Could you give a short factual biography of your life up to the
age of 16.
I come from a large, close family. Both my parents are kind and
loving and gave everything they could, in their very different
ways, to their children. My childhood was essentially happy and
My parents separated when I was six and we lived with my mother
in Hampshire. However, I also saw a lot of my father. My mother
is eccentric, artistic and has a deep interest in spiritual
matters; my father more measured and conventional. I learned a
lot from both of them.
At 16, you say you started to meditate. Was there something
specific – an event perhaps – that precipitated such a thing?
At the age of 15 I became disenchanted with the life towards
which my scientific education was preparing me. At the same time
I saw an exhibition of the work of Michael Cardew, which stirred
my imagination beyond anything it had previously encountered. I
also started to read Rumi and Shankaracharya which awakened the
sense of a completely new possibility within me.
You say you started to read Rumi, Gurdjieff, Ouspensky ,Krishnamurti,
Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj and Shankracharya, amongst
others. What was it in their words that you resonated with?
Somehow, I had the deep intuition that was I was reading was
true. Their words resonated deeply within me and kindled an
intense desire to know for myself what they were speaking of.
You say you wanted to make a career in science but felt it
wasn’t the right way to go. Why was that? What is it about
science that you felt didn’t appeal to you?
It wasn’t so much a rejection of science as an attraction
towards art. Art seemed to engage my whole being, not just my
intellect. I felt that art provided the means to explore and the
express the deepest realms of experience in a way that science
You went to art school – was there any particular discipline
that inspired you – pottery and ceramics presumably – and why?
I first saw Michael Cardew’s work and, later on, pieces from the
early ceramic traditions of China, Korea, Japan and Persia. At
the time my response was instinctive and inarticulate, just an
unmistakable ‘Yes’ from the depths of my being.
These objects were like condensations of intelligence, love and
beauty. I would spend hours in museums looking at them. At times
I would feel my body dissolving in front of them. It was exactly
the same experience that I had many years later with my teacher
You spent a number of years at the Study Society, which was set
up by Dr Francis Roles, under guidance of HH Shantanand
Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of the North. What
philosophy/teaching did you learn there and how was that
When I arrived at The Study Society the last remnants of
being ushered out in favour of the
Shankaracharya’s Advaita Vedanta, which was considered to have
been the source of Ouspensky’s teaching.
I immersed myself in the teaching and also learnt Gurdjieffs
Movements and the Mevlevi Turning - beautiful, contemplative
These teachings were my home – I lived in them and they lived in
After leaving art school, you worked as an artist to make a
living. You say you believed that beauty was linked to
spirituality and it was a way in which you could bring that
concept to life. It reminds me of Keats’ lines:
Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Could you expand on that?
Our apparently objective experience consists of thoughts,
sensations and perceptions – that is, the mind, body and world.
When Awareness ‘takes the shape’ of thinking, it seems to become
a thought. When it ‘takes the shape’ of sensing, it seems to
become a body and when it ‘takes the shape’ of perceiving, it
seems to become an object, other or world.
When thinking comes to an end, the apparently objective part of
it (the thought part) disappears but its substance, Awareness,
remains. In that timeless moment (timeless because the mind is
not present) Awareness tastes itself as it is, unmediated
through the apparent objectivity of thought. This experience is
known as Understanding.
When sensing comes to an end, the apparently objective part of
it (the sensation or body part) disappears but its substance,
Awareness, remains, knowing itself as Love or Happiness.
And when perceiving comes to an end, the object, other or world
disappears but their substance, Awareness, remains, knowing
itself as it is, unveiled by the appearance of objects. That is
the experience known as Beauty.
In other words, Understanding, Love, Happiness and Beauty are
all different names for one and the same experience, the
presence of Awareness, the knowing of our own Being.
The paths through Understanding and Love (the paths of Jnana and
Bhakti) are well documented but the path through perceiving is
less often mentioned. The path of perceiving or the Way of
Beauty is the way of the artist.
