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Scott Kiloby 1st Q&A Responses

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Scott KilobyScott Kiloby

Can thought recognize Awareness?

I've begun to see how truly powerful the ego is at maintaining itself. One teacher explained that ego cannot, and will not kill itself. I'm assuming he means that thought can't get rid of thought. So then how does the recognition of awareness happen if it isn't through thought? If ego is thought, would it not understand that no thought is the death of itself?

Scott's reply:
The basic invitation in Living Realization is to (1) recognize awareness, (2) not move to manipulate appearances, and (3) see that appearances are inseparable from awareness.
We learn to do just about everything in our adult lives through thinking or the intellect, from driving a car to studying physics. It is only natural that we would assume that the recognition of awareness happens through thinking. Although it may be helpful to have some intellectual understanding, the recognition of awareness is purely experiential. My suggestion is to read Chapter One: Recognizing Present Awareness and stick with that chapter alone for a while. It really points very directly to the fact that thought will never grasp or understand awareness.
Let's get back to the basic invitation again. Thought is an appearance within awareness. It comes and goes within awareness, like all appearances do. Trying to grasp awareness with thought is "manipulating appearances." It violates our basic invitation (see #2). Consider the basic invitation and the entire Living Realization to be an intellectual introduction to the experiential recognition of awareness. But it is only an introduction. The invitation is always to look to where the words are pointing.
For example, even the words "I am awareness" are thoughts appearing and disappearing within awareness. Simply notice the space in which that thought is happening. That space IS awareness. It is more accurate to say that this awareness is what you are. It is not an object you see. It is the seeing itself. It cannot be made into an object that we "notice." It's doing the noticing. The words, "I am awareness" are nothing more than temporary appearances within awareness. Experientially realizing this goes a long way. You start to see that, no matter what you think about awareness, that description merely comes and goes within it.
As for getting rid of the ego, thought is not really the problem. Thought has a practical function in our lives. How would I know what to wear without having some idea of what "cold" and "snow" are? How would I know which car to drive in the morning, or how to fix my toaster when it is broken, or when tomorrow's dentist appointment is? It takes thought to do these things. In recognizing awareness as the space in which thoughts come and go, you start to see that this space has no agenda to be rid of anything. It is not at war with appearances.
Only the simulated self (which is the name we give for ego in Living Realization) is at war with appearances. Yet the simulated self is nothing more than a display of appearances (thoughts, emotions, sensations, states, and experiences) that come and go within what we really are--awareness. The only thing that would seek to be rid of anything is a thought. When THAT thought is allowed to come to rest naturally back into awareness, we see that awareness is this great space that allows everything to be as it is. In that seeing, we realize our real identity is this awareness. So there is naturally no longer a need to reach into appearances for a sense of self. But this is not something the personal will achieves. The falling away or seeing through of the simulated self (ego) happens completely on its own, through recognizing awareness as the space in which all appearances arise and fall. The thought, "I would like to get rid of ego" is just one of those appearances.
Chapters in the text that are helpful on this question are Chapter One and all subsequent chapters on "Appearances." Pay particular attention in the text to the constant reminder not to manipulate appearances. To manipulate an appearance means to try to understand it, neutralize it, or get rid of it.
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clarityBrown1's picture
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How refreshing - words that

How refreshing - words that speak the truth! It's totally experiental and so obvious (because it is experiental). Thank you Scott:)

Peace and Love to All

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Dear Scott,

Thank you for sharing your e-book, it is inspiring to read. For some time this "process" of spotting the shadow and trying to dialogue with the shadow can be helpful.
Lucky Luke wants’ to shoot its own shadow, trying to chase its own shadow, once you move the shadow will move and so on and on.

Maybe helpful as a kind of first emergency help. But it is still a bandage to ease the pain of the shadow. Shadows are smart to create escape routes by all means. The risk of identity theft and to reinforce the shadow.
So this 3-2-1 invitation remembered me about Voice Dialogue and Avatar training or Course of Miracles, I believe these things can be practical for sure. But also they can become an habit, a good escape route. It can be helpful but not for all behavior believes.

For what can be helpful for one is luggage for another so there is not a fixed path, it is merely a composition; a painting, a mixture of what we need at this moment and only by my own "authorization". Perfectly arranged by mr magic. My natural curiosity to always check if something is truth or false, to do my own thing. This checking is not a mind thing in my case I always used my heart very easy not so difficult because you feel it clearly and for me more accessible then dry thinking stuff. The mix; the good balance of heart and thinking, too much of one part of it and it is bit tricky. It is simular with cooking:) But once balanced it is a handy tool too. At least this is how it worked out for me here. And it was not a how or any effort, it seemed to be suitable for me.

