Freshness of experience and expression

As beliefs in ideas fade, go into the background or fall away, there is a more immediate experience of what is arising. Where thoughts would say I have seen this before, there is the immediate experience of whatever arises as always fresh, new, different.

In the same way, as beliefs fall away our words take on a fresh quality. They come out as fresh, new, and different, whether they appear to have been spoken before or not.

Freshness of experience

Thoughts arise with a question: is this similar to what has been experienced or said before? And then maybe, yes, it seems similar.

And if this thought is believed in, another set of thoughts may come up: yes, it is the same. I have seen or heard this before. Things should be new, yet this is the same old. How boring.

Thoughts can also be seen for what they are: as innocent questions, even when they appear as statements. They can provide useful and practical information in a conventional sense, as a help for orienting and functioning in the world. Yes, when they are not believed in, they remain as just guidelines of temporary and practical use only. And they too arise as always unique, fresh, different, along with anything else arising here now.

Freshness of expression

And the freshness of expression comes in two ways:

One is from the immediacy and freshness of experience, which gives the expression of it a sense of freshness as well.

The other is in seeing ideas as merely ideas, which gives a freedom in experimenting with how to express immediate realization and experience in different ways, relying less on what we have heard, read or said before.

The makeup of our human self probably plays a role here as well.

If it is happy with tradition and what is already laid down, it may use that as a framework for expression. There are many examples here of following collective or one’s individual traditions.

If it has more of an adventurous and newness seeking tendency, it may explore new ways of expressing perennial insights, as Adyashanti and Byron Katie do. Or it may come up with something that combines these perennial insights with temporary insights and views in a fresh way, as Ken Wilber does in his aqal framework and Genpo Roshi with the Big Mind process.

And maybe most importantly, it may seek to grow, mature and develop so the ways the insights come out do the same. So there is a freshness in how it comes out, also in the context of its own history.

Chronos: being devoured by, or itself food

A while back, I wrote a post about eating time.

Slow as I am, I didn’t remember at first that this is the Chronos myth, the Greek god of time eating his children.

Eaten by time

First, there is an identification with the seen, with our human self. We find ourselves as an object in the world, within time and space. There is a sense of precariousness, of being at the mercy of the whims of other objects and the relentless stream of change and time. I am clearly subject to birth and death, and there is a sadly limited span in between. I am being eaten by time, day by day.

Release from being eaten by time

But am I the seen? Am I really a segment of this content of awareness?

The seen, no matter what it is – sensations, sights, tastes, smells, feelings, emotions, thoughts, they all come and go. But something does not come and go. What it is that does not come and go?

The more I look, the more I find what does not come and go is this seeing itself, this clear awake space that the seen unfolds within and to.

Gradually, I may find myself as the seeing itself, as pure awareness, the witness of the seen, of this content always coming and going.

I also notice that time is part of the seen. It is the always changing content, and arises to the seeing. The seeing itself seem inherently absent of time. It seems timeless.

In this, there is a release from being eaten by time.

The seen is revealed as absent of any I, and I gradually become more familiar and comfortable with this. Gradually, there is more and more of a living from this realization. The seen appears to be absent of any I, and the I appears to be this seeing itself.

Eating time

Time, as the always changing seen, arises to me as the seeing. It is different from me. There is a release from being identified with it.

But where does the seen end, and I – as the seeing of it, begin? Can I find the line that separates the two?

The more I look, the less certain I am that I can find it. It is elusive. It seems to be just another idea, with no real referent in immediate awareness.

The more there is the looking for this demarcation line, the more it seems that the seen is not that different from the seeing itself. The seen really appears as awareness itself.

The seen and the seeing seem to both arise as this clear awake space.

And, surprisingly, there seem to be no I even in the seeing.

There is no I in the seen, because it comes and goes while something else does not.

And there appears to be no I in the seeing either, because the seen and the seeing are not inherently different from each other. They both arise from and as the same Ground.

Here, there is an eating of time of sorts. There is an absence of any I and Other. An absence of I in seeing or seen, so an absence of any separation.

Reversals

So there is a series of shifts.

First, there is an identification as the seen, as a segment of content of awareness, as this human self. An object within time and space, and at the mercy of time and space. I am eaten by time.

Then, there is a release from identification with the seen, and a finding of oneself as the seeing. There is a release from the drama of being at the mercy of time and space. I am released from being eaten by time.

Finally, there is the realization that even the seeing is inherently absent of any I. The seen and the seeing arises within and as Ground, as empty awakeness.

The seen, the seeing, the identification with the seen or the seeing, it is all Ground, inherently absent of any I. Even the identification itself is absent of any I. There is no drama there, even in the midst of the appearance of much drama.

Content & Awareness

The previous post is an example of the difficulty of putting certain simple experiences into words.

I can say that there is (a) this Timeless Present (b) within which everything passes through, and there is (c) clarity and pure awareness within which this all passes through.

Yet, there is not really any distinction among all of these.

