In my first conversation with Bob Adamson, the very first thing he asked me was (as I recall it), “Well, do you know what it is? Do you know what Nisargadatta Maharaj understood and what he was pointing to? Is it absolutely clear yet?” I remained silent. All my former concepts and acquired knowledge were utterly useless. After a pause, he asked me, “Do you exist right now? Are you aware right now?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “That’s it! That is what is being pointed out. It is your own being and awareness. You know it already. It is just recognizing this. There is nothing more to know beyond this.”
In the course of talking with Bob, it became clear to me that all the things that we normally do in the name of spiritual seeking take us farther and farther away from the heart of the matter, the essential understanding. The direct understanding of who we are requires no time, no effort, no practice and no maintenance. In fact, all of those things are based on wrong ideas. As a result, they only obscure the direct seeing of what is clearly present. There are no levels of understanding; there is nothing to maintain or cultivate; there are no levels of awakening; there is nothing to embody; there is nothing which needs to deepen. All of these things imply time, which is simply a mental concept. They also imply a separate individual to traverse through the various stages and experiences. None of these things exist in the presence-awareness. Existence can never become more existent. Awareness can never become more aware. The absence of a separate “I” can never become more absent.
It is not to say that all those states and experiences do not appear to occur for one who takes himself to be a seeker. But they only carry on as long as the essential understanding is not clear. Some people call insights that occur along the way “awakenings.” In that case, another word is coined for the “final” understanding. Some call that “liberation” or “enlightenment.” The spiritual verbiage often obscures the heart of the matter, which is the clear seeing of what is present, here and now.
In the recognition of presence-awareness, as it is, it is clear that all talk of “awakening versus liberation,” “levels of understanding,” “embodying the understanding,” “going deeper,” not to mention all forms of practicing, striving and seeking, only arise from a lack of clarity and are not ultimately real. They only arise at the level of conceptual thought, when the essence is not understood.
Teachers that uncompromisingly point to the essential understanding and refuse to support any conceptual positions, even spiritual ones, are comparatively rare. They are like bright mirrors that reflect your own true nature without the least distortion. In some sense, you experience this by the amount of clarity you feel and how clearly the understanding unfolds for you. With this kind of uncompromising pointing, your understanding is swift, powerful and lasting. You see profound changes in how you view and experience life. You no longer need to wait for the next awakening, the next book, the next satsang or the next retreat in order to “get it.” There remain no unanswered questions and doubts. You no longer struggle with conditioning, getting and losing it, falling back into ignorance, dealing with unresolved states, etc.
From the start, you are shown that: “It is your own being and awareness. You know it already. It is just recognizing this. There is nothing more to know beyond this.”