Some thoughts on suffering & on enlightenment
Regardless of the 'beautiful coating’ of our lives, we are still in Samsara. Cyclical existence fueled by ignorance of the true nature of reality which produces grasping at happiness and avoidance of suffering. It’s monotone, limited, confining. If the window of our mind is cracked open ever so slightly, we would feel the taste of dissatisfaction all the time - it is underlying every moment of every experience.
The Buddha called it Dukkha: All pervasive dissatisfaction - the unbearable feeling of being dissatisfied with what is and with who we are (inherently insufficient and lacking), which is rooted in a fundamental misperception of realty. Our inability to perceive the liberating truth of dependent origination / blissful quantum openness (as my teacher Miles calls it), leaves us skimming the surface of reality like beggars chasing crumbs of dried bread or like being thirsty and drinking seawater.
Because we don’t particularly like this state of discomfort and suffering, the forces of attachment and aversion propel us towards things and experiences that we believe will grant us the satisfaction we much rather prefer. Yet we seek satisfaction in things that cannot be the source of satisfaction. For example, if becoming really rich was the true source of satisfaction - then every single person that ever became rich would have had to experience the same exact sense of satisfaction all of the time - meaning that it would have to be valid universally. But since we know there are plenty of rich people who are not subject to this sense of satisfaction, we can posit that this perception is erroneous and invalid.
Yet who undergoes such analysis into the nature of reality on a daily basis? Who stops to challenge their perception and undergo critical reasoning during the habitual moment-to-moment process of reality-building? Very few - because it takes great effort and discipline to withstand the forces of ordinary perception. These forces are far stronger as they’ve been repeatedly reinforced over time, keeping us powerlessly enclosed within the superficial confines of sensory input and neurological memory feedback loops.
We remain comfortably numb in our misperceptions and continue striving, grasping, hoping, projecting (with the help of a system that is designed to exploit this very symptom)… always to be disappointed and disenchanted by the depleting resource that failed to remove our unbearable discontentment. It is like exerting enormous effort to construct a house on quicksand. The very thing we believed would grant us happiness, failed us.
This is when the familiar feeling of shame and dissatisfaction comes back, but we are quick to push it down, and with the forces of habit on our side, we get back up, re-set the projector, shake off the dust and keep going. We don’t stop. If one thing fails us, we find something else to attach our aspirations for ultimate satisfaction and freedom to. Something bigger, better, more refined, more promising. It never ends, until eventually, we die. Repeat.
So whats the point?
The point is to wake the f*** up. Buddha = budding. Open.
In order to open, we must stop running.
When we stop running the mind becomes still, settling.
When the mind settles our perception clears.
When our perception clears we begin to see.
When we begin to see we stick to it and make it a practice. This is called meditation.
Eventually, the lens cracks and the perception that separated the perceiver from the perceived is removed.
The seemingly oppositional and dualistic view of reality subsides and non-dual awareness arises.
The mind abides in the blissful union of wisdom and reality.
The truth becomes visible, palpable, inseparable from the former self and naked, unobstructed reality becomes known.
Eventually, we return to our ordinary dualistic experience and integrate the insights into our day to day lives.
Ordinary reality has now been infused with hints of the extraordinary.
We’ve taken the red pill and there’s no going back.
We practice rigorously, repeatedly revisiting the experience of union.
At some glorious point in and beyond time and space our efforts culminate and the mind fully and permanently opens.
We are finally t(here).