This blog is only about awakening, nothing more, nothing less. Anything that will contribute to the possibility of complete liberation from the dream, or from the mass hallucination of humanity, or from the mental matrix, or from the false self, or from the lie, or any other label you want to call it, is welcome here. The key words are FREEDOM and JOY. Sometimes I think this just keeps the story going and only adds to the insanity, and there's too much of that already. But something is trying to pry the lid off still, something awaits to be seen. We are all in this boat together, so here we go......have fun!


Saturday, 11 April 2009

I Don't Know

A Dialogue on Intuition

An Interview with Robert Rabbin by Lourdes Billingsley
(Published in the Spring 1995 issue of the Institute of Noetic Sciences Review.)

Editor's Note: Intuition, like consciousness itself, has puzzled both scholars and laypeople for centuries. When we try to pin it down in words, it seems to forever elude precise definition. Yet many of us believe we have some sense of what it is. Lourdes Billingsley decided to interview workshop leader and author Robert Rabbin because "he has a way of responding that circumvents the mind." Rather than answer questions, he enquires into the motivation of the questioner. In the following interview, Billingsley demonstrates how the meaning of intuition is experienced rather than explained.


Lourdes Billingsley: I used to think that intuition was something which would somehow make me a better person, that intuition would be IT. Many people want to develop their psychic or intuitive abilities. Why do you think there is this interest in intuition?

Robert Rabbin: I think people are initially interested in what you call intuition because they do indeed think it will bring benefit. But you know it's hard to answer a question before first asking questions about the question. So let's begin with, What is intuition? I was thinking that if we just start talking about intuition, we'll never become intuition, we'll only know something about it. If we only come to know something about intuition, instead of becoming it, that knowledge will imprison us and reinforce the barrier against it. However, if we can end up inside intuition without knowing something about it, that will have value.

Let's talk about what you were saying initially, which is to ask why we have an interest in intuition. Do we think that intuition will positively affect something in our lives? Let's first find out what it is we want to affect through knowledge of intuition or the experience of intuition. Because the question, What is intuition? may be the wrong question. It may be that our pursuit, if it's unexamined, is misguided, it may not really feed and satisfy our hunger. So let's talk about intuition only if it turns out it's necessary to talk about it. Let's first ask, What is it about our lives that we feel intuition is an answer or an antidote for? Is intuition a medicine that's going to cure a condition? Why do we want to know what intuition is? That's my question to you.

At this point I feel my role and agenda as interviewer slipping away. When I am asked a question I can no longer hide behind the role of interviewer. The question brings me out into the open.

LB: I wanted to satisfy an inner yearning for a certain something that I could not name. I just knew there was something beyond what I knew. I have felt it deeply for years and have always felt a compulsion to seek it out, discover it, bring it out of hiding.

RR: I want to be precise about the condition that was motivating you to seek out this something. If you have a sense that there is something more in life to experience or become aware of, we would have to assume there is an a priori condition that is motivating you. That condition might just be curiosity, but from what you have said it sounds more like dissatisfaction, or perhaps unhappiness, emptiness, sadness, loneliness, insecurity. So those might be among the conditions in our lives that we feel intuition will mitigate. Already we could significantly alter the inquiry of our conversation from "What is intuition?" to "What is the nature and source of isolation, sadness, confusion, doubt, alienation, longing?" We might do better to inquire into the nature of those states—what are they, how do they arise, and what can we do about them? Developing our capacity for intuition may be the correct path" it may also be a colossal waste of time. We should carefully examine and clarify what we are doing. Let's look at what motivates us to explore intuition, and then let's look at what we are calling intuition. We shouldn't rust forward blindly.

An inquiry into the place from which questions arise produces not an answer, but a resolution of the tension from which the question appears. This is something much more profound and useful than any answer. The mind will swoon and fall back into its source. That's what we've been doing. We haven't answered anything. We haven't thrown ourselves carelessly into the world of abstraction. We are inquiring into the question itself. This inquiry creates a new space from which we can ask the question, should that still be necessary. Lourdes, would you say that in the few minutes of our inquiry anything has shifted for you?

I feel very quiet inside. The question is startling, I can't find an answer to the question I think he's asking. As far as my mind can tell, nothing has changed. I feel the same about intuition as when I arrived here for the interview.

LB: No.

RR: Are you sure ?

LB: Yes. Shifted from what? I can't really answer the question.

RR: Your mind has become more still. Your body has become more relaxed. Your senses have become more open. You can, if you take a moment, feel a current of subtle energy moving through and around you.

My mind has not yet got wind of the changes. I slowly begin to realize that he's right. I am more relaxed, my senses are more open. As I sense the changes that have occurred I begin to laugh and I feel bathed by light and lightness. Nothing is funny, yet I am laughing and I am in a state of joy. There is nothing: no thoughts, no me—just space. My body is laughing and there is joy. The person who thought of and was conducting the interview is no longer present. I am experiencing the quality of being that Robert describes continuously throughout the interview. His eyes and voice are bubbling with laughter as we laugh together. An understanding of what is happening is present without words or thinking. In the laughter, he continues:

RR: Now we're getting somewhere. Intuition is not something that can be understood. What we're going to do is end up being possessed by intuition without knowing anything about it. Rumi said, "You are the whole ocean. Why send out for a sip of dew?" If we want only to collect information or have an experience of intuition, aren't we sending out for a sip of dew when we are the whole ocean? Let's go into this a bit more.