I believe we all make our own mixture and our own most intimate 1st 0 person “experience” will approve what is needed. Personally I love the 0 ; 0 minus 0.
I know my existence (without this I, know and existence) I cannot stop myself or switch off existence.
This joyful playfield of magic being myself. This was my living vivid truth as small kid for long time. And from the first school day my fountain of joy was decreasing slowly. Separation issues you see.
But good fuel arises as courage to cut escape routes and face fears in sincere honesty.
Our assumptions are boxed and the less defense one has the more garbage can arise. Wohaa.
In our deepest fears we experience tigers very real and serious stuff always full teeth, these feelings and traumatic events are own longest deepest convictions of behavior.
Cleaning up the room until then we will experience tigers as tigers and act upon this. But within time we discover these were only kittens.
Only to feel our heart which is always "embracing".

All the best

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Hi Menno,

Thanks for your insights.

Certainly shadow work is not for everyone. It is for those who find themselves repeatedly fixating on a trait that someone else has. If I believe that other people are "egos" and this really gets under my skin, chances are there is still a sense of ego operating in me, despite my claims to have "seen through it." Why else would it bother me that "others" are egos? This is the one example that was enough for me to bring shadow work into non-dual talk.

But yes, you are correct, anything can be a fixation. In fact, I sometimes tell people to not worry about shadow work. It might not be right for them where they are.

In the deepest sense, both the story I take myself to be and my judgments of others (whether they are shadows or not) are appearances coming and going within impersonal awareness. I therefore always tell people when they have seen that they have been shadow boxing, re-own the story you have repressed, but then see that you are not any story. In the example above, you aren't the story of being "no ego" nor are you an "ego." Those are both ideas that come and go in what you are, which can never really be defined or grasped but which is always present.

For those who aren't following along in our discussion, my invitation is to read the LR text on shadows.


Much love


Much love


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Please give me a method, anything. I am desperate to find something I can do to realize awareness.

 Scott's reply:

 I have given a method already. It is repeated many times throughout the Living Realization text. It's called the basic invitation:

 (1) recognize present awareness, (2) don't move to manipulate appearances, and (3) see that appearances are not separate from awareness.

 Realization is a seeing, not a doing that an ego does within a story to reach a later point in the story. The invitation above is for awareness itself, not the simulated self that lives in time that is looking to engage and manipulate appearances. When you take the above invitation, and really look into your present experience, there is a natural relaxation that happens. You begin to see that you don't even have to rest as awareness.

Awareness is already perfectly at rest as the fundamental space in which all movements (appearances) including seeking come and go. The sense that life is hectic, or that there is a lot of doing going on comes from "manipulating appearances."

The personal will constantly seeks something to do. It wants to escape into some imaginary time when all will be well. But the well-being we are seeking is a natural attribute of awareness. And awareness is ever present. So the basic invitation points unceasingly to timeless awareness, rather than engaging the personal will that is seeking and doing in time. The movement that says, "I need something to do," is seen to be nothing more than an appearance that quickly comes and goes. When you manipulate that appearance and then feed it, by seeking some future state, awareness feels obscured. Seeking continues. But in every moment, the invitation is the same: Relax and recognize awareness as the space in which that movement of seeking is happening. In that seeing, the movement naturally comes to rest back into awareness, which is what you are. You realize awareness is never obscured. Without awareness, the movement of seeking could not have happened.


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 I don’t see that Space is just a thought.  The dog I am looking at now is an image created by thought and eyesight but if I reach out to him, there is something real there (at least real enough that if he isn’t potty trained, we suffer inside). Other people see the dog too, which I guess confirms the reality of the dog.

Scott's reply:

Space, as that word is used in the Living Realization text, equates to awareness or the nothingness that cognizes all appearances. In that use of the word, Space is without border or boundary. It is not a finite thing.

Space, as it is used as the equivalent of awareness, is different than space as an orienting concept. Space as an orienting concept means spatial measurement. Measuring a thing as it relates to other things, which requires distance, location, etc. Space, as in spatial measurement, and time, as in temporal measurement, are orienting concepts. They are thoughts. Thoughts are appearances of awareness.

How do you perceive this so-called object "dog" that appears to have a separate existence? You know it by its placement in space and time. You say that it exists as an ongoing thing that was here yesterday (i.e. temporal measurement) with a certain location out there separate from you, the observer (i.e. spatial measurement). It takes the orienting concepts of Space and time to say this. Without those concepts, you cannot say that.

We assume that Space and time exist "out there" as real things independent of awareness.

Let's test this out.

Stand as non-conceptual awareness as you are reaching out to your dog to pet it.

When you pet your dog without the concepts "I" am "reaching out" to this other thing called "dog," there is no separation. There are no separate things situated in time and space. It's a totally non-conceptual experience, yet it is still life, totally and fully, but without the conceptual overlay of time and space and subject and object. Without concepts, you cannot divide the experience between a person and a dog and between petting or reaching. Those are all concepts. In non-conceptual awareness, there is no dog, no reaching out, no "out there." There is nothing you can say about that experience. It's just the ISness of life. Inseparability. This reveals that time and space are not out there. There are appearances of awareness. It takes awareness to have temporal and spatial measurement.

