Monday, June 13, 2011

Bliss, Peace and the 'Kingdom of God' Within You

"The undisturbed state of being is bliss; the disturbed state is what appears as the world. In non-duality there is bliss; in duality - experience. What comes and goes is experience with the duality of pain and pleasure. Bliss is not to be known. One is always bliss, but never blissful. Bliss is not an attitude."
-- Sri Nisargadatta --
Sri Nisargadatta
One cannot "think" blissfully. As the enlightened teacher Sir Nisargadatta observed: "Bliss is not an attitude." It is not a way of thinking. Bliss is the natural state of our being, devoid of ego or the sense of a small "self" as the identity of 'who' and 'what' we are.

When finally confronted directly by the Pharisees who demanded to be shown "where" the "kingdom of God" might be found, Jesus (who always couched his public teachings in parables) replied:
"The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
[Luke 17:20-21]
The state of enlightenment, thus seems to be an inner state of consciousness and being and not a system, attitude or way of thinking. "Peace," Kahlil Gibran observed, "is an oasis in the heart that can never be reached by the caravan of thinking." It is thus, incumbent upon the true spiritual seeker to go deeply within him or herself if the blissful state of pure Being is to be found. It is, as Nisargadatta observes, beyond the duality of the world which is created by the small "self" of the ego, and its egoic mode of thinking.

Interestingly, however, when this state of inner Bliss is achieved, it seems to change one's realization of what the world and its outer forms are. Thus, in the Gospel of Thomas (which has been continually used by the Coptic, Syriac and Nestorian, but not the Catholic or Orthodox churches) Jesus' confrontation with the Pharisees is echoed. This time, however, in response to an enquiry from his disciples asking, when the "the kingdom" will come, Jesus answers:
"It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying 'here it is' or 'there it is.' Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."
["The Nag Hammadi Library," Gospel of Thomas, verses 113-114.]
Similarly, at the beginning of the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus is reported to have said to Thomas, referred to as Didymos Judas Thomas, in the Nag Hammadi texts (a.k.a., the "Dead Sea scrolls"):
"If those who lead you say to you, 'See, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."
 It is only by coming to known one's true "Self," rather than the false, smaller "self" of the ego, that one realizes the bliss state of one's pure Being, and one realizes they are an inseparable component of the Ground of Being, or pure Bliss.

"There are no others to help," says Nisagardatta. "A rich man, when he hands over his entire fortune to his family, has not a coin left to give a beggar. So is the wise man (gnani) stripped of all his powers and possessions. Nothing, literally nothing, can be said about him. He cannot help anybody, for he is everybody. He is the poor and also his poverty, the thief and also his thievery. How can he be said to help, when he is not apart? Who thinks of himself as separate from the world, let him help the world."

"The only thing that can help," says Nisargadatta, " is to wake up from the dream."

"The beginningless begins forever," he notes. "In the same way, I give eternally, because I have nothing. To be nothing, to have nothing, to keep nothing for oneself is the greatest gift, the highest generosity."

"The self is all," Nisargadatta points out. "In practice it takes the shape of goodwill, unfailing and universal. You may call it love, all-pervading, all-redeeming. Such love is supremely active - (but) without the sense of doing." Such, it seems, is the state of Bliss.


Metaphysical said...

Many thanks for your wonderful blog. I am curious - if universal consciousness, or 'God' if you prefer, is all...everything that is, was, and ever will be...then why is the ground state of all bliss?

Surely, by stating that universal consciousness is pure bliss, the universal conscioisness is being categorised as one thing, and not all?

I would be very interested in you views.

Bhuddini said...

Nisagardatta states that "the unconditioned state" is "Bliss." I take that to mean all - the manifest and unmanifest, alike. The take-away I get from his teaching is that in ridding oneself of a limited "self" consciousness, and its identification with thoughts and forms, one becomes consciousness of the inseparability of one's own state of pure consciousness and being from the Ground of Being, which may be called "God," "Bliss" or any of the other labels used to describe what is beyond words - i.e., the "ineffable."

In my own words, I tend to think of this as being in a state of "acceptive consciousness," as per this other blogpost:

Metaphysical said...

So in this respect, 'bliss' is a label provided by man and attached to the state of becoming one with universal consciousness, that this is the feeling that man has attached to the act of rejoining with universal consciousness?

After all, if universal consciousness is everything that is, was, and will be, its ground state cannot only be "bliss" but also anger, fear, pleasure, curiosity, jealousy, etc.

Further, could it be that all emotion and feeling is exclusively attached to mankind - functioning as nothing more than a feedback mechanism designed specifically to interact with physical reality - while true universal consciousness is pure thought?

Bhuddini said...

"Bliss" is, of course, a label or description. I would rather describe the ultimate as a pure consciousness or awareness devoid of thought; after all, feelings of anger, jealousy, fear etc. arise only as a response to thought.

What would you call the 'being, awareness or consciousness' that is the witness to thinking? This question, of course, always raises the difficulty of the part trying to describe the whole.

Metaphysical said...

I would suggest that thought can exist separate from feeling and emotion. I would suggest that universal consciousness is pure thought.

Feelings and emotions are the result of interactions with other beings and the physical environments of physical reality. Can thoughts trigger emotions and feelings? The answer depends on if you believe memories and beliefs are thoughts or not.

From my point of view, thoughts are pure - it is the meaning we attach to them, born out of physical existence, that causes emotion and feeling.

Emotion and feeling are part of the biological feedback system built in to human beings, a feedback system in place that is directly tied to physical reality.

I am currently writing a new post for my own blog on this subject, and invite you to read it once posted.

libramoon said...

Bliss Consciousness

People seem to be threatened by the idea of bliss, trying to corral the ineffable with definitions.
How can I put words around without restricting open-ended bliss?
Have they no faith in their loving Creator?
Have I no faith in my co-creating higher Muse?
The suffering, disappointments, traumas, desolation -- these are not the gifts of deities
demanding or displeased. These are natural consequences of forces set in motion
impervious to prayer, blind to persons, unaware of our individual sad stories.
Meaningless happenstance we give greater power by attributions of guilt, blame,
bitter condemnation.
Take a little turn, I tell me, into a new truer dimension to perception.
Bliss is the source condition that surrounds us, is the essence of,
all that space in, around, between.
This is the Creator's plan, Eden's blueprint, paradise here and hereafter.
This is Christ's salvation, Buddha's enlightenment, Mohammed's dream,
Zarathustra's revelation. This is the holy secret Great Goddess whispers
in her cradling lullaby.
All of consciousness, all that life can give, is an option to open eternally
into completion as full awareness of bliss. Breathe in the healing.
Breathe out the stale pain.
Laugh in the chilling rain, yes, even as the tsunami hits, the Earth quakes,
erupting ash burns, take my hand, my word, my promise.
A universe of bliss is yours for the accepting. It costs nothing but your sins,
your misconceptions, your resistance to true unfettered life, your immortal soul.

(c) March 2007 Laurie Corzett/libramoon

Anonymous said...

Living in Bliss is what life is all about. Unfortanately this cannot be purchased, my truth of being in bliss came with sacrifice, surrender, devotion, unconditional love. Together with disapline yes then this rising ecstacy is felt in every cell. Amen