We love that momentary excursion into the relaxed and unconstricted state of intuition. But we haven't yet questioned the structure of the reality from which we assert intuition, we just take it for granted. So we want to know about intuition to enhance who we think we are while we're living in that structured reality: how it can help us, how we can use it, how we can access it. The world of intuition exists only because it exists in relation to where we stand now, outside intuition. If we were standing over there, in intuition, wouldn't our situation be like a fish in the ocean trying to find its way to water? What could we say? "Hey, fish, wake up. You're already in the water! "

So we also need to question the place that we're standing in from which we think there is something called "intuition" that we want to know something about. Do we remain as we are in our structured reality and then take a momentary excursion into a relaxed and unconstricted mental realm, or do we remove ourselves totally as we journey into the water of intuition? Which happened to you a moment ago when you started laughing? Our absence becomes the presence we call intuition, and this absence of ourself takes over. What we call intuition takes over; it does not serve our hopes and aspirations but dissolves the one who hopes and aspires.

Intuition is really an ending of ourselves. Even though we think we want to add something, we really want to lose something. In this ending of ourself, there is silence. There is love. The lack of this love which exists only in the moment we end ourselves is the cause of our sadness. One's own self is the barrier to love. One's own self is the sadness. That's why you can't do anything about it, you can only see it. Then it ends, by itself.

I start to laugh again. This time I'm laughing because I can't imagine writing an article about intuition. It's true that when intuition takes over there is no desire for it. It stops existing in the way that it does when we want it. So from this place why write an article, why care? It's like wanting to make love when you're making love. You miss what is already there by wanting it, and you are drawn further and further away from the experience.

RR: The yearning for the serenity and exhilaration of intuitive insight is a fragment of the desire to become whole, the longing of the drop to become the ocean. Can we approach the subject of intuition objectively? Remember, we really want to know how to escape the heavy coat of sadness, loneliness. Can this be dealt with objectively? There is a clue in the unitive flash of total being glimpsed in the intuitive moment. This is the real candy. Not the information. Not the knowledge. The real allure is in the instant of total being. What we are describing occurs when our conventional dualistic reality is dissolved, when all of the conditions that propelled you to seek something more disappear. They are only symptoms of fragmentation, symptoms of duality. In the nondual instant, which can never be objectified or known, there is no separation of knower and known.

There is no object of experience. Not a sensation or a perception or even a thought. Pure awareness alone exists. This is a key. The attraction of intuition is in the momentary dissolution of the subject and object. In the instance in which there is the "aaha", there is no knower and known, there is only knowing. It passes so quickly that we are then left with the knower and the known again. This is why, even as you went deeper in your exploration of intuition, you ended up sad all over again. You returned too quickly to this habitual pattern of dualism. Of course, we all do. You are left with the memory of your absence, and this remnant will not feed your soul, it will not respond to the conditions that are symptoms of your fragmentation. The habit of living in the subject-object world kicks in. We're not ready, we're not ripe enough for full dissolution of ourselves, to live fully in knowing. So we become the knower and the remembered. Then we try to use what is remembered to enhance who we are in the subject-object world.

We are having this conversation about intuition because we all want to become real. We a want to be delivered from those conditions that you talked about before for which we may think intuition is an answer. But do you see how, without dismantling the structure of reality that puts intuition "over there", we will continue to be sad? That sadness will not be brightened for long by a mere remembrance of who we are. We want more than a periodic glimpse. We want to be taken by that.

As I'm listening, I see my many years of frustration and sadness. I had taken what was an awakening to the possibility of something deeper and richer in my life and turned it into a salve for my deflating ego. I kept reinventing the problem. This explains why my joy would always slip away.
RR: We need to understand that what we truly want is a dissolution of the barrier to the intuitive world, the world of nonduality. We want this world to possess us, so that the pain of isolation gives way to the joy of being. Then there is only that. The world of duality that creates intuition collapses. There's no more intuition.

LB: Everything disappears.

RR: Just you, you disappear. Our inquiry into intuition has led us here, to this curious place. Isn't one's interest in intuition really the desire to be free from suffering? Can't we see, through persistent and honest inquiry, that the end of suffering is in the disappearance of the separate self? "In this absence is our presence," says Jean Klein. That knowingness of life itself appears, magically and beautifully.

Once again I am reminded of how I became caught up in the phenomenon of intuition. I tried to hold on to it the best I could. My thinking made it about me, and my striving to maintain an experience that thinking fundamentally could not understand. It exists in daily living. I was so sheltered from the grace of life that I turned it into something special.

LB: You're just seeing things the way they are.

RR: Yes. In this seeing, there is just awareness itself there is no knower of the objects of awareness.

LB: So when you say that there's no knower, will this "I", the person that I am, disappear? Is there no one there anymore to really notice?

