How My Teachings Are Unique
And why you might want to carefully study my work
For an easy-to-print Adobe Acrobat PDF version of this essay, click here.
The core of what I talk about is truly ancient and yet what I offer feels fresh in many ways with significant differences from most of what is now commonly found elsewhere. This is why I say that my teachings are unique and I will touch on some of those differences in just a minute.
Your attraction to this wisdom should be on both an intuitive level and on an intellectual level. Your mind and your intuition are like best friends who love to work together. One is not superior to the other because they each have different jobs. When they are both functioning properly, you will move more easily towards the deepest wisdom and towards an optimum emotional state of being. You will be at peace, in joy, and available for kindness and compassion more often. This is the fruit of enlightenment and you share it with everyOne.
So the first step is to find out if my work is a good match for you. My free essays make it very easy for you to tell if my book is a good match for you. If you like my essays, you will probably like my book. Pretty simple. In fact, these free essays are so substantial that you don’t really need to buy the book. If you study the essays carefully, you will have a very good handle on this wisdom. Of course the book will bring you a more complete picture, but the core of that understanding is in the free essays.
Some Key Differences in What I Teach
This teaching is very simple and you don’t need to read lots of material to “get it.” This is why my book is only about 180 pages. But this understanding is very different from the way we normally think and this is why it takes some time for it to sink in. And for whatever reason, some people who don’t yet understand but think that they do understand, start to teach. Some of these people have become very popular and this has led to a lot of confusion.
In my opinion, much of this confusion began thousands of years ago because of some simple mistranslations that were almost correct, but not quite. And since that time, genuinely sincere teachers and students have bent over backwards trying to make sense of these poor translations. But this cannot really be done since these mistranslations do not contain the truth, or at least not in a way that can be easily understood. Let’s consider a few examples now.
Anatta – “Not Self” Rather Than “No Self”
My mentor, Timothy Conway, is very knowledgeable about Buddhism, Hinduism, and other “nondual” religions. He holds the opinion that “anatta” was originally understood two and a half thousand years ago as “not self” and that the context Buddha used it in is essential in helping you understand what was meant. But within a few hundred years, the understanding changed from “not self” to “no self” and it was removed from all context. When the statement “there is no self” is taken without any context at all, it means that you do not exist in any way at all. Yet it is self-evident that you do exist. The real question is this: What is it that you exist as? More on that in a minute.
This mistranslation of “anatta” became the center point of the “No Self Doctrine,” which has been a very important tenet in Buddhism for over two thousand years. And in my opinion, it has been one of the most significant misunderstandings keeping Buddhist followers from waking up.
Now I need to be very clear about the fact that I am not a Buddhist teacher nor am I an expert on Buddhism. Not even close. I simply learned this “not self” translation from Timothy. Even still, I do think that what I offer on this point can be very helpful to those of you who have deeply pondered the subject of “no self” and have not yet come to a satisfying understanding. If this sounds like you, perhaps you might find my opinion intriguing.
Basically what Buddha was saying is that the person you appear to be is not what you really are in a fundamental way. But just because this person is not fundamentally what you are does not mean that the person does not exist or that you do not exist. It just means that the person is “not [your fundamental] self.” And this brings up a good question. What is your fundamental self?
You exist fundamentally as pure awareness. This awareness is the One Awareness, the Divine Awareness. This awareness was never created yet it is the Source of all of creation. You exist fundamentally as this Source-Awareness, which has no form and therefore cannot be seen, heard, felt or sensed in any way. It is not a thing and has no thing-like qualities that can be perceived.
So some people have used the phrase “Not-A-Thing” and this later became “No-Thing.” I’m kind of okay with those two phrases since they point to the formless nature of this Source-Awareness but I don’t use them very much since they don’t convey the two capacities of this awareness: the capacity to perceive (Awareness) and the capacity to create what it perceives (Source). This is why I strongly prefer the phrase Source-Awareness. Anyway, from “No-Thing,” we got “nothing,” “The Void” and “Emptiness,” and in my opinion, these are not very helpful.
