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FOUR BOOKS IN ONE!
An Anthology of Advaita Books
A NOTE TO READERS
This anthology of four books by Floyd Henderson contains the volumes that make up what has been called The Advanced Seekers Series for those seeking Realization via the Advaita teachings:
For those who have studied any of the various types of yoga and who have studied either Traditional Advaita Vedanta, Neo-Advaita, Neo-Vedanta, or Pseudo Advaita: the author of this book is a disciple of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj so he uses the Direct Path Method of teaching along with the Nisarga (Natural) Yoga, all shared in simple, everyday English.
FROM THE AUTHOR
This anthology contains four books that many seekers have used along their path as they moved to Full Realization.
The four-book series offers the following:
1. An opportunity for seekers to be guided through the seven-step journey from identification with the false I (via the content of the book FROM THE I TO THE ABSOLUTE) and to move beyond The Seven Degrees of Separation from Reality;
2. An opportunity to understand the nature of Reality Beyond Self-Realization (with the content of the book CONSCIOUSNESS / AWARENESS);
3. An opportunity to understand that which was prior to the Absolute, namely, The Void, the Nothingness; and then
4. An opportunity to reach the Ultimate and Final Understanding.
To master all four of those levels of understanding is to enable the seeker to grasp the Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj pointer that wisdom is knowing that I am nothing.
For most seekers, the journey ends when they reach the third of seven steps as they move along the first-stage path, specifically, the point at which they adopt a new persona (The Religious One or The Spiritual Giant) and then never move any further.
There, Maharaj said, they engage in what he called kindergarten-level spirituality and they mistake the dawn for the noonday sun.
Only a few will truly understand the distinction between the consciousness and the awareness, and fewer still will be willing to abandon the notion that now they are Really Something and to consider the ultimate freedom of The Nothingness.
A synopsis of the four books follows:
FROM THE I TO THE ABSOLUTE (A Seven-Step Journey to Reality)
Most of the so-called Spiritual Masters addressed at one time or another all of the steps that must be taken to shift from identifying with the false I to abiding as the Absolute, yet they did not present or explain the steps in the exact order in which they must be taken if Realization is to happen.
While all of the steps (or stages to use the Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj term) have been discussed for centuries, this is the first time that the steps have been offered and explained in simple language in the exact order in which the seven steps must be taken in order to move from the lie of the I to Full Realization.
Most of the content of this book contains the complete set of transcripts from audio tapings of a series of satsang sessions that guided the participants from step one to Realization. Some have said that by reading the questions from seekers and the immediate responses by floyd (all offered in their original, easy, conversational format), they have felt as if they were present in the room, actively engaged in the satsang along with fellow seekers.
For those who have studied any of the various types of yoga and who have studied either Traditional Advaita Vedanta, Neo-Advaita, Neo-Vedanta, or Pseudo Advaita: the author of this book is a disciple of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj so he uses the Direct Path Method of teaching along with the Nisarga (Natural) Yoga.
Regards on your journey to Full Realization.
CONSCIOUSNESS/AWARENESS: The Nature of Reality Beyond Self-Realization
(Peace Every Day When Abiding as the Absolute)
One of the final frontiers of the Advaita Teachings is transitioned when the Nature of Reality is understood and when the Advaita Teachings are applied on a daily basis even in the absence of any Applier.
The Final Understanding happens post-Self-Realization, but the nature of Reality cannot be understood until the nature of Consciousness / Awareness is understood. Understanding the Nature of Consciousness allows for abidance in the I AM, but what of THAT Which Is beyond, and that which is beyond the beyond?
Only abidance as the Absolute (and later, the Nothingness) allows for the remainder of the manifestation of Consciousness to happen in Perfect Peace.
FROM THE ABSOLUTE TO THE NOTHINGNESS
An understanding of the pointers offered in this book can allow the advanced seeker to shift even beyond SELF-Realization, even beyond an understanding of Consciousness and Awareness, and to an understanding of that which preceded the Absolute.
The content of this book can, in fact, allow the advanced seeker to truly comprehend the Reality of no concept, of no duality, of no something, and even of no nothing.
The Advaita Teachings offer an invitation to be free of all concepts, all beliefs, and all ideas in order to be totally free. Yet how many reach that state, and how many who reach that state are able to fixate in that understanding and truly be free and thereby at peace?
This book will offer details of the way that can happen.
