If you think you know what you are seeking, you are already (as if) separate from what is sought. Even if you have encountered the following teaching or contemplated it at length, open to it now, absent any defenses.
Please… let this penetrate: the first two are delusion.
The first understanding is thinking we are particular beings that persist through time and move about independently and in relation to other things. We believe (without even realizing it’s a belief) that a thing is what we think is. We don’t appreciate the true experience of mountain, because we are experiencing our idea of the mountain.
With the second understanding, the conceptual models of the world have fallen away, or there is a sense that things are not as they seem. There is a shift or openness of awareness that reveals non-persistence, insubstantiality, non-duality, a sense of oneness.
Many will conclude
- #1 and #2 are opposites
- #2 is better than #1
- impermanence and insubstantiality equals nothingness
- believing in nothingness brings relief from the suffering of believing in a self
These are all delusion. To assume conclusions are Truth, is delusion.
The insight of #2 is experienced and interpreted from the vantage point of the believed-in self. The non-conceptual opening of awareness gets conceptualized, bringing about a number of conclusions all relating to “me.” The experience of dropped concepts is defined as nothingness. Insubstantiality is defined as nothingness. Nothingness is the new truth to live by, for we believe we must know our place within the external world and be confident in the accuracy of that belief.
Actions born of this mistaken understanding can include the desire to save everyone from their belief in things. We think we should assert this conclusion of nothingness as truth. Truth, however, is not a belief or concept, so Truth cannot be asserted. We cause much disturbance, trying to gain confidence by convincing others, and for a time we think we are free from suffering, because we’ve denied ourselves. Ouch!
#3 is Realization. This is to know without relying upon concepts that insubstantiality, non-persistence, and lack of independent objects is Emptiness (not nothingness). This experience now, is empty of substantiality, persistence, and independent objects. This experience now, is total fluidity, total movement, nothing but action without beginning or end. This experience now, is complete, total, full, (no thing can be found outside of now). Any appearance can be known as this same fullness, completeness—Totality. The mountain can be experienced because it has appeared supported by all that it is not. This is to appreciate mountain not as idea of mountain, but as Reality. Mountain is wholeness. It is not anything but Reality. Reality is experienced as mountain.
Life is this way constantly. Every appearance is Reality. The Wisdom of this becomes active living. The interest in life’s appearances is thorough, open, and magnanimous. There is no cause to defend, no truth to assert. There is simply a spontaneous tending to what-is, and total responsibility for actions lived. This is otherwise known as The Merging of Difference and Unity, or the realization of Not-One, Not-Two. Reality is thoroughly non-dual—no two ways about it.
© 2011 Bev Forsman and Letters from Emptiness. If you share this material, please include direction to the original content. Thank you.