I have been a member of Liberation Unleashed ever since they guided me into my original awakening to truth. We are an active group and our most recent project is to interview those who have seen through illusion with the help of LU guides. I was interviewed and it is now up and ready. This was so fun and such a good way for me to re-visit the last few years. If you want to set yourself on fire this might be the match that does it.
Here’s a vignette from my life. I am absolutely sure that the outcome would have been much different had awakening not already shown up. So perhaps this is a pointer…
My spouse is transsexual; she was born female with a male body. We met before she understood that the transition to a female body was in the cards. I knew nothing of it until our relationship was years down the road; upon learning she was female internally I was OK with it as there was no discussion of surgical correction of the body.
That surgical correction has now taken place. It’s been quite a ride for us both. I was absolutely against it for the first 6 or 8 months. How could I have a female partner when I (1) am not a lesbian, and (2) felt so angry about it.. ?
This is what happened: I am still not a lesbian; simply a heterosexual woman in a very unusual relationship (and glad of it). And I am no longer angry, only grateful that I overcame my own intense conditioning and programming and am still with this wonderful person I love so much.
Here’s how this miracle came about: Once I saw that I was anti-transition, that I had huge issues around being with a woman instead of a man, I knew I had to look at that or leave my loved one forever. So I looked. What I saw was completely unexpected: I was actually anti-woman, not anti-transition. My anger and fear was based in childhood (of course) and involved my relationship with my mother. It had nothing at all to do with my sweetheart and everything to do with decades-old issues with the woman who gave birth to me. Because of what happened so long ago I was very distrustful of women and believed that only men were acceptable in intimate relationships. There’s a lot more to this, of course, but this is the heart of it.
My point in sharing this is to reinforce in all of us the truth of the idea that reality is never about others (our angers, resentments, control issues, etc.) but always and ever about ourselves and our beliefs, conscious and otherwise. Had I not been willing to look within when my resistance to my spouse’s transition hit, had I continued to point the finger and insist that something was wrong and it wasn’t on my side of the fence, I would be spouse-less today. And that would have been not only unnecessary but utterly devastating. Two lives would have been much different because of unwillingness to look.
This is true of awakening as well… lives much different because of not looking, not seeing reality.
I have learned a lot.
Perhaps the most provocative of all questions: If there is nothing to do, no one to do it… then what to do? What in the world can/should/must we do?
Nothing. It’s all done through and as us. It’s all just spontaneously showing up, fading out, showing up again fresh. And yet…
And yet. The game of life is played via suspension of belief in the truth, which is the above, that there is nothing doing and no one (no “me”) doing it. We are born into truth as truth itself and then that congenital fact becomes suspended in order that there can be full participation in life. This means that it must seem as if we do things. It must appear that we think our own thoughts, feel our own feelings, make our own choices. And oh, how successful this is! It’s a perfect strategy. It works. Until awakening we all believe all of this.
Then comes the end of belief and the awareness of truth returns with a sweeping off of all the game pieces from the board. We see. No individual self anywhere, in anyone. No choices made, no decisions decided. No control of when we lick our lips, think our thoughts or sigh our sighs. We realize everything arises and falls back naturally, spontaneously and without any say-so from an imaginary “I”. What a delightful shock! What an adjustment to be made!
We move from absolutely believing that we are in command to the complete and unequivocal recognition that it was never so and could never be so. Life shifts one hundred and eighty degrees. The pole star is new and we know it.
So… what to do when there is simply no possibility that anything could ever be done via volition? Just this: acceptance of what is, coming out of nowhere to no self to make the game playable again. We accept that we can play the game as if it were what it pretends to be. We dive back in, knowing it’s a game.
This is the greatest “Act as if” ever invented. It is doing simply for the sake of doing, living as the bittersweet joy of living because there is no other way except the nihilistic misery of over-focusing on the fact of no choices or control. It is Life as Human, re-born.
