Satsang and Soul


Sometimes we have brief glimpses, and sometimes more sustained experiences of the boundlessness, the seamlessness, the groundlessness, the emptiness, the fullness, the freedom, the wonder, the love, the absolute joy that is Here / Now. All problems are gone! There is no me anymore. Everything feels complete and perfect, just as it is. Everything shines and sparkles. 

Then thought comes back in and immediately labels or categorizes this experience, calling it “an awakening” or “a glimpse” or whatever word it uses. Often we don’t notice how that very thought has mentally frozen and divided up the flow of life, creating the mirage of something-in-particular out of the open, free, undivided, no-thing-ness that was glimpsed. Thought then inserts this frozen “something” that it has just created into a narrative, a story about “me,” the one who had this glimpse, and the one who lost it. Thought reasons that “real enlightenment,” or “final enlightenment,” or “complete liberation” would mean extending or sustaining this experience for infinite duration—having a permanent EXPERIENCE of sparkle, or a permanent SENSE of being no-self.

So we try to grasp the experience—hold onto it and maintain it. And when it slips away, as it always does, we try to recapture it. We try to remember what we did to bring it about. If we were meditating when it happened, we meditate again with the expectation and the desire to repeat this remembered experience. If we were reading a nondual book when it happened, we read that same chapter over again, hoping to repeat what happened before. And as we eventually discover, this doesn’t work. In fact, it seems a bit like sinking into quicksand or running after a mirage lake in the desert sands—the harder we struggle to get out of the quicksand, the deeper into it we sink, and the faster we run after the mirage lake, the more it recedes into the distance.

Experiences come and go. By their very nature, they are impermanent. There is no permanent experience and no enduring state of consciousness. Seeking or grasping experiences is like pursuing a mirage or trying to grasp a handful of smoke or water. It is a losing endeavor. When we try to “get” truth or awareness or enlightenment or freedom, it doesn’t work. The very effort creates the imaginary problem, the imaginary gap, the thought-sense of being a separate fragment searching for something outside of us that is presumably lacking Here / Now. Likewise, if we try to EXPERIENCE Totality or nondual unicity or "the Ultimate Subject" or THAT which is “prior to consciousness” and “beyond experience,” it is like the eye trying to see the eye, or the sword trying to cut itself—an obvious impossibility. And yet, we try.