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The Object Becomes the Subject
Mary: Hello. Thanks a lot for the weekend in Copenhagen. Things are ongoing, deepening. A sentence is wanting to be understood, and I need your help for that. It was the enlightened woman in the seminar who told us about her enlightenment. She said, “I suddenly understood I was the subject and not the object as I’d thought.” My question: What did she say, object or subject, and what does it in fact mean??
James: If you look at your experience you will see that there is you and there are objects that appear to you or in you, including your body and mind. Most people identify with the body-mind. They think it is the subject, “me.” When they are seeking the self it seems like the self is an object because of their identification with the body. It seems to be elsewhere. So when this woman was listening to me teaching Vedanta in India last January, it became clear to her what the self was and the situation was reversed. The self did not appear as an object anymore. The body-mind, which she had thought was herself – the subject – became the object.
Mary: I noticed the other day, waiting for the bus, watching the cars passing, that before I thought that maya means the cars do not really exist, but I understood from you that is not the case. Can you explain again to me what is it exactly that is maya? – or the misunderstandings we have?
James: The cars exist. There is no doubt about it. You cannot experience something that does not exist. But they are not real. That means that they only exist for a short time in you, in consciousness, and then they are gone. You exist and you are real. This means that you never cease to exist.
People who do not know the self believe that what they experience is real, so they get attached to it. But it is not real, meaning it comes and goes. So they suffer. Enlightenment is just knowing what is real and what is apparently real. All objects exist but they are not real. Only you are real. This is why you do not need to fear death. And this is why you are happy when you know you are consciousness. You know that nothing can change you. Something that is real does not change.
In the spiritual world there are many foolish teachers who say that the world does not exist. This creates a problem because it is very clear that the world, including your body and mind, do exist. If you do not know what is real, then you will believe that if you are seeing the world you are not enlightened. But this is not true. The world exists for enlightened people in the same way that it exists for everyone else. They just know that it is not real, meaning that nothing in it lasts. So they do not invest any energy in getting things and keeping things.
Mary: Contemplating those topics, I had a dream the other night. The dream was normal, about an animal, I forgot most of the first part, but then came another animal and with the left eye I saw the movie from this new animal’s point of view even while I still continued to view the movie from before with the right eye, a new kind of 3D maybe. I never even heard of anything like that… can you explain what happened? I am sure it has to do with this maya/enlightenment question that I want to understand…
James: I would say it is a message from the self. I think it is saying that when you are ignorant of your nature as whole and complete, actionless, non-dual, always-present awareness, you see in one dimension only. Things seem to be superficial. But when you add the other “eye,” meaning when you “see,” or know, from the point of view of the self, you add another dimension, you see things fully, as they really are. You see “in-depth.” Usually, this non-dual way of seeing is called the “third eye” because it is a different way of seeing from the two physical eyes.
Mary: I have tried to figure it out myself, but I got stuck and I must admit I also got lost in your teaching Sunday when you probably told about this.
~ Thank you very much, Mary
James: Yes, you need to expose yourself to the teachings for a long time until your understanding becomes perfect. You can read my book or you can order the Self Inquiry videos (there are 16 of them) and watch them slowly over and over. Then it will all make sense. You can also come to one of my European seminars.
~ Love, James