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Your self, aware presence, knows no resistance to any appearance and, as such, is happiness itself; like the empty space of a room, it cannot be disturbed and is, therefore, peace itself; like this page, it is intimately one with whatever appears on it and is thus love itself; and like water that is not affected by the shape of a wave, it is pure freedom. Causeless joy, im Your self, aware presence, knows no resistance to any appearance and, as such, is happiness itself; like the empty space of a room, it cannot be disturbed and is, therefore, peace itself; like this page, it is intimately one with whatever appears on it and is thus love itself; and like water that is not affected by the shape of a wave, it is pure freedom. Causeless joy, imperturbable peace, love that knows no opposite, and freedom at the heart of all experience…this is your ever-present nature under all circumstances.


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Your self, aware presence, knows no resistance to any appearance and, as such, is happiness itself; like the empty space of a room, it cannot be disturbed and is, therefore, peace itself; like this page, it is intimately one with whatever appears on it and is thus love itself; and like water that is not affected by the shape of a wave, it is pure freedom. Causeless joy, im Your self, aware presence, knows no resistance to any appearance and, as such, is happiness itself; like the empty space of a room, it cannot be disturbed and is, therefore, peace itself; like this page, it is intimately one with whatever appears on it and is thus love itself; and like water that is not affected by the shape of a wave, it is pure freedom. Causeless joy, imperturbable peace, love that knows no opposite, and freedom at the heart of all experience…this is your ever-present nature under all circumstances.

30 review for Presence, Volume I: The Art of Peace and Happiness

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jae

    Brilliant book about the practice of non-dualism. Needs to be read slowly in order to absorb the teachings. A book to be read more than once in order to fully comprehend all that is being said here.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Linda McKenzie

