Many of Rupert’s meetings begin with a guided meditation, followed by a dialogue; others consist only of a dialogue. The guided meditations fall into two categories: one, general meditations that explore various aspects of the nature of experience; and two, more specific meditations that explore the experience of the body and the world in relation to the non-dual understanding. These latter meditations are referred to as Yoga Meditations, and you can find a brief introduction to this approach below.
Introduction to Yoga Meditations
The imaginary separate self is made of the belief that our essential nature of pure Awareness shares the destiny and the limits of the mind and body, and this belief has its counterpart in the body, where it is substantiated as ‘me’ feelings.
In fact, the feeling of being a separate self is by far the larger part of the sense of separation. Many of us may have a clear intellectual understanding of the non-dual perspective: that is, we may know from genuine experience that what we are essentially is the open, empty, unlimited space of Awareness, and yet still feel that we walked into a room and are sitting on a chair.
While it is perfectly obvious to us that Awareness didn’t walk into a room and is not sitting on a chair, nevertheless, we still feel that we are located in and as a temporary, limited body. In other words, there is a discrepancy between what we understand and what we feel.
These feelings of separation are deeper and last much longer than our beliefs. For instance, a conflict may arise in a relationship, which, although subsequently resolved, may leave a residue of tensions in the body, which take some time to dissipate.
During our lives a network of tensions and contractions have been laid down in the body in this way, arising from our interactions with people, situations and circumstances. Long after their apparent cause has been resolved and forgotten, this network remains alive as a sort of memory or echo in the body, laid down, layer upon layer, mimicking the presence of a separate self that supposedly lives there.
In this approach to the true nature of experience, we make a deep exploration of the body, during which these residues of separation are explored and exposed. In time and as a natural and inevitable consequence of this exploration, these residues of separation in the body gradually and effortlessly dissolve. In other words, we learn to feel the body in a way that is consistent with our understanding.
The understanding that our essential nature of pure Awareness is ever-present and unlimited is just the first stage. If this understanding is not taken into the way we feel, act, perceive and relate, it cannot really be called true understanding.
One of the most common complaints on the spiritual path is that in spite of our clear understanding, we continue to feel, act and relate in ways that betray the presence of a separate self. The reason for this, in most cases, is that our understanding has not been taken deeply into the body, and remains only at the level of thought.
So, in this approach we do not just explore the way we think, but the way we feel; and indeed not just the way we feel, but the way we perceive, act and relate. In other words, the body and the world – not just the mind – are gradually colonized by our understanding.
This last phase of the spiritual path is an endless process that is described variously in the spiritual traditions as the establishment process, the Great Rebirth, the transfiguration, transformation etc. It is a process in which the body and the world are progressively permeated by and saturated with the open, empty transparency of our true nature. It is the ‘outshining’ of the mind, body and world by the light of pure Knowing.
From the conventional point of view, we believe that our essential nature of pure Awareness is made out of the body, and the apparently separate self is created with that belief. In understanding we realize that the body is made out of the open, empty, luminous presence of Awareness.
This is not an extraordinary new experience that happens to a few people; it is actually what we are experiencing all the time. However, the intimacy of our experience has been so distorted by thought that we have come to believe and, more importantly, feel that what we are essentially is made out of something solid, dense and located. In fact, the body is made out of a substance that is transparent, weightless, empty and knowing or aware.
This feeling of density, solidity and locality substantiates and validates the belief in being a separate self. Thus, this belief and feeling mutually support one another and, in doing so, are responsible for the complexity and tenacity of the apparently temporary, limited self arounor world dissolve, until we can no longer locate ourselves as someone, somewhere.
In time, we drop the space-like aspect as our Self: we are no longer the open, empty space of Awareness, but rather the dimensionless presence of pure Knowing. We know and feel our Self as the light of pure, dimensionless Knowing, which not only intimately pervades the entirety of our experience, but is its only substance and reality.
Whatever appears in the field of experience appears in our Self; we are that dimensionless, knowing field. We know our Self as the dimensionless field of pure sensitivity and receptivity – it knows itself as such – tasting intimately every appearance as a modulation of our own aware Being.
d whom most of our lives revolve.
In these yoga meditations, we explore the body as it is really experienced, and in doing so, liberate it from the tyranny of a non-existent, separate self. We allow the body to gradually return to its natural, organic state of openness, transparency and sensitivity. We learn to feel and move the body in a way that is consistent with our understanding.