At some point awakening brings this fullness of truth into our awareness: that yes, no doing is possible, but what the heck, why not just accept the spontaneous appearances as they show and act as if? Why not just relax and let go of all the worries and concerns about life that may still appear and flow? The river of manifestation will always be moving as it does and sooner or later we realize we are its current, we are the isness itself. We see that even the worries and concerns are spontaneously showing up as part of that isness. We see we are free and always were.
In the end we encounter ourselves everywhere, all the time, as this newly seen Life. Nothing to do as we do it all anyway, without even trying.
This is the end of delusion, the beginning of wisdom. Look for it. It is yours to see.
For those who have experienced awakening it’s obvious that there is no individual self in operation, that we have simply imagined that the “I” is a concrete reality. A handy imagining, to be sure, and entirely natural, but a belief in something unreal nonetheless.
It is also obvious that the things that seem to happen out of this imaginary “me” actually do seem to happen here in the world of 3D. Decisions come forth, actions are taken, words spoken. Circumstances ebb and flow and responses to those movements alter along with the movements themselves. It’s commen in the non-dual community to hear the explanation for this to be that there is nothing happening and no one to do it in any case. While this is fundamentally true it can feel wholly empty and inadequate as it provides nothing to grab onto, and despite no self being present the functions we have always attributed to that empty belief are still in operation: there is desire for something to grab onto when it comes to these matters.
So, if there is no me or you deciding, acting, speaking, flowing with circumstances, what is it that is happening?
Spontaneous, seamless appearance, that’s what. Never anything via our own volition but simply a nano-moment by nano-moment flash, endlessly repeated, of what we call ourselves, our world, the physical universe. It shows up as a oneness unit in each of those moments and as a fresh and whole new oneness in the next. And yup, not physical and not in something called time, except in our labeling and beliefs. It just is, and that isness is never what we’d thought it to be. It cannot be explained, not even truly be discussed, as all explanations and discussions involve concepts that are profoundly just that… concepts. Great fun, good old-fashioned mind candy, but mere ideas and thoughts and hence always but wisps of smoke, grabbed onto by we grabbing-on humans. Another wholly natural and handy imagining, this thinking that we think we know.
The good news? Seeing this spontaneous projection of life clearly, accepting it unequivocably is the core of enlightenment as well as total realization that suffering need not be. In fact, living this in the moment makes suffering impossible. Experiencing that all is showing up as a singularity that is at once completely unavoidable and at the same time utterly desirable causes suffering to seem ludicrous. It is the burden of false responsibility gone forever.
For in the end we have no responsibility as decision-makers, action-takers, word-sayers. We can no more help what comes out of and from us than a tree does in how its branches grow, it’s leaves unfurl, its roots spread. We are as natural and unself-conscious as that tree but do not realize it until awakening, although it can take some time before the wholeness of that is absorbed. Awakening is but a boarder crossed, it is not the territory.
There is much to be traverssed from that point forward. A lifetime of believing in the illusion of self, world, choice and control does not dissolve instantly. But dissolve it does. We will continue to act as if… as if we decide, as if we choose and have control and that’s as it should be as it’s how the game of life is played. Yet we are but conduits for those and what seem to be the after-effects and consequences of those. It’s all the same.
Meanwhile, whether you are a seeker or one who has already awoken, pay attention to the moment. A clear open view of the reality of how everything shows up is readily available. Just sit, look, wait. It’s here every moment for it is just what is, and this can absolutely be seen.
And it is this: no matter how profoundly it is seen that there is nothing happening, no matter how completely it is known that existence is spontaneous smoke and mirrors, the exact opposite is always just as profoundly and completely present as well. Life, with all its joy and misery will keep on coming and there is nothing that can change that. Absolutely nothing.
This means that enlightenment, like life itself, is but a dream. What a crusher that can be! First we realize that life is a play, a movie, a projection, and we are simply its puppets. Then we realize that the nothingness of everything is present, then that it is just as unreal. And finally, if anger, resentment, confusion, fascination and enchantment are released we see that there is a very narrow path, the razor’s edge indeed, that traverses them both.
