095. Rupert Spira

Rupert SpiraFrom an early age Rupert Spira was deeply interested in the nature of reality. For twenty years he studied the teachings of P.D.Ouspensky, J.Krishnamurti, Rumi, Shankaracharya, Ramana Maharshi, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and Robert Adams, until he met his teacher, Francis Lucille, in 1996. Francis introduced Rupert to the teachings of Jean Klein and Atmanada Krishnamenon and, more importantly, directly indicated to him the true nature of experience.

His two books, The Transparency of Things, (sub-titled Contemplating the Nature of Experience), and Presence, in two volumes (The Art of Peace and Happiness and The Intimacy of All Experience), are a profound exploration of the non-dual nature of experience.

Rupert’s YouTube Channel. Interviews can be listened to here and watched here.

Rupert lives in UK and holds regular meetings and retreats in Europe and USA.

For all further information see http://www.rupertspira.com.

Interview recorded 11/6/2011.

2nd BatGap interview with Rupert

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

47 thoughts on “095. Rupert Spira

  1. Thank you Rick and Rupert for this wonderful interview. I appreciated the guided direct bodily experiencing of experience which seemed to temporarily eliminate the gap between Awareness and its “contents”. I look forward to exploring this more. Thanks to you Rick for so honestly going through the process.

  2. Bravo!…Bravo, Rick!…. Rupert’s direct pointing to the foundation of experience (awareness) AS reality and your very appropriately persistent pursuit of an “understanding” of what he was “actually” saying complemented each other very nicely. While I feel that I have at times benefitted from, for example, the Gangaji or Pamela Wilson-type approach, I would tend to gravitate more towards this type of exchange if words are going to come into play at all. Also, I couldn’t help but think at times that the Richard Lang and also Peter Brown “methods” actually mesh nicely with Rupert’s in a way (just to get a plug in for two people I find valuable). Also, and this would obviously put a greater demand on your mental and physical resources, I often think how cool it would be if you could sometimes arrange to have “audience” interaction in real time. Not that everyone would need to be visible on Skype, of course, but just that it would be so great if, given a preordained time slot, you could field a few questions from listerners during the actual interview. Again, easy for me to say……But anyways, great interviewee and great interviewer!

  3. This interview had a certain vigor that I enjoyed.

    Rupert had a definite point of view and knew how to state it.

    It’s clear he is a serious, sincere person on this topic and has been for many years.

    In the middle portion, Rupert wrestles control of the interview, and I was transported back to my modern philosophy class in college, trying to figure out what can actually be known.

    Descartes, as I recall, ended up at ‘I think there I am.’ Rupert, as I understand it, ends up with ‘I’m conscious therefore I’m not’.


    I also found his point that it’s India that is exotic, and not enlightenment, quite brilliant and clarifying.

  4. Great interview Rick, you asked the obvious and hard questions from different angles that many people would ask and Rupert was more than happy to respond.
    I enjoyed the practical examples Rupert gave, to try and give us a feel for what he was pointing to.
    Thanks for your time and energy Rick!

  5. This is probably the only interview with a practical exercise in it. I wonder why Rick doesn’t ask every teacher to do that. They have different ways of explaining and pointing out, so I think people would benefit from it very much. It seems that Rick doesn’t fully “get it” yet, which is good, because he can play a role of a student and ask very specific questions. I am personally much more interested in seeing this practical interaction with teacher and student and I find it more revealing than most interviews.

  6. There are several points in the discussion I have been thinking about for some time. One is that cultural differences effect how enlightenment is experienced and expressed in life. I recently watched the video on the life of Ranana. The taught came that Ramana’s expression of enlightenment would never happen to a Westerner because of the mental and physical activity we are accustom to.

    Even being retired as I am would not allow me to sit on a couch all day and read the news paper. Also being brought up as a hindu and revering god as MMY and Guru Dev did is not in the structure of many Westerners. I find nothing sacred in all this, no god to worship. But I do appreciate the beauty of nature and the wonder of living creatures. Not to mention the peace and bliss of Being.

    His point about the mystic of the Eastern philosophy and how it colored our idea of what enlightenment should be like is well taken. How many times have we heard realized folks that it’s not what was expected. the idea about following the road less traveled and then realizing, “where the hell am I.” proves the point.

    It’s so important to drop every notion we ever had of what enlightenment should be like and see for ourselves what truth is. I have never read or heard any words that describe Being adequately. We need to realize we spend too much time looking at the pointing fingers when we should be looking at what is being pointed to.

