Cloud Rays Bird ®2024 Eric Platt
Cloud Rays Bird ®2024 Eric Platt

Self Inquiry: On Spiritual Liberation

I have a question.


[S = “Student” A = “Teacher”]

T: OK.

S: How can I attain spiritual liberation.

T: I don’t know. I am not spiritual.

S: You seem like a very spiritual dude.

T: I don’t have a spiritual bone in my body.

S: Really… (sounding dubious).

T: They’ve all dissolved.

S: It must be hard to stand. Like a jellyfish.

T: No need for standing, lying or anything. I float over solid ground.

S: OK…. but um, seriously, what do you mean about not being spiritual? You’re always talking about beauty, love, truth, consciousness, awareness, reality, all that shit…

T: True, but the pointer, the camera that’s used here, is what’s called non-duality, and that’s about as non-spiritual as you can get. It’s like the ultimate solvent: it removes all traces of inky beliefs, sticky concepts, or remnants of a “me” and a “them” stain, and leaves no residue. It’s very scientific, but in a radical way.

S: Hmm, interesting. But you quote people like Lao Tzu and Jean Klein and Francis Lucille and Wei Wu Wei and whomever, that are considered spiritual teachers, or writers… And what do you mean by scientific and about “radical”? Because what you talk about is very subjective.

T: Right, well here’s the thing. Or the non-thing – and pardon me being a bit lighthearted, but life deserves that methinks – the folks you mention – colleagues in arms shall we say, are very disarming. They disarm one of any fixed concepts, if you really go into it. They use concepts, of course, concepts and words, but they use them – to borrow an image from another esteemed colleague from history, Ramana Maharshi – like a rose thorn can be used to remove a rose thorn. Then both of them are discarded. Unfortunately, many folks out there, in this here dream, are collectors of thorns. And sometimes they even use them to shoot at other apparent people. Thus we have spirituality, and even worse, religion. By worse, I simply mean more hardened, more crystalized, such that one needs even more powerful solvents. They are so hard they clash with each other, and all kinds of chaos and sparks and bodies flying all over happen.

S: OK, I can kind of see that – all the fighting over concepts and beliefs and nothing, and the rigidity of religion and sometimes spiritual people getting big egos, acting superior, and wars and meanness, and wanting to be free of that – but it feels like there’s not much to stand on, and certainly not the “solid ground” you mentioned – not many guidelines for behavior or life… And you still haven’t said what you mean by “radical”? And certainly doesn’t seem scientific!

T: It’s the solid ground of no solid ground.

S: Hoboy.

T: Now bear with me my friend. Do not worry. We will get this plane off the ground soon enough, and take a very beautiful flight. And not into fantasy land. I can assure you of that. Yes, indeed, guidelines for behavior and life are needed by the masses, the plenitudes, the seething hordes grasping and noisily gnashing their teeth and biting each other. Have to keep them penned in, safe at home. Fine animals, indeed. But we fine birds – and I can tell you are one of them, as you are here engaged in this lovely dialogue – hear a higher tune, so to speak. Our ear, the inner ear, is attuned to a melody that is only heard in the deep silence, far away from the screaming crowd. For they are afraid, my friend, of the very thing of which they could be free, if they wanted to be – and moreover, angry and frustrated, at being enslaved by themselves! A mad state of affairs, as I’m sure you will agree.

S: I can see some of that madness, sure, but, aren’t you placing your selves above it, as superior in way; and in any case all that turmoil and insanity is just natural, given the state of the world right now, and, like the injustice, and what needs to be fixed, and how unfair and difficult life is, how dangerous and fragile, and how evil many people are, especially the ones in power and in wealth and…

T: Hold on there my lad, before you get rolling too fast and loud, we need to sprout some wings first, or you’ll get pinned to the ground in your vehicle. Take a deep breath. Take a pause. Have a sip of water. Skillful means we call it, us spiritual un-spiritual folk.

In these here dialogues with the infinite, sometimes we have to relax the body, stand up and stretch, roll around on the ground a little, laugh and blow the old air out.

Let’s go slowly, if we can, and look at this, the nature of this. Before we look at the clock to see what time it is, and rush ahead, I suggest a look at who is looking, because there you may find the key to unlock the airport door.

S: The metaphors are coming thick and fast here.

T: It’s OK. Don’t think too hard – let me tell you something.

Now, if I hear someone down the street screaming and screaming, and it’s not playful but seems serious or real – this actually happened to me here today –  and I run down the street and find a dog was attacking someone’s dog, I grab the dog, then do what I can to help out – have someone get a leash, talk to the neighbors, and communicate with whomever is there in some relevant, intelligent way, calmly, steadfastly, and wait until things have sorted themselves out.

One plays one role, as best one can , in the moment, as it is called for.

But to think you have to solve the world’s problems, and in the abstract as it were, with a system, or thinking I know better than God how to run the universe, so to speak, will only land us all in trouble. With a troubled mind, with arrogance, you will not create happiness or peace in the world, but more likely it’s opposite. Like ripples from a pond. One must be in one’s own best resources, in the spirit of the company of the All, as it were, to sort things out. This happens without attaching anything personal or looking for an outcome, other than clarity and reality and groundedness, real intelligence, beauty love, truth, which are universal and hidden from the surface of the turbulent pond … if I had to put words to it, which I’d rather not…

The point is, true responsibility is, and can only be, in the moment. There is no other moment, no other time to be responsible. You cannot change the past, nor affect the future other than exactly now. And even that is up for grabs.