It is a path through which it becomes clear, and the means
through which it is expressed, that the substance of all
perceptions is made out of Awareness.
Although all seeming objects are made out of Awareness,
it is not, at a relative level, the
function of all
objects to reveal this. For instance, the purpose of a kettle is
to boil water, not to reveal the true nature of experience.
However, there is one category of objects, which, are made
specifically with the intention of revealing the true nature of
experience and such an object is what we call a work of art.
The function of a work of art is not simply to point towards,
but actually to
reveal the true nature of experience. As
Cezanne said, to ‘give us a taste of Eternity.’
Like the words of the teaching, such objects come pregnant with
their origin, the silence and love from which they originate
and, as such, are tremendously powerful.
So, Beauty is the experience through which we come to know and
feel that all seeming things are made out of that which knows
Keats was right. “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” The
experience of Truth and Beauty are one and the same experience.
is all ye know on earth.” The mind (which is the expression of
Truth) and the world (which is the expression of Beauty) are
one. That is, the apparent ‘knower’ and the apparently ‘known’
are one. Whether we recognize it or not, this is always our
experience. It is, as Keats says, ‘all ye know on earth” – the
knowing of our own Being in and as all seeming things.
“…and all ye need to know.”
Yes, this knowledge alone, if deeply considered and made one’s
own and subsequently applied to all circumstances, is all that
is required to lead a sane, happy and loving life.
Keats, was rather more economical with his words than I am!
* * *
The great artists of the past, of whom Keats was one, were
perhaps the vehicles through which this knowledge was
communicated most powerfully in our culture but it is not their
This experiential knowledge of the true nature of experience is,
in fact, known by all but sometimes seemingly forgotten.
However, it is never far from the surface and even in popular
culture - music, fashion etc. – we see this same longing for
Love, Beauty and Happiness, all of which are simply variations
of our longing to return to the true nature of our most intimate
When this Love, Beauty and Happiness is seemingly veiled by the
appearance of the ‘I’ entity, it cries out all the more loudly.
All around us in our culture we hear these ‘love cries’ all
desperately searching in the wrong place for what lies at their
For myself, I attended the sister school of the Study Society,
called the School of Economic Science, where beauty was also
exulted. Inasmuch as I agree that beauty is a means by which the
heart may be opened, I wonder if it is at the exclusion of other
parts of life that are very ‘unbeautiful’. On a day-to-day
level, the cult of physical perfection is effectively distorting
people’s attitudes to their own and other people’s bodies and
causing a great deal of suffering. As a woman, I feel forever
judged by my physical appearance.
The cult of physical perfection is a pale reflection and a
misinterpretation of our innate knowing of Beauty. When we
forget about the presence of Awareness, Beauty is relegated to
the status of an object, in just the same way that when
Awareness is seemingly forgotten, the self, other, object and
world seem to become real.
If Beauty is considered to be a property of objects then it will
be considered to be just the opposite of ugliness. Even in some
expressions of contemporary advaita this is sometimes
misunderstood and in these expressions of the teaching, Beauty
to an objective experience that is
considered to be just one more ‘appearance within Awareness.’
But it is not. Beauty is another name for Awareness, the knowing
of our own Being.
And likewise when we love another, it is truly the Self in the
‘other’ that is loved. And it is the Self that loves. That is,
the Self is the lover
and the beloved. In other words it
is Love itself, with no other. That is what Love is – the
absence of the apparent other. We all know that experience of
dissolving in Love. All that keeps us separate and apart is
dissolved and that dissolution, even in common parlance, is
known as Love. Of course when the mind returns, it appropriates
the non-objective and timeless experience of Love and creates
out of it a ‘lover’ and a ‘beloved’ and then wonders why the
experience of Love itself has seemed to disappear!
