Over the past many years, I’ve continued to be interested in learning something which might be considered akin to the truth as pertains to reality and our existence. Some things are starting to click together and in a way it has me somewhat excited. It feels a little new, so I thought I’d explore it here a little. About a year and a half back I wrote a Declaration of Theistic Independence in which I stated with unabashed clarity the plethora of spiritual beliefs to which I do not ascribe. I’ve touched again on this more teasingly in Closed Minded with Geomancers in Glastonbury, England). Another post, entitled “I Am NOT That” was all about a defiance which was arising around all that I am not. All of these writings were primarily concerned with clarifying all the things that I am not and that I don’t believe. I think I’m starting to get, through all that rejection, what I do believe, or at least what I am coming to experience.
The experience is quite simple, but the conveyance is perhaps anything but. It’s difficult to express because the experience itself actually comes without words. I think I’ll start with the most simple way of verbalizing it:
Even that says too much, for the experience is actually precognitive.
Let me try again at a slightly higher level of verbal complexity:
“Everything exists simply as it is.”
Unfortunately, that already begins to sound more logical and philosophical, like something a physics professor might say, as if this had anything to do with physics. I think what I’m trying to say is that when we throttle back on the use of our minds in our everyday experience, then everything becomes simply as it is. Our minds, all day long, and perhaps even in our dream states, attempt to make sense of everything they comes across, and one of the most pervasive of these techniques is to label everything, know it intellectually, and compartmentalize it. The unfortunate side effect is that our experience thus tends to be one created by the mind which reifies everything with which it comes into contact, providing a constant filter through which we experience the world around us and our existence within it. As we distance ourselves from our minds, the world around us and ourselves within it can all be experienced simply as arising within the field of reality. No words, no labels, no interpretation, just forms arising. What remains is sublimely beautiful.
I’m not certain, but I think this may be at the core of the spiritual concept of “non-attachment.” Through practice, we begin to recognize that we are something other than the movie and soundtrack that our minds are playing for us. We exist before those thoughts, before the concepts of who and what we are, before the interpretive understanding of our experience. We may know something as a rock, but in reality it simply is as it is, it is our minds that label it a rock and ascribe various qualities to it. When we let go of the concepts and preconceptions and relax into a state of simple pure presence, all that remains instead of a rock, is a form. All that remains is “this.”
A few weeks ago, I was walking with Sonia in London on a cold wintry wet night and my mind was thinking all sorts of thoughts about the past and the future and feeling some stress arising as a direct result of those thoughts. I distinctly remember recognizing that those thoughts were not at all about whatever was actually happening at that moment and a voice arose within me which said, “and then there’s this,” and magically everything quieted down and became beautiful. The “and then there’s this” was referencing the same “this” that I am talking about now. When those words arose, suddenly all that remained was that which was right there, right then. Past, future and conceptualizations went away, and the beauty of the scene sparkled through with the glistening of the rain, the reflections of the street lights, the glow coming from curtained windows and the sound of our footsteps. None of those things had labels however, they simply were, and are, simply…
Here is a song my very talented songwriter/performer friend Amitabhan wrote by the same name as this post: “this.”. i think he’s onto something similar.