Q. But Chuck, all of it really can't be that
basic. Aren't you simplifying this whole thing a little
A. Well, how can you oversimplify something that is,
by Its very nature, simplicity itself? In fact, because
Its simpleness is so absolutely complete and
pure, this "It" can only manifest Itself by
pretending to be "complex."
In other words, when the indivisible Consciousness pretends
to be divisible, It creates the world of polarities.
And YOU are that very Consciousness, Itself!
Q. Yes, but if I'm really this so-called "It,"
then why don't I have a direct experience of It right
A. This "you," as the illusory ego-self that you think
you are, can never personally experience its
own, true, fundamental nature. This "you"
can only BE what It already is (i.e. "It").
In other words, this "you" will never be able
to "get" It simply because It already
is IT! (After all, no one can arrive at
a place where they are already dwelling.) Believing
that you're not really there, however, provides
the cosmic momentum for It to, seemingly, "go out
looking for Itself." It's this purposeful misidentification
that sets the entire drama into motion.
Q. Well, if any of this is really true, how can I actually
use this kind of philosophy in my everyday life?
A. You can't "use" It in the usual sense because
It will, actually, be only using YOU. At one
level, though, you can stay more aligned with It by
consciously choosing exactly what It is choosing
for you. In other words, practice saying a resounding
"Yes!" to whatever shows up for you. And, even when
you feel like saying "No," then just say "Yes" to the
fact that, for right now, you're saying "No." In short,
don't reject anything..not even your own rejections!
Remember, however, that this "you," (as the historical
ego-self) is only pretending that you're able
to manipulate or control It. Consciousness will always
get Its own way in the end, simply because, no matter
where you think this "you" is going,
It is already there..waiting for you.
Q. Is this why you say that "It" is always
directly in front of me in Its absolute totality?
A. Yes. Where else could It possibly be? By definition,
there can't be some of It here and then some
more of It around the corner, too. That
would be implying that It could, somehow, be divided
from Itself. But, if It's absolutely simple and complete,
It can't really have any parts at all. It can
only pretend to have parts. The "you" that you
think you are is only one of the many
so-called "parts" that It is pretending to have (and/or
to be.) So whatever is in your experience at this very
instant is absolutely all of It. There's
really nothing else. Or, to put it another way, through
Its own "I's" (yours), It "sees" 100% of Itself... 100%
of the time. Nothing is ever "missing"
in It because nothing of It can ever be left
out. Not ever!
Q. So then where does our idea of God come into all
A. "God" really doesn't come "into" It at all; God actually
comes out of It. The word "God" (or the Self,
Allah, Yahweh, Spirit, etc.) is simply the ego's attempt
to give a name to the unnameable "It-that-Is."
It's like a movie actor who's trying to give a proper
name to the screen that he inwardly senses is supporting
his unfolding drama. The greatest obstacle, though,
will be the actor's egotistical wish to "be there" as
a personal witness to his own awakening of this reality.
However, this is a contradiction in terms. Why? Well,
there's no separate one that can be "there"
at the so-called "awakening" simply because
there's no separate one that's "here"
right now who's "not awakened."
In other words, there's not only nothing for
this actor to "get," there's really not even
a truly individuated actor present who's even available
to be either "getting It" (or, for that matter,
to be not getting IT) in the first place!
In short, all that there truly IS, is the seamless Screen
of Consciousness, Itself ...this "IT."
Q. Yes, but what does that do to this whole idea of
free choice? Doesn't free will really exist?
A. Once again, before answering that question, you need
to initially determine if there are separate
and distinct individuals that are truly present and
real. You see, if all separation is an illusion, then
any further talk about an illusory self having a "free
will" or not would be as useless as arguing about the
probable water temperature of a lake mirage out in the
desert. Just like there's no real lake out there
to be having a water temperature, there's also no real
"separate self" actually present to be having
(or to be not having) a so-called "free
Q. But what does that notion do to the idea of karma,
reincarnation and the Law of Cause and Effect? Aren't
they real either?
A. Karma and reincarnation exist only as long as there's
an illusion that there's a separate and individual
"self" who is the so-called do-er.
In other words, if you consider yourself to be the "causer,"
it naturally follows that a "you" will then be obliged
to "hang around" in order to receive the full effects
of the so-called "causes" that you've, seemingly, set
into motion. Without a separated "self" actually present
to experience these phenomena, though, the idea of karma
and reincarnation is unsupportable.
How does that follow? Well, if all separation
is only illusory, then who is it that's actually
being "reincarnated," anyway? Or, for that
matter, who is it who's ever really "died" in
the first place in order to be "reborn" again?
