‘As mystics we rest in being. As friends and lovers we share our being. As artists we celebrate our being. As scientists and philosophers we explore or investigate our being. But whatever we do or wherever we go we don’t allow our experience to eclipse our being, our essential self-aware being – naked awareness.’ ~ Rupert Spira
‘This too shall pass.’ This common phrase has been around for a long time, its origin attributed to, among others, early Persian poets, the Bible, Judaism, and various Western and Eastern philosophers. A version of it can be found in most world cultures and for good reason – it’s a starting point for a true understanding of the nature of experience. If we pay any attention to what’s going on around us, it’s obvious that all things come and go. Some things take longer than others to arise and pass away, but the rise and fall of all objective experience is inescapable, and many of us base our life’s actions on this inevitability.
We usually say ‘this too shall pass’ when we find ourselves in an unpleasant situation, one we’d rather avoid or not experience at all. It might be physical like a sickness, or psychological like a bad mood. Whatever it is, we assume it is I, the personal self, who says ‘this too shall pass’. But the personal self consists solely of passing attributes. Try to name one characteristic of the personal self that doesn’t come and go and you can’t. The body-mind is comprised of thoughts, images, emotions, sensations, and perceptions of the world. All constantly changing attributes, coming and going, appearing and disappearing like colorful fall leaves floating down a mountain stream.
So if there is no personal self, who or what is actually saying this?
Whoever or whatever is saying ‘this too shall pass’ cannot itself be passing, otherwise how would it know anything was passing? It’s like the difference between sitting on the edge of a stream watching the leaves drift by and being one of the leaves.
Identify that within you that never comes and goes, that is ever-present and aware, and you have found your essential being. Although that isn’t quite true, as your essential being was never lost in the first place, it was just mistaken for a drifting leaf. But once you discover this unchanging element of being within you, within all of us, it can be said with assurance that this understanding shall never pass.
Sit or lie comfortably.
Close your eyes.
Take time to notice your breath, the inhale, the exhale.
Now imagine and feel that your inhale is the exhale of Consciousness or Absolute Awareness, and that your exhale is the inhale of Consciousness.
In is out.
Out is in.
Find yourself in the spaceless space between nothing and nothing.
In so doing, be the realization.
If you are on the spiritual path in search of enlightenment, awakening, liberation, absolute consciousness, aware presence, divine spirit – whatever you might call it – there’s nothing to it. Literally. No thing to it.
There is nothing that will get you there, yet nothing is the answer.
First of all, there is no path. Well, that isn’t actually true. There is a path, the direct path, also called the pathless path, but once you’re on it, once you’ve discovered you are already on it, always have been on it, there’s no place to go. No distance to travel.
In what direction would you go to find your essential being?
In what direction does the wind blow to find the sky?
No thing will bring you any closer to the peace, happiness, and love that you crave.
No thing. Nothing. There is nothing to add to your essential being, whose qualities are already peace, love, and happiness, and there is nothing to take away.
What can you add to the sky to make it more sky?
And if you were able to take away a piece of the sky, where would you put it?
No word, no idea, no emotion, no sensation, no perception, no substance, no relationship, no object, no philosophy, no religion, no teacher, no teaching. Nothing will get you any closer to your true nature than you already are.
Where is this nothing?
What does this nothing contain?
What is everything?
So . . . who are you? We?
‘Are we not wasps who spend all day in a fruitless attempt to traverse a window-pane while the other half of the window is wide open?’ ~ Wei Wu Wei
No way in.
No way out.
What are you?
You are like space.
Where are you?
If you were in, where would you go to get out?
If you were out, where would you go to get in?
For space, there is no in or out.
Space contains walls, but walls don’t contain space.
Just as there is the illusion that walls contain space, there is the illusion that the body-mind contains consciousness.
Space exists in its fullness regardless of what appears to exist in it. You can take things out of space, but you can’t take space out of things.
Space appears to be the background of all things.
Recognize the space-like element of your being – that which is ever-present, aware, and unchanging regardless of what comes and goes within it.
But you are not space. Space is also a thing.
You exist without space, but space doesn’t exist without you.
Who are you?
Regardless of what you think, feel, sense, or perceive, you are not that. We have been conditioned since birth to believe that we are made up of our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, but if we look at the facts of our experience, nothing could be further from the truth – they are all temporary attributes, they come and they go, and therefore can’t be considered real.
If we aren’t our thoughts and feelings, who or what are we?
Ask yourself, do I know my thoughts, do I know my feelings, do I know my perceptions? The answer is obviously yes. And then ask yourself, when my thoughts disappear, when my feelings disappear, when my perceptions disappear, do I disappear with them? The answer is obviously no.
You, your essential aware self, knows the coming and going of all thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, but doesn’t come and go with them. Identify with this awareness that knows the rise and fall of thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, not with the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions themselves.
And then see clearly that even this so-called awareness, this witness that observes the coming and going of all things, is itself a concept known by something beyond it.
We are That.