Question: There are many people lost in the world. They lack purpose or are stuck in lives that offer little hope. There are some instances of guidance offered to them that may help solve surface problems – but as you say, the foundational assumption of separation is left in place. How do we get the guidance of Non-separation in positions where it matters so that we can genuinely help them?
MR-B: The first thing to ask yourself is, “Am I a found person?” If you are, ask yourself, “What is it that I have found that allows me to define myself as such?” If you’re not and still consider yourself lost, ask yourself the same question. Why do the questions to ask yourself not differ when they are pointing to opposite experiences? Because the particulars you allow to define your original story of pure beingness all function as a single definition – and that definition is separation.
If the Separate Self is the totality of your experience, every word you speak amounts to the same utterance – “I am separate.” As Non-separation, those are the only words I hear – “I am separate” – as you ask me about lost people from the perspective of a lost question. The entirety of our conversation is white-washed into an attempted cover-up, a heist of your true being by an illusion. I will not participate in driving you away from the scene of a robbery that is occurring right in front of your eyes.
Rather than imagining yourself living from a higher level of “foundness,” discover the root cause of separation in a world where people can become lost in the eyes of “others.” Discovering this root of your personal experience will reveal to you what makes you lost in the exact way as those you consider lost. If you have not located the impersonal existence of Non-separation, all words used to label your Original Story, your “I amness,” are disconnected from their separative source. What is this separative source? To find out, begin asking yourself who exactly is it that holds all definition? Doing this, you may find that there is only one way of being lost – and this kind of lost is total.
So rather than worrying about the lost in the outside world, make it a priority to save yourself. Get your oxygen mask in place before bothering with the person beside you – a metaphor that points to the only way to help the lost is to realize you are the lost.
Realizing your “lostness” starts with locating the Original Story of your Separate Self and observing what the finding of this story exposes. When you move beyond the identity that blindly embraces the normative habits, values, and behaviors your culture considers being lost or found, you will be able to question a different experience of lost or found – now based on living “underneath” all of your cultural stories. Questioning this new experience is the gateway to the Impersonal, to Non-separation.
I remember singing church hymns as a child that said, “I was lost, but now I’m found.” The questions I asked back then were, “Where was I lost?” and “Who found me?” I was told that I was lost in the secular world and that Jesus found me. He was my savior or “saver.”
That never sat well with me.
As a teenager the first inklings of the questions, “What has been found?” and “Who has been found?” began to appear – which led to a life of self-inquiry. As my inquiry matured, the understanding of who I was matured. Now I know what was found is the Separate Self, a collection of stories in relationship with the story of Jesus. Who has been found is a personal experience that is lived by impersonal existence, Non-separation.
So the early questions had their scripted answers. The later questions had to be discovered through the spontaneous happening of the Path of Non-separation as the needed depth of questioning did not exist in the Christian environment – being a Christian meant having staunch security in an established story that left no room for self-inquiry. There was no room to live life as a question rather than a statement.
The Christian life was like being trapped in an attic with the door pulled shut and padlocked. The small bit of light that came through the roof-top window was imagined to be the fullest source of light.
But I was granted the mercy of a vision of the sun. I scratched at the attic door for decades, gave every ounce of my life to stand in full sunlight, to stare directly into the sun.
What happened was unexpected. I was blinded by the sun to forever see nothing but the sun’s reflection. Now there is only a steady glow behind my eyes that makes shadows in front of me but only reveals the brightness of life.
There is an assumption in the Culture of Separation that lost people always need guidance, and the found are the ones to give this guidance. So as far as getting guides who remember Non-separation into the “right places” to heal the lost, it is essential to first realize that it’s the found who more readily need guidance.
The lost are already in a perfect place, basking in creative opportunity – there is space for emergence. Their illusion of knowing has been broken. The already found are secure in their delusion. To even begin their journey, they must either make a break or be broken by life in order to land in the creative space of the already lost.
But to your question, the true guides are already in place. They just have no interest in offering advice. They have remembered that a guide is not guidance. They have seen through the role of guides and realized there is no such thing as the guided.