So, Beauty and Love are one and the same experience. It is only
in our culture where this has been overlooked that they have
been reduced to objects. The cult of physical perfection you
refer to springs from this misunderstanding although there is
still a flame of recognition of the true nature of Beauty and
Love that burns at its heart.
Shakespeare knew this well: “All things seem but cannot Be.
Beauty brags but ‘tis not She.”
All things seem to have an existence of their own, separate and
independent of Awareness, but do not. The ‘Isness’ of an
apparent object belongs to Awareness alone.
“Beauty brags,” that is, the beauty (with a small ‘b’) that
seems to belong to the object “brags,” pretends to be the real
thing, draws attention to the object, “but ‘tis not She,” that
is, ‘tis not She, the true love of our hearts, objectless Beauty
During this period, you say that you had a model of the truth
and then there was living a life (relationships, having a
family, earning an income, etc.). Effectively, there was a split
between them. Can you expand?
My models were the great sages of previous eras and foreign
cultures such as Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta and Rumi and for
a while I mistook the cultural expressions of their
understanding for the truth itself.
I felt that I had to turn away from the world in order to access
this truth. This attitude is enshrined in some traditional
teachings. For many of us, the belief and feeling that it is
‘I,’ body/mind that knows the world, is initially replaced by
the experiential understanding that ‘I’ is the witnessing
Awareness that is aware of the body/mind/world.
In order to see this clearly, it may be necessary to temporarily
place the body/mind/world at a seeming distance, as it were, in
order to establish experientially that we are the witness and
not the witnessed. For many people and I was one, this position
of the witness is an important step and establishes the presence
and the primacy of Awareness.
This position is enshrined in some monastic traditions where the
world and even the body are denied in order to focus on the
presence of Awareness.
However, in this position there is still a subtle presumption of
duality between the perceiving ‘I’ of Awareness and the
perceived object, other or world. This distinction is sometimes
naturally dissolved over time or may dissolve as a result of
further exploration of experience. Either way, the result is the
utter saturation of the body/mind/world with Awareness (in fact,
it was always thus but is now known and felt to be so) in which
the body, mind and world are no longer believed and felt to be
dangerous or threatening and can again be fully embraced.
Why did you leave The Study Society? You mention you felt like
something was missing.
Yes, there was still a distance. I couldn’t completely make the
teaching my own, so to speak.
And then you met Francis Lucille. How did he help you?
Something about our encounter made it clear that what I am is
ever-present and without limits or location. As a side effect of
this discovery, the ‘me’ that was looking for help was found to
Would you say that you are self-realized/enlightened, for want
of a better expression?
Both the answer, ‘Yes,’ and the answer, ‘No,’ would presume the
presence of one that may or may not be enlightened. In the
absence of such a one, only the Light that enlightens all
seeming things remains. In fact, it does not ‘remain’ in time.
It is realied
to be the ever-present reality of all experience. It
What does it mean to be self-realized/enlightened?
These words can be used with different meanings. The meanings
with which I use them are as follows:
To be enlightened means to know oneself as Awareness and to know
that this Awareness is ever-present and without limit or
To be self-realied
means to think, feel and act in line with that experiential
Enlightenment is instantaneous although it may not be immediate.
takes apparent time and involves the gradual dissolution of all
the old habits of thinking, feeling, acting and relating on
behalf of a separate entity and, as a result, the realignment of
the mind, body and world with the experiential understanding of
our self, Awareness, as the sole witness and substance of all
Why aren’t I self-realized/enlightened?
Because of that very question. With that question you presume
yourself to be an entity that is other than and separate from
the light of Awareness. This presumption is known as the
‘person’ or the ‘separate entity’ and seems to veil the Love and
Happiness that are inherent in Awareness’ knowing of its own
This apparent veiling of Happiness is synonymous with the search
for enlightenment or the feeling of being unenlightened. That
search is what the separate entity
is, not what it
Once we have imagined ourselves to be such an entity, the search
for Happiness in the objects of the mind, the body and the world
is inevitable. If we believe and feel ourselves to be such an
entity and believe at the same time that we are not in search,
we are simply deluding ourselves. We have simply buried the
subtle rejection of the now, which is another name for the
search, under a new belief in non-duality.