    Another point he brought up is that one can live and function in society very nicely without an ego or sense of a personal self. And that the sense of personal self and separation is the cause of all the suffering and unkindness in the world. This is so obvious once the personal sense fades but not until then. It is such a subtle thing but so crucial to understanding enlightenment.

    In my opinion, this interview tells it like it is. Thanks to both of you.


  7. In my experience there comes a stage when one sees that even confusion and doubts are awareness. This results in an unshakable conviction in the view of nonduality – even confusion and doubts are affirming. This I like to call “fully getting it”.

  8. If I end the Skype call with the guest, the recording stops. If this were real TV, the guest would be sitting through commercial breaks, announcements of upcoming shows, etc. So I think that a minute or two of concluding remarks isn’t going to kill anyone.

  9. “I think the old Ch’an Masters of China – who blended Buddhism with Taoism – had/have the most ‘direct-pointing’ teachings of all.” – Gerry

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Gerry. That is my experience/observation as well.


    “In my experience there comes a stage when one sees that even confusion and doubts are awareness. This results in an unshakable conviction in the view of nonduality – even confusion and doubts are affirming. This I like to call “fully getting it”. – Brian

    I wholeheartedly agree with the first and second observation, Brian. Not so much with the third one.

    For if “not getting it” were also “getting it”, you’d have no need to measure the fullness of getting it.


    “But I’ve read that JK sometimes berated Bohm for being so dependent on his wife –” – Gerry

    That’s an interesting observation, Gerry. It reminded me of something that David Goodman once quipped about Nisargadatta (http://www.maharajnisargadatta.com/david_goodman_interview_about_nisargadatta.php):

    “Maharaj says that when he was married, his wife used to give him a very hard time. She was always bossing him around and telling him what to do. ‘Maharaj do this, Maharaj go to the market and buy that.’

    She didn’t call him Maharaj, of course, but I can’t remember what she did call him.

    The translator continued: ‘His wife died a long time ago, when Maharaj was in his forties. It is usual for men of this age who are widowed to marry again, so all Maharaj’s relatives wanted him to find another wife. He refused, saying, “The day she died I married freedom”.’

  10. Which causes me to wonder, Gerry…

    were Nisargadatta alive and held satsangs today…

    what many participants reactions would be…

    both privately and publicly…

    to Nisargadatta’s enjoyment of the tobacco stick…

    in the course of his discourses.

  11. I love when our stereotypes, images and icons of what an enlightened and/or awakened person looks and acts like come crashing down.

    They deserve to be trashed, and I revel when they are.

  12. Have to stand in the line with those who applauded for the practical content of this interview. However, I think it’s more down to Rupert’s own, constant inclination to help people on this level (I have seen some of his videos on youtube), and I was sort of glad to see that he made no fuss about the implications of making a student out of his host/ interviewer immediately, as the need arised.
    Nevertheless, yes, it’s something that I would like to see Rick actually asking for as this kind of content is extremely useful, I had a few deep glimpses of what Rupert was talking about on the experiential level, almost like he was here with me, giving it to me.

    Anyway, thank you Rick!

  13. Chuckee: “In fact, when I was in Fairfield 2000-06, a few non dual teachers who came to town preferred to hang with the stoners in their downtime.”

    Care to name those teachers? And were you one of the stoners?

  14. Chuckee thank you for sharing that video – beautiful. I got a clear sense of journeying into the unknown watching it. Ah, the mystery of it all.

  15. If there’s anything Ruperts approach lacks it’s my capacity of being convinced or accepting and believing what’s being seen

  16. imo Rupert certainly masters the art of teaching– i drank every word, listened to every hint– no more questions on my part. i´m fully satisfied..fully satisfied..very calm & happy. Much love to everyone.

  17. …I always grow a bit uneasy when there’s too much emphasis on dry, intellectual (pardon, experiential) teaching on “there’s only awareness”. A lot of us mistake this realization for an ongoing state (as if the world was static!) which is supposed to give us a pass on life, thus, giving our ego a hand to set camp there (“I AM blissful awareness”). Life is a “flow”. It is mastered when we finally grow up to allow whatever temporary state -pleasant or unpleasant- there may be to arise and naturally cease. In my experience, in this “allowing” is how I quiet naturally “forget” about my self and intimately connect with my environment (which one could call Oneness). It’s very simple. Oneness does not arise by looking at things through a new conceptual pair of glasses. It’s the natural way of seeing things when we stop to reject, control or manipulate our experience… Look for it and you won’t find it.

