Someone asked me yesterday, ‘Is it worth it?’ We had been discussing non-duality and got to part about dropping everything along the way, seeing through attachments, beliefs, identity. I’d been blunt, there was no point sugar coating it but it’s not easy stuff to take on board, hence the question, I guess.
I really didn’t know how to answer. Luckily someone stepped in for me and saved me the trouble: “It’s not that it’s all blissed out happiness but I wouldn’t go back.” That was her remark and I couldn’t help but agree. It struck me that I really should have a better prepared answer for this question because it is an important one. But it’s also not straightforward.
The first and most obvious problem is that if you paint a picture of all the good bits, even if you could frame it all in words, you create in the other the sense of a seeker who can find this. All that will happen is that they end up making a goal out of what is in essence a letting go of all goals.
The other main problem is that language just hasn’t evolved to cope with the experiences that non-duality brings. All I could say is to ask the questioner to reflect on what we’re discussing here. We’re talking about no separation; not just between subject and object but between experiencing and the source of all. That’s not put-into-wordsable; at least not for me. It is sublime. It’s the seeing through and dissolving of all identities in the Source (my word-de-jour for that which has no name). I mean, how do you describe that?
And actually the question has other nuances as well. It really depends upon your focus. Yes, we lose a lot of our baggage and more drops away over time. With no sense of a personal self we lose much of that which has the potential to cause us suffering. But if you’ve been conditioned to a certain type of lifestyle, if you’re a go-getter, an out and out materialist, then this dropping away can itself can be the cause of suffering and confusion.
When nothing has any meaning anymore because all meanings are seen through as thoughts that reflect a viewpoint rather than reality we can feel anchorless and adrift. How you can you have a personal agenda if there’s no person here? You can see the problem. Suddenly your ‘life’s journey’ is nothing more than the story of a fictional character. A fictional character who’s just been killed off in the third act. Now you sit watching the empty stage wondering what’s going to happen next; if anything. It’s hard to get much more anchorless than that.
So what do we do? There is only one thing, we ground ourselves fully in the moment; in just this. How is this right now – no stories, no fantasies, no worries, no dreams, just now?
That might seem out of control for someone who’s used to endlessly planning for what lies ahead, but are any of these plans worth it? Do they ever happen the way we thought they would? What if all of our carefully laid strategies aren’t really necessary? What if instead of helping us prepare they in fact limit our responsiveness by pre-judging the situation before we actually experience it? What if we let them go and try it a different way?
We can only ever act in the moment. If we anchor ourselves in the moment, in front of us are all of the options and choices that we can access, that doesn’t change. So what are they? What feels right? What do we see? Without the script, just ad-libbing, looking closely at what’s right here. It’s not even that hard, it’s actually what we do a lot of the time without realising it.
So then looking happens, choices happen, actions occur, and life moves on. And that’s it. Somehow it all seems to take care of itself. We start to see that this highly controlled life we thought we were living; in which we thought everything through a thousand times before taking a step isn’t really what was happening at all. What’s actually been happening is that thought was chattering on about everything that could possibly go wrong; we were obsessing over all of these future scenarios, then choices arose and we acted and then retrospectively justified all of those choices and responses with another littany of thought chatter.
We never really were in control, we just clung onto the illusion that we were because the alternative either never occurred or perhaps if it did it seemed too awful to contemplate.
So what does letting go look like? Well, it happens choicelessly. When we see clearly, when we realise how it is, letting go takes place, we don’t make it happen (the thought that we could is just another of illusion of control). From the outside we remain the functional normal citizens we always were (assuming we were) but then appearances rarely tell us the full story do they? Because what’s actually happening is that we’re riding the maelstrom. We’ve taken off the armour, and we’re standing naked in front of the storm in the full acceptance that whatever this moment brings is what it brings. And the degree to which we see clearly conditions our response to whatever that is.
And that’s it. There is no plan, no agenda, no life story, no journey, no path, no great scheme we’re following, no divine guidance, nothing. Just this. Just this moment. It might not be as interesting as the story we’ve been telling ourselves but this isn’t about stories this is about truth. It just is this way, and why should that conform to our preferences or anyone else’s?
So, if stories can be better then why wouldn’t you go back? Because they aren’t real, they aren’t true and they all fall apart eventually. We enter this life with nothing, we leave with nothing and what we gain along the way we lose again in the end. That’s life isn’t it?
If you’re ready to wake up then tune into this, as it is right now. See it, see all of what can be seen. Bring nothing to the moment, expect nothing from it. Create no one and nothing within it. Simply allow seeing to happen. This is letting go. This is freedom. Simple beautiful freedom.
Even when the world falls apart you’ll see the shape of a cloud or a patch of sunlight and love it and they might all think you mad for that, but let them. You won’t buy into their stories because you can’t. And they might think you have something they don’t and they’ll want it but you can’t give it. Because you’re holding nothing and they want everything. You smile because you see it, you see they already have everything, but they don’t realise it. The universe already has the universe, you can’t add anything to it or take anything away. It’s just not a personal thing.