Advaita, these days, is one of the more busy aisles in the spiritual supermarket. Endless teachers lean down from brightly lit shelves yelling ‘there’s nothing to buy’, and ‘who would be there to buy anything, anyway!’ while holding out there hands for the ‘non existent’ dollars. Amongst all this, it seems relatively rare to find a teacher completely uninterested in the guru game, but with a clarity of presence that suggests he’s speaking from a place of deep realisation. You are No Thing immediately suggested this to me, and the subsequent podcasts I listened to on the Urban Guru Cafe confirmed this many times over.
You are No Thing, published by Non Duality Press, comes in at a slim 125 pages. If we can talk of lineage now that Advaita’s left the East, Randall comes from Nisagardatta Maharaj via Sailor Bob Adamson and Gilbert Schultz of Australia. This book reminded me of Sailor Bob’s teachings in many ways, in that it manages to make the traditional teachings of Advaita completely accessible for a Western audience. There are no Hindu words thrown in here to add authenticity, or heady tales of enlightenment to add drama. Quite the opposite in fact, You are No Thing offers: absolute simplicity, clear pointing, and no fluff of any kind.
We go in search of this enlightenment. Many people seem to be getting a lot off this enlightened person’s books or meetings or website. We pick up the book which has the most positive reviews, we visit some websites, yet we aren’t really sure who really is enlightened. How the hell are we supposed to know? We dive in, we read, we listen, we spend endless hours listening to online videos or driving to satsangs. We sit there and listen, trying to figure out just what the hell they’re saying….
Yet we’re left in our old, crappy life. We’re left still not knowing what it’s all about. We’re left still seeking answers. We’re eternally stuck in a mere intellectual understanding. We wonder why we keep on reading all this, listening to all this, wasting our time on all this.
Maybe we begin a path, We start meditation. We start repeating mantras. We buy the right clothes and listen to all the right music, we start looking at how we can be more compassionate, more selfless. We try to be the witness. We try to see God in everything.
And in this trying, in this effort to become, in this habitual glossing over of the core of the message, to get that quick fix, that instant makeover, that enlightenment-in-ten-easy-steps, we have already ensured that we will miss the point.
We have totally missed the fact that what we are seeking has been staring us in the face.
Our original face.
The face before we were born.
This is great stuff. Clear, unpretentious, wise. In the hands of some, this simple message seems to become increasingly obscure. In others, even the simplicity is peeled away. There is no where to stand, no concepts within which to hide, and no personality to call your own. You are No Thing.