The fundamental question that arises naturally can take many forms: What is Truth? What is real? What is this? Who am I? These questions seem different on the surface, but in fact, they all point to the same placeless place Here / Now of open wondering without knowing.
For many of us, when we first hear a question of this kind, there is a brief instant of open listening and not knowing—the mind draws a blank and for a moment, we are simply BEING the wonder. And then, very quickly, our habit from years of schooling and beyond takes over, and we begin thinking and looking for an answer to these questions. In certain practical matters, such as finding out what bus to take or how to change the oil in our car, this kind of thinking and seeking out answers works very well. But with these deeper questions, it is a total dead-end—or more accurately, a kind of hamster wheel. But it may take us a long time to realize that.
Thought is very promising, very seductive, and it is habitual and deeply conditioned. In school, we were shamed, ridiculed or flunked if we failed to provide the answers. So when we hear these fundamental questions—or when they arise naturally, our deeply entrenched habit is to immediately begin THINKING about them, or perhaps to begin looking for what others whom we regard as spiritual authorities have said. We go from book to book, and we think and think, and then we regurgitate various dead answers that we have thought up or learned: “I am a middle-aged woman” or “I am pure awareness” or “Nothing is real” or “Everything is consciousness,” and so on. And with that answer, we feel like we’ve really nailed it. We’ve got it. We KNOW something. We HAVE it. Except that the next thing we know, we find ourselves filled with doubt and uncertainty. Maybe that wasn’t the right answer after all. Someone else seems to disagree. And back to the hamster wheel we go, searching for truth in all the wrong places.
In fact, these profoundly simple questions are an invitation to stop, look and listen—to stop racing around on the hamster wheel in search of answers, to let go of thinking and conceptualizing, to dissolve into that listening silence or open wondering that is spacious and immediate, boundless and seamless—this bare awakeness that is what Here / Now is. Can we rest in being this moment, just as it is (not forever, but right now)?