One of the things that struck home recently is how ordinary this life is. As Awakeness has stabilized as itself and has begun to infiltrate this body/mind unit, there is the realization that everything is exactly as it was before.
Like this morning: the body/mind woke up; then off to the bathroom; then downstairs to make coffee. While waiting for coffee, pet and brush Meola, the cat. Coffee’s done. Back upstairs to the computer. Play around with some stock options. Enter my online classrooms to see if there is any activity that requires my attention. Kiss Janene as she heads off to her office. Work on some of my photographs in Adobe Lightroom. Exercise on the treadmill. Eat lunch. Practice the piano. Take the dogs for a walk. Take a nap. And so on. Nothing has changed.
Dogan (c. 1300) attempted to bring home the same point many centuries ago. To paraphrase him, “before enlightenment, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers; upon enlightenment, mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers; and after enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and rivers are once again rivers.
Previous to having awakened and stabilized, there was a ‘me’ that had identified as being someone with a particular name, set of beliefs, memories, feelings, and thoughts. Someone who went about doing things. Even this body was thought of as mine.
Upon ‘waking up,’ there is the realization that we are not all those things: we are not someone at all. We are not who we think we are. We are not our ideas; our belief systems; our names; our memories; or even our bodies. There is a dropping away of mind and body that can be recognized in a mild way, such as “oh!” or as a completely transformative breakthrough. There is the realization that all those things are not ‘me’. In fact, there is no ‘me’ at all. Whatever I am is just what is unfolding, what is arising right now, including all thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.
Over time; as stabilization occurs as this one consciousness; as this one awareness, we are right back where we started. Life, activity, beingness itself, goes on as it did before. There is an apparent life that is expressing itself through this particular body/mind unit. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that experiencing is happening through this apparent body/mind unit. Both statements, however, are not exactly true. There really is nothing going on (or nothing doing: see my previous post). And yet, there is activity seemingly unfolding in the midst of this boundless awareness, both inextricably linked and inseparable from one another.
And, it is important to mention, although there is an apparent witness or observer of all the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, that arise, an apparent witness who often finds amusement in observing what this supposed person or character does as ‘he’ goes about ‘his day, there is the realization that “I” am is not even that.
There is no witness or observer independent of what is being observed. Both co-arise. As Niels Bohr once wrote: “the universe and the observer of the universe co-arise in a mutually creative fashion.” There really isn’t a hair’s breadth of separation between the two. There is just this.
However, the main point of this blog post is this: There is nothing special here. There is nothing special about ‘being awake’. That is because there is no being that is awake. There is not “me” or “I” here that can be awake. There is just this awake consciousness/activity itself. There is just beingness unfolding right now; whatever that is.
Except now, there is little to no stress; or suffering; or anxiety. (Some of these feelings might still arise as a result of conditioning; but they are quickly seen through.) That which is neither an observer of activity or activity is now free to just be. And the apparent person, who is really nothing more than the conditioned patterns that constitute the localized awareness of this particular body/mind unit, is free to do ‘its’ thing and to revel in the experience of this alive beingness, even when engaged in the most mundane activity.
Isn’t it wonderful! Just this!