    On my second reading and definitely worth reading more than once—or over and over again as a form of contemplation. This book provides very direct and accessible pointing to non-dual truth. I feel that Spira ought to give credit somewhere in the text, perhaps in a Preface or Introduction, to the tradition of Advaita Vedanta, and the other non-dual traditions (such as Kashmir Shaivism, Sufism and Ouspensky) that have informed his work. Nevertheless, the way he expresses his understanding and lead On my second reading and definitely worth reading more than once—or over and over again as a form of contemplation. This book provides very direct and accessible pointing to non-dual truth. I feel that Spira ought to give credit somewhere in the text, perhaps in a Preface or Introduction, to the tradition of Advaita Vedanta, and the other non-dual traditions (such as Kashmir Shaivism, Sufism and Ouspensky) that have informed his work. Nevertheless, the way he expresses his understanding and leads others into it, gleaned from these various traditions, in plain, simple English, without any Sanskrit, Arabic, or other intimidating language or association with anything religious (or what people assume is religious according to a narrow understanding of that term), and relying only on what can be verified by direct personal observation, is a very effective method. This is why I feel very inclined to suggest his work as an introduction or preliminary reading before getting into traditional Advaita Vedanta. It definitely helped me make the right connections and to see how what had seemed difficult, abstruse and somehow beyond my grasp is really very familiar and already known—closer than our own breath!—but only veiled by long-practised ignorance in the form of all sorts of unexamined assumptions about the nature of experience and reality. Simply looking closely in an unbiased way at our actual experience, as he exhorts us to do, dissolves those conditioned assumptions, ushering in a fresh and vastly more satisfying view. Of course, this is exactly what traditional Advaita Vedanta also does, but I think there are many people who would be willing to read Rupert Spira who would baulk at something they see as arcane Indian philosophy, and associated with Hinduism. These people are infinitely better off reading Spira than reading dumbed-down and ineffectual neo-pseudo-Advaita. This is leaving aside that the Direct Path, which Spira teaches (as was taught by Atmananda Krishna Menon, Jean Klein and his own teacher, Francis Lucille), while based in AV, differs from it in its intention to be more direct (as the name suggests!). That is, to take pure awareness as the starting point. (To explain this difference properly goes beyond a Goodreads review). I think it's clear that there are positives and negatives in this approach as compared to traditional AV, and the positives apply only for those who are already highly receptive, intellectually sharp and able to grasp subtlety (which has nothing necessarily to do with academic ability or disposition), and highly motivated to "cut to the chase" without anything in the way of step-by-step pedagogical supports. In other words, those who are already highly qualified. So as much Spira's work, and that of other Direct Path teachers, could be said to be for the many for the reasons already noted, it's paradoxically only for the few, as has always been the case with all forms of non-dual teaching. (This is not principally due to elitism, although elitism has sometimes been a factor, but to the majority self-excluding due to lack of interest. This remains the case today when the material is widely and often freely available). So it comes as no surprise that the usual prerequisites as stipulated by Advaita Vedanta are dispensed with. I suppose it's assumed that only those who are sufficiently, i.e. minimally, qualified will have the interest and the motivation to pursue the teaching. But it's also explicitly stated that the Direct Path aims to first awaken the awareness of being pure awareness and that after that comes the long, or rather, endless, process of assimilating this understanding into daily life. This is another way of saying that the qualities that are traditionally seen by AV as prerequisites are gradually incorporated into the personality as a result of sustained contemplation, in light of understanding oneself as pure awareness, according to the DP. I think it would be a great shame for anyone interested in non-duality to omit pursuing the glorious, millennia-old tradition that undergirds Spira's teaching (referring to AV here, which seems to be dominant, while acknowledging his other influences), as this can only add richness, depth and clarity. I believe that while Spira's work is of very high quality as a "pointing-out" method, he has done a disservice to his readers, and to the traditions themselves, in not being more upfront about the influences that shaped his own understanding and making these available to others. I suppose he thinks he has good reasons for that, and it's obviously a considered decision, perhaps not wanting to alienate the tentative, skeptical or "religion"-averse, secular-minded reader, but I feel it's a serious omission. It creates an impression, correct or incorrect, that he wants to appropriate all credit for himself, while standing on the shoulders of spiritual giants. To this I must add the criticism that he charges money for his teaching, above and beyond what is necessary for hire of venues etc. which violates the traditional approach of making the teaching freely available, with any material contributions being of a strictly voluntary nature. Of course it's necessary to charge money for books and he does make segments of his talks from retreats freely available on You Tube. But why only segments, with full video talks requiring payment? Online group video mentoring seems overpriced given the number of attendees. Perhaps here one needs to acknowledge the fact that Western culture doesn't understand the need to provide support for those who dedicate themselves to spiritual teaching, as is the case in India, such that some feel that set fees need to be charged. I can't agree with this at all, since set fees totally ignore the fact of extreme socio-economic inequality which means that the same fee represents loose change for some and is totally prohibitive for others. It's similar to regressive taxation and it's simply not acceptable in the current climate in particular to be indifferent to such realities, only adding to social injustice. If a teacher really needs to support themselves via some kind of fee it ought to be on a voluntary basis only according to what each person can afford, if anything. No one should be excluded due to inability to pay. If this isn't enough, then the teacher can get a regular day job and teach part-time. I can't know what is in the heart of Spira or anyone else, so I'm not levelling this as a condemnation of his character. I just feel compelled to state my own view on these matters. While it's inescapable that we inhabit a ruthless capitalist order, the intersection of capitalist "values" with spirituality can never be a healthy one, given that capitalism involves a repudiation of anything that can be considered genuine spirituality. However, I don't want these misgivings to prevent anyone from reading Spira's work. The bottom line is that I think anyone who wants to understand themselves and the nature of reality will benefit enormously. Spira's work is a great way to get started on the path and may well take some all the way. In the end, it's not what we've read or heard but what we directly realise that matters when it comes to non-duality. Once that realisation occurs, any further reading is simply for deepening pleasure and appreciation.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    Beautiful book! This was the second of Rupert Spira’s books that I have read this year and I would say the more challenging of the two. It frequently took 2 to 3 times of reading a paragraph or passage to grasp its meaning. I would like to read this again after a period of time has passed while implementing the teachings. I am sure my understanding would be much improved and deepened.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jack Oughton

    Pretty concise but dense like uranium

  5. 4 out of 5

    Giorgi Bazerashvili

    The material in this book needs to be contemplated very deeply. It's clear that Rupert talks about this stuff from his direct experience, but doesn't make much sense for someone without the same living experience. He claims that a separate self is just a thought. In fact, he says that it is not even an entity, but something that we do actively. It is an activity of avoiding and seeking and tells us that we can stop doing it. But what is lacking from this book, is the instructions for how to actua The material in this book needs to be contemplated very deeply. It's clear that Rupert talks about this stuff from his direct experience, but doesn't make much sense for someone without the same living experience. He claims that a separate self is just a thought. In fact, he says that it is not even an entity, but something that we do actively. It is an activity of avoiding and seeking and tells us that we can stop doing it. But what is lacking from this book, is the instructions for how to actually do it, how to actually stop thinking ourselves into existence. He also tells what happiness is from a nondual perspective. It is supposed to be our natural state, beneath all the resisting and seeking that goes on and on. What if real happiness comes after we stop seeking it in the future, embrace the present moment fully and surrender everything. Sounds paradoxical, doesn't it? To really appreciate the material in this book, I think that one should have an ego-death. That is what Rupert Spira didn't say and what I would add to his beautiful phrasings and smart metaphors. The Presence, our real identity, as he calls it, reveals itself after lots of contemplation on the nature of existence. This is a serious spiritual practice, that requires discipline and hard work, at least from my perspective. In short, I think that Rupert Spira did a great job communicating his nondual teachings in his unique and non-mystical way.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Spira communicates his experience of non-duality with a logic and precision that feels almost mathematical to me. It is genius of the most important kind: that which brings insight and draws us to our own awareness. However, his writing may come across as dry, so it is not an 'easy' read. Would not recommend to most people. But with attentiveness to his detail and patience for one's own cognitive comfort zone being pushed, this is transformative. There is a lucidity here that is unparalleled in Spira communicates his experience of non-duality with a logic and precision that feels almost mathematical to me. It is genius of the most important kind: that which brings insight and draws us to our own awareness. However, his writing may come across as dry, so it is not an 'easy' read. Would not recommend to most people. But with attentiveness to his detail and patience for one's own cognitive comfort zone being pushed, this is transformative. There is a lucidity here that is unparalleled in the often overly poetic and language-stumping nature of non-dual experience. I feel very blessed that I have come across him in the same year I found Jan Frazier and I thank my friend Madeleine for both!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Biju Thomas

