Topsy Turvy

Buddha Shakyamuni apparently said that most sentient beings have it all upside-down.

Here are some ways to look at that.

When I am exclusively identified with my human self, I…

See myself as an object in the world. I am here, everything else is out there. My view is dualistic, I emphasize the poles and not the polarities. I am attached to a fixed and limited identity, and I spend energy protecting this identity. I judge any statement about me, any of my own actions, and any situation I find myself in against my desired and exclusive identity. I try to hold onto or push away my experiences. Many experiences stick and I get caught up in them. I experience a great deal of struggle. My human self is all there is, the only ground I know.

When I find myself as formless awareness and everything arising in the present, I…

See that the world is arising within me. I am, and everything is here. My view is transdual, I see the polarities and the poles within them. There is no particular identity, the freedom to fluidly move among any identities depending on the situation, and no fixed or exclusive identity to defend. Any statement said about me is included (I can find the truth in any and all of them), and there is no need to compare any action or situation against any particular identity. Any and all experiences come and go as guests – as they naturally do on their own. There is nothing to hold onto, they leave no traces (apart from in memory, but that too is just a fleeting experience). I experience a sense of ease in daily life. My human self is a vehicle for me in the world of phenomena, and my ground is as formless awareness.

Of course, to be stuck in this second version is also to have it upside down. The “right side up” is more to include both, to see that both are accurate. And to become more deeply familiar with the fluidity of both in daily life.

Each one is there in our immediate experience. Although familiarity with one, the other or both tends to determine how available each one is in our immediate experience, what the temporary volume is for each.

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