Without awareness, the "real thing" you are petting is not a thing at all. The feel of fur itself is only that--the sensation of fur. That sensation, in and of itself, does not reveal that it is an object. And the sensation cannot be experienced without awareness. It takes the full mental experience of the sensation plus the orienting concepts for the sense of separation to arise. But the separation isn't real because all of these things are inseparable appearances within awareness. It's like a story, conceptual overlay, or interpretation. Therefore, awareness is the dog. Without awareness, there is no experiencing of a dog. There is no dog waiting out there for us to discover, already named and lying around. It takes our concept for that object to appear as a thing. "Dog" and awareness arise together. They are never separate. This is true of all objects, including me, you, us, them, bananas, and planets. Awareness and appearances within awareness are inseparable. You will never find an object outside awareness. This is because there are no independent objects that can stand totally apart from awareness. And if the naming of objects requires temporal and spatial concepts, then time and space are also appearances that are inseparable from awareness. It is only thought that comes in to divide the experience into parts, into temporal and spatial measurement and then into subject v. object, into "person reaching out to pet dog."

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How is the dog scenario, regarding space and time, helpful?


Scott's reply:

How is this helpful? Read on and look at what is said at the end...

In a pointer like the one about the dog, which deals with the notion that space and time are concepts, a common error is to believe that a philosophy is being presented or that the pointer is for the intellect. Non-dual realization is not about presenting a new belief system. It challenges your already-established belief system, which is based in dualism. What is left when your belief system has been shattered is Oneness. Although an intellectual understanding can be helpful, the dog scenario above is really pointing back to non-dual awareness. Let me explain.

Remember that the central invitation in Living Realization is always this:

(1) Recognize present awareness, and (2) without moving to manipulate appearances, (3) see that appearances are inseparable from awareness.

Let's look at all three of those with respect to the dog scenario. When we place identity in duality, we see ourselves and everything else as individual objects that exist in their own right within time and space.

(1) Recognize present awareness. When you are first recognizing awareness, it can be helpful to drop all concepts and stand as non-conceptual awareness without labels, without thoughts. You then see that, when concepts are not appearing, awareness is still here. Awareness is what you are. It is ever present, unmoving and unchanging.

How do you know time? How do you know it is Wednesday or that there was a dog here yesterday? Only because a thought appears. Time is thought. Thoughts are appearances within awareness. They come and go, move and change. Hence, past, present, and future--all of which are appearances within awareness. There is no way to know of past, present, or future as points in time unless THOSE thoughts are appearing. They don't exist objectively "out there." This is revealing that time (that is, temporal measurement) is a concept.

Now, what about spatial measurement? By spatial measurement, I mean the notion that there is something that exists as an independent thing in a particular place. E.g., the dog is in my room and I am petting it.

How do you know there is a dog in your room that you are petting it? You know it only because the thought "you" and the thought "dog" and "room" appear along with the sensation of fur as you pet it.

Remember, from the Living Realization text, that thoughts and sensations are appearances of awareness. Fur has never been experienced outside of awareness. No sensation ever has. It's impossible. The thoughts "dog" and "you" have never appeared outside awareness. These are all appearances OF awareness, inseparable from awareness. It takes awareness to conceive of your present reality as involving separate things that are in different places doing things to or with each other. So dog does not exist "out there." It is inseparable from what you are--awareness. It is the combination of the thought "dog" and the visual appearance and the sensory experience of "fur."

Through recognizing non-conceptual awareness, you begin to see that what you take to be a separate world "out there" is really a set of appearances that never appear without awareness. Stated another way, the world is a creation of mind. Whether there are features "out there" that exist independently of awareness can never be known. There is no dog, no human, no petting, and no room until the concepts and the sensory experiences appear. And they CANNOT appear without awareness. They are inseparable from awareness. YOU are awareness. Therefore nothing exists separate from what you are.

(2) Don't move to manipulate appearances. This is the second part of the central invitation in Living Realization. This is important as people think they need to do something with the thoughts that appear. No! Just recognize that time and space are concepts that appear within the basic, non-conceptual awareness that is your real identity. These ideas come and go. Let them come and go freely. Don't move to manipulate or understand them. Playing with notions of time and space is for scientists. It's not non-duality. Just recognize awareness as the fundamental, unmoving and unchanging space within which concepts come and go.

(3) See that appearances are inseparable from awareness. We already covered this above. But this is pointing to the fact that time and space and the notion of dog, person, fur, and all other "objects" are not objects at all. They are thoughts, sensations, and experiences that never appear outside of awareness. They don't exist out there in their own right. It takes awareness for these "things" to be experienced, which means they are not separately existing things in their own right. They are appearances of awareness, totally inseparable from awareness. So this is not about getting rid of concepts permanently. Resting as non-conceptual awareness is merely a tool to reveal that the world, as it is conceived, is an inseparable appearance of awareness--which is what you are.

So how is this helpful? This seeing ends the illusion of separation. All suffering, seeking and conflict come from the belief in separation.

Chapters in the text that are helpful with regard to the subject matter of this question are Chapter One, and all subsequent chapters on "Appearances."


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With Heart Felt Thanks, Richard Miller.



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