Roy Whenary, a poet and writer/producer of meditational music, brings thirty years of spiritual inquiry and primarily the influences of J. Krishnamurti, Nisargadatta Maharaj and Jean Klein, to produce The Texture of Being. The purpose of this book is to show how to practice Advaita in daily life. The intended audience would be those interested in serious, general spirituality-psychology. Refreshingly free of quotes by intellectual and spiritual giants, this book is about Roy speaking to the reader respectfully and with a poetic grace. Though divided into 19 chapters, and each chapter into about 4-6 readings, the reader may open the book anywhere and find immersion within a brief, self-contained passage. Here is an example:
"Everything that you feel attached to and everything that you own, including your sense of self, will end. When you enter deep dreamless sleep, this is what happens. But you re-awaken, with your memory intact. Then your struggle re-begins. However, there is no need to struggle in this life. Struggle is caused by identification with this bodymind mechanism and all that it attaches itself to. Stand back from all this. This will end. This has no ultimate reality or significance. In deep dreamless sleep, you re-connect with your true nature. This refreshes your mind-body mechanism, freeing it from the tensions and anxieties of the `person'. If you did not make this connection regularly, you would be trapped in the mind continuously, and the mind is a prison from which you already spend most of your waking life trying to escape."
The Texture of Being is recommended for those becoming familiar with self-inquiry and the literature of nonduality. Whenary speaks as a knowing, trusted friend or guide. His theme is how to practice Advaita in daily life. To develop the theme, Whenary's treatment of Advaita calls for feeling the texture of being, "the silent rhythm of your true nature", in all of life's situations. That's the hook of the book and it is free of philosophy, analysis, a method, a list of important points to remember, a mantra, an inquiry.
Though a person could find value in randomly reading a brief section and reflecting upon it, the greater value of the book comes out of how Whenary creates a rhythm between worldly entanglements and feeling the texture of being. As the reader engages the entire book, she gets taken into that rhythm and there is generated an intimacy with the true self and a greater understanding of what is known as "daily life."
It is difficult to illustrate that rhythm without quoting an entire chapter. However, for example, in the chapter entitled "Loving Kindness," the author begins:
"We live in such a self-oriented world, in which the general sense is that you have to go out into the world and grab whatever you can for yourself. From very early on in our lives we learn the philosophy of 'me and you' - me first and you second, or last. By the time we are adults, this attitude is so ingrained into our psychology that most of us probably find it difficult to actually comprehend what another person's needs or suffering feel like - we are so disconnected from our feeling nature, from our heart."
The reader can easily absorb and understand what is being said in this passage.
Although it might be said that Whenary is offering a method - "feeling the texture of being" - he is not so conclusive. He writes:
"So, where do I begin? Quite simply, there is no answer worth having. If we look at the elements of nature, does the wind ask where it first arose and does the water ask how it came to be flowing down the stream? Nothing is permanent, nothing stays the same, all is fluidity. Wherever life arises, consciousness manifests. We are this consciousness."
This book doesn't give the reader anything "to do." As stated earlier, there is no mantra, no inquiry, no list of recommended perspectives to have in this life. However, a reading of the entire book brings the reader into "feeling the silent emptiness of our true nature," feeling the texture of being, and that, according to the author, is how to apply Advaita - nonduality - to moment to moment living.