So, for instance, when you say that the mystery is emptiness, this does not capture it completely. It does not give you the whole picture. You might say it is stillness. Well, you’ve then discovered something else about it, which helps you understand what it does to desires and agitations. When you realize this stillness, you experience that the whole universe is still. Yet, since you have an innately inquiring mind and you are inquiring into the stillness, the next day you realize that the mystery is not only stillness, it is also knowledge. What does that mean? Well, you knew it was stillness, and you knew it was emptiness, so knowledge must be intrinsic to it. But the next day, you realize that somehow defining the mystery as knowledge does not do it either. You can say that the mystery is stillness, you can say it is knowledge, you can say it is emptiness, but any one of these—and even all of them together—do not do it justice. So every day, you have a new discovery about the mystery, as if you were flying through the blackness of outer space and suddenly found you had alighted on a whole new star system that you can explore with joy and excitement.
But even then, you realize that you have not reached the end, for the glimmer of another star system is beyond this one. Furthermore, you begin to understand that holding on to any of these discoveries will disconnect you from the inexhaustibility of Being—its very essence. You also might realize that you are attached to there being an end to your understanding.
So this is a slightly different approach to understanding the mystery than the concept of indeterminacy. The mystery is indeterminate, but not in the sense that it is impossible to make determinations about it. It is possible to make an infinite number of determinations, but these determinations fall short of capturing the essence of the mystery. Furthermore, these infinite determinations are actually the content of our consciousness.
What else is there to experience? We can say that the mystery is unknowable and forget about it, but if we do that, we remain limited to the fact of its unknowability. But it is also knowable, much more knowable than anything else—in fact, infinitely knowable. But it cannot be known totally and finally, so we can never say we have finished our exploration.
My understanding of the mystery is that it is an inexhaustible richness, and this richness is inseparable from the mystery. The richness is nothing but the revelation of the mystery, and that revelation is completely inexhaustible. This perspective gives us some basis for appreciating the way of inquiry.
– Hameed Ali (aka A.H. Almaas), Spacecruiser Inqury.
It takes a subtle and full understanding of our own field of experience and of how to live harmoniously within it to understand what to do with an external force. In the meantime, we can only do our best until we get to that point. The more we understand how we respond to what is arising within us, the easier it becomes to learn how to deal with what is arising outside of us, so to speak. (At some point, we recognize that whatever happens is not really outside of us.)
When we are pushing against our experience, fighting it off, it doesn’t have the opportunity or the space to be itself. And if it doesn’t have the chance to be itself, it doesn’t have the chance to unfold. And if it doesn’t have the chance to unfold, it doesn’t have the opportunity to reveal its nature. So it continues to be whatever manifestation initially arose. In other words, resisting something is one good way to preserve it in the form that we experienced it to begin with. We resist, hoping to get rid of it, but what we are actually doing is encapsulating it and keeping it in its original form or expression.
– Hameed Ali, Unfolding Now.
This fits my experience, and I wouldn’t say it so strongly. Is it true it’s preserved in it’s initial form? Sometimes it may seem that way. Other times not. And if I look closely, I see it’s not really true. And I also see it’s true that welcoming it – whatever the experience is – does allow it to reveal it’s true nature.
If it’s a contraction, it may reveal images and thoughts behind it, creating the contraction when held as true. It may reveal other emotions, for instance anger may reveal sadness, which in turn may reveal a more basic fear. It may reveal images about the past or the future. It may reveal what’s there as here to protect me, support me. It may reveal love and devotion behind its impulse to protect me. It may reveal it’s strategy as innocently misguided. It may reveal it as awareness, presence, love. It may reveal all that’s here – including appearances of subject (me, I), object (an emotion, contraction, discomfort, a world), and relationship (resistance, welcoming) as all happening as awareness, presence, love.
Our work on the inner path reveals the fundamental beliefs and assumptions of the mind. Our work is a matter of increasing annihilation of what is not true. If we are really honest with ourselves, if we let ourselves live in our aloneness, away from the influences of all that we’ve learned and been told, all the beliefs about the good and the bad, if we really delve into the matter, we see that the world is not what we think and that we are not what we think. For sure your mother was wrong about who you are and never really saw you. How could she see you? She couldn’t go into the night; she barely lived in the day. What your mother didn’t see is your true nature, the unmanifest ground from which you and the world emerge.
Whoever goes into the night will be eaten up, consumed in an instant, incinerated in a second. The night does not love you, does not do good things for you, does not have mercy on you, and does not make your life easy. The only thing the night can do is incinerate you. This is its only effect: absolute annihilation. This sounds scary, but when you see the falsehood of your entityhood and recognize the pure consciousness, you will be consumed with the passion to annihilate what is false. The longing for cessation is the ultimate desire that we have. It is the ultimate death wish, not the usual physical death wish. To die in total and complete annihilation means not knowing that you ever were or that you ever will be. It is absolute darkness, absolute peace. The Sufis refer to this as fana fidhat, the death into the divine essence. The Christian mystics refer to it as disappearing into the divine darkness. The Buddhists refer to it as the cessation of nirvana or the Bardo’s Dharmakaya. All genuine inner teachings speak of this death and consider it the most definitive experience on the path.
Hameed Ali, Diamond Heart V.