Sunday, July 18, 2010

Face the Mystery

The root issue is - I am this body.  As long as that idea is there, the spiritual search is an endless vicious circle.  

The body is taken to be a thing among things - a small thing which came into being and will end.  From that idea the search goes on - trying to understand the wholeness of reality from a broken, separate perspective.  A thing is trying to become the whole.  It is an impossibility.  AS a thing, you will never find what you are searching for.  AS a thing you will forever be stuck in only an intellectual understanding.  Paradox.  

As long as this idea you have about yourself remains, no end is in sight.  A separate thing cannot find the reality of nonduality or wholeness.  You cannot intellectualize it away.  A thing cannot become the whole.

So all efforts should be directed at the investigation of the reality of the body-in-the-world idea.  The person.  Investigate it by any means possible.  Look at it without pre-conceived notions, like it was the first time you ever saw it, and didn't yet have any names for it, any memory of it, any ideas about it.  

Investigate the idea of the senses.  Investigate how the brain actually works.  Look as if a scientist trying to investigate some new discovery, something which is there but you don't know what it is.

It is only the persistent assumptions which seem to cover reality.  

How do you know the person or the body?  You know only of experience.  Raw experience which has not yet been given a name.  It has not yet solidified into a thing.  You know of changing experience to which you apply memory, assumption and belief.  Otherwise body is only mystery - you don't truly know what it is without this mechanism.  And there is fear to let loose of the assumptions/beliefs.  Because the mind cannot deal with mystery - it has to come to a solid concept about things.  It is left feeling uncomfortable and unstable when it cannot fit everything into nicely wrapped packages.  

Let that mystery come.  Truly taking an honest and unqualified look at what we know, we recognize that we really don't know what the Hell it is.  We realize that our entire life, the reality and identification with body and thoughts is truly only ever assumption.  It is like a splinter in the mind - it is unsettling - to the mind it is a source of fear and uncertainty.  Don't fight the splinter.  Let it stick.  Let it act.  Let it fester and infect.  

At some point the bottom falls out of the bucket - it is realized that there is nothing at all of our life story which can be said to be absolutely true.  It has always been a story, a tale told to cover the inherent mystery.  In that story there is a diminishing of the fear but along with that comes this insistent impulse to discover the truth about what we are.  

But we cannot discover what we are without facing that mystery, without letting that mystery be as it is without the immediate scramble to fill in the blanks with concepts and imagination.  

Until then, you, as a body, are stuck.  ARE you truly a body in a world?  Have a close look.  Face the mystery head-on.  Don't be afraid.  The snake in the room is truly only a rope.

7 comments:

viv said...

Hi Randall

This is the central question. Because it feels like the only certainty I know is that there is always this body here and without it there is no experience. Even if I close my eyes, there is still the feeling of a body, although it may be learned.....

There are several puzzling questions: if seeing things is as the result of light hitting objects and going into the eyes and hitting the rods and cones at the back and then being translated into electrical impulses into the brain, then... where is the picture? If it's out there, do we project it back out? Or is it seen inside the head. This story doesn't make sense, but I can't come up with an explanation.

If I'm not the body, as it is always changing and 'I' am aware of it, how come I wouldn't still be aware if my head got cut off?

So I must be the body in some way.

I don't know how these questions can be answered. But I can't work my way out of this conviction that I am inextricably linked to this body.

Kind regards.

Viv

Randall Friend said...

Viv,

Hello my friend.

"If I'm not the body, as it is always changing and 'I' am aware of it, how come I wouldn't still be aware if my head got cut off?

So I must be the body in some way."

Upon investigation, this is a false question - if body is nothing but raw experience, then head is another concept, a name given a form. Experience called "head" arises in that presence of knowing.

Notice the relationship of experience to experiencing. Head is experience. What knows the experience "head"?

If we fail to question the reality of "head", if we fail to notice that "head" is nothing but a name given some experience, the experience we don't truly know without the concept - then we act from the assumption of "head" then believe awareness is absent without it.

In sleep, is there knowledge of "head"? Awareness remains to witness the coming and going of dream. Awareness is there even in the stillness and absence of sleep - it is that by which you know the ringing alarm clock or the knock on the door. That awareness remains even in the absence of any form or experience.

