Enter every form and name

“By entering every form and name
realize the nameless and formless”

The Dual nature of Consciousness

When we are conscious, we are conscious of something. Ask someone “Are you conscious?” The person asked will immediately think of something, feel something or perceive something and then say “Yes, I am conscious!”. To be conscious requires someone to be conscious of something. Actually to be conscious implies a me (a subject), the very acting of being conscious, and a something (an object) to be conscious of. It is because of this dynamic between the subject and the object that we say that consciousness is dual (implying two).

To wake up, we need to transcend the dual consciousness. That transcended state is the awakened mind or the realized mind. We can call that state pure awareness, just to give it a name. The transition from consciousness to awareness or from the dual to the non-dual is not an understanding in the usual sense. It is a shift in consciousness, a change of ones whole perspective. In understanding, your “state of mind” is changed. In a realization, “you” are changed.

The Danish mystic, Sunyata Emanuel, calls this shift in consciousness “the movement from understanding to innerstanding”. Understanding something, the dual state, is separation. The subject is separated from the object. In Innerstanding there is no separation. You simply innnerstand every experience. It is a deep impersonal intimacy with everything. The mystics have, through the ages, called it “the experience of oneness with everything”, “Unio Mystica”.

How can we bring about this shift in consciousness so that we become awareness (the reality that makes up both the subject and the object)? How do we move from understanding to innerstanding?
There are many ways! Zen puts them in three categories:
– Take away the man and leave the object.
– Take away the object and leave the man.
– Take both the object and the man away.

If you take the subject (the man) away, the object also goes. The object cannot exist without the subject. In this manner you will transcend the duality right away. With this approach you work on the subject. Self-inquiry from Advaita is an example of this path or this little dharmadoor, that I will show you works this way – it takes away the man.

“Taking away the object” is the same, but here you don’t bother about the man (the subject). If there is no object, there is no subject either. Again, there will be a transcendence.

Finally, take away both the object and the subject and you transcend. The last two ways you can recognize in the path of meditation. When you witness the mind, you come to realize the utter illusion of the content of the mind. Everything is passing, transient. Every object is just an appearance. It is not really there. When this is realized – that the object is an illusion, the subject also goes.

Take away both the man and the object. When in meditation you are witnessing both the meditator (the subject) and the meditated upon (the object) you will transcend by seeing both as an illusion.

“By entering every form and name
realize the formless and nameless”

Practising this little dharmadoor is very simple. You just donĀ“t separate yourself from anything that arises in the mind. The habit of the mind is to separate itself from itself. That is what is happening when we analyse, grasp or reject. These tendencies of the mind are incredibly deeply rooted. They belong to our basic conditioning. This old habit splits the mind in two: the subject and the object!

In this dharmadoor you just enter every experience – good or bad, right or wrong, beautiful or ugly -right away. Above all, don’t wobble, don’t hesitate. In doing this, there will be no space left for the subject, so in this way you leave the man and keep the object. Just enter every experience and the innerstanding will happen by itself. If there is sadness, just enter it totally, become one with sadness. Don’t leave any place for a separated me. I this way, there will come about a realization of the formless and nameless.