Another symmetry, this one of Spirit pretending in two different ways.
Spirit pretending to believe in ideas
Spirit, as emptiness, awakeness and form, pretends to believe in ideas and makes a limited identity for itself. The field of seeing and seen makes itself appear as a segment of itself, it makes itself appear as I and Other. Its true nature, as the Ground of seeing and seen absent of I anywhere, is still alive in immediate awareness, but ignored due to the beliefs. And it is really just pretending to believe, although it makes it seem very real to itself.
The core belief is in the idea of I as a segment of the field of seeing and seen, and the peripheral beliefs are all the ones that makes up identity: human being, Asian, five foot six, libertarian, heterosexual, likes to drink beer, roots for the Wildcats, a computer programmer, and so on. (That is not me, by the way…!)
Spirit pretending to be what it really is
Through this first level of pretending, Spirit makes itself appear as a segment of itself, in our case, as a human being. I am this human self, and Other is the rest of the world, other people, nature, awareness, God, Spirit, and so on.
As there is still the immediate awareness of being the Ground of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere, there is a longing for coming home – for this “unity” absent of the boundaries of I and Other. And this plays itself out in innumerable ways, in any of the ways we see in human seeking for approval, money, status, relationships, happiness, freedom from suffering, and so on.
One of the ways it plays itself out is in longing for God, for Spirit, for truly coming Home.
And at some point, this longing takes the form of practice, spiritual practice: prayer, meditation, compassion, ethical behavior.
And the funny thing is, each of these practices is just another form of pretending. It is Spirit pretending to be who it really is…!
Or more precisely, it is Spirit imitating what comes naturally when it lives through a human life and has awakened to itself. And through this imitation, it allows its human self to reorganize so the real shift can happen spontaneously, in its own time.
Through prayer, we seek to dissolve the separation of I and Other, or to allow (the sense of) I to dissolve so God can be. We taste, over and over, how it is when God is and “I” am not. When Spirit has awakened to itself, and there is no sense of I and Other anymore.
Through meditation, we seek to allow anything to come and go on its own, as Ground already does. We try to imitate Ground.
Through ethical behavior, we seek to mimic how Spirit lives through a human live when it has awakened to itself. By effort and imitation, we seek to find what is effortless and spontaneous when Spirit has awakened to itself.
All of this imitation and mimicking is essential. As silly as it is from one perspective, it is also essential in another way. It does prepare the ground for a more real awakening. It does allow our human self to reorganize and realign so Spirit can more easily awaken to itself, and more easily live from that awakening through this one particular human life.
:: Pretending, yet experienced as very real
There is a pretending involved. First in Spirit pretending to be just a segment of itself, and then imitating itself as it functions through a human life when it has awakened to itself. Yet, it all also becomes very real in immediate experience.
The identification as a human self appears very real, and gives birth of the whole sense of drama in our lives – in longing, seeking, avoiding, surviving, finding joy, avoiding suffering.
And the seeking of God appears just as real, because it is a part of the same drama. It is the final phase of the drama, and involves the drama of the spiritual seeker and its adventures, misadventures and final release from the drama.