Stillness Speaks~ A true spiritual teacher does not have anything to teach in the conventional sense of the word,does not have anything to give or add to you, such as new information, beliefs, or rules of conduct.
The only function of such a teacher is to help you remove that which separates you from the truth of who you already are and what you already know in the depth of your being.
The spiritual teacher is there to uncover and reveal to you that dimension of the inner depth that is also peace.
If you come to a spiritual teacher or a book looking for stimulating ideas, theories, beliefs, intellectual discussions, then you will be disappointed.
In other words, if you are looking for food for thought, you won't find it. And you will miss the very essence of the teaching, the essence of this wisdom which is not in the words but within yourself.
It is good to remember that, to feel that, as you listen. The words are no more than signposts.
That to which they point is not to be found within the realm of thought but a dimension within yourself that is deeper, and infinitely vaster than thought.
A vibrantly alive peace is one of the characteristics of that dimension. So whenever you feel inner peace arising as you listen, the wisdom is doing it work and fulfilling its function as your teacher.
It is reminding you of who you are and pointing the way back home. This is not a wisdom to be read and then put away. Live with it. Pick it up frequently.
And, more importantly, put it down frequently. Or spend more time holding it than reading it.
Many readers will feel naturally inclined to stop reading after each entry, to pause, reflect, become still. It is always more helpful and more important to stop reading than to continue reading.
Allow the wisdom to do its work, to awaken you from the old groves of your repetitive and conditioned thinking. The form of this wisdom can be seen as a revival for the present age of the oldest form of recorded spiritual teachings, the sutras of ancient India.
Sutras are powerful pointers to the truth in the form of aphorisms or short sayings with little conceptual elaboration.
The Vedas and Upanishads are the early sacred teachings recorded in the form of sutras, as are the words of the Buddha.
The sayings and parables of Jesus, too, when taken out of their narrative context could be regarded as sutras as well as the profound teachings contained in the Tao Te Ching, the ancient Chinese book of wisdom.
The advantage of the sutra form lies in its brevity. It does not engage the thinking mind more than is necessary.
What it doesn't say, but only points to, is more important than what it says. The sutra-like character, is particularly marked in chapter 1, Silence and Stillness, which contains only the briefest of entries.
This chapter contains the essence of the entire book and may be all that some readers require. The other chapters are there for those who need a few more signposts.
Just like the ancient sutras, the writings contained within this book are sacred and have come out of a state of consciousness we may call stillness.
Unlike those sutras, however, they don't belong to any one religion or spiritual tradition, but are immediately accessible to the whole of humanity.
There is also an added sense of urgency here.
The transformation of human consciousness is no longer a luxury, so to speak, available only to a few, isolated individuals, but a necessity if human kind is not to destroy itself.
At the present time, the dysfunction of the old consciousness and the arising of the new are both accelerating.
Paradoxically, things are getting worse and better at the same time, although the worse is more apparent because it makes so much noise.
This book, of course, uses words that in the act of reading or listening, become thoughts in your mind. But those are not ordinary thoughts: repetitive, noisy, self-serving, clamoring for attention.
Just like every true spiritual teachers, just like the ancient sutras, the thoughts within this book don't say look at me", but look beyond me.
Because the thoughts came out of stillness, they have power, the power to take you back into the same stillness from which they arose. That stillness is also inner peace.
And that stillness and peace is the essence of your being. It is the stillness that will save and transform the world.
Chapter 1 Silence and Stillness
When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world. Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness.
This is the stillness that is deeper than name and form. Stillness is your essential nature.
What is Stillness?
The inner space or awareness in which the words on this page are being perceived and become thoughts.
Without that awareness, there would be no perception, no thoughts, no world. You are that awareness, disguised as a person. The equivalent of external noise is the inner noise of thinking.
The equivalent of external silence is inner stillness. Whenever there is some silence around you, listen to it. That means just notice it.
