In our culture, we tend to think of the drama of human life as inevitable, a defining characteristic of human life, and also that which makes us fully human – the juice and substance of what it means to be human. And this is all correct in a certain sense, but it is not the whole story.
The drama arises when we are blindly caught up in the processes of the personality, when we are caught up in the habitual patterns of emotions, thoughts and behaviors – all triggered by specific external situations.
But this is a case of mistaken identity. We exclusively identify with the small self, and ignore the vastness that is beyond the small self.
We can awaken, and usually first to the nature of awareness. We recognize it as empty of any characteristics, as distinct from the world of phenomena. Yet, if we try to put words in it, the closest ones may be spacious awareness, space and cognizance (probably the most correct description but also a little awkward to say), void, deep stillness.
Here, we find a “ground” distinct from the small self – the body/personality – and we gain a new sense of overview and perspective. We also have found a way to allow ourselves to not automatically be caught up in the processes of the small self. We discover that we can allow all the experiences of the small self – the sensations, emotions, thougths, behaviors – arise within this spacious awareness. We do not need to automatically engage in them, to automatically fuel or push them away. We can allow ourselves more time, and can respond to situations more from clarity than confusion. This new freedom also allows us to engage more fully in life, with less hesitation. The need for resistance to our experiences – which is what causes us suffering – falls away.
We discover that the drama all comes from being blindly caught up in the habitual patterns of the small self, and that there is a wider space which allows us to stay in awareness without being automatically caught up in these processes. From this space, there is no drama – only clarity and a sense of connection.
Of course, this is a process. We learn to recognize and come to this part of ourselves, and to include this in more and more situations in daily life.
We may also discover that awareness/consciousness beings to function in a more transdual way here. We see all phenomena as aspects of a fluid seamless whole. We see that awarness and phenomena are aspects of a fluid seamless whole. We open up for a sense of rich intimacy with all phenomena, a sense of connection and no separation. And this in turn opens for a natural sense of compassion with all beings and for natural joyfulness.
And as this clarity, compassion and joyfulness comes from resting in the nature of mind, they are not dependent on any particular inner/outer situations in the relative aspect of Existence. It is always there and available to us (although we may temporarily not be available to it).
In short, we can say that exclusively identifying with the small self – or temporarily being caught up in it – is what creates the drama and the suffering. And we are not really experiencing life fully here, because we push away experiences (as well as we can) or get blindly caught up in them, and in either case – it is not fully experienced. There is also typically a lot of fear and hesitation involved, and a sense of disconnection with ourselves, others and the larger whole. It is not quite as juicy and great as it sometimes is made out to be.
When we (as awareness/consciousness) awaken to our own nature, we find a new “ground”. This allows us to fully experince whatever comes out, withouth automatically and blindly push it away or fuel it. We can fully experience it, allow it to surge through us (if it is a strong emotion), and it expands the sense of space and clarity. At the same time, the transdual view – the sense of no separation – gives rise to an experience of rich and lush intimacy with all phenomena. And we have discovered more layers to ourselves, which increases the experience of fullness and richness.