Duality is a recurring theme in life that although gripping, isn’t at all true to how reality functions. It guides us in the form of “us vs them”, an in group to join and out group to fight, and while at times engaging and fun, inevitably leads to problems. This myth of there being a separate self or separate experience is explainable logically, but it’s also manifested spontaneously in a so called awakening or enlightenment experience.
This awakening is less of a action that’s realized with effort, but instead understood by simply examining the self with an openness for truth.
It’s a major realization that has been known about through different connected and isolated cultures. Emphasized often in this blog is this very notion, as it’s in my eyes, the most important relationship to be aware of to get rid of suffering.
I’ll present more logical thinking first to show how we function, but it’s also something that must be internalized and integrated to be truly understood and acted out.
“Seek refuge in the attitude of detachment and you will amass the health of spiritual awareness. Those who are motivated only by desire for the fruits of action are miserable, for they are constantly anxious about the result of what they do” – The Bhagavad Gita
To properly describe an individual we have to look at the environment and what kind of behavior it adopts. To truly say what “you” are for example, you’d have to look at wide ranging things such as:
- Your ancestry.
- Actions committed by others which set the foundation.
- Countless over variables about how you’re affected. Crops and the environment, political strategies and countless other activities which you have no say in but are affected by.
Then you’d have to examine your organs, consciousness, gut bacteria, and many other functions which make up you, but with you have no direct conscious control over. You can no doubt supplement your body and fine tune it , but you don’t necessarily activate it, it was to make up you without any conscious active architect crafting it.
A fascinating insight is gained by looking at your own thoughts. It’s clear upon examination that you don’t control your thoughts. Had we full control then there would be no one experiencing anxiety and depression, feelings of low-self worth and negativity since we’d all be in bliss. There wouldn’t be much if any sorrow and suffering if this were true. In meditation you come to find that thoughts are not something that have weight (bearing on what is) unless followed. I may get a sensation that turns into a greater thought for example:
- I’m hungry
- What should I eat?
- Do I have food in the kitchen?
- I don’t want to cook
- Don’t really have the time, but I also don’t want to spend more money
- Maybe I’ll just skip it
All these thoughts manifested from chasing the “my stomach hurts idea”. If instead we simply acknowledge it with no strain to get rid of it and focus right back on breathe or a central point in the body, it all washes away. Similarly, we can have a greater cognitive control over our experience if we simply let go of the idea of striving, and even letting go of the idea of letting go. This seems contradictory but it’s clear when we examine it.
Whenever we want to focus, learn new information, or truly understand someone we have to let go of the idea of any sort of striving. If we are truly locked into the presence of now we must cease any sort of added activity. To properly pay attention for example it becomes important to simply let our minds be blank and take in what’s presented. Trying to focus often only occurs if we start feeling bored, or judge the difficulty or whether or not we agree with what’s being offered. By attempting to re-align we end up losing our position. It’s the added unnecessary thoughts which cloud the mind and create an extra barrier that ironically is trying to be corrected.
Awakening from Duality
It’s impossible to say if a person will awaken or what the process is to awakening, but what’s often described in ancient Zen, other sects of Buddhism and Hinduism is the belief that awakening is a sudden spontaneous realization of a persons true nature (to be fair, some schools of thought believe it is actually gradual but from my experience, it was sudden).
This isn’t something that a person can learn, practice, or attempt to understand as an intellectual exercise. It’s an all or nothing thing that is not granted by another.
The simply way to understand this is, how can another show or give you details about what you already are. The only thing another can do is point the way. It’s also somewhat contradictory when we try to put it into language. To not seek we continue with myth, and to seek is to be deluded with the idea that there’s anything to grasp. By letting go of any sort of preconceived notion and by trusting our instincts, it all comes to the surface.
Don’t mistake a finger pointing at the moon, for the moon
Ancient Zen Adage
In my own experience there was a true sudden giving up of any sort of striving or trying to understand. It was only after I gave up the idea that I had to correct or learn anything, with the backdrop of full sincerity, was when it came alive.
I recall laughing as I realized that there was nothing to worry about, that no matter what happened it would be OK. Simply put, it became internalized that I was everything and that there was no real death of the self, as this was unborn and beyond even the idea of being eternal. It’s important to preface this with the understanding that if you’ve never experienced this it would make no sense, and that’s why giving the show away if often frowned upon.
It may seem like a true delusion, some sort of false premise built off of no logical explanation. In a sense it’s true that it’s not logical since instead it’s an undeniable understanding, an awakening.
There are some arguments which can be made in support of this, but the reason why I know it to be true is because I don’t have any faith in it. In other words it requires no preset belief system that’s to be argued. It’s a knowing and experience that once felt, is undeniable.
It’s a realization and sensation of feeling free, weightless, and becoming better able to work with what’s given. Suddenly suffering is no longer an issue as things that emerge are left to be as is.
The most tell-take sign for me was the complete loss of anxiety, doubt, fear, and this included the fear of death.
It won’t come from a place of doubt, hate, instability, or desire to change, but from a pure understanding of unconditional love. No doubt even saying this is seemingly corny, half-baked, and perhaps overly sentimental, but it’s once again undeniable.
Those interested in getting a glimpse of this would be happy to know that there’s nothing to be done, nothing to practice, nothing to change. Your true nature cannot be improved upon because it takes no sides and holds nothing, but it also allows whatever we want to take seed.