Desire and fear - these things dictate the world we know. This is the need to become something, to become somebody - and the fear of losing what we have become or gained.
Why do we need to become anything? Is this because we're not sure what we are NOW? Isn't this sense of what we are very slippery and elusive? It seems to change from day to day - yesterday I felt confident and at ease - today the ground feels like it might shake out from under me.
If happiness and peace were dependent on what our relative sense of identity is, we'd never be happy or at peace. Of course, this is probably what your life seems like now. Happiness and peace are either not present or are fleeting at best.
So if we listen to what the ancient and contemporary sages have been telling us - happiness and peace is not dependent on this shaky, relative identity, which from day to day changes, and our need to become something is strongly based on our insecurity of what we are NOW.
But they also say that this happiness and peace isn't attained through effort, that it's ever-present. Of course that's not what we feel, is it? Our direct experience differs from this explanation. So we believe there must be something we need to do to achieve the sage's perspective.
But isn't this just another thing that we need to become? Isn't this just more of the same - more of that which causes us suffering NOW? So what's the solution? How do we get out of this constant need to become something? How do we find the happiness and peace we seek?
Any answer we give is a conceptualization of some process, something that needs to be done, somewhere to go, something to get. ANY answer we can come up with is not it. It seems we're stuck!
So we can just continue to fight it out, struggle against the ropes that bind us, causing them to get ever-tighter with our new goal of becoming something, this time it's the "ultimate" achievement - Enlightenment.
Or we can realize our predicament - no amount of searching, no amount of mental analysis, reading pointers, attending satsang, sitting in meditation, with the goal of achieving something, will ever, ever, ever lead us to our goal.
So let's drop the goal. Let's drop Enlightenment as a goal - let's stop desiring to become Enlightened. I hear the fear and screaming now! My God! How can I drop it when I've been doing this most of my life? How can I drop it because if I drop it I'll never get peace and happiness!?!
That's the problem - in a nutshell. We fear giving up the need to become something because we will lose the possibility of gaining the benefits of Enlightenment. Enlightenment has become another feel-good initiative, another self-help methodology.
When we get the message, either through clarity of mind or exhaustion from all the seeking, that what we seek we already are, then the seeking stops. There is no longer any point to seek - if we already ARE what we seek, what's the point of seeking? Seeking is another screen or filter through which we see the world - another obscuring factor to the happiness and peace we seek.
So we drop it. And we no longer have any purpose, we no longer have a goal. We no longer need to "attain" Enlightenment, because somehow we're already Enlightened, already what we seek. We have a lot more time on our hands because we aren't reading books, websites, attending satsangs or meditation classes.
We're faced with the bare, naked present moment. We're faced with that which we've spent years trying to get out of - boredom - and the quest to be something more than we are now, achieve something better than we have now.
And we see that thought doesn't get us anywhere - mental analysis just leads to more craving and desire to become something. So in this clear present moment, thought stops briefly. It just runs out of gas. And we're left with nothing - literally nothing - nothing to achieve, nothing to think about, nothing to become - we come to a complete STOP.
And in this STOP - there is just a pure seeing/knowing -there is nothing there - nothing arises - no thoughts about becoming, not even the thought that "I am looking" or "I am looking at a tree" or "I want to become Enlightened" or "I want to be happy or at peace".
To our surprise, happiness and peace is RIGHT THERE! Happiness and peace is the total effortless acceptance of what IS, right NOW! And in this STOP of thought, of seeking, of the desire to become or fear of losing what we think we are - in this STOP we are ALREADY submerged in the happiness and peace we were seeking.
Seeking something better, including Enlightenment - which is supposed to be a "better" state of mind or something - was the very thing which obscured happiness and peace. In seeking, we weren't satisfied, we didn't accept WHAT IS. So we were always striving to become something else, something better in the future. And the clouds hung over the sky, in front of the Sun, which was always there in the background, shining brightly, but obscured to the seeking mind.
See how you are never satisfied with WHAT IS - how you're always searching to become something better and fear losing what you think you are. And see how this search for Enlightenment has become just another goal - the goal itself obscures the already-present happiness and peace.