Here and Now
We assume that there is an objective, observer-independent world “out there” that we are born into, a world that we are looking out at and trying to manipulate. Hypnotized by this picture of reality, we can’t understand how other people, especially those on the opposite side of hot button issues, can fail to see what seems to us so utterly obvious and completely beyond question: the world as we see it. How can people actually believe, for example, that it’s okay to design and market real guns with real ammunition to five-year-old children (as one company in the USA is actually doing, and as numerous gun enthusiasts are defending as perfectly okay)? It’s as if these people aren’t seeing the same “reality” that I’m seeing, and indeed, obviously they’re not! What if there actually is no substantial, objective, observer-independent world “out there” apart from consciousness?
When teachings point out that this world is an illusion or a dream, they don’t mean that there’s nothing here. They mean that what’s here is not what we think it is—it’s not a single, solid, observer-independent, objective reality “out there” apart from the seeing of it. The dualistic separation between subject and object is the most basic illusion. In reality (in our actual, immediate, direct experience), the world isn’t “out there.” It is right here. There is no separation. No real boundary can actually be found where “awareness” turns into “the content of awareness,” or where “inside of me” turns into “outside of me.” We can THINK of such a boundary or IMAGINE one, but in actual direct experience, it cannot be found, for it doesn’t actually exist. Any such boundary is purely conceptual. Thought divides present experiencing up notionally into “the seer” (whether that seer is imagined to be “me” or “impersonal awareness”) and “the seen” (everything imagined to be “not me” or “not awareness”). But our actual direct experience is always the seamlessness of seeing-awaring-being, where no form holds still (or forms) as a separate or enduring “thing” apart from everything else. And if you think you don’t see this, I would suggest that you are paying attention to your thoughts and the virtual reality they create while simultaneously overlooking or ignoring your actual, immediate, direct, nonconceptual, present moment experiencing here and now.