However, sooner or later this search comes to an end, in most
cases, as a result of suffering and enquiry. At this point, we
may, as it were, turn round and question the very one who is in
search only to find it to be utterly non-existent. In its place,
where we are expecting to find the ‘I’ of the separate self,
find only the ‘I’ of Awareness.
It is inevitable that the search up until this point will seem
to have been undertaken by the separate entity we believe and
feel ourselves to be. However, even if we provisionally credit
the apparently separate entity with this activity, it does no
more than this. In fact, in realty
it doesn’t even do this. What can a non-existent entity do?
However, we should be wary of buying the ‘there is nothing to
do’ belief while the feeling of separation is still present.
How is self-realization/enlightenment attained?
In order to think that enlightenment can be attained we first
have to believe that it has been lost. Once enlightenment is
believed to have been lost we will, by definition, consider
ourselves to be a separate entity on an inevitable search for
Happiness. This search revolves around the separate entity we
consider ourselves to be and who is felt to be unhappy.
Therefore, in such a case, the very best thing we can do is to
turn towards this unhappy self that is longing for Happiness.
When we turn towards this ‘I’ that we intimately know ourselves
to be, we do not find a separate entity. We find Awareness,
Presence. And what is it that finds Awareness? Awareness is the
only one present ‘there,’ capable of being aware of Awareness.
Simultaneous with this self-recognition comes the recognition
that Awareness is, in fact, always only knowing its own Self and
at this point we can truly say that there is never any
However, until this recognition has taken place it would be more
honest to recognise that we feel ourselves to be a person on an
inevitable search of Happiness. As this apparent person we turn
round, as it were, towards the source of our being and, like a
moth flying into the flame we, this imaginary entity, seems to
dissolve in it.
Only then do we realie
that there was never an entity to begin with. Then it is clear
that there was no one who turned round towards the source of
their being. There was always only Presence, seemingly veiling
itself with the belief in separation and seemingly unveiling
itself with the recognition of its true nature, but never, in
fact, for a moment knowing or being anything other than its own
Is a teacher necessary?
In almost all cases, yes.
For most people, the identity is so intimately and exclusively
associated with a body and a mind, that the help of a friend in
pointing out our true identity as Awareness, is necessary.
Even for those apparent ones who spontaneously awaken to their
true nature without the help of a friend or teacher, the
presence of such a friend after this non-objective recognition
of our true nature, will greatly facilitate the realignment of
the mind, body and world with this new perspective.
How do you regard the people who come to your meetings and what
can they expect to get from you?
I see them as I see myself, that is, as Awareness. What can they
expect? They can expect to be seen and treated as Awareness, not
as a separate entity. This may or may not involve conversation,
but that is not really important.
Do you consider that your teaching is the same as traditional
Advaita, Neo Advaita, the Direct Path or something else?
In all these paths or teachings the Love and Understanding that
is inherent in the knowing of our own Being, is present. How it
is expressed varies enormously from one case to another. I
identify myself with the Love and Understanding that is at the
heart of all true teachings, not with any particular form or
Whatever I hear or see that comes from this Love and
Understanding, irrespective of the form in which it is
delivered, melts my heart over and over again.
How do you go about teaching what you teach?
If I am taking a meeting I sit in silence and wait for the first
thoughts to appear, usually in the form of a short contemplation
on the nature of experience.
If a question is asked I go in my imagination to the heart of
the question. I become the question. I offer this question to my
experience and respond from there.
It is the same with written responses. I feel the question
deeply and respond from experience.
What do you tell your students to do (practices, mental
preparation, meditation etc.)?
