It’s All Content, Even The Observer –  Nondual Practice and Resting in What Is Never Gone

In two previous blogs, I wrote about three broad realms of human experience – Everyday Consciousness, the Subconscious (Intermediate) realm, and The Source. The realms provide a map for the psychospiritual journey- both the direct path to Source, as well possible side journeys along the way.  

Here are the two articles…

    Both blogs talked about the path through to Source, as well as experiences that characterize the three realms – in both their enriching and distracting roles in our life journeys. But both articles were heavy on “map” and light on “practice.” 

    This article is about practiceand more specifically, it’s about taking the plumb line, the path straight to Source. There are other articles to come on the nature of the horizontal paths, and their role in our lives, but this blog is about Practice – about bringing us back over and over to what was never gone. Of course, what I’m suggesting here is only one way…

    The practice is simple. No matter what happens, remember… It’s ALL content.

    That’s it. That’s the practice.

    Whether meditating in traditional ways, or sitting, standing, lying, or moving through everyday life – just remember that it’s all content. EVERYthing that you can become aware of – everything – is content.

        •  Aware of a sensation? Warmth or coolness? Pressure, pain, pleasure? Flash of light? Energy movement? It’s content.

        •  Aware of a feeling or emotion? Sadness, fear, anxiety, joy, anger, anticipation, excitement? It’s content.

        •  Aware of a thought? A memory, an insight, an understanding, an analysis, a plan, a judgment (I’m doing this well. I’m doing this poorly)? It’s content.

        • Aware of any commentary, or judgement about what is happening? Doing this right, wrong, better, worse, effectively, effortlessly. It’s content.

        •  Aware of any experience, no matter how striking? A feeling of oneness, a sense of no self, an experience of knowing the truth, a taste of the Mystery? It’s content.

        • Aware of anything from the personal unconscious (e.g., surprising hidden insights into one’s self, motivations, feelings) or from the intermediate realms (e.g., seeing at a distance, guides, gods/goddesses, out-of-body experiences)? It’s content.

        • Aware of anything that you experience as will, or trying, or intention? The experience of being a center of awareness? A center or centerless Will that is paying attention? A process or self trying to stay aware, be aware, hold onto experience, find a way to the Mystery? That sensation, or effort, or will, or center, or sense of centerlessness? It’s content, too.

      It’s all content.

      Whether you are sitting formally in meditation, or enquiring into experience, or doing awareness practice in other way, the pointer here is… Let everything that comes into awareness BE there, and let everything that wants to understand or do something about that content also BE there.


      Everything that you can become aware of is not you. It might be a run-of-the-mill thought, feeling, sensation, memory or imagination – or it might be a flash of insight, a sense of something being aware, a powerful energetic sensation, a strong feeling of love, or a blinding sense of oneness or other psychospiritual experience. Regardless, if you can be aware of it, it’s not you.

      Nothing needs to be done once these contents are recognized as contents, even when there’s a content that wants something different to be happening. Just let it be there. Let me add that letting it be there warmly is the spirit to bring to this. Not a cool, clinical, distant “let it be there,” but a warm (as warm as you can muster), gentle allowing it to be present.

      It’s a simple practice, but the trick is in continuing in this now matter what wants to take your attention.

      As you practice this, you can progressively become aware of some more subtle things. Notice what feels like a center of will or self that is “trying” to hold awareness “steady.” Notice any trying, or efforting, or holding, or attempts to let go, or let be, and so on. This center of “will” or “intention” can take very subtle forms.

      Even these experiences of willing and intending are content. The nondual, the Source, is not reducible to anything that shows up as a content of awareness. Along with the sense of something in us that is “trying” or “willing,” there are a couple of common kinds of intentions that lie unexamined in our quest to awaken. They are…

          • The need to understand, and

          • The need to do
                • A variation on the need to do is the need to “fix” something

                •  Another variation on the need to do is the need to “hold” onto something.

          So, to return to Practice…

              • When you find yourself trying to understand or frame things, just become aware of the need to understand, and see and label it (e.g., “Trying to understand. Trying to make sense of.”)

              • When you when you find yourself trying to “do” or “fix” something, just become aware of the need to do, and see and label it (e.g., “Wanting to make something happen. Trying to fix.”)

            Just label the activity as you become aware of it, and let it drift into “more content” and warmly let it be there.

            After a time of practicing “it’s all content,” the next content that needs to be recognized is the separate “something” that is aware of that content. This “position” often masquerades as the “true” but invisible self.

            Even the observer is a content.

            In other words, there is still something that we believe is practicing, and attempting to see all experience as content. In this very separation into observer (here) and content (over there), there is a distinction. Or course, any practice sets up the need for someone to do something – or not do something. But, it’s a practice that – hopefully – carries the seeds of its own obsolescence.  It’s a practice that can dissolve in time, supported by the flashes of referenceless natural being that it can reveal.  

            All practices are tools that can get us only so far.

            How to deal with this separate “thing” that is aware over “here?” Just keep going. Keep going until even this “observer” is inquired into and seen for what it is, so that all things and activities, and wills, and positions that seem to be over here – observing – are allowed to show up in awareness. 

            Until eventually, there is a collapse of even “that” distinction.

            That sense of separation is insidious, a multi-headed hydra always cropping up in another place. It’s always “here” hiding behind the eyes. Just keep examining. It’s all content. Even the observer, and the “tryer.” And when that is seen through, then the observer-content polarity collapses.

            And there is just this.

            The practice is simple… It’s all content. Even the sense of will, and understanding, and doing. Even the sensation of something being aware. These are all contents as well. Keep looking at these until they, too, collapse. No more distinction between content and what is aware of the content. There is only what was never gone. 

            But don’t be pulled into reducing what is happening to “oneness.” That is its own subtle content…

            Just this.


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