Will the Real Me Please Stand Up
Try this little experiment.
First, think about yourself. Who are you in your thoughts. If it helps, write your thoughts down. Describe yourself as you would appear to know yourself exclusively through your thoughts.
Now, compare and contrast what you’ve thought about with what you are in this instant.
You will notice that your thoughts about who you think you are have nothing to do with what you are in this instant. In the actual moment of life what you are can’t be pinned down to any thought. Life is different from the content of our thoughts.
Life is like water. It can’t be grasped, no matter how hard we try.
So when you strive for enlightenment or security or self-improvement or anything else, what you’re really doing is working on the body of thought. Thought is working on itself.
This describes the utter futility of self-enlightenment. Nothing can get enlightened because the whole process is only about thoughts working on other thoughts.
The reason why we feel separate from life is that we are living through our attachment to thinking rather than through immediate reality, which has very little to do with any body of thought.
You can do this same exercise on anything. Think about your husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend. Notice how in the immediacy of interaction, they and everything else is so different from how your thoughts would describe them.
This is something I explored in great depth in my book Trust in Liberation. If this post resonates with you, you might want to explore this fascinating contrast between thought and reality further.
Liberation is about freedom from the demands of thinking. This is not to say that thought is bad, it’s just that we are not our thoughts. Thoughts happens in this vastness that we actually are.
So if you have the thought: I am a failure (or any variant) know that that is not who you are. It’s a thought that feeds on other thoughts. It has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the immediate reality of this life! This also means that if you have the thought: I am fantastic (or any variant), that too is merely thought and has nothing, whatsoever, to do with life as it actually is.
But thought is persistent. Thoughts that thinking has defined as important are likely to continue to dominate personal consciousness. This is something we can notice, as we might notice a car alarm going off somewhere. But no thought comes closes to defining who we really are. We can see that this is true through the simple exercise described in this post.
Do the experiments described in this post again and again. Slowly the weight of thought will lessen and then, one day, it will happen. The vastness … the spaciousness … that truly defines us, will arise in this life.
The Deepest Realization
Forget about non-duality. Forget about the Buddha. Forget about everything you think you know. Realize only this:
In this untouchable moment, if you can release all your notions of right and wrong, in this untouchable moment, you are perfect.