Pay attention to it. Listening to silence awakens the dimension of stillness within yourself, because it is only through stillness that you can be aware of silence.
See that in the moment of noticing the silence around you, you are not thinking. You are aware, but not thinking.
When you become aware of silence, immediately there is that state of inner still alertness. You are present. You have stepped out of thousands of years of collective human conditioning.
Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.
When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself. You connect with it at a very deep level. You feel a oneness with whatever you perceive in and through stillness.
Feeling the oneness of yourself with all things is love. Silence is helpful, but you don't need it in order to find stillness.
Even when there is noise, you can be aware of the stillness underneath the noise, of the space in which the noise arises.
That is the inner space of pure awareness, consciousness itself. You can become aware of awareness as the background to all your sense perceptions, all your thinking.
Becoming aware of awareness is the arising of inner stillness. Any disturbing noise can be as helpful as silence.
How? By dropping your inner resistance to the noise, by allowing it to be as it is, this acceptance also takes you into that realm of inner peace that is stillness.
Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is, no matter what form it takes, you are still, you are at peace.
Pay attention to the gap, the gap between two thoughts, the brief, silent space between words in a conversation, between the notes of a piano or flute, or the gap between the in-breath and out-breath.
When you pay attention to those gaps, awareness of something becomes just awareness.
The formless dimension of pure consciousness arises from within you and replaces identification with form.
True intelligence operates silently. Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found.
Is stillness just the absence of noise and content? No, it is intelligence itself the underlying consciousness out of which every form is born.
And how could that be separate from who you are? The form that you think you are came out of that and is being sustained by it.
It is the essence of all galaxies and blades of grass; of all flowers, trees, birds, and all other forms. Stillness is the only thing in this world that has no form.
But then, it is not really a thing, and it is not of this world. When you look at a tree or a human being in stillness, who is looking? Something deeper than the person. Consciousness is looking at its creation.
In the Bible, it says that God created the world and saw that it was good. That is what you see when you look from stillness without thought.
Do you need more knowledge?
Is more information going to save the world, or faster computers, more scientific or intellectual analysis? Is it not wisdom that humanity needs most at this time?
But what is wisdom and where is it to be found?
Wisdom comes with the ability to be still. Just look and just listen. No more is needed. Being still, looking, and listening activates the non-conceptual intelligence within you. Let stillness direct your words and actions.
Chapter 2 Beyond the Thinking Mind
The human condition: Lost in thought. Most people spend their entire life imprisoned within the confines of their own thoughts.
They never go beyond a narrow, mind-made, personalized sense of self that is conditioned by the past. In you, as in each human being, there is a dimension of consciousness far deeper than thought. It is the very essence of who you are.
We may call it presence, awareness, the unconditioned consciousness. In the ancient teachings, it is the Christ within, or your Buddha nature.
Finding that dimension frees you and the world from the suffering you inflict on yourself and others when the mind-made little me is all you know and runs your life.
Love, joy, creative expansion, and lasting inner peace cannot come into your life except through that unconditioned dimension of consciousness.
If you can recognize, even occasionally, the thoughts that go through your mind as just thoughts, if you can witness your own mental-emotional reactive patterns as they happen, then that dimension is already emerging in you as the awareness in which thoughts and emotions happen the timeless inner space in which the content of your life unfolds.
The stream of thinking has enormous momentum that can easily drag you along with it. Every thought pretends that it matters so much. It wants to draw your attention in completely.
Here is a new spiritual practice for you: don't take your thoughts too seriously. How easy it is for people to become trapped in their conceptual prisons.
The human mind, in its desire to know, understand, and control, mistakes its opinions and viewpoints for the truth. It says: this is how it is.
You have to be larger than thought to realize that however you interpret your life or someone else's life or behavior, however you judge any situation, it is no more than a viewpoint, one of many possible perspectives.
It is no more than a bundle of thoughts. But reality is one unified whole, in which all things are interwoven, where nothing exists in and by itself.
