Updated: Sep 7, 2022
I’ve been reading this quote from Nisargadatta (I Am That) for several days. I find it rich with meaning. I’d like to share the quote and what I’m still learning from it.
Question: At what point does one experience reality?
Nisargadatta: Experience is of change, it comes and goes. Reality is not an event, it cannot be experienced. It is not perceivable in the same way as an event is perceivable. If you wait for an event to take place, for the coming of reality, you will wait forever, for reality neither comes nor goes. It is to be perceived, not expected. It is not to be prepared for and anticipated. But the very longing and search for reality is the movement, operation, action of reality. All you can do is to grasp the central point, that reality is not an event and does not happen and whatever happens, whatever comes and goes, is not reality. See the event as event only, the transient as transient, experience as mere experience and you have done all you can. Then you are vulnerable to reality, no longer armoured against it, as when you gave reality to events and appearances.
Non-duality is replete with paradoxes. One is that “reality” (Awareness, Eternity, God) is unchanging, yet it is not static; it “expresses” the world. Everything occurs within reality, yet any “experience” is just part of the dream, impermanent and illusory.
Most of the time, Awareness is veiled from me. But Nisargadatta is telling me that my search for Awareness is also Awareness’s search for me. Just as I am the love and happiness that I seek, I am what I search for, what I long for. Rupert says that Awareness always shines through.
Somehow, this quote was a relief for me: I sometimes feel anxiety about going through various practices and struggles to “get there.” But I think maybe Nisargadatta is saying that Awareness will find me, I don’t have to find it. Just open my heart and be vulnerable. Rupert says that King Lear can never know John Smith. My separate self can never know Awareness. In another passage, Nisargadatta says, “Reality is not the result of a process; it is an explosion. It is definitely beyond the mind…” This allows me to let go of the mental search and just be open for Awareness to enter.