I do not have a prescription, formula or set practice. However,
broadly speaking there are two aspects: firstly, to notice that
what we are, is Awareness, that is, to notice that ‘I’ is both
ever-present and aware, without limit or location, and secondly
that this Awareness is the not just the witness but also
simultaneously, the substance of all seeming things.
The belief and the feeling that we are something other than
Awareness, that is, a separate independent entity, seems to veil
this knowing of our own Being and, as a result, veils the Peace,
Happiness and Love that reside there. In our meetings we first
know ourselves as impersonal, ever-present Awareness and, taking
our stand as that, proceed to investigate and explore the
beliefs and feelings that suggest otherwise.
Will these practices lead them to
No activity (or lack of activity) of the mind will bring about
enlightenment. The best the mind can do is to explore its own
belief systems and come to the conclusion that it knows nothing
about reality although, at the same time, it is an expression of
When this is clearly seen the mind comes effortlessly and
spontaneously to an end and in that moment we find ourselves
open, available, unknowing and present.
In this openness there is no waiting and no expectation because
the mind is not present. There is simply Being or Presence. And
whatever it is that knows this Presence is Presence itself. That
is the only ‘one’ present ‘there’ to know itself. That is, there
is only Presence knowing its own Being. It knows itself.
When the mind returns it claims credit for this non-objective
taste of our own Being and starts to devise all sorts of methods
and practices to experience again the Happiness and Peace that
were felt in its absence.
So, at a verbal level the teaching addresses these erroneous
beliefs and feelings – erroneous in the sense that they revolve
around a fictitious entity. This involves an investigation of
the belief of being a separate entity at the level of the mind
and an exploration of both the ‘me’ feeling at the level of the
body and the ‘not me’ feeling at the level of the world. That
is, it is an exploration of the true nature of reality in all
realms of experience.
However, this is not undertaken in order to bring about a
result, but rather simply to see clearly the nature of
If we think we are a person, we will inevitably feel that this
silence was brought about by an activity of the mind. However,
later on it becomes clear that the mind did nothing. Presence
projects the mind and Presence withdraws the mind.
To begin with it seems as if Presence only knows its own Being
when the mind is not present. Later on it becomes clear that
Presence is always only knowing its own Self.
What do you think about Ramana’s practice of ‘Self-enquiry’?
The natural state is simply to be, without resisting what is by
inverting upon an inward self or trying to replace what is by
pursuing objects in the world.
However, if we think and feel that we are a separate entity,
resisting and searching are unavoidable. In other words, we will
be searching for the Happiness we believe is missing, rather
than simply being.
As such, having deeply tasted the futility of the search for
Peace or Happiness in the objects of the body, mind and world,
the very best we can do as this apparent entity is to explore
the entity we consider ourselves to be, the one who is in
search. This enquiry resolves itself in the abidance of our own
Thus, self-enquiry is the highest activity that a mind that is
still in search can undertake. However, self-enquiry doesn’t end
with the discovery that we are impersonal, ever-present
Awareness. It continues as an impersonal activity that
facilitates the realignment of the mind, body and world with the
experiential understanding of ourselves as impersonal Awareness.
Would you say that a time frame is required for the teaching to
mature (as in traditional Advaita and the teacher-guru
relationship) or would you say some kind of understanding could
arise at any time (as in Neo Advaita and the satsang formula)?
Both! Enlightenment is always instantaneous. In fact, it is
timeless, although it may or may not be preceded by a period of
After the non-objective recognition of our own Being, a process
takes place in time that re-orchestrates, as it were, the mind,
body and world with this new experiential understanding.
If there has been a long period of investigating and exploring
these matters prior to the recognition of Being, the body and
mind may already be well aligned with this experiential
understanding so that when this recognition occurs not much
adaptation is necessary.
However, if this recognition takes place spontaneously with
little or no preparation, the mind and the body may be utterly
and may, as a result, require longer to become
However, there are no rules or formulas. Anything is possible!