Q. So are you saying that all of mankind's past history
is really only a part of this great illusion, too, and
that none of it ever really happened!?
A. Well, there's only one so-called "movie" playing
on the "Cosmic Screen," and that's the very "movie"
that you believe you're experiencing at this very moment.
When you watch a movie, for example, did the offscreen
events that are referred to by the characters really,
in fact, ever take place at all? But,
you see, the dramatic story on the screen is greatly
advanced (and enhanced) by the viewer's willingness
to pretend that those offscreen events did, in
fact, actually occur. But "It" (as the movie) is always
fully present in its absolute totality...right
here and right now. In short, this really
is IT !!
Q. Yes, but then what about the future? It almost sounds
like you're saying that I shouldn't try to do anything
A. No, I'm not suggesting that at all. For example,
if you really feel moved to save the whales, help the
poor, stop AIDs, etc., then go ahead and completely
throw yourself into it 100%. Don't hold anything back!
The "you" that you think you are, though,
is not really the "do-er" of any of these
actions. Consequently, this "you," then, need not concern
itself with the results of these "actions" that
you're feeling so compelled to, seemingly, "do." In
Truth, by playing ALL of the so-called "parts"
in the cosmic drama, Consciousness is really "doing"
Q. But are you saying that I shouldn't care how
things work out?
A. Actually, I'm just suggesting that you play out your
role in the Cosmic drama with complete gusto and passion.
However, you can best remain truly detached from what
shows up for you only if you give up your
idea about what "working out" looks like.
In truth, things will neither "work out" nor
will they not "work out." They will only
BE whatever they will be.
If there's any overlay of what "should" be happening
on top of what actually is happening, then it's
only a manifestation of the ego-self getting caught
up in its own delusion that it (and it alone)
is the true source and the "do-er" of these
The irony here is that, even though it doesn't really
matter what you "do" in your role, it still seems
to be very important that you go ahead and, seemingly,
"do" it anyway. After all, the dance is best honored
when the Dancer (Shiva) really dances
But remember that It's all only a dazzling "play"
that's unfolding like the ever-changing colors of a
cosmic kaleidoscope. The very nature of the Consciousness
that you are is to "BE" what It is ...
by pretending to, seemingly, "become"
what It's pretending to not be.
Q. So, are you enlightened?
A. Well, if any and all divisions on the Cosmic Screen
are only illusory, then how is any individual enlightenment
even possible? In other words, what separate
being is really "there" to be enlightened (or, for that
matter, to be un-enlightened) in the first
Q. But then isn't any of it real?
A. No matter what activities are, seemingly,
"happening" in the movie, the fundamental reality beneath
It all is still only the unbroken and
seamless Screen that's supporting all of the dramas
being played out.
Although the world appears to exist, the only
thing that's really real ..is Consciousness,
Itself. So, as the historical ego-self, you're always
looking directly into the cosmic mirror of Life and
beholding the wondrous and multifaceted face of God.
And here's the great miracle: It's always been your
Q. So, then, why is everyone seeking some sort of enlightenment
A. Well, in truth, you already are who
you are looking for. Enlightenment is not the attainment
of anything new. Instead, it is more like a discovery
of the essential truth about what actually is.
The drama around you, though, will seemingly continue
to unfold exactly as It does. In other words, you won't
really awaken from the dream; you'll only be
awakening TO the dream.
But, in this awakening, the Dreamer has to disappear
entirely. If not, he'll just substitute
one dream called "Once-I-was-asleep" for another
dream called "But-now-I-am-awake!" And
here's the ultimate cosmic irony: The Self who is "asleep"
is also the very same Self who is "awake."
After all, there is only one Self. One
Consciousness. One "It."
The mesmerizing seductiveness of the dream is easily
seen in the long-standing belief that, someday,
(if the Dreamer only plays his cosmic cards right),
he will, eventually, "awaken." But, in Truth, the
so-called "Enlightenment Bus" that he's been
looking for will never show up for him.
Why not? Well, in waiting for this future
event to occur somewhere in time, he only reinforces
his belief that Consciousness is not fully
present and available right here and right now.
Q. Well, isn't there some kind of objective reality
in the world? What about the idea of good and evil?
Don't they really exist... even as a small part
of this Consciousness?
A. At one level, you might consider that Consciousness
is really a sort of "context" that appears to contain
a pretend world of illusory polarities.