You can read more here: Anatta – “Not Self” Rather Than “No Self”
By the way, here is a link to a webpage where you can hear Timothy recite the Pali text and offer the “not self” translation of anatta, along with other videos: Timothy Conway - Satsang Video Excerpts
Is the World an Illusion?
One important misunderstanding concerns the word “illusion.” Many people seem to think that an illusion is something that isn’t real. But an illusion is real – it does indeed exist. But it exists in a deceptive way. This small change in wording makes a huge difference in meaning.
I think that long ago, the teaching was that there was more to creation than what we could see with our eyes. This is why it was said that the world was an illusion. But later this was misunderstood to mean that the world was “unreal.” This misunderstanding has caused tremendous confusion and you can see this in the Hindu teaching where we read something like this: “God is real. The world is unreal. God is the world.” What I would say is that God arises as all of creation and every aspect of creation is fully divine, both in its visible form and in its unseen essence. So all of creation is a fully divine illusion.
More here: In Nondual Wisdom, What Is Real and What Is Unreal?
Why Do We Call It Nondual Wisdom?
Should a nondual teacher say that there is no such thing as duality? No, not at all. There most certainly are dualistic pairs such as hot and cold. We use the word “nondual” to point to the idea that God and creation are One Reality, not two. The amount of confusion around this point is high enough that I seldom refer to myself as a nondual teacher.
Find out more in this book excerpt: Why Do We Call It Nondual Wisdom?
Making a Distinction Between Awareness and Consciousness
I also want to point out that I make a distinction between Awareness and consciousness. Timothy and the ancient text also make this distinction but I seldom hear anyone else do so. Awareness is the capacity to perceive and consciousness offers a window through which the One Awareness looks. There is only One Awareness yet there are many personal consciousnesses (souls). It is important to note that these personal consciousnesses do not have any sentience of there own. Again, they are like a window and a window cannot see anything at all. You exist fundamentally as this One Awareness that is looking through all personal consciousnesses.
I go into this more in this book excerpt: What Is Enlightenment?
These examples show you how my teachings are unique since they are so different from what is commonly taught and yet not new since they get back to the original core meaning. Now let’s move on to another important topic that many “nondual” teachers skip completely.
Conscious Creation – How to Create Your Life in Harmony with Your Soul and God
Many popular books have simplified this subject far too much and this has caused confusion and frustration. For example, the idea that you can be, do and have anything you want (in this life) is simply not true. Instead, your higher self has chosen a certain theme to explore in this life. It is important to note that all themes offer the potential for great joy and spiritual growth so don’t be afraid of being trapped in a theme full of pain and suffering.
However, if you try to go outside of the limitations of your current theme, you might become frustrated or confused. But rest assured that when you adopt a positive attitude while still working and playing within those boundaries, you will avoid most of that frustration. It is in this way that you can learn to consciously use the creative process to get positive results. So if you are stuck in an unconscious loop of negative beliefs, emotions and actions, know that you really can shift to a positive approach that will make a significant difference in what you experience in your life.
What is most helpful now is releasing your unnecessary limiting beliefs about yourself, the world, and how you fit into it. Then you will be free to joyfully explore your chosen theme and put your values of kindness and compassion spontaneously into action with an aliveness that cannot be matched!
In the following two essays, I go into more about the creative process and I offer you some of the steps you can easily take now to help you change your life in a positive way:
3-page essay: Conscious Creation – How to Create Your Life in Harmony with Your Soul and God
5-page essay: Seth: “You create your own reality!”
Now, before I go, I just want to mention that this wisdom unfolds more freely and completely when there is a dynamic two-way conversation between us. This is why I offer both written material and a few ways for us to interact. All interaction with me is offered on a donation-only basis with the suggested donation amount of zero. Here’s more about that:
How to interact with me.
My unusual business philosophy: Mystical Money Matters.
Well, that’ll wrap it up for today. All my free essays will give you a good idea of what I teach and my audio and video recordings will give you a good feel for my personality. With that, I hope it will be easy for you to tell if you want to pay close attention to my work. If you feel inspired, drop me a short email and let me know how my work has helped you. Thanks!
In truth, I honor your divine nature.
All my best, Thomas Razzeto
Written July 25, 2018, with some edits on August 22, 2023.
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