You see, when the mind is totally aware of its conditioning, there is only the mind; there is no ‘you’ separate from the mind. But, when the mind is only partially aware of its conditioning, it divides itself, it dislikes its conditioning or says it is a good thing; and, as long as there is condemnation, judgment, or comparison, there is incomplete understanding of conditioning, and therefore the perpetuation of that conditioning. Whereas, if the mind is aware of its conditioning without condemning or judging, but merely watching it, then there is a total perception, and you will find, if you so perceive it, that the mind frees itself from that conditioning. The mind frees itself.
Awakening is a radical transformation.
Let’s not call it spiritual enlightenment because we don’t know what that really is. The best we can do with that is to create a concept of what it might be and conceptualizing takes us in the opposite direction. It is more about getting into the flow of awakening.
Getting into the flow of awakening is the insight that Truth is not contained in the thinking mind. Primordial wisdom is before thought and cause and effect and time and space. It cannot be learned by studying. It cannot be understood by memorizing spiritual concepts. It can’t even be had by selfless service. It cannot be had by forcing positive states of mind and avoiding negative ones. It can’t be had by effort because no effort is necessary.
Awareness is innate—that is, it takes no belief or effort to be aware.
We create an armor of thoughts and beliefs around us. We all want the same thing. We want clarity. We want ease. We want to know to what do and feel and say at every moment. We want to be free of fear and sadness. So we create this armor, and we can’t see beyond this armor, and so we feel a claustrophobic fear.
You may feel your fear differently from the next person; in you, perhaps it shows up as anxiety, depression, addictions, or withdrawal. It may show up as chasing—chasing money, relationships, spirituality, or some other thing, or some other identity you create to try to make sense of this fear. It may be loneliness, shyness, a turning inward. It may be a crazy longing for someone. Or it is the constant unease underneath.
The play is putting together short moments of awareness till they become automatic.
What we do after this insight is what we’ve always done, because that is all we know, and we are still conditioned. We struggle and we chase. The target of our chase might change. Instead of the usual socially-sanctioned struggles, we now struggle for some sort of spiritual identity and understanding.
There is confusion. There is a questioning of everything we held to be true. Is this right? What should I be doing? Isn’t this whole thing silly? Self-indulgent? Fears come up. Doubts come up. Detachment, apathy might come up. What is happening to me? Am I weird? Layers peel off, one by one. Even anger comes up. When will this end? When will I ever feel any different? Upheaval happens. What was important before is gone. Careers and friends and outlook change.
This is awakening. It is the falling away of false. It is not clean.
But at some point, you sit and look at it, you can see that everything is simply a point of view in Awareness. Beliefs, anxiety, depression, spirituality, success, failure, forgiveness, acceptance, identities, money, poverty, purpose, futility—all of these are simply points of view in Awareness. And you realize that you spent a great deal of energy and time adapting and re-arranging these concepts in the mind.
Then there is confidence. There is an embracing of uncertainty.
Awareness, unmoored from all points of view, is the ultimate reality. This is the radical transformation. This is intelligence. This is intuition. This is compassion. This is innocence. Every moment is fresh. This intelligence gets brighter and frees us from the stale structures of our minds. This intelligence alone has the ability to free us, because everything else is just another belief, and necessarily a part of the same madness.
(Happy Holidays! Next post will be in January.)