Question: About six months ago, I had an awakening that felt like I understood what you call Non-separation. However, even with this understanding, I’ve found that I still can’t do the right thing 100% of the time. I always seem to break my commitment – and for the stupidest things. I lie here, cheat there. I hurt the people around me.
Michael Richardson-Borne: How many times have you lied? How many times have you cheated? How many people have you hurt?
Q: A lot.
MR-B: Exactly. That’s why I asked the question, and that’s the answer I expected. Not because I have a negative view of human nature – even though I know that everyone is out there lying, cheating, and hurting the people around them as these actions are tools the separate self habitually uses to protect itself and ensure its continued existence.
It was the use of the word “a lot” that was the true tip-off that Non-separation is still not your lived experience. If Non-separation were present, more than likely, you would have answered my question by saying something like “literally, who cares” or “the question is absurd, culturally inflicted, story-based” or some-such other response that pointed out the dynamic of separate selves deceiving one another is a played out fiction not worthy of any sincere attention.
Lived Non-separation takes no issue with the movement of life as it is. Being lived as Non-separation, the mechanics of deception are clearly experienced as existence – so being presented with the separate self’s deceptive off-spring is not a shock to the system or experience of defied cultural expectations or social norms. Deception is a natural occurrence in the culture of separation. Actually, your shock should be if these forms of deceptions didn’t happen – as the tendency of your separate self is to act out in ways that lie, cheat and hurt in order to maintain its story of separation or to be upset by those who do not share the exact story it wishes to be playing out in the moment.
Remember, Non-separation is the impersonal existence of being that includes the personal. It’s not the personal experience of being that separated from existence and accumulated evil deeds for itself to identify with as a reinforcement of its assumption of separation. So, forgive yourself right now. When the stories of lying, cheating, and hurting push far enough back in your consciousness, they will begin to walk through walls, even the final wall of individual beingness if you’re brave enough to let it happen. Walking through this final wall, which when seen correctly isn’t even there as a solid demarcation, is to die into the Impersonal as life itself.
Believing in “a lot” requires division so that story-fragments can accumulate on the already existing, ever-growing fragment of the separate self. It’s like a coral reef where the free-swimming coral larvae attach to rocks. Eventually, you get a reef structure – and as beautiful as it may be, it will still cut you by touching its mere presence. It’s the same with the separate self. Come into contact with it, experience its beauty, but as soon as you touch it, it will cut as it is always reminding you of the pain and grasping of separation (whether you realize it or not.) It’s a reminder of an unseen continuity that is cutting you each time you connect the moments into a single definition that gives you an identity that only serves itself.
So, by answering “a lot,” you tell me you are still holding tight to the demarcations that create a separate self. In order for “a lot” to exist there has to be a non-changing entity as the foundation of separation – a separation that is being defined by the different stories that play out as the experience of a personal consciousness, as all that can be personally known.
By answering “a lot,” you tell me that someone is there to collect the garbage – and this someone has decided to pile the garbage on her back rather than dropping it in the landfill of the culture of separation.
But remember, when dropping your garbage in the cultural landfill, there’s always a possibility of the instant realization that there is no such thing as throwing garbage “away” – as there is no “away.”
When it comes to dropping contamination in the field – even after your perceived personal movement “away” from your garbage, you still remain embedded in the contaminated culture that accepts your garbage as a normal part of the collective life cycle. You dump your garbage and then immediately begin collecting new trash as a fresh set of identity stories.
The only way to keep the field clean so to speak is not to be an autonomous individual where garbage accumulates in the first place. You must learn to allow the trash to incinerate upon arrival as the personal and cultural illusion it is.
Be lived as an invitation to Non-separation and watch this fire burn in real time.
Q: I understand what you’re saying. But I know I had a glimpse of Non-separation – and can’t understand why I keep lying.
MR-B: How can you not lie to others when you are constantly lying to yourself? Maintaining a story-image of yourself is to lie about who you are – both to yourself and to what you perceive as others around you. Why do you lie? You lie to others to compensate for the feelings of fear and lack that come with being separate. It’s a natural symptom of the sickness of separation. When you have a disease to an organ inside of the body, eventually it will manifest in your physical appearance. It’s the same thing with lying. “Internal lying” about your identity eventually drives you to “external lying” in one form or another. When there is a separate self, there are identity stories to protect, and when this is the case, you will respond by any means necessary to perpetuate your story. Even when you “come clean,” it’s only done to maintain the story about the lie you are living.
Believing in the separate self and buying into the culture of separation is like being a balloon and tethering yourself to a metal pole with a bunch of other balloons. When the wind blows, you bounce off one another and flail around while thinking something major is happening. But you eventually just settle into the same place, never leaving the pole you are grasping. The existence of Non-separation is different. As Non-separation, a balloon floats freely wherever the wind takes it as an effortless movement – there is nothing to which it can tether.
Also, there seems to be a belief that you will behave differently by remembering Non-separation. Ask yourself what alignment with Non-separation has to do with your philosophy of good behavior. Until you no longer believe there should be a certain kind of behavior after the experience of Non-separation, you will not be released into real alignment with your true being. That’s your predicament in a nutshell. You think that once you remember Non-separation your mental projections onto it will come true. You think that remembering your true being must bring a reward of sinlessness. That’s just not the way it works, sorry. Non-separation doesn’t care about the behaviors your separate self wants or believes in – or what your mind or society believes is the best way to engage with one another.
