The final thought before the â€˜breakthroughâ€™ was the very clear realization that there was nothing to be attained. For attainment implied acquisition and acquisition implied change of content of consciousness. But the goal is not change of content but divorcement from content. Thus, Recognition has nothing to do with anything that happens. I am already That which I seek, and therefore, there is nothing to be sought. By the very seeking I hide Myself from myself. Therefore, abandon the search and expect nothing. This was the end of the long search. I died, and in the same instant was born again. Spontaneity took over in place of the old self-determined effort.- Dr. Wolff, The Philosophy of Consciousness Without An Object, p 81.
This is also a relative truth, with a grain of truth in its reversal. And exploring this can help us see the bigger picture, and even clarify the initial truth.
There is nothing to attain in terms of content, just as Dr. Wolff points out. The content can stay the same, it is only the context that shifts. Or rather, the forms are the same, although now realized as being no other than awake emptiness itself, a field of awake emptiness absent of I and Other.
That the sense of a doer goes out of it, so there is no doer there anymore that can attain anything. In addition, there is nothing in it for the personality, because it is just the void awakening to itself. And the void is just a void, nothing there.
So there is nothing to attain… in that the world of form does not need to change, there is no doer there to attain anything, and it is just the void awakening to itself, and the void is just a void, nothing.
Yet, there is something to gain. There is the conventional attainments of the human self, which are inherently neutral and no other than the play of awake emptiness as a thin surface of form. There is the attainment of flux, of something new always coming into being in the world of form (and always already having left). And there is the attainment of shifts, independent of what it is from and to.
And even here, there is nothing to attain, as all of this is living its own life, coming and going as guests, happening on its own and on its own time. Before the shift into Ground noticing itself, what is taken as an “I” can certainly do things to invite that (and other) shifts, but that is about it. We can clean the house, put out the nice table cloth and the cakes and coffee cups, put the pot on the stove, send out the invitations, but that is all. All the guests, the shifts in form (and thus content of experience) and also the shift into Ground noticing itself, they live their own life. Coming and going on their own. On their own time.
This nothing to gain/something to gain exploration is of course a play with words, but a play that reveals and clarifies distinctions.
See below for a part of the initial draft, on how there is something to attain…
(…) but at the same time, there is something to attain.
Of course, there is the conventional attainments of the human individual, although these are inherently neutral (as seen when all the reversals of the stories about it are explored, canceling each other out) and no other than a thin surface of form as the play of awake emptiness itself. And after awakening, the human self does reorganize, so does attain something in a relative sense. (The human self continually attains something no matter what… there is always flux, always something else, always an attainment of something that is already gone. And whatever is attained is always inherently neutral. That is the same before and after an awakening. What happens after an awakening is not inherently better or worse than what happens before.)
And there is also something to attain in Ground noticing itself. It is a shift, and any shift is an attainment, independent of what it is from and to. Before, there is the appearance of an I with an Other. And after, awake emptiness and form recognizing itself as awake emptiness with a thin surface of form, which is no other than the awake emptiness itself. Whether there is a shift in one direction or another, it is an attainment. The shift Dr. Wolff talked about is an attainment, but not more of an attainment than any other shift. And as anything else, it is inherently neutral.
It is just a shift into Ground noticing itself. Freed from a being caught up in taking one region of the field from being more or less I than anything else.