Regarding one character in a Michael Connelly novel: He was long past believing in God - the horrors he had seen documented had, little by little, sapped his stores of faith. In those seemingly final days, as his own heart withered and tapped out its final cadences, he did not grasp desperately for his lost faith as a shield or a means of easing the fear of the unknown. Instead, he was accepting of the end, of his own nothingness. He was ready. It was easy to do.
The book THE FINAL UNDERSTANDING is
(a) for the few that are willing to consider that there is far more to grasp after having reached the third, spiritual step (which will only move seekers as far as the dim light of dawn);
(b) for the few that have even the slightest awareness that the brighter light of the full noonday sun awaits; and
(c) for the few that have some sense that the freedom and peace which come with abandonment of the notion that they are Really Something will allow for the full shift into the no-concept, no-identity, non-dual Reality.
In THE FINAL UNDERSTANDING, the author discusses:
A. The myths of a Prior Me and a Post-Manifestation Me;
B. The myths of You-ness, Me-ness, and Them-ness;
C. Krishna pointers about that which is beyond the beingness and the non-beingness;
D. Abandonment of the personal and The Personal and an understanding of Presence instead;
E. The truth of the composite unity (elements, breath, conscious-energy) as opposed to the falsehood of the triad of body-mind-personality;
F. The sixteen shifts in awareness which must happen in a step-wise fashion for misunderstandings to be abandoned and for the final understanding to manifest;
G. The pointers about religion and spirituality that were offered by Maharaj which allow seekers (who are trapped at the third step while playing their new and improved persona or personas) to move along the entire path and then reach the final understanding;
H. A distinction between supernatural, unnatural, and nisarga (natural) living; and much more.
WHO IS FLOYD HENDERSON?
The literary tradition is to preface a book with a biographical snapshot of the author as a person. What can be said then, about the Advaitin Teacher, who has moved beyond personal biography?
To describe the person or the personal (the date of birth, the nationality, the job, the interests, the home, the child, the books read, the path followed) is to describe the attributes that actually take us further away from uncovering the identity of the teacher.
The reality is that this Who Is ... question itself brings us to deeper and more authentic questions. What is this understanding in which the teacher resides? The state of Realization is not different from teacher to teacher. That Self-Knowledge is unchanging. In this way, there is no difference between a Nisargadatta Maharaj, a Floyd Henderson, or any other Realized teacher.
The Realisation of SELF means the shattering of the shell of separation so that the non-dual nature of Reality is directly known. How can this be different from person to person? Only in the ABSENCE of the person is this nature revealed. In this way, Floyd Henderson invites us to strip away all that is personal, all that is dualistic, all that separates us from this understanding of Oneness from our True Selves.
The summative statement I AM THAT; I AM describes that understanding of SELF in absolute terms as well as its expression in the relative. Floyd Henderson is THAT just like all human beings; however, Floyd is fixed unshakably in this understanding, so all functioning, relatively speaking, flows directly from this SELF-Knowledge.
In this way, the biographical details (such as, born in Louisiana; moved to Texas; worked as a teacher and business owner over several decades before taking early retirement to write; father of a daughter named Ashley; current resident in the community of Walden on Lake Conroe in Texas; years of seeking followed by twenty-five months in the forest dweller stage and experiencing a vision that resulted in the dramatic peripetia or flash of Realization; functioning as a Direct Path, Nisargan teacher; and author of over forty Advaita books) are the attributes or flavourings which coloured the pure consciousness in the particular shape and form at the relative level.
Yet, these attributes are false ingredients. They cannot provide a true answer to the question Who is Floyd Henderson? because he recognizes no who-ness at all ... believes in no who that is living here at all. He once explained it this way when asked if he was ever bothered by people:
... How could persons possibly bother Me? They do not have even the slightest clue about where I truly live. Only a few on the entire planet called earth have a clue. Some might enter what is called the home of floyd, but that is not where I live; in fact, where I live has nothing to do with a where at all.
In this regard, there is actually only the How I abide is as the awareness, as the Original Nature, as the natural state which has no boundaries, which has no defining traits, and which does not change. How I abide is without conditions or conditioning, without qualifications, and without limitations.
I can seem to be here one second and there the next, but that is about how-ness, not any actual here-ness or there-ness. I am not confined to a space or form; furthermore, I can enter other spaces and forms, and do so regularly (as might happen the instant You read these words).
