Absolute & Relative

Although the absolute and relative are two aspects of the same whole, there are also many interesting interactions between them.


When we are exclusively identified with our human self, we are – temporarily – stuck in the relative. We find ourselves as a small object in a much larger world, and our view is by necessity dualistic. We perceive the world in us vs. them, inner vs. outer, mind vs. body, culture vs. nature and so on, and don’t see the larger whole that these are processes within.

Our view is fragmented. We experience the world as a struggle and unavoidable suffering. Our circle of concern is limited and exclusive to various degrees.

On the one hand, this gives us discernment, effectiveness in the world, practical knowledge, and engagement in life – in short, familiarity with the world of form.

On the other hand, it gives us blind attractions and aversions, struggle and suffering.


When we find ourselves as formless awareness, space & awareness, the Unborn, the Original Face, the groundless ground, we may be – temporarily – stuck in the absolute. From the “prison” of being exclusively identified with our human self, we are now “free” and discover a whole new aspect of Existence and a new – nondual – view.

Now, we are that in which time & space and the whole world of phenomena arises, internal and external to this human self. We are no longer blindly caught up in changing situations and experiences, but allow them all to come and go as guests (as they do anyway). We are finally “free” from struggle and suffering, and there is a sense of ease in everyday life.

In its purest form, there is equanimity here with no preferences whatsoever. We are just the formless awareness everything unfolds within. The projection screen the world of form appears upon. It is all the same, in its nature and in our experience.

In its healthy form, it gives a sense of freedom, release from suffering, and the realization that all is complete as is.

In its unhealthy form, it can be expressed as… Cold-heartedness, because all is complete as is – it is all God, Buddha Mind, Spirit. Denial of any path of practice, because it is all right here – there is nowhere to go. Denial of any attempt to describe it, because words split and this is beyond all polarities. And so on.


From this, there is a deepening transdual view – embracing the relative and absolute, our human self and Big Mind. There is a deepening familiarity with both and a new fluidity in expressing one or the other more strongly in various situations.

Our sense of “I” was first placed on our human self and then on the absolute. Now, we see that no segment of the field (of form and formlessness) has an inherent “I”. Any sense of “I” comes from a temporary overlay of abstractions, and we can now allow this “I” to drop or move it more freely around depending on the situation.

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