Taking the Bow

‘Bathing Buddha’ – Photo by ViaMoi on Foter.com

Here is a reminder inspired from the words of Rupert Spira. It is necessary and terribly efficient to look into these matters for ourselves. This is why I like to share here the parts of a spiritual teaching that sounds like ‘something to do’, something to experiment and verify for ourselves:

See that your experience is made of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions. Where is the ‘I’ that is orchestrating all of those? Where is this ‘I’ in the system? Take any thought that appears in you. Did you choose that thought? See if there was any entity, a chooser that decided to have that particular thought. Go slowly and observe carefully. See that there is no chooser in between each thought. The notion of a chooser is simply itself a thought appearing along many other thoughts. It’s only a thought that says ‘I was there in between each thought choosing it’. It’s the clown that wasn’t actually present but claims responsibility afterwards, and takes the bow. There is a choosing thought, but there is no chooser…’


Further exploring on the subject:

There is no entity present who could either have or not have free will. Experience is too intimate and immediate to admit of one who may stand back and orchestrate it like a conductor, willing, choosing, deciding, and so on. There is no time present for such a one to exist in. The idea of free will is an inevitable side effect of the belief in a separate entity. If we believe there is a separate entity, we will by definition, whether we know it or not, believe there is free will. If, as this apparent entity, we then believe there is no free will, then that is simply a belief that we superimpose onto our much deeper conviction that we are a separate doer, chooser, decider, and so on. Once the separate entity is seen clearly to be non-existent, the idea of free will dissolves. All that is left is the freedom of consciousness.”
~ Rupert Spira (’Interview with Paula Marvelly: Contemplating the Nature of Experience’)


Who is the entity that exercises will to do this or that? Please follow this carefully. If the observer is the observed what need is there for decision at all? … When there is any form of decision, depending on choice, it indicates a mind that is confused. A mind that sees very clearly has no choice, there is only action. And this lack of clarity comes into being when there is this division between the observer and the observed.”
~ J. Krishnamurti (‘Beyond Violence’ – Part IV, Chapter 1 – Brockwood Park, 3rd Public Talk)


When the mind returns to the heart, when the separate self is divested of its separateness and stands revealed as the only self of pure awareness, then it becomes clear that there was never a separate self to begin with. And therefore the question as to whether that separate self has choice or not is mute.” 
~ Rupert Spira


Freedom, I say, does not mean getting to do whatever one wishes. Nor does freedom have anything to do with so-called ‘free will’, which is a fantasy. Freedom arises with the understanding that in each moment what is, is, and cannot be different, including whatever ’myself’ sees, feels, thinks, or does. In the light of that understanding, while acceding outwardly to social conventions which require playing the role of chooser and decider, inwardly — within one’s private understanding — one may come clean and admit that the ‘myself’ who chooses is a fiction, a story I have learned to tell myself. In that admission one may find freedom — not the freedom to ‘choose’, but the freedom to be.”
~ Robert Saltzman (‘The Ten Thousand Things’)


In Hinduism the very idea of free will is non-existent, so there is no word for it. Will is commitment, fixation, bondage. … You must be free first. To be free in the world you must be free of the world. Otherwise your past decides for you and your future. Between what had happened and what must happen you are caught. Call it destiny or karma, but never — freedom. First return to your true being and then act from the heart of love.” 
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj (‘I Am That’)


Doing happens, and then you appropriate the doer-ship, but there is no doer-ship. Things happen. When you breathe, you don’t need to think that you’re a breather. When your heart beats, you don’t need to think that you’re a beater. When you’re digesting, you don’t need to think that you’re a digester. These things happen by themselves. The same way, thinking happens by itself; there is no thinker, there is only thinking. The thinker is a thought of other thoughts. So, there’s nothing to do actually means that there is no appropriation in life. Thus, you must give yourself to the fact that life is happening through you, but there is no need to pretend to be the doer. It’s not that there is nothing to do, it’s just that things happen by themselves.”
~ Eric Baret (‘There is No Doer’ in Science & Nonduality)




– ‘Being Aware of Being Aware’, – by Rupert Spira – (Sahaja Publications)
– ‘I Am That‘ – by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘The Ten Thousand Things’ – by Robert Saltzman – (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘Krishnamurti’s Notebook’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Krishnamurti Publications of America, US)
– ‘Let the Moon Be Free: Conversations on Kashmiri Tantra’ – by Eric Baret (translation by Jeanric Meller) – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

Rupert Spira
J. Krishnamurti
Robert Saltzman
Nisargadatta Maharaj (Wikipedia)

Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)
A Day at Brockwood Park (Homage to J. Krishnamurti)
Khetwadi Lane (Homage to Nisargadatta Maharaj)


The Chariot and the Charioteer

‘Pantheon’ – Odilon Redon, 1910 – WikiArt


The mental and the material are really here, 
But here there is no human being to be found. 
For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll, 
Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks
~ Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification)


Free will is a tentacular issue. It permeates our life in a very intimate way, like very few things do. Any action that we might engage in, any decision we take, any thought we think, bear at their core the question of their ownership. If we believe in free will and don’t exercise it for all sorts of psychological reason, then the road is open to guilt, shame, regret, self-loathing. Could things have been any different? What if I had not made that choice? What if I had taken a different decision, if I had been more courageous, if I had followed my heart? Well, it is not any different if I feel I have exercised my free will; I could be left with the same regrets. Is it even possible to not exercise our free will, if we leave aside the unchangeable circumstances we are in? Is not free will our nature no matter what? Or conversely, can we ever, at all, exercise our free will? Maybe there is no such thing. Who is here, deep down, to exercise free will? Is there not only a flow of life on which we superimpose a continuous stream of hectic, frantic thinking? What is it?

I was watching a mountain torrent the other day during one of my walks. How miraculous to see the water flow down unquestionably, directed left or right, split up by a stone. If you had been a water drop placed here, it is left, but more there and it is right. Who could imagine such a droplet having any kind of choice? The river would sometimes divide itself in three little currents, forming islands. Sometimes you could be dragged sideways in a stagnant little pool, or rushed about in a forceful cascade. What struck me was the absence of resistance, and the fact that no matter the direction, no matter where you were dragged into, how slow or fast, smooth or jumpy, water was water and you would find yourself downstream at exactly the same place than any other drop of water that you might have judged as having a more harmonious or lucky course. Are we not such a drop carried, or literally swept along, in the stream of life? […]

An exploration into the nature and reality of free will… (READ MORE…)