Emptiness, Fullness, Awareness and Nonduality

“Fullness and emptiness are relative terms. The Real is really beyond — beyond not in relation to consciousness, but beyond all relations of whatever kind. The difficulty comes with the word ‘state’. The Real is not a state of something else — it is not a state of mind or consciousness or psyche — nor is it something that has a beginning and an end, being and not being. All opposites are contained in it — but it is not in the play of opposites. You must not take it to be the end of a transition. It is itself, after the consciousness as such is no more. Then words ‘I am man’, or ‘I am God’ have no meaning. Only in silence and in darkness can it be heard and seen.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That


If our complete attention is on form and we are unaware of the nondual truth of existence, we end up identifying with it. Caught in the suffering of duality, we feel stuck, fear death, and see ourselves as disconnected from our entirety. The flip side of the perceptual coin is this: intuiting nothingness might make us existentially anxious because we sense the absence of a solid centre in ourselves. Angst is at the threshold of Being and Aliveness. To be aware of our existence involves facing the ambiguity of nothingness and freedom. Therefore, we might gain greater safety by becoming less mindful, but we’ll also be less inclined to savour abundance.

What’s the difference between attention and awareness?

Whereas attention is a function of the brain, Awareness is consonant with Self. Attention sees snapshots (usually selfies), and Awareness—Deep Knowing—sees the “bigger picture.” Therefore, attention is essentially a means and not an end; it’s a state of alertness which can let Awareness through. Awareness is the natural meditation of Being; since Being is the essence of all existence, it readily knows itself, and we can awaken to this. Awareness roots our minds and bodies to the ground of Aliveness, something no amount or quality of attention can achieve. Deep Knowing is that by which you intrinsically know Self. Prior even to Being, you are Self-aware.

How do I cultivate nondual Awareness?

We don’t have to try to cultivate Awareness; we just need to inquire into how it gets obscured with restless inadvertence—with desire and fear-based patterns. We can boldly and mindfully open to the anxiety, fear, and desire we perceive, without trying to fight or escape. By being openly aware but not habitually defensive, we can see beyond the illusion of separateness and the suffering. By not being distracted by fantasies, we become present. This way, we are no longer limiting our experience with our agitated, muddled minds but resting in our natural state.

When we know ourselves as this pure Awareness, our mindfulness becomes more lucid and the details our senses meet become clearer and richer. With lucidity, we fathom the emptiness of the egoic dream for what it is—a play of our bountiful imagination enlivened by Awareness—Deep Knowing. The dream and the dreamer lose their sense of believability and significance because we see in perspective this moment’s unfolding through the radiance of Awareness.

What is emptiness in a spiritual sense?

True emptiness is not a nihilistic nothingness that diminishes the dream and its forms, but a fruitful emptiness which makes the richness and fullness of life possible. Undoubtedly, form and emptiness are not independent; form can’t be removed from emptiness, and emptiness cannot be removed from form. Ultimately, “emptiness” means being empty of an independent, short-lived separate self.

The river of life moves spontaneously, effortlessly, peacefully toward the unrestrained all-inclusive Source, and the mind is a conduit for its steady flow. The best use of the mind is when it gets out of the way and watches with interest. Then it will gradually be less likely to dictate or hamper the inevitable current. This is true mindfulness: the art of seeing beyond the mind (duality) to fullness (nonduality — which is so full, so all-inclusive it’s also empty because it’s All There Is). As we experientially assimilate the viewpoint of life seen from Deep Knowing and realise the essential perfection of every form and expression, we unite with and communicate that truth.

From ‘Living the Life That You Are: Finding Wholeness You Feel Lost, Isolated, and Afraid’ by Nic Higham Amazon: http://a.co/2tSE9S2