S: I think I see what you’re saying, live in the now. But it still seems like we have a broader, a bigger responsibility. Like a role to play for the betterment of the planet, a purpose. A meaning, a reason we are here, and to make the world a better place, help fix the mess.

T: Sounds pretty grand. Or grandiose. You can do that if you want, but if it’s not a true calling  but only what you “should” do – that is, what the mind is telling you, or yelling at you – the Radio Me station – you will find yourself exhausted at the end of the day, at war, and with a mess on your hands, probably bigger than what you started with. Look at the world-savers we’ve had – the Pol Pots and the Hitlers and the Stalins. Not good company.

S: Sigh. Ugh. I’m screwed either way. Whether I do something – make it worse – or do nothing, and then am a bad, passive, selfish narcissist…

T: Bear with me, now. Try this. Close your eyes…. Are they closed?
Now listen to the sound of that bird.
Do you hear it?

S: Uh, yeah. … So?

T: Was that difficult?

S: No…

T: How long did it take?

S: I mean, it was pretty fast.

T: Just had to put the attention, the interest there, right.

S: Yeah.

T: It was effortless. You didn’t have to take hearing lessons, or go to seminars and retreats for years, and meditate to hear, right?

S: OK, so?

T: It wasn’t hard to be aware of the sound. In fact it just happened.
And come to think of it – no pun intended – the thoughts are just happening as well. Right?

S: Uh..well, I guess. I mean, no. I am the thinker of my thoughts.

T: It would seem so. But seeming so is not always being so.
Let’s take a look, if you don’t mind.

Shall we take a pause on the airport tarmac and look at this map? Is that OK with you?

I. Fine, fine.

T: Don’t be impatient here. This is a rewarding journey. To No-Land.
Now where did the thoughts come from, and where do they go? 

S: I, I don’t know.

T: they just come out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere, right? An idea pops up to go to the fast food restaurant and buy a chicken sandwich. Where did that thought come from?

S: My hunger perhaps. The brain.

T: Ah, but you are guessing, or assuming, which is another thought. Let’s say you were working an a hard problem, and you gave up, went to bed. The next morning, you’re sitting on the couch, and boom, or poof, very quietly, a new idea comes out of the blue, the obvious, simple solution to the problem. Who, where, why did that come, no one can say. We may take credit for it, and even get a patent for it – as well we should – but in truth it just came out of the blue. You may have theories and concepts about that experience, but those are merely more thoughts appearing in the blue sky of awareness. 

S: Yeah, OK. But what about the radical part, and the being scientific, and not spiritual. This all seems very metaphysical and not practical. Makes it sound like we are just passive slaves to the mind. And what are we supposed to do, just, like meditate all day, sit in cave or on a park bench, listening to bird and smelling the flowers, waiting for ideas to arise?

T: Might be better than starting wars. But seriously, no, of course not. No suggestion is being made of what to do. At all. None whatsoever. There are no prescriptions at play at all. It is none of my business. Do what you want. In fact if anything, I’d recommend doing always exactly only exactly what you want. What you love. That’s your full freedom, right there.

S: Now hang on, that sounds like chaos, not to mention irresponsibility.

T: Ah contraire my fair friend, it is pure responsibility – the ability to respond, appropriately, in the moment. But again, it has nothing to do with doing or not doing. We are only looking here at who is looking. Or what’s looking, to be more precise. We don’t know who. In fact, we don’t know what. That’s the whole, point, you see.

S: I don’t see. You’re saying that you don’t know. I don’t even know why we are having this dialogue if you don’t know anything!

T: No, I’m saying that I know that I don’t know. Big difference. Most people think they know, and some people think they know for certain what they don’t really know, which is vastly worse. They suffer for it, and cause problems with this knowing. It’s a dead end that kind of knowing.

This here, by the way, is an open end. An endless end. The end of endings. “Eternity Now” to borrow a phrase from a friend, who was a teacher of the old “me” at one time. 

What’s important here, is to see that who’s looking is what’s looking, and what’s looking is who’s looking, and if after a while, you find no one’s there, what have you got?

S: A lot of playing with words, sounds like.

T: Fair enough. But what I am playing with, language-wise here, may give you a hint, a clue. What is “radical” is to look, without a tendency of avoidance, at the thoughts, feeling – really sensations – perceptions, and anything and everything that is arising and ask, what is aware of it all?

All of this is what could be called “content”. And that the content must be arising in something, else there would be no awareness of it. And furthermore, if there is awareness, there has to be existence. How else can awareness even do its thing or have something to be awareness off: awareness has to exist.

So there you go: we found the root. Awareness exists, and existence Is, and probably they are the same. Maybe they have to be the same, as they completely depend on each other. It’s just two words for the same thing – two concepts pointing to what Is.

How more radical can you get than that? And it’s scientific, because it’s empirical – direct experience in this case. No doubts as to the evidence, and not depending on hearsay or authority or reliance on dogma. Just pure observation and insight. That anyone can do, and verify for themselves. A sight from within. What a sight. For sore eyes (chuckles).

S: I don’t know. My head is spinning. But I think, I mean I get a sense of what you’re … pointing to. 

T: Good. No worries my friend. Take a break.

S: I’m going to walk to dog. He’s looking at me that way…

T: Go forth and walk my friend. It is a friendly universe.

S: Thanks.



(from the upcoming book, Dialogues With the Infinite)

Eric Platt

Leave a Comment