How should one lead one’s life if seeking enlightenment?
According to the strength of one’s desire for enlightenment. In
fact, everyone is searching for enlightenment, which is simply
the search for Happiness. Most people search for Happiness in
the realm of objects, that is, in the realm of the mind, body
Once it has become obvious that Happiness does not reside in the
realm of objects, all the energies that were previously directed
outwards towards them are now gathered and turned towards their
At a certain point this becomes all consuming and a great
intensity arises in one’s heart.
What it is that ignites this love of truth, I do not know. It is
truly a gift of Presence.
So what is Consciousness?
Consciousness is the intimacy of our own Being. It is referred
to as ‘I,’ although this ‘I’ is sometimes mistaken for a body or
a mind. It also has many other names, such as, Peace, Happiness,
Love and Beauty.
It is whatever it is that is seeing these words and experiencing
whatever else is being experienced in this and every moment.
Upon investigation it is also found to be just not just the
witness of all seeming things but also their substance or
At this point we may ask what then are these seeming things,
only to realie
that they were never present, as such, to begin with.
Now we are left we the understanding that Consciousness is all.
But what is this ‘all.’ There is no ‘all.’ There is only
Consciousness and when this is clear there is no longer a need
it, for there is nothing else with which to contrast or
differentiate it. Any conceptualiation
at this stage would be another subtle objectification.
Here we are simply left in silence.
What do you mean by the following statement:
‘Consciousness veils itself from itself by pretending to limit
itself to a separate entity and then forgets that it is
If Consciousness is all there is, and all there is, is
Consciousness, how can something that is omnipotent, omniscient
and omnipresent forget ‘itself’. That sounds like a
Consciousness never truly forgets itself. It never knows
anything other than its own Being. For this reason, ignorance,
that is, the ignoring of the true nature of experience, is said
to be an illusion. It never really happens, but only seems to.
To whom does Consciousness seem to be absent? To the mind.
It is the mind that rises up (within Consciousness and made out
of nothing other than Consciousness) and imagines that
Consciousness, which properly pervades
all experience, in
fact only pervades one small part of experience, that is, a
In other words, the mind imagines that Consciousness is limited
to and located within the body and with that belief, the ‘I am’
which properly belongs to Consciousness alone, seems to become
‘I am the body.’
As a result of this belief that Consciousness is limited to a
body, everything that is not that body becomes ‘not me.’ ‘Not
me’ is simply another name for the world. In other words, the
world is the name we give to the apparent forgetting of
So, from the point of view of Consciousness, which is the only
true point of view, Consciousness is never bound, limited,
veiled, forgotten or obscured. However, from the imaginary point
of view of the mind, Consciousness seems to be lost and found,
veiled and unveiled, bound and liberated.
However, the mind’s point of view is only a valid point of from
its own point of view!
The statement that
‘Consciousness veils itself from itself by
pretending to limit itself to a separate entity and then forgets
that it is pretending…’ was said to convey this
What is reality?
Reality is whatever it is that is real in experience. Reality
cannot disappear because that into which it would disappear
would have to be more real that it. For instance, gold is the
reality of the ring, because (within the limits of the metaphor)
the ring can change its name and form and become, for instance,
a necklace, but the gold itself remains as it is, unchanged and
Similarly, when an apparent object disappears, the substance out
of which it was made, remains. The true substance of experience,
its reality, does not come and go. It is uncaused (because if it
were caused by something, that ‘something’ would have to be more
real that it) and is not known by anything other than itself.
From the point of view of the mind, there are names and forms.
From the point of view of experience itself, there is only one
ever-present reality and that is sometimes called Consciousness
or Awareness, because it is aware and present. However, it is
more intimately known as ‘I.’
