One thing each of us can relate to in life is its constantly changing nature. Whether this is a comfort or a source of fear we all have to live with this reality; the wheel turns, life moves on and all changes. Occasionally we’re reminded that within this ever changing landscape, this path we tread is a journey. It has an end as surely as it had a beginning.
Along the way, even moment by moment we see within our experience things arising and passing away. It’s easiest to notice these in terms of the ephemeral moods and feelings that come up throughout the day. How often do we get a strong urge, a clear feeling, then if we fail to act it out we suddenly notice a little while later it’s completely gone; vanished without a trace. Why did it seem so real at the time?
But this is part of the movement of life isn’t it? The only constant for us, if it can be called that, is the field of awareness within which all is seen to arise. That simple awareness; the screen on which all appears and yet which is never touched or moved itself, any more than a cinema screen could be damaged by the battle depicted upon it.
And yet we can’t objectify awareness. It’s immediately apparent that this aspect of All is not any sort of thing. It has no objective reality. And as such it’s not personal either; it’s not ‘my awareness’. Awareness arises through this form at this time but it does not belong to the form.
It’s this arising of awareness with or through form, and we may include thought and feeling in this, that gives a clue that it is itself an aspect of that which, beyond form, cannot be labelled awareness. But whilst this might be seen it is far beyond my limited ability with language to in any way convey in words.
Returning to the awareness and its arising through this form, we can outline a process of how this occurs. That which is detected by the senses is perceived. This perception leads to an understanding of the nature of that which has been sensed. This in turn gives rise to patterns of recognition and response.
It’s really the second part of this which is of interest to us for within this, and within the process of becoming and identification that follows we see the arising of suffering. If we look closely we see that there is that which arises within awareness. If there is no attachment, no becoming, then this simply arises and ceases. There is no suffering because we’re not born into this moment. There is the presence of awareness but no ‘I’ to suffer, to delight, to react, to measure or to relate.
But as soon as perception leads, through the patterns and pathways of the personality, to identification; as soon as there’s a ‘me’ this is happening to with my opinion, my feelings, my considerations, then there are two points here aren’t there? There is the arising and, being born into this moment, a ‘me’ against which this is measured.
But actually if we just let seeing happen, if it doesn’t become ‘my experience’, ‘my perception’; if we’re not born into this moment, then there can’t be this relativity. That which arises, simply arises and passes away without attachment and without suffering.
These few words hardly serve to illustrate this but if we look for ourselves, really let go and look deeply into this without preconception or expectation we can see this process and its results for ourselves. Then we take the first few steps of the path to freedom.