    Aparokshanubhuti - Direct Experience Rupert has provided a lot of clarity on the concept of aparokshanubhuti - Self knowing itself. Something which mind cannot reach through. Singular devotion alone will result in having the grace to know the Self through itself - words being only pointers to the truth. This book is essential part of Nididhyasana- habit breaker for disassociation with thoughts identifying one to the separate self. A process of deconstruction of mind or dissolution into the heart Aparokshanubhuti - Direct Experience Rupert has provided a lot of clarity on the concept of aparokshanubhuti - Self knowing itself. Something which mind cannot reach through. Singular devotion alone will result in having the grace to know the Self through itself - words being only pointers to the truth. This book is essential part of Nididhyasana- habit breaker for disassociation with thoughts identifying one to the separate self. A process of deconstruction of mind or dissolution into the heart of experience.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Advaita

    Rupert is a superb teacher of the the direct path to Non-duality.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Edu Eyland

    This is a book for someone who has already begun to experience a conscious journey that allows them to differentiate the mind from the presence or conscience ... Rupert Spira strives so that the reader can have precise references and explanations full of wonderful analogies that allow him to understand a deeper level of consciousness where everything works as I am, not as one more character of the mind, but as the true and essential I am ... Rupert's inspiration and his explanations help us delv This is a book for someone who has already begun to experience a conscious journey that allows them to differentiate the mind from the presence or conscience ... Rupert Spira strives so that the reader can have precise references and explanations full of wonderful analogies that allow him to understand a deeper level of consciousness where everything works as I am, not as one more character of the mind, but as the true and essential I am ... Rupert's inspiration and his explanations help us delve deeper of consciousness, finding ourselves in "the other", finding ourselves as unity and at the same time the space where everything has permission to happen. An extraordinary book to read many times.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andy Nelson

    This book takes you on a journey of "Aware Presence". It makes you delve into yourself, to be Aware of your presence and develops your ability become peaceful and happy. It is not a self help book but one that forces you to go deep into your mind to reveal the barriers that are within. Sequester yourself for this very engaging, soul searching journey to your state of "Aware Presence". This book takes you on a journey of "Aware Presence". It makes you delve into yourself, to be Aware of your presence and develops your ability become peaceful and happy. It is not a self help book but one that forces you to go deep into your mind to reveal the barriers that are within. Sequester yourself for this very engaging, soul searching journey to your state of "Aware Presence".

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nikolay Vysochin

    Clean, precise words It’s not very often I can read in almost one set. This book is light in reading and greatly structured in a way which takes you with it and walks you through. Thx!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    An astonishing book; luminous, self-illuminating, beautiful and very rigorous. Proceeds gently, carefully, like a well-led meditation.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Whyte

    Straight to the point, succinct and highly effective. A great book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Still

    It's beautiful... It's beautiful...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nessa

    Second reading. Rupert Spira writes superbly and has the power to take us to the experience the mystics and sages of all ages and traditions have discovered.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Afonso Matos

