When the mind determines that “this isn’t it”, but realization knows that “this is it”, what can we say about the difference?
First, you must know that this is very difficult to put into words. I think it might be best to speak about this difference metaphorically.
When the mind says, “this isn’t it”, that is the voice of the conditioned, personal self. But then this voice drops away, what is really happening is the dropping away of the conditioned and personal self.
The voice that says “this isn’t it” is also the voice of personal desire AND, as I have said a thousand times on this blog, until we see the compulsive force of personal desire as the flip side of one’s identification with inadequacy, we will never see the complete picture of the personal self.
Desire is the personal identification with inadequacy. Personal, self-focused desire ends when the identification with personal, self-focused inadequacy (insufficiency, worthlessness) ends. At those all too brief moments when we feel truly awakened we experience this first-hand. These moments are transitory because the underlying identification with inadequacy inevitably returns and we feel that we are back where we started.
Thus we can truly see “this is it” when the personal self fully drops away. Another way of expressing this is the final seeing through of our identification with inadequacy and the whole array of Fear-Selves that develop in its shadow signifies the return to our Authentic Being. Reading Liberation will help greatly in seeing and understanding this dynamic.
When you read these words know that they are read by the personal self and know that they are written by a personal self – but that doesn’t really matter once the identification with the personal self drops away. As long as we have a body, we will have to use a personal self. We will continue feeling passion, connection, pain, and drive – it’s just that our personal attachment with any condition will be transformed in their totality.
Quite literally, we will have died. The Buddha said that self-realization occurs when the self-cherishing thought cluster is dropped. It is dropped by no one. It just happens when the time is right.
We must grow utterly exhausted and bored with this personal self – this constant negator, the fountain of ceaseless desire. We nurture it in so many ways, but one of the most subtle ways is our “spiritual resistance” to its manifestation. So just let it be as it needs to be, but grow tired by its insistent voice. Stop nurturing it through unnecessary attention or need for it to go away.
Remember, the only difference between the Buddha and yourself is the issue of personal identification.
To me it really feels like death. The bliss of awakening requires the death of the personal self. And death means death. Total annihilation – gone.
Where the personal self is always on the hunt to get what can never be obtained, the Self of realization is always here; strong solid, yet without weight or substance.
Where the personal self is ceaselessly looking here and there and thus is always driven to say “this isn’t it” – the great Self always knows – “this is it”.
It’s easy to misinterpret this post and starting struggling to STOP everything in your experience. People get tied up in the strangest of psychological straight jackets when they try to stop the natural flow of life in the name of extreme spiritual pursuits (which are nothing different from any other project of the personal ego).
The problem is never life. The problem is that we negate our own immediate experience (when we say, “this isn’t it”). Those who seek to experience ego death believe by trying to kill everything in sight are profoundly incorrect. They are, in effect, amplifying the action of ego to a pitch that is agonizing and unnecessary.
What this post counsels is to see the expression of personal inadequacy expressed as personal desire. That is really all you need to see and know. So when we speak of ego death, we are speaking only of the death of that. But it is a vast death indeed.