Could there be a bigger relief than to realise, after a life of struggle and constant pursuit of fulfilment, that everything in our experience is already perfectly still and at rest, and already fulfilled? That we have it all as our birthright? That there is no need to run after ourself, to make everything up, to win our peace through our many efforts and achievements? That there is no need to believe and hope, to project and attain. No need to make life into a war, everlastingly caught between desperation and elusiveness, between all our ‘not quite’, ‘not yet’, and other ‘almost’ or ‘not really’. We put everything at a distance, therefore making happiness into an object, and pursuing it as something to attain or achieve; something dependent on how smart we are, or hard-working, or focused, or lucky, or god knows what. This is to make peace and happiness into something puerile and vulgar, some kind of expensive item to be bought in the marketplace.
Should we not get it right once and for all? Should we not have a definite and thorough look at ourself, and have it all crystal clear? There is no self, inside this body and mind of ours, that is placed at a distance from the objects of experience, and that can use them for its own fulfilment. To believe that there is such a self is what makes life into a battlefield, what renders us small and lacking, suffering our way through existence. We have invented this self. We have fabricated it with all the leftovers of the thousand things and events of experience. We have made ourself into an inextricable bundle which we can never fully know and get hold of. For the simple reason that it is not there. And yet, unfortunately so, this apparent self is our veil. This invented self is our loss. It is what makes us blind to the real life, transforming peace and happiness into objects that this self must attain and never can. How could it in a million years? This self has no reality!
The problem is: we have fabricated, given flesh to something — a self — that is inexistant, and by doing so have made our true and only self and reality into something that appears to be absent, fleeting, elusive. This fabricated self veils a presence that is immediate and intimate. A presence that doesn’t need to be projected. A self that doesn’t need to be arranged or perfected. This self is in fact that thing which we are taking to be just an instrument or function — a consciousness for our invented self — when it is in fact that very perfected self which we are desperately trying to attain. Our fascination for the world of objects has transformed a magnificent and fully grown flower into a little, hidden bud that we have seen and ignored a thousand times. This fully grown self is already what we are unknowingly, and its hidden presence grants like an intuition or memory to the illusory ’me’ which we are desperately trying to perfect. This self owns also, entwined in and as its very nature, the peace and happiness which we are looking for, already achieved and at hand, therefore never lacking, and never in need to be pursued.
Another thing is: there is singleness in our experience. Don’t look at the many, but contemplate the one as being their unique reality. See this reality as pervading everything to the point of being the very fabric of experience. See this reality as being your dearest self. And see this self as being the self or essence of all seemingly other apparent selves and things. This is how we vanquish conflict and suffering. This is how we annihilate struggle and effort. This is how separation is seen through. This is how we make our world a world of peace and harmony, whatever the forms the present dance may temporarily acquire. For you have seen yourself and the world as they are: pure, unbreakable peace. This is why some have called this presence God, on account of its grand, pervasive, loving, and all-encompassing nature or quality, and because it is forever here, forever now, therefore infinite and eternal. Our self and world have been discovered to be god’s being. The little, lost, suffering bud has been discovered to be flower. Its beauty and power therefore self-explanatory.
Text and photo by Alain Joly
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