Thinking fragments reality, it cuts it up into conceptual bits and pieces. The thinking mind is a useful and powerful tool, but it is also very limiting when it takes over your life completely, when you don't realize that it is only a small aspect of the consciousness that you are.
Wisdom is not a product of thought. The deep knowing that is wisdom arises through the simple act of giving someone or something your full attention. Attention is primordial intelligence, consciousness itself.
It dissolves the barriers created by conceptual thought, and with this comes the recognition that nothing exists in and by itself.
It joins the perceiver and the perceived in a unifying field of awareness. It is the healer of separation. Whenever you are immersed in compulsive thinking, you are avoiding what is.
You don't want to be where you are. Here, Now. Dogmas, religious, political, scientific arise out of the erroneous belief that thought can encapsulate reality or the truth.
Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange thing is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of I know.
Nothing has inflicted more suffering on humanity than its dogmas.
It is true that every dogma crumbles sooner or later, because reality will eventually disclose its falseness; however, unless the basic delusion of it is seen for what it is, it will be replaced by others.
What is this basic delusion? Identification with thought.
Spiritual awakening is awakening from the dream of thought. The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are.
The mind exists in a state of not enough and so is always greedy for more. When you are identified with mind, you get bored and restless very easily.
Boredom means the mind is hungry for more stimulus, more food for thought, and its hunger is not being satisfied.
When you feel bored, you can satisfy the mind's hunger by picking up a magazine, making a phone call, switching on the TV, surfing the web, going shopping, or and this is not uncommon transferring the mental sense of lack and its need for more to the body and satisfy it briefly by ingesting more food.
Or you can stay bored and restless and observe what it feels like to be bored and restless. As you bring awareness to the feeling, there is suddenly some space and stillness around it, as it were.
A little at first, but as the sense of inner space grows, the feeling of boredom will begin to diminish in intensity and significance.
So even boredom can teach you who you are and who you are not. You discover that a bored person is not who you are. Boredom is simply a conditioned energy movement within you.
Neither are you an angry, sad, or fearful person. Boredom, anger, sadness, or fear are not yours, not personal.
They are conditions of the human mind. They come and go. Nothing that comes and goes is you. I am bored.
Who knows this? I am angry, sad, afraid. Who knows this? You are the knowing, not the condition that is known.
Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind. It means you don't see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being.
To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence. Thinking that is not rooted in awareness becomes self-serving and dysfunctional.
Cleverness devoid of wisdom is extremely dangerous and destructive. That is the current state of most of humanity.
The amplification of thought as science and technology, although intrinsically neither good nor bad, has also become destructive because so often the thinking out of which it comes has no roots in awareness.
The next step in human evolution is to transcend thought. This is now our urgent task. It doesn't mean not to think anymore, but simply not to be completely identified with thought, possessed by thought.
Feel the energy of your inner body. Immediately mental noise slows down or ceases. Feel it in your hands, your feet, your abdomen, your chest.
Feel the life that you are, the life that animates the body. The body then becomes a doorway, so to speak, into a deeper sense of aliveness underneath the fluctuating emotions and underneath your thinking. There is an aliveness in you that you can feel with your entire Being, not just in the head.
Every cell is alive in that presence in which you don't need to think. Yet, in that state, if thought is required for some practical purpose, it is there.
The mind can still operate, and it operates beautifully when the greater intelligence that you are uses it and expresses itself through it.
You may have overlooked that brief periods in which you are conscious without thought are already occurring naturally and spontaneously in your life.
You may be engaged in some manual activity, or walking across the room, or waiting at the airline counter, and be so completely present that the usual mental static of thought subsides and is replaced by an aware presence.
Or you may find yourself looking at the sky or listening to someone without any inner mental commentary. Your perceptions become crystal clear, unclouded by thought.
To the mind, all this is not significant, because it has more important things to think about. It is also not memorable, and that's why you may have overlooked that it is already happening.