And what is it that knows Consciousness or ‘I’? Consciousness or
In other words, there is nothing other than Consciousness or ‘I’
And because there is no possibility of lack or dis-ease in this
knowing of itself, it is also know
as Happiness. Because there is no possibility of agitation
within itself, it is also know
as Peace. And because there is no possibility of another in the
knowing of its own Being, it is also know
Hence Peace, Happiness and Love, which
simply the name
we give to the knowing of Being,
the reality of all experience.
There is only That.
You often talk about the fact that there is only experience.
Indeed, the subtitle of your book is ‘Contemplating the Nature
of Experience.’ Can you expand on that?
All we know is experience. All things possible to be thought,
sensed or perceived fall within experience. In other words, all
we know of the mind, body or world, is through experience.
Experience goes into the make of everything. The apparent
individual, is also, like everything else, only known through
experience and, therefore, its essential nature must be
identical to the essential nature of everything else that is
experienced. What is the essential nature of that experience?
If we go deeply into the essential nature of experience, that
is, of our self and of all seeming things, we find only
Consciousness. That is, Consciousness finds itself.
In fact, Consciousness is always only knowing/being/loving
itself. It is only from the imaginary point of view of an
imaginary entity that Consciousness seems to be lost and found.
How do we cope with our experience and come to an understanding
We cope with our experience by exploring it. We do not try to
change or manipulate it in any way. We simply look. What is
In this disinterested but loving contemplation, all the
accretions that the dualiing
mind superimposes upon our essential experience slowly, in most
cases, fall away and the reality of experience is left shining
However, it is not the mind that understands reality. It is
reality that ‘stands under’ the mind giving it its support. It
also pervades the mind, giving it its substance and seeming
reality, allowing it to be whatever it is from moment to moment.
How do we acquire the knowledge that will enable us to
appreciate the nature of reality? Isn’t that knowledge itself
dualistic? How is this reconciled?
Knowledge (if by knowledge you mean knowledge in the mind) can
never know the nature of reality.
Knowledge is of things, that is, of thoughts, sensations and
perceptions. If we go deeply into the essential nature of such
knowledge, we find only knowing. And if we go deeply onto the
experience of knowing, we find only Consciousness.
The ‘I’ that would acquire such knowledge or appreciate the
nature of experience, is found to be made only of thinking.
When thinking comes to an end its substance remains, just as the
screen remains when the image fades. When thinking reappears it
is known to be made only of Consciousness, just as the image is
known to be made only of the screen.
The image can never know the screen just as thinking can never
know Consciousness. However, the ‘element’ of knowing or
experiencing that pervades all thinking, is Consciousness alone.
There is no other substance to thinking, sensing or perceiving
Is there a god? If so, what do you mean by that?
It is not that there
is a god. It is rather that God is
Isness itself. It is the
Isness of all of all
seeming things. And when there are no seeming things apparently
present, Isness just remains as it is, pure Being.
In order to know that there is Being, Being must be known. That
which knows or is aware of Being is Being itself. Nothing
outside of itself could be present, or could
which Being could be known. So, Being knows itself. It
the knowing of itself.
Hence Knowing and Being are one or, more accurately, not two.
That is, Consciousness and Being are not two.
To say it is one, is to say one thing too much.
That which remains when the seeming ‘two’ dissolves is what is
known as God. But when the seeming multiplicity and diversity
reappear, it is still only God that knows and is known.
There is nothing but God knowing, being and loving its own
infinite, eternal Being
Is there free will?
Consciousness is freedom itself. The separate entity is
non-existent. Therefore there is no entity present who could
either have or not have free will.
Experience is too intimate and immediate to admit of one who may
stand back and orchestrate it like a conductor, willing,
choosing, deciding etc. There is no time present for such a one
to exist in.
The idea of free will is an inevitable side effect of the belief
in a separate entity. If we believe there is a separate entity,
we will by definition, whether we know it or not, believe there
is free will. If, as this apparent entity, we then believe there
is no free will, then that is simply a belief that we
superimpose onto our much deeper conviction that we are a
separate doer, chooser, decider etc.
