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Dustin LindenSmith

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From Nisargadatta (once removed)

Student: Well, here we are, the two of us, sitting here in front of each other. I've dedicated a lot of time to my study and my practice, yet I still don't feel any different. What is the basic difference between you and me?
Teacher: There is no basic difference.

S: Okay, but there must be some basic difference. After all, I came to you because you're an enlightened being - you didn't come looking for me.
T: It's only because you imagine that there's a difference between us that you think you're sitting with an enlightened being.

S: But you are enlightened! You claim to know the Truth, and I know I don't know the Truth yet.
T: Have you ever heard me say that I know more about this "Truth" than you do? I don't claim to know anything you don't know yourself. In fact, I probably know much less than you do, with all of the study and practice you've done.

S: See that? Just the way you said that proves my point: because you've experienced the Absolute, every aspect of your demeanour is like a direct reflection of God.
T: Oh, come on, now. I don't know what you're talking about anymore. There's no difference between you and me. My life is a succession of events, just like yours is. The only difference is that I don't attach any real significant to those events, while you do. I see the unfolding of life's events as the picture show they are, while you stick to things and move along with them.

S: (in awe) What has made you so detached?
T: Nothing in particular. Really all I did was pay attention to my own teacher. She told me that I am nothing other than my self, and I believed her. Trusting that, I acted in accordance with that, and I could stop worrying about what was not me, or mine.

S: How come you were so lucky as to understand your teacher so fully? Your words sound enlightened to me, but I don't think I really understand what you're talking about.
T: Who knows? It just worked out that way for me. Nothing really happens for any particular reason, and even if it did, what would it matter? Your opinion is that I'm an enlightened being, but that's only your own opinion. You can change your opinion any time you like, so why attach any importance to opinions, even your own?

S: Still, you are different. Your mind always seems to be quiet and happy. You're always at peace with yourself and the world.
T: My mind: what do you really mean by that? I don't have "my own mind" that's "quiet and happy!" There is a consciousness in which everything happens - everyone has experienced that. But you're not looking carefully enough at what's beyond that so-called quiet mind. Quiet mind, stormy mind: it makes no difference. The mind is not who you are. Look deeper, more carefully, to see what I see.

S: What do you see?
T: I'm not seeing anything that you couldn't see for yourself if you'd just focus your attention a little differently. You're not giving enough attention to your Self. Your mind is cluttered all day and night with thoughts and dreams of things, people and ideas, but never with your self. Just observe how you function - watch the motives for your actions and observe the results of your actions. Study this world of random things, people and ideas that you have inadvertently constructed for yourself. By studying what you have constructed in your own mind, you will come to understand what you are not. By knowing what you are not, you will come to know your self. Only through this refusal and rejection will you come to understand what you are not, and then come to know what you are.

The Real is not imaginary, and by definition, it is cannot be a product of your own mere mind. Even the sense 'I am' is not continuous, though it is a useful pointer; it shows where to seek, but not what to seek. Just have a good look at it, and you'll see what I mean. Once you are convinced that you cannot truthfully say anything about your Self other than 'I am,' and that nothing that can be pointed at or seen can be your Self, then the very need for even 'I am' is over - you no longer need to verbalize your own existence.

Once this obsession with the body goes, you will spontaneously and effortlessly revert to your natural state. The only difference between us is that I am aware of my natural state, while you are looking for your natural state. The only way we differ is in appearance, and by how we are each projecting our selves externally. But these appearances are not really US - only through rejecting those experiences can we truly come to know what we are.

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Just a small observation...

fewtch March 24th, 2001
Hi Om,

Just an observation on something missed (the only *glaring* thing) in this "once-removal":

>The only difference between us is that I am >aware of my natural state, while you are looking >for your natural state.

There is only "the natural state"... not "my natural state" or "your natural state." There are not 7 billion natural states living on Earth, walking around and natural-stating with one another .



Re: Just a small observation...

iamom March 25th, 2001
Thanks for your comment. That phrase stuck out for me, too, but sometimes I feel a need to use certain terminology that makes sense at the time, even if it's not 100% precise. Actually, those were his exact words in that dialogue, too, but it's hard to say how much got lost in the translation from his native Marathi.

I'll probably change that wording if I make a "twice removed" version of the dialogue.

PS: Y'know, I think if you regard the phrase "natural state" in a more colloquial manner (as opposed to an authentic nondual reading), it kind of makes sense in that context, don't you think?

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