Let me welcome Bulgaria and Finland to our growing group! Welcome to clarity, my friends.
We will continue straight away with Part II in our look at the problems inherent in confusing the relative and the Absolute "worlds". This confusion has been at the root of a lot of bloodshed and torture over the centuries, so it's important that we be alert to it. It is also the cause of a great deal of heartache and headache in spiritual seekers.
Pick a World and Live In It
I am writing these posts from the standpoint of seeing-knowing much more than from the position of intellectual knowing. What I mean by this is that while the aspect of truth that we're discussing is seen quite clearly here, and it is understood operationally, there is no way I can adequately explain it. It is less the limits of language that leaves this explanation unfilled than it is the limits of mind. This is because beyond a fundamental operational understanding, I can't comprehend it. I don't mean that in some sort of false modesty; I mean it literally. No matter. On this subject, operational knowledge is all we need.
Let's pause for a moment and be honest with one another. The foundational strata of this entire teaching, of all of Nonduality, that there is just one; a single, solitary thing/no-thing that appears to be happening "in the world, as the world," and that "the seeker is the sought", is already dancing beyond where the mind can travel. My brain can't grab that, your brain can't grab that; no one's brain can genuinely grab that. It is un-grab-able. In this teaching we are actually starting out from a position beyond where most religious trainings end.
I am saying here that we are already looking out from truth, so there is no point in looking out for it! Thus the first step on any spiritual journey is a step away from truth and into delusion. Reality contains the mind; thus the mind cannot possible contain reality. There is no grabbing reality; here is no holding reality; there is no referring back to it, or dreaming forward to it.
Whether our experience of reality is conscious or unconscious, brilliantly aware, or deeply asleep, blissful or painful, there is in fact only actively, immediately being-reality-presently, which is our very own Self. An hour ago I was in my living room with an old friend and current student, Vince Reese. Through guided inquiry Vince discovered first hand, experientially, for himself and essentially by himself that all that can be known is, "I AM HERE NOW." All other teaching beyond our personal, intuitive apprehension of truth is, as Nisargadatta called scripture, simply "hearsay".
Any "viewpoint" arises from distortion, beholds though distortion, and then quickly, firmly, but entirely erroneously confirms the sensorially experienced distortion as being actual, objective reality. We are fiction-as-a-verb, constantly living and writing fiction and then declaring to other fictional characters within our make-believe world that our view, which is the proper view, is not being cooked up by an overactive imagination, but rather that it is pure, stout, stalwart, dependable journalism.
It is laughable, is it not? Let us use a rather lengthy metaphor to dig deeper.
I am looking through a colored pane of glass--light or dark, pink or green, but colored, conditioned. Because what I'm seeing through is colored, whatever I see is also colored. The brain is not objectively reporting what the eye sees and the ears hear. In fact it is constantly, endlessly weaving a story around what’s already happened, and then commenting on that story. All of this is without authenticity and without value. Life lived on this level is never more than a slanted representation of what ego thinks it sees and an equally slanted representation of what ego thinks about what it thinks it sees. It is as hollow and soul-less as a broken flute.
However, I-as-the-individual doesn't accept what it sees as being conditioned; it doesn’t accept its position as being entirely subjective. It constantly questions other, but it never questions itself. After all, it is its own self-confirming reference point. So in the opinion of Fredness, I will always be right. My ego will produce—even contrive—evidence of my correctness; that's its job. In the world my ego creates for itself to live in, it is always right, and neatly enough, it is always right for the best, most beneficial-to-all reasons, which can change at a moment’s notice. In the eyes of the world, my ego might not be right often at all. Not to be bullied by fact or force, in the face of contrary and even correct contrasting opinion, my ego is always condescending and confident in its sureness. It's my ego’s world, one-two-three. What you see is ever suspect and open to interpretation. What I see is accepted as truth. It's as simple as that.
Now, my world, as seen through this glass, is found to be--note the opposites--beautiful and ugly, ideal and flawed; hard and soft, hot and cold; black and white, kind and cruel; left and right, front and back; up and down, bountiful, yet above all lacking. I am completely hung with this glass and its conditioned interpretation--until I'm not--so this leaves me with just--you guessed it--two options. Odd how those pairs of things keep turning up, is it not?
These option pairs may be conditioned in a thousand ways so that they feel like many, many available options, but in fact they are but two--yin and yang. Everything in my world, by its very nature, can always, in the end, be boiled down to yin and yang. Opposites are what are needed for something, anything, and everything to exist here in my private, relative, observed, experienced-as-other world. These opposites arise both spontaneously and simultaneously; one extreme cannot exist without the other extreme, and each extreme holds the seed of its opposite.
Furthermore, without the existence of these extremes there can be no middle. Thus yin and yang are the bookends of my world, so to speak. The Tao Te Ching says that there is one, then two, then "the ten thousand things," by which it means all manifestation. One is truth. Original Sin, the Original Lie begins with "other", begins with the supposed birth of “other”, and there is no end to that lie and the suffering it produces until death takes me.
Unless, of course, I should happen to wake up first.
To be continued…