    Beautiful piece of art! Directs your attention to your current raw experience and invites you to abide as Presence only.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    Being my second read from Rupert Spira, The Art of Peace and Happiness, the first of two volumes in his Presence series, inundated me with the same wave of presence I felt whilst reading through The Transparency of Things. This calming and soothing effect is to me, a paramount facet to really taking in the expressions conveyed by Rupert, for it is in this contemplative state that we find ourself most receptive to understanding and integrating the essence of these oh so eloquent articulations. Wh Being my second read from Rupert Spira, The Art of Peace and Happiness, the first of two volumes in his Presence series, inundated me with the same wave of presence I felt whilst reading through The Transparency of Things. This calming and soothing effect is to me, a paramount facet to really taking in the expressions conveyed by Rupert, for it is in this contemplative state that we find ourself most receptive to understanding and integrating the essence of these oh so eloquent articulations. What I very much appreciated were the distinguished sections of the book that led into one another in an expansive fashion, integrating the notions aforementioned and incorporating them into further analysis. This sense of progression in the writing is a terrific means of cutting through the generally repetitive nature of its contents while keeping the reflections particularly fresh in their presentation. Rupert Spira's brilliant knack for articulating these esoteric notions is prevalent throughout, for it is in its neat presentation that these contemplations are stunningly lucid in their capacity to convey the deeply profound essence they behold. Much like his orations, the same reknowned manner of speech is reflected to a tee, which makes receiving his perspective all the more easier, which is of paramount benefit given the nature of what is being spoken of here; the analogies, metaphors and guided investigations/meditations are wonderfully illustrative and effective in imbuing presence, thus, naturally inducing serenity and tranquility in reading. With countless excerpts left highlighted - it is quite difficult to pin point what exactly I appreciated most, although what does come to mind was Rupert's correlations on how thinking, feeling, and perceiving, when harmonised intimately with Truth, are reflected through the experiences of understanding, love, and beauty, with all of them ultimately reflecting a single holistic essence merely refracting in these three forms. This for me, along with reflections to the nature of Peace, Happiness and Love were exquisite expressions in clear service of the author's intention, moments where that sense of presence was affirmed time and time again. As the Sufis say: "Wherever the eye falls, there is the face of God" - this, was most definitely the case throughout Presence, Volume I, so now, I look forward to reading Volume II wholeheartedly; thank you Rupert! Five stars (*****)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Robert Golden

    One of the best "direct path" books I've yet read. He is a consummate teacher, leading me as the student ever forward. Looking forward to rereading this book many times. I have found my teacher. Only disappointment is that the book is not available in an audio format. One of the best "direct path" books I've yet read. He is a consummate teacher, leading me as the student ever forward. Looking forward to rereading this book many times. I have found my teacher. Only disappointment is that the book is not available in an audio format.

  19. 4 out of 5

    William Arsenis

    PRESENCE: THE ART OF PEACE AND HAPPINESS is traditional non-duality teaching from beginning to end. Rarely do were hear anything new, and each word Rupert Spira chooses has the stamp of approval of non-dual lingo. Rupert Spira continuously repeats his points, often using the same words. He keeps saying, “In other words,” but rarely does he actually use other words. It’s admittedly difficult to do when you’re saying the same thing over and over again. He is fond of that tired analogy I’ve heard so m PRESENCE: THE ART OF PEACE AND HAPPINESS is traditional non-duality teaching from beginning to end. Rarely do were hear anything new, and each word Rupert Spira chooses has the stamp of approval of non-dual lingo. Rupert Spira continuously repeats his points, often using the same words. He keeps saying, “In other words,” but rarely does he actually use other words. It’s admittedly difficult to do when you’re saying the same thing over and over again. He is fond of that tired analogy I’ve heard so many teachers use: the one of the screen being awareness and every “thing” being but an image that appears on it. I guess that resonates well for most people, but for some reason, it never did anything for me. Every now and then, there are sentences worthy of highlighting. On a few occasions, some passages are downright beautiful. There is nothing personal or humorous in his writing and that makes it hard for me to relate. I’ve heard most of what he writes said in almost exactly the same way by his teacher, Dr. Francis Roles, and his teacher’s teacher, Jean Klein. Rupert Spira does cover some rather new and bold territory, however, when he gets into a description of awakening. Additionally, he also has a unique approach for a technique, but it isn’t unfolded completely until the end. Readers should be made aware of this gold pot at the end of the rainbow, otherwise they may tire of the repetition and drop the book before they’ve gained the few novel insights it has to offer. Beautiful, poetic, but not very original...If I hadn’t read so many books that say almost the exact same thing, I’d probably be giving PRESENCE: THE ART OF PEACE AND HAPPINESS five stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marie Dupense

    The metaphor of the room - repeated over and over - is not helpful to those who are really seeking liberation through disentanglement from perception. Perception itself is where the suffering of identification begins. I would suggest that the author take some time contemplating the coma state and perhaps talking to those who have returned from THAT as to what the ultimate reality beyond mind is.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stockfish

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenny G

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Mccarty

  24. 4 out of 5

    Simon Green

  25. 5 out of 5

    Henri

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christina Rovics

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wayne Kenny

  29. 4 out of 5

    D.E. Fraley

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mark

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