The Subject / Object Illusion

Posted on October 2nd, 2009

Your half dozen questions cover a lot of ground, so I’ll have to be brief.
Because of our conditioned, dualistic thinking, the teachers ask you to divide reality into two categories, subject and object.Then they show you that our divisive thinking is a barrier to enlightenment.

In a sentence structure—“I see a tree”—I, the observer, is the subject of the sentence; tree, the observed, is the object.Such a sentence presupposes that I and the tree are separate entities.

We think (in our mind) in sentences.So we habitually separate our self—I—from every object we see.“I”, the thinker, am the subject of every thought we have—what the importance of the thought relates to.The object in the thought can be any of the things in existence, whether material or immaterial.

We divide the world, in our thoughts: there is “me” (always the important subject) and there is all else in existence that is “not me” (the object of our thoughts).

In short, what the teachers are saying is that any object in the universe is—despite our giving it some separative name—a manifestation of the Absolute (or Source).They are also saying that the subject is not an exception to this truth: that everything in the universe is a manifestation of the same singular Source.

So, at the level of the most basic reality, the subject—I—and the object—tree—are the same thing: an aspect (although different in appearance) of the Absolute. This applies to every subject and every object: all are, at their essence, the same, one thing.

Thus, if we look beyond the separative names, there is only one universal thing, the Absolute. That is why it is said, “The Absolute alone is.”There is not anything that is not it, in essence.A tree is That.You are That.And that is why they also say, “You are the Absolute.”

If you are That and the tree is That, there is no “space” between you, in truth: even what we name as space between things too is That, a manifestation of the very same Source.

Time is also a manifestation of the one Source, so time too is That.

Therefore, time and space do not exist as anything other than additional “objects” (not-me) that we have named, and divided in our subject/object thinking.

The teachers are saying, “The observer (subject, which is That) is the observed (object—any not-me thing, whether formed or formless—which is also That).”

You (being as much the Absolute—100%—as anything else is the Absolute) and the tree (being the Absolute as much—100%—as anything else is the Absolute) are the same thing.

When you comprehend this, you realize that every subject and every object is That.Therefore, in truth, there is nothing but That.

The “I” and the “tree” names that we give everything are simply separate “subjects” and “objects” in the sentences that our minds create.

The teachers are saying that enlightenment is present when the seeker sees through these false labels—subject/object names—and realizes that every such name is just another name for the only thing which has true existence.

When you comprehend that (as they say) “All that is, is That,” everyone of your remaining questions will automatically be answered.

Posted in Living Nonduality, Advaita, Monograph, Nondual Teachers    Tagged with Observer, Absolute, Subject-Object


Aaron Wigg - November 13th, 2010 at 11:02 PM
Very cool Robert!
J Forsyth - October 22nd, 2011 at 7:05 PM
This writing is also That.

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