The truth is that it is the most significant thing that can happen to you. It is the beginning of a shift from thinking to aware presence. Become at ease with the state of â€œnot knowing.
This takes you beyond mind because the mind is always trying to conclude and interpret. It is afraid of not knowing. So, when you can be at ease with not knowing, you have already gone beyond the mind.
A deeper knowing that is non-conceptual then arises out of that state. Artistic creation, sports, dance, teaching, counseling mastery in any field of endeavor implies that the thinking mind is either no longer involved at all or at least is taking second place.
A power and intelligence greater than you and yet one with you in essence takes over. There is no decision-making process anymore; spontaneous right action happens, and you are not doing it. Mastery of life is the opposite of control.
You become aligned with the greater consciousness. It acts, speaks, does the works. A moment of danger can bring about a temporary cessation of the stream of thinking and thus give you a taste of what it means to be present, alert, aware.
The Truth is far more all-encompassing than the mind could ever comprehend. No thought can encapsulate the Truth. At best, it can point to it.
For example, it can say: All things are intrinsically one. That is a pointer, not an explanation. Understanding these words means feeling deep within you the truth to which they point.
Chapter 3 The Egoic Self The mind is incessantly looking not only for food for thought; it is looking for food for its identity, its sense of self.
This is how the ego comes into existence and continuously re-creates itself. When you think or speak about yourself, when you say I, what you usually refer to is me and my story.
This is the i of your likes and dislikes, fears and desires, the I that is never satisfied for long. It is a mind-made sense of who you are, conditioned by the past and seeking to find its fulfillment in the future.
Can you see that this I is fleeting, a temporary formation, like a wave pattern on the surface of the water? Who is it that sees this? Who is it that is aware of the fleetingness of your physical and psychological form? I am.
This is the deeper I that has nothing to do with past and future. What will be left of all the fearing and wanting associated with your problematic life situation that every day takes up most of your attention?
A dash one or two inches long, between the date of birth and date of death on your gravestone. To the egoic self, this is a depressing thought. To you, it is liberating.
When each thought absorbs your attention completely, it means you identify with the voice in your head.
Thought then becomes invested with a sense of self. This is the ego, the mind-made â€œme. That mentally constructed self feels incomplete and precarious. That's why fearing and wanting are its predominant emotions and motivating forces.
When you recognize that there is a voice in your head that pretends to be you and never stops speaking, you are awakening out of your unconscious identification with the stream of thinking.
When you notice that voice, you realize that who you are is not the voice “the thinker“ but the one who is aware of it. Knowing yourself as the awareness behind the voice is freedom. The egoic self is always engaged in seeking.
It is seeking more of this or that to add to itself, to make itself feel more complete. This explains the ego's compulsive preoccupation with future.
Whenever you become aware of yourself living for the next moment, you have already stepped out of that egoic mind pattern, and the possibility of choosing to give your full attention to this moment arises simultaneously.
By giving your full attention to this moment, an intelligence far greater than the egoic mind enters your life. When you live through the ego, you always reduce the present moment to a means to an end.
You live for the future, and when you achieve your goals, they don't satisfy you, at least not for long.
When you give more attention to the doing than to the future result that you want to achieve through it, you break the old egoic conditioning.
Your doing then becomes not only a great deal more effective, but infinitely more fulfilling and joyful. Almost every ego contains at least an element of what we might call "victim identity".
Some people have such a strong victim image of themselves that it becomes the central core of their ego.
Resentment and grievances form an essential part of their sense of self. Even if your grievances are completely justified, you have constructed an identity for yourself that is much like a prison whose bars are made of thought forms.
See what you are doing to yourself, or rather what your mind is doing to you. Feel the emotional attachment you have to your victim story and become
aware of the compulsion to think or talk about it. Be there as the witnessing presence of your inner state. You don't have to do anything.