The well-defined borders or contours that seem to separate the body from others and the environment are seen and experienced to be non-existent. To begin with, we feel that the body is made of permeable space, in direct contact with everyone and everything, no longer sealed up in a clearly defined, impervious container. The borders between our self and the object, other
The Disentanglement of the Self
It is common for people who encounter this teaching to fear a dissolution of their identity. What do we fear disappearing with the recognition of our true nature? It’s true that what seems to define us as a person — our thoughts, feelings, ideas, name and form — is going to disappear.
If we were truly afraid of letting go of the individual characteristics of our particular body and mind, we would be afraid of falling asleep at night. But we do so happily; we even look forward to it! Without a moment’s thought we give up our body, our mind and our world as we fall asleep, and are left only as the peaceful Self – pure Awareness – that we essentially are.
We don’t miss our body and our mind when we are asleep. We’re perfectly happy there without them. Then, in the morning, we happily ‘get dressed’ in our body and mind again. First we put on our mind, then our body, and then the world.
All the time, underneath the body/mind/world that we assume, we are always this peaceful Self that is inherently unattached to the body, mind and world. What we essentially are is no more attached to them than it is the clothes we’re wearing. We don’t have to work hard to detach ourselves from thoughts, sensations and perceptions. We just see that what we essentially are is already unattached to any particular object.
So, why are we afraid of letting a collection of thoughts, sensations and perceptions disappear? What do we think we are going to lose? The reason we fear it is that we have invested our identity in a collection of objects — ideas, knowledge, history and the sensations that we know as the body — in something that comes and goes.
To say, ‘we have invested our identity’ means that our essential Being of pure Awareness, or the simple experience of being aware, has mixed itself up with a collection of thoughts and feelings to such an extent that it can no longer distinguish itself from them. By allowing our Self to be entangled with an object or a collection of objects, we have allowed our true nature to be veiled.
Once we have consented to limit ourselves in time and space and seem to have become, as a result, a temporary, finite entity that lives in and as the body, we are destined to experience in a way that is consistent with that consent, and are thus destined to suffer. The experience of suffering is like a red flag signalling us, ‘Stop, you have mistaken yourself for an object. You have consented to limit yourself to a mind and a body.’
From the point of view of Awareness, which is the only real point of view, there is no veiling of itself. To say that we have allowed ourselves to become entangled with the body and the mind is a concession to the apparently separate self that believes and feels itself to be temporary and finite. So the statement is made to that apparent one that we believe and feel ourselves to be.
The implication of the phrase, ‘We have allowed ourselves to become entangled’ is the possibility that we could not allow it, that we could choose not to become entangled. This then raises the question, ‘Do “I”, the separate self, have the free will to choose whether or not I become entangled with the body/mind?’
The idea that we have the freedom to choose whether or not to become entangled with thoughts and feelings is a concession to the separate self we believe and feel ourselves to be. From the separate self’s point of view, it has choice, freedom. If we think we are a separate self, then by definition we feel that we are making choices.
For this reason the teaching says, ‘You have the choice. You have consented to limit yourself. You can choose not to. Choose to disentangle yourself. Make that your first choice in life, to disentangle yourself from the body and the mind and to know yourself as you truly are.’
As an apparently separate self, the highest choice we can make is to turn our attention away from the objects that we seem to know, towards the Knowing with which they are known. Making that choice effects this disentanglement of our self from the body/mind, and, as a result, our true nature stands revealed as it is.
When the mind returns to the heart — when the separate self is divested of its separateness and stands revealed as the true and only Self of pure Awareness — it becomes clear that there was never a separate self to begin with, and therefore the question as to whether or not that separate self has choice is moot.
The choice of refusing to be limited by the body and mind is open to everybody. At every moment there is the possibility to turn the light of our attention around on itself so as to know the nature of our Self, that is, the nature of the Knowing with which we know our experience.
This experience of being aware has never left us. We have never ceased to be this ‘I am aware’. Just give your attention to that. Instead of shining your attention on an object — a thought, feeling, sensation or perception — shine that Awareness on the experience of being aware, in other words, on itself. Allow your attention to come back to itself, just to rest in itself. That experience is peace itself.
Just abide there. Give your attention to your Self. Allow the Self to give its attention to itself. You’ll simply forget about the fear of losing your identity, of disappearing. This knowing or remembering of our own Being – its knowing of itself in us – will formulate itself in the mind as a kind of conviction: I am not just aware; I am eternally aware. I have never experienced myself disappearing. I never go anywhere. I have never been hurt. No experience has ever left a trace on me, yet I am totally intimate with all experience. I never die.
An Introduction to the Perennial Non-Dual Understanding