Advaita is Truth that can be stated as: Truth is without duality
Vedanta is Truth that can be stated as: Authentic Knowledge, particularly self-knowledge
Shaivism is Truth that can be stated as: Consciousness, Awareness, Supreme Being is All
Kashmiri Shaivism is somewhat more accurate as it says that it is not so much that the world is an illusion; rather the perception [maya as the mental interpretation] of the world is an illusion .
In this way and like all wisdom /traditions/religions there is only one Truth - yet there are as many ways of speaking/thinking/talking about it as there are people interested in it... in all cases Truth remain elusive because it is not of the thinking mind - it can only be known by being it.
We could choose to be at the crossroads of Advaita Vedanta and Kashmiri Shaivism - this view is not fully either yet it includes and transcends both without self-contradiction... it is the direct approach of 'knowing as being' - there is no belief in it 'it is its own knowing' - it's experiential rather than intellectual.
Hence all perceptions need an Ultimate Perceiver. The ultimate perceiver can never be the object of perception. Once false identification with the body is understood, we are led to the question 'Who am I?'--and the one who asks is himself the vivid answer. The searcher is himself that which is sought." (Neither This Nor That I Am, vi)
It is experiential.
The intellectual is the source of the problem. In understanding one's true nature the role of the intellect is to see its limitations and relax... in this way the mind is allowed [not forced] to be silent [this is not an intellectual silence as the idea of being silent - it is authentic silence] - then there is clarity as the veil [maya] no longer distorts seeing and when there is clarity intelligent unfolds naturally spontaneously.... in this there is no 'doer' yet things get done - Awareness is both the Agent and the Actore.
All perceptions need an Ultimate Perceiver. The ultimate perceiver can never be the object of perception. Once false identification with the body is understood, we are led to the question 'Who am I?'--and the one who asks is himself the vivid answer. The searcher is himself that which is sought." (Neither This Nor That I Am )
Then we are seized in full consciousness by an all-penetrating light, without inside or outside. This is the awakening in Reality, in the I am...we then knew ourself myself in the actual happening, not as a concept, but as a being without localisation in time or space. In this non-state there is a freedom, full and objectless joy.
"You are primal awareness. Life is only primal awareness. Between two thoughts or two perceptions you are. You know moments in your life when a thought completely disappears into silence, but still you are." (The Ease of Being)
This primal awareness is that which underlies all other kinds of awareness."At first you may experience silent awareness only after the dissolution of perception, but later you will be in the silence in both the presence and absence of objects."
And though it may sound very removed from ordinary life, in fact it is the opposite because, no longer caught up in objects and therefore in desire and fear, it is open and free. So its true nature is love. "But when you take yourself for somebody, all relationships are from object to object, man to woman, mother to son, personality to personality. And there is no communication, no possibility for love." A natural question at this stage is, 'If our true nature is free and loving, where does everything else come from: attachment, desire, fear, the world itself?'"The world of names and forms is the result of mental activity. Ignorance (Avidya) begins at the very moment when the ego takes names and forms to be separate realities." (Be As You Are)
So how do we avoid identifying with the body and mind and all the objects that mind projects? The first stage is what is called as listening (Be As You Are). Defined as global awareness, which is not limited to any of the five senses (or the mind):
"If you let your attention go to your ear, you'll feel that it is constantly grasping. It is the same with the eye, the mind and all your organs. Let the grasping go and you will find your whole body is spontaneously an organ of sensitivity. The ear is merely a channel for this global sensation. It is not an end in itself. What is heard is also felt, seen, smelled and touched. Your five senses, intelligence and imagination are freed and come into play. You feel it is being completely expanded in space, without centre or border. The ego, which is a contraction, can find no hold in this presence, and anxiety, like and dislike dissolve." (Who Am I?,)
But this is only the first step. It leads on to realization of the Self, "our true nature" which "is reached by a complete elimination of the world of objects"
This "complete elimination of the world of objects" has consequences for cosmology that are quite as radical as they are for personal identity... .
"He who aims at Ultimate Reality places no accent on the things of the world: it would seem completely futile to him since he has ascertained the unreality of things...The world is directed towards the perceiver, it celebrates the ultimate perceiver. He who is established in the Self is in no way interested in theologies and cosmologies. The construction of a cosmological hypothesis, such as the one which looks upon the world as a divine game, is a mental hypothesis due to ignorance, which does not understand the true nature of the Ultimate." (Be As You Are)
"This notion of evolution is one of the most characteristic errors of modern thought....It is the belief that more can come out of less, that better can be produced by worse. Evolution in the strict meaning of the word, is only an unfolding, a passing from what is implicit to that which is explicit, from what is not manifest to that which is manifest. It produces nothing. It never produces, let alone creates. We cannot rely on it in our search for salvation or liberation. Liberation is not a problem of evolution, for no evolution can lead to liberation, which is the result of discernment only.... We are not concerned with evolving, but we should endlessly put the question 'who am I?' to ourselves."
"All technique aims to still the mind. But in fact it dulls the mind to fix it on an object. The mind loses its natural alertness and subtleness. It is no longer an open mind...Meditation belongs to the unknowable...The point of sitting in meditation is only to find the meditator. The more you look, the more you will be convinced that he cannot be found...Fundamentally, you are nothing, but you are not aware of this and project energy in seeking what you are...When, by self-inquiry, you find out that the meditator does not exist, all activity becomes pointless and you come to a state of non-attaining, an openness to the unknowable."
But there is an obvious question here. If there is no meditator and hence no one to find the truth, what is the function of the teacher? Answer: to make this truth manifest.
"Ultimately there is no longer a subject who sees nor an object which is seen. There is only oneness. That is what needs to be communicated." (The Ease of Being, 1)
"Let's say you are looking at a sculpture from Angkhor Buddhism. The smile on the face of the Angkhor statue is particularly beautiful. When your attitude is receptive, you may be completely taken by this smile...The smile captures you and you feel yourself smiling." (The Ease of Being)
In a similar way, the teacher/guru/master embodies the quality that one is seeking and thus helps to bring it out in the seeker. But since this quality is our true nature, it cannot be given or transmitted from one to another. It can only be pointed to by one who already manifests it or the teacher .
"All objects point to the Ultimate, and a real work of art actively brings whoever sees or hears it to his real nature, which is beauty. The difference between an ordinary object and a work of art is that the object is passive in its pointing towards the Ultimate whereas the work of art is active." (Neither This Nor That I Am )