Exaggerating the distinction between what and who we are

The nature and purpose of words is to make distinctions where there, in reality, is none. All is a seamless whole, and when we use words, we create imagined separation lines in the world to help us communicate and function in the world.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this. It’s how we function, and it’s what allows us to function as human beings in the world.

The distinction between who and what we are

One of the distinctions many, including myself – guilty as charged – make, is between what and who we are. Between our true nature as capacity for our world and the world. Between what all our experiences happen within and as, and all the changing experiences.

This can be a helpful distinction since we typically identify with the content of our experience and overlook what it happens within. It can help us notice our true nature.

And it’s not such a helpful distinction if we come to think and believe that this distinction is, in any way, real and somehow inherent in reality.

The reality is that both are aspects of a seamless whole, and even highlighting them as aspects is taking it a bit too far. Still, that’s what we have to do if we are to talk about it, and it can be helpful. It’s just good to notice that we are placing imagined dividing or distinction lines on this seamless whole.

Trying to talk about it in a way that highlights the seamless whole

If I am to talk about it with these distinction lines while trying to point out the seamless nature of it, it can be said simply but it will seem opaque and confusing unless we notice it for ourselves. For instance, our true nature takes the form of all our experiences.

It can also be said in a more detailed and convoluted way…. What we are is awake capacity for our world, it’s what our experiences happen within and as. This awake capacity takes the form of the content of experience, and the true nature of the content of our experience is this awake capacity.

What happens if we take the distinction too seriously?

What can happen if we take the separation line too seriously? If we hold onto the words more than we notice what they point to, and take the words as pointing to a division inherent in reality?

We can tell ourselves that the world is somehow less important or an illusion, perhaps in order to distance ourselves from it and the pain inherent in it (instead of embracing and befriending that pain), and we can live as if this is how it is. This can lead to all sorts of misguided adventures, which then become a valuable part of our awakening path and is not inherently wrong.

In a general sense, we may overlook that our true nature takes the form of all our experiences, and overlook the true nature of each of our experiences.

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