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There are three words that sound much alike but have different meanings. Eminent means prominent, distinguished. Eminent is what you want to be. Imminent means pending, about to happen. Imminent is what you want to avoid or to happen, depending on whether you think it's something bad or good. Immanent means inherent, or within. In philosophy, the transcendentalist might say that God is above or beyond the material universe, whereas the immanentalist might say that God is within. Immanent is what you are, where you are.

Ramana Maharshi told his listeners that there are two paths to liberation: self-inquiry and submission. He advised self-inquirers to ask the question "Who am I?" once and then to let the mind remain quiet so that a true reply can emerge. He said the reply would come "as a current of awareness in the heart, fitful at first and only achieved by intense effort, but gradually increasing in power and constancy … until finally the ego disappears and the certitude of pure Consciousness remains."1 I believe that Douglas Harding shared the same philosophy, although he developed specific exercises to help the Western mind do the work.

Ramana said that those who are less competent meditate on their identity with the Self. Wasn't that Nisargadatta's technique?

"My guru, before he died, told me: Believe me, you are the Supreme Reality. Don't doubt my words, don't disbelieve me. I am telling you the truth—act on it. I could not forget his words and by not forgetting—I have realized."2

Ramana also said, to those who didn't fancy self-inquiry: "Submit to me and I will strike down the mind." I think most of his disciples followed that devotional path.


Existence is holographic. The world you experience, both outside and inside, is like a holographic projection … a flickering picture show that you find so fascinating you've (almost) completely forgotten what you are. An interesting characteristic of holograms is that any piece of them contains the entire picture, although when projected it won't have all the detail (i.e., it won't have enough pixels per inch to be sharp and clear).

What you're looking for is always right behind you. If you were a hologram, where would behind you be?

The Self is closer than your breath or heartbeat, closer than your thoughts or your feelings, closer than your sense of I-amness. What could possibly separate you from what you are? The Self always IS itself. "Seeing that" (i.e., intuitively realizing it) is knowing by becoming.

The Truth is always in plain view, but the mind has an immense resistance to admitting the implications of what it sees. Another way of saying it is that the mind is in love with faulty self-beliefs.

Huang Po referred to the treasure house within as the place of precious things: "That which is called the Place of Precious Things is the real Mind, the original Buddha-Essence, the treasure of our own real Nature." When asked where it is, he said: "It is a place to which no directions can be given.... All we can say is that it is close by."3

1 Preface to The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, Arthur Osborne, editor. (My italics in the quote.)

2 I Am That: Dialogues of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

3 The Zen Teaching of Huang Po, translated by John Blofeld

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  • Nathan L.

    Hey guys. Sorry for the late notification -- we'll be in Study Room D this evening. Until then!

    June 16, 2014

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