Q.471 More on Consciousness versus consciousness

Q: Many Vedanta teachers, nonduality, and especially Direct Path teachers answer the question “Who am I?” with these kinds of constructs:

I am that which is aware of objects. I am the awareness of objects. I am awareness.

I understand the intention of this way of formulating things; it moves the seeker away from the notion that s/he is this or that object (body, mind, etc.). But my problem with the formulation is that it seems to be presented as satyam, but it is in fact mithyam. (When taught properly it’s a good adhyAropa apavAda device, but many of the nonduality teachers I’ve read teach it as an ultimate truth, the foundation of their teachings.

The true (satyam) answer to “Who am I?” is “I am Atman/brahman.” And this is NOT synonymous with saying “I am awareness (or anything else that can be conceived, envisioned, described)” because Atman/brahman is beyond all attributes. So, if one were to avoid using the Sanskrit terms, my answer to “Who am I?” is something like:

I am the mystery.

My question for you as a traditional Advaita teacher is: What is the validity/usefulness of the “I am … ” constructs I listed at the beginning of this email? Continue reading

Creativity – Q.332

Q: What happens to creativity (writing painting music… ) when you awake from the dream of dualism ?  

A (Peter): What happens to waves when they are known to be nothing but water? Do all waves lose their distinctiveness? Do they suddenly freeze mid-motion?

 It is an error to believe that either there is a blank, distinctionless ‘non-duality’ or a rich, exciting, variegated universe. There is only consciousness and every exciting, beautiful thing – gross and subtle – is an expression of it. The painting, the act of painting, the impulse to paint, the paint, the brush, the painter are all an expression of the secondless, non-dual consciousness. Continue reading