Path Without Form: A Journey into the Realm Beyond Thought

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9781884997211: Path Without Form: A Journey into the Realm Beyond Thought
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In Path Without Form, Dr. Robert Powell invites the reader to accompany him on his own adventures in self-exploration–a journey that spanned several decades and eventually led him to the ultimate teaching of the non-dual nature of reality.

“The ultimate teaching is the seeing of the entire world in not even a grain of sand, but a single point—and a point that is dimensionless. That mystical ‘point’ then serves as the entry into an entirely new dimension—the world of the truly spiritual... However, for the individual embracing this ultimate teaching, the vision of the non-duality of reality does not mean that he has arrived. On the contrary, it is a mere beginning and the understanding has to be constantly tested in life’s experience, so that each moment is a new reality. This process of learning, from moment to moment, is a never-ending movement. But without that vision of the wholeness of things, nothing is of avail; we cannot begin to travel on the spiritual path...” —Robert Powell

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About the Author:

Robert Powell was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1918. After obtaining his doctorate in chemistry from London University, he pursued a career first as an industrial chemist and later as a science writer and editor in Britain and the United States. Robert Powell's personal exploration of spirituality began in the 1960s, and his quest for self-discovery led him to Zen and a number of spiritual masters including J. Krishnamurti and Ramana Maharshi. His own spiritual awakening coincided with his discovery of the teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj. He is the editor of a Nisargadatta trilogy, and the author of a number of books on what he describes as "human consciousness transformation." Powell now lives a busy life in La Jolla, California, with his loving wife, Gina.

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Chapter 32 ETERNITY IS EVER NOW

The cause of man's spiritual dis-ease--our identification with the body--has been amply investigated and confirmed. But, it seems to me, we must retrace the diagnosis one step further and ask ourselves: What really is that body which serves as the underpinning for the "me"?

Is that body fundamentally "real"? Once we have asked those questions, they must be seen to be inseparably connected with another, even more basic question: To whom is that body "real" or "unreal"? That question reaffirms the old dictum that without knowledge of the perceiver, the self, no problem can be approached in a meaningful and fruitful way. Without such self-knowledge, we are doomed to go around in circles, and all "answers" will only throw up further questions.

The body brings with it its own special and limited consciousness--seems to envelop it, as it were. This consciousness is totally dependent upon, and the product of, the body's sensory functions. Commonly called the "mind," or the "ego-consciousness," it acts like a center to protect and foster the body's interests. This activity then extends itself, creating a psychological dimension as the more general "body-mind" sphere of interest. In this is created not only a physical, but also a psychological separation, commonly experienced as the "me" versus the "you."

Now everything that is perceived, experienced, understood, interpreted and felt is done so by the body-mind entity, and by nothing else. This is logically, inescapably so. The content of man's consciousness is totally within the sphere of body-mind. Therefore, it is the body--or more accurately, "body-mind"--that is examining the reality of "body," and can such an entity have a meaningful answer? If the answer is "yes, the body is real," this signifies only that the body affirms its own reality--according to the yardsticks of reality that only the body possesses. Is it not like saying: "I exist, because I say so"? But a denial, "Body does not exist," would be equally meaningless once the entire process has been understood correctly as a kind of special pleading, or a circular argument. At this point, one may well ask: "Who is it that understands the process correctly?" It is still only body-mind, of course, but this finding spells the emasculation or silencing of body-mind. This leads to a transcendence from which emerges the fact that "body" is essentially the product of its own projection, the expression of its own limitation or basic Ignorance. With (and from) that body comes from the "world" of our experience, which springs likewise from that primordial self-projection. Thus the "me" and the "not-me" are swallowed up by the Void, and all our challenges, desires and fears are now seen as self-projected. But because this process of self-projection remains unrecognized for what it really is within this internal self-projection, mental tribulations appear and are experienced as very real. And mental suffering can only continue so long as identification with the self-projected entity persists. Our conclusion then is that identification with "body" is tantamount to identification with a mirage. Space and time come about only through and with "body." If we are not the body, we are the Void which has produced the various mirages but in itself is timeless and spaceless. The idea of the before, now, and after is as much part of the mirage--it spells the end of our linear thinking as the rock of our existence. What is called "Eternity," an infinitely long time period, is ever Now, an infinitely short time period only. Our real nature is Immortality, for what is called "death" is the disappearance of something that never had any real existence in the first place. What is does not even acknowledge "life" and "death" as mutual exclusives. My true "I am" is birthless and deathless.

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