This is a tough road. The temptation to fall to either side is constantly present. The lure of the nothingness can be a true siren-call and despite the strangeness of it, I often long to return to experiencing the world as simply not real. While I lived in that land suffering was a joke and only the poor alien humans around me were experiencing it. The burden of life’s pains and cares was gone and I couldn’t even begin to imagine it back into action. Being there was a huge relief and absolutely an incomplete picture.
What tore me out of it was falling to the other side, i.e., life itself. It presented to me on a silver platter the most intense of experiences ever to come my way, each of them utterly challenging, utterly beyond my limited abilities to cope. I fell to the other side of that narrow edge and began a solid year of simply trying to get through each day. What a shock! I’d thought that I would never again have to live with the usual suspects eating me alive, but there it was. Welcome back into the world, Lisa…
There is no such animal as enlightenment, just like there is no such one called physical reality. Yet put the two together and call it “what is” and it’s close. Not a bullseye, as that’s unreal too, but close. Life just shows up, and the awakened part does too. For me it was first total ignorance of all but physicality and my own inner world, then it expanded into seeing the invisible as being awesomely present in each nano-moment. My confusion was in imagining that those two are separate and discreet and that one was better, more spiritual and hence more valuable than the other. Not true. And in seeking one and denigrating the other I lost sight of their unity. They cannot be separated and it’s self-deception to imagine them unequal or even different.
Everything is equal, in the beginning and the end. Meanwhile, we do what we do, are as we are, and with what is called luck (but is really just life showing up as it will) we believe in life, then we believe in nothingness, and then we just walk that sharp edge called “both”.
Here’s to narrow paths…
Rather than staying asleep to what is…
Rather than thinking and telling over and over the same stories about yourself and life …
Rather than affirmations by rote…
Rather than trying to become anything you think you are not, including: worthy, good, childlike, holy, pure, peaceful, deserving…
Rather than chanting, meditating, om-ing, yoga-ing, breathing by the book…
Rather than turning to shamans, wise ones, gurus, teachers…
Rather than books, videos, crystals, satsangs, meetings, seminars, firewalks, channelings, retreats…
Rather than imagining that you have to find, give up, take on, release, grow, transform…
* * * * *
Nothing ever wrong or misguided with any of these, and rather than putting all your attention into them, why not simply start looking?
Ask: “What am I?” then look where this points.
Is there an actual “I” to be found?
Where is it?
All it takes is a single looking, unchained from thinking; one clear seeing right here, right now.
Awakening… to the fact of no personal self; the reality of seamless, inseparable oneness.
It’s as close as your breath, as near as your nose. Look.
… as innocent as a white piece of paper. You are not bad and wrong. And this is easily checked. Look.
Is badness actually a thing, and is it present? If it is, it will be findable. Look all around inside yourself; where is it?
If you find a thought that says there is badness, it’s but a thought, an idea, perhaps even a deeply held belief. Thoughts are interesting, to be sure, but to what do they actually point? If the thought of a table points to the wooden thing at which meals are taken, it is a legitimate pointer. If a thought points to a unicorn, it’s pointing to an idea, a story, a nothing. And when thought is referring to some sort of existent badness that is actually present, unless there is a lump of it somewhere, it too, points to a nothing. Can you find a lump of badness in yourself? In anyone?
Others have said that you are not innocent, that you are guilty of X,Y, or Z… Look there, too. Close examination will reveal that a thought, idea or perhaps belief, came out of their mouth as sound. Find the concrete reality of your guilt in that sound, in their thought. Find the lump. Can you?
Is it possible to be actually, concretely bad, non-innocent? Or is it a label, and a judgmental one at that?
So… when we do “bad things”, what does that mean, if there is no such thing as a lump of badness that is real? It means that things happen, behaviors show up, and because there is no inherent “you” (try to find that, the “I”, the “me”) there is nobody home to take the blame. So where, then, does blame go? Nowhere. It’s not anything but another judgment, another idea, given the attention of thinking about it.
You can check that, too. Find a lump of blame. Is it possible to find anything other than a thought that says it’s real?
While you’re at it, do look for that “me”, the self that is assumed to be a little entity inside somewhere, calling the shots. Findable?
Just like badness, unicorn, blame.