
these mental states is not angry, calm or blissful. 
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bud ., modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 49 Join Date: 6/6/11 Recent Posts
This makes sense, thanks. So basically, this feeling of "presence" is not special. It's just a sensation/experience that I identify with. And when that sense of immediacy and presence is no longer felt, it somehow feels like "I" have disappeared? 

Is the point that the knowing of these states transcends the states themselves? And a sense of presence is not necessarily required for knowing? Because I'm having a hard time understanding what knowing is like, without an entity or presence that is doing the knowing.
John, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 47 Join Date: 7/11/14 Recent Posts
When you focus on being aware, sort of the presence appears more vivid than the so called objects. This seems as if there there was a split and it does seem that there is a split between so called objects and awareness of them(you). Yes, this presence is also known by you so how can you disappear or appear with it. Just as you are there after the presence is gone you are there before the presence arises as a result of practice.

You can call the presence as Now.


Is the point that the knowing of these states transcends the states themselves?

Yes and no. Point is you are not the practitioner at all.


And a sense of presence is not necessarily required for knowing? 


Of course not. In that case we'd need to first be aware of this presence so that only afterwards we started knowing our world. But a drug addict is aware of the needle going in his arm in the same way Spira is aware of his samadhis.


Because I'm having a hard time understanding what knowing is like, without an entity or presence that is doing the knowing.

You want to find a quality to the knowing itself. Consider that it doesn't have qualities of its own, what if it is one with the objects and appears as both the presence that you witness and the objects of anger that you witness. 

Simon Liu, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 83 Join Date: 8/23/16 Recent Posts
What he is saying is akin to the saying "our mind has still nature".

A leaf is at rest until you disturb the air around it.

A mind is naturally peaceful and still. This is mind's nature. When sensory stimulation is applied, the mind is not peaceful anymore.

He is saying that it has this original nature only now we have changed the condition so the original nature is hidden from us.

The moon has always been there but the clouds covered it up. When clouds are gone, you see the moon. The moon didn't move. The clouds did.

Your ever-present awareness nature was always and is there but your volitions created habitual patterns and covered up the original nature. You need to uncondition yourself to realize the ever-present awareness again.

This is what he really means.
Marty G, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 95 Join Date: 9/3/16 Recent Posts
bud .:
Been watching a lot of Rupert Spira lately, good stuff! I ask this question in the context of his teachings:

One thing I can't seem to wrap my head around: Spira suggests that our essential nature is "ever-present awareness". But in my experience, awareness does not seem to be ever-present.

For example:

If I ask myself the question, "Am I aware?", attention moves to the felt presence of direct, immediate experience. I can say that awareness is present in this moment - this is self-evident.

However when the inquiry ends, and I go about my day, I cannot say that awareness is present at all times. I often go into "auto-pilot" mode as I do my work, or have conversations, or run errands. There is no sense of "presence" in these things, just experience playing out without any knower or knowing present (for lack of a better description).

To be able to say that awareness is present in these "unconscious" moments, there would have to be something present to make that claim - but there is nothing in my experience in these moments that would have the authority to say that. Nothing is reflectively aware.

So how is Spira able to say that awareness is "ever-present"?
He goes into it based on a question from the Buddhist perspective here :


http://non-duality.rupertspira.com/read/how_do_we_know_that_awareness_is_everpresent_213


Buddhism states (generally)  that  consciousness is momentary and never without
an object whereas Advaita Vedanta posits consciousness ( or awareness )
as absolute and prior to any arising state or object.

Spira and many of the other modern non-dual teachers take this line as
fundamental (and in fact, mostly have not investigated the Buddhist
perspective that thoroughly, that is why they tend to lump Realization
in the Advaita form with Nirvana).

If that fundamental difference is understood it's easier to get a grasp on
what they are addressing. Spira's main teaching influence ( I believe)
was Francis Lucille another Advaita Vedanta non-dualist. I come from
that background myself so in if you do study both forms or points of
view a very wide perspective is possible.