Everyone having perfect behavior as defined by the culture of separation may not be what we discover as Applied Awakening. The only way to know is to take the journey and let it be revealed as lived in the moment. This level of trust is not something to which the separate self can commit – as this level of commitment is its actual demise.
Point being is you can’t predict outcomes or project your personal utopia on the realization of Non-separation. Until you take your hands off the video game controller, you will be left to merely press buttons and hope for specific outcomes. On the flip side, letting go will reveal that what happens is exactly what’s supposed to be. Whether that includes lying or not will be revealed as the movement is presented.
As an aside, I will say this. The wisdom of impersonal to impersonal communication removes the “need” for lying. And if it does happen, there is an understanding that the lie lives itself and that it could be no other way.
Q: What about cheating?
MR-B: Cheating is to use, or attempt to use, culturally defined deceptive means to gain anecdotes of separation for a personal identity to the detriment of realizing who is doing the cheating. Put in simpler terms, you cheat others because you are willing to cheat yourself. The separate self is always cheating its true being by covering it with stories that give you the impression of separation from the totality as an agent of autonomous action.
Cheating comes from the desire to claim something for yourself that is currently beyond your self-definition, or that will preserve your self-definition. It’s the desire and action to achieve a certain self-image while disregarding the collective assumptions that compose cultural rules. It’s grasping at an object that belongs to an other (physical or psychological) in hopes that deception will bring an object or outcome to represent your separate self rather than an others. You cheat in order to gain or maintain a story.
Again, to say that cheating would stop once Non-separation is remembered is not the point. You are not the designated mouthpiece for what speaks you. You can’t make the world an object outside of yourself and tell it what it should do. And for that matter, you can’t make the separate self an object outside of yourself and tell it what to do either. Thinking you can is where your questions about lying, cheating, and hurting come from.
The point is to see through what is doing the cheating and to comfortably live in the unknown – to live as a question and to let the answers drag you around like the puppet you are. This is Applied Awakening.
Q: Ok, let’s keep going. What about hurting people?
MR-B: Just like when you lie to yourself and cheat yourself, you also hurt yourself by hurting others. This hurt originates by placing others in the field with whom you can relate. As soon as there are others in the field, it’s imbued with the separative electricity of hurt. Relations between two separate selves merely bring this electric hurt to the surface and release it like a liquid to be absorbed by two sponges. Sometimes the hurt seeps, other times it flows – either way, the sponges get saturated. When this happens, the flood that results in the field is the culture of separation. And the only way to clean up the mess is to find the drain that leads to the Impersonal, the existence of Non-separation.
It is important to remember that hurt doesn’t come from the immediate actions of relationship. The hurt is already there prior to the actions – it’s just brought to the light when two or more separate self stories do not align or when story-exchanges are personalized and seen as autonomous actions. Even when the exchange between two separate selves feels good, the hurt exists under the pleasure as a longing for continuity or a longing to extend the experience of what is perceived as positive feeling – something that temporarily numbs the pain of separation. To remain embedded in separation is to hurt yourself and everyone around you. To not be lived as an invitation to Non-separation is to hurt your very birthright. This is the hurt you and everyone around you are experiencing. But it’s projected onto the actions of others rather than being attributed to a confused state of personal being.
When lived as Non-separation, one understands how hurt happens – the hurting of feelings is seen for what it is. To begin, two separate selves create a substrate so to speak where people can actually be hurt as individual people. This creates the conditions for separate selves to put their division on the table and to project rules on the way this divisiveness can take place – it’s an unseen agreement that separation will be the primary rule of the game. With the table covered in stories of separation, the process of attempting to align stories begins. This is a difficult task – as you are always on the razor’s edge of a separative grasping laying in wait for you to make a mistake and disturb either your story-identity or the story-identity of the other.
As lived Non-separation, this game of aligning stories is there but not believed in the same way. There is more of an inclination to leave the stories alone rather than get wrapped up in them – or even embedded in them. Two parties lived as Non-separation understand that they are not two. It is understood that aligning the impersonal with the impersonal is an effortless arising that cannot be touched by the alignment or misalignment of story. Neither party demands responsibility be taken for hurting cultural norms because both the individual and the cultural norms are lived as a fiction – a joke of personal consciousness only necessary in a world that is a carnival of separative beliefs.
Q: Thank you. Looks like I still have a lot of work to do.
MR-B: Returning to the answer “a lot” requires a mathematical story to spawn the number of necessary individual experiences to meet your personal definition of “a lot.”
Remember, zero is the first division. Then one comes along. And two. And before long, the field of numerical separation is exponential and overwhelming to the point that you can no longer recognize where and when the zero happened to you. In a world like this, it is pertinent to ask yourself what is before zero, the first division.
The separative life is composed of work. If asked, I would recommend just watching it unfold. That’s all you can do. The space between the work you have to do and the work itself is never there anyway. Knowing this intellectually will help keep you from pulling away from your perceived center – until the center releases.