The challenge of waking up is seeing who we are not. That is why the Buddha called this the negative path. When we find out who we are not, who we are can finally emerge the crystal clear light of its own.
We cannot find out who we are by adding on, but by seeing what is not true in our beliefs. That is the challenge.
It is like taking a bath. The process is one of removing the great weight of false beliefs and identities we carry with us. Carrying this weight is not only personally exhausting, but it the very source of insecurity that we so desperately seek to end. Thus, the insecurity we desire to be free of, we make possible by our having faith in identities that just are not true.
Awakening is to wake up to this radical truth.
Where do you distrust? Do you distrust yourself? Do you distrust where you currently are? Is there any uncertainty about your place in life?
Why do you distrust? What is the root of this uncertainty?
What could you trust?
Start exactly where you are. Start with whatever fear or confusion you might be experiencing right now.
Now look inwards. See what is there.
Can you find the Presence that has always been there and is there right now? This presence is the aliveness that underlies Everything.
Find this presence in yourself. It is there. It is what is seeing THIS.
Can you NOT trust this presence? It is there. If nothing else, you can be absolutely certain of that. How could NOT trust this presence?
That is truth. It is the fundamental truth of your existence. Everything that you see, hear, touch, feel, and think is linked to this presence.
Now REALLY get a sense of that presence that underlies everything. It is deep within you. It is always there for you.
Once you are centered there – expand outwards. Expand NOT in your head, but in your actual sensed reality. See how that underlying presence makes everything you see, hear, feel, and think possible. Everything you see, hear, feel, and think is made possible through this presence.
Now, notice how the presence never changes. It is always just there – unchanging and always available.
It is life itself.
Now, notice how everything it sees, hears, feels, and thinks is in ceaseless change.
That is the dynamic nature of the awakened state. Everything changes on the field that is unchanging and ever-available.
Now dig deeper. Who are you?
Notice that how you Want yourself to be is attached to what you fear. This is key. Your identity is the opposite side of your fear identity.
What do you fear? Isn’t it true that you fear aloneness? Isn’t it true that you fear pain? Isn’t it true that you fear failure? Isn’t it true that you fear the death of your loved ones? Isn’t it true that you fear your own death?
Really absorb your fears. Be brave and see them in their full, awesome array. Feel their power – feel their vitality in your life.
Now, see how stable they are. Unlike the sights and sounds of your immediate life, they are very much like the Presence we talked about. They seem changeless. They appear to be stable and dark.
They are the visible manifestation of the Great Wound. They are the incarnation of everything we feared in our earliest times.
But see that despite their seeming power, they are just an echo of a much earlier time that continues to play out in our present life. They are like the universal Big Bang, the background noise of the universe.
Within what do they play out? Ask yourself this question deeply. Stop reading, for a moment – in what do these fears play out?
Notice that they play out in the complex web of the identity you believe yourself to be. They play out in your deepest insecurities. They are expressed by the person you believe yourself to be! They play out in the difference your presumed self believes it needs to be in this life.
Now listen carefully!
They are the DREAM of YOU. The self you believe yourself to be and all of those swarming fears are a Brand. You and I were branded even before we could speak – as we left our mother’s womb – as we ventured uncertainly out into this life. They are the Dream of LIfe. They are the shadow.
But know that we can’t wish them away, we can’t will them away. That is in fact what the Dream of self-help urges us to do. That is all part of the dream.
Instead we see the fears just as they are; as energy. We stop labeling them. They are a part of our environment, just like this computer is part of my immediate environment. They just are. The more we see them as energy, the less power they hold over us.
When their power weakens, our false identity with them begins to weaken. The dream loses its reality. We no longer define ourselves as the somebody we believe we need to be to give our life meaning and purpose.
But, to whom does this dream lose its reality? Ask yourself that question before reading on. To whom does it lose its reality?
It loses its reality to the dream character we have believed ourselves to be.
When we wake up to the dream of fear, we too easily move back into the dream character. We have grown used to its feel. We have grown overly comfortable with our fears and insecurities.
So, if we are not this person we have believed ourselves to be, then who are we? When we are not our memories, nor the future they project, then who are we?
Our journey takes us back to where we started. We are that presence we discovered deep inside, we are that presence as it manifests in this here and now. We cease to be the false person looking out of their fear-based shell onto an ever potentially threatening life.
But here is the decisive point. Here is where this dialogue takes us to new places.
Life call on us to join the dance. When we rest exclusively in the paradox of unchanging and ever-changing awareness, our own song withers. We are called upon to manifest the love that emerges when we realize that we ARE one with everything. The spirit of oneness is LOVE and the purest TRUST in that which IS. We take that universe changing NEXT STEP. We act from limitless connection and the love that binds all of together. How YOU express that love is your song. Most of the time this song will just be a quiet appreciation for what it, but life will call on us to raise our voice – that time will come.
Only you can take that step wedded in love and trust. It is the voice of presence in life. It is the co-creator of life. It IS.