Is the mind an obstacle to liberation? - Francis Answers - 59

Francis Lucille

You said: “You are available when you understand that there is nothing that you can do on your own to get to the King. When you acknowledge your total powerlessness, you become an empty room. As soon as you become an empty room, you are a sanctuary. So the King can enter, take the throne and grace you with immortal presence.” – Francis Lucille Does what I say below agree with the above, and is it true? – This is receptivity with no interference with what is received, and therefore no opportunity for mind to arise and create a game or contest or struggle between its viewpoint and what is received. In fact, it is receptivity with no receiver. It is the mind that creates the polarity or contrast with what arises, and so makes way for a mental struggle. When one is an “empty room” there is no “one” there to see the room or its emptiness, or place him or herself in contrast with it. What there is then, is completeness and fullness. Nothing is ever complete within the universe of finite duality multiplicity… and “self identity”. It is a poor analogy, but one could say that if the TV is turned off and removed from the room… there is no one there to see the picture. Awareness arises as a single located viewpoint only when there is something to be aware of. To be an “empty room” awareness must be unowned. – Thanks Stuart

Dear Stuart,

Your statement is true, provided you replace in it the word “mind” with the word “ignorance”, which leads in fact to a different statement. The mind is not the problem; ignorance (our identification with the body-mind) is the problem. Of course, it follows from this that in the total absence of mind, identification with it is impossible. The vanishing of the mind triggers the recognition of our real nature, a non-objective experience sometimes described as “enlightenment”. However, although the total absence of mind is a sufficient condition for this recognition, it is not a necessary condition for it. In other terms, we can be an empty room in the presence of mind (thoughts, sense perceptions, feelings). We are an empty room the moment we are truly open to the possibility that we (awareness) are not an objet (something perceived). This openness can be arrived at effortlessly and joyfully through investigation and understanding. Another line of approach is the yogic path in which the mind is kept focused onto its source. The assistance of a qualified instructor is almost always necessary and supplied by grace in both cases. In the latter case, the goal is the vanishing of the mind which triggers the samadhi (state) without objects. Without proper supervision, the yogin may remain stuck in a state of absence of objects, in which the absence itself is still an object, a “blank” object that veils the revelation of Presence. Such a state may bring about a temporary relief from the usual agitation of the mind, but, due the lack of the sweetness of Presence, the seeking sooner or later resumes.

The reason I am bringing this up is because of the use of the word “mind” in your question, as if the mind were an obstacle: “it is the mind that creates the polarity”. This misunderstanding is sometimes found in Advaitic and Buddhist teachings. In fact, it is ignorance, not the mind that creates duality. The mind is simply the tool used for its creation, the same tool which, at the service of supreme intelligence, is used for its abolition. If we deny ourselves the use of the mind, in the form of higher reasoning, as an instrument of liberation, we are like a prisoner who, although he is in possession of the key to its jail cell, refuses to use it because it is the instrument that was used to lock him in.

Regarding the end of your statement:

“When one is an “empty room” there is no “one” there to see the room or its emptiness, or place him or herself in contrast with it.”, it should be completed as follows: “When one is an “empty room” there is no “one” there objectively to see the room or its emptiness, or place him or herself in contrast with it.” In other words, the absence of ignorance or identification with a pseudo subject doesn’t imply the absence of ordinary subjective awareness.



P.S. For the sake of clarity, and for the comfort of our friends reading these answers, I would prefer direct questions, one question at a time, rather than multiple questions or questions asking for comments on statements made by you or by others.