This series is a collection of pointers or teaching aphorisms by Nisargadatta Maharaj on the theme of separation - uncluttered with words and explanations. Remember, to know Yourself, return to the silence before words.

In reality only the Ultimate is. The rest is a matter of name and form. And as long as you cling to the idea that only what has name and shape exists, the Supreme will appear to you non-existing.

When you understand that names and shapes are hollow shells without any content whatsoever, and what is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness, you will be at peace – immersed in the deep silence of reality.

–       Nisargadatta Maharaj

How to reflect on the pointers

The sense of personal self is simply the result of conditioning. How did you form your ideas about yourself? If you reflect on this question, you will discover that your ideas of self-identity have been learned from society – your parents, your teachers, your peers, etc. The consensual reality of the society in which “you” are located perpetuates these ideas about self-identity. Almost every book you read, song lyric you listen to, photograph you observe, television programme you watch, business interaction you participate in and social or love relationship you enjoy reinforces this idea of “you” as a separate individual in the world. Of course, the entrained and conditioned mind perpetuates this false sense of self-identity with a constant narrative of desires and fears that carve this self. You are conditioned, and therefore blinded to the True Reality.

The function of the pointers is to break down this conditioning. The pointers point to Your True Nature. For example, in this series, while the whole of society tells you that you are a separate individual, the pointers offered tell you that this is not true; that you are not a separate individual and never have been. The pointers tell you that separation is a myth.

The way the pointers are used in this tradition, is simply to reflect on them in silence. The pointers act like a type of mental hydrochloric acid, dissolving all untrue thoughts about yourself – until only the thought-free Reality remains.

Please note, the suggestion to reflect on pointers in silence does not mean sitting on a cushion in a silent room for an hour a day. The silence never leaves you, and can be located within all the moments of your everyday life. The pointer becomes like a question carried within the heart. The enquiry has no end – it infuses every breath. Every thought recognised as false (all thoughts) as it arises reminds you to reflect on the pointer towards Truth. This investigation happens in all moments silently and anonymously – while the body goes about the business of everyday life. 

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