With the awareness comes transformation and freedom. Complaining and reactivity are favorite mind patterns through which the ego strengthens itself.
For many people, a large part of their mental-emotional activity consists of complaining and reacting against this or that.
By doing this, you make others or a situation wrong and yourself right. Through being right, you feel superior, and through feeling superior, you strengthen your sense of self. In reality, of course, you are only strengthening the illusion of ego.
Can you observe those patterns within yourself and recognize the complaining voice in your head for what it is?
The egoic sense of self needs conflict because its sense of a separate identity gets strengthened in fighting against this or that, and in demonstrating that this is me and that is not me."
Not infrequently, tribes, nations, and religions derive a strengthened sense of collective identity from having enemies.
Who would the believer be without the unbeliever?" In your dealings with people, can you detect subtle feelings of either superiority or inferiority toward them? You are looking at the ego, which lives through comparison.
Envy is a by-product of the ego, which feels diminished if something good happens to someone else, or someone has more, knows more, or can do more than you.
The ego's identity depends on comparison and feeds on more. It will grasp at anything.
If all else fails, you can strengthen your fictitious sense of self through seeing yourself as more unfairly treated by life or more ill than someone else. What are the stories, the fictions from which you derive your sense of self?
Built into the very structure of the egoic self is a need to oppose, resist, and exclude to maintain the sense of separateness on which its continued survival depends. So there is "me" against the "other, "us" against "them."
The ego needs to be in conflict with something or someone. That explains why you are looking for peace and joy and love but cannot tolerate them for very long. You say you want happiness but are addicted to your unhappiness.
Your unhappiness ultimately arises not from the circumstances of your life but from the conditioning of your mind. Do you carry feelings of guilt about something you did“or failed to doin the past?
This much is certain: you acted according to your level of consciousness or rather unconsciousness at that time. If you had been more aware, more conscious, you would have acted differently.
Guilt is another attempt by the ego to create an identity, a sense of self.
To the ego, it doesn't matter whether that self is positive or negative. What you did or failed to do was a manifestation of unconsciousness “human unconsciousness."
The ego, however, personalizes it and says, I did that, and so you carry a mental image of yourself as bad.
Throughout history humans have inflicted countless violent, cruel, and hurtful acts on each other, and continue to do so.
Are they all to be condemned; are they all guilty? Or are those acts simply expressions of unconsciousness, an evolutionary stage that we are now growing out of?
Jesus words, Forgive them for they know not what they do, also apply to yourself. If you set egoic goals for the purpose of freeing yourself, enhancing yourself or your sense of importance, even if you achieve them, they will not satisfy you.
Set goals, but know that the arriving is not all that important.
When anything arises out of presence, it means this moment is not a means to an end: the doing is fulfilling in itself every moment. You are no longer reducing the Now to a means to an end, which is the egoic consciousness.
*No self, no problem, said the Buddhist master when asked to explain the deeper meaning of Buddhism.
Chapter 4 The Now
On the surface it seems that the present moment is only one of many, many moments. Each day of your life appears to consist of thousands of moments where different things happen.
Yet if you look more deeply, is there not only one moment, ever? Is life ever not this moment?
This one moment, now, is the only thing you can never escape from. The one constant factor in your life. No matter what happens.
No matter how much your life changes. One thing is certain. Its always now. Since there is no escape from the now, why not welcome it, become friendly with it.
When you make friends with the present moment, you feel at home no matter where you are. When you don't feel at home in the now, no matter where you go, you will carry unease with you.
The present moment is as it is, always. Can you let it be? The division of life into past, present and future is mind made, and, ultimately, illusory. The past and future are thought forms, mental abstractions.
The past can only be remembered Now. What you remember is an event that took place in the Now and you remember it Now.
The future, when it comes, is the Now. So the only thing that is real, the only thing that ever is, is the Now.