  18. I have a question about the wonderful exchange with the cup and monitor. What came up for me was the manufacturing process and the technology in the monitor. I know what it is, I’m a techy. Is this my mind body knowing? Rupert kept saying he is only aware of what he is experiencing. So awareness does not have knowledge of how these came to be or isn’t interested or it’s the minds job???

  19. Mr. Spira offers some lovely observations. At the same time, he is prone to offering a tone that is contrarian or hyper where instead simple quite clarification will do quite fine.

  20. this is one of the clearest expressions of true nature i’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.

    rupert’s skillful explanation of the non-separation between “experiencer” and “experience” has really helped me bridge the gap between the concept of non-duality and the living, intimate experience of it.

  21. If I remember correctly, Rick’s ingenuousness had Rupert on the back foot and he didn’t like it. His party trick didn’t work on Rick and I could sense a tad of irritation in Rupert’s voice as he tried to bully Rick into submission.

  22. Thanks for a fantastic interview, Rick. I found Rupert’s presentation style to be really clear. One thing missing for me was an explanation of what has motivated him to move away from ceramics and into teaching.

  23. I agree with Marcus’ comment, Richard Langs teachings based on Douglas Hardings “headless method” compliment the teaching of Rupert Spira and can assist in developing insight into what Rupert is saying.

  24. I loved this interview. When you asked about why the world has this global view of looking at similar things ,i.e. stopping at traffic lights etc… It brought to mind in ” the bleep” the discovery of Christopher Columbus ,where his ships were on the horizon and because the people had never seen ships before -they couldn’t see them! until the chief started to look and after a time he could see them and as they trusted him- they too started to see the same.

  25. I love Rupert Spira’s other videos and I think he is one of the best at explaining non-duality in practical terms. But I agree, he did seem kind of hyper and almost anxious during the interview with Rick

  26. Perhaps the best interview here. Such clarification of reality, the stages in realization, and the different approaches to non-duality teaching. Wonderful.

  27. 1 hour – 5 minutes in – things got interesting – what he does not attend to IMHO – is how this “awakened insight” stands up to potential unfamiliar intensification – there is almost no awakening that is an endpoint – and there is almost always very intense shadow material waiting in the dark to test the validity and strength of that awakening – for want of a better way of putting it- the awakened heart ultimately has to encounter the archetypal grief- terror – desire for power – manipulative trickiness – dishonesty – lust etc etc – and awareness has to navigate this territory – on an ongoing basis – to be truly authentic – so for me – high quality pointing out instruction – but overall a little bit too clean cut to be comprehensive – these guys all need peers to watch their back – loners are in a weak position me thinks.

  28. Just watched and listened to this interview with Rupert on Evolutionary_Mystic Post and found your site. Thank you. Very clear teaching out of what looks separate and is not separate; awareness itself, belongs to no one..

  29. At about 30mins it is claimed that all is found is that awareness finds itself. when having cut to the essence of any object.
    This is not the case.
    What is found is emptiness. The emptiness of objectification. This is not the mind finding or knowing itself.

  30. In the same way that a knife cannot cut itself, a light does not illuminate itself, water does not wet itself, a flame does not burn itself, darkness does not obscure itself, the mind cannot and does not know itself directly.
    Knowing is always and only in relation to a known. If there is no known there is no knowing. no mind and know awareness.
    The fact that awareness is continually operating does not make it more substantial, existent, independent, ultimately abiding or the final mode of being discoverable, when it’s objects know, are found to be empty of how they first appear to a sentient being.
    If awareness were not aware of anything it would not be aware. It would no longer exists which would render the being or person non existent.

    You are mistaking emptiness for mind.
    This mistake is made all over the place. on batgap interviews.

    Sorry but I had to point it out

  31. I’m going to give one example because I don’t think people are going to get what I wrote above.

    If light illuminates itself, it follows that light is unilluminated there by not being light. Why? Because it has the character of requiring or being subject to illumination there by not being light!
    I hope you get that!

  32. I should also add that this guy is by far the most lucid and down to earth character I have seen in this quasi hindu advaita arena. He is very sharp and really terrific at what he does. This is what inspired me to bother to write.

    First class! Thanks so much to you all. _/\_

  33. Here I go again in my attempt to raise the level of discussion and enquiry.

    At 1:08 the amazing and wonderful Rupert basically states that I a not this or that, but I am awareness.

    I tell you this ~ You are no more that ‘awareness’ than you are the body, thoughts, feelings, description or self. Awareness does not exist independently of all that.
    The idea that awareness is some how more real and findable beyond such constituents is as erroneous as claiming to be the fixed sense of self of ones body or any momentary object of awareness.
    These are all interdependent.
    That is what is meant by emptiness. It’s NOT that one thing is more existent than others.

