“There is no need of a way out!
Don’t you see that a way out is also a part of the dream?
All you have to do is to see the dream as dream.”
Our true and original nature is the Supreme Source of the universe and all of its infinite energetic manifestations. Everything we see and experience, including the body and its conditions, is a projection of that Source energy as radiant holographic light, which assumes the forms of you and me and everything. There is no “external” reality separate from our own activity as Source, nothing appearing outside of us — no “objective world” — that is not a figment of our own dreamy Source energy projections.
As shards of Source energy, we “co-create” the illusion called “the universe”, along with its dazzling variety of props and experiences, tests and challenges, loves and losses, victories and defeats. The Hindus use the term “lila” for this immense display, commonly translated as “creative divine play”. In any case, it is all a truly awesome mirage, birthed in an act of indescribable love. Though far beyond the comprehension of our limited human intellect, it is still a kind of magic trick all the same. When we turn our attention from the magic to the magician, we make a radical discovery. We’ve been pulling a rabbit out of our own hat!
Somewhere down the road we might become weary of the production, or indifferent to its elaborations, and so create the teacher and the teachings that point back to who and what we truly are, which we’ve pretended to have forgotten when we entered into the game of time and space (which is also our own mental creation). We’ve played all the roles, we’ve seen their effects, garnered the laughs and applause, endured the boos and thumbs down, but now we are ready to lift the curtain. Perhaps we are ready to wake up and See.
Our view as a child is not the same as our view now, but what has changed? For the person, nothing is remembered, but for Source, all is known, because Source is beyond the confines of time. Omniscience is our natural condition, which this human amnesia only temporarily obscures (for the purposes of the game, the play, the theater of action). Source imposes such forgetfulness on Itself, mostly for the joy of remembering Itself once again. As expressions of Source energy, we each provide Source with unique vantage points from which to enjoy Its creative play, as well as vehicles by which to recognize Itself when the causes and conditions ripen.
The individual we take ourselves to be, the sense of “me” in the midst of a particular human incarnational story, is but a momentary modification of this luminous Source energy, typically misperceived as being trapped within a dense material vibration. However, because it arises dependently, it is empty of any inherent and substantial “self” that could ever be truly bound or free. This realization becomes apparent in the course of a sincere and focused inquiry into our real identity. In that conscious process, we notice that all of our emotional suffering, our sense of self, our delusion and frustration, exist only in our “inner” thought world, and moreover, we come to recognize that world is not who or what we are. As we awaken, the whole narrative of “me and mine” is undermined, and eventually seen for the fraud it really is.
Thoughts perpetually arise and dissolve, but do not affect our real being. So too do forms come and go, stories come and go, self-images come and go, but what we are is beyond those transient and non-binding modifications of consciousness. We are them, but they are not us. All angles of vision are nothing but Source, looking out of every eye. Although all eyes are equally Source, some views are cloudy and obscured, while some are crystal clear. Most are somewhere in between. Whatever the view, it has no impact on our immediate awake awareness, the primordial presence of reality itself.
Nevertheless, by habitually granting attention and reality to our passing thoughts, we tend to identify with them to the point of distraction from our free native state, and what ensues is an alternating cycle of desire and fear, craving and aversion. It’s not that there is some separate inner world that exists independently, but rather that the fantasy realm of appearances is only reified when our distracted attention creates it and maintains it. In that way, we are the authors of our own sense of suffering. We are our own jailers.
When we sleep at night, we populate our dreams with all sorts of imaginary creatures and characters. In much the same way, so too does Source populate its dream universe with an infinite variety of dreamy entities and action figures, in order to experience all of the infinite aspects of Itself in every kind of situation. Direct recognition of this process, or seeing the dream as a dream, is called by some “Awakening”, although there is no actual person that awakens. When our attention turns around and rests in the silent space between thoughts, Source recognizes Itself through the open lens of its dream character, remembering its original nature and identity, from which it has never actually been divided.
There is the seed of that true recognition (also called Buddha Nature) within all experience. It is not enhanced, corrupted, or manipulated in any way by the play of consciousness. Just as a mirror is not affected by its reflections, so too does our true nature of transparent awake awareness remain unmodified by any projections in the dream. There is nothing appearing in the mirror that can be grasped or clung to, there is no argument to be won or perfect state to be achieved, nothing requiring figuring out or fixing, nothing in need of redemption or salvation. All of that is just flashing reflections and dream projections.
The flowering of this seed of our original innocence yields the realization that there are no others, and that such dualism is an inaccurate way of perceiving phenomena altogether. Indeed, all conceptual designations or mental fabrications, such as self and other, subject and object, good and evil, light and dark, inner and outer, yin and yang, male and female, old and young, even liberation and bondage, or samsara and nirvana, are simply our own compounded projections flashing in the mirror-mind of Source, and are no more or less real than a fleeting day-dream.
As Nisargadatta Maharaj remarked: “If you seek reality, you must set yourself free of all backgrounds, of all cultures, of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being man or woman, or even human, should be discarded. The ocean of life contains all, not only humans. So, first of all abandon all self-identification, stop thinking of yourself as such-and-such or so-and-so, this or that. Abandon all self-concern, worry not about your welfare, material or spiritual, abandon every desire, gross or subtle, stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and now, you need absolutely nothing.”
Indeed, any attempt to liberate anything is superfluous, since everything is already self-released into the open spacious freedom of primordial awake awareness. Nothing has ever been lacking. Delusion and enlightenment are not two. All of our problems have arisen solely because we believed that we were an independent doer, when in fact that has never actually been the case.
Even now, we can recognize the changeless ground of the Great Perfection that we always already are. In practice, when we observe a thought appearing in mind, we need not follow it, but instead we can notice the clear aware space in which that thought is appearing. By relaxing and resting in that sky-like spaciousness, instead of running after thought, the thoughts themselves and their implications naturally self-release. By repeating this process again and again, the angle of vision will clarify, and the direct recognition of our original nature as Source Itself will move from the silent background to the forefront.
As the great Adept Saraha noted: “The root of the whole of samsara and nirvana is the nature of mind. To realize it, rest in unstructured ease without meditating on anything. When all that needs to be done is to rest in yourself, it is amazing that you are deluded by seeking elsewhere! Everything is of the primordial nature, without its being this and not that.”
At such a juncture, the distance between the arising thought or emotion, and the awareness of it, dissolves, and there is simply awareness experiencing itself as thought or emotion, memory, or perception. The dreamer and the dream are not separate. Our individual consciousness is a mind wave of Universal Consciousness, and indivisible from it. The ocean is the wave and the wave is the ocean. There is only One, mysteriously appearing as everything and anything, and joyously experiencing Itself as all and nothing. When It recognizes its own empty nature as transparent awake awareness, all its expressions are spontaneously self-liberated.
For this recognition, there is no need for complex mental acrobatics, no need to run away and sit in a cave, twisting body and mind into contortions, or chase after every guru on the satsang circuit, hoping that somehow they will provide some special enlightenment ingredient which we believe is lacking in ourselves. We can let go of any sense of limitation right here and now.
All we need do is pay attention, and stop allowing ourselves to be led around by the nose by our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, memories, positions, and conditioned interpretations on perception. Nor do we need to go looking for love – we are love, we are grace, we are beauty and freedom. There is no other place we need to be. Our very appearance in this world, or any world, is the blissful dynamic play of Source, and we are That.
Let’s stop believing otherwise, and let the dream be.
“You are the Supreme Reality beyond the world and its creator, beyond consciousness and its witness, beyond all assertions and denials. Remember it, think of it, act on it. Abandon all sense of separation, see yourself in all and act accordingly.”