The Advaitans emphasis is on consciousness as primary and the Theravadans 
emphasize no-self in the arising event. Other forms of Buddhism are not
so clear cut.
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John, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Hi Marty I was reading up on this today, finding out more about how buddhists handle these things.

I thought there was generally a stage (or more) in the contemplative path in which there is consciousness without object. I know a guy called Franklin Merrel Wolf named such a thing. So was this a misnomer, or loose use of language ?

A number of the jhanas are called things like "infinite consciousness", "voids" etc. I just watched Leigh Brasington describe jhanas above 5th as vast empty space. I guess these type of empty spaces are not empty, but have blackness, or space, or the observer as an object.

I also note that Brasington denies that fnord these are "ontologically existent" realms but are brain states.
Being picky, I don't see how any brain state can be truly infinite as the brain has physical limits. So I guess from the perspective of states being brain generated then calling them "infinite" is a fudge (which I think is what Brasington tries to convey). Pseudo infinite, maybe, or infinite-looking for as long as they can be explored.
Marty G, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 95 Join Date: 9/3/16 Recent Posts
John:
Hi Marty I was reading up on this today, finding out more about how buddhists handle these things.

I thought there was generally a stage (or more) in the contemplative path in which there is consciousness without object. I know a guy called Franklin Merrel Wolf named such a thing. So was this a misnomer, or loose use of language ?

A number of the jhanas are called things like "infinite consciousness", "voids" etc. I just watched Leigh Brasington describe jhanas above 5th as vast empty space. I guess these type of empty spaces are not empty, but have blackness, or space, or the observer as an object.

I also note that Brasington denies that fnord these are "ontologically existent" realms but are brain states.
Being picky, I don't see how any brain state can be truly infinite as the brain has physical limits. So I guess from the perspective of states being brain generated then calling them "infinite" is a fudge. Pseudo infinite, maybe, or infinite-looking for as long as they can be explored.

John, I think Merrell Wolff ( double rr, double ll, double ff, now there is a name!) was primarily a Shankara exponent ( if you can find his take on Buddhism let me know). 

http://www.searchwithin.org/franklin_merrell_wolff.htm

Leight B. is most likely a philosophical materialist in the end ( that is common with Buddhist western buddhist teachers, because 'no-self'  allows such points of view).

Yes the 6th jhana ( infinite consciousness) I have no direct knowledge of this, but seems to be infinite "mind' in the Buddhist view, not consciousness from Advaitan view.
Marty G, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 95 Join Date: 9/3/16 Recent Posts
more : according to Advaita the 6th Jhana can't be infinite Consciousness ( capital C) because that would make it an object of itself. It could be infinite 'mind' because mind can arise in Consciousness. 

Philosophical materialism, in this case the brain as primary, must be false because Consciousness (according to Advaita) precedes any medium or form or proxy, so the brain and all its states arise in it, rather than the other way around. It may be allowable in (Theravada) Buddhism because there is no permanent self or Consciousness, doubtful that the Buddha would have a bar of this, but certainly modern adherents think, Okay.
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John, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Ah, yes. And if a buddhist takes a materialist view of consciousness, based on modern physical understanding of the world, they have to decide whather the matter and energy their experience is based on is eternal or not. Physics question.

Also, if someone (ie Brasington) asserts that the immaterial jhanas are not ontologically existent realms they may be contrasting them with the material sensory world which is assumed to be a common, shared realm (with some personal differences).
Why would there be this contrast between consensus reality and personal altered states ? And what are the qualities by which one person's infinite consciousness can be shown to be different to another's ? Why hold the sensory world as ontologically existent and the altered states as just states ?

Also also, I don't know if the higher jhana descriptions are based solely on eyes-closed meditation, but if they are open and experienced in conjunction with the material world then the blending of an ontologically existent realm with a non-ontologically existent realm has to be explained.

