“Sailor” Bob Adamson’s Pointing
Bob: Can anybody negate that knowingness? So again, we say start from the fact that you already are that. So we won’t go to the story or the spiel or all that, that’ll all come up in the questions, doubts or arguments that come up, in the explanations, be pointed out more and more clearly. So, anybody want to kick it off? Any doubts or any arguments or want to tell me your version of what you see or understand. There’s a good number here. No use sitting around quietly and saying nothing and going away full of doubts and questions. What the hell did you come here for? If you come here to find out, find out, if you’ve got any doubts. So get into it.
Q: I’ve been watching how my awareness sort of sticks on to my ego. Well, maybe the purpose to that is to clarify what is disturbed in my ego. Is that making sense to you?
Bob: No, not really. What you are? What are you, the awareness or the ego?
Q: Well, I would like to identify with the awareness but I’m very aware of the conditioning.
Bob: Alright, so you identify with the awareness and you say that the awareness fixates on the ego. Well, where does the ego come from if you are awareness. What would fixate on what? Awareness is there first. Does the awareness fixate on the ego or does the ego appear in awareness?
Q: But it can run away with me, you know.
Bob: Out of habit, of course it runs away, because you’ve never questioned it. But what is the ego?
Q: My conditioned-ness.
Bob: Yes, when that sense of presence translates through the mind as the thought “I am”, you can’t do much with “I am”, can you? So we’ve added to what I am all these events, experiences, conditioning and formed a mental image of what you believe yourself to be. And that mental image, energy of belief constantly going into it, it’s seemingly solid. And that’s what we call the ego, the self-centre or the reference point. So everything become relative to that so-called ego, an imagined reference point, an imagined self-centre. And everything is relative to that. So that’s a problem of relationship, relative to. And relationship is duality. And we’ve pointed out that there can be absolutely no duality in non-duality. It’s one without a second. So all dualism is appearances only. And this whole manifestation is the dualistic appearance, it couldn’t be otherwise. There couldn’t be day without night, couldn’t be silence without sound, or movement without stillness, winter without summer. So there would be no manifestation whatsoever if it didn’t appear dualistically. But the appearance, that’s all it is. It’s only a vibrating pattern of energy that seems solid and substantial, just the same as this vibrating pattern of energy based on past events and experiences, you call the ego or the me. That’s a fiction too. So has the awareness ever been contaminated or corrupted by anything that’s appeared on it? And could anything appear without it?
Bob: So where are you going to take your stance? As the believed-in ego or as that essence, pure essence, life essence that’s breathing you, beating your heart, growing your hair and fingernails, digesting your food, replacing your cells in your body, all quite naturally and effortlessly. You don’t have to think about those things, have you? It’s even causing the thinking which basically is what the ego is, thought-up concepts, it’s even causing that to appear. You couldn’t have a thought without that life essence, could you? You couldn’t have the idea or concept of an ego without that life essence. Where you going to take your stance? That sense of presence or that translation of it, “I am”.
Q: I suppose I’ve been imagining that perhaps the fact that the conditioned thoughts. Instead of just going, oh okay, well that’s just conditioned thoughts, that they need perhaps to be acknowledged in order to free me off them.
Bob: Acknowledge them for what they are. What are they? They’re not the thoughts. They are a vibrating pattern of energy. That same essence as everything else is. Vibrating into different patterns, shapes and forms and appearing as something different. But it’s the one essence appearing and expressing as everything. And you are that essence. Not the appearance or expression. So that’s why the Buddha could say a couple of thousand years ago that emptiness is form, he called it cognizing emptiness. An emptiness that suffused with an intelligence or a knowing. And he says emptiness is form, meaning that cognizing emptiness, not “we are cognizing”, it’s emptiness that has that capacity of knowing throughout that intelligence, throughout. It’s patterning, shaping and forming all this manifestation. And you see that it’s all appearing in the emptiness, in the space. Now he turned it round the other way and he said that the form can be nothing other than the emptiness, implying even though it appears in different patterns and shapes, it’s still that emptiness, never changes it’s true nature. The appearance will change, just like a wave or a ripple or a drop will appear on the water. Is it ever anything other than the water? You got a gold bangle, bracelet and earrings, are they ever anything other than gold? No matter how they shape and form or appear.
Q: Can I add that you can’t identify with awareness cause that’s what you are? And the thoughts are not yours so you don’t own them. They just arise and dissipate.
Bob: That’s very good, but you need to see that there’s no “you” that can have a thought. The total idea of “you” is a thought-up entity. That’s not what you are. And as you say, you can’t grasp awareness. It is no thing. It has no pattern, no shape, no form. But you can’t negate it. And see that! Is there anybody here who is unaware in this room right now? Realize, “No, I’m not unaware.” So what must you be? If you’re not unaware you must be aware. So what’s that? Has anything changed? Hasn’t it been there all the time? Non-cognized. You’re not cognizing of knowing as some thing. But it’s the base in which everything appears, plays around, and disappears. Nothing can be added to it, nothing can be taken away from it. Uncorruptible. Uncontaminated.