RR: Let's take your experience. When you were laughing a few minutes ago, what was your experience? What happened to you when you started to laugh, when laughter took you over?

LB: I disappeared.

RR: Yes, and it's the same with the experience of intuition, you disappear in order for intuitive knowingness to appear. The problem is that we want to use intuition to enhance what disappears in the moment of intuition, instead of seeing how what disappears in the moment of our fullness appears in the first place!
If we were to undertake a journey of inquiry into the knower and the known, we would become that vast frontier of pure knowledge that we call intuition. We wouldn't use it. We would be it. It would be us. We would have erased the ground from which we look out and say, Aaha! Intuition must be over there.

LB: So does that mean [laughter], so that would mean that I would disappear? There would be no one there to notice that intuition was happening?

Every time I disappear, I laugh and become blind to the world as I usually know it. The furniture is here, Robert is here, my body is here; but it's not here as it usually is. I see it, but I am not of it.

RR: Excellent question. Let me ask you to look as clearly as you can into the intuitive insight. It's like a lightning flash. When you look up at a dark sky and you see a flash of lightning it's as though it cracks open the darkness of the sky and reveals another dimension. Go in and find out where the knower, the "I", the experiencer goes in the lightning flash of intuitive awareness. You can look and see a person being struck by the lightning of intuition and it is as if the entire conditioned habitual mechanism of the I-thought, of the knower, the person, disappears. For the briefest instant, just like lightning shattering the sky, you can see what we're calling "intuitive insight" shatter the person that exists in duality.

Over the years I have had experiences where who I am and all that I know is instantaneously erased. It's a beautiful experience of deep simplicity and beauty. Then slowly it disappears, and I am back in the painful place of wishing I was still in the beauty.

RR: Can you ever know who you are, or can you only discover who you're not? If the intuitive flash, the absence of ourselves, is a resolution of duality, then there can't be a knower of one's own self. So how can one know who one is? We can't do that. Let's not be satisfied with this as an idea or a philosophy. Let's look directly into what happens, because there is always enough space in between thoughts to discover the truth of what happens. We can find our way into and between the otherwise relentless stampede of thinking to see, not to know and remember, but to see.

As I look directly at what happens as Robert suggests, I experience a release from thinking and, instantaneously, spaciousness occurs. I disappear, then reappear. I can only describe it as being poor one day and winning Lotto the next. Then losing it all and winning it again. In an instant your concerns disappear and all is well. Until you fall back into thinking again.

LB: Can this spaciousness happen for longer periods of time?

RR: If we ask the question in this way, we're again asserting the reality of the world of duality. You're asking, "How can we make that happen for long periods of time?" Isn't this an escape? What is it that we want to escape from? Do we want to become free from the pain of isolation, from duality? Let's look at this and see if we can directly see, without explaining, without creating abstractions. The lightning flash that fractures the dark sky, the intuitive insight that stops duality within a person, this merging of beauty and silence, if we see that, is that in itself not the answer to your question, "Does that occur? Can that occur more frequently?"

How can what is eternally present occur more frequently?

Why don't you first find out how you create the perception that what is in actual fact always present seems to be distant and remote? You are sitting on the treasure right now.
What we want is freedom from the self. We want to be free from knowing. We want to be free from remembering and becoming. We want to be pure being. Our own seeing will reveal this. If we learn how to see, we'll know this. See how quickly the dissolution of the self in the intuitive insight reappears as the knower and the remembered.

LB: How do you learn to see that?

RR: Just begin to look at it. It's there. You can see it right now. When I asked you, "Lourdes, what happens when intuition strikes you?", you said, "Well, there isn't me. There's just pure knowing." That's seeing. You don't have to do much more than be assisted in seeing what is, and in this seeing the false self drops away. Unfortunately, we have mostly been supported in believing that what isn't, is, which then leads us to ask, How can we develop intuition to solve our problems? figure out which way to go in life? decide which person to marry?

I feel a split within myself. I am very aware of the peacefulness within me. I am also aware of something being afraid of it. I simultaneously feel a sense of relief and a fear of myself disappearing. I feel joy, and also terror, because everything that I thought I was here for no longer matters. I tell Robert about this.

RR: This has never been a problem in the moment of your total absence. Then there is only the joy of pure being. When the joy of pure being dissolves back into the knower and the remembered, then you become afraid, not of that joy, but of the lack of that joy in duality. That fear, that anxiety, is the primary experience of the limited self. We can never truly do anything about that because we have so identified with all that limitation: body, mind, and patterns. We can only see that we are fundamentally not that.

Duality doesn't want to erase itself. So of course the thinking "I" will always suggest fear about its own death. So we say, I'm kind of happy, but I'm also terrified that I'm not going to exist. Of course, but when you don't exist there is no terror. There's nothing but ecstasy, joy, and complete lucid clarity that is more compelling than anything you as a person could ever create on your own.

When we see that we are the joy of being, we won't need any more strategies in life because the fundamental condition that we need strategies in life to deal with has disappeared. So much of our life is spent trying to feed the monster of our apparent separation from life. That comes to an end. You won't need intuition any more.

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