Abiding beyond consciousness and beyond beingness and beyond non-beingness, I can span the globe ... I can span the universe ... I have spanned all universes. Yet such while manifested spannings seldom happen anymore, requiring far more energy than is worth the effort, and it most assuredly need not happen with You.
As for Me, abidance will continue to happen in a whole and unadulterated and unambiguous manner until the consciousness unmanifests. Until that happens, then abidance will happen as Reality is overlaid on the relative without exception. When the consciousness unmanifests, then the drop shall enter the ocean of energy from which it came and will span the Absolute;
Awareness shall be, but aware of-ness shall not. Later, other universes might be spanned as well, or might not. Yet all of that is stated, so it, too, cannot be the Truth which You know but do not yet know that You know. Tap into the source and know Truth, but even then, do not suppose that You will be able to express Truth in words.
Thus, Floyd describes the AM-ness regarding floyd as a composite unity of an elemental plant food body that is circulating air and that is temporarily housing the manifested consciousness.
The THAT-ness he sees as a field of energy from which the conscious-energy manifests and to which it will return.
As for identification with any WHO-ness, he discarded that when identification with the Nothingness came, followed eventually by not even identifying with Nothing - or anything else.
The Advanced Seekers Series is an anthology of four books that share Advaita-based, non-duality pointers that can guide seekers to abide as their Original Nature.
Literally, Advaita means not two. If one studies the front cover of this anthology, light can be seen in two areas of the picture. One is the actual source of light; the other is merely reflected light. One is real; the other merely appears to be real.
In actuality, there are not two light sources. There is only one, but the world encourages persons to see two, to see dualities, to see multiplicities. The result is that few will ever understand the Truth of the Oneness that is beyond such misperceptions.
Most might glimpse the Real and also see the not real, but they will take both to be authentic. The Realized see that one light is real, that the other is merely a reflection, and that any belief in duality is erroneous.
The non-Realized - those separated from authenticity - will misperceive and take both the real and appearances to be as they seem. To clarify the distinction, the author once shared what he saw from his balcony one evening as a storm approached:
Walkways cross the green terrace that leads down to the lake, and all along those paths, round lights mounted on posts illuminate the way. As the storm clouds brought darkness, the bulbs lit up automatically.
As rain puddled in the walkways, the lights began to cast diagonal reflections of themselves. The Realized understand that the reflections are not the real light and they see the actual light source in the background. Yet they also understand that there is something even beyond that which is housing the light, namely, a form of energy.
The author invites all to see that which is beyond the reflections in consciousness and to know What Is Real vs. what only appears to be so, for it is misperceiving and delusions that set the stage for ignorance (rather than wisdom) to drive the thoughts and words and deeds of the non-Realized masses.
A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
Before I found the Advaita teachings, both my seeking and my life were totally disorganized. I had read over two hundred books during my search which began around the age of eleven or twelve. All of the content of those books was very confusing. Why?
While some presented teachings that seemed in the beginning to be of value, in the end they proved useless because none of the pointers were organized in a way to offer in a step-by-step manner the route that had to be followed to move away from identification with the false I and return to My Original Nature.
It became clear that - in my case - I required a teacher that could offer such an explanation and that could be available to answer my many questions along the way.
Though my reading left me a supposed expert is subjects dealing with the brain and the mind and psychology and psychiatry, there was no understanding at all of the functioning of the totality.
So my searching continued for many more years, moving from one book to the next and from one religion to the next and from one spiritual movement to the next and from one philosophy to the next. I studied Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism - you name it - I studied it.
It is suspected that many may have traveled as arduous a road as the one I traveled, but few likely traveled a more arduous route than the one I traveled during my years of seeking.
The searching in one venue after another continued until an acquaintance shared certain profound pointers that seemed to resonance deeply within me.
I asked what he was talking about ... asked if the pointers he was sharing were associated with any particular philosophy or religion that I could further investigate. He answered, What I am sharing is what is called a non-dual perspective.
What is that? I asked.
Basically, the simplest teaching is that everything is one.
That made little sense, but it did seem to reverberate at some spot deep inside me. Eventually, intuition was re-awakened and there was some sort of psychic consciousness that began to vibrate when non-duality pointers were being considered.
After being given some labels for further investigation - specifically, non-duality and Advaita - it soon became clear that I needed to find a capable Advaita teacher.
