Direct Investigation of Reality
by Colin Drake
‘By observing mental states you also become aware of the seven factors of enlightenment. These are: awareness of awareness, investigation of the Way, vigour, joy, serenity, concentration and equanimity.’ (The Buddha, Maha Sattipatthana Sutta 14-16)
The first two are paramount and the last five are outcomes of these. This is what my book Beyond the Separate Self is all about, becoming ‘aware of awareness’ through direct investigation and then continuing with further ‘investigation of the Way’ (the Tao, the nature of reality). Once one is ‘aware of awareness’ then one can undertake further investigations not needing to relying on any ‘teachings’, although these may be useful for confirming what one has discovered.
I recently received the following query, from someone who had bought my book, a week after it had been purchased:
I have been reading your book with great interest but from my Course in Miracles study I understand that the ultimate being ,YOU, is love. It tells us that “God is but love and therefore so are you”. In the introduction we are told that we cannot learn what LOVE is but we can be taught to remove the blocks to the “awareness” of Love’s Presence. ” This is the Jesus teaching . I may be making a play on words here but it is probably only a different approach to the same ultimate Oneness which we all are.
Being hungry ,and tired, at the time I dashed off:
Love is ‘no separation’ and in consciousness, at rest as pure awareness, and in motion as the manifest universe there is no separation. This consciousness in all modes is God, Allah, Brahman, The Void, The Tao … call it what you will, Love, Colin
During lunch I realised that my reply was somewhat unhelpful so after a short rest I wrote the following:
I apologise for my somewhat brief, and unhelpful reply (although true), but I was tired and hungry. Now that I am replete and refreshed I will attempt to be more helpful.
To say that ‘all is consciousness’ or that ‘God is Love’ , both of which are true, is useless unless one has realised, and experienced, the truth of these statements. That is they mean nothing until self-realization, or God-realization has taken place.
My book is not about teachings but hopes to provide a framework in which one can investigate directly the nature of Reality, through considering one’s moment-to-moment experience. To this end it seems to me that you have not approached the content in the way in which it was intended. To accomplish this one needs to take note of the following directions, which appear in Chapter 1:
1:This is not a question of belief or imagination but of discovery by direct investigation, and for this to be effective we need to put aside all belief systems and acquired knowledge concerning who we are at the underlying level beyond thoughts and sensations. The only knowledge of this that is valid is that which is revealed to each one of us by direct experience. The easiest way for this direct experience to occur is by enquiring into the nature of experience itself, and for this enquiry to be effective we need to start from the position of believing and knowing nothing.
2:The chapters that follow are aids to this enquiry, and as such should not just be read and intellectually considered but need to be taken slowly, step by step, not moving onto the next step until one fully ‘sees’ the step that is being considered. This does not mean to say that one needs to agree with each statement, as any investigation is personal, but one needs to understand what is being said. They map the author’s own investigations, over a twelve-year period, and are given in the order in which they occurred. They each stem directly from a prolonged period of meditation and contemplation, and chart a growing understanding, through experiencing and seeing, of the nature of reality and our place within it. As such they need to be taken in the order given, as each one builds on what has been ‘seen’ in the preceding chapters. Also to get the most out of each chapter one needs to spend some time contemplating it until one ‘feels’ what it is pointing to; if a chapter is just read without due attention then its significance may well be missed.
By your comments about the ‘Course in Miracles’ it seems that you have ignored the first, and the fact that you have ‘read’ the book so quickly means that you have not followed the second.
Direct investigation can reveal that ‘all is consciousness’:
Thus there is no dichotomy or duality between the physical world and ‘awareness’ for they are both manifestations of the same essence. The physical universe is just cosmic energy (consciousness in motion) when it is manifest into physical form, and awareness (consciousness at rest) contains this same energy in latent form as potential energy. p.43-44
and that ‘God is Love’ :
The word God means consciousness having two states: at rest (pure awareness), and in motion (manifestation). In this there is truly no separation as the essence and ground of all that exists is consciousness, and true love is only present where there is no separation; true love is ‘no separation’. The Christian idea that ‘God is Love’ points to this, and love of one’s fellow man naturally follows from the realization of no separation. p.95
However for these statements to mean anything you need to have undertaken the investigation yourself and come to these realizations. In the final analysis we all have to be a ‘light unto ourselves’ as the Buddha says, and others can only provide pointers along the way, Love, Colin
We have all been ‘taught’ so much, and received so many ‘teachings’ but in this field of self-inquiry (or direct investigation into the nature of reality) they are useless. In fact they only act as blockages colouring our attempts at inquiry, or investigation, rendering these attempts impotent. We all need to follow Descartes in ‘believing nothing’ and ‘doubting everything’ that we have learned; taking this as the starting point for our inquiry, or investigation. It may well be that our investigations discover that which we had previously been taught, but then we will know it by our direct experience requiring no outside authority. In this case no faith or belief is necessary and any doubts can always be dispelled by our own direct investigation. What’s more this investigation continually leads to further discoveries, as what is being investigated is boundless; which means that one can go beyond any external teachings and truly discover the satguru within. Then such quotes as the one that started this article are enjoyed as confirmation of what has been directly discovered, rather than needing to be ‘believed’ as a teaching.
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Beyond the ‘Separate Self’: The End of Anxiety and Mental Suffering
by Colin Drake
the e-book is $8 and may be purchased and downloaded at once at