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…