  34. He then goes on to explain how site and feeling are inseparable from awareness. If this is the case then his nullification of objects of awareness would also nullify awareness. Yet he claims awareness remains beyond all these things but is also none other than these things. This is untenable.
    It also does not reflect reality or the way things function. Even thought it is quite impressive.

  35. “If this is the case then his nullification of objects of awareness would also nullify awareness.”

    You can’t nullify awareness. Think of awareness as a conscious blanket. Objects are simply folds within the blanket, so it experiences itself relative to itself. Sight and feeling are inseparable from awareness because they are merely patterns arising in/of awareness. If objects disappear, it is merely the patterns subsiding, leaving unfolded, unrippled blanket. Since the blanket is not a “thing” or an “object” it is beyond things and objects itself – and yet at the same time all things and objects are the blanket.

  36. Further if objects of awareness turned out to be none other than awareness itself, then you would find yourself as those objects looking back at awareness again this is not how it is in reality.
    For instance if a brick is none other than awareness then you would find yourself as a brick knowing yourself from the awareness being a brick. It is not like this, is it?!

  37. So, going back to the original proposition, that the mind finds awareness having not being able to find the object.
    This is clearly untenable.
    Emptiness is found.
    That is not awareness looking back at itself.
    It is emptiness.
    If awareness were looking back at itself you would have two awareness looking at each other. How rediculous.

  38. Also this idea of ‘a finite mind’ and an ‘infinite mind,’ is kind of clumsy.
    Rupert should just call it conception.
    The mind does not become finite in order to know somelthing or know another finite object.
    The mind does not even rise as the self in order to know or conceive.
    The self is conceived and objects of awareness are conceived in the same way, not simultaneously.
    Conceptions are mistakenly assumed to be, ‘me seeing that.’ The me doesn’t see, awareness sees and the seen is not known simultaneously with that ‘I’ mistakenly assumed seer.
    The mind goes from one to the other and assumes the ‘I is seeing.’
    These objects of awareness are just arising and falling in accordance with karmic predispositions.
    The fact that you cannot ultimately separate an object of awareness from that which is aware of it does not mean the object is mind or is awareness.
    Objects of awareness are not aware they are thus not mind – not aware.

  39. Rupert Spira is an arrogant jackass that observes the obvious and passes it off as some kind of ethereal wisdom. His soft spoken delivery is supposed to lend some kind of credibility to his nonsense. Saying I am not an experience is stupid. I don’t have to be an experience to experience something. Saying I can’t disappear and or appear is also stupid. I am made of matter and flesh and bones. Unless I subscribe to the art of magic, I am of course always going to be where I am! So what!?! Why is that profound? I am not my feelings, I am not made up of my senses, blah blah blah. Who the hell cares? I am a human being who senses, and feels, and perceives. Why is he trying to be so confusing? So his big conclusion is that we are not separate from ourselves and our experiences. We are present and aware when things happen. A first grader knows this. My dog knows this. I guess he thinks if he says it in a cool voice people will think it is mystical and deep. Not me pal. I am so much smarter than you it is sick. I am smarter than all of your silly groupies as well. If you all want real wisdom, read Proverbs in the Bible. If you want comfort and wisdom, read Psalms and Proverbs. But if you want to hear from the wisest man on this earth whose wisdom was only ever surpassed by God (and greatly so), read Proverbs. King Solomon makes Rupert look like a punk. Ruperts wisdom profits nothing. Listen to Proverbs and you will gain your soul. Thanks alot Rupert for nothing. Your silly babblings are childish and meaningless. Sincerely, Vince from Scottdale

  40. LOL, it says my comment is awaiting moderation. Let’s just see if these dummies post my truthful message.


  41. By the way, you will attack me for my imperfections. My imperfections have nothing to do with God’s perfection. You can attack me all you want. I am not good. I am not a good person. So what? God is perfect. I love God and defend the Christian faith. You can attack me all you want. I am not Good. God is Perfect and awesome!

    Judge me all you want. Who cares what you think anyway. 🙂


    Vince from Scottsdale AZ

  42. @vincescottsdale I had to register just to say that you are so funny man ! Take a deep breath Bro ! Just blow out all that anger , can you feel it ? Bloooooow those chunks of Proverbs all over the interwebs , the Holey Blabla seems to have made you very angry , relax Bro , you are limitless love , can you feel it ?

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