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.