The direct path is a refined articulation of the principles of nondualism, and the backward step is the actual practice of it. The mind feasts on complication. One of the features of the direct path is its simplicity. It does not involve lineage, guru, or ritual. We are always looking at things, but what are we looking out of? When we look at what we are looking out of, we are taking a step back into ourselves. Awareness is empty of anything solid so when we take a backward step we are no longer relating as one thing to another thing, from the duality of subject and object. When we step back into ourselves as far as we can go, all that’s left is being. What is looking out of our eyes now is essentially no different than what was looking out of our eyes when we were kids. It’s the same being that looks out of everyone’s eyes, including every saint and sage. That’s what is meant when we consider that everything is one. If we investigate where “me” is, we will not find it. We will just find layer after layer of qualities if we peel everything away like an onion. Our thoughts, feelings, and sensations would not be experienceable without awareness. The only thing that is aware of being aware is awareness itself. “I” is the name that what knows itself gives to itself. The “I” doesn’t know what it is, but it knows that it is. If we can be silent enough to be aware of awareness itself, that is a backward step. Welcoming the problematic parts of ourselves into the light of awareness, awareness will do the work. Nondual teaching is the crown jewel of Buddhism and all esoteric traditions. Awareness is the background of thoughts and personality. Everyone will find the help they need if they have earnestness. Peter Cohen was the drummer for the Western Baul rock band, Liars, Gods, and Beggars from 1988 to 1994. He has followed the nondual path and rhythm of life in Alaska and Idaho as a nurse and a musician.
Western Baul Podcast Series
The Direct Path: Taking the Backwards Step (Peter Cohen)
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