So, at the bottom line, there's really no "success"
and no "failure." There's no "right"
and no "wrong;" no "good" and no
"bad;" no "victors" and no "victims;"
no "heaven" and no "hell" and no
"life" and no "death."
All of these polarities only appear on the spectrum
of opposites that It creates in order to play out Its
cosmic drama. In a sense, these opposites radiate out
in all directions from the "point of view" that "you"
(as your ego-self) think that you are.
Q. But what can I do to improve myself? Don't
I need to change in some way?
A. But how can WHO you are really "change?"
Your basic nature is Pure Consciousness. You
are infinite, omnipresent, impersonal, omniscient, and
immutable. As such, there is nothing that you
"need" to remember, to learn about, to realize, to strive
for, to pray to or to meditate on.
It's this very belief that "real progress
is possible," however, that provides the momentum necessary
for "you" (as It) to, seemingly, want to propel
your story "forward" and out into some kind of illusory
"future." But, in Truth, you can't really become more
of who you already are.
Q. But what about all of the current interest in metaphysics?
Won't it help me to study things like astrology, ESP,
tarot, crystals, channeling and so forth? Why wouldn't
my growth in those esoteric areas be a very positive
sign of my spiritual progress?
A. Although the study of metaphysics is neither "good"
nor "bad," it often serves to provide a very attractive
diversion for many people. By being spiritually seduced
with the implied promise of attaining special knowledge
or powers, the "seeker" is often unwittingly diverted
from his true inner quest. Consequently, instead
of looking inside to discover the actual
truth about who he really is, these pseudo-spiritual
distractions only give him something else
to get attached to, or, even worse, to feel "superior"
about. Spiritual "one-ups-man-ship" is an
Q. So how do you suggest that I learn to live with myself
being this Consciousness?
A. Well, does a fish really need to learn how
to swim? You already are whatever it is that
you're seeking. So, just fully commit yourself 100%
to doing whatever it is that you're, seemingly, "doing,"
but do it with an openhearted sense of detached
compassion and total love.
Avoid judging or discriminating in any way. (After
all, doesn't an author love his "villains"
every bit as much as he loves his "heroes?")
Consciousness will appear to tease you, seduce
you, scare you, amaze you, and, from time to time, even
try to overwhelm and destroy you. But learn to
fully embrace It as YOU because this is all only
lila ..the Dance of the Divine...the
play of Consciousness, Itself! And, It's
all being "staged" for your delight and edification!
Joyously welcome IT all with a sense of deep gratitude
and profound wonderment. You being able to "play-
in-the-world" is a miraculous gift that Consciousness
is giving to Itself, so don't be an unappreciative
audience to your own melodrama. Let everything
happen to you because It's all really OK! As the Buddha
once said, "At the end of the road is freedom.
Until then, have patience."
And, just like it is with a song, the purpose of any
dance is not to arrive at the final position.
The so-called "purpose" is only to be found in the dancing
of the dance! So, whatever seemingly happens to you
in your drama, just keep on...dancing!
Q. Yes, but won't I be needing some kind of "dancing
A. Yes. A teacher is necessary, but you need
to give up your idea about what this teacher might look
like. The guru may not show up for you as a "living-in-the-body,"
physical human being. The guru (It) is ever-present,
and It always appears directly in front of you as everything
(and everyone) that you're pretending that you're NOT.
In other words, whatever experiences show up for the
historical ego-self are, in fact, the guru's teaching.
You need to trust that this Grace will slowly awaken
you from your pretended delusion of separation. And
here is yet another strange paradox: "IT"
really turns out to be...Its own guru!
Q. Well, does this philosophy have some kind of special
A. Actually, it does. This is called Advaita.the ancient
path of direct insight and knowledge. It's spiritually
introspective because the "seeker" is not focused primarily
on the ritualistic devotion or outward activity that's
usually found on many of the other paths. Instead, the
emphasis here is to use the power of self-inquiry to
seek out the true Source of the "I" thought by
asking oneself the ultimate, primordial question: "Who
As all of the answers to that question slowly drop away,
you awaken to discover yourSelf to be in a place that
you had never really left. At that "pointless point"
of awareness, your ground-of-being becomes, quite simply,
"I AM," and you recognize the very essence of who
you really are: Love.loving Itself!
Q. OK, but quite honestly, how can any of this strange
stuff help the real world?
A. Well, is it the so-called "real world" who's asking
this question, or is it only the "you" who you
think you are that wants to know? Your spiritual
work lies in discovering for whom this
question is arising. Remember, as Ramana Maharshi has
said, "The answer to life's problems is to first see
who has them!"
2000 by Chuck Hillig.