Once the separate entity is seen clearly to be non-existent, the
idea of free will dissolves.
All that is left is the freedom of Consciousness.
Do you believe in reincarnation?
I don’t believe in incarnation, let alone reincarnation!
Incarnation is the concept that Consciousness was born into and
resides in a body. It is never an experience. To believe that
concept is ignorance. Unhappiness is the result.
In your book, you quote Paul Cezanne:
Paul Cézanne said, “Everything vanishes, falls apart, doesn’t
it? Nature is always the same but nothing in her that appears to
us lasts. Our art must render the thrill of her permanence,
along with her elements, the appearance of all her changes. It
must give us a taste of her Eternity.”
Could you explain what you mean in terms of how that relates to
Cezanne is suggesting that our only knowledge of nature is
through intermittent sense perceptions. Sense perceptions are
fleeting and in that sense the apparent solidity of the world or
nature is, in fact, ‘falling apart,’ ‘vanishing’ from moment by
moment. The world is our perception of the world and it vanishes
as soon as a perception vanishes. It is only a thought that
collates a string of imagined perceptions and creates out of
them the apparently solid and permanent world, existing in time
However, Cézanne also acknowledges that there is something in
nature that is ‘always the same.’ Whatever that ‘something’ is
cannot be a perception because every perception is unique and
intermittent. So he is pointing to the fact that there is
something that is ‘always the same’ that runs through, as it
were, the experience of intermittent perceptions that we call
nature or the world.
Furthermore, Cezanne suggests that this ‘something,’ this
ever-present element that runs through all experience, is not
just a neutral background but rather that it is a ‘thrill.’ That
is, it is joyful. He is suggesting that the reality of nature or
the world is pure Joy, Ananda, Happiness itself. Cezanne was a
pure non-dualist – at least when he was painting!
So, Cezanne is suggesting that the purpose of art is to take
nature’s elements, its changing appearances (colours, in his
case) and create a form that directly points towards that which
is ever-present in our experience.
In fact, he suggests that it is more than just an indication or
a pointing. He suggests that art is more intimate than that. He
suggests it should give us the
taste of the ever-presence
or reality of experience, nature’s eternity.
In this way, he acknowledges the power of an object, be that
object a word, a painting, a piece of music, whatever, that
truly comes from the recognition of the true nature of
And then how it relates to Consciousness.
If we make a deep exploration of our experience we find that
whatever it is that is ever-present in the experience of nature
is identical to whatever it is that is ever-present in
ourselves, that we refer to as Consciousness.
In other words, it is what I am.
Another aphorism that struck me in your book:
‘Once we see that everything is Consciousness… Maya still dances
but it is a dance of love not seduction.’
So what, finally, is love?
The appearance of objects, time, space etc. continues but
ignorance, that is, the belief that there is something
other than the presence of Consciousness, ceases. At that
moment, the apparent multiplicity and diversity of the world,
which once seemed to veil the knowing of our own Being, now
turns round, as it were, and instead expresses or celebrates it.
Appearances no longer seduce us into believing that duality,
separation, objects and others are real in their own right and
therefore it is known that they can never threaten us nor be a
source of Happiness.
Psychological fear and the desire to find Happiness and Love
through objects, activities and relationships, come to an end.
As a result, the world is no longer hostile and ‘others’ are no
longer a source of love or hurt. There is no longer any aversion
towards or manipulation of objects and people and, as such, we
can give ourselves utterly, intimately, fearlessly, to all
This unreserved giving of our Being to all seeming things is
known as Love.
It is from this understanding that William Blake said. “Eternity
is in love with the productions of time.
Love is what remains of experience when all sense of separation,
boundary, duality, otherness, etc. dissolves. At that moment it
that it was all that was present to begin with.
Love is simply that which truly