To have your attention in the Now is not a denial of what is needed in your life. It is recognizing what is primary. Then you can deal with what is secondary with great ease. It is not saying, â€œIâ€™m not dealing with things anymore because there is only the Now.
No. Find what is primary first, and make the Now into your friend, not your enemy. Acknowledge it, honor it.
When the Now is the foundation and primary focus of your life, then your life unfolds with ease. Putting away the dishes, drawing up a business strategy, planning a trip what is more important: the doing or the result that you want to achieve through the doing?
This moment or some future moment? Do you treat this moment as if it were an obstacle to be overcome?
Do you feel you have a future moment to get to that is more important? Almost everyone lives like this most of the time. Since the future never arrives, except as the present, it is a dysfunctional way to live.
It generates a constant undercurrent of unease, tension, and discontent. It does not honor life, which is Now and never not Now.
Feel the aliveness within your body. That anchors you in the Now. Ultimately you are not taking responsibility for life until you take responsibility for this moment Now.
This is because Now is the only place where life can be found. Taking responsibility for this moment means not to oppose internally the suchness of Now, not to argue with what is. It means to be in alignment with life.
The Now is as it is because it cannot be otherwise. What Buddhists have always known, physicists now confirm: there are no isolated things or events.
Underneath the surface appearance, all things are interconnected, are part of the totality of the cosmos that has brought about the form that this moment takes.
When you say yes to what is, you become aligned with the power and intelligence of Life itself. Only then can you become an agent for positive change in the world.
A simple but radical spiritual practice is to accept whatever arises in the Now within and without. When your attention moves into the Now, there is an alertness.
It is as if you were waking up from a dream, the dream of thought, the dream of past and future. Such clarity, such simplicity. No room for problem making. Just this moment as it is.
The moment you enter the Now with your attention, you realize that life is sacred. There is a sacredness to everything you perceive when you are present.
The more you live in the Now, the more you sense the simple yet profound joy of Being and the sacredness of all life.
Most people confuse the Now with what happens in the Now, but that's not what it is. The Now is deeper than what happens in it. It is the space in which it happens. So do not confuse the content of this moment with the Now.
The Now is deeper than any content that arises in it. When you step into the Now, you step out of the content of your mind.
The incessant stream of thinking slows down. Thoughts don't absorb all your attention anymore, don't draw you in totally.
Gaps arise in between thoughts spaciousness, stillness. You begin to realize how much vaster and deeper you are than your thoughts.
Thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, and whatever you experience make up the content of your life.
My life is what you derive your sense of self from, and my life is content, or so you believe.
You continuously overlook the most obvious fact: your innermost sense of I Am has nothing to do with what happens in your life, nothing to do with content.
That sense of I Am is one with the Now. It always remains the same.
In childhood and old age, in health or sickness, in success or failure, the I Am the space of Now remains unchanged at its deepest level.
It usually gets confused with content, and so you experience I Am or the Now only faintly and indirectly, through the content of your life. In other words: your sense of Being becomes obscured by circumstances, your stream of thinking, and the many things of this world.
The Now becomes obscured by time. And so you forget your rooted-ness in Being, your divine reality, and lose yourself in the world.
Confusion, anger, depression, violence, and conflict arise when humans forget who they are. Yet how easy it is to remember the truth and thus return home:
I am not my thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, and experiences. I am not the content of my life. I am Life. I am the space in which all things happen. I am consciousness. I am the Now. I Am.
Chapter 5 Who You Truly Are
The now is inseparable from who you are at the deepest level. Many things in your life matter but only one thing matters absolutely. It matters whether you succeed or fail in the eyes of the world.
It matters whether you are healthy or not healthy, whether you are educated or not educated. It matters whether you are rich or poor. It certainly makes a difference in your life.
Yes, all these things matter, relatively speaking. But they don't matter absolutely. There is something that matters more than any of those things and that is finding
the essence of who your are beyond that short-lived entity, that short-lived personalized sense of self.
You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.