Non-separation is not something to be lost. Not something to be found. Not something that can be guided or offered by a guide.
Slow down and ask yourself right now, “Am I the guide or the guided?” Don’t rush. Take a deep breath. We have plenty of time.
Q: I’d say both. For some, I function as a guide. For others, I am willing to take on the role of the guided. I realize that there are no others in the world – that makes sense to me. But this does not impact the fact that some people know more about certain topics and can give guidance.
MR-B: You missed the question – it was not one to be answered. It was one in which to identify the flaw I induced in our conversation. Notice how you became absorbed in particulars, in words, and considered the question from a perspective that had a “point of solidity” calling for your reaction. To offer this kind of response, I had to be an “other.” So when you say you have realized there are no others in the world, the way you use your words suggests otherwise.
The intimate time spent with a guide is not a wise elder guiding a pupil. It’s a collection of moments that are screaming at both of you to see through the dynamic taking place. You leave every interaction in your life thinking something was given and received – relationships are transactions. As Non-separation you will discover that the collective story of linguistic interaction created by two people has a prior unity infusing what appears to be an exchange with a remembrance that halts the possibility of back and forths between autonomous individuals. As Non-separation, personal autonomous action becomes an understanding of the Impersonal, an impersonal existence of being that includes the personal.
Say you were to ask a question about your love life – what you should you do in a certain situation. By giving you a horizontal question or answer rather than a vertical inquiry, I am participating in something that is not mine to participate in. Sure, I could answer your question – but I would be allowing a relationship that is seducing you to lean on me in a way that will never reveal the truth you are seeking.
What you consider a guide is just a mirror to observe your own confusion – a test, or a call, to see through the mechanism by which guidance occurs. Giving you something to replicate or reinforcing that you “have to make your own decisions” is a form of deceit, the standard evil in our world. Giving you objects to be carried (then placed or delivered) instead of showing you the understanding of the objectless would leave you to live your situations rather than be lived by them.
Whether you see it or not, you are attempting to be my guide and to offer me guidance. You imagine that you came here seeking advice, but you’re really just looking to have your own desire to be a guide reinforced. You are looking to have statements validated. Your questions are not questions. They are statements you are looking to embrace as stories that prop up your belief in separation.
I will not fall victim to your request. You can be your own guide and offer your own guidance. That has nothing to do with me. You are also free to accept the guidance I may be perceived as offering. But any guidance I could possibly offer has nothing to do with you.
Q: That contradicts other spiritual teachers I read. They own the role of teacher and seem almost to flaunt the fact that they are offering guidance to their students. They know the territory that I don’t and are trying to guide me there. They are my guides. But you seem to be deflecting the role of guide. Why?
MR-B: Applied Awakening is the application of the realization of Non-separation – which is to be lived as an invitation to Non-separation.
Being lived as an invitation is not the same as offering guidance.
Accepting an invitation is to feel the space of the only event, not a subtle push to feel the power of our engagement or a subtle forcefulness to accept my suggestions.
Q: Are you giving me a hint that striking off on my own is the only way to Non-separation?
MR-B: No. I’m not suggesting that you should strike off on your own, I’m suggesting that you can remember when this striking off actually occurred and how you have been wandering all alone as an isolated story ever since.
The moment the original act of separation happened to you, it established your feelings of personal beingness – and that’s precisely the moment when you struck off on your own. So I am asking you to notice that you have been on this lonely trek for a long time now – which is the nature of separation, the reality of the division imposed by believing in a Separate Self.
Q: What you describe worries me that I may just be drifting in the wind. That’s disconcerting.
MR-B: Do you notice how through the short duration of our conversation, you have shifted from the place of being found to the place of being lost?
MR-B: Well, keep drifting in the wind. See what happens when you relax and let the wind take you. Observe how the wind has held you all along. Observe the impersonalness of the wind. Observe how the wind is not an independent movement. Observe how the wind is not separate from your drifting. Observe how the wind and the drifting are stories that can only point back to a single story. Question this single story.
And then tell me if a guide has ever offered guidance.