This teisho was based on comments made by Nisargadatta, as follows:
‘Keep very still and be aware ……
Reject the known.
Welcome the so far unknown, and reject it in its turn.
To know by being is direct knowledge. It is based upon the inseparability of the seer and the seen. Indirect knowledge is based on sensation and memory, on the proximity of the perceiver and the perceived, and limited by the contrast between the two of them.
Our true nature is happiness, which is uncaused and cannot disappear for lack of stimulation.
The true secret of practice: keep very still and be aware. Awareness is the substance of everything. It is the emptiness of form. You cannot get outside of awareness. It has no beginning and no end. But awareness has the capability of reflecting on itself, awareness of awareness, and this is the trap that it is so easy to fall into. It gives a comfortable sense of being, but this is simply the mind being reflected against the mind. You could say that awakening is no reflection, and the struggle of practice is to break this habit or reflection.
To be still is to let go of the reflection, it is to no longer be aware that you are aware. There is a purity, a clarity, a complete simplicity in awareness. This is clouded over once we are aware that we are aware. Many people when following the breath are simply aware of following the breath. They think that this is what is required, and it leads into a kind of dream state which is very peaceful, but at the same time it is illusory and does not last. To be aware of being aware is to stand outside ourselves.
When you are aware of, you are separated from; there is something apart from you that you are aware of. But when you are aware as the pain, the thoughts, the situation generally, there is just awareness. The content of the awareness is incidental; when you acknowledge it and just allow it to be, it loses a certain kind of significance. It is this significance that is the core of the problem. It is this which is the anxiety aspect of anxiousness. It makes it real. If one can just be anxious and let go of the significance, this is rejecting the known, this is no longer taking the known as having meaning and importance.
The whole world, the whole of your life is without meaning. This does not mean that every action you take is not meaningful: it is meaningful because it is an action that you take and this automatically grants it meaning. You do not have to find some significant meaning, some ultimate significance to life. Anything that you do, if you do it without reflection, without that sense of looking back at it, is a meaningful action.
The unknowable is the foundation of it all. Allow the unknowable to arise, without trying to grasp it. We want to know everything; we want to know what reality is, what God is, we want to be able to put everything into some formulation, some kind of conceptual box. Welcome the unknowable, allow it to be. Then you come to a state in which there is no knowledge, only being; in which being is knowing. But this ‘is’ is not the is of identity: knowing is what being is not, being is what knowing is not.
We talked earlier about stillness. If you can allow the stillness to arise, you can allow seeing to be the room. But if you are noisy, if you are reflecting, if there is a separation of seeing from being, then, of course, this will not be possible. Knowing by being is direct knowledge. Direct knowledge is based on the inseparability of the seer and the seen. This is I am. Indirect knowledge is based on sensation and memory, on the proximity of the perceiver and the perceived, and limited by the contrast between the two of them. This is the knowledge that you have to learn and is what we are carrying around with us most of our life. How much of what you know is your own?
To see into ‘the seer is the seen, the doer is the doing, the hearer is the hearing,’ is the direction in which you are going. If you can reach that state where there is no longer a reflection, a mind aware of itself, you will know pure happiness. Our true nature is happiness, which is uncaused and cannot disappear for lack of stimulation. Beyond it all is the light that is shining. True happiness is not the opposite of sorrow, it includes all sorrow, all suffering. You do not have to get rid of suffering, get rid of pain, of difficulty, of conflict to be happy. Happiness is your natural state. This is why when you come to awakening, you realise there is no awakening. This is why it is said, ‘From the beginning, all beings are Buddha.’