Reincarnation doesn't help you if in your next incarnation you still don't know who you are. All the misery on the planet arises due to a personalized sense of me or us.
That covers up the essence of who you are. When you are unaware of that inner essence, in the end, you always create misery.
It's as simple as that. When you don't know who you are, you create a mind-made self as a substitute for your beautiful, divine being and cling to that fearful and needy self.
Protecting and enhancing that false sense of self then becomes your primary motivating force. Many expressions that are in common usage and sometimes the structure of language itself, reveal the fact that people don't know who they are.
You say, He lost his life. Or, my life as if life were something that you can possess or lose.
The truth is you don't have a life, you are life, the one life, the one conscious that pervades the entire universe and takes temporary form to experience itself as a stone or a blade of grass, as an animal, a person, a star or a galaxy.
Can you sense deep within that you already know that. Can you sense that you already are that?
For most things in life, you need time: to learn a new skill, build a house, become an expert, make a cup of tea.
Time is useless, however, for the most essential thing in life, the one thing that really matters, self-realization which means knowing who you are beyond the surface self, beyond your name, your physical form, your history, your story.
You cannot find yourself in the past or future.
The only place where you can find yourself in the Now. Spiritual seekers look for self realization or enlightenment in the future. To be a seeker implies that you need the future. If this is what you believe, it becomes true for you.
You will need time until you realize that you don't need time to be who you are. When you look at a tree, you are aware of the tree.
When you have a thought or feeling, you are aware of that thought or feeling. When you have a pleasurable or painful experience, you are aware of that experience.
These seem to be true and obvious statements. Yet if you look at them very closely, you will find that in a subtle way their very structure contains a fundamental illusion, an illusion which is unavoidable when you use language.
Thought and language create an apparent duality and a separate person where there is none.
The truth is you are not somebody who is aware of the tree, the thought, feeling or experience. You are the awareness or consciousness in and by which those things appear.
As you go about your life, can you be aware of yourself as the awareness in which the entire content of your life unfolds?
You say, I want to know myself. You are the I. You are the knowing. You are the consciousness through which everything is known and that cannot know itself. It is itself.
There is nothing to know beyond that. And yet all knowing arises out of it.
The I cannot make itself into an object of knowledge, of consciousness. So you cannot become an object to yourself.
That is the very reason the illusion of egoic identity arose because mentally you made yourself into an object.
That's me, you say, and then you begin to have a relationship with yourself and tell others and yourself your story.
By knowing yourself as the awareness in which phenomenal existence happens, you become free of dependency on phenomena and free of self seeking in situations, places, and conditions. In other words, what happens or doesn't happen is not that important anymore.
Things lose their heaviness, their seriousness. A playfulness comes into your life. You recognize this world as a cosmic dance, the dance of form. No more and no less.
When you know who you truly are, there is an abiding alive sense of peace. You could call it joy because that's what joy is, vibrantly alive peace.
It is the joy of knowing yourself as the very life essence before life takes on form. That is the joy of being, of being who you truly are.
Just as water can be solid, liquid, or gaseous, consciousness can be seen to be frozen as physical matter, liquid as mind and thought, or formless as pure consciousness.
Pure consciousness is life before it comes into manifestation and that life looks at the world of form through your eyes because consciousness is who you are.
When you know yourself as that, then you recognize yourself in everything. It is a state of complete clarity of perception.
You are no longer an entity with a heavy past that becomes a screen of concepts through which every experience is interpreted. When you perceive without interpretation, you can then sense what it is that is perceiving.
The most we can say in language is that there is a field of alert stillness in which the perception happens.
Through you, formless consciousness has become aware of itself. Most people's lives are run by desire and fear.
Desire is the need to add something to yourself in order to be yourself more fully. All fear is the fear of losing something, and thereby become diminished and be less.
These two movements obscure the fact that being cannot be given or taken away. Being in its fullness is already within you, now.