When you see that the you you take yourself to be is a fiction–when you actually recognize this, not just agree with it–what happens is…nothing.
Nothing actually changes. The old patterns of fear and emotions and delusions remain firmly in place.
Well, not firmly. You still get caught up in fearful and self-ish patterns but you see the fiction of it, you start seeing the whole thing as a drama, and that does bring some clarity.
But these embodied patterns and delusions–they don’t come down like a house of cards. I kind of expected to feel the whole thing crumbling down, you know the way they demolish old buildings with sequential explosives.
That didn’t happen.
Why the hell not?
Well, I’m not sure. There is more to go. More to explore. As Jed Mckenna says, “further.” Keep looking.
This whole awakening thing has been a wild ride. I’m glad for it–it couldn’t have been any other way. And after the wildness of the ride, I realized that awakening comes down to two things: internal observation and internal honesty.
To say that to someone may not be particularly helpful, because it isn’t enough, but as a personal sutra, it makes a succinct, satisfying kind of sense to me.
I run this website and write about awakening, but I don’t talk about it much in real life. I mean where do you start a conversation about awakening? Most people don’t see it.
And yet many do. People are more sensitive than we believe, and the subject does come up, often in unlikely circumstances. If it’s a general conversation, I tell people to start with observing their thoughts. Don’t analyze, don’t figure it out, just witness. Observe. And go read the Power of Now.
People will sometimes give me a blank look. And I know some people are thinking, well this is the kind of crap that you’d expect from an Indian guy. Hehe.
But a surprising number of people will actually consider it. Some will come back months later to ask more about it.
People in pain are often very sensitive and open. In the days that depression and anxiety had a real hold on me, I noticed that depressives find one another. You sense it in another person, and when you learn to be honest about it, it’s surprising how many people will open up about it. We find each other.
It works the same way now with this awakening stuff. People find one another. Recently, a co-worker sought me out–he was in pain because a beloved pet had just been put down. I’m not sure why he came to me; he didn’t know about the website. This kind of thing happens all the time.
When people are in pain, they are open, and so it’s easier to get through. And I tell them about releasing, because of all the techniques I recommend, releasing is the easiest and has the most immediate benefits.
Some of you who are reading this may not agree that releasing is an easy technique. That’s because you haven’t actually tried it. You might have read about it, perhaps read about it over and over again, and you might agree or disagree with it intellectually, but you probably have not given in to the experience of it. You are trying to control. You are trying to mentally understand.
It’s a simple thing, really. Releasing feels very natural for the simple reason that holding onto pain and stress is so very unnatural. But the ego will jump in and object, and say wait a minute, before I try this, I need to understand more. Why does it work? How does it work? Will it take away all my emotions?
But still, even the people who won’t try it are lucky, because when they’ve had enough unease in their lives, they know what to come back to.
What I’m doing now is exploring this no-you thing. That’s why I haven’t written much on the site. I don’t feel that I’ve had anything big to say yet. Still exploring.
Really, it’s quite a conundrum. Having seen through the fiction of self, why doesn’t the whole internal structure of fear and delusion collapse?
This is not full liberation. Seeing the no-you is a critical step. But there is more.
And I wonder if the more has to do with surrender. Is that the next step?
Surrender is one of those spiritual words which make me suspicious, like karma and oneness and God and unity and consciousness and so on. These concepts are repeatable and people love to throw them around, but as pointers they are utterly meaningless, and worse, for most people they are obstacles.
And so when I say “surrender” I’m not talking about some bald-headed spiritual concept smelling of incense.
To understand what releasing is, you have to surrender. You have to surrender enough of your intellect and ego and objections to give it an honest try. You have to be humble and honest and willing and dive in to the experience. You can’t abstract it, you can’t intellectualize and you certainly can’t spiritualize it.
That’s what I mean by surrender. Maybe the next step in the no-you thing is to surrender to it. To give up intellectual control, to give up the need to understand, to be honest and hold this very, very close.
The fiction of the self is damned pervasive and persistent. It’s everywhere, in every concept and emotion and thought.
Even just thinking about the no-you reifies the fiction of you. Who is thinking about the self? What story is the self weaving around the concept of no-you and what it means and how close it is to enlightenment?
You can get carried away in it, and then you catch yourself, and you bring back focus, and you recognize the fiction all over again.
I know this bit about surrender is rather vague, and I don’t like being vague, but this is where I am.