Q: Do you recommend a practice? Do you recommend the “Who Am I?” self-enquiry?
Bob: The thing about “Who Am I?” You’ve been told that for years and people have been trying it for years and years to find out “Who Am I?” The thing to do is to ask, “Who’s asking the question?” Then you see from that that the questioner, that which is asking the question is the very question itself. They’re both thoughts or concepts. When you see that the questioner is the question, that there can’t be a questioner without the question, that there can’t be the question without the questioner. They’ve cancelled each other out. Where does that leave you?
Q: But isn’t that what the practice is supposed to do, to dissolve the sense of “I”?
Bob: How long have you been doing that practice?
Q: I don’t necessarily do that practice.
Bob: What are you worrying about it for?
Q: I’m wondering if you recommend a practice.
Bob: No, I certainly don’t. Because the “I” is the cause of all your problems. And who would be practicing it? It would be “I” that would be practicing, trying to get rid of the practice. If you ask who’s the questioner, who’s asking the question, the answer is “I am”.
Q: Didn’t that practice come from the neti-neti practice, which Maharshi thought was too much mental activity. By mental activity, it keeps the whole process churning.
Bob: Too much mental practice in asking “Who Am I? Who Am I?” And people do that for years and never get there. Why? Maybe they’re looking in the wrong direction. They’re looking in the mind for the answer. Full stop. What’s wrong with right now if you don’t think about it? To do that, you’ve got to pause a thought. What can you say when you’ve paused a thought. Nothing. You can’t say it’s good or bad, anything, but you haven’t stopped breathing, your heart hasn’t stopped beating, hair and fingernails are still growing, there’s so much activity going on in that pattern of energy without the thought. And in that moment when thought is paused you are prior to thought, you are prior to mind. People talk about going beyond the mind, you’re prior to the mind when you pause a thought. And that’s the base in which the next thought comes upon you. If you were that thought, when you paused a thought that would be the finish of you. But you’re not finished. The next thought starts up, and what is there when thought was paused. So you start to see the difference between pure intelligence and thinking.
Q: So you focus on that “mananasa”, the annihilation of thought. Which is a concept.
Bob: Who’s going to annihilate? Look, do you think a thought or do thoughts arise.
Q: They arise.
Bob: Right, so who’s going to annihilate that arising, that self-arising? See, thought doesn’t have to be annihilated. Just recognized for what it is. It is the same intelligence energy that everything else is, but appearing in a different pattern, shape or form. But you know the truth about it. You’re not bound by it. They use metaphors to point that out. You go down to the ocean, I’ll say, “Get me a bucket of blue water out of the sea.” What will you say? You’ll say, “Don’t be ridiculous!” You know you’ll never get a bucket of blue water out of the sea. But does the sea stop appearing to be blue? You can go down, admire the blueness of the sea, beautiful blue sea, blah blah blah. But you know the truth about it. The water was not blue, couldn’t be blue, never will be blue. But it still appears to be blue. So you’re not bound by it. That’s the old scriptural saying, “Know the truth and the truth will set you free.” When you know you are not this body-mind entity, you are not any separate person or individual, you’re free of that belief. You can’t believe it anymore. So what must you be? You’re still thinking, seeing, tasting. Who’s doing it? Isn’t it the same life essence that’s breathing you, beating your heart, that intelligence doing the thinking also. So instead of attributing it to a thinker, me, the thinking is happening but you say, “I think”. Then you’ve created a subject, a thinker. I think this thought. Created an object. You’ve created duality out of non-duality. Thinking is the functioning. Seeing is the functioning. Hearing, tasting, touching, smelling is the functioning. Then the thought comes up, “I see, I see the chair.” You’ve created subject/object. Duality. Split up by a thought. But it never was divided at all. Shakespeare told us that years ago, he said, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Nisargadatta tells you the same thing. Nothing can trouble you, meaning absolutely that, that nothing can trouble you except in your own imagination. The only trouble you’ve ever had is what you’re imagining. Thinking. And that’s not a trouble when it’s understood. Because, you know what it’s doing. It’s always vibrating and dividing. You know what it’s doing. But you’re never locked into it anymore like you were previously. There we took the subject, “I”, as something real. And everything, that was the reference point, the self-centre, or the ego, which everything was related to. It’s all relative to that. So you see all our problems are problems of relationship. Relative to.
Q: Simply allow the ego to fall away… the cessation of identification?
Bob: See that the ego is a fiction. Never was there. That’s what you need to do.
“Sailor” Bob Adamson found the peace he was seeking in the presence of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj in the 70′s. Bob lives in Australia and has held weekly talks for visitors from all over the world for 30 years. Many come to his home or call him to discover the same Presence Awareness of which he speaks.
Bob has an amazing clear and direct way of expressing what has been called Nonduality. Visit his Website, listen to his audio and video, pick up his books/CDs/DVDs, or pay him a visit at his meetings.
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