Question: When someone is congratulated, who receives the congratulations?
Michael Richardson-Borne: Great question, but it may be easier to begin with talking about exactly who doesn’t receive it.
As the world stands today, global affairs are run based on a belief in division that was put in place by the separate self and held in place by the mind’s commitment to building layers of fiction on top of this initial assumption. We bullheadedly ignore what preceded this assumption and continue to congratulate ourselves on how brilliantly advanced our society is becoming while we remain fragmented and confused about who we are.
The result is that a large swath of humanity believe themselves to be something that they are not. As a species, we march forward mesmerized in the separate self and never take pause to get out of the clouds long enough to find and question our deepest assumption. This assumption has become a hidden part of our playing field, and right now we are accepting the game it’s forcing us to play. The best of us are working like mad trying to help humanity to a better place while ignoring the ingrained separation in the playing field– something that will never bear fruit.
We believe ourselves to be builders, innovators, visionaries, etcetera– and maybe we are, in a sense, as a reflection of non-separation. But where we go immediately off the tracks is when we personally take credit (or blame) for accomplishments that are not our doing. The same goes for an individual who receives the comment “congratulations.” It is habit to believe that the separate self receives this comment delivered from another separate self. Both sides of the conversation are believed to be self-authored by two independent people completely in control of their personal actions. This belief is the foundation of separation.
Also, by operating this way, we create separation even with the goodwill of offering encouragement and validation. Do you see this? People are othered as we extend brotherhood, friendship, and love. It is a form of autopilot separation that prevents us from the peace we inherently know is possible.
So, who receives the “congratulations?” Ultimately, if seen from the right point of view, there is no separate self to receive the comment. A collection of stories cannot be the receiver of anything.
Q: If there is nobody there to truly be congratulated, does this mean I should never congratulate anyone?
MR-B: Encouraging someone to feel appreciated is fine– but situate it within the context of non-separation where both parties are the action of appreciation without a transaction occurring.
Notice that your question comes from a place of separation. A comment such as this is a common reaction from a self who still believes itself to be self-authoring. There is a belief that you have the choice of congratulating or not– a belief that if you accept a certain understanding, you will be able to withhold a particular course of action that aligns with this new knowing. Who you are is the observer of all actions and the action itself– not separated out as an individual entity willfully performing deeds at his or her discretion.
Even the concept “should” used in your question is a marker of separation. “Shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” are concepts impressed upon the baseline awareness of “I am.” If you turn within, you can observe this any time you want. As far as our focus on self-authoring goes, should and shouldn’t are lived through you and as you– right observation of this is a continuous revealing process that makes room for a steady peace to be ever-present.
Saying congratulations is an activity of non-separation. So continue to be lived impersonally. If congratulations come to your lips, you’ll speak them. If not, you won’t. Rest in what is aware of and open to either of these outcomes happening as they will.
Q: Do you ever congratulate the people around you?
MR-B: Without a stake in the ground you call your self for a matter of comparison, where are the people around me as you put it?
All objects are inside of consciousness and not separate. Who gave you the idea that what you call your self is outside of this? When did you become separate?
As for your question, of course, the word congratulations is spoken from time to time. When a friend has welcomed the birth of a child, advanced in a job, won an award, it is customary to commend these achievements. This is how our conditioning works through us.
I just realize I’m being lived and don’t pretend otherwise.
Q: In the song, Post Malone talks about “making it.” What does this mean to you?
MR-B: The myth of self-willed action that leads to a destination called success is a favorite of the separate self. It validates the disease of separation that has spread across our planet and supplies a sense of false hope. When it comes to wealth, power, and social status the dominant narrative is that these things are something that can be gained by the autonomous personal action of the separate self– which is untrue.
Again, these narratives are fine as they are– there is nothing inherently wrong. Where the confusion comes in is when people literally believe the separate self is independently moving through the world on its own accord.
In non-separation, everyone and everything has always already made it. What we perceive as our circumstance can be no different than it is in this moment.
Q: Does non-separation create everything?
MR-B: Not create everything. That’s separation. Non-separation is everything.
Cause and effect is a useful tool, but it breaks down as something worthy of religious devotion after one recognizes the illusion of the separate self and the truth of non-separation.
You are everything and nothing is a common saying found in spiritual books from most traditions. Realizing non-separation makes you everything, recognizing separation for what it is makes you nothing– and as Nisargadatta Maharaj said in his famous quote, “and in between these two, your life flows.”
Q: Doesn’t non-separation take all of the excitement out of life?
MR-B: Do you have excitement in your life right now?
MR-B: Well, that excitement is not separate from non-separation.
Life doesn’t necessarily change when non-separation is realized. Who this life happens to does.