I said, “I can’t really tell for sure. Sometimes it seems like they do. And then it seems like they don’t.”
He said, “It’s always like that.”
He staggered a little about the task of setting the table, refusing my help. The result was very beautiful. Simple plates and utensils in a plain yet elegant arrangement. The soup was pungent and complex. There was green salad and a dense dark bread. He usually waits until the black tea is very strong.
“Have you ever heard of the Teacher, the Audience and the Message?” He’s peering at me. (That’s the shift.)
“I don’t think so,” I say.
“Ahh!” he says. “This is the heart of the Perfection Teaching—the Teacher, the Audience, the Message, the Time and the Place.
“Every moment composes itself of these five elements…” (A little bread, a little soup.) “Of course you get beyond time and space…and it’s simply the Teacher, the Audience, the Message.” (He pauses, gazing. I just wait.)
“The Teacher!” (hand held up in space), “the White Light…Perfection. Presence itself.
“The Audience!” (palm over chest), “the psychic realm, interiority, consciousness.
“The Message!” (fingers sweeping the room), “Manifest appearances, the phenomenal circumstances.
“All are present in each experience.”
“So there’s a teacher, an audience and a message in every moment?” I ask, checking to see if I understand correctly.
“No. No. No. Non-dual! Non-dual! The intellect cannot go there…” He pauses.
“OHHMMM! Perfection, the Teacher!
“AHHHHH! Circumstances, the Message!
“HOONNG! Sentient Beings, the Audience!”
Something has shifted in my consciousness. My awareness has opened to a sense of vastness. I get the feeling that I am surrounded by a great presence. It seems as though the room is arising from my own mind. Or as if I am made of the space around me.
Om! Ah! Hum! The syllables are still resonating. I get a senseof reality being a vast ringing unity. James is peering at me.At this point I notice that he is luminous. The whole room is suffused with a very clear white radiance. I remark on it.
“James, you’re becoming luminous.”
“If you can see it, it’s a manifestation of your own awareness.”
He talks for a while about the non-dual state. Applications.
“You wake up in the morning. Bang!” (Loud hand clap.) “There it is! TheTeacher, the Audience, the Message. No reason for attachment, no reason for aversion. Whatever presents itself, allow it to be.
“Someone enters your office. Bang!” (Clap.) “There it is! The Teacher, the Audience, the Message. Join with that person. Unite with them. Just allow that being to be.”
As he’s speaking there are subtle shifts. I get the sense of returning gradually from a strange state. I still feel somewhat altered but this is useful information and I am recording it and filing it away. At some point James turns his focus to his soup and salad. He is suddenly just an old man talking to a young man over a meal and a pot of tea.
“I don’t see as well anymore, you know. I can’t study it like I once could. Maybe I read one line a day. Open it up. Open it up. Sparkling points… very beautiful. Very meaningful.
“I always dreamed of teaching… Oh, I had success in business. And friendship with the Lamas. Wonderful people, wonderful people. Very human, you know. Very warm. But I never had any education to speak of. And I always wanted to teach.”
At this point I’m thinking, how do you teach this stuff?
He leans forward. “So how do you teach it?” he whispers. “Oh, you use your voice of course, wave your arms around. You ham it up. Whatever. You know the teachings. You don’t say anything that they won’t be able to grasp. You follow their understanding. Let one thing lead to another. And when someone asks a question you answer it. But it’s allowing them to be that does it. No-self over here. No-self over there. No otherness. The non-dual state transmits the teaching.
“This part is not from the teachings. This part is from my own thinking. Working with it you know. Opening it up point by point.
“You join with them, unite with them. They come to the door and you let them in.”