It is only mind which sleeps. In the absence of mind, experience ceases. Concepts cease. Imagination ceases.

That awareness is fully shining now - knowing the Consciousness which brings so many experiences. Look past the changing and dubious experiences - the names and forms or "apparent" reality, and notice the space in which they come and go, the opening through which they are cognized, the unconditional vastness from which they spring.

That freedom is ever-present as your own Self. It is known to be so when there is no clinging to fleeting ideas.

Then the ideas can come without binding. Then there is no problem in talking about a head or a body or thoughts, or a world. Only it's like a mirage - it only appears to be so, while reality is never apparent. The only reality is your own Self.

viv said...

"Upon investigation, this is a false question - if body is nothing but raw experience, then head is another concept, a name given a form. Experience called "head" arises in that presence of knowing.

Notice the relationship of experience to experiencing. Head is experience. What knows the experience "head"?

If we fail to question the reality of "head", if we fail to notice that "head" is nothing but a name given some experience, the experience we don't truly know without the concept - then we act from the assumption of "head" then believe awareness is absent without it."

Ok. Randall. Thank you. This is interesting. I had assumed that 'head' is reality... a real thing.

I can't deal with all the 'shining presence .... space in which all things happen' thing. But I can investigate the validity of whether head exists with awareness in it.

Kind regards
Viv

Randall Friend said...

Viv,

Isn't awareness that shining presence in which the so-called experience of head-body arises? It's not so difficult after all, you have a front-row seat.


love
randall

viv said...

Hi Randall

Would you be willing to comment on a statement I have heard a few times: Along the lines of:

There is no me, there is only you, right where you are.

Kind regards

Viv

Randall Friend said...

Viv,

It depends on what you mean by "me" and "you". "ME" refers generally to a body-mind. It is a bound entity, a limited being or life. It is this concept alone which is the root of all suffering.

All things are only apparent. They are relative, absolutely. They appear - they are appearances - expressions - forms OF something. What is that something is the domain of science or imagination.

All we really need to know or remember is that what appears isn't the real, isn't real absolutely. It IS real but not as it appears. Therefore that body-mind is merely a field of experience known and then given a name, given a story.

The person is at the root of that story, the central character in that play. It is entirely imagination.

Yet YOU are there. You know that you exist. You can say "I AM" with certainty, while of the world you cannot be certain. Of the body and mind you cannot be certain. You only know the names and forms but take them to be absolute.

You are always here. What is the nature of that always-here-ness? It cannot be found to have an objective nature at all, because we can say it is the subject itself. It knows the world, body and mind. It is there to witness thoughts, as they come and go. You are there to notice thoughts.

So all is only apparent and YOU are the only REAL, because you aren't apparent, you aren't a concept, you aren't coming and going, you aren't a relative appearance.

You just ARE. That's really all we can say about it. You are, and you know that you are. Without doing anything, you are here and you know that you are here - here meaning present - always present in all situations, in any experience.

That YOU-ness is what is being pointed to. It is empty of content. It is an opening, an unconditional capacity for whatever appears. Just like the mirror which reflects without condition, that open space of your presence is effortlessly reflecting or knowing all that appears.

Another word for that unconditional presence is Peace. Peace is your natural state. Peace is YOU, right where you are, without needing anything, without achieving anything, without the first concept or spiritual attainment, Peace is already the case.

There is no me, there is only YOU, right where you are.

Riddle said...

Hello dear friend. It has been far too long.
As always the words you shift are a cooling water across this stormy seas.
Having re-read the statements and commentaries several times from different view points. There is but the smallest of ripples of report to make and ask.
This humble practitioner re-read the above substituting all the pronoun "you" into "I". There is a very different angle presented and perhaps (though you have free choice) it might be tried.
[pause will that exercise is done and related]
Ah, but then the above was re-read substituting the pronoun "you' into "they". What a different take!
You are absolutely right!
The You-ness, the I-ness, the They-ness and even the WE-ness (and the ALL-ness) is what is being pointed to/at/with/through.
Thank you so much my friend.
Be at peace.