It’s often helpful to trace what’s on the surface back to what it more essentially is about.
I have a belief and explore that belief. In that process, I may find underlying assumptions and explore these. And I may again find underlying assumptions. These underlying assumptions are often simpler and more essential, they may innocent and childlike since they often are formed in childhood, and they are often universal and easily recognizable by most or all humans.
WHAT WE SEEK
I seek or want something. What do I hope to get out of having what I seek? And what do I hope to get out of that? I can keep asking myself this question, and notice the honest answer in me, until I arrive at a something that seems most essential. Here too, it’s often something that’s simple, innocent, childlike, and universal.
FASCINATION WITH THE ABSTRACT AND GENERAL
I am fascinated by some abstract philosophical, existential, or political question or topic that seems mostly removed from my life. When I look at what this really is about, I tend to find something specific, personal, and simple. It’s essential, childlike, universal, and may seem obvious and what we already knew without really knowing it.
WHAT I AM
I wonder what I most essentially am. I may go to philosophy and what others tell me, but that’s all conceptual and there is nothing real in it for me. What am I in my own first-person experience? Here too, I may find that what I am, most essentially, is something simple and almost childlike in it’s simplicity, universal, and something I knew without really knowing it.
QUALITIES OF THE ESSENTIAL
In each of these cases, when I trace it back to what seems most essential, what I find often has that simplicity, innocence, and universality, and it’s something I knew without really knowing it.
This tracing itself is helped by the same qualities of simplicity and innocence. I ask myself what’s more essential, wait for an answer, and notice what – sincerely and honestly, for me – seems more essential.
I may also find what seems most essential, and later discover something even more essential.
Why does this get complexified in the first place? Why are we often not consciously aware of the essence?
One answer is that we can get caught up in our ideas about it instead of a simple noticing. It’s what happens when we start holding thoughts as true, and get into struggle with our experience.
For the same reason, it can also seem too intimate and vulnerable to admit the essence to ourselves and perhaps others.
Yet another answer is lila, this is the play of life and our consciousness, temporarily hiding itself from itself.
If we have a general or abstract question, it’s often rooted in something far more specific and personal
Sometimes, we may be fascinated by a philosophical, abstract, and general question or topic. And when we look a bit closer, we may find that it boils down to a far more specific and personal question. (Which is usually quite universal as well, although in a different way.)
As Adyashanti says, is important to be clear on our questions. If we find our actual question, we have a better chance of exploring it. And we may even find that the answer gives itself. The answer was obscured by our mind making it into a more abstract and general question.
For several reasons, it’s helpful to trace our questions, motivations, fears, and so on, back to their simple essence.
I may also find what seems most essential, and later discover something even more essential. And I may refine how I phrase it or see it from a slightly different angle or in a different context.
I am fascinated by some abstract, general, and philosophical question or topic that seems mostly removed from my life. When I look at what this really is about, I tend to find something specific, personal, and simple. It’s essential, childlike, universal, and may seem obvious and what we already knew without really knowing it.