(The following is an adaptation from a letter to an old friend which I’d like to share with my NDL friends! James)
…Since childhood, my life has been driven with a deep and unrelenting need to know the truth. For decades I chased this elusive “truth”, thinking that it would be more fully found in time, with the right teacher(s)and right efforts. The truth to me was something I did not know but which I could and surely would know, if only I gave it sufficient dedication. So I pursued it doggedly, with a kind of devotion that has led me through, around and over all the conceived obstacles…”my mechanics”…”body types”…”self-remembering”…
All my seeking and subsequent efforts were supported by my passionate devotion to “Beauty” – this last subject was one that appealed powerfully to my body/mind conditioning. Beauty… not in all its subtle unlimited forms and expressions, but primarily that aesthetic, high, championed Beauty. Clasical art, music, architecture, literature and travel became my path to Truth, ( I now see it all as part of my particular path to Grace, to God to Love.)
I was devoted to Beauty and felt a close connection thereto. I was given to “understand” that I and a few other fortunate friends were called to develop or advance spiritually, to bring a certain “nobility” to living a “chosen” life that would give me something precious that most of “life” never had or valued. In short, my path to truth fed my spiritual ego; it made me and my Friends “special”. At bottom, it turns out, I thought truth was an idea or ideal, and that – once known – it could be grasped and possessed, and that some authority figure(s) out there knew the truth and could give it to me…for a price.
Fast forward to now, as I sit here writing you on this cool, grayish,”Scottish” morning: I see that, for me, truth lies right here now, in awareness, in this moment.
That truth is not an idea or ideal, but alive and established..solid and always changing. And there is a seeing that there is nothing to know about reality with this mind and its feelings about it. For me, (and it seems for all sentient beings) this truth when realized, is a perception and not a conception or “belief”. In the interest of a some clarity here, I will try to trace this discovery a little…
I found the timeless in time. First, with a sudden and timeless shift of perception, I was graced to know clearly that “I” am not an idea; that “I” am not my mind. This happened with the simple realization that I could not find a “Me” or “James” in my head when I sat silently and sincerely dropped the question “who am I really?” deep into my heart. All I found was ideas – not a substantial “me”. It was a simple dawning – like a quiet, early morning sunrise – that revealed what I know now for myself as the obvious and simple existence of our being. A simple being without labels which is impossible to describe with labels.
What seemed to follow (but is only another story from memory now) was a second realization that “I” am not my body either.
I could not find a “me” there – only a physical body that is ultimately observed by something else that is not the “me” of the mind or body. The veil was pulled all the way back – not by me, but in spite of me! I saw then and see now, that there is no “me” – that “me” is a fiction; an invention of ego/mind which can only produce concepts that re-present reality (and cause its attendant suffering) but are not the truth itself. The truth is not the finger that points to the moon! So what is the truth for me now?
Sitting here, now, in silence, there is an absence of any real me…there is awareness only…a simple recognition and loving delight in watching…it’s a kind of constant flame that burns up ideas and dwells only in present being, gently watching with some amusement and always loving…
There is a simultaneous observing of what is, mostly without any belief in any thought (the mind goes on chattering like a TV in the corner and a short engagement sure can happen! It fades faster, it seems.) …without any seeking to believe anything,..the body goes on well with its functions; I look after it and am not much concerned with its pains other than when it signals a need for closer attention or medical treatment. What else is true here?…
The truth is I don’t know the truth. I have no idea what it is – other than this, here, now. But I do know what is not true,..(for me)… as many sages have said: “only know what is false” and what is true will reveal itself. I don’t know that truth; there is a recognition that it is unknown, and unknowable, by the body/mind. But it is known by itself…awareness is aware of its own nature. I call this “Natural Well-Being” (please use NDL “Search” for more references to “Natural Well-Being”)
I know I don’t know.
All this gets lost and tangled up in words-about-words, and what I’m attempting to put into words here is difficult – impossible in fact!
Speaking only for me, I see we do not know the truth, we are the truth. That is affectionate awareness, or love. It’s nothing like I thought or felt it would be. (Although I recall that Gurdjief said something about how the truth would present a world completely different and “upside down” from what we thought the world to be) It is alive, unknowable because mysterious, timeless, causeless, meaningless and measureless. (And unavailable to empirical science) It is inscrutable as a frog, infinite as life; transcendent of all its forms of expression, yet immanent in all its forms too – including our humanity.
So for me truth is found in that which is the source – that which enables all expressions…the manifested form of the unmanifested formless…the noumenal expressed in the phenomenal…which we call “my life” when in truth it is simply “life” and not “mine”. All that happens -including anger, fear, despair, greed, confusion,words/ideas/knowledge/science and …whatever…occurs within this ultimate awareness… And that which is our born nature dies, but our unborn nature is deathless…it is and we are, this apriori source, this life itself.
Ah, the futility of all this attempted languaging! No wonder the mystic Taoists said that “those who speak do not know… those who know do not speak”… it is a fools game to use words about the wordless!…still, we persist!..that’s the nature of being deluded and human.
I’ll close this long missive with an invitation…please feel free to respond any way you see fit – let’s be open and candid – we can be not only good friends but also good mirrors! Whatever else we may think and feel is “true”, perhaps we can agree that what we are – in a word – is love?..
Be well dear friends!