Many mystics suggest that “nothing is happening,” or that “this is emptiness manifesting as fullness and it is un-knowable.”
Some recent scientific theories suggest that what we see around is is not “real” in any sense. In fact, they go further to propose that evolution by natural selection has hidden “reality” from our eyes (Donald Hoffman endorses this idea strongly). Space and time are human constructs, as are the seemingly “objective” objects that have their being in them. Fitness beats truth, in thse sense that we have not evolved to see reality. We have evolved to gain fitness payoffs that will get our genes into the next generation.
Hoffman goes even further in proposing that consciousness is the fundamental basis of reality.
I find the confluence of these threads very exciting. More in following posts
The mind–or, rather, the organism as a whole–seems to be subtly after some gain. More peace, more wisdom, more enlightenment, more compassion, more listening, more improvement, more responsiblity, more productivity: more, more and more. And of course the current economic and cultural climate encourages this tendency to want more of “spiritually correct” things.
The mind seems cunning enough to even say: if I stop wanting more, then perhaps I’ll get more. If I renounce doership, I will gain more control. If I renounce ambition, I will gain more peace. And on and on it goes.
I guess I can only ask the question: can this dreamed seeker see its own illusory nature? And what will happen then?
If I close my eyes and pay attention to my body, I feel sensations. Breathing, rising, falling. Tingling, pulsing. Heat and cold.
In a headless space, the world appears in consciousness without a “me.” Likewise, “the body” can arise in consciousness without the sense “this is a body” or “this is my body.”
“I am my body” is an intuitive notion, but perhaps this idea is the primal error. For it leads to a contraction of selfhood, a consciousness twisting and squirming in a limited space, when it can be abundantly free.
Gaze at the tip of your nose. No doubt it feels a bit strange to do so; you will probably see a fuzzy cloud protruding from your face which seems to shine quite a bit. If you close either eye, the orientation of this fuzzy shiny cloud vis-a-vis the background shifts too.
So far so good. However, now consider, or try to see, this nose not as protruding from “your face,” but as emerging from a void. This void contains everything: your nose, the bits of cheek and lips you can glimpse, your body, the surrounding environment with all its colours and smells and sensations and, if we pay attention, your thoughts, feelings and sense of self.
All emerge from and dissove into the void.
Forget navel-gazing. Nostril-gazing can trigger pretty powerful meditation and insight.
(This is a theme that I wil doubtless revisit often in these ramblings!)
As far back as I can remember, I have been afraid of death. I remember even as a young child feeling rage and sorrow that “all this” would one day simply end. That would be that. I never believed stories of an afterlife.
The teachings of non-duality have altered my feelings towards death, radically and viscerally.
“I” am most certainly a fiction: that is point number one. The carefully constructed personality, built out of experiences and memories, is a fiction, and its seeming death need not be mourned.
Point number two: the present is a “moving shifting mysterious event,” as Darryl might put it. Death, no doubt, will also be a moving shifting mysterious event.
Point number 3: death feels like going home, a return to that boundless space from which all of us seemed to “arise” at birth. Going home feels like a relief. No ego to cart around any more.
We will all be liberated when “we” die. It is cool to be liberated in this lifetime, but it may not be such a big deal, except for the deluded ego, that is.