I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together .
- John Lennon, "I am the Walrus"
In 1978, when I first encountered the "Cloud of Unknowing ", I read in the preface that the anonymous author was most likely an English country parson from the East Midlands. It went on to say how he had way of making difficult, complex ideas simple to understand, something I have been accused of, starting with my High School Philosophy teacher. The author of the "Cloud " also shows a very cautious way of warning his readers not to take everything he writes to heart without looking very closely for them selves, as his description is in words and the "unknowing " he is writing about is not available to the mind. I struggle with this, with every blog and note.
When, in a matter of five years, I found myself off to do volunteer work at Lincoln Cathedral, which I had never heard of before, I was surprised to find myself headed to the English East Midlands! The "Cloud " had changed my life. Here I was, in a strange place with my Partner, having sold all our possessions, and I felt at home. It was like bringing the "Cloud " home, and that country parson stayed by my side. He was like me. He was me.
In 1986 the Church proper, not liking the idea of two Gay men forming a religious community, forced it's closure. During the time the Community was struggling against closure, I discovered a book about Ramakrishna in the local library. This led to reading about Ramana Maharshi (it was next to Ramakrishna in the library.). When the community was finally closed down, we returned to San Francisco, but I was very keen to find more reading about Advaita Vedanta. In searching the San Francisco Library (a real treat after the Lincoln Library, I can tell you!) I stumbled upon "I AM THAT ".
When I opened "I AM THAT " for the first time, there in the library, and looked a the frontispiece; the picture of Nisargadatta Maharaj captivated me.
It was like looking into my own face. I could not read this book fast enough. It answered all the remaining questions and doubts I had tried to answer in Christianity. It was as if Nisargadatta was there with me, knew what I needed and directed me to it. Advaita itself was like confirming what I already "knew " but had no words for. Nisargadatta, even though he had left his physical body, became my Guru.
In dreams I have described elsewhere, Nisargadatta confirmed that we are one. Nisargadatta silently expressed that I should take "our " investment in Love and share it. You are reading some of that now.
After my "awakening ", also described elsewhere, I became aware that both the writer of the "Cloud " and Nisargadatta were no different than "me ", and that the "reader " of both the "Cloud " and "I AM THAT " were no different than the "writers ". I have a large photograph of Nisargadatta on one of my bookcases. In my house, I have only a couple of small photos of me and my Partner on horseback. When I want to see "me " I look at the picture of Nisargadatta with Love.
Once I realized that the English country parson and Nisargadatta were none other than the "Self ", I began to see that the Developmentally Disabled, the elderly and the homeless man peeing in the phone booth were also none other than the "Self ". I began to see the tree, the sky and the snail and slug as not separate, but the "Self " also. We are One. As you read this, you are reading your own words. But not "words ". The "Self " is loving itself. You, the reader, and I the writer are sharing Love. The words can't really say it, but the Love is here right now. I love you, and as John Lennon wrote in "I am the Walrus "; "...we are all together"!