The Timeless Present is everything happening now, and the clarity and pure awareness is this Timeless Present and everything passing through. Each of these are each of the other.

From the side of what is, they are just different words for the same. Every name is a name for what is. Or – from the side of words – I could say that they all melt together.

It is very simple, and words cannot really touch it. Although some do come closer than other.

Fool

When there is no (belief in a) story, we become a fool.

All there is, is the eternal Present – always new, fresh.

The whole world – all there is – is what is right here. Anything else is a story.

There is no past and no future. They too are just stories happening now.

My only life is right here, that is all there is.

There is an absence of belief in any story, including that of “I”.

There is unknowing, yet access to whatever experience, knowledge, information, skills and so on that may happen. And there is a story of how they happen in response to the situation, although that too is just a story.

There is nothing to defend. There is an absence of any identity so no I and Other, and nothing to protect or defend.

I can find everything in me (this human self) that anyone comes up with.

Everything is – what we label rain, cat, table, lamp, body, sensations, thoughts, decisions, movements, focus, awareness and so on – with no I anywhere.

Everything just happens, with no doer anywhere.

In short, this human self – operating in this context – looks very much like a fool to anybody. It is too simple. Too childlike. Although it is a simplicity which includes complexity. Childlikeness which includes maturity. Foolishness which includes wisdom.

Present

Another post to clarify this for myself.

There is only the timeless, eternal Present, within which the world of phenomena unfolds, always new, fresh, different. The past and future is only an abstraction, only a story.

To be relatively precise, we can say that the past and future do not exist and never did. There is only this eternal, timeless Present, always. This is the Absolute. The past and future is only a story, only an abstraction.

Going into the relative, and using the framework of time, we can say these are stories of how the world of phenomena previously unfolded within the Present and may unfold within this Present later on.

We can grasp this intellectually, even while identified as an object in the world, although it tends to sound overly abstract or even naive.

This realization – and the implications of it – only unfolds more clearly in our immediate experience when the belief in the story of past, of future, and of I, starts to erode. Then, it is revealed as what always is, was and will be. Simple. Very simple, very clear. Difficult to describe precisely in words, yet also the most simple.

It is of course a liberating discovery or noticing. I can always deal with the Present, and that is all there is. There really is no past or future to deal with, only the stories of them.

Infinite Causes & Present

It is given, even from a conventional view, that the present is all there is. The present is all that is real. Any ideas of past and future are just that, ideas – abstractions, maps.

Believing in (stories about) past and future

But when we believe in our ideas, they seem real so past and future (or rather our stories of past and future) seem real as well. We may know intellectually that the present is all there is, but it certainly does not feel that way.

Realizing selflessness

It is only when we have a glimpse of – or or awaken to – a realization of selflessness that this becomes real and obvious. The belief in ideas fall away, including the belief in the idea of I, so now it is clear that the present is all there is. It is revealed as the Timeless Present, within which time and space unfolds in always new and fresh ways. It is the Present that always is. Ideas and stories about past and future are just ideas and stories, occuring right now along with everything else.

Past

When we go to the past to explain the present, we are going to stories about the past – maps that highlight some features, leave other out, and are inherently quite different from the terrain. It may give a sense of order and understandable patterns, but that is about it. Anything in the present, seen from the perspective of past and future, has infinite causes. Any map will be woefully inadequate in accounting for even a fraction of these.

Past as mirroring the present

What our stories about the past (and future) do, quite accurately, is reflecting the present. Or rather, they are the present – one of the way the world of phenomena unfold in the present.

One way to say this is that they are projections of what is happening right now. They reflect and are what is happening now, but appear to say something about an abstract past or future.

It is pretty obvious, and also quite beautiful. Our stories say something about what is going on right now, and are valuable as that.

Reality?

There is of course a consensus reality, one that we can more or less agree on in terms of our past, individually and collectively. This map of consensus reality help us navigate this world more effectively.

Pointing back to the present

But at the same time, the map of consensus reality is merely an abstraction – really only saying something about us right now. Other stories – dreams, those we label fiction, and so on – are as accurate in saying something about us right now, although they may be less helpful as guidelines for navigating the world.

The realization of infinite causes also brings us back to the present. Any map of the past is woefully inadequate, so the Present is all we really have.

Timeless Present

I am struck by how various insights seem to always come up in new ways, always fresh, different.

Recently, there has been periods where the timeless present is clear in yet a different way. Crystal clear, as all there is, all there ever was, all there ever will be. The timeless present, the Always Already, within which the whole world of phenomena unfolds – including time and space. That in which everything happens right now unfolds. And in this, it is very clear how the past and future are only ideas, abstractions, stories.

It is of course obvious, even on a conventional rational level, but to see it clearly – in this crystal clear context – is different. One is the menu, the other is the meal. And when the past and future are revealed as merely stories, they loose their bite. They appear as what they are – innocent. As just a tiny aspect of the landscape, and transparent to the timeless. It is liberation.