You taste a strawberry ice cream and you’re gone, the ice cream is gone, too: one taste

Advaita Post, Volume 9, Number 10

Advaita Post

Text Satsang

A talk given in Gouda May 14, 2008

The non-duality of experience

Douwe: Yes, we are always talking here about the recognition of non-duality. It’s clear:  if duality and its associated suffering are going to dissolve, then in practice you will recognize very clearly that non-duality is the reality. You should determine this very clearly in your own experience.

It’s easiest in the feeling-sense. You can become aware of your tactile sensations. Imagine that the wind blows and you experience the wind on your skin. Which reality is that? What do you really experience now? There is the feeling in which you no longer experience the skin and the wind separately. In the experience it’s just one phenomenon. You can go on thinking that it has two sides, your skin and the wind, but what you experience is one phenomenon. You don’t experience your skin and separately the wind. They have totally merged. It is one sensual phenomenon. Just call it skin-wind. Do you experience that skin-wind feeling in space?  Do you see that the physical aspect of yourself and what supposedly comes from outside have totally merged? The wind, it blows. As skin wind you go completely with it into the infinite distance. You must forcibly pull the two apart from one another to experience them separately again. In the sensitive experience of being there is only that one unity. That feeling skin-wind. The wind is nothing without skin, the skin is nothing without wind. It is one phenomenon.

That’s also true with the sense of taste, such as when you eat an ice cream in this beautiful weather.  How is it then?  “Oh, what a delicious taste – strawberries, bananas, …”  How about it then?  What happens to yourself in terms of the taste experience and that which you are tasting?  Isn’t that also only one?  I recently read a Buddhist text on the idea of ‘one taste’. The interpretation there was that you experience everything in the same way. There is no preference, there is no denial. What we speak about in the advaita approach is an even deeper meaning. In that one taste not only the separations that you make between the various experienced objects have disappeared but also between yourself, your experience, and the objects of experience. Then there is not a separate ‘I taste’ and ‘that which I taste’. Both have merged together. There is one phenomenon of taste. Therefore the situation in which you clearly register that one taste or that one feeling has the tendency towards universality. Why? Because there are no divisions any more. You taste something, a strawberry ice cream. When you enjoy that delicious taste, you easily merge with it. Then there is just ‘one taste’ and that is universal.  There is nothing else. You pick the ice cream up and there is still a distance, you bring it to your mouth, enjoy it and there is a merging of yourself and the ice cream. You taste a strawberry ice cream and you’re gone, the ice cream is gone, too: one taste. What’s the reality? You can say nothing more about it, except that you and the ice cream are one. So you clearly recognize non-duality on the sensory level: that’s how it is.

The separation also disappears with the hearing sense. You hear beautiful music and you go right into it: the separation disappears. The merging ‘I hear/am the music’ develops itself spatially and creates literally infinite enjoyment. [There is the sound of a fire engine.] You hear the sound of the siren and you can’t say whether it’s somewhere outside, or whether it’s present in your own sphere. There is a non-duality and it has the tendency to strengthen all by itself, because you easily become the sound of the siren.

Seeing is highly dualistic, because seeing sets something up in a fixed distance. Because we in the West are very visually oriented, in our ideation everything exists at a distance. Duality reigns. But there is also another kind of seeing, an sensitive kind of seeing where distance is not present. When you see from your heart, you notice that you see yourself in the things you are seeing. You see the light of the sun and you let the light come into you. Every distance is gone. Sun and self are no longer separate. From out of your heart you see that self-light everywhere. You see someone else from your heart. The distance falls away and you can immediately determine: there is no duality with the other but a non-duality. You’d have to use force in order to maintain a distance towards the other. You ’d have to make a real effort, paying attention to and maintaining that distancing: I am here and the other is there. When a little relaxation arises, you automatically sink into it. You go back to a sensitive seeing from your heart and the separation disappears. With relaxation it disappears automatically. Seeing the sea is disappearing into it.

Keeping distance, that is tension. Look again at what happens when you maintain that distance. Then there is a notion of yourself, regardless of what you see, which is apart from the others that you see. The world, the others, are kept at a distance. What appears, what you see, is not allowed not come too close to you, not into your territory. In that sense, you create a wall. In that sense you make yourself hard. In the energy of that distance-creating-seeing is the energy which keeps the other at a distance. ‘I’ see ‘you’ there. Do you see the tension creating distance of each objectification? That also applies to all those different future events which people tend to fear: they must remain at a distance, all those less attractive eventualities. Go now and look on the energetic level. Then you immediately see that you are the force which keeps everything at a distance, especially the things that are not so beautiful. Relaxation means acceptance, such a complete acceptance that everything is allowed to come close, so close that it merges with yourself. This applies also to the suffering that you see. Then there is more than just pity, more even than a compassion which still knows a distance. Really, other things and other people may come so close that you merge with them. That’s the point of non-duality. There is no separation anymore between being yourself and being something and someone else.

Sensitive seeing from out of your heart, the feeling experience, is a very sensitive consciousness. There are no boundaries in it. You can directly confirm: it is universal consciousness. Therefore, there’s also the immediate universal joy. The universal Being-Consciousness-Bliss is immediately there in the opening. If you don’t hold back and there is a deep relaxation, then right away there is a conscious recognition of non-duality as the reality. So it’s not just a feeling. And it’s not merely psychological, because you can see that it concerns that one Being-Consciousness. So the two sides come together: consciousness and that directness of being without distances. That is something that many people have difficulty with, because in seeing and hearing, in becoming aware, a distance is almost always created. How is the recognition of non-duality ever possible?  It’s very simple: there is an internally sensitive consciousness, not only in the feelings, but also in seeing.  In that awareness, phenomena just appear without distance. Within that they also disappear once again. They are there as physical impressions in the one body of your Self. They can come, they can also leave. So in that internal consciousness, there is no dependence upon phenomena. When they come, there is a non-duality with the inner experience of being or of the total merging and disappearance of all distances. When they don’t come, there is pure consciousness or the dissolving of all into the Origin. Is that clear?

One Response

  1. […] That the sensory world then also re-arises was clear with the tasting of food and drink. After a period of intravenous nutrition and tube feeding, just drinking normal apple juice from a package was a revelation. The taste was very strong and delicious, because it was new. It reminded me of the New Year’s Eve long ago, in the 50′s, when I first consciously tasted apple juice, strong and delicious, because then also, the taste was new. That’s how it was, too with the pudding I had in the hospital. It was like the first time I had tasted custard from a bottle: that delicious full vanilla flavor. I asked for it again as dessert on my birthday. So too the taste of coffee in the hospital was like before: too strong and too bitter, but tasty as children’s coffee with lots of milk and sugar. A particular aspect to all these delicacies was that in the moment of enjoyment there was just taste, with the enjoyment of that taste quality like an infinite space (see Advaita Post 9-10 You can taste a strawberry ice cream and you’re gone, the ice cream too is g…). […]

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