The irony was that, as I began searching for a teacher, all of the online sites promoting and ranking various teachers were actually reinforcing duality ... ranking this one as best and that one as good and that other one as not so adept. Instead of focusing on how we could eliminate our beliefs in hierarchies and separation and judgment, they were promoting all of those.
So I left the listings and began googling Advaita and found a blog site where Floyd Henderson was offering daily postings of non-dual pointers.
I began investigating this guy, wondering who he thought he was to be posting pointers about Advaita. He was not even from the Far East. Worse, my investigations uncovered the fact that this guy lived in Texas.
Being yet embroiled in ego, I asked, Who does this guy living outside of Houston, Texas think he is ... acting like he knows it all about these teachings? I concluded, Heck, I live in Texas. I guarantee I already know as much about non-duality as any other person living in Texas. Who from Texas could offer anything about this eastern philosophy?
Then I clicked the link for the retreats he offered and saw that, of even greater offense, he wanted to charge a fee for retreats where he teaches non-duality. (At the time, it did not register that I was not providing free meals to everyone who entered one of the restaurants in the chain I own.)
[NOTE: What Andy is not revealing here is all of the altruistic and philanthropic projects and charities which he has funded for years, offering assistance to the downtrodden and suffering.]
A year would pass, and more and more searching continued, but at least once a week, the name Floyd Henderson came into the forefront of consciousness.
As much as I tried to ignore the name, it would not leave me, so after a year of continued seeking even after having first found his name and websites, I finally went back to his Advaita blog site, looked at the cost of a retreat with him, and concluded, differently this time, Well, actually it really is only a nominal fee he is charging, and he does have to pay his bills.
So it came to me, What if this guy just might have what you have been looking for all of your life? I determined that I might as well spend a few dollars - a small amount really in comparison to the fortune I had already spent during decades of seeking and searching ... all with no permanent results at all.
Right now, it is giving me cold chills just reflecting on that decision and what happened afterwards. I had reached a point where I felt as if I were going to pop right out of my skin from all of the suffering and misery and anxiety and stress that had characterized my existence.
For me, it had to get so bad that I became willing and ready - ready to give up all of the ideas and beliefs that had served me not at all and to seek the Truth that was obviously beyond all of the concepts I had ever taken to be the truth.
Eventually, I went to a retreat at the home of Floydand left three days later having found that I was not only willing to give up all of those concepts but had become willing to give up this fear-based andy that had been at the root of my problems.
Now, I look back and laugh. Before the time spent in Floyds home, I hated to wake up in the morning. Now, I cannot wait to get up and enjoy every day.
I was raised to believe that Jesus had the answers that people need. At Floyds retreat, I found out that in many cases, he did, but the answers were not the ones I was taught in church.
I found that the later Jesus who returned to Jerusalem was sharing the non-dual, Advaita teachings - teachings I had heard on occasion when I was younger but that no one in the church could or would explain to me when I asked about those statements.
I went to Floyds that first time with a considerable fear of death (rooted, I would learn, in body and mind and personality identification). He suggested that if I was so afraid of death that the best thing I could do would be to go ahead and die now.
Of course that was an anger-invoking, shocking comment to hear, but before I left, I understood that I could not die because I was not born - that what he was saying is that my ego(s) and my egotism must die.
I understood after that retreat that I cannot truly live until this ego - this illusion - dies.
I came to understood that everything merely cycles and that timelines are a fraud, and Floyd also taught me the meaning of every part of his vision, and I learned by way of the eagle the difference in Subject-Object Witnessing and Pure Witnessing.
Why am I making this anthology available for all seekers to use now and to be available long after floyd and andy have taken mahasamadhi are gone? First, because the books in this anthology offer the step-by-step process by which Realization can happen and, secondly, because the books helped me in that undertaking.
I want to preserve Floyds vision and his writings for all who are seeking. I decided to support the printing of this anthology to make his teachings and methods available - to all that might be interested - because of what happened with me after sitting with Floyd and receiving the message that came by way of his step-by-step method which I realized was exactly what I had been seeking all of my life.
I am taking the action to help make these books available to interested seekers because I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if the understanding offered in these books - and Floyds other books - could come to me, then the understanding can come to almost anyone.
May you allow the pure consciousness to see and receive the content of the works in this anthology and then also receive as a result the blissful freedom that came to me via the content of these and the other writings by Floyd Henderson.
Andrew Gugar, Jr.
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