Example, Brasington describes the jhana of neither perception or non perception as a state in which objects lose their names and separate existence. But if this is a modification of the experience of the ontologically existent sensory world with a non-ontologically existent 8th jhana - then how come this can happen ?

Way off the OP's original point, sorry OP. I've got another thread for this stuff somewhere.

Anyway, either way I want to see these jhanas for myself if I haven't already.
Dmitry Mitroshin, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 9 Join Date: 10/7/14 Recent Posts
imagine you watch a movie on a TV or anywhere else. do you see the screen? do you realize that you are sit and stare at the TV screen?
imagine you listen to the music. do you feel air vibrations? do you realize that music is just vawes in the air? do you feel the air?
awareness is like a TV screen - it always here despite moments when you are in "auto-pilot" mode. the screen is always on.

awareness has no personality. "i", "mind" or "personality" exist on a screen like a movie. but the screen is always here.

your post consists of words, which were your thoughts. watch the source of your thoughts - it might be seen that thoughts just appear from stillness (awareness) and disappear here too.

enlightenment is so simple that no one can ever imagine. you always been, you always are and you always will be it. you are it. is there any difference what kind of movie are on the TV screen at the moment? no. you think that you are the movie. no, you are the screen.

that's why Rupert says that awareness is "ever-present"
actually it's the only thing that exists

"Believe you not that I am in the Father and the
Father in me? The words I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the
ather that dwells in me He does the works. (vs 11)

being aware is new to you - that's why you fall into "auto-pilot" periods. you can learn how to be aware like child learn how to walk. it's ok.
why you fall in "auto-pilot periods"? because something is more interesting than "the moment of now" (or awareness or how you call it).
something just attracted your attention like this post.
Jeffrey R Spaulding, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

Posts: 2 Join Date: 11/16/14 Recent Posts
Hi Bud.

Rupert says that no one has ever experienced the cessation of awareness (consciousness) because you'd have to be aware to experience the absence of awareness. So, in that sense at least, awareness is ever-present.

He says that awareness is present even in deep sleep. But unlike the waking state or the dream state, there is no "mind" (memory) in deep sleep, so it doesn't seem to the objectified self that we're actually aware.

He also makes a distinction between awareness and attention, the latter being a focusing of awareness on an object. If you accept that, then those auto-pilot moments aren't devoid of awareness; they're just devoid of attention to awareness. 

Finally, paraphrasing Rupert, the only thing that an object can know is another object, and awareness isn't an object.That means that the objectified self can't recognize awareness. Rather, it veils it via thought/concepts. So when awareness is recognized, it's by awareness itself.
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Dream Walker, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Rupert Spira and "ever-present awareness"

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bud .:
Spira suggests that our essential nature is "ever-present awareness". But in my experience, awareness does not seem to be ever-present.

So how is Spira able to say that awareness is "ever-present"?
Expereince can be had at three different levels.

Level 1 - Our usual experience before we start meditating and prior to  meditative shifts. We are witnesses to only what attention has already selected for us. Attention has been programmed to do its job of autopilot and we get the benefit of not having to be bothered with any extra details of experience that is not deemed necessary at that time.
Level 2 - The speed of attention. This is a faster process and it is accessed thru effective meditation like concentration and vipassana. This is where things get vibratory and sensations start to break up into smaller bits of non solidity.
Level 3 - The speed of awareness is much faster than attention. When you dwell in awareness the other levels are seen clearly but you are not operating from those slower perspectives. The amount of raw information is greater and things have not been filtered. This is an awakened viewpoint and if you have this stabilized then you could say it is "ever-present"

To say awareness is ever-present before experiencing it as such is also true in a sense, because it is obviously operating, you just have a bunch of other processes that narrow this field of awareness down and select smaller parts of information and then add additional stuff like permanency and solidity and identification to them. Then you're left with the level 1 "normal" view.
Good luck,
~D

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